Furusiyya was the combat horsemanship style of the Mamluks, slave soldiers trained from childhood. It evolved out of earlier tactics used widely by Muslim armies. Manuals surviving from the 13 th century detail the Mamluk version, but researchers believe that Furusiyya was essentially identical across the Islamic world. The practitioners of Furusiyya - like their contemporaries, the elite knights of Europe - regarded their combat skills as a fine art. Not all Muslim warriors received such extensive training, but their basic skills were similar.

Contrary to longstanding myth, Islamic horsemen wore armor - sometimes more than their Christian opponents. However, the training and tactics of Furusiyya prepared them better for the role of light cavalry. The style depended heavily on the bow and spear held two-handed, although fighters did use the small shield in close quarters. Furusiyya's weapons also included such exotica as fire siphons, naphtha grenades, and crossbows that launched primitive Molotov cocktails. Like many exotic weapons, such things were probably less effective than bows and spears (or else everyone would have used them!). In a cinematic campaign, though, the GM should let stylists use these devices to good effect.

Those trained in Furusiyya learn a fast-paced, fluid style of combat. They keep their distance from the enemy and engage the foe only on ground of their choosing. Mounted, they alternate between raining down arrows and swooping in using the spear. The bow always precedes the spear against uninjured, prepared opponents. When closing with the spear, stylists use Evaluate to look for an opening. The attack itself is two-handed and overhand - often a Committed Attack (Strong) or an All-Out Attack (Strong).

Furusiyya fighters also use the broadsword, emphasizing the cutting stroke. Some use two swords in a double-blade style. This is only somewhat cinematic. Even in a realistic game, it's possible to use one blade to Beat (pp. 100-101) and the other to strike a blow as part of a Dual-Weapon Attack.



Sport fencing largely eliminates moves that are dangerous to one's opponent. The point is to test skill - not to kill one's adversary - so sport styles favor safety and structure over the rough-and-tumble of combat fencing. For instance, sport fencers rarely swing their weapons; even saber cuts are powered by wrist and fingers, not hip and shoulder, making them faster but reducing the odds of

own. The only valid target in Foil is the torso. Thrusts only count if you have "right of way," which lasts from the start of your attack until your opponent successfully parries and ripostes, giving him the right of way.

Skills: Games (Foil Fencing); Smallsword Sport.

Techniques: Counterattack (Smallsword Sport); Feint

injury. Matches take place on a strip and emphasize lin-

(Smallsword Sport).

ear movement . . . unlike duels of the past, which took

Optional Traits

place wherever honor demanded. Further distinguishing

Advantages: Enhanced Parry (Smallsword).

sport fencing from combat are such rules as "right of

way" and "priority," which determine which hits count


and which fencer can attack, and in what manner.

In game terms, sport fencers don't use the Strong option for All-Out or Committed Attack. The Determined, Feint, and Long versions are quite common, however. The Deceptive Attack and Riposte combat options see extensive use, too.

Cinematic sport fencers aren't bound by these restric-

3 points

Saber fencing developed from cavalry sword practice. Since cutting attacks are very effective from horseback, Saber includes both cuts and thrusts. Valid targets are the body above the hip line. "Right of way" applies in Saber just as in Foil.

tions. The GM ought to let such PCs learn combat and

Combat Sport skills, and give them access to the full range of maneuvers and combat options. Their tech-

Skills: Games (Saber Fencing); Saber Sport. Techniques: Counterattack (Saber Sport); Feint (Saber

niques should work as well in battle as on the strip.


Below are several sport-fencing styles. Schläger is less

Optional Traits

Advantages: Enhanced Parry (Saber).

common than the others and uses a bare blade; injury

determines the victor.




3 points

Epee uses a sporting version of the rapier. Only thrusting attacks can score but the entire body is a valid target. No "right of way" rules apply.

3 points

Schläger (or Mensur) is the form of "academic" sword-play used as a test of personal quality by German fraternities since the late 18th century. It still has its adherents. It uses the sharp-edged mensurschläger (p. 220). Participants don goggles and wrap the head and neck to prevent serious injury. They then trade Defensive Attacks, slashing at the face - the only valid target - until someone is cut deeply enough to bleed. This frequently scars, and some fighters participate expressly to gain a dueling scar

Skills: Games (Epee Fencing); Rapier Sport. Techniques: Counterattack (Rapier Sport); Feint (Rapier Sport).

Optional Traits

Advantages: Enhanced Parry (Rapier).

as a badee of honor!


skills: Broadsword sport; Games (Schlager rencmg). Techniques: Feint (Broadsword Sport); Targeted Attack (Broadsword Cut/Face).

The foil (p. 215) was developed in the late 19th century as a practice blade. Epee fencers often learn Foil as an introduction to fencing, but it is a full-fledged sport of its

Optional Traits

Advantages: Enhanced Parry (Broadsword).

Disadvantages: Distinctive Features (Dueling scars).

Cinematic stylists routinely brandish two swords, launch devastating spear thrusts, and make incredible longdistance bow shots from horseback. Legends of Furusiyya-trained warriors emphasize their speed and accuracy, not mythical abilities. Heroic Archer is very appropriate.

The Mamluks of Egypt practiced Furusiyya until the early 19th century; Mamluk cavalry fought Napoleon at the Battle of the Pyramids. Its heyday was during the 13th-century Crusades. Finding a Furusiyya teacher shouldn't be difficult for Muslim PCs. Non-Islamic warriors are probably out of luck ... although some auxiliaries in Crusader armies - the mostly Christian, mostly locally born turcopoles -trained to fight in the same manner.

Skills: Bow; Broadsword; Riding (Horse); Spear. Techniques: Cavalry Training (Broadsword or Spear); Combat Riding; Hands-Free Riding; Horse Archery; Quick Mount; Targeted Attack (Broadsword Swing/Neck); Targeted Attack (Spear Thrust/Vitals). Cinematic Skills: Zen Archery.

Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Attack (Broadsword).

Perks: Off-Hand Weapon Training (Broadsword); Strongbow; Unusual Training (Dual-Weapon Attack, Both attacks must target the same foe).

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