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Re: [FateRPG] Dueling with Swords

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  • chris@zerneeak.com
    I have always been disappointed with rpg systems that try and simulate duels. They always seem to either: A: Drag on too long with each roll representing an
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 5, 2009
      I have always been disappointed with rpg systems that try and simulate duels. They always seem to either:

      A: Drag on too long with each roll representing an attack/defense.

      B: Too short with one or two rolls and you have to imagine the actual duel.

      Fate is the only system where I felt like I was in a duel. It was in a Star Wars game and I ended up in a lightsaber duel with another player. He had gone bad and was out for blood. We both made our initial rolls and then started spending fate points. He would spend one, then I would spend one, then he would spend one, then I would spend one. It went back and fourth like that, kind of like a duel of aspects, except our characters were using lightsabers so I guess it was a duel of lightsabers.

      Anyway, I think a system that allows each player to make one or two rolls on the beginning and then relies on fate points (or temporary fate points) would be really cool.

      ------------------------------------
      Shade and Sweet Water
      Chris Czerniak

      On Sat Jan 3 6:37 , Brennan Taylor sent:

      I'm running a Spirit of the Musketeers game for Dreamation and I've come up with some rules to make a bit more of a game out of sword duels. These rules would cover when two swordsmen are ready to have a formal, one-on-one duel, and they aim to capture some of the swashbuckling back-and-forth of a cinematic duel. I'm curious to see what folks on the list think of it. Note: I've created a new skill for the Musketeers setting called Swordplay. All other weapons, including the guns of this era, fall under Weapons, but fighting with swords uses Swordplay.

      Sword Duels
      Duels with swords should be dramatic and create a dynamic back-and-forth between the two combatants. Use the special dueling rules when two swordsman face one another one-on-one and the conflict is a major focus of the session’s action.

      Initiative
      To start, both swordsmen make a Swordplay roll to determine who gains the initiative in the combat. Whoever wins this roll starts with the advantage.

      If your Swordplay is lower than your opponent, you may wish to try to give yourself an advantage by making some other skill roll before the duel begins to attempt to place a maneuver on your opponent. Intimidation is an excellent choice, but one could use Poetry to taunt him, Investigation to spot some weakness in his technique, or Deceit to feign injury or lack of skill.

      Advantage
      The defender, the character who lost initiative, sets the target for all further rolls in the round. The aggressor, the character with advantage, rolls his Swordplay first, attempting to match the target his opponent set. Instead of Swordplay, the aggressor may opt to roll another skill such as Deceit to perform a feint, Intimidation to demoralize his opponent, or Might to lock blades and force his opponent to his knees.

      If the aggressor succeeds in his roll, he may do one of two things. He may press his advantage, and place a maneuver on the defender. The aggressor retains advantage if he does this.

      The second option is a touch, where the aggressor deals damage to his opponent. If the aggressor used some skill other than Swordplay, he may not touch his opponent. The aggressor loses advantage if he chooses to touch his opponent.

      If the aggressor fails his roll, he loses advantage, and additionally loses all the maneuvers he placed on his opponent during the time he held advantage.

      Defense
      The defender then makes his roll. Defenders typically roll Swordplay as well, but can substitute other skills if he uses a different technique: Deceit for feints, Intimidation for rushing, or Athletics for using terrain to his advantage, for example. If he fails, his opponent gains spin. If he succeeds, he gains spin to use on the next roll.

      Losing Advantage
      Whenever the aggressor loses advantage, another roll is made to determine who gains the initiative.

      ------------ ----
      Brennan Taylor
      Indie Press Revolution
      Galileo Games


    • Brad Murray
      ... Another possibility would be to abstract the zone map space. Draw a map with some interesting shapes and give them a conceptual value through an Aspect.
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 5, 2009
        On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 10:53 AM, <chris@...> wrote:
        > I have always been disappointed with rpg systems that try and simulate
        > duels. They always seem to either:
        >
        > A: Drag on too long with each roll representing an attack/defense.
        >
        > B: Too short with one or two rolls and you have to imagine the actual duel.

        Another possibility would be to abstract the zone map space. Draw a
        map with some interesting shapes and give them a conceptual value
        through an Aspect. "Jockeying for position", "Pressing the attack",
        "Bantering", "Toying with your opponent", "Desperation", and so on.
        Make the transition between zones relevant but don't over-analyze.

        Now, only allow track-damage attacks when characters are in the same
        (or adjacent or something -- make range interesting) zones. Even
        better, only allow an offensive damage causing move to a character in
        his "prime attack space" zone -- "Willard has the upper hand!" so you
        don't wind up with a slugfest in a singles space -- the other guy can
        only defend here. Allow any skill to be used with appropriate
        narration to move yourself or the other guy one or more zones (now
        Witty Guy manipulates by wits and Agile Guy manipulates by
        acrobatics).

        Now your duel isn't about geography or even stabbing -- it's about
        manipulation, maneuver, intimidation, witty banter, and other duely
        stuff. I'd make the actual stabbing a single roll and score shifts as
        consequences or something to make the final stabbity bit fast and
        final (though not necessarily lethal).

        That'd be duely.

        --
        Brad Murray (halfjack)

        Moderation is a memory
      • stabbysideways
        This, and the similar idea of using zones in social combat, *sounds* very cool to me, but to be honest I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. It s the
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 5, 2009
          This, and the similar idea of using zones in social combat, *sounds*
          very cool to me, but to be honest I have a hard time wrapping my head
          around it. It's the transitions between zones that gets me -- we
          start in the same zone, presumably, but how are we moving from one to
          another? If we're both in Jockeying For Position and I want to start
          Bantering, how is it that either of us is getting there? Is it just
          "Now I'm Bantering," and he can't do anything to me unless he moves
          into Bantering as well?

          Could I trouble you to illustrate how you see this working with a
          brief example or something? Like I said, it really sounds like the
          kind of thing I'd want to incorporate, but until I "get it" I can't
          figure out if it's adding anything I want to add.

          --Mike


          --- In FateRPG@yahoogroups.com, "Brad Murray" <bjmurray.halfjack@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 10:53 AM, <chris@...> wrote:
          > > I have always been disappointed with rpg systems that try and simulate
          > > duels. They always seem to either:
          > >
          > > A: Drag on too long with each roll representing an attack/defense.
          > >
          > > B: Too short with one or two rolls and you have to imagine the
          actual duel.
          >
          > Another possibility would be to abstract the zone map space. Draw a
          > map with some interesting shapes and give them a conceptual value
          > through an Aspect. "Jockeying for position", "Pressing the attack",
          > "Bantering", "Toying with your opponent", "Desperation", and so on.
          > Make the transition between zones relevant but don't over-analyze.
          >
          > Now, only allow track-damage attacks when characters are in the same
          > (or adjacent or something -- make range interesting) zones. Even
          > better, only allow an offensive damage causing move to a character in
          > his "prime attack space" zone -- "Willard has the upper hand!" so you
          > don't wind up with a slugfest in a singles space -- the other guy can
          > only defend here. Allow any skill to be used with appropriate
          > narration to move yourself or the other guy one or more zones (now
          > Witty Guy manipulates by wits and Agile Guy manipulates by
          > acrobatics).
          >
          > Now your duel isn't about geography or even stabbing -- it's about
          > manipulation, maneuver, intimidation, witty banter, and other duely
          > stuff. I'd make the actual stabbing a single roll and score shifts as
          > consequences or something to make the final stabbity bit fast and
          > final (though not necessarily lethal).
          >
          > That'd be duely.
          >
          > --
          > Brad Murray (halfjack)
          >
          > Moderation is a memory
          >
        • Brad Murray
          ... Start in different starting zones. You have to get him into your victory zone to strike a winning blow. He has a different victory zone he s moving you
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 5, 2009
            On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 4:28 PM, stabbysideways <devlin1@...> wrote:
            > This, and the similar idea of using zones in social combat, *sounds*
            > very cool to me, but to be honest I have a hard time wrapping my head
            > around it. It's the transitions between zones that gets me -- we
            > start in the same zone, presumably, but how are we moving from one to
            > another?

            Start in different starting zones. You have to get him into your
            "victory" zone to strike a winning blow. He has a different victory
            zone he's moving you to. I think I'd hit the Health Stress Track every
            now and then to let Endurance play too. Or something.

            > If we're both in Jockeying For Position and I want to start
            > Bantering, how is it that either of us is getting there? Is it just
            > "Now I'm Bantering," and he can't do anything to me unless he moves
            > into Bantering as well?

            You want to move to him and he's in Bantering, roll your Charm against
            his Charm and move the number of shifts you generate. Or any other
            skill that the player can sell in the context. Or you're in Deadly
            Serious and he's in Bantering, use Intimidate against his Charm to
            move him to you.

            > Could I trouble you to illustrate how you see this working with a
            > brief example or something? Like I said, it really sounds like the
            > kind of thing I'd want to incorporate, but until I "get it" I can't
            > figure out if it's adding anything I want to add.

            Honestly it doesn't sound half as good as it plays. The rules I'm
            working up for Diaspora for Social Combat are at
            <http://www.phreeow.net/wiki/tiki-index.php?page=Diaspora+book%3A+Social+Combat>
            and I think I would use something really similar for duelling (which
            looks to me like it's more closely related to social than blade combat
            in some genres).

            --
            Brad Murray (halfjack)

            Moderation is a memory
          • stabbysideways
            ... If we re both going for a victory using the same means -- e.g., it s a fight to the death -- would that still be two separate victory zones? A Wins and
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 5, 2009
              --- In FateRPG@yahoogroups.com, "Brad Murray" <bjmurray.halfjack@...>
              wrote:

              > Start in different starting zones. You have to get him into your
              > "victory" zone to strike a winning blow. He has a different victory
              > zone he's moving you to. I think I'd hit the Health Stress Track every
              > now and then to let Endurance play too. Or something.


              If we're both going for a victory using the same means -- e.g., it's a
              fight to the death -- would that still be two separate victory zones?
              "A Wins" and "B Wins," or just "Killing Blow"?


              > You want to move to him and he's in Bantering, roll your Charm against
              > his Charm and move the number of shifts you generate. Or any other
              > skill that the player can sell in the context. Or you're in Deadly
              > Serious and he's in Bantering, use Intimidate against his Charm to
              > move him to you.


              This is something else that occurs to me as I read this: Figuring out
              how many and what zones there'll be is probably going to be a
              conflict-by-conflict decision. Does this end up working like a
              minigame for you, with each side figuring out how this breaks down?
              And how do participants enter the scene? Is it up to them what zone
              to start in?


              > Honestly it doesn't sound half as good as it plays. The rules I'm
              > working up for Diaspora for Social Combat are at
              >
              <http://www.phreeow.net/wiki/tiki-index.php?page=Diaspora+book%3A+Social+Combat>
              > and I think I would use something really similar for duelling (which
              > looks to me like it's more closely related to social than blade combat
              > in some genres).


              I read that section on your site the other day, actually, and had much
              the same reaction then that I have now: This seems to have the
              potential to radically alter how I run conflicts, if only I could make
              heads or tails of it.

              There are a bunch of little details that aren't clear to me, like what
              it mechanically means to be in a particular zone. If I'm in
              Bantering, am I restricted to certain skills (like Charm)? Am I
              penalized for just trying to stick the guy? If so, the borders can
              strike me as needlessly artificial -- it feels like I'm being
              discouraged from doing what I want to do in favor of going through the
              motions of the system. But then again, as I said, I'm not really
              getting it right now.

              --Mike
            • Brad Murray
              ... Don t over think the meaning of the zone names. They are just there to give the players a little leverage when inventing a story to tell with each action.
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 5, 2009
                On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 5:52 PM, stabbysideways <devlin1@...> wrote:
                > If we're both going for a victory using the same means -- e.g., it's a
                > fight to the death -- would that still be two separate victory zones?
                > "A Wins" and "B Wins," or just "Killing Blow"?

                Don't over think the meaning of the zone names. They are just there to
                give the players a little leverage when inventing a story to tell with
                each action. They don't have mechanical relevance beyond that.

                > This is something else that occurs to me as I read this: Figuring out
                > how many and what zones there'll be is probably going to be a
                > conflict-by-conflict decision. Does this end up working like a
                > minigame for you, with each side figuring out how this breaks down?
                > And how do participants enter the scene? Is it up to them what zone
                > to start in?

                Make it up. I'd have the GM place everyone on the map and describe the
                opener. Yes I'd make this up per conflict rather than have a rigid
                rule for things.

                > I read that section on your site the other day, actually, and had much
                > the same reaction then that I have now: This seems to have the
                > potential to radically alter how I run conflicts, if only I could make
                > heads or tails of it.

                Don't overthink it. :D It's pretty much just and exactly what's there
                and the missing bits are invented as the action proceeds. What's the
                appropriate skill to use? Whatever the player is selling with a great
                narrative.

                > If I'm in
                > Bantering, am I restricted to certain skills (like Charm)? Am I
                > penalized for just trying to stick the guy?

                No and no. They are just hooks to hang your narration on. You could
                omit them (we didn't use them in the Social Combat experiment) but it
                seems like they might be handy for a duel.

                > If so, the borders can
                > strike me as needlessly artificial -- it feels like I'm being
                > discouraged from doing what I want to do in favor of going through the
                > motions of the system.

                The borders only come into play when someone deliberately places one
                (in our game one player was a bit of a goof and put a border for
                "socially awkward" and another for "uncomfortably long anecdote" to
                impede people -- the story was that it was just easier to stay in the
                intimate circle than to deal with the nerd who was mingling.

                > But then again, as I said, I'm not really
                > getting it right now.

                Took me about a year. :D

                --
                Brad Murray (halfjack)

                Moderation is a memory
              • stabbysideways
                Ah. If it took *you* a year to fully digest, I think I m better off without it, to be honest. I say that because the work I ve seen from you on SotFF and
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 5, 2009
                  Ah. If it took *you* a year to fully digest, I think I'm better off
                  without it, to be honest. I say that because the work I've seen from
                  you on SotFF and Diaspora has been really great, and if the guy who
                  wrote those things had trouble with this, I'll *never* get it.

                  The push-pull of zone movement only really makes sense to me if some
                  zones are better for certain skills than others, but if it's all just
                  arbitrary with no mechanical effect, I have a hard time seeing the
                  point. I mean, if I can banter just fine in Deadly Serious, why am I
                  trying to get either of us into Bantering? While I believe you that
                  it plays better than it reads, it feels too much like busy work.

                  At any rate, I'll continue to try to understand it, but I'm more
                  inclined to pursue my Advantage idea. It seems to do something very
                  similar -- encourage the use of noncombat skills in combat -- without
                  requiring a year of contemplation.

                  --Mike
                • Brad Murray
                  ... It s not arbitrary -- you can only get your chance to score a victory if you re both in your victory zone. The rest of the map is shape and hook for
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 5, 2009
                    On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 6:57 PM, stabbysideways <devlin1@...> wrote:
                    > The push-pull of zone movement only really makes sense to me if some
                    > zones are better for certain skills than others, but if it's all just
                    > arbitrary with no mechanical effect, I have a hard time seeing the
                    > point. I mean, if I can banter just fine in Deadly Serious, why am I
                    > trying to get either of us into Bantering? While I believe you that
                    > it plays better than it reads, it feels too much like busy work.

                    It's not arbitrary -- you can only get your chance to score a victory
                    if you're both in your "victory" zone. The rest of the map is shape
                    and hook for story. It makes the process tactical in a different way
                    is all -- no more arbitrary than the ranges and Aspects on zones on a
                    geographic map.

                    > At any rate, I'll continue to try to understand it, but I'm more
                    > inclined to pursue my Advantage idea. It seems to do something very
                    > similar -- encourage the use of noncombat skills in combat -- without
                    > requiring a year of contemplation.

                    I think the Advantage concept is at least as good. For what it's worth
                    I didn't contemplate the concept for a year. I called it "dumb" (I
                    think I stopped short of calling Fred "dumb") and then actually tried
                    it a year later (when my head was in a different place). :D

                    I may also be a guy with a new hammer looking and far too many nails.

                    --
                    Brad Murray (halfjack)

                    Moderation is a memory
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