First of all, I have to say that I didn't do this alone. Some people on these forums have suggested a few things or gave me some ideas(even some names for skills or manoeuvres). I have also taken the duelists' schools modified rules(and the names) from this thread on reddit:
Having said all that. Some friends and I have tested the rules as RAW and these house rules a few times before and after tweaking something. We tested them on 1vs1 duels with maxed duelists (skills at 5, max traits, no hero points, no opportunities or consequences) with different schools. We also tested newbie duelists(weaponry 3, 3 trait points) against veteran non-duelists (weaponry 5, full traits and 2 advantages like fencer/bruiser and legendary or fencer and quick reflexes) and non-duelists were able to win with half their health remaining depending on how they used their raises. A duelist that has the same level of skill than a non-duelist will probably always win though but I think it's supossed to be this way.
This set of House rules changes the system a bit and it makes it more complex but cannot be helped. Some of them give a few assets to the characters, I'm fine with that because this game is all about heroic deeds. It cuts damage for the duelists but it gives everyone weapons and trait bonuses. Combats usually end within 2 rounds so it is not that slow... though it will take some practice before being really fast.
Lastly, not everyone may like this but I wanted to share it anyway. If this helps others with their ideas like some of you have helped me then great :). I don't enjoy big numbers so I'm quite happy with the results my friends and I have achieved when we tested these rules.
Anyways... long post coming :P
- To draw a weapon requires 1 raise.
- If you want to protect an ally, you must spend 1 raise before spending raises to protect him. That raise represents you putting yourself between your ally and danger.
- Fighting with your off-hand requires 1 extra raise unless you are trained.
- A second dramatic wound gives you a penalty of -2d10 instead of granting +2d10 to your opponent.
- The GM may spend 1 danger point to make any firearm misfire/backfire.
- Performing the very same action twice in a row cost 1 additional raise (e.g slashing with the same weapon twice in a row costs 2raises but one slash with your rapier and another with your dagger each cost one). The exception to this rule is brawling as you use your fists, legs, knees, elbows and so on).
- Brawn 4 gives you +1 slash** with melee weapons
- Finesse 4 gives you +1 parry**
- Wits 4 gives you the ability to gain 1 raise in a Dramatic Sequence when you are out of raises if you truly need it to succeed in exchange for a consequence (once per scene)
- Resolve 4 allows you to resist +1 wound per dramatic wound you can endure (instead of 4 wounds and then a dramatic wound, this is 5 wounds and then a dramatic wound)
- Panache 4 gives you the ability to create an opportunity that helps your group (except you) in a dramatic sequence (once per scene)
*All traits at 5 give the ability to reroll any single die once per round.
**Can only be used once per round
*Ranged weapons' bonus applies to every hit. Melee weapons' bonus are applied only once per round.
*Firearms no longer inflict an auto-dramatic wound.
- Fist: Normal damage.
- Bow: +1 damage, Longest range
- Crossbow: +1 damage that cannot be prevented, Long range, 1 raise to reload.
- One handed weapon(fencing or heavy) (Rapier, Cutlass, Axe(1h), sword(1h)): +1 slash and parry.
- Heavy weapons(two handed) (Axe, Long sword, Zweihander): +1 slash and parry, +2 to one die (cannot explode).
- Knife (Dagger, Main gauche): +1 slash or parry, Shortest range.
- Musket: Damage is equal to your Aim+2 wounds (plus extra raises) and half that damage cannot be prevented, Long range, Reload 5.
- Pistol: Damage is equal to your Aim+1 wounds (plus extra raises) and half that damage cannot be prevented, Short range, Reload 5.
- Improvised weapons (Chairs, tables): 1 raise free opportunity/consequence against the target (a consequence may be: your opponent needs to spend 1 raise to recover from the stun caused from a chair to his head for instance).
- Slash and Parry are not manoeuvres anymore. Anyone can use it. The rate is: 1 raise = 1 damage in case of Slash or 1 parry in case of Parry.
- Duelist's manoeuvres can only be used ONCE per round.
- When damage is halved (e.g weaponry/2), it is always rounded up.
- Any character may use defensive manoeuvres out of turn spending raises as normal.
- Feint: Spend raises for damage. 1 raise = 1 damage. Your opponent must prevent all damage or cannot be prevented. Additionally, your target will receive additional wounds equal to the number of raises you spent for damage, even if the opponent prevented all damage, and up to your Wits next time he is wounded. This can be exploited by anyone, not just the duelist. E.g: Feint 3 uses 3 raises and does 3 damage. If you have Wits 2, you will do +2 damage next time you wound your target but if you have Wits 3, you will do +3 damage.
- Bash: Spend raises for damage. 1 raise = 1 damage. Your opponent may prevent it but for every wound he receives, he will get a reduction of -1 damage up to your Brawn. This reduction must be paid before it wears off as damage or raises. E.g: A(Brawn 3) bashes B for 3 damage and B decides not to prevent it. B gets a -3 damage. If B spends 1 raise to slash A, there will still be a -2 damage left to pay.
- Riposte: Split your weaponry between parry and slash. You prevent a number of wounds equal to the dots you put into parry and you inflict as many wounds as dots split into slash. There cannot be a difference of 4 or more and you must put at least 1 dot in Parry AND slash. If you have weaponry 1, you cannot perform Riposte. E.g: Eric slashes Jon for 3 damage. Jon (weaponry 5) Ripostes. He puts 3 dots in Parry and 2 in slash, leaving him with a Riposte of 3/2.
- Lunge: Spend raises for damage. You inflict as many wounds as raises+ weaponry/2. Next time you could use raises to defend yourself, you cannot prevent any damage. Lunge's wounds can be prevented. If you used Lunge as your last action in a round, next round you won't be able to prevent wounds when you are hit. E.g: Eric (weaponry 3) Lunges. He spends 3 raises for damage so he inflict 3+2(weaponry 3/2 rounded up).
It gives everything the Advantage gives but the secret techniques for each School are changed as follows: Each school has an Advanced Technique(the first one), and a "Secret Technique"(the second one) that is learned when a student’s training is complete. Both the advanced technique and the Secret technique can only be used once per round, but the Secret Technique also requires a Hero Point when conditions are met.
Aldana (single rapier)
- Aldana Ruse: use feint, following wounds are increased by Panache/2.
- Dancer's Steps: activate to steal a raise from your opponent's risk pool at the beginning of a round.
Ambrogia (left handed Rapier & Dagger)
- Veronica's Twist: Whenever your opponent does not reduce all the wounds you inflict, you may inflict additional wounds up to your Wits/2.
- Veronica’s Guile: Build your risk pool for a round using Finesse + Wits + Weaponry.
Boucher (One or two knives/daggers)
- Boucher Step: add your ranks in Weaponry/2 as raises to determine your initiative only. You cannot spend these raises as actions.
- Distract: Prevent opponent from using either the Parry or Riposte manoeuvre when you inflict wounds.
Donovan (One handed longsword)
- Bulwark: You don't need to spend a raise to protect an ally and when you parry, you add Resolve/2 to the amount of wounds you prevent when an attack is made against you or against another ally within reach.
- Interrupt: Act before an opponent when they have more raises than you.
• It has three changeable stances. Each round you may choose a stance, but to change stances within a round costs one raise.
- Bittner: You add Resolve/2 when you prevent wounds, but attacking costs double.
- Metzger: Add raises to your pool equal to wits, but only for initiative. Parry costs double.
- Gerbeck: lose 1 raise from risk pool; deal +1 damage with any offensive action.
- Terrify: Give yourself a fear rating equal to your rank in weaponry for one round.
Eisenfaust (1 handed heavy weapon(sword, axe) & panzerhand)
- Iron Reply: Replaces Riposte but Resolve/2 is added to Parry and Brawn/2 to Slash.
- Iron Fist: Spend raise to take hold of and break (if it can be broken) an opponent's weapon. You can only use it after you have prevented all damage from any attacking action from your opponent.
Leegstra (two one handed heavy weapons (swords, axes))
- Leegstra's Crash: attack manoeuvre that deals Brawn/2 wounds.
- Steadfast: Prevent wounds equal to your Resolve without spending a Raise.
- Mantovani Flay: Inflict one wound. Choose a Manoeuvre you know you target can use. You prevent him from using it this round.
- Ensnare: Spend a raise to pull your opponent off their footing; deal 1 wound, and remove one raise from their pool as they recover.
Mireli (One-handed fencing/heavy weapon, single or dual(sabre, cutlass, hatchet))
- Whirl: when dealing wounds to brute squads, you hit as many brutes as your weaponry/2.
- Mireli's Revision: Perform a chosen manoeuvre twice in a round.
Sabat (one handed heavy weapon (sabre))
- Sabat Gambit: Replaces Lunge; adds Finesse/2 to Lunge's damage.
- Exchange: Use when you suffer wounds; force your opponent to suffer the same amount.
Torres (Rapier & Cloak)
- Matador's Flourish: Use Parry or Riposte, you add Athletics/2 to the number of wounds you prevent.
- Bait: Use the Riposte manoeuvre, your slash deals wounds equal to Wits + the number of Wounds you prevent.
Valroux (Rapier & Main Gauche(left))
- Valroux Cross: You Parry wounds equal to your Weaponry/2 and choose a manoeuvre you know your opponent can use; he must spend an additional raise to use any other manoeuvre next time he acts.
- Dizzying Display: Eliminate from your opponent’s risk pool any dice showing lower than your Panache. You can use this after you roll but without checking the opponent's roll.
NEW ADVANTAGE: Expert fighter (2 Points)
You wanted and needed to be stronger so you trained until you bled. Until your clothes, your sword and your soul were worn down. Now you have reaped the results.
When you buy this Advantage you can pick either of these two options:
- Pick either Aim, Brawl or weaponry. This choice cannot be changed. You gain a duelist manoeuvre that adapts to the skill you chose.
- Select a weapon for your off-hand(pistol, dagger, rapier, one-handed axe, etcetera). You become trained in fighting with that weapon in your off hand and you no longer need to spend an additional raise to fight with it. (This option can only be bought once)
This Advantage can be purchased multiple times. Each time you may select a new skill or gain a new manoeuvre for your previous skill.