Duels (and minor skirmishes involving a few characters) are a common event in the rough and tumble world of the 17th century Caribbean. Even if you intend to play a peaceful or more cerebral character, you would be well advised to develop at least a minimal amount of martial ability in your character. It can also be wise to cultivate at least one companion who is capable of dishing out some pain. The combat system in P&T2 is not forgiving, fighting duels at a numerical disadvantage will eventually see your character six feet under.
Duels in P&T2 are turn-based the same way as the rest of the game; i.e., each character takes it in turn to carry out and resolve an action. We refer to a turn in a duel as a round.
At the start of each round, every character rolls for initiative, which determines the order in which they will act during the round. Characters with higher initiative (usually those with high agility) will tend to act earlier in the round. Characters that score a critical success may act more than once during a round; characters who fumble the score may end up not acting at all. It is thus possible for a character to have two (or more) consecutive actions without their opponents being able to respond.
During their turn, the character can typically do two things; change their defensive stance and carry out an action. Carrying out an action will always end that character's turn.
Each character is in a stance (or status). There are seven different stances.
|Normal||N/A||The default stance.|
|Disadvantaged||-1 to skills||The character has exposed themselves to attack.|
|Off-balance/Scrambling||-2 to skills||The character has come significantly off-balance, and is now very vulnerable.|
|Wide Open/Prone||-3 to skills||The character is completely unbalanced and/or prone on the floor. They are now wide-open to attacks. It is not possible to attack or carry out offensive actions while in this stance.|
|Defensive||+2 to defense||The character is in a defensive stance (e.g., en garde).|
|Offensive||+1 to skills||The character has gained an offensive advantage against their opponent(s), and is currently "controlling" the fighting.|
|Defeated||N/A||The character is defeated (incapacitated or dead).|
There are basically five types of actions in the dueling system:
- Attack Actions: These are actions that inflict direct damage on the target of the action.
- Maneuver Actions: These are actions that attempt to gain the acting character some kind of advantage over their opponent.
- Ready Actions: These are actions that allow you to ready a new weapon (or load a fired one).
- Recover Actions: Try to recover from a disadvantageous stance or fatigue.
- Give Up: Actions to end the duel.
The type of attack available to your character depends on what weapons they are currently wielding. Different weapons have different aspects.
|Punch||N/A||Unarmed||Standard unarmed attack (for humans)|
|Bash||+1 fatigue to target when hit||Blunt||The standard blunt attack. Most weapons can be used for bashing.|
|Stun||+1 fatigue to target when hit. Auto-hits head. -3 to hit, but +2 to damage.||Blunt||K/O attack. Inflicting damage to the head is the fastest way to defeat an opponent.|
|Slash||+1 to hit.||Edge||Standard edged attack.|
|Swing||-2 to hit. Attacks multiple opponents (if available)||Edge||Wild slashing attack. Attacking multiple opponents make you more liable to become exposed if you fail.|
|Stab||N/A||Point||Short-range pointed attack.|
|Puncture||-3 to hit. Halves opponents protection.||Point||Attempt to find a weakness in opponents protection.|
|Thrust||+1 to hit.||Point||Standard pointed attack.|
|Lunge||-1 to hit. +2 to damage.||Point||A lunge puts more strength behind the attack, but has a greater risk of exposing the attacker.|
|Shoot||N/A||Missile||Shoot a missile weapon at the target.|
Attacks always causes the attacker to accumulate 1 or more points of fatigue. In addition, every attack action is inherently risky - failing at an attack action always results in the character's stance degrading by 1 level (or more). The current stance of both characters can modify the attack chance with both bonuses and maluses.
Different attacks inflict different types of damage. Weapons are rated for how much damage they inflict of the three types: blunt/edge/point.
Maneuver actions are usually concerned with trying to gain an advantage on the opponent; usually by lowering the opponent's stance.
|Close In||Reduce the distance to the opponent||If the target is at a distance (preventing melee attacks), this action closes the distance to the target.|
|Guard||+2 defense until next turn, or stance is annulled. No fatigue cost.||Character goes into a defensive stance appropriate to their weapon.|
|Feint||Wits + Weapon vs Wits.||Trick opponent by faking an attack and lower their stance. Feinting is a wits-based test.|
|Beat||Brawn + Weapon vs Brawn||Try to reduce the stance of the opponent by beating their weapon aside. Beating is a brawn-based test.|
Maneuvers usually cost the acting character to accumulate a point of fatigue. Unlike attacks, however, they do not cause a degradation of your own stance when
Ready actions are used to ready weapons for use.
|Load||Allows fired weapon to fire again.||Load a fired weapon during combat. Loading a weapon while someone is trying to hit you is never a sure thing and requires a steady hand.|
|Pick||Picks a weapon up from the ground.||If a weapon has been dropped in the vicinity, this action allows you to pick it up. This is most often useful to recover from a disarming attack.|
|Switch||Switch weapon (from accessories)||If you place a weapon into your accessories, you can swap it in during a fight at the cost of an action.|
Recover actions are used to remove or reduce detrimental effects.
|Recover Stance||Increase stance by 1 level (up to normal)||The character recovers one level of stance. Note that the action can fail.|
|Rest||Recover 1 point of fatigue.||The character takes a rest during the combat, to try and pace themselves.|
These actions are used to end the combat.
|Flee||End the combat by fleeing||Attempt to end the combat by running away. Success is dependent on an athletics skill roll.|
|Surrender||End the combat by surrendering||This always ends the combat, and puts your side at the opponents mercy.|
There are three basic defenses against an attack.
- Evade: Try to evade an attack.
- Block: Use your weapon to block an attack.
Your ability at evasion is based on agility + Athletics skill.
Your ability at blocking is based on your skill with the weapon you're wielding.
Countering an attack, is the art of the riposte; i.e., blocking the attack against you and setting up a counter-attack while your opponent is disadvantaged. The skill used is the same as for blocking, but because of the difficulty involved in carrying out an effective counter, characters attempting this receive a significant malus. You should really only do this if you are very confident in your character's skills, but done right by a highly skilled character, it can allow them to make short work of their foes.
Each character has an endurance bar. This will usually be full at the start of combat, but will rapidly deplete as combat goes on. Most actions cost 1 fatigue point; some cost more. As fatigue accumulates, the character will become tired (-1 to all rolls) and exhausted (-2 to all rolls).