Stopwatch Dueling Game: Taking a Risk

I’ve been sitting on this for a while now. Figure it needs to see the light of day to get some fresh air.

This is for the stopwatch dueling game. Want a unified mechanic that still uses the stopwatch. Here we go:

Taking a Risk

When a player declares an action that is risky or uncertain, the GM starts the watch. The GM then says the following aloud and fills in the details.

  • “If you win, ______.”
  • “If you lose, ______.”
  • “Do you accept these terms?”

If the player dissents, continue to negotiate. If they accept, the GM hands them the watch. Without looking at the display, the player stops the watch. If the last digit (the hundredths or thousandths of a second) reads 5 or higher, the player character wins. If not, the player character loses and suffers the danger. Whatever the outcome, the GM immediately describes the impact.

If the player character is at an advantage, such as from use of a proper item or a good position or approach, the GM may grant the following:

  • Increased effect: If they win, they receive an additional benefit.
  • Decreased danger: If they lose, it’s not as bad as it could have been.
  • Decreased difficulty: The character wins on a 3 or higher.

If the player character is at a disadvantage, such as from the use of an improper item or a poor position or approach, the GM may grant the following:

  • Decreased effect: If they win, it’s not everything they hoped.
  • Increased danger: If they lose, it’s worse than they feared.
  • Increased difficulty: The character wins on a 7 or higher.

3 thoughts on “Stopwatch Dueling Game: Taking a Risk

  1. I really like the stopwatch dueling game, I think it has a super interesting element of player skill in a format that really replicates the tense feeling of a duel.
    I don’t like this mechanic nearly as much. The way it’s set up, it is mechanically equivalent to just rolling any die and trying to get evens (or odds). The stopwatch aspect really doesn’t come into it at all.

    1. Next post is for you. Imagine if the way you duel NPCs (again, incoming) would be the same resolution mechanic for everything else.

      Would it work to have “quicktime events” for everything? I have my doubts. The tense-ness of the duels seems more worth more with fewer repetitions of the same mechanic…

      That said, there could be all sorts of uses for these “quicktime events,” that is, using the same duel mechanic for something else. What if you had to get the timing just right to make the jump onto a horse in a chase? Or snatch a trinket from a monkey with precise timing? Or, to move to another genre, pick a cyberlock or cut the right cord on a bomb? Could be fun, but I’d use it sparingly.

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