The New World
The Iron Ladle Cooking School
According to what Pierre Le Schtroumpf was able to divine from his somewhat stilted conversation with Master Ping, the Iron Ladle is one of the most prestigious culinary academies in all of Cathay. Moreover, its lessons go well beyond the usual cooking curriculum, to whit:
THE IRON LADLE COOKING SCHOOL
Cooking, Knife, Short Sword, Connoisseur: Food, One Handed Axe/Mace, Karate, Judo.
Armed Grapple (any above weapon skill);Targeted Attack: Knife/Swing/Neck; Targeted Attack: Short Sword/Swing/Neck; Disarming (any); Feint (any); Arm Lock; Evade; Judo Throw; Sacrifice Throw; Retain Weapon.
Dual Weapon Attack; Fight While Seated; Whirlwind Attack; Binding
Improvised Weapons; Grip Mastery; Off Hand Weapon Training; Quick Sheathe; Quick Swap
Blunt Claws, Weapon Master (Cookery Weapons – 30 points).
Poisons, Herbalism, Animal Husbandry, Merchant, Savoire Faire – High Society, Fast draw, Acrobatics, Juggling
It’s a fairly expensive Martial Arts School at least initially, but that owes to the versatility of the form. The Iron Ladle is an improvisational fighting style based around using the contents of a kitchen as weapons. Even so, practitioners tend to specialise to some degree – a chef who favours the cleaver would have techniques based off of Short Sword, while one who favours the frying pan or tenderising mallet would use One Handed Axe/Mace.
Blunt Claws is used to model the hardening of striking surfaces on the hands, which are a result of handling hot oils and foods, or striking pots of dried rice. The Weapon Master advantage is quite versatile if left open to abuse; it should be noted that it applies only to cooking utensils. Thus, while it might cover a variety of knives, cleavers, pots, and mallets, it would not confer advantages when wielding an actual fighting dagger or short sword.
Having a graduate of the school on staff is quite the status symbol, and its disciples can be found in all the best homes and institutions across the Empire. In the stratified culture of Cathay, no one ever looks twice as a servant, and so the chefs of the Iron Ladle are in a perfect position to deal with threats against the stability of the realm before others even notice their presence. Their covert operations have brought them into conflict with foreign interlopers, such as the Pertuesa; criminal organisations like that of The Lord of A Thousand Tortures; and even traitorous conspiracies within the Nine Ministries itself.