Fencing (Int, Trained Use Only; Armor Check Penalty)
The Fencing skill is used to perform special maneuvers in combat. The higher your Fencing skill, the better your performance against other fencers. Since Fencing is a fighting style, this skill is a measure of your expertise with standard Fencing practices, but it may be used to answer knowledge questions about fencing. Fencing maneuvers may be attempted using any traditional fencing weapon (see the Duelist weapon proficiencies) and any similar item at the DM's discretion. As a rule of thumb, any weapon eligible for the Weapon Finesse Feat might be considered. Defensive items such as sticks, cloaks, small shields and bucklers, and off hand weapons are also allowed.
Check: When used to answer knowledge questions the Armor Check Penalty does not penalize skill use. Aside from using Fencing skill to answer knowledge questions about fencing, the following maneuvers may be attempted:
A balestra is a leaping attack. Should a fencer wish to perform a balestra, they must elect to jump forward before their attack and make a Fencing check at DC 20. If the fencer succeeds, he may make a normal attack with a +2 circumstance bonus to damage for every 5 ft jumped. Otherwise they provoke an attack of opportunity and gain no benefits (although the fencer may still attack). Fencers able to jump forward a good distance due to magical aide may find the balestra to be a devastating attack. If the balestra attack misses, the damage bonus is still applied, should the attack strike a weapon, shield, or armor.
A beat is a sharp slap at an opponent's weapon, to jar the opponent and create an opening to attack. A fencer may elect to make a beat attempt as a full-round action. The fencer must make an opposed skill roll, using their Fencing skill versus the opponents Fencing skill (or their standard attack roll if better). A successful beat attack knocks the opponents weapon aside, giving the fencer an immediate attack of opportunity with an circumstance bonus of +4 to hit. If the beat attempt fails, and the opponent is able, he may make a riposte attempt.
A bind is an attack that carry’s your opponent’s weapon with it, leaving them open to attack and out of readiness. A fencer may elect to make a bind attempt as a full-round action. The fencer must make an opposed skill roll, using their Fencing skill versus the opponents Fencing skill (or their standard attack roll if better). Success allows the attacker to make an opposed Dexterity check to bind the weapon. Asuccessful bind allows the fencer an immediate attack of opportunity and leaves the defender effectively Dazed for the next round (unable to attack, defends normally). If the Dexterity check fails, the defender may make a riposte attack (if able) and disengage.
Aceding parry is a maneuver where the fencer moves their blade out of a corps-a-corps (below) by following his opponent’s blade into a disengaged position. A fencer caught in a corps-a-corps may immediately attempt to make a ceding parry. The fencer should attempt an opposed Fencing roll (or Strength check if better) against their opponent’s Fencing skill, giving himself a +2 for their ceding parry maneuver. If the roll succeeds, the fencer making a Ceding Parry may step back into an empty square and automatically disengage. Otherwise, the corps-a-corps stands, and proceeds as normal.
The corps-a-corps is a defending reaction to a beat, bind, or press, by drawing one's opponent into a close position, usually with both blades trapped against each other and both combatants fighting to gain an advantage. A fencer, faced by a beat, bind, or press, may desire to draw his opponent into a clinch. An opposed Fencing maneuver must be made, and if the fencer attempting to create a corps-a-corps situation wins, both fencers enter the same square, find their blades locked, and regular fencing becomes impossible. Both fencers may then resort to fighting with offhand weapons, attempt to over-power each other, or attempt to disengage. Attacking an opponent in a corps-a-corps with an offhand weapon invokes no penalty, as there is little room to maneuver, either to dodge or miss. If one or both fencers are using a dueling weapon in their off-hand, they will find this weapon ineffective, due to its length, however, parrying knives are perfect for this kind of in-close fighting. Attempting to overpower your opponent involves making a straight, opposed strength test. The winner may opt to disengage safely, or force their opponent into a disadvantageous position. This may either be forcing an opponent into a kneeling position, or, if they are already kneeling, forcing them into a fall. Forcing an opponent into a kneeling position makes it impossible for them to use their Dexterity bonus to their armor class. Forcing an opponent to fall automatically disengages and leaves the opponent prone. If one or both opponents in a corps-a-corps attempts to disengage while the other is still standing or kneeling, they must make an opposed fencing check, with the fencer attempting a disengage at a -3 if kneeling. If the disengage succeeds, the disengaging fencer steps back into an empty square at their flank. If it fails, the disengaging fencer steps back into an empty square at their flank, but draws an attack of opportunity. Both fencers may verbally agree to disengage, and, as long as both fencers do not try anything, they may both step back and out of a corps-a-corps.
A croisé is like a beat or bind, except it is executed as part of a parry. If an opponent misses an attack, the fencer may attempt a croisé. The fencer attempting a croisé must make a Fencing skill check vs. a DC equal to 10 plus opponents Strength bonus+ opponents rank in Fencing (or base attack bonus, whichever is greater). If that skill roll succeeds, the fencer sweeps his opponent's blade aside, creating the opening for an attack of opportunity. This is a free action that can be attempted once per round.
A dangerous maneuver, where the fencer attempts to mislead his opponent with a false attack or false opening. Feinting in combat is a miscellaneous standard action that does not instantly draw an attack of opportunity. Make an opposed Fencing roll vs. your opponent's Sense Motive or Fencing skill, whichever is higher. If the check is successful, your target may not use his Dexterity bonus to his armor class, since he is reacting to a false signal. If your feint fails by 5 or more points, you do draw an attack of opportunity, as your opponent takes advantage of a real opening while you feint.
A fleche is a charging thrust, where the momentum of the fencer adds to the damage of the attack. A fencer who elects to make a fleche must make a Fencing check at DC 15 while charging his foe. If successful he may attack normally (as per the Charge rules) and receives a +1 circumstance bonus to damage for every 10 feet he charged (to a maximum of +3). Should the fencer be attacked before delivering a fleche (such as by drawing an attack of opportunity during movement), the fleche damage bonus from movement is negated, regardless of the success of the attack, as it distracts the fencer. If the fleche attack after the movement misses, the damage bonus is still applied, should the attack strike a weapon, shield, or armor.
A lunge is a quick, forward strike, where the entire body extends to strike an opponent out of normal arm-reach. A fencer may attempt to strike an opponent at 10 feet by making a lunge attack as though he were using a reach weapon. The space directly between the fencer and his target must be empty, and the fencer must make a successful Fencing check (DC 15) to return to his original position. If successful, he does not provoke an attack of opportunity, otherwise the fencer winds up in that intervening space and does provoke an attack of opportunity. An opponent may attempt a riposte or croisé against a lunge, even if they do not have a reach weapon. Lunging is a full-round action. Note: Tiny creatures can only lunge 5 feet whereas Large creatures may lunge a distance of 10 feet.
A pattinando is an advance combined with a lunge. If a fencer has already moved and wishes to attack an opponent 15 feet away, he may attempt a pattinando, by taking an additional 5 foot step and a lunge. The lunge works exactly as the lunge maneuver described above, however the fencer incurs a -2 circumstance penalty to his AC for this over-extending attack. This is a standard action.
A press is much like a bind, however the fencer does not disengage blades to strike-he simply catches the opponent's blade and holds it with his own. In order to attempt a press, the fencer must make a standard strike a weapon attack (without provoking an attack of opportunity). If the attack is successful, resolve the weapon damage as normal, and then make an opposed Fencing skill check (using the opponent's Fencing skill or their base attack bonus, if they have no Fencing skill). A successful opposed Fencing skill check allows the fencer to hold the opponent's blade out of combat, so long as the fencer does not use the pressing weapon. Each turn another opposed Fencing check must be made to determine if the press holds. Off-hand weapons may still be used normally, thus this maneuver favors the combatant with a blade in his off-hand. In a pinch, unarmed attacks may be made with the off-hand, although normal unarmed attacks provoke an off-handed attack of opportunity from one's opponent. If the strike a weapon succeeds but the press attempt fails, the opponent may attempt a riposte, if they are able.
A remise is an attempt to correct a failed attack. If a fencer fails an attack and is not counter-attacked in any fashion, they may attempt a Remise. The fencer must make an opposed Fencing roll versus his opponent's Fencing skill (or base attack bonus). If the fencer succeeds, he may roll a new attack, with a -5 circumstance penalty to his attack roll. A Remise consumes one attack of opportunity so can be attempted only once per round unless the fencer has combat reflexes. This is a free action.
A reversal, or counter attack, the riposte takes advantage of openings left when an opponent attacks. If an opponent misses, the fencer may opt to make a Fencing skill roll vs. a DC of 10 + the opponents Fencing skill rank (or base attack bonus, whichever is higher). If that skill roll succeeds, the fencer may use the failed attack as an opening for an attack of opportunity. If the riposte fails, the opponent may make an attack of opportunity, if he is able. The coupé is a form of riposte.
A thrust is a quick, lunging strike, attempting to move past one's opponent's guard before they can react. If the thrust fails, it leaves the attacker very open to a counter attack. A fencer may elect to make a thrust as a full-round combat action. The thrust gains a bonus to strike of the fencer's Fencing rank, minus any Fencing ranks of the opponent (or base attack bonus if he does not have the Fencing skill). If the attack is successful, the fencer may return to their combat stance without incident. If the attack fails, or if it inflicts no damage (due to damage resistance or other circumstances), the fencer is open to an attack of opportunity, and is considered flat-footed for that attack of opportunity.