New Fight! Action: Flourish

We’ve all seen it. The Master Warrior performs a dazzling display of skill by flourishing his weapon in a totally intimidating way. Lesser opponents run away in fear or stand in awe at their opponent. How to recreate this in BW?

It clearly is a form of Intimidation using Weapon Skill in its stead. But what should the basic mechanic be? This is my suggestion.

  1. Flourish requires Flourish Training. Only with the training can you access the skill as described below. Sort of like Shield Training allows the Block and Strike action.

  2. Flourish is an action available in Fight! It costs two actions to perform. Use Weapon Skill to test. The Obstacle is the opponent(s) Will. Anyone currently engaged with the flourisher is affected. Success means the opponent must make an immediate Steel test. Extra successes add to the Steel Obstacle. Work out failures per normal Hesitation rules.

  3. Flourishing on the next action after landing a single-strike death blow earns +1D to the test.

The largest criticism I see with this new action is that there’s already Intimidation, whose purpose accomplishes the same. But there are subtle, social differences. Intimidation has broader application as it can be done in any social setting: King’s Hall, tavern, store, etc. without deadly consequences or jail time, at the minimum. But Flourishing can only be done in the middle of a Fight! where taking the time to show off may get you killed.

That said, I think this skill could offer a LOT of color to Fight!, especially if the campaign leads towards swashbuckling or camp, Conan or Musashi.

Couldn’t flourishing be represented as forking your weapon skill into an intimidation attempt?

True, it can, but that would be an Intimidation test. My Spark would be a Weapon Skill test. Some weapon masters just ain’t that intimidating without their weapon, right? Inigo Montoya was just a rather nice guy outside a duel.

I’m in the “that’s Intimidation” camp. If you’re a nice guy and don’t frighten people except in combat, that’s a character decision. If you can’t manage it outside of combat you’re using low Intimidation with FoRKs of Appropriate Weapon, Flashy Moves-Wise, and Swashbuckling-Wise.

Maybe a Dt could allow substitution, but I don’t love it. A better one might be a Dt or training allowing a Set-Strike where any hit, even if it causes no damage, forces a Steel test. But you still have to land a blow. That might be too strong compares to the natural defense of Will against Intimidate, though.

I’ve always allowed people to attempt to force a steel test as a versus test (their skill Vs. on lookers will) a crowd of like minded people (angry mob / gang of mooks) get an advantage for their numbers, the individual gets an advantage for their reputation an any actions they add in (things like magic or knocking out the really big guy in the crowd). Not just for intimidation either, a Conspicuous entertainer used his high Speed to captivate the crowd with a display of acrobatics while his accomplices took advantage of the distraction to cut some purses and lift some wallets.