Country of Origin: Cathay
Dojo: Jaisalma (Tiny)
Founded: 1670 A.V.
Description: Raman Parimala was many things in her youth: a gifted scholar, a feisty activist, and, of course, a princess of surpassing beauty. It was the latter fact that drew the attention of Sayari Razak, pirate captain and ruler of Tiakhar. He sent his most powerful and reliable pirates to attack the princess’ ship, murdering the crew and delivering young Raman to his harem. Once there, sure endured the indignities of slavery and waited to be rescued, all the while encouraging the tuanku’s other “wives” to rise up against their captors.
As the weeks turned into months and it became apparent that no help would be coming, Raman became that rarest of creatures: a self-rescuing princess. She strangled one of the eunuchs guarding the harem with her sturdy silken cape, took his kukri, and led a fair number of the tuanku’s other slave-wives to freedom. Armed with weapons seized from other guards killed along the way, the newly-freed slaves overran a small pirate crew in the dead of night and, with fortune’s favor, made their slow, steady way back to Tashil. Once there, Raman made the tortuously slow process of making contact with Sophia’s Daughters, a like-minded organization she had read about in a forbidden text, and codified her escape plan into a fighting style.
As a fighting style, Raman relies on the use of a cloak for defense (and the occasional surprise attack) with a kukri wielded in the main hand. In Tashil, cloaks are generally worn only as part of a woman’s sweeping garments, so the style is most common among female knife-fighters. A man wearing such a garment is seen as either insane (and therefore best left alone) or extremely dangerous (as he wears a cloak and knows he can get away with it). Either way, male Raman fighters are given a wide berth, and this had led some men to petition for the right to learn the style.
The style’s main weakness is its reliance on a cloak for most of its maneuvers and Techniques. A cloak is a fragile garment, easily ripped away, sliced through, or simply ignored. Depriving a Raman fighter of her cloak (or attacking through it, rather than around it) greatly reduces her efficacy in a fight.
Basic Curriculum: Cloak, Knife
Knacks: Bind (Cloak), Blur (Cloak), Disarm (Cloak), Exploit Weakness (Raman), Feint (Knife)
New Swordsman Knack: Blur. Your cloak is an ever-present blocking device, obscuring your footwork and your exact position from your opponents. If you have not attacked yet this Round, then each Rank of this Knack increases your TN to be hit by two if you use Footwork to determine your Passive Defense.
Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, and must take a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Wits in order for your Feint to be successful. If you are successful, he cannot avoid the attack using any Active Defense. The Raises taken on this roll add Unkept Dice to your damage roll as usual.
Apprentice: A Raman fighter learns many ways to use her cloak in combat, the most basic of which is wrapping the cloak around her arm to serve as a makeshift shield. While wearing a cloak and using Block (Cloak) to determine her Passive Defense, the Apprentice may add twice her Mastery Level in Raman to her TN to be hit.
Since Raman is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild, its students receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks in lieu of Guild Membership.
Journeyman: A Journeyman of Raman learns to use her cloak as an offensive weapon, depriving opponents of their sight as readily as she deprives them of their weapons. By using Attack (Cloak) to make a Called Shot against a target’s head (requiring three Raises), the Journeyman may effectively blind an opponent by wrapping the material around his head. A victim must use Brawn or Finesse (his choice) + Escape to get himself out of this predicament, with a TN equal to the Journeyman’s initial Attack Roll. Until then, he suffers the full penalties of fighting in Total Darkness (-4k0 on all Actions requiring sight, including attacks), with no amelioration for the Night Trained Advantage. While the Journeyman has her opponent in this position, she cannot use her Bind or Disarm Knacks; however, she may still use her Blur Knack and benefit from her Apprentice Technique. (In these cases, it can be assumed that she is using her victim, as well as her cloak, to aid in her defense.)
Master: A Master of Raman has learned to use her cloak to conceal her attacks (even if she has a victim grappled using her Journeyman Technique), making it much harder for an enemy to defend against them. She no longer needs to declare any Raises when using her Feint Knack (though she may do so if she wishes). In addition, whenever she has an opponent grappled with her cloak using her Journeyman Technique and a kukri, she may spend a legal Action in combat to stab him and inflict an automatic Dramatic Wound, resetting the victim’s Flesh Wound Total to zero, as if he had failed a Wound Check.