2.1 -- Duel ArcanePlease note that some details in how this actually
works differs slightly from how the Duels Arcane appear in the books. This is to
make this system playable, without requiring a lot more from the players than is
necessary. While in the books, there are written poem stanzas for each spell and
counterspell, I am not about to require that every player (and GM) make these up
just to play a game. Plus, doing the Duels that way doesn't take into account
the actual skill levels of the characters and punishes the player who
isn't as creative, fast thinking, or just plain more tired than the others. Some
of you may disagree, but I really feel this is best, even if it changes the feel
and application of Duels Arcane from canon rules.
Before the DuelYou will need to have handy the levels of your
character's Power, Shield Skill, and Duel Arcane Skill, modified by injury or
environment if appropriate. If a Deryni has no Power Fatigue left, he may not
participate due to fatigue.
Calculating Option PointsOption Points are a pool that represent your
character's knowledge of Dueling as well as his or her internal reserve. You
need these to do spells and counterspells within the Duel Arcane circle.
You get Two Option Points per level of your Duel Arcane score,
starting with Terrible (Thus, a Fair gives you 8, a Good gives you 10, etc).
Modify this number based on your Power Attribute:
A zero or negative score means your character can
perform no actions, and is unable to Duel with any effect.
- Superb: +3
- Great: +2
- Good: +1
- Fair: +0
- Mediocre: -1
- Poor: -2
- Terrible: -3
Shield PointsYou get two Shield points per level of skill with
Shields, starting with Terrible. Shield points represent your actual resistance
to taking damage from Spells. Once you run out, you have no defense, and any
Spells that do damage will end the Duel.
Casting the CircleThe circle is created by both opponents usually,
although in rare cases by choice the circle may be raised by one. To do so, at
least a Terrible is required in Duel Arcane Skill. Each half of the circle is
colored by the creator's aura.
The circle exists mostly to keep in the energies raised by the Duel. Without
it, the energies fly out and cause effects beyond what they were raised to do.
One other main function of the circle is to define the conditions for victory. A
Duel Arcane is either to clear victory or to death, and these are stipulated at
the Closing of the Circle, often with a poeticly phrased spell. Once Closed, the
circle cannot be opened, breached, or passed through without the condition being
met. Once the condition is met, the victor does a simple dispell, and the circle
There are no real rules at this point. Add flavor and detail if you like,
reciting a bit of poetry as the Circle is cast, but it is not required (although
it is considered more impressive).
Testing SpellsThe Duel begins with a few volleys of testing spells,
that are aimed at feeling out your opponent. None of these are really to do any
harm. To simulate this, roll an Opposed action on Duel Arcane. The opponent who
has a higher score adds the Relative Degree to his Option Point total and has
right of first strike throughout the next section of the Duel.
The Challenged Opponent makes the first strike in the Duel, although a man is
expected (but not required) to yield that right to a woman.
The Duel ItselfOnce the testing spells are over, now come the spells
aimed at defeating one's opponent. This is where the Option Points come in. You
may use no more than one OP per level of Duel Arcane that you have per round,
and you may make no more than one action per round per level of Duel Arcane. In
most instances, the number of actions limits your options the most.
A Duel Arcane round is a group of ritualized exchanges of Spells and
Counterspells. The right of first strike, determined in the testing rounds,
continues to apply for simplicity's sake.
Take a FUDGE die per number of actions you wish to perform per round. You may
have one per level of Duel Arcane (Fair can have 4, Good has 5, etc). Keeping
them hidden, assign the following values to each die:
The Use of Option
- Spell is shown with a plus. A Spell is an attack, and seeks to
- Counterspell is shown with a minus. A Counterspell is a defense,
and each Counterspell cancels one opposing Spell.
- Rest is shown with a blank. A Rest neither attacks nor defends, but
allows you to gain back one Option Point each.
OPs are spent when dice are revealed. Do so in the following order:
Resolving Spells and Counterspells
- Spells: All Spells must be paid for as soon as dice are revealed.
- Counterspells: Each opponent decides how many of their Counterspells they
are going to fund. They can pay for any, all, or none. Any not paid for have
no further effect.
- Rests: A Rest costs nothing, and gives you back one OP. It has no other
effect and it does not block Spells. You may do a Rest in any round, but keep
in mind that you gain back OPs after Spells and Counterspells are paid for and
resolved. There is no maximum to the OPs you may accumulate through Resting,
although Resting does prevent you from defending or attacking.
The opponent with right of first strike calculates his damage value. This is
done by comparing number of Spells to number of Counterspells. Once this value
is had, roll 2dF and adjust the damage accordingly. A zero or negative result
has no effect. A positive effect becomes Arcane Damage, and that value is
subtracted from the defender's Shield Points.
Repeat this step for the other opponent.
Winning the DuelThe end of the Duel is determined in part by whether or
not it was a lethal or non-lethal bout. In a non-lethal Duel Arcane, there is
always the possibility that an opponent yields, thus ending the Duel just as
surely as if it followed all the way through. A lethal Duel, however, requires
that only one side still be alive or the Duel cannot end. The warding circle in
that case will remain in place until such time as only one side remains alive.
In both lethal and non-lethal situations, the Duel is won by the last man
standing. This is determined by the Shield Points. Once all your Shield Points
are gone, your mind has no defense from the effects of the opponent's Spells.
Any Arcane Damage done at this point finishes the Duel. If the Duel is
non-lethal, the loser is rendered unconscious. If the Duel was to the death,
than the loser is killed at that point.
FUDGE Points in Duels ArcaneFUDGE points, as usual, bend the rules a
little bit. No other use of FUDGE Points is allowed in a Duel Arcane except the
During the Duel Arcane,
there is a limit of using 2 FPs at any time for any one thing. (Thus you can buy
2 extra dice, and 2 extra OPs, but not 4 dice). Damage reduction is, as always,
an exception to this rule and has no limit.
- 1 FP: A +1 to the roll in the testing spells part of the Duel.
- 1 FP: Gain an extra action die for a round.
- 1 FP: Gain an extra Option Point (lasts until used).
- 2 FP: Nullify a point of Arcane Damage.
Fatigue and Duel ArcaneDuels Arcane are very tiring, but there is no
tracking of Fatigue within the Duel itself. However, completing a Duel leaves
the participants, winning or losing, exhausted. A Duel Arcane drains all of a
character's Power Fatigue, no matter how much or how little. A character who has
no Power Fatigue may not enter into a Duel Arcane circle.