View Full Version : Elizabethan Fighting Schools

2012-06-06, 06:08 PM
I'm trying to streamline ideas for real-world schools of fighting and fencing from the mid- to late-Renaisance. In particular, I'm trying to develope fighting styles as in the 3.0 OA (though this is for 3.5). There were a couple of issues of Dragon that got in on it too; the one that comes to mind is the one with the gladiatorial minotaur on the cover.

I'd like input on each of these masters' school-styles, and others if you can think of them:
George Silver
Rocco Bonetti
Salvador Fabris
Don Jeronimo Sanchez de Carranza (Destreza)
Hans Talhoffer

Things to consider: most of these masters taught their students to apply their philosophies to multiple weapons, so I don't see Weapon Focus being too logical. Power Attack and Combat Expertise aught to be prevelant. The "buckler" of these tomes more closely resembles the "light shield" of D&D. Also, if you feel inclined to express opinions about the styles described, please keep it constructive. Most folks who train in "propper" fencing know that Mr. Silver spent so much space in his first treatise abusing the Italian rapier that he had to write a second treatise to explain his own style (!), so we needn't do that here. Be constructive, build-up each described style rather than defame another. Finally, remember that not all of our fellow forumites have studied and practiced swordsmanship, so if a question comes up about practical matters, be courtious and site sources, even of personal experience.

I'll check in as often as I can, but my computer access will be limited.

LAY ON! :smallamused:

2012-06-18, 06:16 PM
Upon my return, I no'ced a thin layer of dust, broken only by the telltale tracks of a mouse's busy skittering `cross the floor...

Alright, I'll try again, this time w/ more initiative.

I recently rediscovered the Skull & Bones pirate setting (Green Ronin) and its PrC's designed for fencers of different schools. These are good starting points.
Most schools of fence inwhich I have been instructed or tried to decipher have a firm potential translation in feats such as Power Attack (+ Lunge, Imp. Sunder), Combat Expertise (Imp. Disarm, Imp. Feint, Imp. Trip), Combat Reflexes, TWF (tree, Two Weapon Defense), Imp. Shield Bash, Imp. Initiative, Dodge (Mobility, Spring Attack), Imp. Unarmed Strike (Imp. Grappling), and other similar feats. The Duelist PrC, Rogue, Swashbuckler, Fighter (Hit & Run), Scout (w/ Riposte), Fericious or Whirling Barbarian, and Streetfighter PrC seem to be good guidelines for builds and inspiration.

A school's style should not so much indicate a specialization in certain combat Cyrano-- er, cenarioes, so much as what a student may bring to different such cases. For instance, a diestro (student of Destreza) need not necessarily specialize in taking on one opponent at a time, despite the argument I've heard that Destreza's strength is in the duel. All schools seem to begin with the idea of one-on-one fighting, as that is the easiest way to start learning to fight. A diestro was quite similar to a samurai in mind-set and philosophy; philosophy/science made his way of fighting make sense, strong faith made him fearless of death so that fear did not cloud his judgement, diverse and higher learning in other fields made him more compitant in his fighting philosophy (an observation made by Miyamoto Musashi in his own journey of self-realization), and dedication drove him to physical, mental, and spiritual perfection. This, plus a study of the famed "mysterious circle," leads me to this as a potential build for Destreza style:

Req: Proficiency w/ at least two kinds of swords, proficiency w/ daggers; 6 ranks each in Concentration, Knowledge (pick two); Circle Student, Circle Master, Deadly Defense, Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise, Imp. Initiative.
Benifit: +Int Modifier vs. fear and fear effects. Also, he gains a bonus equal to his Int Modifier to his Initiative check against one foe. This foe can be changed from round to round, but it only ever applies to one opponent at a time and only if one of them threatens the other with a melee attack. If a chosen foe is not currently such reach, but becomes so due to a charge, 5' step, Spring Attack, or other such move, it will immediately apply (this could potentially interrupt a Spring Attack).

2012-06-18, 07:14 PM
You should summarize each style in non-rules terms in a few lines. I think choice of game mechanics will follow from there, either from you or from the posts of others. Consider including Martial Study as a style feat as well, in case there are some really perfect specific maneuvers to add.