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The Fighting Orders of Nentsun - A. Divine School of the Bearby Giulio N Caroletti
The Divine School of the Bear is the School which is represented by the Northern Sky, and the Chaotic alignment. It is protected by Immortals of Energy and Thought.
The Bear represents energy and creativity, and has the duty of controlling four of the Devices. It is common belief that the Bear controls artifacts who favour the unnaturally warm climate of the Inner Circle, and thus they are the protectors of fertility and growth in the land.
Four of the Masters come from the Bear. The School has about hundred permanent minor members, who should act as guards for the Masters, but more often, in accord with the chaotic nature of the School, wander through Nentsun and either offer their services for payment (neutral ones) or for free (good ones). Evil ones use their powers for themselves.
To become a fighter of the Bear, a boy must be blessed when he is six by the Immortals of Energy. The life of a member of the Bear is hard: when he is 6, the boy is taken to the Monastery of the Bear, where he learns, in the ten following years, to fight. If he survives the harsh training, and isn't cast out of the school due to incapacity, at 16 he will either become a full 1st level Fighter of the Order, or chosen as Heir by one of the Masters. The latter case will be treated separately. Let's look at the characteristics of a common Bear Fighter:
Requisites: STR 8, INT 8, DX 12, COS 12 Alignment: No lawful
Weapon proficiencies: the Bear's Fighters can become proficient only in these weapons at the start of their career (1st level): short sword, wakizashi, sai, staff, nunchaku. Then, he can choose whatever weapon he wants.
Special Benefits: the Bear's Fighters learn how to press the tsubos, vital points of the human body, when fighting bare-handed. Touching the tsubos allow them to alter nerves and muscles in precise areas of the body, causing them negative or positive effects, and thus they are very dangerous opponents. They automatically receive at no cost the Martial Arts and Boxing proficiencies, and they can learn to control the tsubos.
The School of the Bear is a chaotic one. After learning theoretically where the tsubos are set in the body, it's up to the individual fighter to learn to treat them and obtain the desired effect. When he become 16, a Bear Fighter has learned 4 tsubo effects. At this point, they are considered 1st level fighters. Each three additional levels, a Bear Fighter can choose to renounce to a weapon slot to learn another tsubo effect. Every level above the 12th (included) he also gets another tsubo effect in addition to those he would gain normally. This results in the Bear Fighters being each very different from the others. No Bear Fighter can learn a number of tsubo effects higher than that of his Constitution score.
Special Hindrances: due to the speed needed to attack bare-handed and hit the tsubos, this form of attack may be used only while wearing leather armours or no armour at all. This in addition to the loss of weapon proficiencies needed to learn tsubos use. Last but not least, a Bear Fighter that is not a Master or a Heir cannot proceed further than 16th level (AD&D). A Bear Fighter that leaves the Lands of Nentsun will lose 1/2 of his experience points. If he returns back he doesn't gain the XPs back. This fact is known to the Fighters, who are told so by their teachers during the apprentice years.
See "Tsubos for the School of the Bear" to have more details on the secret attacks of this school.