In a side discussion, I’ve learned the design intent and a previous wording of the action was to trigger the point-flip with a wound specifically from Threat in the duel, versus some other source after the duel begins. Will this be getting reworded to specify this again? If there is still discussion about it, I’m in favor of such a change.
I imagine it as a grandiose glove slap in a city square, garnering an audience suspensfully awaiting either sword draws and battle cries or curses and heel turns…
Jean seemed to bend his nose slightly skyward as he stretched a creaking leather glove back onto his weathered right hand.
Servo had instinctively taken a surveying step back, brusquely steadying himself when noticing the snap attention of more than a few eyes within this morning’s market patrons. He recognized none of his caste among them. Slowly turning his gaze to match Jean’s, he made sure to delay any showing of intent, considering how many tabarded upstarts might be close by.
“If your meddlesome sister won’t accept credit for her offenses,” proclaimed Jean, “Then perhaps you will!” He dramatically reached across his hip, seemingly signaling to some secret observer, then drew steel with a flourish that briefly hailed the now hushed and halted crowd’s attention.
Before a moment, Servo commanded the stage. “Meddlesome, you say? And just how else might the pot call the kettle black?” He tensed his blade hand and sifted his fingers, but kept them defiantly by his side. Servo’s focus was strictly on the whites of his opponent’s eyes.
Jean theatrically relaxed his stance. He knew Servo was alone for at least a full minute, as planned. The duel of wits had to be swift, lest the opportunity be lost and no ring of steel be heard. He pivoted and pointed his empty hand.
“You stand in shame, Vodacce! Do you deny it?”
Servo knew this game all too well. Such a shame, he thought, that these tourists have no new cards to play. He noted Jean’s glare blink slightly to his left and back, which simplified his options for the next few moves. One more exchange should be enough time to even the odds.
“And of shame now speaks this most honorable cavalier,” Servo began. “Tell me, servant, exactly whose shame you think we are standing in?” He bent a shoulder away from Jean as if to refuse the advance, but only to better confirm the shuffling he heard was indeed his calculated reinforcements.
Jean was neither fooled nor fazed, as he too knew the game, though his moves were more choreographed than calculated. “When I’m finished, it’ll be your blade’s or your blood’s!”
Jean lunged with a dangerous but deliberate thrust, though Servo was still yet to brandish any weapon. To callously dispatch him unarmed would not grant any favors, or at least not any Jean intended for this match. Servo spotted the feint and considered a taunting exit, but he knew the crowd’s attention had to be attended.
A long dagger appeared in Servo’s hand and casually deflected Jean’s strike. Servo continued the motion, abruptly rushing the point directly at Jean’s chest. Jean whirled into the drive, simultaneously backhanding Servo’s ladened arm while raising his cutlass in a low arc toward a deadly plunge. Servo’s blade was already curving close to Jean’s neck.
…and pause. And, yes, I do like alliteration.
In which of the following continuations would either adversary tip the balance of fame and favoritism to their side after such a sensational opening performance?
A. One of them draws first blood through the spectacular effort of one-on-one combat (aka: passing a threat pool back and forth).
B. One of them draws first blood with a concealed or otherwise underhanded method.
C. One of their accomplices steps from the crowd and shoots their adversary.
I’d argue only option A fits the idea of the Scheme, and is worth reinforcing that narrative with more specifics. Assuming Threat only exists within the construct of a duel, perhaps even just a minor edit like this, if the term “Threat” can be used as such:
“The first player to wound their adversary with Threat takes a Renown from their opponent.”