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Chapter 3: Subsystems / Duels

Spellcasting Duels

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 167
Like combat duels, spellcasting duels take place in encounter mode, but their rules are not available during normal combat. They are typically more organized affairs than combat duels. Many spellcasting duels prohibit any sort of combat but spellcasting. They typically have the duelists take turns casting a turn’s worth of spells, giving their rivals a chance to counter the spells if they can.

Initiative and Dueling Actions

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 167
In most cases, each duelist rolls initiative normally and proceeds in that initiative order throughout the duel, unlike in a combat duel. Each duelist can roll an Arcana, Nature, Occultism, or Religion check instead of Perception. If they are trained at that skill, they gain the tradition focus of that skill, which allows them to hone in on a certain magical school corresponding to the check they made for their initiative roll. They also gain the Dueling Counter reaction, which enables a duelist to counter their opponent’s spell if their tradition focus matches the tradition of that spell. They also gain the Change Tradition Focus action, which changes the duelist’s tradition focus to a different tradition. Familiars and companions, even when allowed in the duel, can’t use these actions, nor can bystanders.

When mixing a spellcasting duel and a combat duel, use the initiative rules for combat dueling, but allow the duelist to roll Arcana, Nature, Occultism, or Religion for their initiative checks. They still gain the Dueling Counter reaction and Change Tradition Focus action, though Change Tradition Focus is less useful in combat duels.

Dueling Counter Reaction

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 167
Trigger Your opponent Casts a Spell from the same tradition as your tradition focus.
Requirements You are in a duel and have a tradition focus.
Expend a prepared spell or spell slot. You then attempt to counteract the triggering spell with the expended spell.

Change Tradition Focus Single Action

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 167
Requirements You are in a duel and are trained in the skill for the tradition you’re changing your focus to (Arcana for arcane, Occultism for occult, Nature for primal, or Religion for divine).
You change your tradition focus to another magical tradition.

Ending the Duel

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 167
Just like a combat duel, a spellcasting duel ends when the duel’s judge confirms the victory condition, when the judge determines one of the duelists has cheated, or when one of the duelists yields. As with a combat duel, if either of the combatants attempts to continue the duel after its end, the combatants should roll initiative and proceed with normal combat.