Some examples of Fight! as I learn how to play

I’ve been hunting around for a good rpg for use with a 17th century France/swashbuckler theme and I’m thinking that BWG may be the answer. The Man lifepaths are fine despite being medieval and there are rules for gunpowder weapons already included. I think Fight! will work well too and the idea of circles and reputations fits well with the theme. I’ve been mucking around with Fight! to see how it goes and here is in the first of 3 examples. I’ve interspersed thoughts and questions throughout where I wasn’t sure of the ruling. This is mostly for my benefit but I hope I get some feedback from the following lengthly passages.

Example 1
Two antagonists in a simple duel to second blood. Both armed with rapiers (arming swords). Both unarmored.

    • “the noble”, using standard B4 stats and skills from p563. Sword at 4 but otherwise no other skills to be used in the fight. [Rapier I/M/S 3/6/9]
    • “the duelist”, using the stats on p565, basically Sword 5 and Brawling 4. Only has a rapier so won’t be using Two-Fisted fighting. [Rapier I/M/S 4/7/10].

Both have Su/Li/Mi/Se/Tr/Mo of 3/5/7/8/9/10. Both have Re 4.

Exchange 1. learning the ropes, nothing fancy. Noble plays it safe while the Duelist comes in hard and fast.
No positioning/engaging because weapons are of same length.

Noble: Block, Strike | Block | Strike
Duelist: Strike, Strike | Counter | Counter

Volley 1, Action 1: Duelist 0 successes vs Noble 1. The Noble luckily deflects the feeble attack, catching the Duelist of guard (+1D next action)

Volley 2, Action 2: Both are rolling Strike vs Ob 1 with 5 dice, this could get messy. The Noble slashes gaining 2 successes, only enough to cause a superficial wound as the rapier slices under the armpit; the Duelist’s delivers a quick jab to the Noble’s chest (2 successes)

Both combatants now have +1Ob from superficial wounds.

Volley 2: Both combatants step back into guard positions and eye each other’s bloody shirts.

Volley 3: Duelist splits 5 dice - 3 for attack, 2 for defense. The noble lunges forward but his blow is swept aside (each get 1 success and both have +1Ob); the Duelist delivers a riposte, slashing the Noble’s shirt but failing to find flesh (1 success but Ob2 due to wound).

Comment/query - do Counterstrikes count toward a weapon’s WS? I say yes but only if the counter was triggered, otherwise it resets the WS.

Exchange 2. Noble realizes he’s up against an aggressive opponent. Duelist Feints high and slashes low

Comment - where one puts the 4th action in a Re 4 script seems key. A Strike can easily go off against no defense due to the scripting. I think I’ve done the Feints correctly here.

Noble: Counter, Strike | Counter| Feint
Duelist: Feint | Counter, Strike | Block

Volley 1, Action 1: Duelist Feints high and slashes low catching the Noble off-guard (2 successes vs Ob2 due to injury), as the Noble gets another superficial wound. The Noble follows up with a thrust (Volley 2, Action 2) as the Duelist is caught out of guard (2 successes vs Ob2 due to injury); another superficial wound for the Duelist.

Volley 2: The opponents circle each other looking for a weakness before the Duelist darts forward (again 2 successes vs Ob2 due to injury) cutting deeply into the Noble’s shoulder; another superficial wound which makes 3, removing the Ob+1 penalty, giving a -1D penalty and forcing a Steel test (with -1D).

Noble’s Steel test, 3 dice = 1 success, with Hesitation 6, this gives 5 actions of Stand and Drool (with Re now 3 this is almost 2 whole exchanges). The Noble would be a goner except that the Duelist has the Instinct, “In a fair fight, always give opponents time to recover” - so the fight is momentarily disengaged as the Noble’s second helps him to his feet.

Shrugging it off.
During the momentary downtime the Duelist checks his wound, and rolls 2 successes on a Health test to remove the +1Ob penalty - “just a flesh wound”. The Noble tries the same for his Light wound but it’s tough to roll 4 successes on 4 dice and he keeps the -1D penalty.

Exchange 3. Noble knows he’s in trouble and needs to finish this quickly. Duelist knows he is now 1 action up on the Noble and that it’s only a matter of time.

Noble: Strike | Counter| Strike
Duelist: Block, Strike | Avoid | Avoid

Volley 1, Action 1: The Noble desperately lunges, trying to finish the combat quickly - but rolls no successes, the Duelist effortlessly parries (with 5 successes) sending the Noble staggering backwards.

Comment/query - the way I read the bonus effects from Block is that you can pick and choose effects. In this case 5 successes gets the Duelist a +1D to his next action (1), and the Noble looses his next action (3, with 1 unspent success left over).

Volley 1, Action 2: The Duelist follows through with a lunge - (6 dice = only 2 successes) but only grazes the Noble as he sidesteps. Noble now has +1Ob and -1D.

Volley 2 - knowing that the Noble is +1Ob and -1D and that he’s lost his 2nd volley the Duelist rescripts to Strike in Volley 2, leaving Volley 3 empty. Strike with 5 dice gets only 2 successes for another superficial wound to the Noble.

Volley 3: Blinded by pain the Noble lashes out ineffectually (3 dice, no successes and needed Ob2 due to injury).

Exchange 4. Doesn’t look good for the Noble but his Instinct, “Never yield when ladies are watching”, stops his surrender.

Comment/query - with these penalties the Noble is limited to what he can do, Counters for example have limited use because of the +1Ob penalty applied to both the Block and Strike rolls.

Noble: Feint| Strike| Block
Duelist: Set, Greatstrike | Avoid | Strike

Volley 1 - The Noble is flat footed as a span of steel skewers his flank (Duelist rolls 2 successes, again!). Damage is 4+1 from Greatstrike = 5 taking the wound to Light, another -1D and another Steel test; zero successes gives 6 actions of Hesitation which is now 3 whole Exchanges with a Re 2.

The Noble decides that his honor will be intact if he’s unconscious and chooses Swoon. The duel is over and the Duelist is victorious.

My observations and comments.
Fight! is awesome. It’s actually not as slow as I thought it would be and is very intuitive.

Having a higher Re is a huge advantage.

The positioning of that extra action for Re 4 (and Re 5) characters has a huge significance. I’d allow characters to pull Block/Avoid forward using the “Oh F&$K!” rule to combat this, though it still costs them an action and is going to end badly.

It’s hard to get wounds other than Superficial (though we did roll lots of 2 successes and not 3). That +1 damage from Greatstrike is actually a lot better than it wounds because it pushes you to a new wound category very quickly.

In actual combat failing a Steel test is going to get you killed - and let’s face it, you’re not going to beat your Hesitation on a Steel test even with it being open ended (unless you have a few handy Traits).

Example 2

Now we try getting a bit fancy and building a bit of backstory into the fight.

The Story: The Duelist is tracking his missing sister. He knows that a Count has her hostage but cannot find him. Instead a Circle test yielded info that the Count’s brother (the Noble) is a dandy about town with a fiery temper and who cannot decline a duel as a point of pride. The Duelist has tracked down the Noble, found his entourage in the street, dishonored him greatly and has been challenged to a duel right on the spot. The duel is to first blood but the Duelist intends to mortally wound the brother to enrage the Count and draw the Count out from hiding.

Before the fight
For this example the Duelist has Intimidate 4 and he intends to hit the Noble hard and fast, causing at least a Serious wound (which offers the chance of a failed treatment or recovery to send him to the grave).

GM - A small crowd has gathered under the shade in the plaza. There are no guards in sight but the commotion will draw them soon enough. Courtiers are busily fanning their faces in anticipation and shooting encouraging glances at the Noble; the Noble has adopted a very Conspicuous pose and is basking in the attention.

Duelist - I take off my hat and cloak and calmly place them by a fountain. I put my parrying blade on the bundle. I also place my boot knife in the pile. I’m very casually making a show of not being concerned and at the same time letting everyone see, including the Noble, that he’s just picked a fight with someone who’s no stranger to combat. I want to use Intimidate to cause him to miss his first action in Fight!.

GM - Fair enough but don’t try this too often, how about we play it like this? Use a linked test to Intimidate the crowd because his Beliefs and Instincts are tied to the crowd, get them looking at their feet and then use this to dent the confidence of the Noble through another Intimidation test.
Duelist - Ok. Can I FORK in my Veteran Soldier Reputation or use all of my weapons as FORKs?
GM - No, FORKs are skills - I’ll just give you an Advantage die for your first roll. We’ll make it a vs test vs Will like in Duel of Wits. If you succeed he’ll hesitate for his first action (in combat you’ll need to beat the Will Exponent as an Ob if you want to pull off the Intimidate action as delay him longer).
Duelist - Ok, 2 successes vs 2 success for the crowd, they are nervous but I don’t get a +1D against the Noble; 2 successes vs 0 against him though!, looks like he’s scared.

Exchange 1. The Noble shifts his stance uncomfortably, he is struck while getting in the guard position

Noble: -, Counter | Counter| Feint
Duelist: Set | Greatstrike | Block | Strike

Volley 1 - The Duelist delivers a viscous thrust while the Noble is still shifting into guard position; The Noble panics, putting 3 dice into defense and 1 into Strike. The Noble hits with a flick of his sword for 1 success; drawing blood for a Superficial wound.

The Duelist gets 4 successes vs 2, for a margin 2, not enough to Add the wound one level, which with Greatstrike is 5 for a Light wound. However 2 successes came up 6’s so he uses a Fate point (given that mortally wounding the Noble is one of his goals/beliefs he’ll get this straight back), rolling again gets another success for a total of 3. The wound is now M=7+1 for Greatstrike = 8, a serious wound.

The Noble is run through and collapses with a Failed Steel test. We agree that the Noble drew blood first, not that it matters. The guards are coming; the Duelist sweeps up his belongs, runs from the crime, and now eagerly awaits the Count’s response.

Comment/query - For Counterstrike and Block&Strike can you choose to put 0 dice into the Block or Strike? It would make Block&Strike pretty powerful because if once actions are revealed you see that an opponent has scripted Block or Avoid, for e.g., you just move all dice into Strike. I’m saying that you need at least 1 dice in the Block or Strike.

Example 3
The Duelist has bitten off more than he can chew. Testing Circles he tries for an update on the Count’s activities but he fails the test and instead the Count’s men find him as he waits in a bar. Spotting each other the Duelist flees out the back door, gaining a head start on the 2 men. However, bursting out of the back door he runs face-to-face with a 3rd guard that is watching the back entrance.

GM - It is dark and rainy outside in the alley, not enough to bother with any Ob penalties to Fight! but you’ll need to Script an assess if you want a full description. All that you know is that you’re suddenly confronted by a man wearing a cloak and brandishing a drawn sword, though you can’t even tell what type of sword it is with all of the excitement.
Duelist - mmmmm. I’m wearing my buffcoat remember (gambeson 2D on body) because I was expecting trouble.
GM - Sure, but you’re in Fight! without a drawn weapon, but you can use your “When in trouble, always keep my hand on my dagger” Instinct to draw it in 1 instead of 2 actions.
Duelist - Let’s do this.

The Duelist tries to close in hands vs sword, but is kept at bay by a threatening rapier point.
Duelist - Speed 4; Man - Speed 4 + 2D Long vs Shortest (Rapier vs Hands); 1 success vs 2, the Man gains advantage and the Duelist is at +2Ob for offensive actions.

Exchange 1. The Duelist expects the Man to come on strong, but underestimates and scripts a disaster.
Man has [Rapier I/M/S 4/7/10], Power 5, everything else 4 + Brawling 4.
Duelist has [Dagger I/M/S 3/6/9]

Man: Aggressive Stance, Strike| Strike| Push
Duelist: Avoid, Push| Draw| Strike

Volley 1, Action 1: The Duelist realizes his terrible error in scripting and prepares to meet his maker.

Volley 1, Action 2: Man thrusts, 4+2 dice = 3 successes vs Ob 1, a M wound for 7 for a Midi wound. However, the blow slides off the buffcoat (2 successes rolled on 2 dice, 1 would have been enough); realizing the Duelist is armoured he won’t make the same mistake again.

The Duelist attempts to Push to gain advantage. Ob = 1/2 Sp = 2, +2Ob due to disadvantage = 4Ob. With Brawling 4 this is going to be tough. Duelist - can I get an Advantage dice because the alley is pretty narrow, it’s raining and slippery and it’s full of trash? Please? GM - Sure, more drama. 5 dice = 4 successes with 2 coming up 6. Duelist now uses a point of Fate to make the roll open ended and rolls the 2 6’s getting 2 more successes for a total of 6. The Man loses advantage, and falls on his hands and knees as he trips on garbage. The tide of battle has turned!! The Duelist gains advantage with his hands.

At the end of Volley 1 the state of affairs is not like either opponents imagined. The Duelist changes scripting, choosing not to draw his dagger because he would cede advantage (if he already had it out I would personally allow him to keep it but drawing the weapon is taking the pressure off of the downed opponent too much). The Duelist scripts Strike for Volley 2 leaving nothing for Volley 3.

Volley 2: Man is on +2Ob for disadvantage with sword and +2Ob to attacks for being knocked down but he has 6 dice because of his aggressive stance; he rolls getting 5 successes, just enough to hit - he lashes out but again the blow is turned by the Duelist’s buffcoat. The Duelist tries to stomp on his scrambling foe’s head, gaining a +1D for his downed opponent = 5 dice for 3 successes, a glancing blow for a superficial wound (Pow/2 round up = 3). The Man now has +1Ob from his wounds.

Volley 3: The Man desperately tries to push the Duelist off of him, Ob = 1/2 Spd = 2. Penalty = +1Ob from being down (push is not an “attack” action, it’s a “basic fighting action”), +1Ob from injury (total Ob = 4) but fails.

Exchange 2. Duelist thinks he better Assess before someone stabs him in the back - maybe just get out of here while the going is good

Our very first positioning test. The Duelist want to disengage and get the hell out of there, the Man wants to Vie for Position. Both men have Speed 4 but the Man is +1Ob from injury. The Duelist gets +1D because of Disengage, +2D for hands vs Sword (though I am a bit confused here - the last action was a Push by the man at hands length but he definitely wants to position with his sword), and we assign another +2D because the Man is down on the ground (has to be at least equivalent to having a much longer Stride), 4 dice +1Ob vs 9 dice, and the Duelist backs out of the fight and casts a look around.

The Duelist quickly glances for an escape route and to see if there is more company. The alley has two exits and another cloaked man (who was standing lookout on the main street) is running down the alley towards the melee. There is no sign yet of the other 2 guards from the inn but they can’t be far. The Duelist turns and makes a dash for it and the Chase is on!

What an awesome outcome that the Fight! can be resolved and no one is really hurt at all!

Hah, very cool. It certainly demonstrates how dramatic and tense Fights can be!

As for your questions, Counterstrike requires you to put at least 1d in each pool. I’d say counterstrikes didn’t count for the WS, personally. And yeah, I’d say you pick and choose the block effects, spending successes on them.

These examples also highlight my experience of Fights, where fights are almost always decided by either one side failing a steel test and getting run through or one side gathering so many superficial and light wounds that they’re unable to meaningfully fight. It’s an interesting dynamic.

(Then again there’s great bows. Bloody great bows. The things are instant death to anyone they’re pointed at.)

Thoroughly enjoyed this, thanks for posting.

Great posts!


  1. I almost never use GreatStrike for anything other than VA, but then again I tend to play in settings where people have armor.

  2. I would also point out that failing a Steel test is not auto-death if you Run Screaming. It’s only… mebbe-death in that case. :slight_smile:

  3. Experiment with Stances! They are FTW.

Also, if you like Dumas, make sure you check out the Spanish Ambassador’s Daughters one-shot; I’ve run it a bunch of times and it’s always really fun.


Just a nitpick with Counterstrike - It doesn’t trigger against CS or Feint :wink: CS is only useful in a few particular circumstances. In the end, Block and Strike is where it’s at.

Good points and thanks for the link, I’ll check it out. I’m still getting used to defining Beliefs, Instincts and Reputations and what I see from a quick look is that this will give me a good intro to their design.

What I don’t understand in the first example is why the duel was not finished during Exchange 2 Volley 1, or Exchange 2 Volley 2, at the latest. Now, I may not be up on my dueling terms, and just making a fool of myself here, but the setup stated that the duel was to “second blood”, and the narration attached to Exchange 1 Volley 2 Action 2 specifically indicated that superficial wounds resulted in “bloodied shirts”.

Both combatants took their second superficial on Exchange 2, volley 1 (at the same time, no less) and the 3rd Supi was taken by the noble on Exchange 2, Volley 2 narrated specifically as a deep cut to the shoulder. Should that not have ended the duel at once?

Unless of course, second blood refers to being physically incapable of continuing the duel, or you were considering “blood” for this purpose to refer to a minimum of -1D wounding.

I’ve never really studied 17th Century France dueling etiquette, so I’m confused.

What I don’t understand in the first example is why the duel was not finished during Exchange 2 Volley 1, or Exchange 2 Volley 2, at the latest. Now, I may not be up on my dueling terms, and just making a fool of myself here, but the setup stated that the duel was to “second blood”, and the narration attached to Exchange 1 Volley 2 Action 2 specifically indicated that superficial wounds resulted in “bloodied shirts”.

Both combatants took their second superficial on Exchange 2, volley 1 (at the same time, no less) and the 3rd Supi was taken by the noble on Exchange 2, Volley 2 narrated specifically as a deep cut to the shoulder. Should that not have ended the duel at once?

Unless of course, second blood refers to being physically incapable of continuing the duel, or you were considering “blood” for this purpose to refer to a minimum of -1D wounding.

I’ve never really studied 17th Century France dueling etiquette, so I’m confused.

How are you seeing the opponent’s script before you divide your dice?

You divide dice after actions are revealed, but before anyone rolls. BWG, pg 444

Fancy that. I checked BWR and it seems to be the same there as well. It’s not explicit in the text, but looking at the example, action is revealed then dice divided.

You’re not seeing the whole script, just the action that you are up against. i.e. “After actions are revealed, but before your opponent rolls, divide [dice] into two pools”.

Wikipedia sums it up but actually fails to give the definitions:

At the choice of the offended party, the duel could be fought to a number of conclusions:

1)To first blood, in which case the duel would be ended as soon as one man was wounded, even if the wound was minor.
2) Until one man was so severely wounded as to be physically unable to continue the duel (2nd blood)
3) To the death, in which case there would be no satisfaction until one party was mortally wounded (3rd blood)

That’s what I was wondering. I read the Wikipedia article, but saw no mention of the definition for second blood. Thanks for clarifying that point. You learn something new every day.

This has given me a better understanding of the mechanics and rekindled my hope of running a 7th Sea style swashbuckling campaign.

Thank you.

What’s wrong with 7th Sea for a 7th Sea campaign. It wasn’t for me (I’ve been hunting round for swashbuckling games), I guess the PDQ just didn’t gell with me.

I apologize for the threadjack, but 7th Sea has some notoriously broken math.

Use BW for swashbuckling.