I’ve made another entry in the Pleasure-not-Business Card RPG Jam over on itch.io. It’s a simple dueling subsystem that can be plugged into most RPGs. It’s designed for western games, but could easily work with other genres (samurai fights would work nicely)
It’s based on the system David Baymiller designed on his excellent OSR Library blog. The intent is to create a system that replicates how showdowns work in westerns, where there is a long build-up of tension, and then a sudden burst of violence ending in the death of one of the duelists. Imagine the shootout at the end of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (or just watch it). Traditional RPG combat rules don’t always allow for this, especially if a character has a lot of hit points.
The basic idea is that the duel is broken down into two phases: Staredown and Draw. During the staredown, the duelists wait, sizing each other up. For each round they wait, the damage is multiplied for the first shot they each take.
For example, if they staredown for four rounds, the damage of the first shot fired will multiplied by five. In most systems, that’d be enough to kill a character in one shot.
I’ve added two details to David’s original rules. First, the duelists must describe their actions during each part of the staredown – nervously twitching, squinting, drumming their fingers on the holster, etc.This is purely for flavor, intended to build tension.
Secondly, the GM secretly rolls a D6 to see how many rounds a NPC duelist will wait before drawing his or her weapon.
It’s available on itch as a PWYW.