Combat Example 1: Amber

This is an example of combat from the Amber Diceless Role-playing System by Eric Wujcik. It is an example of diceless combat between closely ranked characters.

This is taken from a session back in March of 1988. Godfrey, played by John Speck, dropped into a tavern in one of the seedier parts of City Amber. Notice how any wounds are based on whether or not tiny deceptions work or fail.

NOTE: The GM's lines are in italics, while John's are normal type. 

A woman, long of leg, approaches Godfrey. She smiles and holds out a remarkable hand. The hand features well-trimmed nails and fencing calluses. She wears a sword at her side, and it looks pretty efficient. What are you doing?

I'll shake her hand, smile and say hello.

She also says hello, and she seems to have a very firm handshake. Are you going to test her strength?

Maybe later.

She asks if you are familiear with the swordsmen of the castle. It seems to be a reference to your uncles in Castle Amber.

Yeah, I know them.

And, she asks, are you any good with that thing? She glances at your sword.

I hold my own.

And Benedict? she asks, the smile dropping a bit, how is your skill relative to Benedict?

Hmmm... I think Godfrey will just say that I'm in his league.

Hardly, she says, I think you exaggerate your own skill. And I think I could cut your heart out. What are you doing?

I'll push back, drawing my sword and Main-Gauche.

You barely avoid the drink she threw in the direction of your face. She whirls, pulling her blade simultaneously. She's advancing, her blade pricking at you. What are you doing?

I defend, holding my ground. But I'm not going to show my full ability yet.

Okay, you hold back, but slowing down means you have to retreat several paces and barely escape getting wounded. Are you still faking?

No way.

All right, you fight the best you can, and you're just holding your ground, parrying her lightning thrusts, and having your own attacks blocked. This goes on for a full minute, and you finally see an opening in her defense. Are you going to attack through the opening?

Is it real, or is she faking me out?

You can't tell. It looks real.

I'll use the opening, but only for a feint. If she goes to parry the feint, then I'll attack.

She doesn't parry the feint, but instead she uses it to attack. You feel the shock of her blade banging against your sword-guard. A close thing.

I'm going to be a bit more defensive for now, to see if she tires at all.

No sign of that. What are you doing?

This time I'll launch a series of feints. Let me see if I can lead her into ignoring them.

Okay, let me know when you want to do something. She parries the first one. The second one. The third one...

Okay, now I'll convert this one into a thrust, hoping that she'll be in the habit of reacting one way.

Not only does she avoid your thrust, she also gets past your defense. You take a long rake along the outside of your extended forearm. Doing anything different?

No, just fighting.

A moment later, she puts up her blade. She asks if you wish to withdraw.

No way! I attack, all the way!

She barely defends in time, and you force her to pull her foot back half a step.

Am I closer now?

A bit. You had been fighting at the tips of your swords. You're closer now.

I'll try for a bind.

She pushes back.

Using my greater Strength I'll force her blade out of line, opening her up for attack.

With greater Strength than yours, perhaps because of that wound on your arm, she circles your bind around, pushing your blade out of her line of attack.

Rats! I'll pull my sword back...

That opens you up...

I'll uses my Main-Gauche to parry!

Good work! You succeed in blocking her thrust before it entered you armpit. You're relatively safe again.

If she extended that far, she might be vulnerable. I'll circle her blade and go for an attack on the hand.

You manage to prick her thumb. A small line of blood appears.

I'll pull back a bit, and see how she reacts.

Again, she offers you the opportunity to withdraw. ``Seeing as we are both wounded,'' she says.

I accept!

She smiles wide, embraces you, and seems really pleased.

John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Sat Jan 27 15:54:41 CST 1996