House Rules.   Posted by Dumas.Group: 0
 GM, 237 posts
Wed 26 Sep 2018
at 20:53
House Rules
Flashing Blades - rules changes, and new character background - Actor
3.41 General Skills — Acrobatics
A character with Acrobatics skill may choose to add it to his combat moves. Thus, "lunge" becomes "spin and close", "step back" becomes "back somersault", etc. If he makes his Acrobatics roll, the action works at +1 (due primarily to surprise) and it looks very impressive. If the character misses his Acrobatics roll, his action fails as if he had rolled a 20: roll again to see if he fumbles. This can only be done when it makes sense. One can neither shoot a gun acrobatically, nor add cartwheels to a parry. Also, it only adds +1 to actions that imply movement, such as lunge, dodge, tackle, etc. [Note: A Master Acrobat must roll, but gets +3 on the attempt.]
Rationale: It’s just too cool and swashbucklery not to do.

4.52 Damage location
Old rule: Two rolls on the damage location chart.
New rule: If a fighter rolls his expertise or less on 3d6+6, he hits his target. Otherwise, go to the table.
Rationale: Poor fighters should have next to no aim. Average fighters should have occasional aim. Masters should aim well. Masters Superior should hit whatever the hell they want to.

4.41 Weapon Breakage
Old rule: tommyrot
New rule: Throw it out. It's adequately covered by fumbles

4.72 Fumbles
Old rule: If a character rolls a 20 . . . he fumbles.
New rule: If a character rolls a 20, he rolls again. If he misses his "to hit" roll a second time, he fumbles.
Rationale: Under the old rules, a great fencer with a “to-hot” roll of 19 fumbles every time he misses. That’s not reasonable. One’s weapon skill should affect how often one fumbles.

5.9 Fencing Schools
Old rule: A Fencing Master who knows Old Style may roll to enter any military regiment….
New rule: A Fencing Master may roll to enter any military regiment if he knows the dueling style favored by that regiment.
Rationale: Under the old rules, a fencer who knows Old Style gets a plus to join the musketeers, who fight French Style.

6.1 Experience — Skills
Old rule: After you learn three skills, you can only learn another at the end of an adventure when your Wit increases.
New rule: You can learn up to three skills plus the number of times that your Wit has increased, regardless of the timing.
Rationale: The old rule punishes people for increasing in Wit before they learn three skills.

6.2 Experience — Martial Skills
Old rule: All other Martial Skills advance only in individual weapon expertise.
New rule: All pistols advance together, as do muskets/arquebuses, regardless of the lock.

6.5 Experience — practice
Old rule: The final check to raise weapon expertise, however, must always be earned in an adventure or on campaign.
New rule: If the final check is achieved by practice, expertise is not advanced until the skill is used successfully once in the next adventure.
Rationale: Under the old rule, practice never helps poor fencers, or any fencer who’s about to get better.

New Fighting Actions

Bind and Close: A character who successfully parries may take this counter action. If successful, the character has caught his opponent's blade and closed the distance. This does not include an actual attack, which must be a separate action (so parry, bind and close, and attack cannot be done in one turn). The next attack must be a dagger, brawling attack, or slash, and if it is done with the binding weapon, the opponent's blade is released. (Note: Unlike a normal counter action, to bind and close, the character must successfully parry an attack, even if the opponent's shot missed.)

Hold weapon: A character who bound his opponent's blade last turn may attempt to hold it. This gives +3 against any attempt to escape. If no attempt is made, the blade is held unless the binder rolls a natural 20.

Escape bind: With this miscellaneous action, the character whose blade is caught may attempt to free his blade by brute force or by finesse. He must choose between a Strength vs. Strength, or Expertise vs. Expertise roll. If he succeeds, his blade is free. If he fails, then the blade is still trapped, and any further action he chose that turn that requires the same blade is lost.

Step back: If the character's blade is caught in a bind, he may step back, with automatic success unless the opponent tries to hold the weapon. If he does, the blade will be held this turn only. For defensive purposes, stepping back from a close position should be treated as a dodge.

Break weapon: This counter action requires a successful parry with a weapon with "blade-breaker" quillons, or a blade still held from last turn. The character makes a "to hit" roll. On a Serious Wound, the blade breaks. On a Light Wound result, the blade is bound and held. If the roll is missed entirely, the blade is free, and the opponent may counter as if an attack had missed (assuming counter has been taken this turn).

True Lunge: The "lunge" in the rules is actually a fleche attack. A true lunge can only be performed with rapier, longsword, sabre, or smallsword (foil). It is not a common move, and the GM will have to determine who knows it (presumably it is a "botte secrete" in Italian or French Styles). A true lunge is a short action, which automatically gains the initiative. A lunger cannot dodge or lunge until he takes the short action recover or the long action step back. The lunger has the first attack, but he automatically gets the last attack in the next round. Any hit with a lunge will be a Serious Wound, but any hit on the lunger (from the character he attacked) that turn will also be a Serious Wound. A player cannot lunge if either fighter scored a hit last turn. (He's too close.) True lunge cannot be taken as a "counter" attack.

Attack Dodge Duck Sidestep Step back Recover
True Lunge -3 -0 -6 -3 -1
Fleche -3 -0 -6 -2 -1
Thrust -3 -0 -6 cannot hit -2
Slash -3 -6 -0 cannot hit -4
Strike -3 -3 -3 cannot hit -1
Brawling —————various————— cannot hit cannot hit

Recover: Any fighter who knows the true lunge also knows recover. This defensive move puts the fighter back on guard, restoring all actions. (This includes recovering forward or backward.)

Feint: A short action, always followed by an attack (not counter). If it succeeds, then only a reaction parry is possible against the attack, even if the opponent took parry. Further, if the opposing (normal) parry against the feint fails, no parry can be attempted against the real attack.

New Background — Actor

Bargaining (Wit)
Bribery (Wit)
Captaincy (Charm)
Carousing (Endurance)
Etiquette* (Charm)
History (Wit)
Languages** (Wit)
Seduction* (Charm)
Stealth (Dexterity)

* These skills are available, but they are, first and foremost acting skills, rather than living skills. If an actor misses a roll, then another roll is made. If the character misses the second roll, then not only is the attempt a failure, but it is obviously the attempt of a phony — artificial, contrived, and inappropriate. For example, if a nobleman misses an etiquette roll, then he uses the correct protocol badly or awkwardly. If an actor misses the roll, then it might mean that the stage protocol is not the actual court protocol.

** A beginning actor may choose to know one language and be literate, or he may prefer to know how to speak, but not read or write, both French and Italian. Any actor in France must be able to speak one or the other of those two languages.

Note that, in this period, both men and women were travelling performers, with relative freedom of action. This background allows female characters.

An actor may choose any two of Brawling and the dueling styles, including this new one:

Stage Combat: A flamboyant collection of showy techniques rather than a unified style, Stage Combat allows the use of rapier, dagger, longsword, and two-handed sword. A character with Stage Combat gets a +2 to parry (not reaction parry) with anything, up to and including passersby, if no attack or counter is taken that turn, and a +2 to "flashy" moves like entangle, disarm, or bind and close. On the other hand, Stage Combat, being deliberately showy, is easier to predict. An opponent who rolls Wit/2 knows the type of attack and gets +3 on the parry. Also, someone with Stage Combat and no other fencing style who rolls exactly his "to hit" roll must immediately make a Wit roll. If he fails it, then his instincts betrayed him — he accidentally threw a stage blow that touches, but does not damage, his opponent. These last two restrictions apply to a character who knows both Stage Combat and another dueling style only when attempting to use the Stage Combat advantages or a weapon that is not covered by the other style.