Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Test for online dueling mechanic

Well, the acupuncturist and I thought that our characters are compatible enough that our conversations and training would go on outside of the game. We were thinking of a blog and respond kind of interaction where I would set up an initial blurb and then the character dialogues would go on in the responses. We also thought that the "dueling" mechanic in L5R would work well in this situation, as all of us are trustworthy with the rolling, and most of it is "focus", "focus" ... a bunch of times til someone says "strike".

I will briefly review the technique for dueling here. I'll talk about issuing challenges and such later, but these will be strictly practice duels among friends for the purpose of training. I am also working out a dueling procedure that does not require swords (think of the duel between the two samurai using bamboo in The Seven Samurai). This will be in part a perception based duel, so that there could be subjectivity about the winner, there may be persuasion or courtier skills involved, or someone may choose to lose to give glory to a samurai in a higher station who is less skilled so as to curry favor (as opposed to curry chicken, which is much tastier).

Anyway, here is how you iaijutsu duel: Roll Awareness/Iaijutsu (Assessment) vs TN of 5. (Remember, the parenthetical above is the emphasis that applies to the particular situation). If your roll is successful, you learn one item plus one per raise you made. You may also make raises to cancel out your opponent's successes, on a one raise to one cancellation basis. Here is what you can learn: Iajutsu Rank (or whatever skill is being used), Awareness, Reflexes, Agility, Void, Insight Rank, Void points remaining, or current wound level.

After this, you choose the trait your opponent will use for the duel. You may choose Agility, Reflexes, or Void (henceforth, this will be called the "Chosen Trait"). Then the "Focus" stage starts. The person with the higher assessment roll (whether they were successful or not) decides who focuses first. A character gains a point of honor for letting his opponent goes first (though not in practice duels, as nothing, not even reputation, is on the line). You may focus as many times as your Chosen Trait. Your base TN is 5; armor has no effect at this stage, and only TN bonuses that specifically apply to iaijutsu duels can work here.

You make a Chosen Trait/Iaijutsu roll vs that TN, if you succeed you may call focus, otherwise, you must call strike. If you succeed, both duelists TNs increase by 5, and it becomes the other persons turn to call focus or strike. Each successful focus reduces your focus pool by one. If your pool is zero, then you must call strike. You may spend a void point to increase your pool by one.

The opponent of the person who called strike gets to strike first, making a Reflexes/Iaijutsu (Strike) roll vs. the opponents Focus TN+Armor, with a free raise for each successful focus. Raises can only be used for called shots, extra damage, and reducing the TN to be hit. Called shots include shots for effect, like cutting off a topknot or suchlike. If the duel is to first blood, and the attack is successful, then that duelist has won (even if void or other damage nullifying effects reduce the damage to zero - the strike has hit but the effects cause nothing but a surface scratch - still a loss for the duelist who was struck). If he/she misses, then the person who called strike may attempt with the same conditions. If that person also misses, then it becomes a normal skirmish to first blood (or to the death if that was the condition of the duel).

There are a couple of other conditions, with spending void for extra damage on the strike, etc., but I will go over those another time. Keep in mind if you are dueling to the first blood, if you get hit and then strike, it is extremely dishonorable (minimum loss of 1 full rank of honor, if you can justify why you did it to the GM's satisfaction).


  1. Ayame will practice duel Shogo. Since my iaijutsu is fairly low, I am going to spend a void point on my Iai/Awa roll, and make 5 raises (within my max number). This means my TN is 30, I will tell you what I raised for in my next response (I wrote it down). I rolled a 35, so I succeeded. What is your move?

  2. My Iaijutsu is also fairly low, but I can substitute my Kenjutsu skill for my Iaijutsu (Mirumoto Bushi Rank 1: Daisho Technique). Since this is just a practice duel, Shogo will opt to practice his Iaijutsu skill (I'll use my natural Iaijutsu skill, not my Kenjutsu skill this time).

    I made 4 raises (incidentally my max number of raises, though you wouldn't normally know that) to learn Agility, Reflexes, Void, and Insight Rank. I needed to roll a 25 and rolled a 51.

    Since Shogo is impossibly honorable, he will let Ayame go first. (The fact that it speeds up the response times here doesn't hurt, either.)

    What traits did you want to know?

  3. Huh... just realized I can learn 5 traits, not 4 (it's one plus one per raise, not just one per raise). I'd also like to know Iaijutsu rank.

  4. Four of my raises were to deny you knowledge, 1 was to find out information, and I would like to know your agility and reflexes. You get to know one thing, which you can choose, but I think convention should dictate that we make our lists in order and then can report how many the other has actually gotten.

    Also, we are getting together at my place around 5:30 for video games and such - me, supergoober, and mentality, so if you can make it, your company would be most welcome.

    Oh, yeah, my agility is 3.

  5. Ha! I didn't know you could do that. Both my agility and reflexes are 4.

    You go first; use your agility in this duel since it's not a stab in the dark.

    I'll see what my varied work schedules mean and be there if I can.

  6. I will choose agility for you as well (Mr. "I have a 4 in all relevant traits"). This means that my focus pool is 3, and yours is 4. Each time we focus, expend one from the focus pool. You may spend a void point to increase your focus pool by one. If your focus pool reaches zero and it is your turn, you must call strike. The only way to augment a roll is to expend one focus from your pool to receive a +5 on your focus roll (only one point per roll - period, no exceptions). You may not spend a void point to augment your rolls (though you can spend a void to add a focus to your pool, and then spend that to get +5).

    Akemi will call focus, and (surprise, surprise) I hit the TN of 5. My focus pool is now two. (fortunately the roll I got happened on the TN of 5; I rolled a 6-4-2-1-1 for a total of 12; not my most stellar roll.)

    Shogo's turn, his and my TN are 10 right now. Should he call focus (of course) and succeed (also of course), both our TNs increase to 15.

    His trait gives him a distinct edge.

    BTW, I tried this with supergoober (live) yesterday, and the mechanic works really well - though our duel to the death resulted in my reducing him to unconciousness in one hit (effectively, I will give you the details later).

  7. Shogo does indeed focus, and rolls 35. Our TNs are now 15. Your turn.

  8. Focus, My pool is down to 1,rolled 27, our TNs are now 20. Your turn

  9. That duel (for those of you following along at home) resulted in Shogo and Akemi both missing one another.

    Another duel, Professor? I'm around here for at least an hour.