Fighting Style: Celestial Fencing

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Prerequisites: Dexterity •••, Occult ••, Weaponry •••; additionally, some maneuvers in Celestial Fencing may have Prerequisites drawn from the Fighting Style: Fencing Merit.

Effect: Some styles of fencing that evolved during the height of astrology’s prominence during the Renaissance incorporated certain concepts to the practice of the fighting style. Similar to Miyamoto Musashi’s attacks and stances based on elemental interactions, the celestial fencer evaluates his opponent’s fighting style in planetary terms, and answers with the style best suited to oppose it.

This is not a Merit that can be purchased on its own. A fencer must have dots in the Fighting Style: Fencing Merit before being able to purchase any in his Fighting Style Merit. Dots purchased in this Merit allow access to special combat maneuvers. Each maneuver is a prerequisite to the next, in addition to any prerequisites it may have in the Fighting Style: Fencing Merit. So, a fencer cannot have “The Gentle Blade” until he has first learned “Sunrise Draw.”

In at least two cases in this Merit, however, there are multiple maneuvers of the same rating. Only one of these must be learned before moving on to the next highest dot rating. Thus, a fencer may learn “Lunar Feint” once he has learned either “The Gentle Blade” or “Jovian Lunge.”

  • Sunrise Draw (•): Prerequisite: Thrust (Fencing •). Like the first beam of sunlight suddenly piercing the darkness of the pre-dawn sky, the fencer is in action before anyone is aware he is moving. If he begins a combat with his blade already drawn, he gains a bonus to his Initiative roll equal to his Weaponry skill, as long as his action will involve an attack with that blade. If he also has the Quick Draw Merit for swords (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p.113), and draws a sword during the first turn of combat, this bonus is added retroactively, starting at the beginning of the second turn of combat.
  • Jovian Lunge (••): Prerequisite: Thrust (Fencing •). The fencer’s blade strikes like lightning — rapidly, and from far away. Doing so opens the swordsman up to potential retaliation, however, so his aim had best be good. When performing a Thrust attack, the fencer may add his Weaponry rating to his Speed for the purpose of determining what distance he can cross and still complete an attack. Additionally, the target loses one point from Defense, as the attack closes entirely unexpectedly. Drawback: Because of the sudden, rushing lunge involved in the Jovian Lunge, the fencer that makes such an attack loses the benefits of his Defense for the rest of the turn.
  • The Gentle Blade (••): Prerequisite: Feint (Fencing ••). Mastering the attitudes of Venus in repose, the fencer bestows nurturing mercy — insofar as any fencer may. At any time, the fencer may choose to inflict bashing damage with his sword-based Weaponry attacks. He may not, however, choose to inflict damage with the “Moulinet” or “Martial Rush” maneuvers (although he may choose to inflict bashing damage with the attack that leads into “Moulinet,” if he wishes).
  • Lunar Feint (•••): Prerequisite: Feint (Fencing ••). With a shifting posture and deceptive footwork, the fencer quickly follows through when he sets his opponent up, never permitting him to possibly recover from the feint. The fencer performs a normal Feint maneuver, but if he is successful, he immediately follows up the action with an attack, at a –1 penalty.
  • Mercurial Riposte (••••): Prerequisite: Riposte (Fencing •••). Adopting a loose posture before performing a riposte, the fencer becomes like Mercury in his orbit — tremendously quick. This negates the Drawback of using the Fencing maneuver Riposte, permitting him to use his normal Defense against other opponents in the turn.
  • Reaper’s Stance (••••): Prerequisite: Moulinet (Fencing ••••). The fencer assumes the dispassionate stance of Saturn, assured in the inevitability of his foes’ demise, and his own victory. While fighting with a blade, his Defense (or Dodge) is not diminished by multiple attacks during the turn.
  • Martial Rush (•••••): Prerequisite: Moulinet (Fencing ••••). Sometimes the delicate hand of a fencer must guide blows of tremendous force. Performing a martial rush is one such instance. The fencer sacrifices his maneuverability and defense for the power of Mars in war, gaining 9-Agains on the attack roll with this blow. Drawback: The fencer that makes a Martial Rush loses his Defense for the rest of the turn.