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house_rules:dueling

Duelling

Five Rings, Five Rolls!

Dueling TLDR

Once the challenge has been issued and accepted, the time of the duel has come, and the pre-duel procedures and rituals have been completed (assuming there is time - battlefield duels seldom allow for such niceties), the duelists face one another in accordance with hallowed tradition, each focusing mind, body and spirit to prove their righteousness with a superior strike.

Who strikes first is decided by a series of five contested rolls, each drawing upon a trait associated with a different Ring. The duelist who wins three or more of these rolls strikes first; in a duel to first blood, this is sufficient for victory, assuming that they hit. In a duel to submission or death, if the opponent survives the strike, they will hopefully be hampered by wounds when they strike back.

The duel takes place across three combat rounds - Assessment, Focus, and then Strike. For a battlefield duel, or in other circumstances where precise timing is relevant, this is of course highly important. For a formal duel in safe surroundings, the first and second rounds of the duel may take considerably more time IC by agreement of the duelists’ players (the famous first duel of Kakita and Mirumoto Hojatsu lasted a full day, concluding with a mutual concession and no strike). However, for mechanical purposes such as the expenditure of Void points and the benefits of Centre Stance, they are still considered a single round each.

Each roll its own associated emphasis, making the available emphases for the iaijutsu skill now Assessment, Composure, Focus, Draw, Defence, and Strike.

Round 1 - Assessment

The first round of the duel is one of Air against Earth, as the duelists take their stances and examine that of their opponent, each seeking to discern their opponent’s moves and intentions while remaining inscrutable themselves. At the beginning of the round, the duelists enter Centre Stance and may adopt one kata of their choice as a free action. As usual, Centre Stance grants its bonus only on the following round (round 2), unless the duelist has the Kakita Bushi rank 5 technique.

The duelists then make the first two opposed rolls of the duel: each makes a Contested Roll of his or her Iaijutsu (Assessment)/Awareness, adding his or her ranks in Investigation as a static bonus to the roll (e.g. 3 ranks provides a +3 bonus), against the opponent’s Iaijutsu (Composure)/Willpower. The opponent adds his or her ranks in Etiquette as a static bonus to the roll.

As well as counting towards the outcome of the duel, these contested rolls provide the opportunity for each duelist to gauge his or her opponent’s skills and style, granting knowledge of their capabilities and allowing a better-judged strike.

If a duelist wins his or her Iaijutsu (Assessment)/Awareness roll, then for every full 10 points by which he or she did so, he or she gains a Free Raise towards his or her Strike roll. The maximum number of Free Raises he or she may gain from this roll is equal to his or her ranks in Awareness. For instance, if Mirumoto Mike is duelling Kakita Kate and rolls 39 on his Assessment to her 29, he gains one Free Raise. If his dice explode massively and he instead rolls 70 to 29, then if his Awareness is 4 or greater, he gains four Free Raises; if his Awareness is 3, he instead gains three Free Raises.

If a duelist wins his or her Iaijutsu (Composure)/Willpower roll, then for every full 10 points by which he or she did so, he or she gains +3 ATN against his or her opponent’s Strike roll. The maximum ATN bonus he or she may gain from this roll is equal to three times his or her ranks in Willpower. This ATN bonus only applies against the opponent’s Strike roll in this duel, and does not remain in effect if the duel then becomes a skirmish.

In addition, whether a duelist wins or loses their Assessment roll, a roll with a total of (5 + the opponent’s Insight Rank x 5) or more on that roll will reveal one of the following pieces of information, of that duelist’s choice:

  • The opponent’s Void.
  • The opponent’s Agility.
  • The opponent’s Reflexes.
  • The opponent’s Willpower.
  • The opponent’s Perception.
  • The opponent’s Iaijutsu ranks.
  • The opponent’s Iaijutsu emphases (if any).
  • What kata the opponent presently has active (if any).
  • The opponent’s remaining Void points.
  • The opponent’s current Wound Level.

Every additional 5 points reveals an additional piece of information from this list.

At the end of the Assessment round, either duelist may choose to concede if they judge their opponent to be superior. This is considered losing the duel and carries all the same consequences, but is an honourable act (granting the Honour gain due for “Acknowledging a superior opponent” on the table in the 4e corebook, page 94), with no stigma of shame or cowardice attached.

Round 2 - Focus

The second round is a contest of spirit and nerve, Void against Void and Fire against Water. The duelists study one another carefully, alert for the slightest hint of faltering or distraction, poised to draw and strike in a moment of weakness before their opponent can react.

The duelists remain in Centre Stance, gaining the benefits of the previous round’s Centre Stance and contributing this round’s bonus towards the third and final round of the duel. They then make the third, fourth and fifth rolls of the duel.

First, the third roll, a Contested Roll of Iaijutsu (Focus)/Void. Each duelist may add their ranks in either Meditation or Tea Ceremony as a static bonus to the roll. If the winner of this roll won by 10 or more, then for every full 10 points by which he or she did so, he or she gains a Free Raise towards his or her Strike roll. The maximum number of Free Raises he or she may gain from this roll is equal to his or her ranks in Void.

They then make the final two rolls of the duel, each making a Contested Roll of Iaijutsu (Draw)/Agility against their opponent’s Iaijutsu (Defence)/Perception. They may add their ranks in Kenjutsu as a static bonus to the Draw roll, and their ranks in Defence as a static bonus to the Defence roll.

If a duelist wins his or her Iaijutsu (Draw)/Agility roll, then for every full 10 points by which he or she did so, he or she gains a Free Raise towards his or her Strike roll. The maximum number of Free Raises he or she may gain from this roll is equal to his or her ranks in Agility.

If a duelist wins his or her Iaijutsu (Defence)/Perception roll, then for every full 10 points by which he or she did so, he or she gains +3 ATN against his or her opponent’s Strike roll. The maximum ATN bonus he or she may gain from this roll is equal to three times his or her ranks in Perception. This ATN bonus only applies against the opponent’s Strike roll in this duel, and does not remain in effect if the duel then becomes a skirmish.

Round 3 - Strike

On the third round of the duel, the critical moment arrives and the duelists strike with blinding speed, each seeking to be the first to cut or slay their opponent. Whichever duelist has won more rolls over the course of the duel strikes first, making a Iaijutsu (Strike)/Reflexes attack roll against his or her opponent’s ATN as modified by the previous rolls, with any Free Raises he or she may have accumulated. This is a normal melee attack with a katana and benefits from any effects that modify such, although it is not considered part of a skirmish. Striking is considered to use up all of the duelist’s actions for the round. The duelist making the first strike is considered to have the higher Initiative for the purpose of techniques that check for this.

In a duel to first blood, the first duelist to successfully hit their opponent has drawn first blood and is the victor (regardless of whether their strike dealt damage - even the most superficial cut is considered decisive in a duel to first blood). If the first strike hits, the duel is over. If the first strike misses, the other duelist may strike back in the same fashion; if this strike hits, the duel is likewise over. If both miss, then the duel becomes a regular skirmish, as below.

Striking after first blood is considered grossly dishonourable and an insult to the sacred art of iaijutsu, constituting a Blasphemous Breach of Etiquette. Likewise, inflicting notable injury with the first strike is considered evidence of either malice or incompetence, and highly dishonourable either way: a Major or Blasphemous Breach of Etiquette, depending on the severity of injury, with the potential for criminal charges depending on the circumstances. (Naturally, striking after first blood and seriously injuring or killing one’s opponent is even worse than either alone.)

In a duel to submission or death, if the loser survives the winner’s strike (either because it missed or because the damage was insufficient to incapacitate or kill them), the duel goes on and they may strike back in the same fashion as above.

Once both duelists have resolved their Strikes, if the duel has not yet been resolved by the death, collapse or concession of either duelist, each duelist who successfully inflicted damage on their opponent may spend any number of Void points to inflict further damage, at 1k1 wounds per Void point spent. This represents a wound whose full severity is not felt until after both duelists have struck (as a iaijutsu strike is notoriously swift). Reduction does not apply to this damage, though it can be reduced by spending Void as normal. It is possible that both duelists will die from this, resulting in a kharmic strike. In a duel to first blood, this is considered intentionally inflicting injury, with the consequences noted above.

As noted above, regardless of the outcome, the act of Striking is considered to use up all of the combatants’ actions for the round.

If the Strike phase concludes with both duelists still alive and fighting, the duel becomes a skirmish.

Skirmish

If the Strike phase does not settle the duel, either because both duelists missed in a duel to first blood, because neither was incapacitated in a duel to submission, or because both survived in a duel to the death, the duel becomes a regular skirmish. Both duelists adopt Stances and roll Initiative, and the combat proceeds as normal. Both duelists are considered to have been in Centre Stance on the previous round and enjoy the associated benefits.

Other Rules Changes

Naturally, some schools, paths and other rules elements must be changed in order to function or remain balanced under the new system.

Skills and Mastery Abilities

Kenjutsu

The arts of Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu have been closely intertwined since the dawn of the Empire, and iaijutsu is fundamentally an art of the sword. While some samurai - particularly those of unconventional families such as the Moto, who often prefer the scimitar to the katana - may choose to master Kenjutsu without any particular attention to iaijutsu, no samurai can claim to be a master of the duel without great skill in using the blade once it has been drawn. In order to buy a new rank of Iaijutsu, your rank in Kenjutsu must be no more than 2 less than your new iaijutsu rank. For instance, you would need Kenjutsu 3 in order to buy Iaijutsu 5, and Kenjutsu 5 in order to buy Iaijutsu 7.

  • Rank 5 mastery ability now reads “when rolling damage dice with a sword, the first 1 per die may be rerolled, as with an Emphasis.” The other Kenjutsu Mastery Abilities remain the same.

Iaijutsu

  • Rank 5 mastery ability now reads “The character gains a +1k0 bonus to all Contested Rolls using Iaijutsu.”
  • Rank 7 mastery ability now reads “When rolling Iaijutsu (Assessment) in a duel, the character learns additional facts about his or her opponent equal to his or her ranks in Awareness, even if he or she did not meet the TN to learn anything.”

Kata

  • Empire Rests On Its Edge: Now applies only to Kenjutsu and iaijutsu attack rolls, thus applying to the Strike roll but not any of the preceding rolls. However, it no longer increases the cost of the associated skill.

Advantages

  • Heart of Vengeance: Now grants +1k1 to attack rolls against the targeted group, and +1k1 to contested rolls against being influenced by members of that group (e.g. Etiquette rolls vs Temptation or Intimidation, Investigation vs Sincerity, etc). It is therefore not applicable in duels.
  • Inheritance: The bonus from Inheritance items is not applicable in iaijutsu duels.

Base School Changes

Kakita Bushi

  • Rank 1: The bonus of +1k1 + School Rank applies to the Assessment, Focus, and Draw rolls (not Composure or Defense) in an Iaijutsu duel.
  • Rank 3: In an Iaijutsu duel, when gaining Raises towards your Strike roll from your Assessment, Focus, or Strike roll, or bonuses to your ATN from your Composure or Defence roll, you gain a bonus for every full seven points by which you win the roll, rather than every ten points.

Mirumoto Bushi

  • Rank 2: Add “When you take an action to draw your katana, you may draw your wakizashi in the same action.” Existing text unchanged. (Clarification: this will apply to all Iaijutsu rolls made during a duel.)

Shiba Bushi

  • Rank 1: Unchanged.

Path Changes

Calm Heart Duelist

  • No change.

Crab Defender

  • No change.

College of Clarity

  • The bonus for expending your focus on a iaijutsu roll is now +1k0 + your Fire Ring.

Disciples of Sun Tao

  • The bonus continues to apply to all iaijutsu rolls, but is now equal to half the user’s Honour rank (rounded down).

Doji Warrior-Poet

  • No change.

Hojatsu’s Legacy

  • At the beginning of the Assessment round of a iaijutsu duel, before the duelists have made their Assessment rolls, you may spend a Void Point as a Free Action to force a Contested Kenjutsu/Fire roll with your opponent. If you win the roll, your opponent may not spend Void Points on contested Iaijutsu rolls in this duel.

Kenburo’s Way

  • Applies to all Iaijutsu rolls during the Assessment and Focus rounds.

Kitsuki Justicar

  • You may now add twice your Investigation skill rank to your Assessment roll during a iaijutsu duel, instead of your base Investigation skill rank. You gain a bonus of +1k0 to all Focus, Draw and Defence rolls against an opponent who has been decreed guilty of a crime by a Dragon Clan or Imperial authority higher than yourself, and you gain +1k0 to all Investigation or Hunting rolls made to hunt such guilty targets.

Saigo’s Blades

  • At the beginning of the Assessment phase of a iaijutsu duel, you may choose to add your ranks in Intimidation or Sincerity (your choice) to your contested iaijutsu rolls for the round. If you do this, lose Honour as though you had rolled Intimidation or Sincerity (Deceit) respectively.

Advanced School Changes

Kenshinzen

  • Rank 2: Your dice explode on a roll of 9 or 10 when rolling Assessment, Focus and Draw.

Mirumoto Swordmaster

  • Rank 2: When spending a Void point to augment a Iaijutsu roll in a duel, you gain an additional +1k1.
house_rules/dueling.txt · Last modified: 2016/11/07 01:58 by gm_saelvarath