Author Topic: Houserules 9 - Duelling  (Read 1035 times)

Offline Richelieu

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Houserules 9 - Duelling
« on: 18:19, Saturday 03 Jul, 2010. »

Duelling is a socially acceptable, if not entirely legal, way to settle differences of opinion between gentlemen. The winner receives satisfaction for his honour and the status accorded a victor.

However, duelling is frowned upon by the law and, if caught, the competitors may find themselves arrested and fined. The Paris Military Governor decides how vigorous the watch are in enforcing this law. Generally they will intercede in a duel by arresting both participants (11, 2d6). Players may attempt to resist and fight the watch, which is a minor civil crime.

The duelling rules follow the more conventional vanilla En Garde! game.

Cause for a duel

When two characters are in the same place and there is cause for a duel, the duel may take place, assuming that duelling orders have been submitted. Failing to resolve a matter of honour by the end of the following month will result in the loss of SP equal to half of the characters SL unless the character is called to the front or is too injured to stand in fair fight, in which case the duel may be fought at the next available opportunity. If a character defaults on a duel they continue to lose SP until honour is satisfied or the period of three months passes.

The following are recognised causes for a duel:

•   Two or more characters contest over a mistress and do not withdraw.
•   Indiscretion while attempting to affect a liaison with another character’s mistress.
•   Meeting a member of an enemy ship or regiment.
•   Insult to a regimental friend or shipmate.
•   A noble who meets a commoner who is four SL above him.
•   Public opinion calls for a duel (GM posts a voting poll).

If two characters have more than one cause for a duel only one duel is required, but the honour is doubled or tripled respectively.

Arranging a duel

The offended party will issue a challenge on the boards. If there is mutual cause, then the first to challenge is deemed to be the offended party. The offended party names the terms. This can be a duel to first blood, a duel to first surrender or a duel to the death. Terms may also specify pistols or blades. TWO OPPONENTS DO NOT HAVE TO USE THE SAME BLADES. A character’s default weapon is always his regimental weapon or the rapier if he is a civilian.

If a character challenges a superior officer in the same regiment or ship’s company, then the superior officer can arrange for the challenger to be arrested and face court-martial.

If a challenged party agrees to a duel, they can arrange to meet at any time during the following month according to their orders.

Characters have “seconds”, or friends who attend the duel with them to ensure a fair fight. They will normally discuss arrangements for the duel so that the two duellists do not need to talk to each other. A second may intervene in a duel to prevent it continuing after one of the duellists has surrendered. As such a second needs to submit a duelling sequence for themselves.

A witness is not required to participate in the duel or to intervene, but is present to give a true account of events when asked. A second or witness cannot act for both parties. They may attend as many duels as needed, but obviously cannot be in two different places at the same time.

Impromptu duels

Impromptu duels may only take place if both parties have submitted a valid sequence that can be used for duelling orders. If facing more than one opponent the duelling sequence is used against both opponents simultaneously.

Fighting a sword duel

A duel is comprised of an indefinite number of turns which take place simultaneously. These turns are written in convenient blocks of twelve called sequences. Each turn the duellist performs an action as defined below:

X   Rest/Guard
L   Lunge
S   Slash
C   Cut
K   Kick
J    Jump/Dodge
R    Riposte
T    Throw
P    Parry
B    Block
D   Disarm

Each action must be a part of a recognised routine:

Rest/Guard     -X-
Lunge            -X-L-X-
Slash             -(X)-X-S-     the initial rest is not required if the previous routine ended with a rest
Furious slash  -X-S-X-C-X-X-X-
Furious lunge -L-X-X-X-C-X-X-X-
Kick               -X-K-X-X-X-
Jump/Dodge   -J-X-
Throw            -X-X-T-
Parry             -P-(R)-         if the parry is successful it is followed by the riposte
Block             -B-
Disarm          -X-P-D-X-     if the disarm coincides with a lunge, cut or slash, the disarm is successful
Surrender     -Sur-            a player may surrender as part of a sequence

The slash routine for cutlass and two-handed sword is:

-X-S-X-X- not -(X)-X-S-

The “close” action has been abolished. Daggers may close immediately. Jumping back is a dodge, not disengagement.

Thus a sequence for lunge, kick, slash, parry, dodge would look like this with the final 13th action carrying onto the beginning of the next sequence:


You may write as many sequences as you like. If a duel continues after the sequences have run out they will recycle. Conditional routines will not be accepted.

The character with the lower swordsmanship must add an additional guard action at the end of each routine. The GM will add these. If the swordsmanship is significantly lower, more than seven points less, then two guard actions must be added. This is a variation on the original making duels a little easier on weaker characters.

Turns are adjudicated sequentially and simultaneously. Damage is sustained according to the duelling tables. Certain weapons cannot be used for certain attacks, a foil has no edge and is useless for cutting or slashing. Cutlasses and two-handed swords are too clumsy to riposte.

Damage = strike damage x weapon damage x strength

The value is subtracted from the defender’s endurance. When the characters endurance drops below half, an additional rest is added to each routine.

A thrown weapon will only do damage it if hits. The chance of a dagger hit is 50%. For most other weapons it is 1 in 3. For a two-handed sword or cutlass the chance is 1 in 32. If hit by a thrown cutlass or two-handed sword the defender is killed instantly. After throwing a weapon the duellist may immediately draw a dagger. Each duellist is assumed to carry a main weapon and two daggers.

In the case of a successful block or parry, the defender’s weapon may break (11+, 2d6). A broken weapon is treated as a dagger. A broken dagger is useless. If a character is disarmed or has a weapon broken and does not surrender his assumed next action is to draw a dagger (-X-). He may order to pick up his weapon as a priority over this (-X-X-). An opponent may choose not to attack an opponent who is recovering a disarmed weapon and gain SP by doing so.

Weapons and surrender

Characters will state in their orders the weapon they wish to use in the duel, what level of damage they will take before they surrender, and the time at which they will accept their opponents surrender. If they choose to fight on, they will need to fight the “second” of their opponent as well. A chracter may place a surrender order in the duelling sequence. A player may place a surrender conditional on being disarmed.

The following actions are considered bad conduct and the perpetrator(s) will disgraced if caught:

•   Refusing surrender regardless of the original terms. If it was originally to the death the coward surrendering is automatically disgraced but to refuse mercy would be poor conduct.
•   Drawing a firearm during a duel where the chosen weapons are blades.
•   Attempting to continue a duel past the agreed terms.
•   Attempting to intervene in a duel without due cause.
•   Both characters are from the same ship or regiment.

In any of these cases, the duellist must immediately volunteer to the front/sea after the duel, and cannot return until a MiD is received. In the case of a character who has killed his opponent, he also loses one SL and will be arrested and tried for murder when returning to Paris.

Wounded opponents

A character with less than half his original endurance may decline to meet an opponent, regardless of cause, without loss of status that month. However, if a character in this condition decides to accept a challenge he will gain 3 SP immediately, regardless of the outcome of the duel. This also applies to characters who have been crippled in combat.

Recovery from wounds

One half of the lost Endurance may be recovered in the first week after the duel. Thereafter each week the character will recover Endurance equal to their Constitution.

Duelling experience

Both duel participants increase their swordsmanship by 0.25 with the weapon used. The winner gains 0.5 where the opponent has a higher swordsmanship.

Status from duelling

Characters gain and lose status from duelling:

Fight a duel with a member of the same ship or regiment, -5SP.
Fight a duel with a member of a friendly ship or regiment, -1SP.
Win a duel against a member of a neutral ship or regiment, +2SP.
Win a duel against a member of an enemy ship or regiment, +5SP.
Lose a duel, -2SP.
Lose a duel against a member of an enemy ship or regiment, -3SP.
Use of dirty tactics to win, -1SP.
Disarm an opponent, +1 SP.
Allow a disarmed opponent to recover a weapon, +1SP.
Breach of etiquette, -2SP.
Opponent does not turn up and character wins by default, +2SP. Duel remains outstanding.
Failing to intervene as a second when the opposing second intervenes, minus half SL in SP.
Fail to meet a challenge that has due cause, minus half SL in SP. Duel remains outstanding.
Issue a challenge without due cause, -2SP.
Bring an opponent to duel who has previously failed to meet the challenge, +2SP.
Kill the opponent honourably, +2SP.
Attempt to fight a duel at less half endurance, +3SP.
Fight a duel with pistols, +1SP.
Fight an opponent who is visibly weaker, -1SP.
Fight an opponent who is visibly stronger, +1SP.
Defeat an opponent who is a knave, +1SP.
Lose to an opponent who is a knave, -1SP.
Surrender before being hit, -3SP.

Anyone attempting to duck out of a duel by going to the front will simply find that they must meet the duel when they come back.


Characters may practise with the weapon of their ship or regiment without cost as performing military duties. They must employ a fencing instructor for any other weapon. Characters which do not belong to a ship or regiment must visit a fencing school. One week of practice with a weapon will raise the expertise of that weapon by 0.25. At any time a character may subtract five points from their swordsmanship in any one weapon they have trained and substitute it for a point of strength or constitution. All trades are irreversible.

Fencing schools

Characters not training with their military weapon have to visit one of the Paris fencing schools. A character visiting a fencing school has to meet the SL requirements. The fee is for one week of training. The character receives SP per month for training at that school.

Regimental and ship weapons

Each regiment trains with a specific side arm.

Cavalry regiments - Sabre
Marine regiments - Cutlass
All other regiments - Rapier

Ships crew weapons vary according to rank.

Senior officer - Rapier
Junior officer - Dagger
Crewman - Cutlass


Either party in a duel may hire an attendant physician. The cost of hiring a physician is 25 Fr. If the character would normally have died in the duel the physician may be able to save his life (7+, 2d6).
« Last Edit: 15:53, Sunday 04 Jul, 2010. by Richelieu »
"I want those musketeers, not excuses!"

Offline Richelieu

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Re: Houserules 9 - Duelling
« Reply #1 on: 19:44, Saturday 03 Jul, 2010. »

Unlike sword duels a pistol duel is limited to a number of shots on both sides agreed by the participants. It is most usually a single exchange of shots. It may also be to first blood, first surrender or to the death. Both sides always fire an equal number of shots.

When making a pistol duelling challenge the offended party must name the number of paces at which the two men will turn and fire between six and thirty, thus setting the odds between 1 in 6 and 1 in 30. Each player nominates a number within the range of paces. When the characters turn and fire a random number is determined and if the number is the same, the shot was a direct hit! (Normal damage).

However, there is a 50% chance that the powder does not go off and the pistol hangs fire. This still counts as a shot. There is also  chance the pistol will explode in the user’s hand dependant upon how well it was loaded (GM rolls below marksmanship to load safely, 3d6). The damage from an exploding gun is equal to twice that of a normal shot.

Both marksmen will release their first shot simultaneously. Damage is equal to pistol quality multiplied by marksmanship. Subsequent shots will be fired according to the speed of the marksman, the better marksman always firing first.

Flinching, ducking or evading is the cowardly way out. The perpetrator loses -2SP for doing so, but can pretty much guarantee that the shot will miss due to the terrible accuracy of these early firearms.

A character may choose to fire his shot and deliberately and explicitly miss. This is called deloping. If the character delopes before he is shot at he gains +3SP but must take the incoming shot, aimed or otherwise. If the character delopes after he has been shot at he gains +1SP. If both characters delope the duel is effectively over.

Aiming increases the accuracy of the shot. The character must allow the opponent to take his shot first and if it misses he gains greater accuracy on his own. If he is hit his aim is ruined. If both characters aim the person with the better marksmanship will fire first. If the number generated lies to either side of the chosen value, then it will wing the opponent causing normal damage. A solid hit will be in a vital spot causing double damage.


Characters may train their marksmanship at 0.25 per week in the barrack yard as part of military duties or may pay for an instructor at twice their marksmanship skill in Francs.
« Last Edit: 17:10, Monday 05 Jul, 2010. by Richelieu »
"I want those musketeers, not excuses!"