The First Duel

The stage was set, and the crowd did not displease. People came from all three Parishes came to see the first duel in the past three generations. There was some argument if an all-night brawl counted as a duel, as it lasted until dawn. A winner was determined, but only to assess damages. And, no, it was not decreed a duel.

It was rumored that the King will be in attendance. However, it was also whispered that he happened to be in Toulon on Gate business. The rumor was enough to pull out all the stops. The park curators made a mound in the center of the park. It was tall enough for those 4 blocks away to see as well as those mound-side. A person could get within three feet without much of a climb. Though, the last 3 or 4 feet were much steeper before leveling off in a 30’x30’ pitch. Rene did make mention of a rumor he had heard from the guild, “The winner is to meet the King! No, don’t tell anyone and you didn’t tell them you heard it from me.”

Furthermore, Shade determines the nature of the two containers marked with a skull and an ‘X’. Shade plans to resort to poison, undetected. The difference being that he dilutes the poison. Instead of two death poison doses, there are now two herbal DeathSpell doses. It is basically a feign death of whoever is exposed to it. Shade has them ready to be applied to his weapons. The alterations should make Vincent happy, if he ever finds out. [Smirk] Shade performs magic best in a crowd.

Today’s festivities have all the makings of a faire, a fight and even a parade. But not a fair fight. Shade had seen to that. The herbs from the herb garden beyond the portal made for healing and increasing durability. The healing salves would be in his ‘corner’.

In Game Rules – Shade has +2 AC. He has 3@ 1d6+1 healing poultices and thickskin potion. If he hits with the DeathSpell blade, game over. He has bless from Sympos and Bardic Inspiration from his last or current bard-friend.

There are to be five segments of 10 rounds each. The fight will be marshalled by the um, Marshal. “No Shenanigans! You can begin when ready,” he says where only Jacob could hear him. Shade was still getting things ready…When ‘Wham!’

Jacob took the initiative and surprised Shade by bull-rushing him from behind. The blow launched him off the mound and he down he tumbled. People in the audience shouted, “Jacob won with one hit! He Won! He Won!”

Shade took his time getting back up and righted. He says to himself, “Don’t think about it. Good for him. All the better when the tides turn.” When he enters the pitch, the Marshal is counting, “Eight, Nine…”

Shade growls, “What are you counting for?”

The Marshal matter-of-factly states, “If a competitor is gone for more than 20 counts, he is considered ran-away. And loses to cowardice.”

Again, Jacob didn’t wait any time, swiping at Shade. Shade avoids a direct hit and goes with the sword slash. As parts of Shade’s armor is thrown asunder, the crowd yelps again in anticipation of a one-hit knockout. It is not to be. But it looked worse from a distance as Shade got his feet under him after several steps sideways.

Rene is with Sympos, Gabe, Timm and Vincent and Alvin. He says to no one in particular, “I assumed Shade was more experienced.”

Sympos calmly states, “Shade has been in Rukin’s grasp more that once. Perhaps they will finally get to meet?”

(Written by Mark Stinson)

Alvin muttered under his breath to Vincent.  "Do you really think the King is coming to town?"

Vincent chuckled, and answered quietly.  "I'm pretty sure that's the rumor Shade tried to start leading up to the duel, but none of the locals believe it.  In living memory, The king has never been to Toulon, and there's no reason to believe he'd come to witness a duel between a country rube and a shady conman."



NOTE FROM MARK:  Next the literary dictionary next to the term "unreliable narrator" there is a drawing of Shade.  :-)


    • Mark Stinson

      I added a little exchange between Arwin and Vincent at the end of the story.  And a couple of notes, you may want to consider...

      Thickskin Oil is a rubbery, brown oil that hardens the skin when applied. If the subject is not wearing any armor, she
      gets a +2 to her Armor Class. The subject can still benefit from a shield, but not from spells that increase her AC. The effects of the oil last 4 hours.

      There is a chance that this treatment of your skin would be noticeable.  Not a huge chance.  But a chance.  If you apply this all over, it may be possible someone will notice.  If you apply it just under your clothes, the chance will be greatly reduced.  But, if it just under your clothes, I'll probably give it an 80% chance of giving you the +2 to your unarmored armor class on each hit.  With a 20% chance on each hit that Jacob hits an area without the oil (and without the +2.  How you want to do this, is completely up to you.

      The Deathspell herbal potion is described like this:

      The imbiber of this potion must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 20) or fall in a deep, coma-like
      sleep. The subject’s vital functions are slowed down to the point that he becomes almost
      indistinguishable, in color, temperature and stiffness of the muscles, from a corpse. The subject will
      stay in this state for a week, before waking up at 1 HP and 2 levels of exhaustion. While the creature
      is “dead”, scrutiny of the body can reveal the ruse: the person checking the body can make a Wisdom
      (Medicine) check against DC 30 to realize that the body is still alive. Magic doesn’t automatically
      reveal the truth, but a spellcaster employing magical means to check the body gets a bonus to his
      Wisdom (Medicine) check equal to the level of the spell used to investigate it.

      But, this is a potion and not something you can apply to your weapons.

      I wouldn't just dump this information on you at the game, and I would never suggest that Shade (an herbalist) would not know these things...putting you at a game disadvantage.  That would not be fair.  So, I'm telling you now, so you can sort of adjust your plan.  If you want!  (Good DM...not Evil DM).  :-)