Hacking Zak’s Dueling Rules- Duel of Wits

I was doing my morning blog reading, while eating my artery clogging breakfast wrap (I went to the gym to torture myself this morning, so I fucking deserve it), and I was reading Zak S post about some awesome rules-lite dueling rules.

It occurred to me that the same principles could be used as a rules-lite duel of wits kinda thing.

Aside: I know some people complain that Charismatic debates boil down to two opposed  Charisma/Intelligence/Wisdom rolls and then moving on…  I know that Burning Wheel has a Duel of Wits rules and many people enjoy them.  However I want rules-lite and do not want to read 8 pages of shit that I’ll have to attempt to explain to my players later.

So here we go:

Duel of Wits

  • Each side rolls initiative as normal, but uses Charisma Modifier instead of Dexterity.
  • Each character has Charisma + level in “Hit Points.”
  • Players ACTUALLY ROLE-PLAY their arguments, etc.  Roll attack (again Charisma is the bonus modifier here).
  • On a hit each does d6 + Charisma modifier in damage.  Natural 2o, damage is doubled.
  • At zero “HP” the character can still engage in a duel of wits, but is now flustered, blubbering, and becoming harassed.  Each successful hit after that results in an Ego Injury.  Roll on the table below.
  • If they take the same Ego Injury twice they bow out of the fight, defeated, and have lost face with this particular group of people, suffering a -2 to Charisma rolls (this could be permanent).  It is possible to recover from this embarrassing defeat, but needs to be something amazing.  Discuss with your GM.
  • If the situation is right a player may be able to subsitute the Charisma modifier/roll with an Intelligence or Wisdom roll.

Ego Injury

1) Bruised Ego- -1 to all further rolls.

2) Stumble Over Words- -2 to all further rolls.

3) Verbal Bitch Slap- Lose next turn to recover.

4) Rebuffed- -2 to all further rolls, always lose initiative.

5) Lost Temper- -2 to Charisma rolls for 24 hours.  However your insult hurts your attacker for 1/2 damage (or an Ego Injury Roll)

6) Loss of Face- -4 to Charisma rolls for 24 hours.


Honestly I haven’t tried this out, and I don’t know how well this’ll work.  It’s just something that popped into my head, and I felt like jotting it down.


About wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn. View all posts by wrathofzombie

One response to “Hacking Zak’s Dueling Rules- Duel of Wits

  • 1d30

    I would definitely use INT for Initiative and WIS for EgoHP. That is to say, a smart person will think of something good to say sooner, a wise person will take less offense and maintain a more secure demeanor, and a charismatic person is able to cause the most emotional harm and impress onlookers more effectively.

    This also allows an argument between a stupid, ignorant showoff and a smart-aleck with average charisma to work out how it should: intelligence and wisdom would matter instead of just Charisma – in the same way a fight between two men should take into account more than just Strength.

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