A duel of honour is a one-on-one fight between two characters, usually fought for slights of honour.
Contrary from real life, challenges in BattleMaster can be refused with no ill effect. We made it this way because in BattleMaster, anyone can challenge everyone else for any reason, while in the real world social norms would prevent a lowly noble from challenging the king, or anyone challenging for a petty reasons - things that the game code can not and should not decide upon.
Duels are decided by three factors: Swordfighting skill, strategy, and a little bit of luck.
Duels can be fought to two resolutions:
- The duel does not end until one side surrenders or is unable to continue the duel. This is for serious insults, major offenses and anything that requires serious satisfaction, not just a simple setting right of the record. In many cases, the loser is wounded before he surrenders, and serious wounds are not uncommon.
- Only a fatal wound will end a duel of this kind, surrender is not accepted, though the seconds will usually interfere and prevent a killing blow to a disabled opponent. Should be reserved for the gravest of offenses. At least one party of this duel will be unable to walk afterwards. Death is common, though it is quite possible to survive such a duel, seriously wounded, if the healers are quick enough. It is possible to die this way, even if not a hero.
If the duel does not take place within 3 days, the challenge expires.
There are five strategies, with the two advanced strategies only available to characters with some swordfighting skill. Depending on the strategies chosen by the two participants, one of them may have a tactical advantage during the duel, which gives him a bonus on the swordfighting test. Even with advantage, however, beating someone with a much higher skill level is unlikely. If both participants choose the same strategy, neither will get an advantage.
- An offensive fighting style. Gives advantage against the neutral and trick moves strategies.
- Receiving the opponent and acting carefully. Gives advantage against the aggressive and overrun strategies.
- A balanced fighting style. Gives advantage against the defensive and the trick moves strategies.
- An advanced and even more aggressive style, giving advantage against the neutral and aggressive strategies.
- Trick Moves
- Advanced skill-and-trickery style, gives advantage against the defensive and the overrun strategies.
Dueling and Skill Gain
- Dueling to surrender and death can improve swordfighting skills.
The page Medieval Duels contains some real-world background information on medieval duels.