Dueling

When a Thyatian is offended by another, he typically challenges the other to a duel. The challenged party may dictate the terms of the duel – which weapons, where and when, and whether it’s to first blood or the death.

Naturally, duels between popular or well-known people attract crowds, unless they are fought in absolute secrecy. Duels are fought between hated rivals, people who just want to find out who is the better fighter, military officers who disagree on some matter, people who bump into one another on the street and choose not to apologize, people with long-standing grudges, etc. Most are to first blood; quite a few are to the death, or result in death even if they are not supposed to.

Terminology

Several terms are used in the rules, precise understanding of which is necessary for comprehension of the dueling procedure. These are:

Turn. A duel is composed of an indefinite number of turns. In each turn, both antagonists will simultaneously perform a single action.

Action. Each action represents a single discrete movement by a dueler. Each action takes exactly one turn. All possible actions are listed on Dueling Table A.

Routine. A routine is a grouping of individual actions into a coherent pattern. All possible routines are listed on Dueling Table A. For instance, a Lunge routine consists of these actions: a rest, a lunge, and another rest. Thus a Lunge routine would take three turns to perform. Players must perform routines in the exact sequence shown. At the conclusion of any routine, a player is in a position to begin any other routine.

Sequence. A sequence is a convenient, arbitrary division of time into manageable blocks. A sequence is twelve turns long.

Dueling Table A

Actions

Routines

Rest

X

Rest

X

Lunge

L

Lunge

X-L-X

Strike

S

Strike

(X)-X-S

Cut

C

Furious Lunge

L-X-X-C-X-X-X

Kick

K

Furious Strike

X-S-X-C-X-X-X

Advance

A

Kick

A-K-X-X-X

Jump Back

JB

Jump Back

JB-X

Throw

T

Throw

JB-X-T

Parry

P

Parry

P-(R)

Block

B

Block

B

Riposte

R

Advance

A

Surrender

Sur

Surrender

Sur

The first (X) of a Strike routine may be omitted if the previous routine ended with an X (except when using a Mace). The Strike routine for a mace is X-S-X-X-X. A Riposte may follow a successful parry but only if P-(R) is ordered, rather than just P. If using a 2-Handed Sword, a Rest is added at the start of each routine (except for a Rest), and an Advance to each of the opponent’s routines (except Rest, Jump Back, and Throw). If both duelists are using a 2-Handed Sword, both must add the Rests, but not the Advances. If using a Dagger or Cestus, an Advance is added to the start of each routine (except for Rest, Kick, Jump Back, and Throw) or 2 Advances if facing a 2-Handed Sword.

When a weapon is thrown, a die is rolled. On a 1 or 2, the throw is successful and the oppenent takes damage. Any other result and the thrower has missed while the opponent is unharmed. In either case the thrower is now unarmed. When daggers are thrown, they hit on a roll of 1, 2, or 3. Two-handed swords may be thrown, but are somewhat different. Two dice are rolled: on a roll of 2 the opponent has been hit and is immediately killed. Any other result and the thrower is unarmed with no effect on his opponent. A cestus cannot be thrown.

All actions in a routine must be performed in the exact order given on the table, and no routine may be begun before the previous routine is completed. However, the strike routine may take either of two forms. The first, shown on Dueling Table A, is X-X-S. If the previous routine ended in a rest (X), the strike routine may be abbreviated to X-S. Thus a lunge followed by a strike would be written X-L-X-X-S. This does not apply if the previous routine was a mandatory rest (see Weapon Mastery below).

Each Turn in the sample sequence (below) has one and only one action recorded for it. Turns 1-3 comprise a lunge routine, turns 4-8 comprise a kick routine, turns 9-10 comprise a strike routine, turn 11 is a parry routine, and turn 12 is the first action of a jump back routine. It is not necessary that a routine be completed within the limits of a twelve-turn sequence. Thus, only the first action of the jump back routine is recorded in this sequence. Once the routine has been started, however, it must be completed (exception: See Optional Routines). Therefore, in the example, a parenthetical reminder is also shown that the first action of the next sequence must be a rest, the completion of the jump back routine. Sample sequence:

1. X
2. X
3. X
4. A
5. K
6. X
7. X
8. X
9. X
10. S
11. P
12. JB
(1. X)

Optional Routines

Under some conditions a player may substitute an optional routine for the one recorded. The riposte may only be used if the riposting player parried his opponent’s lunge in the previous turn. The surrender routine may be performed at any time. After the current turn, the duel is over; naturally, the surrendering player has lost.

Inflicting Damage

If, in a turn, either character makes an attack (a lunge, strike, cut, kick, throw, or riposte) his opponent may sustain damage. To determine damage, cross-index the attacker’s action with the defender’s on Dueling Table B. Multiply the result by the attacker’s strength and subtract it from the defender’s endurance. Note that both characters may be attacker and defender in the same turn; i.e., if both make an attack. Both characters sustain damage simultaneously. If a character’s endurance goes below half its original level, he must add one mandatory rest routine into every sequence. If a character’s endurance reaches zero or below, he is dead.

Dueling Table B

Rest (X)

Lunge (L)

Strike (S)

Cut©

Kick (K)

Jump Back (JB)

Advance (A)

Throw (T)

Parry (P)

Block (B)

Surrender (Sur)

L

2

2

1

1

2

0

3

2

0

2

2

S

1

1

1

1

1

0

2

1

1

0

1

C

2

2

2

2

2

0

3

2

2

2

2

K

3

2

2

2

1

0

3

3

3

3

3

T

4

4

4

4

4

3

4

3

4

4

4

R

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Optional Weapons

Although the rapier is the common weapon used for dueling, characters may choose to arm themselves otherwise. Dueling Table C lists the optional weapons and their different characteristics in attack. Opponents in a duel do not have to use the same type weapon. When determining damage from an attack using an optional weapon, follow the usual procedure, but multiply the result by the number on Dueling Table C which corresponds to the weapon and type of attack used.

Dueling Table C

Short Sword [1]

Dagger [1]

Cestus [n/a]

Sword [2]

Mace [3]

2-Handed [4]

L

1

1

1

0.5

0

0

S

1

0.5

0

2

4

3

C

1

0.5

0

2

0

2

K

1

1

1.5

1

0.5

0.5

T – to hit

1/3

1/2

n/a

1/3

1/36

1/36

T – damage

1

1

n/a

0.5

0.5

death

R

1

1

1

0.5

0

0

For example, Anaxibius lunges with a sword while Marcus rests. Anaxibius’ strength is 10; Dueling Table B gives a multiplier of two and Table C gives a multiplier of 0.5; therefore, Marcus must subtract 10 from his endurance (10×2 x 0.5 = 10).

Weapon Breakage

Each time a character completely stops the attack of another character (a result of 0 hits on Dueling Table B after an attack action), there is a chance of the defender’s blade breaking. Refer to Dueling Table C and find the number in brackets beside the name of the weapon used. Subtract the defender’s weapon number from the attacker’s. If the defender parried, subtract one more. If the defender rolls this number or lower on one die, the weapon is broken. This rule does not apply if the defender has just executed a jump back action. A broken weapon is treated as a dagger in all respects except for throwing. If thrown, it is treated as a sabre. A character with a broken dagger is disarmed. Cesti can neither break another weapon nor can they be broken.

Weapon Mastery

If the difference in expertise is 3 or 4, the character with lower expertise must add one mandatory rest routine into every sequence; if the difference is 5 or 6, he must add two rests, and if the difference is 7 or more, he must add 3 rests.

Practice

Characters may practice to improve their combat ability. For every four weeks of practice (not necessarily consecutive) a character raises his expertise characteristic by one. At any time, a character may subtract five from his expertise to add one to his strength characteristic. No other trades may be made, and all the above are irreversible. Characters may practice with any weapon, but must note on their calendars which weapon is used for each practice session. If a character becomes proficient with one weapon then switches to another, he returns to his original expertise for that weapon. He retains, however, whatever expertise he may have gained with his former weapons. Characters who do not belong to an order must pay lucins equal to their expertise for each week of practice. Characters in an order may practice free with that order’s weapon, but must pay for practice with any other weapon, as outlined above. Order Table C lists the weapons of each order.

Recovery

In the event of a non-mutually fatal duel, one or both players may be wounded. Characters recover from wounds at the following rate: One half of the endurance points lost in a duel may be recovered the first week after the duel. Each week thereafter, endurance points equal to the character’s constitution may be recovered. If the player orders bed rest for the week, then the character heals an additional 10% of the normal healing rate (rounded up).

A character with less than 50% of his endurance may decline a duel, regardless of cause, without loss of status. If, however, a character in such a condition accepts a duel, he will gain 3 status points immediately, regardless of the outcome of the duel.

If a character’s endurance is 0 or less, or if a “death” results from a thrown weapon, roll one die and consult the following table for actual results.

Die Roll Outcome
1-3 Instant Death
4-5 Permanent Injury (-3 Str, -2 Exp, -1 Con)
6 Serious Injury (-2 Str, -1 Exp)

Status

Characters may gain or lose Status Points as the result of a duel.

If a character:

  • Fights a member of a friendly order and wins, he loses 1 SP
  • Fights a member of a neutral order and wins, he gains 2 SP
  • Fights a member of an enemy order and wins, he gains 5 SP
  • Fights a member of an enemy order and loses, he loses 2 SP
  • Refuses a challenge that has cause, he loses SP equal to half his SL
  • Challenges with insufficient cause, he loses 2 SP
  • Meets an opponent who refuses a challenge (with cause), he gains 2 SP
  • Kills his opponent, he gains 2 SP

The winner of a duel increases his Expertise by one.

Dueling

Thyatis Engarde! sbwilson