Perhaps you’re a fan of Literature where a single hero faces off against a single opponent in epic combat. Perhaps you’re looking to spice up a player on player dispute? Consider using a Skill Gambit for these situations.

I’ll be using a Bladesinger versus Executioner for this example, to showcase both Magical and (mostly) Non-Magical dueling actions. Unlike the previous examples, a Duel’s actions are resolved through Opportunity Actions taken after the opponent declares his or her attack, but before the attack roll is made. Each time a character takes an Opportunity Action for a Dueling Skill Gambit, he or she loses a healing surge.

Payout: Each time you succeed in your Call, you negate the opponents attack power (It neither hits nor misses). Note, the scaling difficulty and 4 Call maximum still apply. This means that combats will become longer and more climactic. If the Ranger opens with Jaws of Wolf, the Wizard gets a 1st Call Easy check to negate his daily.

Round 1:
The Executioner wins initiative and teleports closer using his Ethereal Jaunt racial ability. Now that he’s 5 squares away, he closes the gap with a Ninjato rush after placing a Shroud on the Bladesinger and coating his weapon with Greenblood Oil.
The Bladesinger’s very aware of the Executioner’s burst potential and chooses to spend a healing surge to negate the attack. Using acrobatics, he tumbles overhead to dodge the blow. (Check Success)

On the Bladesinger’s turn, he engages Bladesong to start a nova round. He then uses Color Spray in an attempt to daze the Executioner and prevent him from carrying out Opportunity Actions.
The Executioner rolls History, claiming he had made preparations for this battle and pulls out a mirror to protect himself from the Radiant attack.
The Bladesinger continues the assault with an Arcane Strike. It misses.
He spends an action point to try again, hitting and using a couple other abilities for 27 damage and knocking the Executioner prone. However, he forgot the Executioner used a power to become Insubstantial and actually deals 13 damage instead.
Gambits Used: 1-1

Round 2:
(Shrouds 2) The Executioner stands up and uses his theme power: Running Slash to attack the Bladesinger and disappear into the shadows for stealth. He misses with the attack, but uses his Luck Blade to reroll the attack, gaining a hit. His stealth roll was low however, not passing the Bladesinger’s passive perception.
The Bladesinger gambled on not using his opportunity attack for it, but the Assassin rolled a little too high for the magic user to negate using his shield power. Instead, he uses his Immediate Action to active his Poison cloak, giving the Executioner 5 Ongoing poison, but taking an Assassin’s Strike as well as the power’s damage.

Now the Bladesinger gets to go, starting things off by raining fire on the Executioner’s head.
The effects of Bladesong are still active so the Executioner pulls another Gambit. Using acrobatics, he’s going to weave through the falling Meteors. His high skill modifier easily grants a success on this check.
Using his Genasi Armor’s Power, he finishes his turn by disappearing into the Void.
Gambits Used: 2-1

Round 3:
The Executioner takes 5 ongoing poison damage (saves against it at the end of his turn). Unable to see a target, he delays his turn until after the Bladesinger finishes this time.
The Bladesinger pops back into existence, throwing up Flame Shield, moving back to put some distance between them, and casting Force Orb (an encounter given to him from his Corellon’s Boon).
The Executioner uses thievery as a Gambit block, using quick hands he snatches the lid from a barrel and tries to intercept the sphere before it hits. Pass.

On his turn, he moves forward into charge range and declares another Ninjato Rush after applying Greenblood Oil to his Whirling Kusari Gama (Shrouds 3).
The Bladesinger declares using Diplomacy as a sort of “Jedi Mind Trick” when combined with his Hypnotism At-Will and Cantrip: Suggestion. Pass.

It’s do or die now for the Bladesinger as the Executioner declares an Action Point: Whirling Kusari Gama.
Luckily for him, the attack falls within range of his Shield power to negate.

Gambits Used: 3-2

Round 4:
Bladesinger: Burning Hands, move 1 square, Arcane Strike!
Executioner: Declares “Bring it On!” Saving his last gambit. Burning hands misses, but still deals miss damage. As he moves in for the kill, a Smoke Bomb gives the Executioner distance for another Stealth stealth, which beats the Bladesinger’s passive perception.

Executioner: On his turn, he throws a dagger from the shadows and moves to the next hiding spot (Stealth Check 33). Since he has four shrouds on the target, he invokes them.
Bladesinger uses a healing surge to use an Arcana Check, using Magic Missile to shoot the dagger out of mid air. Pass, but the auto damage from the Shrouds still goes through.

Gambits Used: 3-3

Round 5:
The Bladesinger moves to where the Executioner likely retreated to and readies a Magic Missile for when the Assassin shows up.
The Dagger comes out of nowhere, prompting the Bladesinger to use his last gambit. He declares history his choice, tactically noting the hiding spots and where he can roll into for cover.
The check fails and he rolls into cover that doesn’t protect him! The dagger’s attack roll wasn’t so great either, and it impacts just above the Bladesinger’s head.

Now the Bladesinger sees where the Assassin is hiding and uses Magic Missile for what would normally be a sure kill.
However, he uses Coverging Shadows to lower the DC of a Stealth Gambit. Rolling a 33 he passes the Gambit and the Magic Missile impacts harmlessly against a false shadow instead.
He dives for the shadows once more, hoping to buy time for a second wind (35 stealth roll).
Gambits Used: 4-4 (All Gambits Used)

Round 6:
The action reaches an climatic pause of suspense, as both second wind while playing cat and mouse.

Round 7:
The Bladesinger uses his Five Stars Arrow Deflection boon to move forward and takes a total defense posture. He knows that the Executioner’s Death attack will end him if he takes a direct hit, so he uses his last power to gain the defense.
The Executioner kisses his Dagger for good luck, coming out of stealth for the throw of his life and invoking 3 shrouds.
The dagger sails through the air, but the Bladesinger snatches it and throws it back before making a charge. Shadowy duplicates still hit him for 11 damage, reducing him to 2 HP. However, the deflected dagger hits the Executioner for 9 damage, reducing him to 10. Not ready to give up yet, he dives for cover and gets a 16 (below the Bladesinger’s Passive Perception).

Round 8:
The Bladesinger knows the Executioner’s just above his Magic Missile range, so he chances it all on a Charge. 30 versus AC, 10 Damage, just enough to finish him!
The Executioner knows better than to go down without a fight and uses final option, his belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness to deal 10 damage back at the Bladesinger, resulting in a Double KO!

Obviously, they could’ve taken other more tactically sound options at times, and maybe I might’ve forgotten something as the DM adjucator, but no DM’s perfect and what PCs are Tactically perfect?


One Piece: Legends Butch