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D&D 4E 4e & The Duel...How?

Imaro

Hero
I've been thinking about 4e lately, and some of the problems I had with the game. Now I know many of 4e's fans enjoy the added emphasis (and I would almost go so far as to say requirement) for teamwork in the game. However, one of my problems with 4e was doing the whole... "one on one duel", "faceoff with your nemesis"... type thing. I feel like this is probably one of if not the most famous trope of fantasy adventure and thus want to be able to recreate it in 4e. That said, I am wondering a few things...

1. Are there any official rules for one on one duels or battles.

2. Barring official rules how do you handle these types of things in 4e.

Side Note: I am not looking for the answer of "use a skill challenge". While this might be okay for a random street duel... I think it's ill suited to a PC facing a nemesis he has pursued through various trials and tribulations, as well as levels. In other words, and IMO, this isn't a satisfactory way of dealing with something I feel should be important to a PC.
 

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Pentius

First Post
1. Are there any official rules for one on one duels or battles.
I don't think so.

2. Barring official rules how do you handle these types of things in 4e.
Stat the enemy as a PC of equal level.

Does it take a little time? Yes, but if this is important to the character, it's probably worth it.

Is it deadly? Yes, but that's also probably desirable.
 

Imaro

Hero
I don't think so.


Stat the enemy as a PC of equal level.

Does it take a little time? Yes, but if this is important to the character, it's probably worth it.

Is it deadly? Yes, but that's also probably desirable.

But is this a challenge equal to the PC's power level? Just to clarify I don't know if it should necessarily be a deadly fight (Where deadly seems to mean quickly in this context)... but I do think it should be a fair and exciting fight... unless one or the other is just totally outclassed (Then I guess one could revert to SC's.)

Also, in using PC vs. (n)PC... how does one account for different roles, such as pitting a defender vs. a striker... or worse a situation where it's a controller or leader vs. a striker?

Finally how does a standard monster stack up against a PC of the same level? How do the roles affect this, because it seems like it might be easier to stat an NPC up as a monster vs. using the full on character rules.
 

Saagael

First Post
Stat the enemy as a PC of equal level.

Does it take a little time? Yes, but if this is important to the character, it's probably worth it.

Is it deadly? Yes, but that's also probably desirable.

I'd add that you should stat the enemy as a PC of the same level, and same role. I've done duels in the past between PCs, and the defenders and leaders ALWAYS came out on top. Strikers and controllers almost never were able to do enough damage to get past a defenders hit points and toughness, or a leaders healing.

I'd also rule that you only get one daily power, no action points, and no magic items, as those really make it hard to balance properly.
 

Pentius

First Post
But is this a challenge equal to the PC's power level? Just to clarify I don't know if it should necessarily be a deadly fight (Where deadly seems to mean quickly in this context)... but I do think it should be a fair and exciting fight... unless one or the other is just totally outclassed (Then I guess one could revert to SC's.)
Deadly in this context means "You might very well die." If you do as Saagael mentioned, and make the enemy of the same role(or, in my experience, at least match ranged vs. ranged or melee vs melee), it will tend to be "fair" in the sense that the fight could go either way. If you want it to be easier, you could make the opponent 1-2 levels lower, or perhaps simply pick intentionally low-powered feats/powers for them.

Also, in using PC vs. (n)PC... how does one account for different roles, such as pitting a defender vs. a striker... or worse a situation where it's a controller or leader vs. a striker?
Making the same role works, possibly. A controller or leader with low damage output will tend to have trouble. Things with high damage output and survivability for their role will do well. Initiative also tends to play a big factor.

Finally how does a standard monster stack up against a PC of the same level? How do the roles affect this, because it seems like it might be easier to stat an NPC up as a monster vs. using the full on character rules.
I haven't tried it with this, so I'm not really sure. One thing that occurs to me is that the average monster would take longer(in rounds) to fight, since they tend to have lowered damage but higher HP compared to a PC of the same level, though with mm3 I may be wrong on the damage.
 

Imaro

Hero
Two other things I was considering... what about companion characters. They are simpler to run than a full blown PC, but how do they stack up power wise to a PC?

Secondly do you all think that monster roles match up to PC's roles in the sense that two controllers, a defender vs. soldier (or brute), striker vs. skirmisher (or possibly lurker), and leader vs. leader might work... if they are the same level?
 

KidSnide

Adventurer
I've designed and run a few one-on-one fights in my 4e game. I noticed a few points worth mentioning:

The standard combat rules work fine. Your duel may be a little boring if you have a low level (i.e. level 1-4) PC, since that character won't have many interesting decisions. On the other hand, only two participants have turns in the initiative sequence, so you get a pretty satisfying "back-and-forth" feeling of trading blows.

The standard monster rules work fine for an opponent, but you probably want to design your own monster. In terms of powers, you want a lot more than a typical monster has. Normally, that kind of complexity would be a pain to run, but it's not bad if you're only using a single opponent.

In terms of difficulty, you'll want to use a standard monster, or maybe a half-standard/half-elite monster. The balance of the monster can be a little tricky. Since a single character doesn't have the benefits of synergy that a party has, you may notice that you're PC is a little weaker than you expect.

In terms of terrain, I would make generous use of interesting terrain powers. Again, there's no synergy, so tactics consists entirely of choosing your position. Create lots of different spaces (higher ground, things to swing from, tricky footing, etc...) where a skill check would give you combat advantage or some other benefit.

Lastly, some PCs will work better for this than others. If your rogue depends on flanking, they are going to have a miserable duel. Make sure the opponent is well tailored to the PC they are fighting.

-KS
 

Bold or Stupid

First Post
I agree with much that has been said so far. I've run several duels in game, including a fighting competition in game that involved almost all the PCs (the barbarian won). The trick is in choosing the right oppoents. The best duels I had were Paladin vs Cleric, Paladin vs Paladin and Paladin vs Master of the Wild Hunt (all the same Pally what can I say). The first two worked really well the back and forth of blows and healing really worked and some timely and dramatic crits helped them close well (the pally won both, just). The last one was his only loss, but the level 17 character vs lvl 21 elite it was planned, I wasn't expecting him to last that long (he eventually took Eternal warrior at Epic, it fit so well) or bloody the Enemy, though several 1's from me led to big powers missing.

To sum up, duels work, just try and understand the dynamics of how each character fights. Also consider skill challenges to replace some combats (mages duel for example).
 

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