Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Rules for a Shooting Contest

About a year and a half ago the characters were in Brussels as part of a diplomatic mission. While there, they were invited to participate in a shooting tournament sponsored by the Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenie Habsburg, a famous shot herself. I wanted to create a contest with three elements.

First, I wanted success at each stage to be based not on a single roll, but on several rolls. Die rolls are, inherently unpredictable. That's part of the point of rolling the dice afterall. But sometimes a single lucky or unlucky roll leads to unsatisfying results. Robin Hood losing an archery contest to Little John could be one example. So I wanted to avoid this. Therefore I decided that each round of the contest would require 2 successful shots out of 3 chances. Which is a bit like how high jump and pole vault work in Track & Field.

Second, I wanted the contest to include one or more player characters after the first rounds and possibly all the way to the final round. Since the PCs have Fortune Points (FP), that gave them the option of using an FP to increase there odds. Combined with needing 2 out of 3 hits, that gave the PCs a good chance to advance to a round. Most of the NPCs did not have FPs so this gave the PCs an edge over the NPCs. This too was intentional since a match solely between NPCs would be less interesting for everyone.

Third, I wanted to allow scope for Boons like Crack Shot and for mastery of  Firearms maneuvers like Aimed Shot as well as for fancy or custom muskets.

Fourth, I wanted the difficulty of each round to increase in a plausible way. So I used the range and Called Shot rules to model that.

So those were the goals. Here's what I came up with.

Missed Target: The Shooting Tournament

The Tournament is held in the gardens of Coudenberg Palace. There is a royal box for the Archduchess with flanking stands for the audience. Additional observers are standing on the grounds or watching from the palace windows.

The tournament will be judged/overseen by the Archduchess and/or her Chamberlain the Prince de Croy. Archduchess Isabella Clara may demonstrate her shooting skill but will not be a contestant. The Shooting Tournament will provide the Archduchess a chance to have a private word with the Envoy.

In addition to any PCs competing, there are 25 contestants.

For the first three rounds each contestant gets three shots; they must hit at least 2 out of 3 targets to continue to the next round. The targets are 3-foot disks (-1 to hit for size). If more than one contestant is left after three rounds, each will shoot at clay jugs. Each contestant will have 5 jugs and 5 shots at 175’. Highest total wins. If there is still a tie, the range will increase 225’ and 5 more jugs are set up. They will continue to shoot at groups of 5 jugs at extreme range until there is someone wins the round.

Assume the named NPCs succeed in the first round. But roll individually for each NPC in the second and subsequent rounds.

The Rules
  • The Tournament consists of at least three rounds.
  • In each round a contestant can shoot up to three times. To pass a round and continue to the next round the contestant must score at least two hits.
  • A misfire counts as a missed shot.
  • There is no bonus for hitting 3 times in a round, so typically contestants who have scored on their first two shots skip their third shot – though a flamboyant contestant may shoot a third time for the honor or to intimidate his competitors if he hits three times in three.
  • The distance for the first round is 75 feet and each subsequent round the distance is increased by 50’.
  • The targets in the first three rounds are 3-foot disks (-1 to chance to hit for size).
  • If more than one contestant is left after three rounds, each will shoot at clay jugs (-1 difficulty). Each contestant will have 5 jugs and 5 shots at the same distance of 175’. Highest total wins.
  • If there is still a tie after the fourth Jug Round, the range will increase to 225’ and 5 more jugs will be set up. All remaining contestants will continue to shoot at groups of 5 jugs at extreme range until there is a round with a clear winner.
  • Scores in the Jug Rounds do not carry over from round to round. The winner of a Jug Round wins the Tournament.

Range Increment & Penalty
tie breaker

Here are the contestants:

  • (PC) Guy+4; Range Inc: 70’=50’+10’(Crack Shot)+10’(Aim Shot)
  • (PC) Gaston Bonus+2; Range Inc: 60’=50’+10’(Aim Shot)
  • (PC) Fr. Gaétan+2; Range Inc: 70’=60’+10’(Aim Shot)
    Signoret has a rifled musket: base range 60’.
  • Toiras+6; Range Inc: 80’=60’+10’(Crack Shot)+10’(Aim Shot)
    Toiras uses a finely made arquebus that gives him +1 to hit. His first shot will misfire due to sabotage – Can Claude help?
  • Don Alvaro+2; Range Inc: 70’=60’+10’(Aim Shot)
    Don Alvaro uses an arquebus. See Character sheet.
  • Curro Garrote the Malagüeño Bonus+3; Range Inc: 70’=50’+10’(Crack)+10(Aim); Garrote uses a military musket.
  • Count Hendrik+3; Range Inc: 70’=60’+10’(Aim Shot)
    The Count uses a finely made and ornate Arquebus giving him +1 to hit.
  • Barón van Aaldenberg+3; Range Inc: 70’=60’+10’(Aim Shot).
    Barón Albert Aaldenberg (SR 10) uses a fancy Arquebus. He will try to sabotage Toiras’ chances.
  • Vizconde de Cazador+3; Range Inc: 70’=60’+10’(Aim Shot).
    Vizconde Jerónimo de Cazador (SR 11) uses a finely crafted ornate Arquebus.
Wagers and Betting
  • Betting is expected. (It is difficult to overemphasize how pervasive gambling was in the 17th century. Especially among the nobility.)
  • Both audience and competitors can bet.
  • If PCs are betting, the odds and payoff for choosing the winner is listed below.
  • If their chosen marksman comes in second, they gain ½ the listed return.
  • If their chosen marksman comes in third, they break even.
  • Bets of up to 100 livres are quite easy to place. Larger bets may require finding a gambler, bookie, or someone like a noble who is willing to play for such high stakes.
  • The Gambler Career can improve either the odds or the chance of winning the bet (insider tips, etc.)
  • The PCs noticed during their trip from Bevay to Brussels that Giuliano della Torre (SR 8); the Neapolitan officer of cuirassiers commanding your escort is an avid and proficient Gambler. Della Torre is not shooting in the Tournament.
Competitor                                         Odds

Curro Garrote the Malagüeño.............3-2


Don Alvaro ‘Iron Hand’........................1-1

Count Hendrik.....................................1-1

Barón van Aaldenberg........................1-1

Vizconde de Cazador..........................1-1

Others including the PCs.....................2-1

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