Friday 19 June 2015

Experimental Duelling Rules

Each Round :

  1. Roll attack and damage rolls.
  2. Roll initiative.
  3. Initiative winner can try a manoeuvre.
  4. Then apply damage from attack rolls.

1. Both parties make attack rolls. If they hit, both make damage rolls. These are considered to have happened at the same time.

2. After attack and damage rolls have been made. The parties roll initiative. Whoever wins initiative can enhance or avoid the effect of a blow.

3. Manoeuvring:
  • 'Retreat!' : If they got hit, the duellist may avoid the effects of an attack roll by declaring a retreat. Their opponent may decide where and how they retreat and can move them a number of feet equal to the opposing attack roll. If this forces them over furniture and down stairs they must pass a DEX test or fall.
  • 'Press!' : If they hit the duellist can also force their opponent back a number of feet equal to the total of the attack roll. If this forces them over furniture and down stairs they must pass a DEX test or fall.
  • 'Focus' : Instead of attacking, the duellist concentrates on their enemies weaknesses. Their next attack gets a +2 to hit and the damage is x 2. This bonus stacks. If a duellist concentrates every round for six rounds and then hits, their attack gets a +7 to hit and does x 7 damage.
  • Anything Else : The duellist can try anything else they want that doesn't do or avoid damage or interfere directly with the other player. The DM may require a roll of some kind to decide the result

Crits and Fumbles :

A crit can be used to :
  • Do x 2 damage.
  • Attempt a disarm or trip. The target must make a DEX or STR test to avoid this.
A fumble usually means :
  • Dropping your weapon.
  • Falling over.
  • Giving your opponent a free attack.
The DM will decide which.
Crit & Fumble catastrophe : If one duellist fumbles at the exact same time the other crits, the fumbler ends up disarmed and at their opponents mercy.
Falling Over : A duellist that has fallen can only get up the next round. If they are hit in that round they can be disarmed. If they are already disarmed they are at their opponents mercy.
Disarming : If a duellist is hit by a critical and fails a DEX or STR test, or if they are hit whilst fallen, they are disarmed. The successful duellist can knock their opponents weapon a number of feet equal to the total of their attack roll,

Winning and Losing :

An NPC duellist rolls a morale test at each of the following points.
  • When first injured.
  • At half hit points.
  • When within 6 hit points of zero.
  • When they fumble a roll.
  • When disarmed.
  • Any round in which they take damage but deal none.

If an NPC duellist fails three morale rolls in a row they will submit. PC's may submit whenever they wish.


  1. Really excellent! Do you think allowing any modifiers to initiative (dex, int, level, weapon speed) would impalance it too much?

    1. I did think of adding DEX mods. They would certainly make it a little more complex. I kept it super-simple as thats OSR standard but if the person adding the dex houserule was the same person using it then I think it would be ok.

  2. I don't get it. Why resolve the attacks before declaring maneuvers?

    1. Because it creates an interesting tension. Only one person will get to maneuver and the result of the initial roll affects their decision.