domingo, 6 de diciembre de 2020

Samurai duel: a combat example with Mythras

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Here you can read an example of play using the combat rules found in the Mythras RPG (formerly called RuneQuest 6th edition). I could have made up a duel from scratch, or write up some combat from my samurai campaign, but instead, I have interpreted an existing fight in video format: a duel between two samurai that takes about 50 seconds. You can watch it at the bottom of this post. But, first of all, let's add some context to it:

The defeat took place a week ago. The forces of the Ishizaki clan laid waste to the castle in Numazu and their troops spread unopposed all along the eastern end of the province. Now those loyal retainers of lord Tadano who did not die fighting or who failed to take their own life in time are being ignominously executed by the invading army, or worse, taken prisoner for their eternal shame and that of all their clan. Only two of Tadano's retainer families have been forgiven by the all powerful Ishizaki daimyo. One of them is the Arai clan. They have been generously rewarded for changing sides at the last moment and joining the invader. The other are the Morioka. Their troops didn't make it in time to the decisive battle between the armies of Tadano and Ishizaki. And, after seeing the result, the clan leader has begged Ishizaki to spare his family's life. In exchange, he will serve him as loyally as he served Tadano. Although they comply with their leader's decision, most of the members of the Morioka clan, and their younger samurai warriors in particular, are only barely keeping it together after such a shameful turn of the events.
During the visit of an emissary of the daimyo Ishizaki to the Morioka's manor, a young samurai at guard feels insulted by one of the guests. With hot blood cursing through his veins, he aspires to regain his lost honor in a duel to death. His black-armored adversary, however, is way over him in terms of skill and experience.

This is a duel between a normal samurai (Morioka) and an excellent one (Arai). You can check out their game stats in this post about unnamed NPCs of my campaign. In this particular case, I have added the passion Hate the Arai clan 55% to the Morioka samurai. I have added the timestamps before every action so you can follow the duel in the video step by step in rule terms.

Morioka Takichiro faces against Arai Ujimichi

00:08 Morioka Takichiro draws his sword and issues a challenge to Arai Ujimichi. The challenged samurai, however, considers this duel to be way below his skill level. He won't reap any honors by defeating such a novice. On top of that, he prefers avoiding any trouble, since he is part of the emissary's retinue, and his mission is to protect his lord's life during the conference with the Morioka. Therefore, he states his unwillingness to fight by noisily sheathing his katana (00:16). That only makes Takichiro more furious, and he charges headfirst against his rival's back. The fight starts!

Initiative bonus: Morioka 13 (-6 due to armor = 7), Arai 14 (-6 due to armor = 8).
Action points: Morioka 2, Arai 3.
Samurai Combat Style skill: Morioka 53%, Arai 75%.

Morioka and Arai each roll a D10 and add their initiative bonus to the result. Morioka rolls a 7, plus 6 = 13. Arai rolls a 6, plus 8 = 14. Arai's initiative is higher, so he will be able to act first in every turn. In the first round, the Arai samurai is able to attack first, but instead, he spends his first action point and reserves his action: "I wait until he attacks me to draw my katana".

00:19 Morioka charges against Arai and spends an action point to run a few steps and attack. Since Arai had reserved his action for this likely eventuality, the first thing that happens is that he draws his katana. Right after that, Morioka rolls a D100 and tries to score a result equal to or under his skill Samurai Combat Style to successfully attack Arai. Alas, he is very unlucky: he rolls a 99, a fumble! In his turn, Arai spends another action point to defend himself. He doesn't actually need to (since Morioka fumbled his attack), but if he manages to score a success, he will be able to leverage his opponent's fumble result. He rolls the D100 and gets a 31, a normal success. A normal success when parrying against a fumbled attack means Arai can choose two defensive combat effects. He selects: "Trip Opponent", and "Compel Surrender".

In order to avoid suffering the effect "Trip Opponent" and fall down, Morioka must use one of the following skills: Brawn, Evade or Acrobatics, and get a successful result that must also be over Arai's defensive roll of 31 in what's called an opposed roll. That is, in his skill roll he must either get a better level of success: a critical, or a normal success that is over Morioka's normal success roll, in this case, 31. For Morioka, the best of those 3 skills is his Brawn of 45%, so if he scores a normal success in it, he will need to get a result over 31 but below 46. He rolls the dice and... he gets a 67, which is not even a normal success, but a failure. Therefore, Arai's quick defensive movement forces Morioka to charge into the air, and he rolls on the floor. Now to the "Compel Surrender" effect.

00:25 Arai is standing with his katana resting on Morioka's neck, who is kneeling on the floor. To avoid admitting his defeat, Morioka again needs to get a better result than Arai's defense (31) but this time with his Willpower skill of 50%. Morioka has the passion Hate the Arai clan 55%, so he can add a fifth of that (+11%) to his Willpower skill to avoid bearing the shame of surrendering against his hated enemy. He rolls a D100 and gets a 56. Both results (Arai's 31 and Morioka's 56) are normal successes, but Morioka's is higher, so he resists Arai's attempt to force his surrender. Morioka strikes the enemy katana away.

00:26 Now is Arai's turn to attack (he has only drawn and parried so far!), and so he spends his third and last action point. He rolls a 34, a normal success. Morioka then spends his second and last action point to try to parry the attack. Since he is fighting with a knee on the floor, he suffers a "Hard" modifier to his roll (-20 to his skill - I prefer this kind of modifier) until he manages to stand up. His passion also helps him in this goal though, so he adds +11, which means a total chance of 44%. He rolls a D100 and gets a 19, a normal success, so he manages to deflect his opponent's strike. As both have now spent all their action points, the round ends, and a new one starts. Both get back all their action points.

Arai still has the initiative, so he attacks first. He rolls the dice and fails with a result of 88. Morioka chooses not to try to leverage his opponent's failure, so he just effortlessly parries the enemy katana (kchink!). He then spends his first action point this round to attack from his kneeling position (with a -20). He rolls the dice and gets a 17, a normal success. Arai in turn spends another action point to defend, rolls the dice, and gets a 34, another normal success, so the blades clash again. Arai then attacks with a normal success (29), and Morioka parries with a normal success (43), by the skin of his teeth. Steel clashes against steel. Both have now run out of action points again, so the second round ends and the third one starts.

00:30 In the third round, Arai again spends an action point to attack and fails with a 79. Morioka then chooses to spend his first action point this turn to defend and try to leverage his opponent's failed attack. Result: 36, normal success. The difference in levels of success between failure and success means that Morioka can choose one defensive combat effect. He selects "Arise", to get back on his feet. Both katanas clash again. Morioka spends his second action point to attack (he should have saved it to be able to parry Arai's next attack since Arai has one action point more than him, but wrath overcomes strategy and he trusts his adversary will fail his next attack). Morioka rolls a 19 in his attack roll, a normal success. Arai spends his second action point to parry and gets a 45, also a normal success. Again, steel clashes against steel. Arai then spends his third and last action point and strikes back: he rolls the dice and... he gets a 23, a normal success. Unfortunately for Morioka, he doesn't have any action points left to parry, so it is as if he had scored a failed parry. As there is a level of difference between both results (normal against failure), Arai can deal damage and choose a combat effect and, once again, he chooses "Compel Surrender". Well, actually you can only choose this effect when your opponent is at a clear disadvantage, but the GM allows it in this case as she interprets Morioka's ineffective attacks and the fact that Arai hasn't been using his full skill from the beginning. Arai places his katana just below Morioka's throat, forcing him to admit his inferiority (Arai also chooses to not deal damage this time).

Both warriors make an opposed roll like before: on the one hand, the successful result of Arai's attack (23) and, on the other, Morioka's Willpower roll, in which he gets a 35, a normal success and higher than 23. So once again, the red-armored samurai resists surrender. With a swift strike, he pushes his opponent's weapon away from him. They now both have 0 action points, so the third round ends and they both get back all their action points.

00:33 On the fourth round, Arai sacrifices his initiative and just wastes his first action point on purpose. Will his young adversary finally understand that he's outskilled? Arai is beginning to get tired of Morioka's stubbornness. But Morioka is still fixed on the idea of regaining some measure of honor and spilling blood from the traitors who sided with the enemy, no matter what. So he spends his first action point and attacks. He rolls the dice and gets a 67, a failure. Arai doesn't need to spend an action point to defend from a failed attack, but he does anyway to try to get a defensive combat effect. After rolling the dice he gets an 11, a success. Since there is a level of difference between both actions (failure against normal success), the defender can choose a defensive combat effect and he again chooses "Trip Opponent". The defender's roll is opposed by Morioka's Brawn skill of 45%. In order to best Arai's roll, he needs to get either a critical success or a normal success that is higher than 11, that is, between 12 and 45. Morioka rolls and gets a 91, a failure, so Arai again manages to throw him to the floor with a simple maneuver. Morioka falls down and slams his hand against the floor in frustration.

Arai still has another action point left, and he could use it to attack Morioka on the floor, but he instead chooses to waste it. He is again offering his adversary a new chance to quit the duel. Right after that, and only because he is allowed to, Morioka spends his second action point to stand up. "For my family, for my clan, for my honor!".

00:38 On the fifth round, Arai again wastes his first action point. He just waits for Morioka to accept that he just can't win. However, Morioka is now furious, so he spends his first action point to attack. He rolls the dice and gets a 13, a normal success. Arai spends his second action point to parry and does so with a result of 43. Both katanas clash and both samurai doggedly push their blade, but none of them give in. Arai is now fed up, his opponent is clearly a fool who just won't relinquish. Arai spends his third action point to attack. He rolls the dice and gets a 06, a critical success! Morioka spends his second remaining point to parry, but he only gets a 71, a failure! By not parrying Arai's attack, his enemy's katana may be able to hurt him if the damage dice get a total result that is over his armor points. A katana does 1D10 damage plus Arai's damage modifier, which is +1D2. A samurai armor absorbs 6 or 7 damage points, so even if Morioka hasn't managed to parry, his armor could save his life. Unfortunately for him, both results are two success levels apart, (attack with a critical success and parry with a failure), so, on top of the weapon damage, Arai can choose two offensive combat effects. He can also choose any of the effects only available for critical successes. So, to finish with this nonsense once and for all, he chooses "Maximise Damage" and "Bypass Armour". The former allows him to cause maximum weapon damage, no need to roll his 1D10. That means he causes 10 points of damage. He still needs to roll the damage modifier (+1D2) and gets a 2. 10+2= 12 points of damage caused to Morioka. Morioka's armor could prevent half of that damage, but the combat effect "Bypass Armour" prevents just that. Arai now rolls 1D20 to determine the location of his strike. He gets an 8, which means his katana has hit Morioka on his abdomen. In other words, Morioka suffers 12 points of damage to his abdomen. He has only 6 hit points there, so minus the 12 points of damage that means his abdomen goes down to: 6 negative hit points, which causes a serious wound.

An instant later, Morioka drops to the ground, incapacitated. To avoid immediately dying, he needs to make an Endurance roll and get a better result than Morioka's critical (06). That means he needs to get a critical result, but one that is higher than his opponent's. However, with his Endurance skill of only 50%, the highest critical result that can be obtained is 05, and that won't help him overcome his opponent's result of 06. Therefore, Morioka spams briefly and dies with his stomach and spine cut in two.

00:46 Arai does the chiburi movement to shake off the blood from his blade. Then, he sheathes his weapon and moves away. "Such a fool...", he thinks to himself.

And so ends this duel explained in terms of the combat rules in Mythras. This time "the baddies" have won, but I hope you liked it anyway. If you have any feedback, please leave a comment below. If you liked this example, please tell me, and maybe I will write another example, such as the epic duel between Achilles and Hector.

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