The Alternative Art of the Duel

Greetings Fans of Falkenstein and happy Friday to you all!

No where is Castle Falkenstein more amazing, perhaps, than in the way it simulates the duel. Be it with pistols or swords, the rules which allow for two opponents to face each other and, using just six cards, engage in a battle of honor are elegant and somewhat revolutionary. They can be used as easily sitting across a gaming table as they can in a LARP setting. Indeed, dueling in Castle Falkenstein remains perhaps my favorite subsystem/mini-game ever written for an RPG.

"The Code Of Honor—A Duel In The Bois De Boulogne, Near Paris", wood engraving by Godefroy Durand

Lovers of the Castle Falkenstein dueling system will be pleased to know the upcoming Firearms and Margarine Adventure Entertainment has an optional duel in place. In it, a rather high ranking civil servant of Paris challenges one of the Dramatic Characters investigating a murder to a duel while at a rather well attended party! Suffice it to say, the next day all of Paris will be discussing the matter.

However, there is no reason the rules for dueling need be limited to the actual contest of honor itself! Indeed, consider using the dueling rules as an alternate to simply playing cards and adding together sums in the one or more of the following situations:

  • Is Monsieur Hamilton questioning an enemy agent, attempting to break his so that vital information might be divulged? Why not try a duel of wits, pitting the questioner's Charisma, Courage, or even Physique Ability (depending upon the method of questioning) against the enemy agent's Courage? Each "blow" landed might well be a bit of enemy intelligence given into the hands of the Second Compact.
  • Might Doctor Diva, the evil mastermind, be attempting to hypnotize the heroic Lady Steelheart into switching sides so they might rule the world side by side? Surely, such an interaction could be done using dueling rules, pitting Doctor Diva's Charisma or Mesmerism Ability against Lady Steelheart's Courage! With each "blow" struck, Doctor Diva sways Lady Steelheart to her side but the same might well hold true in reverse!
  • The race is on! Mister Wayne, the consulting detective, must reach the palace before his nemesis, the Man in the Painted Mask! Both are riding horses and so, it comes down to a duel of riding skills, Athletics Ability against Athletics Ability. Each "blow" could represent distance traveled, with the gap between riders growing and shrinking during each exchange.

And those are but a few of the possibilities! What do you think, Fans of Falkenstein? If you ask for it, there well could be another book published in the near future detailing even more alternate uses for dueling rules. Be sure to let us know if you desire such a thing. Your voices are the most important of all when it comes to Castle Falkenstein.

Your humble servant,

J Gray

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