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Fighting Style: Iaido
(Defensive Striking; • to •••••)Prerequisites: Strength ••, Dexterity •••, Composure •••, Weaponry •••, Quick Draw

Your character has studied the art of iaido, focusing her awareness of her surroundings and her ability to respond to a threat to the razor’s edge. She has learned to draw a blade at a moment’s notice, and has internalized kata focused on swiping the blade across her opponent’s vitals. Practitioners of iaido often cultivate the Wits Attribute, as speed of thought and awareness of one’s surroundings are valued by adherents of the style. Dots purchased in this Merit provide access to special combat maneuvers. Each maneuver is a prerequisite for the next. Iaido maneuvers are based on the Weaponry Skill and are used with a curved sword, most commonly the katana.

Tsuki Kage (“Draw and Cut;” •): The character sharpens his already capable ability to quickly enter combat. If the character begins combat with his weapon sheathed, he adds his rating in the Weaponry Skill to his Initiative modifier. If the Storyteller utilizes the optional initiative rule from page 151 of the World of Darkness Rulebook, this bonus applies on any turn in which the character’s weapon begins the turn sheathed. Drawback: The character must commit to an attack against an opponent during the first turn of combat to gain the advantage of this maneuver.
Zanshin (“Awareness;” ••): While honing the speed of one’s reactions can save one’s life, better still to be constantly vigilant. The character strives to remain ever aware of his surroundings, that he may never be taken by surprise. The character gains a bonus of two dice to all rolls to avoid an impending ambush. This Merit duplicates the effect of the Danger Sense Merit, and a character with both Merits gains a total +4 on rolls to avoid being surprised. Such characters are paragons of self-awareness.
Tachi-Sabaki (“Movement of the Sword;” •••): The character has mastered defensive kata designed to intercept incoming attacks and deflect them with the blade of the weapon. The character relies as much on the quality of his sword as he does his own speed of thought and motion. The character adds his weapon bonus (the weapon’s damage rating) to his Dodge value when taking a fully defensive action. A character may benefit from this Merit while utilizing the Weaponry Dodge Merit (though not the Brawling Dodge Merit). Drawback: The character only benefits from this Merit when taking a full Dodge action.
Kan Ken No Metsuke (“Seeing with Eyes and Mind;” ••••): The character’s speed gives him a small but potentially important edge over other combatants. If the character’s initiative roll results in a tie with another character involved in combat, the character automatically acts before his opponents and allies. Initiative Modifiers are not compared and initiative is never determined by a roll-off (though if multiple characters aside from the iaido practitioner rolled the same initiative, their initiative ratings are resolved as normal). If two characters possess this maneuver, they act at the same time, each resolving their action as if the other had not yet acted. This can result in two characters killing each other in the same heated moment.
Uke Nagashi (“Catch and Slide Off;” •••••): The character’s ability to move defensively and counter an attack with one of his own has been perfected. If the character’s weapon is sheathed, he can declare a Dodge action at any point during a turn, assuming she has not yet acted. His Defense is doubled as usual, though he may not utilize Weaponry Dodge or Tachi-Sabaki against attacks. However, the character can choose any opponent who is making an attack against him to perform a counter attack against. In a single swift motion, the character draws his blade, parries his enemy’s blow, and attacks his opponent. The character’s Weaponry Dodge (if he possesses it) and Tachi-Sabaki maneuver apply against the opponent’s attack (and only against this opponent). The character makes an immediate reflexive attack against the opponent at a one die penalty. After making his counter-attack, the character’s Defense applies as normal to further attacks made against him during the turn (i.e., his Defense is not doubled). Defense penalties for being attacked multiple times during a single turn are not affected by this maneuver in any way. Drawback: The character spends one Willpower point per turn using this maneuver.