Country of Origin: Eisen
Salon: None (the style is taught only by Masters among the Nibelungen, to those the mysterious Order deems worthy)
Description: Even the esoteric smiths known as the Nibelungen, paragons of Eisen strength-at-arms and patrons of the nobility, recognize that not all problems are solved in open conflict. Some situations require a more delicate hand: a knife from the shadows rather than an open challenge. To deal with these situations, the smiths created a special weapon, and developed this fighting style to make use of it. While new prospects for the style are generally drawn from the ranks of the Nibelungen, the smiths occasionally recruit a worthy outsider for training and grant him a pair of these blades.
The weapon of the Drachenklaue style appears to be a wooden rod, banded with an alloy of dracheneisen and brass and capped at either end with a stylized drachen’s head. While this appears to be a heavy weapon such as a mace, when pulled apart it is revealed to be a pair of short-bladed, pommel-heavy knives which ingeniously fit together, each blade sliding into a slot in its mate’s hilt. Whether joined together or separated into its component blades, the weapon is meant to be used aggressively and in tandem with the wielder’s body to quickly dispatch enemies of the order who (for whatever reason) do not merit a formal sanction and declaration of hostility.
The unique qualities of the weapon also contribute to the main weaknesses of the Drachenklaue style. Because the blades are relatively short, the wielder almost always sacrifices reach to his or her opponent; cagey adversaries will remain outside the range of the deadly knives and wait for the perfect opportunity to strike. Meanwhile, the Drachenklaue fighter must close before he or she can attack, warning knowledgeable opponents that an attack is imminent.
Basic Curriculum: Heavy Weapon, Knife
Knacks: Corps-á-Corps, Disarm (Knife), Double Parry (Knife/Knife), Exploit Weakness (Drachenklaue), Pommel Strike (Knife)
Apprentice: Apprentices of the Drachenklaue style are trained to wield their knives in both hands, or in either hand, and never suffer an off-hand penalty when using their custom weapon. In addition, they inflict an extra Unkept Die (+1k0) of damage on their knife attacks, eliminating the penalty associated with pommel-heavy weapons. Finally, the Apprentice learns to use his weapon to execute his Disarm and Pommel Strike Knacks even while the blades remain joined.
This style is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild; Apprentices receive a Free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks in lieu of Guild Membership.
Journeyman: Journeymen of the style have learned not only to deflect an opponent’s weapon with their blades, but to catch that weapon and twist it out of that opponent’s hand. After successfully using his Double Parry Knack for an Active Defense, the Journeyman may forego receiving a Drama Die to immediately attempt a Disarm against the opponent’s weapon. This action does not require the two Raises usually applied to an active Disarm attempt, nor does it require an Action Die.
Master: Drachenklaue Masters have trained so extensively with their weapons that they are practically an extension of their own bodies. Masters no longer need to spend an Action to separate or join their blades; they can do so as part of any other action. In addition, they can launch parallel attacks with both blades at once—this is a normal attack using Attack (Knife), but one Raise is required on the roll, and if successful, it inflicts one extra Kept Die (+1k1) of damage, plus an additional Kept Die for each additional Raise.
The signature weapons of the Drachenklaue fighting style are a pair of pommel-heavy knives with dracheneisen blades and long, wooden hilts banded and capped with a golden-hued alloy of dracheneisen and brass. These weapons are extremely rare: one pair is made for each new student trained in Drachenklaue and presented to him or her upon the completion of his or her training. Even if it would not be highly disrespectful to throw such a weapon, the heavy pommels render them off-balance and unsuitable for a ranged attack.
It requires one Action to separate or join together the individual blades. While joined, the “mace” must be used with the Heavy Weapon Knack, inflicting 3k2 Flesh Wounds on a successful attack.