Bolognese School (Dall'Agocchie)
rating: 0+x

By Polydamas

Note: This is based on a translation of the original text by dall'Agocchie, which is available here.

Giovanni Dall'Agocchie was the last master to write in the Italian Bolognese tradition. He published a book on fencing, jousting, and deploying an army in Venice in 1572.

Dall'Agocchie's fencing requires a limber wrist and cautious tactics. Students wait for their opponent to attack or make a mistake, or open combat with a false attack, beat, or attack with opposition. Most defenses are two-time (parry then attack in two seperate motions), but many single-time (parry and attack in one motion) actions are described. Dall'Agocchie prefers thrusts to cuts, but uses both and expects students to be prepared for either. Feints and attacks after a successful parry are most likely to be cuts. Stylists prefer to keep the right side forward, and some guards deny the left side (GURPS Martial Arts: Gladiators p. 21). A set of named guards, steps, and blows are used to plan or describe actions. An important concept is time (tempo in Italian). Every action takes a different amount of time, and unsettles a fencer from his ready position. A skillful fencer can act in less time than his opponents, and use the time of his opponent's actions to strike him.

Rules from Martial Arts to know: Cross Parry, Deceptive Attack, Defensive Attack, Beat, Riposte, Sidestep

Most defenses are Parries (sometimes with a Sidestep and occasionally with a Retreat). A Dodge and Retreat is sometimes used against cuts. With a few exceptions, the cloak and dagger are only used to defend, and the off hand is not used to parry or grapple. With sword and dagger, the two weapons can be used to parry together (a Cross Parry). The cloak can be thrown in an opponent's face while making sure to hold on to one corner (treat as a Feint per the Cloak skill description). What to do against an armoured opponent is not described.

Fashionable swords in Dall'Agocchie's day are classed as Edged Rapiers, Short Edged Rapiers, or Thrusting Broadswords in GURPS. The blunt-edged Basic Set rapier was not popular in Italy.

As a 16th century fencing master, Dall'Agocchie was probably skilled with Spear, Polearm, Buckler, Shield, and Two-Handed Sword as well as unarmed combat. I don't know enough about 16th century Italian fencing to give detailed stats for this training.

Bolognese School (Dall'Agocchie) - 2 points

Skills: Rapier
Techniques: Counterattack (Rapier), Feint (Rapier), Targeted Attack (Rapier Cut/Skull, or Rapier Cut/Face, or Rapier Cut/Leg, or Rapier Cut/Arm, or or Rapier Thrust/Face, or Rapier Thrust/Vitals)
Perks: Weapon Adaption (Thrusting Broadsword with Rapier skill)

Optional Traits

Skills: Cloak, Main-Gauche, Riding, Lance Sport, Strategy, Expert Skill (Military Affairs)


Adventure Ideas

  • Dall'Agocchie wrote his book as a dialogue between a teacher and a student. He also describes what he would do if he had to train someone for a duel on short notice. If a un-martial PC ends up facing a duel, or the GM wants to set some scenes in a fencing school, Dall'Agocchie would be a good source of inspiration.