Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Duel

Usagi is a part of the samurai class. Like many caste systems, the samurai class has many rules and traditons behind it. It also has a lot of pride caught up in all that honor.

One way that often gets expressed is in a duel.

But what if others are betting on the duel? what if others are setting you up for a fall in a duel against an opponent whose superior to you?

Thankfully, if you're Usagi, you're the best student of the sword skill that the opposing samurai thinks he's seen all of it before and you take him out. Note this is important. The enemy samurai knows of Usagi's style. This is another example of the author foreshadowing future events in the series. After all, if Usagi is one of the last if not the last of his teacher's students, where is the new practioner coming from?

In a role playing situation, duels can be an easy thing to insert into a setting. The trick, which Stan manages to easily pull off, is to give the readers some connection to the other side to make it a little more than just some random fight.

In this case, Shubo, is a samurai who allies himself with a bet taker and evaluates opponents for the bet taker. By doing this, and by being right, he is able to make a tidy profit. When the local champion falls to Usagi's sword, the  Shubo sets up Usagi to fight in a duel to the death against himself so that he can make all of the money be being the underdog. His wife and child await Shubo on the hill... but this being Usagi Yojimbo and not Shubo Yojimbo, it is Usagi who winds up with victory.

One of the things you have to be careful of in later editions of D&D, is the 'side' action. For example, if you have players that are involved in duels for financial gain as opposed to honor, then you need to take into account that in 3.5 and 4e, there are certain standards set that characters are supposed to have and allowing players to surpass those could allow them to make purchases past their level. This isn't necessarily a terrible thing, but it is something that the GM should be thinking about if allowing side action to happen and not using that as a method of supplementing the characters wealth in the first place.