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Western Hero Duel Rules - comments and improvements requested


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I am trying to simulate an old west duel. The idea is to resolve this in stages, the Face Off, the Stare-Down and the Draw.


When the fighters enter the Clinch, each is considered to have a held action resolved by either drawing the weapon or quick drawing their weapon skill v.s. skill style. If one person does not have quick draw they have a -4 penalty when resolving the skill v.s. skill check.


Face Off:

The fighters square off against each other and reveal their intended weapon for the fight.


In this phase both make a presence attack. they gain +1 to their draw for every two points of success.

The participants in the duel assign their skill levels. This is also the last chance to submit/surrender/end the duel peacefully


This is also the time that one of the participants may try to bluff the other person into drawing first, usually so they can claim self defense. This is a bluff attempt that is strongly affected by the Clinch presence attack.

Draw has handled skill v.s. skill. If the winner beats the opponent by five or more, the opponent's weapon is still holstered and is considered covered by the winner. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

So, question. 


Is there a "fire" phase after the draw phase, or is the actual shot abstracted into the draw? Basically, if you win on the draw, you've won the duel?


Also, I'm not sure that the bluff opportunity is necessary; if two gunslingers face off at noon, arms akimbo, I don't think claiming self-defense is feasible. People have seen duels before, yes? I don't think anyone is going to be confused, they know what's happening. 


This is cool though. I'd be interested to hear how it shakes out in playtesting.

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  • 6 months later...

I'd say this is a good run down of how to mechanically work such a contest.  It's very similar to what I remember of the old Western Hero book's take on how to handle duels.  Similar rules are also forwarded in The Ultimate Martial Artist if I'm remembering correctly, as duels aren't restricted to just the Western genre or even to just guns.  Actually, now that I think about it, there's a "fight" scene in the movie My Name is Nobody that illustrates this sort of mechanic in a very, very one-sided duel. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

I suppose that works. Something about it isn't sitting right with me though. I agree that each character enters the dual with a "held" action. I would just combine the Face Off with the Stare Down. Having a non-combat skill count for "covering" just seems to diverge just a bit too much from standard Hero combat.


Face Off/Stare Down: Pre attacks vs. Pre attack with all factors thrown in like reputation, some sort of Pre bought to resist Pre attacks or some such. 


Draw: Quickdraw roll vs. Quickdraw roll to see who fires first, unless the Pre attack causes a hesitation. If neither contestant has Quickdraw, then it takes the 1/2 phase to draw and 1/2 phase to shoot. Combat proceeds as normal Hero rules. Just because one of the contestants has initiative doesn't mean he has the skill/fortune to take advantage of it.


I think that duels are, by the very nature of two people deliberately placing themselves in the position to shoot each other, precludes self defense. Or rather, whomever is the righteous contender will have been established before the duel. If the two contestants are complete unknowns to the bystanders, I don't think that either will be considered "in the right."


The real question, since cinematically both duelists usually end up drawing and shooting, is what happens when the inevitable faster draw misses and the other guy is still wrestling his sidearm out of the holster? I imagine that combat would proceed as normal with the duel devolving into a standard combat. It would really suck to be the guy that had to take full phase (due to not having/missing his Quickdraw and possible Presence attack). If he is lucky, he has the higher Speed and can recoup that disadvantage as the combat turn rolls around. If not, the faster draw will have at least one more chance to gun him down.


Just my own take on it. 

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  • 8 months later...

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