In some weeks we will play 7th Sea, an RPG with much fencing.

I want to make fights more like a duel between players and minions. I think some (most?) battles will be one player duelling a minion, separate from the rest of the group.

So I want to lay the spotlight on one fight and, after some rounds, switch to another player.

  1. Are there any initiative systems for that?
  2. If not, how would you do it so that all players get approximately the same amount of time?
  3. How would you deal faster game characters (in RPGs where they normaly have more initiative-phases)?

[Update] Why would I want such an initiativ system? There is nothing wrong with the initiative system of 7th Sea. I even believe it's really fast. My reason for another system is that I believe that when you have a fencing-fight then the spotlight should be on the two characters which fight with their attacks and defends. If you change the spotlight after each attack then (my opinion) the combat slows down and the player which attacked gets out of the immersion of his fight. And if you do that in short intervals nobody each player suffers from this problem.

Instead I want to create something like a spotlight where one player gets some rounds of his fight and after that another player gets his spotlight.

Once again there is nothing wrong with initiative system of 7th Sea.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you read over 7th Sea's initiative rules yet? If so, where are they falling short? It would seem reasonable to switch perspectives every round, with phases/panache giving faster characters more actions per time period. \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    May 23, 2013 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, what's wrong with the existing initiative rules? \$\endgroup\$ May 23, 2013 at 14:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Based on your recent update, can't you just run each character's combat sequentially rather than doing them all in parallel? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    May 23, 2013 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Our trouble with this question is this line here: "I want to lay the spotlight on one fight and, after some rounds, switch to another player." That sounds like it would work, and sounds like you already have the solution to your question. If it's not the solution, you need to tell us what problem you are having with doing it that way. \$\endgroup\$ May 23, 2013 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ How does the system normally work when there are only two people fighting? Do that. Just run it like a separate combat. \$\endgroup\$ May 23, 2013 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


Posting this as an answer, to give myself some more room to type.

The stock 7th Sea initiative system seems like it would work well for this.

To summarize the system, for those following along at home:

Combat is held in rounds of 10 phases each. At the start of each round, each player rolls a number of ten sided dice equal to their Panache rating (1-5), and sets them aside.

Play then proceeds from phase one to phase ten of the round. In order to act on a phase, you discard one of the dice you set aside earlier showing that number or less.

So if you roll: 1, 3, 5 you will generally act three times this round on phases one, three, and five (but may act later).

Playing the system straight, you'll naturally flow from one player to the next. If you want to really focus on a pair of combatants for a period of time, run them through a round before switching to the other players.


Alice (Panache 3) is dueling Bob (Panache 2).

Carlos (Panache 3) is dueling Delilah (Panache 4).

  • Run one round of combat (all ten phases) with just Alice and Bob. During this round of combat, Alice will act three times and Bob will act twice.

  • Run a round of combat with just Carlos and Delilah. During this round of combat, Carlos will act three times and Delilah will act four.

  • Go back to Alice and Bob. Repeat until the fights resolve themselves.

In terms of flow, it will look something like this: A, A, B, A, B | C, D, D, C, C, D, D | B, A...

It's possible that a full round of combat will take too long to resolve. If you find this to be the case, you can switch after some number of phases have elapsed, instead of playing a full round. This will let you switch between groups faster, but a player may not have actions in a given set of phases.


The same four characters above are fighting. This time combat switches every five phases.

  • Run phases one through five for Alice and Bob. Alice will take somewhere between zero and three actions. Bob will take somewhere between zero and two.

  • Run phases one through five for Carlos and Delilah. Carlos will take between zero and three actions. Delilah will take between zero and four actions.

  • Run phases six through ten for Alice and Bob. Alice and Bob use their remaining actions.

  • Run phases six through ten for Carlos and Delilah. Carlos and Delilah use their remaining actions.

  • Repeat.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Nice. I was hoping somehow who actually had access to the rules would answer in more than a comment. \$\endgroup\$ May 23, 2013 at 20:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. That will help! And thanks to all other comments. \$\endgroup\$ May 24, 2013 at 9:22

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