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tundra2

duelling rules...

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 so i am gm'ing a game where the pcs are starting to move in the higher echelons of a hive world where disputes no matter how small the slight are to be dealt with by duelling... my difficulty is that with two characters facing off at approx. 20 yards the rules provided for ballistic tests mean a hit pretty much every time... in addition with the pcs on 20+ wounds a single shot from a pistol will not kill... so the question is how do you make duelling lethal...

my thoughts are that in combat pcs are constantly moving and are always trying to protect themselves whether twisting and dodging in hth or scampering from one cover point to the next in a shooting match... therefore your wounds count for more... in a duel you are standing still and have to wait for the potential kill shot... my thoughts were as follows...

in a duel pcs retain their toughness bonus...

bs tests are on normal bs... a miss is a miss... there are no bonuses as you are essentially staring death in the face... however you can choose to aim which may mean your opponent would have the opportunity to shoot first...

on a hit however damage is rolled normally with the toughness bonus reducing damage... any remaining damage goes onto the critical hit charts... 

i appreciate that this is rather serious but the "honour" of the duel would mean that they are tended to immediately with medicae... death woul be considered "improper"....

any comments on a postcard!!!

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I'd say give them a Dueling-Las Pistol from the Inquisitors Handbook (1d10+4E Pen 4 - Accurate & Tearing), so you can get some decent ranges of damage. Additionally, they would have no armor as it would not be sporting (so straight Toughness soak).

 

Wounds are defined generally as near direct hits, scrapes, yadda yadda - aka, they might wing someone more so than actually nail them. You could thus look at giving bonus damage because the targets are literally standing stock still - even in combat the "standing still" character is likely to be shifting balance, moving around in his 1m square, or what have you. However, if you just give the NPCs Health around the same as the PC's (or a tad more), it can become more stressful for the PC's. Yes, it might be incredibly likely that they are going to hit, but it comes down to who rolls the better dice, and whether they risk continuing another round.

Largely I would be careful with it - too much hamstringing will take away from the character. Someone that has become selected by the Inquisition because of their talents, and lets say in this case being an excellent shot, having faced combat and likely horrors of all types... Is not going to be very likely to suddenly freak out and not be able to properly aim in a duel. They will still have their talents.

What I personally would do is make it so those talents are either highlighted or it will get them in trouble - the Nobility is in the fashion of dueling, sure, but maybe they may elect a Champion. Thus the best Gunslinger in your group is going against one of the best Gunslingers in the entire hive, and they are going to be on equal footing (hell, you can roll him as a level appropriate PC if you want). Or if champions are not allowed, maybe the Nobility demands a duel with one of the less shooty characters. Or why limit it to pistols - perhaps they wish a duel with swords, and if your group is pre-power sword, the noble doesn't happen to make a distinction that he is bringing his own.

Or alternatively the duel itself isn't the dangerous part, but the outcome to the duel could be extremely hazardous to the health of the acolytes. Or the nobility, despite being an 'un-honorable' action sends mercenaries after the Acolytes anonymously as a result of their embarassment.

I would go with one of those, or give a bonus to damage (ex: count it as 2x wounds lost because you are not even attempting to avoid the shot). I prefer making it more reliant on the dice than taking away what they have earned thus far any distinguished themselves in doing.

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 Traditionally there were few fatalities since most pistols were rigged with half loads but if you want deadly duals I would suggest the following.

For the Duelling Las:
- Each duellist has the same initiative
- Aiming can add damage as per Accurate rule (+1d10 per 2 DoS but only when aiming)
- You split the round up in 2 parts  (half action, full action)
- If one duellist is dead or disabled before he shoots in that round he can't shoot anymore

Example:
Duallist A fires after a full action aim and B will fire after a half action Aim
B thus shoots first (in the first round), if he would kill/disable A his opponent (A) can't shoot anymore (next round)

So the longer you wait, the more chance of higher damage but more chance of being dead...

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The Accurate rules only apply when you use Aim with a Basic weapon. A pistol cannot achieve the extra dice damage, but still gets the benefit of +10BS, unless you are house ruling otherwise.

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Lots of good suggestions here. I'd like to add a moment of strategy, or at least choice, to the duel. Something to show the problem that it might be a good thing to shoot first to down the opponent before she gets a chance to fire. But it might also be a good thing to aim a bit, wait for the other person to miss her hurried shot and then take plenty of time to nail them. So I suggest this entirely untested system for pistol dueling.

Each player gets a dueling laspistol, or possibly a less deadly weapon if the matter is not to the death. If you want to be nasty, make the society use flintlock pistols for ritualised duels, the Pistol (primitive) talent is pretty rare with most players... Maybe make the hunt for a willing teacher before dawn tomorrow be a sidequest in itself? Overcharged plasma pistols will also shake things up a bit.

At start of the duel, both duelants players set aside a D10, they may choose what side is up and should keep the die hidden under a hand or similar. This die represents how much they hurry their shot, lets call it the Hurry-Die. Once both duelants have placed their Hurry-Die, they lift their hands at the same time to reveal their number.

The duelants initiative will be their usual modifiers (including appropriate talents and similar) but instead of the random D10, they will get the number of their Hurry-Die.

The duelants will roll to hit using their basic BS, no bonus for range, no aiming action allowed etc. The duelant add + 5 to their BS for each step below 10 that their player set their Hurry-Die for. So, lower Hurry-Die means a more precise shot, to the level of a nearly guaranteed hit for a good shooter. This is pretty much as it should be when you use a properly made pistol on a human sized target at a range of roughly 15 meters to make a rather unhurried shot.

Any Dodge action, armour or energy fields will be considered cheating and cowardice and thus forfeiting the duel dishonourably.

Any hit will do damage directly to the critical table, after reduction for TB. Fury of the Emperor should probably be available even for NPC duelants. Talents that modify crit damage or general damage are applied. True Grit will be extremely powerful, consider nerfing it to only reducing crit damage by 2 or simply remove it if you want to keep a realistic risk of the duel ending in a first turn kill.

Hit location is determined as usual.

A Called Shot is the only alternate action allowed. It reduces your initiative by 5 steps, as well as modifying your BS as usual.

After hits and damage are completed, the duelants will be given reloaded weapons and start over again if both are in unhurt condition or still able to stand up depending on the rules of the duel. The duelants may also be given a chance to surrender, apply bandages or maybe even stimpacks and other combat drugs, as appropriate of course. In a duel to the death the option to spare a disabled opponent may or may not be available.

This system should give the player a measure of choice over the situation. It leaves most combat talents and BS useful, makes even the first shot potentially deadly and removes many of the softer, random elements of a more mobile combat with cover. It should make for a tense scene.

Now you made me curious to run a duel...

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 Well, i've been looking at this one for a while now, trying to think of suggestions.  I was going to suggest melee duels (as usually those who are challenged get to define the parameters of a duel?) So make the dead-eye shots of your party have to go melee against someone.  

I was also going to suggest making the duels to first blood, or have highly specific rules and objectives to win a duel...but that really doesnt sound like much fun. 

SO, my christmas suggestion would be to use your GM powers and give them the a duelling pistol, same kind of qualities as other dueling pistols, only whip up a modified charge pack/round.  One shot that does obscene amounts of damage (2 or 3d10 +5 X, toxic?)  Coated with toxin or acid, or explosives, or explosive acid toxin.  As you said they were 'moving up' in society, so advanced experimental tech could be plausible for some bloodthirsty noble houses.  Obviously use of this round would be limited only to a duel scenario, and not otherwise available to anyone.  That way, you can leave all the shooting/initiative rules the same, and only have to buff the target's agility and BS to make them on a decent level to the PC gunslingers.  That way you could either have ultimate justice and have an NPC hit them with the super round first, or be kind and gentle and let them watch a duel before hand with the new round, watch some guy explode/die horribly.  

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 Alternatively, take a look at the Helpless modifier (someone standing up straight with no attempt to dodge at all sounds appropriately helpless to me) - it doubles the damage dice of the weapon.

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