Thursday 24 August 2023

Flirting With Death (Class: Duelist)


This class owes an obvious debt to deus ex parabola’s Fighters and Rogues.


+1 to Hit per Template. 

A - Panache, Style, Parry & Riposte 

B - Like a Bird

C - Flynning

D - Like a Wolf


When unarmoured, you add your [level + 2] to your AC, representing dashing charm, fancy footwork and opportunely timed roguish winks. If you’re hobbled, sunk in mud or tied up, your AC is just 10. 

When you reduce someone to 0HP, you can choose to non-lethally embarrass them - for example:

  • Spin their sword out of their hands

  • Cut their belt and pants them

  • Trip them down a staircase

  • Flip a jug over their head

  • Bonk 'em on the skull

  • What have you, etc.

This removes them from combat in a kind of a “zorro kicked that guy offscreen and he’s no longer a problem” way, and onlookers and guards like it a lot more than maiming people. 

You can make 2 attacks in a round. 


Pick one of the Styles from the end of this post. You know two of its techniques and stances, your choice in whatever combination you like. 

When you level up or spend a season training, you learn two new techniques or stances from a Style you know. Learning a new Style requires a season of tutelage with a manual or a master. 

Techniques are active moves for fights. Fancy attacks, and so on. Flourishes. You can use each Technique once per fight against intelligent enemies, as afterwards, they get wise to your shit. 

Stances are passive, at will, and have constant effects. You can only be in one stance at a time, but changing your stance can be done as you please (or at the start of your turn in combat).  

Some styles might have lessons, permanent changes to your character, many of which are useful beyond combat.

Parry & Riposte

Once per round, if you can both move and attack, you can parry, and reduce incoming damage from a melee attack by 1d6+[To Hit].

If you reduce the damage to 0 or lower, you may riposte and make a free attack against the target. 

Like a Bird 

You’re very physically fit. 

You can keep your balance perfectly while running, jump your own height from standing, slide down bannisters without falling over, climb anything it’s possible for a human to climb free-handed, and can do sick backflips. 

You are immune to high blood pressure and indigestion. 


You can attack thrice and parry twice in a round. 

If someone uses all of their attacks against you and does no damage (either from missing or parrying), they are stunned for a round. 

Like a Wolf

You deal double damage to enemies with less HD than you. 


The Ψ in front of each style name is short for… pstyle, I don’t know, it’s 4am.

Ψ - Orbit

The style favoured in Urbis Orbis, the Eternal City. Considered classical. 

You might have learned it from a fencing tutor, or from an oft-reprinted manual. 

  1. Technique: Disarming Strike

Upon a successful attack, you can knock whatever someone’s holding in their hand out of it. Fighters get a save

  1. Technique: Finishing Blow

If an attack takes an enemy below [level * 2] HP, but still above 0, you can quickly finish them off with a punch, hilt-strike or rapid slice. 

  1. Technique: Hilt-Strike

One of your attacks becomes a sudden bludgeon with your sword’s hilt, dealing blunt damage and having advantage

  1. Stance: Tempo
    For each successful attack in a fight, you get +1 to Hit and +1 Damage for the rest of that fight.  

Ψ - Ossean
The style of the Osset League, a collection of mercantile cities to the far north. 

You might have learned it from a down-on-her-luck soldier, or an iron-plated book. 

  1. Technique: Sweep

If an attack you made this round would also hit the AC of a creature near your target, you damage them too. 

  1. Technique: Vom Tag 

You may forgo both of your attacks to make one massive strike from above your head. If it hits, you deal +6 damage and knock the target away or prone. Experienced fighters or large monsters may save to keep their footing. 

  1. Stance: Bog Fighting

Your extra AC from panache isn’t lost when you’re on unstable or boggy ground. 

  1. Stance: Hill Fortress

Enemies attacking you from the low ground have disadvantage on their attacks, and you have advantage to attack them. 

Ψ - Admirat
The blessed sword-style taught to Inquisitors of the Seventh Church. 

You might have learned it from a visiting quisit, or from a small black book. 

  1. Technique: Rose

If you miss an attack, you can flourish and immediately move 15’. 

  1. Technique: Carnation

Before you make your attacks for a round, your sword blooms with harsh red weirdlight - an enemy must save or be blinded. 

  1. Stance: Careful Analysis

You can See HD and See AC

  1. Stance: Removing Shadow

Your sword glows with blue weirdlight. This is a stance of the soul, not the body. 

Ψ - Excabrian
The old-fashioned military style of the cyclopean-built fortress-city of Excabria. 

You might have learned it from a pompous captain, or from a book of iron plates. 

  1. Technique: Stratagem

You may forgo an attack to have an ally who can hear you attack instead. 

  1. Technique:  Portcullis

When you successfully attack, you can sweep downwards and hobble a foe. Fighters get a save

  1. Stance: Gate and Walls

When in a choke-point, doorway, or other narrow passage, you parry with a d8

  1. Stance: Control

You add +2 to the damage-reduction rolls when you parry. You get an extra save against being disarmed. 

Ψ - Aderran
The strange way they fight in the great port of Aderro. Requires a trained falcon. 

You might have learned it from a wild-eyed falconer, or from a scratched-up codex. 

  1. Technique: A Bird in the Hand

When an enemy misses you with an attack, you can suddenly throw your falcon in their face, dealing 1d6 damage and blinding them for a round. 

  1. Stance: Bird and Sword, in Accord

If you made a successful attack on this round, your falcon may attack any target you can see once, using your To Hit and dealing 1d6 damage. 

  1. Stance: Eagle Eye

What your falcon sees, you do. 

  1. Stance: Look Up! 

You can parry arrows and bullets. If your parry is successful, your falcon can riposte the people that fired them. 

Ψ - Marcione

Named for the style’s inventor, the sword-genius Ana de Marcione. 

Maybe you learned it from her, the most dangerous old woman in the world - or you bought her book. 

  1. Technique: Feint

After a missed attack, immediately make another attack with advantage. 

  1. Technique: Deflect

You can make one free parry with a durable object held in your offhand (such as a metal gun-barrel) though you cannot riposte off of it. 

  1. Technique: Quick Step

You can dodge one melee attack with a quick backstep. 

  1. Stance: Crystal Sphere Resonance

You can see magic (though only a wizard can read magic) and your sword is a +1 Weapon. When under the open sky, you can hear it hum. 

Ψ - Requiem

The style of the grim city of Requiesa. Designed for killing the dead once more. 

You might have learned it from a weary gravedigger, or found it carved into ancient stone walls. 

  1. Stance: In Pacet

Your attacks deal full damage to all undead, and people you kill are rendered incorrupt, like a Saint.

  1. Technique: Quickshot 

After making two attacks, you can make one free attack with a gun held in your offhand. No sense relying only on old tools. This doesn’t mean you can reload guns one-handed. 

  1. Technique: Turn Undead

When you make a successful attack against an undead creature, you can force them to test morale or flee you. If they have the same or more HD than you, they will stop fleeing at the end of their next turn. 

  1. Stance: Sure and Certain Hope

While in this stance, you see in black and white, but are immune to fear, XP drain, possession and add +[level] to saves vs. death

Ψ - Tamburo
The style of the sword-master Plato of Aviso, who bodyguards the Archpriest.   

You might have learned it from the pious swordsman himself, or bought his book. 

  1. Technique: Crash

When you make a successful attack and are holding a shield, you can follow up and clap the target round the head - they must save for be stunned for a round. 

  1. Technique: Thud

When you are reduced to 0HP and are holding a shield, you are reduced to 1 instead. 

  1. Technique: Clang

When you riposte and are holding a shield, you may bash with the shield instead of attacking, dealing +2 damage and knocking the target prone. Fighters get a save

  1. Stance: O Useful Buckler

When holding a shield, you parry with a d8


Ψ - Talpa

The secretive style of the Populares, who control the dark undercity of Urbis Orbis. 

You might have learned it from a lantern-carrying woman with black eyes, or an old vellum scroll. 

  1. Technique: Strike from the Dark

When attacking a target that can’t see you, have advantage and deal double damage

  1. Stance: Lantern Hand

A lantern counts as a shield for you. 

  1. Stance: Tunnel Fighting

You can parry and use panache while crawling, crouching or in the foetal position. 

  1. Stance: Pack Tactics

If you’re attacking a target an ally of yours has hit, you have advantage

Ψ - Volpe
An elegant, showy style, favoured by criminals and rakes. 

You might have learned it from a retired footpad in a smoky room, or from a loose sheaf of papers. 

  1. Technique: Daylight Robbery
    When you could riposte, you can instead take an item from an enemy’s inventory.

  1. Technique: The Goad

When you make a successful attack, you can embarrass the target (such as by cutting your monogram into their clothes) - enraged, they will attack you next round if able. Fighters may save against this. 

  1. Stance: Defense in Motion

While moving, you have +2 AC and can parry arrows and bullets. 

  1. Stance: The Dangerous Dance

When you parry you can move up to 10 feet, passing through other creatures by tumbling or sliding between their legs. 

Ψ - Cynical

The style of the Cynocephali of the north-east. Designed to maim. 

You might have learned it from a dog-faced mercenary or a dog-eared codex. 

  1. Stance: Aggro

When you hit two successful attacks on the same target, you can make another for free. 

  1. Technique: Humerus

When making an attack, you can lash out violently - target must save or have one of their arms (your choice) disabled for 1d6 days. 

  1. Technique: Sudden Cut

You draw your sheathed sword and immediately make one attack. You can do this before initiative rolls. 

  1. Stance: Manhunter
    You deal +2 damage to humans. The scars of your weapons ache. 

Ψ - Wose
The unrefined style of the Woses, who live in the god-ruled wilds to the north. 

You might have learned it from a hirsute wildman, or a barkcloth scroll. 

  1. Technique: Ambush

Attacking an unaware target, deal double damage and knock them prone if they fail a save.

  1. Stance: Run Quick

In a straight line, you move as fast as a horse so long as you have no fatigue. 

  1. Stance: Walk Lightly

You are invisible in foliage and leave no footprints. 


  1. Stance: Eat Well
    You deal +2 damage to animals and wild beasts. 

Alright fuckers I did twelve fuckin’ Styles I am personally challenging YOU to do like five or something. Yeah, you, motherfucker, you reading this.

People who have answered this challenge:


  1. Fantastic. Truly Excellent. I will write those styles... someday.

    And maybe a less frilly fighter to go with them.

    1. I'm of the opinion we've got enough frill-less stolid grim porridge-vibed fighters

    2. I rescind my previous statement. I see no reason why this class *couldn't* be gravely serious as well as light and funny. The invitation to silliness can of course be denied, but it's perhaps necessary for those who would like a more light-hearted fighter.

  2. Misread the final command as 'make five of something' instead of 'make five or something' so I ended up baking muffins. Whoops.

  3. I have answered your summons, so release me from this curse!

    (First time doing anything like this, apologies I've have made any faux pas)

    1. "1. Technique: Hostile Takeover"
      "When you could riposte, you may instead choose to buy any number of the opponent’s belongings at 50% above market value which they then hand over immediately."

      This is extremely good stuff!