Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Duels in By This Axe

Playtesting is not only vital design work, it can be—nay should be--fun.

At least I thought so yesterday with the playtest battle (session report later) of By This Axe I Rule that see-sawed over my kitchen table yesterday. Besides the inevitable clarification, vetting, and streamlining, I came out of the experience with some add-ons: notably a mini-game to simulate more of the flash and dance of the kind of mano-et-mano combat one would associate between Swords & Sorcery heroes.

Posted here in lieu of emailing the myriad folks who have the 0.4 playtest pdf.

In the Duel Phase, any player's character may challenge any opposing character within 9 inches to personal combat. A character can refuse a challenge, but must suffer the penalties below. A challenging character can also force a duel on a roll of 1, 2, or 3 if both characters are in units in contact.

The first time a leader declines a challenge, he loses all leadership value for that turn only. He may not participate in an attack that turn. The declining leader may neither voluntarily move to a new unit, nor may he rally a unit during that turn. Thereafter, during the game, the declining leader may refuse personal challenges without penalty.

Duels are played in rounds until one (or both) characters are defeated or run away. A character may attempt to flee a duel on a d6 roll of 1, 2, or 3 beginning on the second round.

Each round the player secretly allots dice from his character's dice pool into three maneuver areas: attack, parry, and dirty tricks. Only one die can be allotted to dirty tricks. At least one die must be allotted to attack and parry. All maneuvers are considered simultaneous.

Character Dice Pool
Hero 4 dice
Superhero 8 dice
Champion 12 dice
Priest, Mage 3 dice
High Priest, Wizard 6 dice

When the round begins each player reveals the number of dice they have in each area.

Dirty tricks are resolved first. On a roll of 1-2 the player's opponent must forfeit two dice from their attack and/or defense pool for the round (3-6 has no effect).

Attack maneuvers come next and the player rolls the allotted dice. Each roll of 1-3 is counted as a hit.

After attacks, all parry dice are rolled. Each result of 1-3 negates a hit from an opponent. If a player rolls more parry successes than incoming hits they are allowed to roll one counterattack die (hit on 1-3, no chance at parry).

Armor saves are conducted as normal for all hits, but with one exception: the +1 modifier for Heroic status is ignored.