SAFCOcast 32: Never knife-fight Earl Dumarest

In this episode we discuss the last two “longest campaign” submissions, talk about the Parry rule in Classic Traveller Combat, go through a lot of great Internet Finds, and briefly touch on the OGL debacle.

Relevant links:

Here are my notes on Parry and fighting Earl Dumarest with a knife:

Bob: I read the rules on Page 35 of book 1 (in the Facsimile Edition), under Expertise,  about using the Parry ability with certain weapons. It was eye opening. If you are fighting for instance blade weapon to blade weapon, and you have skill with your weapon, you automatically get to reduce your opponent’s chance to hit by your skill level – it is assumed you are parrying. So, for example, Blade-2 vs Blade-1.  Blade-2 reduces Blade-1’s chance to hit by 2. In other words, Blade-1 is attacking at -1.  The other way around, Blade-2’s attack is reduced by Blade-1’s level. 2-1. So Blade-2 is only at a +1 to hit. 

It gets really interesting if one of the combatants is UNSKILLED. Not Skill-0, like a PC, but totally unskilled. That person is at -5 to hit, and they are so bad at parrying that they add +3 to the opponent’s chance of hitting them. Better to fight bare handed!  So against Blade-2, they would be a -5 to hit, -2 for Blade-2’s parry, for a total of -7 to hit (not including any other modifiers for armor or lack thereof). And Blade-2 is at +5 to hit them. Insane! They would be cut to ribbons, which I think is very realistic. I also like the way Parry is worked into the combat. No extra roll. Just a modifier. Good stuff.

So let’s do Earl Dumarest, as written up in the 1001 Characters supplement, with his Blade.

Earl has STR B. Advantageous STR. +1 to hit
Mesh Armor. But let’s ignore his armor, and assume that once again Earl is fighting in the arena, for money or his freedom or both. 

So against someone with no armor and Blade-2. Earl is at +4 to hit from his skill vs their parry. +1 to hit for his STR. and +1 to hit as they have no armor. Earl is at a total of +6 to hit. He needs only a 2 to hit. He’s going to hit every time. So to have any chance of not being hit, his opponent needs either some kind of armor or Blade-3 or better. They will still likely get hit, but could luck out.

To hit Earl, Blade-2 is at:

+2 from their skill
-6 to hit from Earl’s parry
We’ll give Blade-2 advantageous STR, for +1

And Earl has no armor, also +1

So Blade-2 is at -2 to hit Earl. They need a 10+. Possible, but not easy. They will need to cheat! Maybe some sand in the eyes or blind him with a reflection from his knife, or for his partner in the crowd with a small mirror!

The Blade does 2d6 damage. So an average of 7 points. A good physical specimen may not be out after the first hit, but there’s a damned good chance they will be. Earl’s first three stats are BFC – very high. Blade COULD reduce one of his stats to zero on the first hit, but it is unlikely. He is probably going to survive that first strike. And in round 2 he will likely kill his opponent or put them into a bleed to death condition. 

A totally unskilled opponent without advantageous STR would be at -5 (the unskilled penalty), -6 for Earl’s parry, +1 if they have advantageous STR, and +1 for Earl being unarmored. A total of -9 to hit. They are screwed, unless you play that a roll of 12 always succeeds.

The takeaway – do not engage Earl Dumarest in Blade combat!

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