Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dueling Dice in Swashbuckler!

I think I'm finally ready to share a few of my thoughts with the community. Keep in mind that what I show you in these previews may be tweaked slightly or complete rethought.

Dueling Dice
All player characters are accomplished swordsmen and begin play with 3 dueling dice. During each a duel round, these dice are allocated as thrusts, parries, or ripostes. As characters fulfill their passions, they will gain additional dueling dice. For each passion fulfilled, a character’s total dueling dice increases by 1.

Combat begins with each combatant splitting their dice between thrusts, parries, and ripostes. Both combatants then roll all of their thrusting dice. If any of the dice roll a 6, the thrust will land unless skillfully parried away. Each combatant then rolls his parrying dice. A parry is successful if the die rolls a 5 or a 6. A single successful thrust may only be opposed by one parrying die. For each successful party made during the round, a character can make one riposte, but no more than he has allocated dueling dice to riposting. A riposte hits if the die rolls a 4, 5, or 6. If the defender has additional parrying dice remaining, he may attempt to parry a riposte, as explained above. Should the parry succeed, the character may then repost back, as explained above. The cycle continues until the a combatant does not succeed his roll or a combatant runs out of relative dice.

If a combatant runs out of parry dice or his parry does not succeed, he is struck. Each time a character is struck, he temporarily looses one dueling die. What a character has no more dueling dice available to him, he dies. Dueling dice lost in this way return as a rate of 1 die per week.


  1. I like the way the dice simulates a gritty sword fight and am interested to see how you handle passions, which appears to be some kind of combined mission-objective/hit-dice(?) metric. If all these scale linearly won't it will make combat exceptionally deadly? Unless you keep it all within a narrow value range, of course.

  2. Yes, combat is deadly. But a character will rarely be taken out in one round by a higher level opponent and cannot be taken out in one round by a lower level opponent. Most combats will not, as imagine, result in death, but rather surrender or fleeing. I'll talk more about passions late, which is a bit of a place holder term. Here are other ways to gain additional dueling dice, as well, that will discuss in future updates.

  3. A little complex, but since the result is interesting, that's not a bad thing. Pretty clever game mechanic for dueling!

  4. I think if I describe the mechanic better, it will be a lot easier to follow. I'm posting sections right out of my notes--they aren't exactly in any presentable form.

    I didn't a small playtest last night, running a few mock combats, and the system worked really well. The longest battle took no more than 7 or 8 minutes. What I was trying to do was to make player choices in combat actually matter. There's more strategy than "I run up and hit the goblin," something I think is missing for D&D.

    Most duels lasted only a single round. After that, one of the combatants usually gave up because he was severely disadvantaged. Once you're own one dueling die, you're in trouble we found out.