Fudging Blades: Swashbuckling Combat for Fudge! By Thijs Krijger and Jay Shaffstall with the help of François Letarte. Fudging Blades is meant as a complimentary article to "One for All, and All for Fudge!". Flashing blades and swinging from chandeliers is what Fudging Blades is about. The combat system presented below was derived from the Bloody Idiots' Heroic Combat system for D6L (available at http://www.astro.uu.nl/~krijger/BI/FB/d6l-combat.html), and is intended to allow for cinematic swashbuckling duels. This system does not attempt to model realism, but to capture the flavor of the back and forth action of a duel. The majority of the description of what is happening is up to the players themselves. The simplest form of combat is the two-person duel. Each person uses their respective skill for their primary weapon. Certain combinations of weapons will assess penalties (see Weapon Penalties, below). Both characters roll versus their skills. One of the characters will no doubt end up with a higher result than the other. If both characters end up with the same result, the round of combat is inconclusive. The character with the higher roll calculates the difference between the rolls: +1: +1 next round +2: +2 next round +3: +3 next round, or 1 point of damage (scratch) +4: +4 next round, or 2 points of damage (scratch) +5: +5 next round, or 3 points of damage (hurt) +6: +6 next round, or 4 points of damage (hurt) +7: +7 next round, or 5 points of damage (very hurt) +8: +8 next round, or 6 points of damage (very hurt) +9: +9 next round, or 7 points of damage (incapacitated) +10: etc etc The results are either a bonus that can be applied to the next round's combat roll, or damage that can be immediately applied. The attacker can choose whether to keep the bonus for the next round or apply damage. Once damage has been inflicted the bonus drops to 0 again. The progression in the table continues above +9 by adding one to the bonus next round and one to the points of damage done. A duel may be ended by subduing the other person rather than killing them. The attacker must be able to do enough damage to incapacitate (normally 7 points), but choose to subdue instead. The victim takes half the damage as real damage (ending up with a hurt box checked), and is rendered unconscious or unable to continue to fight (player's choice). An attacker may choose to give up a +1 bonus to force their opponent back by one meter. A person being attacked may choose to retreat by two meter to reduce their opponent's bonus by 1. If a defender is not willing to retreat one meter, then a special effect roll against strength is needed to force them back against their will (say, by pushing them over the balcony railing). If a duel takes place in a large open space and the duellist keep moving around the GM is suggested to start lowering Endurance attributes due to exhaustion till one duellist collapses with Terrible-1 Endurance. Damage can be traded for a bonus to a special effect roll against an appropriate attribute. For example, a character that gets a result of +6 could do 4 points of damage to their opponent. Or, they could trade those 4 points for a +4 to a dexterity roll to cut off both ends of the fellow's moustache with his saber (Normally done at -4 due very specific called shot). Disarming your opponent counts as a special effect roll (normally done at -3). Special effects rolls are generally opposed rolls on dexterity or strength (depending on the nature of the special effect). A character that is losing may eliminate all his opponent's stored bonus or damage inflicted by voluntarily losing a weapon or shield that is in hand. A duelling weapon has a 1/3 chance of breaking when abused in such a way. Improvised weapon automatically are destroyed (Remember the scenes in the movies where the hero grabs the first object around in order to defend himself and the object is then sliced in many small pieces). Finding an appropriate improvised weapon requires a Good Luck roll. Grabbing it requires winning a combat round using Acrobatics instead of a weapon skill. Unarmed characters can opt to use their Acrobatics skill to avoid all damage but cannot inflict any themselves. Using the Acrobatics skill aggressively incurs the weapons length difference penalty. A character may also eliminate all his opponent's stored bonus or inflicted damage by dropping prone. Being prone will result in a -2 to their combat rolls until they can win a dexterity roll (at -2) opposed by their opponent's dexterity to regain their feet. Other options are available, subject to the permission of the GM; for example, an all-out attack would get a character a +1 to their roll, but if they lose or tie, their opponent gets a +2 for figuring their total result. Fighting defensively would work just the opposite: a -1 to their roll, but if they lose or tie, their opponent gets a -2 for figuring their total result. Multiple opponents Combat with more than two opponents is handled with the same system. If the characters that are fighting together have not trained to do so, then the group uses the combat skill of the least skilled member of their team (they keep getting in each others way). If they have trained to fight together, then the group uses the combat skill of the most skilled member of the team. The team with the higher numbers gets a +1 bonus to their combat roll for every extra person they have. For example, a lone musketeer is fighting four ruffians. The ruffians get a +3. Hopefully, the musketeer is quite skilled and the ruffians are not trained well. Damage applied to a group may be applied to any individual opponent. The GM may allow, in true swashbuckling tradition, damage to be divided amongst multiple opponents as well. If a team has not been trained to fight together, then an injury to one member of the group acts like an injury to the entire group. So if you hurt one member of a gang of ruffians, the entire group gets a -1 to their combat roll. The -1 will be removed if the hurt ruffian drops out of the fight. If a team has been trained to fight together, then the group will continue to fight at the level of the most able among them. So if you are fighting two people who have Good skill and one who has Great, and they are trained to fight together, the group as a whole will fight at Great. If you then give the Great character a very hurt wound, the group will switch to fighting at Good, as the other two pick up the slack. When a combat includes several PC's and several opponents, try to break up the combat into several in which each PC has one or more opponents. Also, the group combat system assumes that all combatants are more or less aware of all opponents. An opponent who appears in the combat late and from behind the PC may be able to surprise the PC. Surprise Attacks When a character is surprised, the dueling system does not apply until they have a chance to react. The surprise attack is performed by an unopposed roll, with the difficulty assigned by the GM according to circumstances. Damage done is the relative degree of success of the roll. Assuming the victim of the surprise attack is still conscious, the normal dueling system then takes over. Weapon Penalties This section is optional as it removes some of the speed of Fudging Blades, but is historically correct. Weapons will be classified by length, as follows: Weapon Length Cutlass Normal Dagger Short Rapier Normal Foil Normal Long sword Normal Pole arms Extra Long Saber Normal Two Handed Sword Long Unarmed Extra Short The lengths advance as follows: Extra Short, Short, Normal, Long, Extra Long. Any single step difference between weapon lengths penalizes the character with the shorter weapon by -1. The penalties are cumulative, so a character whose main weapon is short while his opponent's main weapon is long gets a -2. This assumes that the person with the longer weapon has room to wield it. In close quarters the longer weapon's advantage may be negated (using a pole arm in a privy, for example). If there are multiple opponents, weapon penalties only apply if the majority of the opponents have longer weapons. Secondary Weapons and Shields A character using a second weapon (e.g. rapier and dagger) must have the Second Weapon skill to obtain a bonus. Using a second weapon lowers the damage inflicted upon the user by -1 . The skill of the primary weapon is normally used for the combat roll. The level of the Second Weapon skill also modifies this bonus (e.g. an expert at Second Weapons will get a total of a -2 bonus). The same rules go for shields (with the shield skill), though by this period only the buckler is still (uncommon) in use. Improvised secondary weapons/shields reduce damage one point less. Missile Weapons Missile weapons include thrown knives, crossbows, bows, pistols, etc. To hit a stationary target, the character makes a skill roll versus a Good difficulty. To hit a moving target, the character makes an opposed skill roll versus the target's dexterity. The attacker always has a modifier based on range: Point Blank Short Medium Long Extreme +2 +1 0 -1 -2 Aimed shots to a specific part of a character's body are at a -2 penalty. Damage done is the difference between the target difficulty and the rolled difficulty. A GM desiring realism may give certain missile weapons bonuses to damage. Hit Locations Hit locations are not used in Fudging Blade, however this does not need to stop the GM from using her own system for dramatic purposes. Armor In Fudging Blades armor is very abstract as most swashbucklers tend to be unarmored. Armor modifies the amount of inflicted damage but the extra encumbrance lowers the combat skill. A leather buffcoat lowers damage by 2 and skill by 1, a Cuirass breastplate damage by 4 and skill by 2 It's possible to find 3/4 plate and lower damage by 6, but take a -3 to skill. Items like helmets, gloves and/or boots might give a +1 damage reduction bonus with GM permission. Wearing armor for a long time is tiring and fighting in it even more. After each 'long' fight the GM can lower the Endurance attribute of the wearer by one level. Use of Fudge Points in Fudging Blades Besides the standard use of Fudge points, they can also be used in the Fudging Blades rules. Here are some of the suggested ways of using Fudge points. Spend one Fudge point to shrug off a single wound. The wound is treated as one level less damaging (you must have a box available in the lower wound level). Characters can use this to stay in a duel where they are outmatched. Spend one Fudge point to eliminate an opponent's stored bonus in dueling. Generally used to avoid voluntarily losing your weapon in the climactic duel.