Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dueling Rules + Available Vornheim Hardcopies


It's getting pretty hard to find a physical copy of my RPG book, Vornheim: The Complete City Kit. This is nice because it means people want them but it's a drag because that book was designed to work best as a physical book.

You can't get them from the publisher any more, but here are a few distributors that still have hard copies:

There you go.

Lemme know if you know any place else that has one or if any of these sell out.

PDFs, as usual, available here.




While the standard combat system works well for the kinds of battles that usually come up in a game, it can be a little abstract for describing blow-by-blow fights with only two characters involved. These optional rules can be used to add grit and texture to formal conflict between paired combatants.
-Combat begins and proceeds as normal, remembering that either party may surrender at any time, however...
-When dueling, a character may drop no lower than zero hit points.
-At zero hit points, the character may still act normally but each successful hit inflicted by the enemy on a character already at zero inflicts an injury from the Dueling Injuries table below in lieu of hit point damage.
-If a character takes the same injury twice (i.e. the same number is rolled twice during the same duel) that character is unconscious (or dead, depending on what the local rules are). This is why the injury table is short--while a longer one might provide more room for various entertainingly grisly injuries, this one is designed to keep duels to a reasonable length and to keep each roll of the dice near the end of a duel feeling tense.
-Feel free to assume that "ordinary" magical healing after the duel will remove the mechanical effects of any dueling injury. However: whether the injuries leave scars on the affected parts of either combatant and what these scars look like is entirely up to the player controlling the winner of the duel. That is, if the winner decides that the wound to her own character's left eye leaves a scar like a dagger and the scar on her opponent's leg looks like a hippopotamus with butterfly wings, then that's what it looks like. So don't lose.
Duelling Injuries
1-Eye (-2 to anything involving seeing)
2-Left arm (or "off" arm) (-1 to most tasks)
3-Right arm (or favored arm) (-2 to most tasks)
4-Right leg (move at 50%, always lose initiative)
5-Left leg (move at 50%, always lose initiative)
6-Weapon or other worn item (attackers choice) destroyed


  1. Nice--I like the idea of letting the winner choose the nature of the scar(s).

    For quicker-paced duels, it might also be fun to say that each combatant has a number of HP equal to CON + level. It could be used to add some weight to the choice of dueling to begin with, and also to give the impression that "the gloves are coming off." Plus, then you avoid two fighters with 97hp hacking away at each other for the next 30 minutes. Unless you're into that sort of grind, of course.

  2. If you wanted to make dueling a regular thing, you could also fudge together some kind of bonus system to give fighty classes an edge aside from just a better attack bonuses (though that might be enough on its own). For example, fighters could get 2 or 3 hp/level while clerics get 1 and magic users get bupkis.

  3. We need more cases where M-Us get bupkis ;P

    BTW I got Vornheim hardcover for ecksmas and it's pretty awesome. Definitely worth picking up. Thanks, Zak!

  4. I finally snagged a solid copy of Vornheim earlier this week (thanks Christmas, for the temporary reprieve from being broke) off of Amazon or Ebay slightly used. It was one of very few left. I can't say I much like LotFP's push for PDF format, I do a lot of my planning over breaks from school during travel, so I prefer something more portable.
    As far as duels, I usually just pull out a more detailed hit chart to give people a clearer metal image and throw in some effects to keep things varied. That or my players handle it themselves, dueling when they've split the party and I have to manage someone else's shenanigans.

  5. Hey you Baltimore/DC metro folks. Games & Stuff in Glen Burnie has one lone copy of Vornheim left. Sure you'd have to go to Glen Burnie to get it, but it's a cool shop and there's good Pho across the street.


  7. I bought the pdf, thinking I'd print it. This didn't work so well, as you clearly spent a lot of effort optimizing the pdf to be used "on screen". (It's not particularly clear from the pdf how the covers/bookjacket come together).
    So a couple weeks ago I claimed what was likely the last hardcover copy in Seattle :)
    Very functional. Recommended for anyone who can find one.
    It is densely packed and requires a serious read before use though.

    I'm left with the question: *How do you guys use PDF's at the table?
    I can imagine how it ought to be useful, but i can't make it work without severely obstructing my mojo/pacing (slow to navigate). Maybe I'm missing something obvious.

    1. I sometimes use the pdfs at the table. Here's how:

      1. i have a laptop

      2. I made a separate pdf file with just the pages of Vornheim with the random tables on it and nothing else.

      3. Have the computer on the whole time.

      4. My pdf reader has a thing where you just touch the arrow key and it goes to the next page. sSo I just flipflipflip to the neeeded page, reading along the margins for the table i need.

    2. To clarify my pdf question; I'm curious about what device you use, it's location on (or off) the table, other ways to leverage the device(?) etc. I've gone bananas on rpgnow and want to best take advantage of that stuff. So I can keep you all in beer funds.


    4. Thanks! I will continue to experiment.

  8. I picked up my copy a few months back. It is great stuff!


  10. I got my V hardcover at TrollandToad for a very fair price as a Christmas present, but it was one of the last copies.

    Also, I won a random web contest via that same purchase which resulted in a fair amount of store credit. So, I can honestly say that this book pays for itself.

  11. Copy came in this weekend.

    'Tis tits.

  12. Noble Knight has them. Not sure how many, and unlike IPR, they don't come with a PDF, but also unlike IPR, the postage is reasonable.

  13. Destroyed might be a bit extreme. I saw a rule like that before, I think...? Regardless, maybe try "item flung aside, fallen, or dropped." Most equipment aren't as fragile as a DM might like to pretend or it wouldn't be brought along on a rough-and-tumble adventure.

    Use reason, of course. Some games have Saving Throws for items but extreme damage (such as might be dealt by an angry high level monk or an errant blow by a Vanquisher 8500) might easily destroy more than one item. A backpack could be shorn in half and a great many items therein obliterated.

    All up to game logic.

  14. For us europeans, these germans also still have som copies: