View Full Version : [Variant] Dueling - (PEACH)

2007-03-29, 08:02 PM
Dueling System

Currently, when two fighters wish to duel in a d20 game, they basically walk up to each other and swing their weapons at each other until one dies. This is a variant system to allow flavorful dueling. This system is meant to allow honorable dueling that typically does not result in death.

Starting a duel: Typically two duelists will agree to the rules of a duel beforehand; however duels might start anywhere people have weapons. Anytime one character would be able to make a melee attack, they may instead elect to begin a duel instead. Calculate the footing, momentum and guard for both duelists. The character that started the duel gets to act first and they alternate turns after that. For the purposes of having a duel happen at the same time as combat, each dueling action is a full round action that the duelists take during their time in the initiative count.

Leaving a duel: If a duelist faces more foes in combat than the other duelist, they may elect to leave the duel as a free action. Otherwise, leaving the duel is a standard action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunities.

The three scores: Footing, Momentum and Guard. All scores typically start at 0 and tend to stay between -10 and +10. Generally, Momentum emulates Attack Bonus, Guard emulates Armor Class and Footing emulates Grappling checks and checks made for Bull rushes, Overrun and Trip.

When the duel starts, figure up the Footing, Momentum and Guard scores as thus.

Footing starts at zero. Add 4 to Footing for every size larger than medium you are and minus 4 for every size smaller than medium you are. Add 4 if you are especially stable due to having three or more legs or being a dwarf.

Momentum starts at whatever your attack bonus to hit with your primary melee weapon. Enchantment bonuses greater than +1 on weapons does not apply to momentum.

Guard starts at zero. Minus 2 to guard if you begin the duel with a charge. Add modifiers to AC due to dexterity, size, deflection and shields, but not armor or natural armor.

Dueling Actions: The following are special moves that can be used during a duel. These are all full round actions. While in a duel, you can only take these actions and take 5 foot steps.

Thrust: You use your momentum to dart the weapon at your opponent to try to strike them. Roll d20 + momentum against your opponent’s roll of d20 + 10 + guard. If your roll meets or exceeds theirs, you strike and draw blood, dealing 1 point of non-lethal damage. In most duels, drawing blood ends the duel and makes you the winner. Poisoned weapons deal enough damage to poison the other duelist.

Disarm: You use your momentum to remove your opponent’s weapon. Roll d20 + momentum against your opponent’s roll of d20 + 10 + momentum. If your roll meets or exceeds theirs, you disarm them, causing them to drop their weapon at their feet. In most duels, disarming them of all weapons ends the duel and makes you the winner.

Shove: You try to knock your opponent off balance. Roll d20 + momentum against your opponent’s roll of d20 + 10 + footing. If your roll meets or exceeds theirs, you succeed and they lose their balance for a moment. Their guard drops by 5.

Weapon lock: You attempt to use your weapon to prevent them from using theirs. Roll d20 + momentum against your opponent’s roll of d20 + momentum. If you meet or exceed their roll, you succeed and they lose 5 momentum. You lose 2 momentum whether or not you succeed.

Parry: You attempt to deflect the next attack away from you. Your momentum drops by 2 and your guard rises by 5. At the start of your next round, your guard drops by 4.

On guard: You study your opponent to better avoid their strikes. If your guard is less than -5, it becomes -4. If it is -5 or higher, it increases by 2.

On the offensive: You study your opponent to better strike them. If your momentum is less than -5, it becomes -4. If it is -5 or higher, it increases by 2.

Set feet: You set your feet in the ground to become more stable. If your footing is less than -5, it becomes -4. If it is -5 or higher, it increases by 2.

All out offensive: You risk all to strike. Your guard drops by 2. Your footing drops by 2. Your momentum rises by 6.

2007-03-30, 11:03 AM
It seems odd that you could do these things (many of which duplicate feats) in a duel and then lose the ability as soon as real combat starts.

Zeta Kai
2007-03-30, 05:59 PM
You can do these in a "real" D&D fight, but mechanically, they don't contribute to combat statistics, & most DM's don't descibe a battle's actions beyond "Okay, so you hit the kobold with your greataxe for 14 damage. It is dead. Do you use your cleave?"

I like your system, Kyace. Not too complex, but with a good variety of actions.

2007-03-30, 09:55 PM
This is a cool variant. To me it evokes the whole "throw glove in someone's face" feel you get from swordsman movies. I'm not sure that drawing blood is nonlethal damage though. 1 point of lethal damage should be safe enough. A night's rest will clear it up like nothing.

2007-03-30, 10:49 PM
I like it.:smallbiggrin: I've aways wanted dueling in D&D but could never figure it out. I gotta try this.

Shadow of the Sun
2007-03-30, 11:01 PM
This could be a good focus of an adventure- one of the PC's is a master duelist, for example. Hell, depending on the way it is set up, this could be one of the main methods of combat!

2007-03-31, 02:41 AM
I like it. Very very cool. The idea of making three new stats is quite cool. Probably one of the best things here is it leaves room for expansion on new attacks, if anyone comes up with one. excellent.

2007-03-31, 09:33 AM
Disengage: Your blade dips quickly and unexpectedly under your opponent's, threatening them on an unguarded line. Take a -2 penalty to Guard for this turn. On your next turn, your momentum increases by 2. Your opponent loses any increases to Guard they gained on the turn you Disengaged.

Lowline Attack: Your opponent's legs are decidedly unsafe from your blade. Roll D20 + Momentum against your opponent's D20 + 10 + Footing. If you win by 6 or more, you have successfully drawn blood from the lower half of your opponent's body. If this is not one of the means by which the duel is ended, then they take 1 point lethal damage and take a -2 penalty to momentum and a -4 penalty to footing. If you win by 5 or less, they take a -4 penalty to footing.

Studying the Terrain:You keep in mind how where you are fighting matters almost as much as who. If the duel is taking place in a location that provides a penalty to Footing, such as on a frozen pond, or a location that provides a penalty to Momentum, such as fighting uphill or in a stairwell, you take only half of that penalty for the next 5 rounds.

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2007-03-31, 10:00 AM
Hm...I like it.

My only critiques (and they are somewhat minor) regard the insertion of new book-keeping into the game; if you're planning to include this variant it's probably best to have the stats pre-figured for the bout in question where possible.

I like the idea of being able to use certain moves (but not your usual actions or feats etc.) during a duel; it's a good representation of 'honorable tactics'.
Formal dueling is just that- formalized, and it's likely meant to include a somewhat limited selection of moves.

If it's your intent- and I feel perhaps it should be- you should clarify that line about "While in a duel, you can only take these actions and take 5 foot steps."- I read it to mean you can't perform feat or weapon-based actions you normally could, such as whirlwind attacks or trip attempts.

While it's probably inappropriate for usage in the midst of a more traditional combat, as a special-use ruleset for duels between noblepersons or the means to resolve a challenge of honor for a Paladin etc., it's good stuff.

Also; shouldn't both participants have to agree it's a duel, and have similar weapons? That seems to fit your flavor best.

I mean, as is, the challenging party can forgo his attack to start a duel, and pull out his longsword, but the challenged party can decide to run for the hills and start pelting him with arrows.

2007-03-31, 12:23 PM
Oh, yeah--there should probably be some rules involving fights between characters of different sizes--like a human-halfling duel, for example--and something in there about the exploitation of reach for larger creatures. The way I fence (as a tall hefty lefty, saber and epee lessons), put into game terms, it would probably figure into a bonus to AC, since I have a few extra milliseconds to react to my opponent's motions than they do mine. Maybe give people a +1 bonus to Guard per 5-ft increment of reach advantage they have, or a +1 momentum.

2007-03-31, 03:47 PM
I meant for the opposed roll actions to only able to be preformed while you threaten the other duelist. Thus, someone with 10 foot reach could try to keep out of the other duelist's reach during the duel. Also, it already has the size bonuses for AC, Attack Bonus and Grappling checks in momentum, guard and footing, so a taller/larger duelist could shove the other guy a few times to try to lower his guard.

About the "run for the hills and fire arrows" idea, to leave a fair duel takes your standard action for that turn. I might make leaving a second duel between the same two duelists in a day only take a move action then to leave the same pairing a third time a free action to prevent Old Ben the fighter keeping the BBEG wizard from casting spells by charging and dueling while his friends run away. He could do it for about two rounds, but not all day.

I think I'll reword the "only dueling actions and five foot steps" so that any action that doesn't provoke AoO can be preformed in a duel. Thus, drawing a second weapon or casting a quickened spell, but not getting a weapon out of your duffle bag or casting a normal spell. Maybe provoking an AoO in a duel lets the other duelist get a free thrust with a +5 bonus.

About the starting numbers, really they are the attack bonus refigured to remove enchantment bonuses greater than +1, the AC bonus without armor or natural armor and the grapple check modifiers. I figure a +5 sword is just more likely to strike through armor than a +1 sword, rather than make you miss 20% less. Dueling is usually based on skill rather than on who has the better sword.

I would rather not limit the duels to only having the same weapon because I expect planned duels to already agree to this and unplanned duels tend to use whatever is literally at hand. Of course, you still take the -4 penalty when you duel with rubber chickens.

2007-03-31, 04:40 PM
So...there's no way that the wizard BBEG above could simply, well do the following:

Old Ben: "I, Old Ben, challenge you to honorable solo combat for the freedom of my comrades!"

BBEG: "You, sir, have gravely miscalculated the extent to which you are doomed. I'm Chaotic."

This scenario ends with a Stilled, Silenced Disintegrate in that same turn. Then a few fireballs as the rest of the party tries to leave. What I'm trying to say is that a character should be able to decline or completely ignore a challenge to a duel and simply suffer the social consequences of his actions. Now all we need is the rules for a duel to the death.

2007-03-31, 05:14 PM
What I'm trying to say is that a character should be able to decline or completely ignore a challenge to a duel and simply suffer the social consequences of his actions. Now all we need is the rules for a duel to the death.
I compared the power of a duel to a grapple. To start the grapple instead of a melee strike, you provoke an AoO and must make a melee touch roll and a grapple roll. To start duel instead of a melee strike, you get it automatically.

However, to leave a grapple, you must make make a successful grapple roll instead of an attack. You can willingly leave a duel as a standard action (or a free action if you are in combat against more people). And I'm strongly thinking of making it so that to leave a second or third duel only requires a move and a free action (respectively).

So, as a pure delaying tactic, grappling would be better than dueling, however dueling would be more in char for most heros.

Basically, using the new version of standard-move-free progression, Old Ben would delay the BBEG from casting a spell one round. Instead of grappling or attacking. I'm mostly considering this from the honorable agreed form, but seeing if its broken from other points of view. Would you prefer if leaving a duel was always a free action (or maybe a move action)?