Fencing Maneuvers

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Few and far between is the noble who does not wear, day and night, an energy shield. These Second Republic wonder devices guard the rich and powerful from harm, absorbing everything from assassin's bullets to laser blasts. They are with only a single flaw- slow moving objects do not activate the protective cocoon of force. This vulnerability has spawned a dueling culture in the Known World elites much akin to the ancient renaissance dueling. There are numerous schools around the Known Worlds that teach different philosophies of the duel. Listed below are the primary approaches to dueling culture- there are many more variations that are less popular or well known. All fencing styles require training.

Every round in a duel both opponents are striking, parrying, dodging and feinting. As a result is assumed that a duelist is losing 1 Hit off of their shield every round. This represents the close-calls and minor nicks which are absorbed by the energy shield. The only exception to this is if a duelist scores 3 or more VPs than their opponent in the round. If this occurs it is presumed that the winning duelist has such complete control of the combat that her opponent's blade is not getting near enough to trigger a shield hit.

Characters do not learn Fencing Maneuvers in a vacuum, however: they learn along one or more traditions, which teach them a basic curriculum of energy shield dueling and then pick up additional tricks as they advance in their craft.

Fencing maneuvers are restricted by weapon type only when specifically mentioned- a person trained in Fancy Footwork can use it as easily when holding a broadsword as when holding a rapier. However, fencing maneuvers do not generally stack with battlefield maneuvers, and vice versa. There is one exception to this: A fencer may stack all maneuvers that are listed within a given tradition. Thus a Cimetarre fighter may stack 'Hack and Slash' with any of the maneuvers listed in under Cimetarre provided she has that tradition.

Fencing Traditions

Code Duello

One of the two most common fencing traditions, the Code Duello is an aggressive style focused on precise strikes at designated 'zones' of an opponent's body. Trainees practice first and dummies and then on each other, focusing on lateral movement and combined actions where a parry turns into a riposte and then a strike.

Fencers trained under the Code Duello all learn Energy Shield Dueling and then have access to the following manuevers:

  • Aggressive Shield Fighting
  • Ad Corpus
  • Press
  • Precision

Art of Defence

The second of the universal fencing traditions, the Art of Defence focuses on the careful channeling of an opponents attacks. Also called 'The Way of the Three Circles', proponents focus on 'circles' of defense where they anticipate and then react to incoming blows.

Fencers trained under the Art of Defence all learn Energy Shield Dueling and then have access to the following manuevers:

  • Counter-Fighting
  • Wall of Steel
  • Fancy Footwork
  • Precision


Unlike the traditional fencing schools, students of Cimetarre focus on the use of a backsword rather than a fencing weapon. As a consequence, they are somewhat more versatile than a classical fencer but may be outmatched in a duel.

Fencers trained in Cimetarre all learn Energy Shield Dueling and then have access to the following maneuvers:

  • Ad Corpus
  • Fancy Footwork
  • Aggressive Shield Fighting
  • Hack and Slash (from Battlefield Maneuvers, below)

A student of Cimetarre must use a Backsword; some maneuvers, like Energy Shield Dueling, may have additional requirements.

Florentine Tradition

Named after an Old Urth city, the student of Florentine learns to use a weapon in her off-hand while fencing. Their training relies on using this off-hand weapon to distract and engage opponents.

A fencer trained in the Florentine tradition all learn Energy Shield Dueling and then have access to the following maneuvers:

  • Off-Hand
  • Wall of Steel
  • Aggressive Shield Fighting
  • Precision

A student of the Florentine tradition must use a Fencing weapon; some maneuvers, like Precision, may have additional requirements.

Fencing Maneuver List

Energy Shield Dueling

All damage done to opponents is halved. This is the art of fighting a combatant with an energy shield. The duelist is taught to slow her blade an instant before making contact with her opponents energy shield. Aside from requiring a great deal of skill to pull off, a slower blade means less a less forceful impact. Every noble duelist learns this skill and it is often so much a part of how the noble fights that it is hard for them to remember how to fight an unshielded opponent without slowing their attacks. Energy Shield Dueling requires a fencing weapon or knife.

Counter Fighting

Relying on stop-thrusts and quick ripostes the duelist attempts to stall her opponent's advance before it gains any momentum. This technique is excellent at countering hot-headed opponents but is dangerous to use against more deliberate duelists who can bait a counter-fighting expert into exposing herself to attack. This style can only be used in balanced or defensive stance and requires a fencing weapon. If an opponent uses an aggressive stance on a duelist using this style, the opponent receives a -3 to their goal. If the opponent uses balanced or defensive stance, then the duelist receives a -1 to her goal.

Ad Corpus

Meaning "To the Body", rather than parrying her opponent's blows the duelist throws her body at them hoping to force her opponent into activating her shield. When in aggressive stance the duelist applies an additional -1 goal to an opponent using Energy shield fighting. Every round the duelist loses 1 additional shield hit.

Wall of Steel

Rather than relying on her shield, the duelist parries and deflects her opponents strikes with her own blade. If the duelist is fighting defensively and wins the round, then she does not take any shield hits.


The duelist fighting with this style is at a -1 goal. A single well struck blow is worth a thousand that bounce harmlessly off of an energy shield or get absorbed by the resilient material of an opponent's synthsilk. A number of styles teach their adherents to wait patiently for the right moment to strike in order to find a chink in their opponent's armor. This deliberate style of combat is slightly easier to defend against, yet masters of the style can often end a duel in a single blow. While in a balanced stance the duelist takes a -1 goal, but opponents receive a -2 to their armor if struck by the duelist. The Precision maneuver requires a "pure" fencing weapon such as a rapier or smallsword; it cannot be used with a fencing weapon that has an additional quality such as a saber (which is both a fencing weapon and a backsword) or a main-gauche (which is both a fencing weapon and a knife.)

Aggressive Shield

The Hazat have an internal dueling culture that abhors energy shields and as such several of their dueling techniques rely on battering down an opponent's shields as quickly as possible. The effectiveness of this style is undeniable and it has slowly spread. The duelist rains down blows on her opponent, less in an attempt to do harm and more in an effort to trigger shield hits. A duelist using this style must be in aggressive stance and she receives a -2 to damage. However, every round the duelist wins her opponent receives an additional shield hit.

Off-Hand Style

Though single sword dueling is the most common style among nobles at the moment, several schools still teach the use of a main gauche, knife, or other small blade for parrying purposes. Some schools even teach the use of a second fencing blade in the off-hand, though this style is considered to be too flamboyant for fashionable nobles. The second blade provides a +1 goal to fighting defensively or in balanced stance.

Fancy Footwork

Rather than relying on linear advancing and retreating, a duelist who has mastered this maneuver makes use of the entire battlefield. Relying on dodges and sidestepping her opponent's blows the duelist dances in and out of reach while striking. In balanced or aggressive stance, a duelist using this style gives her opponent a -1 on melee rolls. This maneuver is incompatible with Off-Hand Style: this technique relies not on parrying but on the duelist dodging attacks entirely.


Most duels involve a back and forth as the combatants probe the defenses of the other, feint to create an opening, strike and retreat. The duelist who has learned this maneuver does not believe in retreating. Once she has the Edge she is loath to let it go, constantly advancing and never giving her opponent an ounce of room. This technique is only useable if the duelist has the Edge. The duelist must be in either balanced or aggressive stance. While using this maneuver the duelist receives an additional +1 bonus to combat rolls.