Dueling

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Eugène Delacroix Title Combat de chevaliers dans la campagne. Year 1824

Eugène Delacroix Title Combat de chevaliers dans la campagne. Year 1824

The Quintessential Fighter
Author Matthew Sprange
Series The Quintessential Series
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2001
Pages 130
ISBN 1-903980-09-7
OGL Section 15 qftr
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There are few sights more spectacular than that of two expert fighters engaged in mortal combat, trading blows, parrying strikes, then launching counterattacks in a dizzying flash of blades. Such duelling is rare in the uncivilised realms of the wilderness, but is always a privilege to watch, for this form of battle represents the pinnacle of the fighter’s art.

A duel is fought between two opponents. If any other characters attack one of the opponents, the duel is ended and normal melee combat begins. A duel may be initiated by any character within 5 ft. of an enemy who may accept the challenge. If the duel is refused, normal melee combat takes place instead.

If accepted, the duel begins with the two opponents within 5 ft. of each other, with melee weapons in hand and at the ready. Though many formal duels amongst the nobility have stringent rules governing the use of particular weapons and armour, ‘real’ duels where only one opponent is expected to walk away from the fight have no such restrictions.

The Pass

A duel is broken down into passes, three of which take place in one combat round. Characters fighting within a duel are always considered to be taking the full attack option.

Step 1: An Initiative check is made. The winner of the Initiative check is considered to be the attacker for the next three passes (equal to one combat round), whilst the loser is considered to be the defender. Characters who have chosen to fight defensively will do so until another Initiative check is made.

Step 2: A pass consists of the attacker choosing one attack option from the list below.

Step 3: A Duelling check is then made, with both opponents making an opposed attack roll. If the attacker wins the Duelling check, he will deal damage to the defender, according to the weapon he is using. Any character who has chosen to fight defensively will suffer a -4 circumstance penalty to their Duelling check.

If the attacker wins the Duelling check, he remains as the attacker, deals damage and returns to step 2, choosing another attack option. If the defender wins, the duel returns to step 1, where Initiative is rolled for once again and the defender will have the chance to become the attacker.

Duelling Attack Options

An attacker in a duel may choose to use one of the following attack options in every pass.

Break Weapon: Instead of dealing damage to his opponent on a successful Duelling check, the attacker will instead deal damage to his opponent’s weapon, using the normal rules for weapon hardness and hit points. Unless the attacker has the Sunder feat, this will generate an immediate attack of opportunity. Alternatively, if armed with a sword-breaker or sword-catcher, the attacker may make an immediate opposed Dexterity check in order to catch the defender’s blade. If successful, he may break the weapon, using the rules described on p29.

Crowd: The attacker steps forward and attempts to crowd his opponent, denying either duellist the full benefit of larger weapons. Both opponents will suffer -4 circumstance penalty to their next Duelling check unless armed with tiny-sized weapons or fighting unarmed.

Disarm: Disarm attacks in duels are performed in the same way as those in Core Rulebook I. Note that a character without the Improved Disarm feat will generate an attack of opportunity.

Ferocious Swing: With a great shout, the attacker swings hard at his opponent. The attacker may choose to subtract a number (maximum 5) from his Duelling check, and add this number to any damage roll he makes during the pass. This attack option may be combined with the Power Attack feat.

Grapple: Once an attacker chooses to grapple his opponent, the duel ends and normal melee resumes, using the grapple rules in Core Rulebook I.

Lunge: Pouncing forward, the attacker attempts to spit his opponent on the point of his weapon. Lunges may only be attempted with piercing weapons or swords. The attacker will suffer a -2 circumstance penalty to his Duelling check, but the threat range and critical range of his weapon will both increase by one (so for example, a longsword will become 18-20/x3).

Shield Bash: Smashing his opponents aside with his shield, the attacker creates an opening through which to strike. The attacker deals damage with his shield instead of his weapon if he wins the Duelling check. In addition, the defender will be knocked off balance by this attack, and will suffer a -2 circumstance penalty to his next Duelling check. The attacker must have a shield in order to use this attack option.

Step Back: The attacker draws back, trying to five himself room to strike. Both opponents will suffer a -4 circumstance penalty to their next Duelling ckeck unless armed with large-sized or greater weapons.

Trip: Trip attacks in duels are performed in the same way as those in Core Rulebook I.

Two Weapon Strike: Many fighters enter a duel armed with two weapons, using both to constantly attack and distract an opponent, gaining them a great advantage in combat. The attacker makes one roll for each weapon during his Duelling check, comparing both to the defender’s opposed check. If both beat the defender’s opposed attack roll, then damage will be dealt with both weapons. The attacker suffers the usual penalties to his opposed attack roll for fighting with two weapons.

Ending the Duel

The duel will end as soon as one character has been reduced to 0 or less hit points. The duel will also end and become normal melee combat as soon as one opponent is attacked by an enemy not taking part in the duel. Either opponent involved in a duel may choose to end it at the completion of any pass, whereupon normal melee combat will resume.

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