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Duel between Space Marines


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#1 Arkhan

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 05:50 AM

Greetings fellow Battle-Brothers,

 

I'm sorry if this topic has already been brought up, but I wanted to ask your opinion about duels between Space-Marines in general.

I know that the Imperial Fists chapter has a lot of duel fighting going on, but apart from that, I just don't know how common they are among other chapters and between marines of different origin.

The situation which raised the question is the following: Our Blood Angels Assault Marine and our Dark Angel Librarian had a disagreement on the topic of destroying dangerous knowledge (die AM destroyed cogitator banks which held information deemed dangerous for the imperium, which really upset the librarian). They could not settle their dispute verbally and agreed to fight a duel once their current mission is over.

Now for the question: how exactly are duels of such nature organized? Ceremonial robes and combat knifes? Other weapons as well? What about psychic powers (seeing that one participant is a librarian)? 



#2 Sanguinary Priest

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 06:18 AM

One of the more recent Blood Angel novels described a duel between a BA and Flesh Tearer.  Basically they fought without energized weapons (no power weapons or activated chainblades) and the duel was supposed to end with first blood and not death (i won't spoil the actual story of the duel but those were the "ground" rules).  Translated into DW rules, I'd say that a space marine duel would have to be between two unarmored marines armed only with simple weapons like combat blades, ceremonial swords, or deactivated chainswords (no extra damage dice ability is how i'd play that one).  They'd fight until "first blood" which would technically be the first time someone did enough damage to surpass a marine's toughness bonus.  whether or not they want to "pull" their punches by not using their full strength bonus to damage is something i'd leave up to the players and the GM.



#3 Fenrisnorth

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 06:46 AM

Recently we had a duel, no weapons, no armor, we fought until one person was no longer lightly damaged. or rather, that was the agreed upon stopping point. Eventually, it took so long, we got bored and called it a draw.



#4 Umbranus

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:28 AM

Arkhan said:

Now for the question: how exactly are duels of such nature organized? Ceremonial robes and combat knifes? Other weapons as well? What about psychic powers (seeing that one participant is a librarian)? 

I would handle a duell in which one is a dedicated melee specialist and the other a melee hybrid in one of the following ways:

  • with guns (Like duell laspistols) and no powers, no armour
  • with knifes and defencive powers, no armour
  • Everything goes, to death or surrender with armour and everything one wants to use.


#5 Arkhan

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 09:15 AM

Very good suggestions so far, thank you. I tend to go for the "no armour, only blades and defensive psychic powers allowed".

A pity that there seems to be so little official material regarding this topic. I'd love to know how common such duels are and if there is some kind of "official procedure" which all (loyalist) chapters accept.



#6 Santiago

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 09:39 AM

First blood sucks in a system in which whoever wins initiative prolly wins the dual so I would do it differently.
A dual should be a powerful roleplaying event which should be remebered by both players.

I would just make it a knife duel with no armour in which cases both should be about equal.
Every round you make normal attacks (multiple in case of swift attack/lightning attack), dodges count etc. but do not roll for damage but do count the DoS.
The first one to reach a preset amount of DoS wins the duel, also determine the end result (death, wounds, etc.)

Sounds boring, yes it is.
To solve this problem have players describe their actions, the flow of their blade, the look in their eyes, etc. and give them a +10% or +20% bonus depending on how impressive they are.

This way you can have a legendary duel the characters and players will talk about for ages to come....
 



#7 Arkhan

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 10:29 AM

That's also a great idea, but I kind of fear that only relying on melee weapons and DoS would give the Assault Marine a huge advantage. We are talking about Rank 2 charakters, so the Librarian has 1 attack vs the AMs 4. Librarian has a WS of about 50 against the AMs 70 (not including all his bonuses). It would be slaughter, not a duel.

This is the main problem I have. I know that canon suggests that marines have a certain affinity towards melee combat, so I tend to refuse all solutions including ranged weapons. That's somehow not astartes-like. But if I rule that the duel should be melee only, noone could challenge the AM, he would win every last duel throughout his whole career (he's the only AM in our kill-team).

That's because I like the idea of allowing psychic powers. I just hope that our tactical marine does never have to fight a duel. He's all BS so there's no way of even the odds for him...



#8 Larin

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 04:37 PM

You could steal an idea from the old "werewolf the apocalypse" game, and have any duel set up by an agreed upon third party (chaplin, maybe?) who is charged with coming up with a balanced challenge.  Anything from a sword duel, to wrestling, to an obsticle course, etc.  That way, it's up the to Emperor who is more right...



#9 Siranui

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 10:41 PM

Arkhan said:

That's also a great idea, but I kind of fear that only relying on melee weapons and DoS would give the Assault Marine a huge advantage. 

Less so than making it a normal duel and giving him three attacks to the Libby's 1.

I don't think Psyker abilities should be allowed. It's bringing a gun to a knife fight and means one side has access to a weapon the other doesn't have. Duels are supposed to be about testing a comparable skill.



#10 Arkhan

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:23 PM

Hmm I always saw space marine duels more as a divine way of testing who is right about a certrain matter. The one winning being the one with the emperor's blessing and therefore the one whose opinion is the right one. At least that's what this duel is about. Settling an arguement which could not be settled verbally.

So, as I already pointed out, from the canon perspective I totally agree that the duel should be melee and melee only, with nothing else involved, but from the player fairness perspective I don't want to put one specialization in such a favourable position. The AM (player) could begin to think that he can win arguements by calling out duel challenges when his opinion is not heeded. And the other players could feel disadvantaged, which they then actually are.



#11 bmaynard

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 04:23 AM

Historically, wasn't the one challenged allowed to determine the type of duel?

I'd think that'd keep the Assault Marine from running around challenging everyone just because he has more attacks / better WS. Maybe call it a contest of arms instead of a duel. They can levy challenges to determine who is right in a given situation, but whoever is challenged can always pick a contest that plays to their strengths. From a test of marksmanship ( setup a small firing range with targets that pop out at varying intervals, whoever hits the most in the course of the event wins) to bare-armed wrestling (there are grapple rules I think) to a contest of endurance like a race (someone has to fail a toughness test eventually), to a fight with blades like has been mentioned so far (there's nothing stopping you from telling them to limit their characters to just their statline, ignoring abilities, for the duration of the knife fight. It's a solemn enough affair.)

Would give a wider variety of options and keep things from being just brother on brother violence.



#12 Siranui

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 05:28 AM

 Depends on the era/culture, but there's a lot to be said for allowing the challenged some leeway as to the type of duel, or some degree of choice. That said, it needs to be a choice that both can participate in, and it needs to be viable. I know it might be 'fairer' to settle matters another way, but I personally struggle to think of a way that Marines would duel that's not hand-to-hand in some way.

Although, I imagine that every Chapter has it's own little duelling methods, and there's good ground there for giving the 'defender' who chooses the methodology a WS advantage (or their foe as disadvantage) due to familiarity with the specifics. ie: Imperial Fists duel in a specific manner, so I'd have no qualms about giving anyone not used to that specific style a -10WS penalty in the duel.



#13 harlokin

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:08 AM

Arkhan said:

Hmm I always saw space marine duels more as a divine way of testing who is right about a certrain matter. The one winning being the one with the emperor's blessing and therefore the one whose opinion is the right one. At least that's what this duel is about. Settling an arguement which could not be settled verbally.

Hmmm, each to their own I suppose.

To my mind, most marines would see duels as a tests of swordsmanship, marksmanship, strength etc, and little more. There is honour in victory, but it is not a sign of the Emperor's favour, who most Astartes do not regard as divine in any case.



#14 Arkhan

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:42 AM

Yeah, I know most see the emperor as a mighty father figure, but they nevertheless believe in his ability to strengthen them with his blessing, which can be earned by achieving valorous deeds. So it's not far fetched that the winner of a duel is the one deemed worthier by the emperor. Otherwise he wouldn't have won.

But I am pretty certain that duels between space marines are fought for both reasons. They have to constantly hone their skills, so while not on a mission I recon that fighting a brotherly duel against a fellow marine is pretty common on an astartes battleship.

The other reason is at least common with the Imperial Fists chapter. As I posted before, because there is so little official material on that matter I expanded that to marines in general. Looking at the Dark Angels/ Space Wolfes background in the DW core rulebook there has to be some dueling going on (yeah I know that one is for historical reasons).

But honestly, imagine the case when you have two battle-brothers of different chapters who have contrary views on a matter both deem very important (being the case in my group at the moment). How would you think superhuman soldier-monks like space marines would settle such affair? Certainly not by playing cards or drinking contests (space wolves perhaps *lol*).



#15 At Last Forgot

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:19 AM

 We have a Dark Angels Techmarine and a Space Wolves Devastator in our group, and we ruled that our duel was as follows:

Unarmed, Unarmored (As much as the Techmarine can be), in a ring 5m Radius. The players could perform all normal combat actions, it started with punches and then they got frustrated and grappled until one of them got a pin for long enough to win enough degrees on their opposed strength check (with a penalty due to the other's weight) to push them out of the ring, as per grappling rules in the Core Book. Fate Points were spent, bets were placed, and it was a good time all around. The Devastator eventually shoved the Dark Angel out of the ring but it was an honorable contest.

We ruled that the Dev was automatically the Kill-Team leader for that mission, since he had demonstrated such skill and tenacity. The part we found most difficult was actually trying to come up with something to wager on the outcome. I think we settled at Chapter Trappings, i.e. whoever lost the bet could not wear their Trappings on the next mission.

Admittedly, if my Blood Angels Assault Marine had been in the combat it would likely have been less of an extended affair and probably less climactic. But in my mind, if a non-melee class and a melee class duel each other... it will probably end like that more often than not. It just agrees with my intuition that the duels have to be skill at basic weapons or hand-to-hand, and Assault Marines have an advantage there. It's a conundrum to make it climactic.



#16 Ariolan

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:41 AM

Well, I GMed a duel last month. It was a librarian against a tech Marine, and they used it to settle a dispute. I figured with all the different, highly weaponized cultures coming to a crucible in the Deathwatch, DW is bound to have rules for that.

  • Interestingly, in a sparr or non-lethal duel, you have the reverse situation from actual combat. You do not want to kill or maim your opponent, which especially in the DW would be frowned upon as this could create some bitter resentments from future guys to come to the DW.

So, fighting someone from another chapter probably is a lot more ritualized than fighting within your chapter. I figured there's a duel ring -hall somewhere. Then, the duelling must be pretty ritualized and permission to participate is required at least from your captain, more likely from the watch commander. In the long months of transfer to missions or hangin' out on the fortress, the natural aggression of these guys, player or otherwise, must be reigned. So I went with a duel ring, using only the Astartes Dagger and both combatants wearing only a tunic. Within the duel ring, only certain moves are allowed (essentially the Lore Skill gotten at creation teaches the characters which one) and per game effect that means you can not use any real maneuvers that require any sort of talent or skill. Basically, the ritual reduces both characters to their basic WS and S with an Astartes Knife and nothing more. No psi, no cyber, no four attacks.

Here comes the tricky bit - if you roll a "10", then this will be automatically a confirmed righteous fury unless you successfully roll WS. Seriously maiming a fellow space marine is followed by penitence and killing a fellow brother will result in shameful discharge from the Deathwatch. Fate can be used to pull your swings.

(So yes, fighting in the Duel ring is more dangerous than without, but levelled).

Brothers seeking permission to fight in the Ring more than once or twice during their stay with the Deathwatch are ordered to sessions with the Chaplains - after all, the true enemies of the Empire do not lie in waiting with the Deathwatch.

So, in summary

  • can only use dagger and tunic
  • no talents, no psi, no cyber - only basic S and WS
  • requires Captains permission
  • automatic confirmed righteous fury
  • critical hit results in Reputation loss (D10) and pennance, killing a fellow space Marine in expulsion
  • Can only duel once or twice per tour of duty (alternative: once per level).
  • Can not disengage (small circle)
  • Hitting a brother that has yielded results in Reputation loss and pennance.

All the best, hope you like some of these ideas,

 

Ariolan

 

 



#17 Arkhan

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 11:40 PM

That are some really nice ideas, thank you all. I think I'll go with Ariolan's suggestions, because that way much of the AM's advantage is taken away and everey specialization has a decent chance of winning such a duel.

As for the setting, I think I'll let it take place in a ritual duel chamber not unlike the ones of the Imperial Fists, with seats for fellow marines who want to watch or serve at witnesses. I'll also rule that a marine of the rank of watch captain has to be present and serve as a kind of referee, proclaiming the winner and making sure everyone plays by the rules. This captain is forbidden to be of the chapters of the duelists, so that no one may claim the decision was biased. 

We have an apothecary in our group who I will ask if he wants to serve as a medical attendant who can see to the injuries after the duel.

I'll take the astartes combat knife and ceremonial robes as outfit, that fits the canon and looks cool. I'll also think about employing servitors or serfs chanting a kind of ceremonial song, whose rhythm determines when and how the marines may strike at their opponent (this being the explanation for all the restrictions).

We're still some time away from completing our mission objectives, but when it happens, I'll fill you in how it went. If anyone has any new ideas until then, I'd love to hear them ;)



#18 Siranui

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 12:27 AM

Arkhan said:

 I'll also think about employing servitors or serfs chanting a kind of ceremonial song, whose rhythm determines when and how the marines may strike at their opponent (this being the explanation for all the restrictions).

I really like this idea.

Aren't robes going to get in the way a bit? Surely more traditionally homo-erotic loincloths or similar and oily bodies are the way forward!



#19 Arkhan

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 04:47 AM

Ah, I understand, and I guess the combat knifes could be left out as well in favour of another kind of 'stabbing'

This begins to remind me of the space marine sexualtiy thread in one of the sub-forums so let's ban those images from our mind before I slip on my own vomit



#20 pearldrum1

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 11:11 PM

So, I am curious how this ended up working out for you?






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