Monday, 7 January 2008

Duelling in Kitschberg

As the late King Alberich often said, "You insult me sir, and I demand satisfaction." During his lifetime, Alberich fought some thirty-seven documented duels, and is rumoured to have fought many more impromptu ones. His favour for duelling ensured that the most fashionable Kitschbergers took up their weapons and settled their disputes in this way. The result? Duelling is now endemic in Kitschberg culture. The highest profile duels attract large spectator crowds at dawn and during the daytime, and in the dark of night countless accusations of adultery and dishonour are quietly settled in a flurry of blades and the drawing of blood. Only a silent scar survives to mark that something was once amiss.

The pfennig cheapsheets eagerly scandalise the lives of duellists, and have taken to recording each duel and tallying the counts* of Kitschberg's most successful. Current top ranking duellist Otto von Mundtot has fought and won twenty-eight duels to date. Of those, twenty-six have been fought to first blood. The other two were infamously to the death, a practice which has since flourished despite an outcry for it to be outlawed. Although such duels are rumoured to take place in secret from time to time, it is currently very fashionable to challenge one's wife's lover 'to the death' in public.

Karl Kampfbegriff, von Mundtot's nearest duelling rival, has been overheard lamenting the cost to Kitschberg's officer classes of this fatal trend, but so far at least, his voice is in a minority.

*What will be the consequences for my gaming? Well, once in a while I shall indulge in a 'sidebar' game where a plot thread will be progressed or resolved by playing out a duel. I am toying with a solitaire version of the En Garde! duelling rules which would involve writing orders in advance. Alternatively, I recall once owning a copy of The Duel, a set of fantasy duelling rules but ones I seem to remember having a lot of fun with 10 or 15 years ago. Using these rules the duelling would be much more dynamic and exciting. Next time I visit my storage unit, I'll root through a few boxes to see if I can find them for a try out. The main thing though, will be to track duellists' honour, due causes, and won/lost record.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Interestingly enough, I've been playing in various online "En Garde" games for several years . . . and I fought less than a handful of duels.

It seems that the "campaign framework" in EG became more interesting than the dueling when you have 20-50 players in a game.

By all means, if you want it, have dueling in your Imagi-Nation.

As a suggestion, you might consider having some of your officers duel after a battlefield loss (blaming each other for failure on the battlefield) . . . of course, you might have to come up with a lot of different character . . . *grin*

Have fun with it, Bill. Do whatever you like. We have at least one member who has not only killed off a number of his ruler's family members, but has even written at least one of his countries out of existance!

-- Jeff

Fitz-Badger said...

If you have some sort of stats or characterization for your generals and other leaders I suppose a duel could remove one from being available for battle from time to time (temporarily or permenently).
Dueling rivalries could also manifest themselves in how leaders act in battle (maybe not doing his utmost to support a rival's unit or spurring one on to heroic acts to show up a rival).
Loads of potential for minor or major effects.

MurdocK said...

Interesting, though it would appear to be mostly 'sword based' or are there 'pistols at dawn' duels also?

tradgardmastare said...

It is good to see a still from one of my favourite films - The Duellists!
Have you looked at using BAR rules - they read very well,are informative,give good advice to those setting up and are FUN as well as accurate to the period!
Historically in Germanic lands duels had a part in the judical process - esp in medieval times - a trad you could continue into the 18th century.

Stokes Schwartz said...

That sounds like lots of fun! Do the rules include points on slapping one another's face with a white leather glove? Best Regards,


Fitz-Badger said...

I just bought the "Gloire" rules, for small skirmish games. The rules are set a little before our time (mostly in the 17th century rather than 18th - swashbuckling and adventure is the object), but could be useful for skirmishes with minor adaptations.
They have rules about dueling (pistols as well as swords). Even a side bar about "How to insult Someone to the Point of a Duel" (although, I think the first entry is not quite right "Bite your tongue at them"? Should be thumb, I think - lol).