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Landrew Logan
Landrew Logan's picture
Dueling 2E

So I've been reading the 2E rule book just released for proofing, and I'm still unhappy with dueling.

What concerns me the most is the artificial constraints placed upon duelists.  The rule remains that one can not perform the same action twice in a row, that is Slash and then Slash and while I understand the intention is to prevent the repetition of "I attack" the is no reasonable reason to constrain players such other than made up mechanics.

I suggest before the final that writers consider simply finding a means to penalize duelists who perform the same maneuver twice, options might include giving the GM a danger dice, or a free raise to their next action, or perhaps even requiring another raise on the part of the player.  I don't like saying NO to something simply because the rules say you can't do something that if this were a true simulation you could do.  I am not a simulationist, I just don't want to break the willing suspense of disbelief because of artificial rules constructs.

 

Thoughts.

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Ben Woerner
Ben Woerner's picture

See page 16's sidebar. I think any of those choices work great. :) Especially the Danger Dice.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Yes, I love the danger die idea. Even better may be an escalation penalty for repetition. Do it twice and get a penalty, three times in a row, big penalty, four...now they see it coming and get a free chance to clobber you.
Landrew Logan
Landrew Logan's picture

I like the idea of escalating it as well, and yes the justification being that it become anticipated.  Pg 16 sidebar asside I'd rather see it addressed now before press, the less I have to contradict what's written in a rule book the faster play goes with my group.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Landrew, there is a simple solution to that. Tell your players you never read the rules. Then they have to go along with your version.
Salty Dog
Salty Dog's picture

I think it would make more sense if you could find a way to penalize someone for using the same maneuver over and over, but not limit the option of doing so. If you keep lunging at someone they're going to know what to expect and will have an easier time dodging or parrying your attack.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
In my head it would escalate in the following order: Slash- as normal. Feint- as normal. Slash - as normal because of the feint. Slash- costs an extra raise. Slash- GM adds a Danger die ( opposing players would get a hero point). Slash- opponent gets a free riposte out of turn. Slash- fifth time in a row costs an extra raise AND grants a Danger Die AND a free Riposte.
Joachim Deneuve...
Joachim Deneuve du Surlign's picture

I was looking at the Duelling styles and didn't understand what the point of the Mireli and Leegstra styles were, until I realised that it's a way to bypass the "Can't do the same thing twice in a row" mechanic.

Mireli can go: Bash, Revision as a Bash, Bash, Revision as a Bash etc...

Leegstra can manage:  Slash, Riposte, Slash, Crash, Slash.

Thinking about that "Don't repeat yourself.", would folk be happy with a simple "Repeating your last action costs +1 raise" for everyone, duelist or no?

Landrew Logan
Landrew Logan's picture

I haven't played it enough to know if that would work, it seems like one more raise should be enough to keep folks from duplicating, but not preventing if they realy felt the need to do it again.  I'm still leaning towards Danger Points though...cause I'll likely GM soooo...

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

I'm fine with that constraint.  I see no need for a change.  Because if all you do is repeat the same manuever over and over, any decent fighter is going to cut you to ribbons.  Think of it like boxing or, even better, baseball (pitching specifically – and yes, we just watched Bull Durham last night, so that may be the root of this metaphor).

If a player insisted on using the same manuever more than once in an action sequence, I would charge an extra Raise for each consecutive time he uses it.  This – in my mind – reflects the other duelist figuring out your strategy and easily parrying it, so it becomes that much harder to land a blow.  So first slash, 1 raise.  2nd slash immediately afterwards, 2 raises.  3rd slash, if they really insisted, 3 raises.  Or, you can break things up and keep your opponent on his toes.  Slash, Beat, Feint, Slash.  Being predictable in a fight ("He always leads with a jab to the face.") should make you easier to beat.  So that would be a fair houserule, I think.

Landrew Logan
Landrew Logan's picture

The point being though that that is a change from rules as written.

As written regardless of the fact that you could throw a slider three times in a row, you can not, which would cause me and my players consternation.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Well, if you are going to be living under "as written", you are stuck with no repeats. None of us can help you because once it hits the printer it is set forever. But in 38 years of running and playing RPGs, I have never seen a game where somebody didn't adjust a mechanic in play. So you have to ask yourself, " is my game going to be my game or am I going to run John's game?". And keep in mind, John left you carte blanche to change things that do not work for you IN WRITING in the book. It's in there twice under the rulings sidebar and again in the GM tips at the end. He wants us to take what he created and advance it to our own tastes. It sounds like you want the option of repeating an action, (the rule is really there to prevent riposte on every action) so allow it and don't fret what the book says. Nobody will drag you to a 7th sea tribunal if you do it.
BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Nobody will drag you to a 7th sea tribunal if you do it.

i will, dammit!!! But first I'll need your full name, address, drivers license number, social security number... laugh

Kaydrin Ambersol
Kaydrin Ambersol's picture

Riposte can only be done once per Round in the book.

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."

Ben Woerner
Ben Woerner's picture

NOBODY EXPECTS THE CASTILLIAN INQUISITION! OUR CHIEF WEAPON IS A 7th SEA TRIBUNAL! MUWAHAHAHAHAHA

No Seriously, Salamanca is entirely correct. 

EVEN the game designers have specific little rules quirks we prefer when running. 

Wolfflin Huyghen
Wolfflin Huyghen's picture

Of course that they are going to be many houseruling. That's really nice! And I really appreciate it.

But many patches makes you feel that the rules/ruling are not enought strong. 

If the 7th Sea 2nd Edition Team asked for feedback and many people tell them that dueling have problems to be interesting, even for who tell you to houseruling, maybe it's time to reelaborate them, almost a littel, No? More if you have in your hands a Swashbuckler game.

Note: I'm not a troll, I promisse. Just I'm trying to see the weakness of a game that I'm going to enjoy the next... ten years?. 

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

HA!  You should see my house ruled Witch Hunter RPG rulebook.  We've made a LOT of little changes since we started playing.

And I'm right there with you.  I want a game I can enjoy for a long time.  Even then, I fully expect I'm going to end up tweaking things around the edges.  So understand, I'm not disagreeing with you when I point out how easy it would be to fix your issue.  I have no idea what the final game is going to look like.  Anything could change between now and the moment the finalize PDF shows up in our inbox.  But even after that, you need to be prepared to make changes to tighten things up around the edges to fit your group and your style of play.  Because what you want is going to be different than what 10,999+ other people want.

Personally, I like that players can just Slash and repeat.  Would I like to see a few moremanuevers?  Yes.  Absolutely!  Just based on the core books for comparison we have:

1st edition (10): Beat, Bind, Corps-a-corps, Disarm, Double-parry, Feint, Lunge, Pommel Strike. Riposte, Tagging

2nd edition (5): Slash, Parry, Feint, Bash, Riposte

I also wish we were getting a "mastery" level of a duelist academy, to differentiate the rank andfile student from the true "master".  (I get why that isn't in the cards, but I still think it would be cool!)

Then again, this is the core rules.  I can't imagine that those 200 pg sourcebooks are going to be all fluff.

Paul
Paul's picture
I ran my first game of 2e last night and this didn't seem an issue. That said, I was allowing duelists to perform a regular attack, doing one wound for one raise. In my head this was a thrust or other more basic attack. Combat tended to slash, ripost, slash, Attack(thrust), slash. It allows players to remain offensive, and the net result is the same as making a second subsequent slash take an extra raise. Is this outside the scope of the rules as written?
Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
The system will be fine until people without Duelist have to fight those that have it. (So effectively it's the reversal of the original complaint that swordsmen didn't have advantage over a player that maxed finesse and fencing attack in the old system). For anybody that gets too carried away with the balance, whisper "firearms" to them.
Paul
Paul's picture
I had a strength 7 (which was overpowered for what I needed) villain with no duelist advantage fight one of my PCs last night and he had no hope. It's only his incredibly long death spiral that allowed him to escape.
Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

Person who is not dueler can only win fight to first blood. And it should be like that. Duelist is 4 point advantage. They should shish-kebab non-duelists like Three Musketeers does to guards. 

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Yes but he escaped. That is the point. The heroes should win or force the bad guy to flee. You did it right by my judgement. Now when the next baddie has Duelist and goes after the player without it, you will hear complaints.
Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

Okay.. I wonder.. Have you ever watched swashbuckling movies? The limitation on duels make them like movie ones. 

You forget one thing: you need not to do swordmanschool action. Thus you could go Slash, Create Opporiunity, Slash, Use opportunit, Slash. 

Bradley
Bradley's picture
You cannot create an opportunity for yourself, so your example would require an extra source of opportunity to work, but the base idea is valid.
Myridian
Myridian's picture

Don't forget the "fencing" advantage, to add an extra layer of ability between mundanes and Duelists.

Oh, and quick reflexes too. 

Of course your Duelist could take those as well....

"...for it is the deeds of weak and mortal men that may tip the scales one way or the other..."

Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

I don't entirely think the idea of "Mastery Levels" are completely out of the question. The current structure could easily be extended to have something, where each tier is a  5-pt advantage and you must have the first tier of a Dueling Style to get the 2nd, 2nd to the 3rd, etc.

So, you could get the Duelist Background and start of at Level 1 for Ambrogia then spend your remaining 5 points to be Level 1 at Valroux, OR you could start with Level 1 Ambrogia and then spend your remaining 5 Advantage points to get Level 2 Ambrogia.

Something like that.

 

 

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Antti makes an interesting point I had not considered. You can take not duel actions. Creating opportunities for the rest of the party, a Perform during the fight to impress a noble watching the fight, a Pressure, a Tempt, etc.
Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

Insulting the enemy with witty remark. Nobody does that in swaschbuckling movie fight scenes.. Nope :)

I elaborate: 

- Slash, cut rope of candelier, slash, swing accross teh room with the rope, slash on swing back.

 

Wolfflin Huyghen
Wolfflin Huyghen's picture

 

  • same action twice in a row "giving the GM... free raise to their next action." @Landrew Logan

I really like that rule. It make the scene much more strategic.

 

  • manuevers: I'm also really worried about disarm. You can do it with an Opportunity? p.175.

 

  • mundanes VS Duelists: hypothetical duel
    • @Salamanca whisper "firearms" I don't think it's solution. Almost not for a Hero. Like run, all vs one, use PSST, OVER HERE, etc... Use Opportunities to help the best fighter will be the solution more imaginative an heroic.

 

  • Mastery Levels: The duelist are now in "another level". So, how far they can be if you have two levels more? Maybe...
    • Tier 1 (5pt) Apprentice: You have the Maneuevers but only with the weapons of your School.
    • Tier 2 (+5pt) Expert: You have the Dueling Style.
    • Tier 3 (Being Expert in 2 Schools, free) Master: you can Exploit weakness VS your schools comparing them. You ever make them one extra wound. They always make you one wound less.
Salamanca
Salamanca's picture

disarm with an opportunity... it may buck the rule about creating opportunity for yourself but as that is my default maneuver for my favorite character, I need it back in the game in some form.

Wolfflin Huyghen
Wolfflin Huyghen's picture

You can use your disarming smile wink (p.149)

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
And I intend to...a lot. To the point of annoyance so long as I have a point to spend.
Sean Butler
Sean Butler's picture

I haven't had a chance to playtest the dueling rules, but on reading them, I was disappointed at how it didn't seem to capture the feel of dynamic swordplay.  In particular, if one combatant rolls significantly better than their opponent, they could open the duel with a few uncontested blows, as though beginning with a "sucker-punch".  Then it seems like it's basically trading blows, trying to beat the opponent into submission faster than they can do the same, deciding where best to use your riposte. 

Furthermore, it makes duelists not only clearly superior, but ridiculously so.  This probably isn't much of an issue in an actual duel, since a duelist should pretty much always win against a non-duelist in that situation anyway, so it might as well be over quickly-- but it also carries over into fight mechanics with brute squads, where it seems to make less sense that Inigo should fare so much better than Fezzik.

I was trying to come up with a better basic mechanic to represent cinematic swashbuckling duels, constantly reading and responding to your opponent, trying to find a gap in their defenses, shifts in momentum... without being absurdly complex and/or drawn-out.  I figured a bluffing mechanic might be the simplest way to capture that kind of contest.  Here's what I came up with, though I haven't playtested it for balance.  Does anyone see any value in this general framework?  Any suggestions?

---

Combatants alternate being on Attack and Defense.  Roll finesse plus weaponry at start to determine pool of raises, most raises attacks first (villain wins ties).  Can spend raise to reduce damage taken by one each turn, but most maneuvers don't inherently cost a raise.

Choose attack/defense stance at start of duel (duelists only)

  • Attack stance: Plus one damage when attacking
  • Defense stance: Additional defensive maneuver options
  • No stance: No bonuses
  • Off-balance: Deal one less damage when attacking, add one to any damage received

Duelists can adopt attack stance at end of attack turn or defense stance at end of defense turn

Non-duelists return to "no stance" when off-balance at end of attack turn

Attack turn:

1. Telegraph attack, either Slash or Thrust

2. Apply hidden modifier (revealed after defense selected):

  • Commit: Perform telegraphed attack, deal base 2 damage + 1 damage if weapons skill at least 2
  • Feint: Switch attacks, deal base 1 damage + 1 damage if weapons skill at least 2
  • Bash (duelists only): Deal one damage, knock opponent off balance
  • Probe (duelists only): Perform telegraphed attack, deal two damage; optionally switch to defense stance
  • Lunge (usable if telegraphing Thrust, duelists only): Immediately shift to attack stance before dealing damage

Defense turn:

Select a defense to respond to attack:

  • Block: Negate Slash and Bash
  • Parry: Negate Thrust and Lunge
  • Guard (usable in defense stance, duelists only): Negate Bash, reduce other damage by two
  • Sidestep (usable in defense stance, duelists only): Negate Lunge, throwing opponent off balance, reduce other damage by one
  • Riposte (usable in defense stance upon successfully Parrying Thrust, duelists only): Spend raise to deal two damage to opponent; optionally switch to attack stance
  • Fend off (usable after attack is revealed): Spend raise to negate attack.  At end of turn, you become off-balance, and opponent may attack again.

Some Possible Style (or more generic duelist-only?) Maneuvers:

  • Beat Attack (usable if telegraphing Slash): No damage, but knock opponent off balance and attack again; negated by Sidestep
  • Flurry (usable if connected with Slash for at least one damage): Spend raise to attack again
  • Disarm (usable if telegraphing Slash and opponent has fewer raises): No damage, disarm opponent if they attempt to Parry, putting them at your mercy
  • Remise (usable if attack is Blocked or Parried): Spend raise to attack again
  • Flèche (usable if telegraphing Thrust): Counts as lunge, spend raise and deal 5 damage; revert to "no stance" at end of attack turn
Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

First: duelist is 5 point advantage. It should be ridiculously more powerful than normal fighters. Othwerise it would not be worth. 

I do your ideas of stances, but real fencing fights does not have the style of Swashbuckling. Duelign should be semi-ridiculouis with witty remarks between blows. Realistic? Nope, but it should not be. 

Your system is really nice for more realistic, but it still contains paper-rock-scissor-problem. Even with your system, the result is same: the one with more raises wins. It just contains dramatically useless waste of time. 

Sean Butler
Sean Butler's picture

Well, if you want to reduce it to that, then just roll finesse+weaponry and most raises wins.  I wouldn't call my system realistic or particularly similar to real fencing (how often do you actually knock someone off-balance in fencing?) However, I think this mechanic allows some sense of back-and-forth dueling narrative and that you're actually trying to defend/counter/respond against attacks rather than just taking turns hitting each other and deciding where the best place to insert a parry/riposte would be because you aren't allowed to just use "slash" over and over again by the rules.  Rock/paper/scissors is more interesting when winning with rock is less valuable than winning with scissors, and you have to read your opponent's line of reasoning as to which is the better risk at this point in the sequence.

And the biggest problem with the imbalance between duelists and other swordsmen is probably for non-duels (fights with brute squads or other chaotic groups), since again, a duelist should dominate duels (and I think they still would under this system, though maybe not quite as comically).  In those melee-style fights, non-duelists are almost useless by comparison, but it's not clear why that should be.  Duelist becomes a mandatory advantage if you want to consider yourself a combat-oriented character at all.  I know a different dueling system doesn't address that, but I think that's more easily resolved by simply not applying dueling mechanics to melees (1 raise=1 wound for everyone).

Wolfflin Huyghen
Wolfflin Huyghen's picture

I see really complex your system, but I really agree with the ideas that you give. It's a really good idea for make your own game ^^

Hide things in a duel it's a really good idea. I reeded somewhere obout fencing systems with cards, and they sound really wonderfull for seventh sea. I know that there are going to be a way to play with cards the game, so... maybe we are going to see something of that?

Anyway, the "most raises win" demeans the duel system. I'm sure that only with a simple rule can fix a lot of that rail-roading feeling, E.g.: use riposte/block like Improvisation (2 raises more). 

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Hmm, a surcharge for certain actions. Intriguing concept. But I need to play this as it is a bit before I can really see what is needed.
Robert Shenk
Robert Shenk's picture
Just a couple of things. 1) as an expert modern fencer, and Arma enthusiast I feel that while dueling mechanics are good they are missing a small point, the remese is a technique where if you missed your opponent with your attack you quickly repeat the attack without resetting so as to catch your opponent off guard. In this system that is impossible. So as a house rule I've made a new maneuver called the remese, used after an opponent reduces wounds to 0 with a parry, the duelist may spend a single raise to do a single wound. This maneuver can be used until you wound the opponent or run out of raises, which ever comes first. 2) as a house rule nonduelists add brawn to wounds when spending a raise for damage in combat, and add finesse when using a raise to avoid damage. Does that sound fair?
Bradley
Bradley's picture

Personally, I feel nonduelist should not be able to keep up with duelists as far as combat damage is concerned. Duelist have specifically trained to be as deadly as possible in a fight. Nonduelists have, on the other hand, focused on other aspects of life. Aspects like being incredibly attractive, quick in word and wit, or the minutia of plant life. Maybe nonduelists are not as powerful in combat, but the things they can do are very important. Knowing that a certain plant is poisonous, but that the toxin in that plant can be conteracted by this mushroom can prove very useful.

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

So as a house rule I've made a new maneuver called the remese, used after an opponent reduces wounds to 0 with a parry, the duelist may spend a single raise to do a single wound. This maneuver can be used until you wound the opponent or run out of raises, which ever comes first.

I like it in principle. It seems like a good compromise.  However, I can see it getting a bit unwieldy in a "no you didn't", "yes I did" sort of way.  So I'd tweak it slightly as so:

Remese

After your opponent reduces any wounds you've dealt him to 0 with a parry, you may immediately spend a single raise to do a single wound. This blow may not be avoided.  You may perform this manuever only once per round.

Reasoning:

1) Once per round makes this a nice match with Riposte.

2) Waiting until your next "action" feels like resetting.  This makes this more of an interrupt.

3) It needed some extra umph because why would you do remese for a single wound when you could Lunge or Bash for better damage.

It probably still needs some tightening and testing, but I think this will make it more fun.

Easl
Easl's picture

It's remise, oh great fencer.  And this comes down to how move-by-move you want to consider the game system.  I don't think the designers were intending one-raise-for-one-physical-movement*, so its perfectly fine to consider a remise to be modeled by the raise that is used after to parry, or a raise used after to reduce damage.  "Reducing damage" in this case means moving just far enough away to not get hit.

Now, if you really want to simulate a duel in all it's millisecond-by-millisecond glory, go for it.  For myself, I tend to agree with others that duelists already have a huge advantage over non-duelists in melee combat, so I would not be looking for a way to extend/expand those types of actions; it would leave too many character types out of the action.  But, if your group is all duelists who love to focus on tactical combat decisions, by all means go for it.

*After all, a great duelist in 7th sea may get 4-5 actions per round.  These can include stuff like "move across a room" or "swing on a chandelier." In contrast, an actual fencing bout may include 5-10 actions per several seconds. I would argue that clearly it is not the case, then, that 1 raise = 1 fencing movement.  1 Raise is more like "one exchange," with a multiple of advances, retreats, parries, attacks, remises, etc. included. When someone calls slash, that's the eventual outcome they want to achieve. It does not represent (for example) a sabre head cut.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
I like the remese. The rule of dealing Brawn infringes on the Duelist bonuses. I think the non duelists need to settle for spending extra raises to deal extra wounds or finding an advantage to help them.
Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

Frankly, I love the idea that a Duelist PC is forced to invoke some creativity in regards to using their maneuvers.  As has been pointed out, being able to use the Slash maneuver repeatedly on each Raise is horrifically broken; heck there's a Duelist style whose whole schtick is to effectively give the PC an extra Slash they can use between Slash manuevers.  Seen way too many fantasy RPG sessions where PCs do little more than "I attack the monster with my best offensive ability" over and over.  As much maligned as it might be in some circles, I can give some credit to 4e for having basic attack powers that allowed for at least some amount of variety amongst the non-spellcasting PCs.

Even with charging an extra raise or adding a die to the GM's Danger Pool, that's still not going to be enough of a deterrent to some players that will still simply use Slash all the time as it's by far the most effective combat option of the maneuvers (Riposte comes pretty darn close, but it's once per round and requires you to have first taken damage to really be useful).

With the restriction of not repeating the same maneuver twice in a row, that forces the player to get creative in what their character does with their Raises, and one of the strengths of 7th Sea as an RPG has been when the players embrace the over-the-top tendencies of the swashbuckling genre and do more than just simply beat down their opponents.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog
http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/

Seventh Sea
Seventh Sea's picture

Quoting Mike Curry (7th Sea Lead Developer) from Reddit yesterday (05-SEP-2016) commenting on Duelists:

Hello! I am Mike Curry, Systems Lead for 7th Sea 2nd Edition! by 7thSea_dev in 7thSea

[–]7thSea_dev[S] 4 points 1 day ago* 

There is probably a "Duelist Lite" advantage coming soon that will give you access to a small number of Maneuvers under a certain circumstance. I haven't designed it yet, but it's on my mind.

As for non-Duelists being good in a fight, there are ways that they certainly can be, but those ways are often circumstantial. Riot Breaker and Reckless Takedown have been mentioned, Signature Item can make you a serious badass if you have Hero Points to burn.

If you're asking when non-Duelists will ever be as good as Duelists in combat... never. A Duelist has invested in a 5 point Advantage specifically to be good at swordfighting. Someone who isn't willing to make a similar commitment on the mechanical side should not be able to outshine them.

There are more advantages coming that give additional situational benefits or allow you to do other things during Sequences, but there are also more Dueling Advantages coming soon, so everyone will be getting new toys.

This settles some questions we have had about Duelists and whether anyone with other fighting skills can ever beat a duelist at dueling.

 

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Oh, you can beat them... But it takes a creative player.
Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

Agree, it can be done, but suitably enough it's not easy and like you said, takes a fair bit of creativity on the part of the player.

That is interesting that there's some thought to creating "Duelist Lite" Advantages for those players that want a taste of the awesomeness but can't or won't shell out the 5 Advantage (or 5 step story) to get the full Duelist package.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog
http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
I figure it will give people a piratey rogers type thing, and some little tricks here and there.
Lord Rumfish
Lord Rumfish's picture

I posted an in-depth analysis of the back-and-forth of combat and the style bonuses in another thread.  The link is this: http://www.7thsea2e.com/port/forum/analysis-duelist-combat-styles

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