Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-18-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

So duelling is cool and an integral part of SF societies that steal from historical periods. That said how does an ultra-tech setting influence duelling? What kind of plausible variations from historical codes duello can there be? How does duelling work in your settings ultra-tech or otherwise?

Last edited by Sindri; 05-18-2012 at 06:35 PM.
Sindri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2012, 06:39 PM   #2
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
So duelling is cool and an integral part of SF societies that steal from historical periods. That said how does an ultra-tech setting influence duelling? What kind of plausible variation from historical codes duello can there be? How does duelling work in your settings ultra-tech or otherwise.
One question that springs to mind is what sort of medical (or other) life-preserving technologies are used.

If the point of the duel is the fight, not the risk, you could go with extreme supportive technology (life support nanites, medical sensor linked stasis generators), strict rules against taking it too far, and a portable hospital standing by, or with having all out bouts to the death where both participants are backed up for re-instantiation or the duel is fought by forks (possibly in simulation) while the primaries watch.

On the other hand, if dueling serves as a legally acceptable way to produce a world without the other person in it, participants might be stripped of augmentations and required to purge their backups.
__________________
I don't know any 3e, so there is no chance that I am talking about 3e rules by accident.
Ulzgoroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2012, 06:47 PM   #3
jason taylor
 
jason taylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

One time I had the heroine challenge a man using a rapier shaped shock-goad against a brushcutting knife (locals called it a "sax" and it was rather like a machete). She was a skilled in martial arts and he was a local thug-chief so it was really almost like electrically torturing him to death.

This was more a combat by champion then a lethal litigation. The good guys had flown a supply of medicine into an NGO camp on Hofud. The bad guy tried to steal the supply for his own men only to find that these guys were tougher then they looked. Then the heroine gave him a challenge and killed him.
__________________
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison

Last edited by jason taylor; 04-17-2020 at 09:54 AM.
jason taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2012, 07:00 PM   #4
jason taylor
 
jason taylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

Dueling is based primarily on social and cultural considerations, unlike out and out warfare whose rules are seldom limiting on techniques. For this reason it is perfectly possible to imagine a future society that duels with obsolete weapons or ultra tech weapons or anything in between.

For martial games I envisioned what I call a scoresuit which is designed to protect the player from serious injury as well as to record the nature of the blow. This makes it perfectly possible to have a fairly realistic match with any weapon.
__________________
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
jason taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2012, 07:20 PM   #5
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
So duelling is cool and an integral part of SF societies that steal from historical periods. That said how does an ultra-tech setting influence duelling? What kind of plausible variations from historical codes duello can there be? How does duelling work in your settings ultra-tech or otherwise?
The Orion Space Horde was a high tech society in several of my games where the descendants of afluent nerds and geeks had colonized a distant system and set up a society based on a society-wide LARP where they all pretended to be Klingon-like Space Barbarians more or less 24/7.

<shrug> Makes more sense than sitting in front of your nano-hookah all day while cyber-jazz gets beamed directly to your frontal lobes.

So, while the populace is carefully genetically engineered for physcial and mental health with attempts at enhanced creativity they are also all large muscular people who at least _pretend_ to be short-tempered, violent and obsessively concerned with Honor with a capitol "H".

All adult members of the Horde normally carry an Honor Dagger which is symbolic of their personal Honor. Deeply personal disputes should in theory be settled with an Honor Duel using these. Knife Art, Knife Sport or even in very rare cases just Knife could be used in these by the mutual but unspoken choice of the participants.

Hordesmen also usually carry a Blade of Position whose length reflects their rank in society. No one in the horde carries a longer sword than Vercingetorix Patton, Lord of all the Clans and Chairman of the Horde.

Yeah, it's Freudian. They're in on the joke.

So the Chairman has a very large Greatsword and Junior Apprentices of Fire and Steel (your basic techie) get a Long Knife with appropriate scaling between them. Most disputes in Horde life will e settled by Art or Sport matches with the appropriate Blades of Position.

Fatality should be extremely rare and a great deal of this is just for show, hence the Art or Sport versions of the Weapon Skills. Since the Horde is TL10^+ and has nanotech Reattachers (Bio-tech p.133), "disarming" is a not-infrequent way of ending a duel.

If you wonder, the Horde also favors Extreme Sports in general. The play Battletech with real 'Mechs and are working on the real dragons for their D&D games.

Positions involved in politics and the equivalent of law enforcement in the Horde tend to actually be held by professional duellists with bio-tech enhancements whose mundane work is carried out by more techncially qualified assistants.

Since the Horde has few things that are illegal except financial crimes (and no _actual_ psychotics) the equivalrnt of their Chief Law Enforcement Officer is actually Tamarlaine Barbarosa whose exults in the title of Uitimate Defender of the Accounts Recievable and Primary Warlord of Clan Snarling Warthog.

He's not actually a bad accountant. The Horde favors Math and Business Talents but his primary Skill set involves use of melee weapons and other forms of combat. A would-be embezzler can dispute his arrest with Trial By Combat but the system tries to make sure he's not going to win.

A conviction (but still a suirvival) on serious charges usually leads to The Death of Honor where it's actually the person's _persona_ that dies and the offender gets a new name in a distant place with a crap job for what amounts to a very long and heavily supervised probation.

Leaving the Horde is normally an alternative but the person leaving will normally be given (involuntary) cosmetic surgery so that they no longer _look_ like a Hordesman,.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2012, 07:23 PM   #6
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
So duelling is cool and an integral part of SF societies that steal from historical periods. That said how does an ultra-tech setting influence duelling? What kind of plausible variations from historical codes duello can there be? How does duelling work in your settings ultra-tech or otherwise?
The Dueling Machine obviously comes to mind, a device used for mostly harmless "duels" in which people act out their anger by trying to kill each other's virtual reality avatar. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30796

Isaac Asimov had cultures where people dueled with "neuronic whips". Despite the name they were stun pistols. Really, really painful stun pistols.
David Johnston2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2012, 07:36 PM   #7
Lord Carnifex
 
Lord Carnifex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Default Re: Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

My space opera game had dueling common in the Imperial fleet, marines, and legion. Mostly because of a "survival of the fittest" and "keep them sharp" attitude, although the duels are very rarely to the death, most being to the submission.

Among the enlisted ranks, fisticuffs are more common. Zero-G aikido is a common sport in the fleet, and a lot of duels between enlisted spacers is done that way. The Imperial marines, especially the battlesuit and assault troops practice a particularily brutal cross of juijutsu and dagger fighting: in duels, the knives usually don't come out unless the conflict is particularily serious. The Dagger Teams (elitie commandos) duke it out in zero G with daggers.

Officers in the fleet are usually assumed to be of a higher social class, and their duels are assumed to be more refined. Zero-G Aikido is used here, too and they do a fair amount of smallsword fencing, both in 1 G and zero G environments.

Fleet-Rank officers (silver star commanders, commodores, and admirals) are generally less physical. They actually tend to duel via various 3 dimensional and n dimensional games and simulations. 2D chess is relatively unknown, but they'd play it if they knew about it.

Duels, like I said, are very rarely to the death and are done with bare hands or with blunted weapons. They're mostly seen as a way to resolve conflicts, deal with grudges, and blow off steam. The overall philosophy is that soldiers/spacers should be competitive and aggressive. They succeed in a duel (the theory goes) by faggression, courage, and skill; part of the point is not to decide who is right, but who is the better soldier/marine/spacer/officer in a climate that encourages excellence, skill, and aggression.

Very rarely are duels fought to the death. Duels to the death happen where other navies might use courts martial: accusations of cowardice, insubordination, incompetence, and so on. Here again the aim is not so much to find who was right as much as it is to see who is the most skilled and aggressive (and thus the better fighter).

ETA: The prank wars between the cadets at the Imperial Intelligence Academy are the stuff of inter-stellar legend. Most of them carry on the tradition after they graduate. Rumors that Operations Directorate officers engage in duels of assassination are stringently denied, however.
__________________
An ongoing narrative of philosophy, psychology, and semiotics: Et in Arcadia Ego

"To an Irishman, a serious matter is a joke, and a joke is a serious matter."

Last edited by Lord Carnifex; 05-18-2012 at 07:50 PM.
Lord Carnifex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2012, 07:45 PM   #8
jason taylor
 
jason taylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

Gladiator games can be done without the obvious disadvantage of having oppressed slaves trained in usable weapons in a sci-fi setting. The Evil Empire has technology far enough that it can afford to enjoy giving swords to slaves.
__________________
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
jason taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2012, 03:23 PM   #9
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Re: Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

Great examples!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
One question that springs to mind is what sort of medical (or other) life-preserving technologies are used.

If the point of the duel is the fight, not the risk, you could go with extreme supportive technology (life support nanites, medical sensor linked stasis generators), strict rules against taking it too far, and a portable hospital standing by, or with having all out bouts to the death where both participants are backed up for re-instantiation or the duel is fought by forks (possibly in simulation) while the primaries watch.

On the other hand, if dueling serves as a legally acceptable way to produce a world without the other person in it, participants might be stripped of augmentations and required to purge their backups.
Good point on the two separate aims of duelling. Of course specific examples might fall between the two extremes depending on how much risk they find necessary for a duel to count.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
Dueling is based primarily on social and cultural considerations, unlike out and out warfare whose rules are seldom limiting on techniques. For this reason it is perfectly possible to imagine a future society that duels with obsolete weapons or ultra tech weapons or anything in between.

For martial games I envisioned what I call a scoresuit which is designed to protect the player from serious injury as well as to record the nature of the blow. This makes it perfectly possible to have a fairly realistic match with any weapon.
Does it also do anything to simulate the effects of injury?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
Gladiator games can be done without the obvious disadvantage of having oppressed slaves trained in usable weapons in a sci-fi setting. The Evil Empire has technology far enough that it can afford to enjoy giving swords to slaves.
Free men did partake in gladiator games sometimes. With advanced technology such as uploading or virtual reality they might be more interested. Alternatively you could oppress things with enough intelligence to fight interestingly but not enough to rebel.
Sindri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2012, 06:14 PM   #10
jason taylor
 
jason taylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Duelling in Spaaaaaaace!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri View Post



Does it also do anything to simulate the effects of injury?
You know I never thought of that. I would have to say no, not as such. I suppose someone who is recorded in the computer as being "hamstrung" would have to kneel down for the rest of the fight. Or if it was a real duel instead of a sporting match, they would have to stoically stand still while the umpire or the opponent's second hamstrung them.
__________________
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
jason taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
brainstorm, duel, martial arts, space, ultra-tech

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:02 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.