How much does it take for a 5th-ranked character to defeat a 2nd ranked character at something?
I have two characters who are going to be fighting a duel. One of them is 5th place of 6 in warfare and one of them is 2nd place. The 5th-place character has set up these advantages in his favour:
- He is most specialized in one-on-one swordfighting, while the other is most specialized in battlefield tactics and has only ever used a sword due to the cultural inclinations of Lord Oberon/Castle Amber, preferring firearms when personal combat is unavoidable and a spear when firearms fail.
- He has spent about a year of accelerated time studying the other's spear fighting style, body language, etc.
- He has secured the blessing of a young, inexperienced, non-Amberite fate mage previously slighted by the other on the world where the fight will take place, and the blessing will be active during the fight.
- The other character believes that the 5th-ranked character does not know he is coming, but this is not the case.
- He carries an artifact sword with the Deadly Damage quality while the other character has a regular steel sword made by a master smith (though he will drop back to a sword of Double Damage quality if/when the first one breaks).
- He is ranked 3rd for Endurance, while the other character has baseline Amberite Endurance.
- He is an advanced shape-shifter and has kept his shape-shifting abilities secret so far. His player has confided that he expects to be forced into revealing them in this fight, and that he is willing to do so if necessary. He intends to Shapeshift Blood to try to knock his opponent off-balance before the final blow is landed, and to impale the other character while accepting a mortal blow himself (which he can heal).
- He will have been training with a disguised mid-ranked agent of Benedict for about two weeks by the time of the fight.
- The other character expects to waltz through the combat completely untouchable and wipe the floor with the 'lesser being'.
As you can probably tell from the preparations, the 5th-ranked character believes his opponent to be a powerful force and is trying to find some way to sway the battle in his favour. The only elements against him (apart from the rank difference) are:
- The other character is probably slightly more familiar with the area the fight is taking place in than he is.
- He has 1 point of Bad Stuff. The other character has 2 points of Good Stuff.
Of neutral, unknown, or balanced relevance is:
- The people whose survival he is fighting for will be bystanders at the duel, as will a retinue of the other character's loyal minions.
Obviously there are some massive positive modifiers here on the side of the lower ranked character. Amber, however, is a game with huge power gaps between ranks. I would call the rank 2 character vastly superior in a straight fight and the 5th-rank character would ordinarily be 'dead' in three hits (there is that shapeshifting thing, so a fourth hit might be needed to move the character from 'dead' to dead). I'm never very sure how much modifier is enough to overcome a rank discrepancy.
There's also the matter of good/bad stuff. There's a 3 point stuff difference between the combatants here, but I'm not sure it should come up given the luck blessing on the person with bad stuff and the player's extensive efforts to remove all luck from the situation.
And then there is the matter of Shapeshifting. The player only wants to reveal the secret if it is absolutely necessary. Should he be able to win without it?
Basically I have no idea what it looks like for an attribute difference this large to be overcome. How should I handle this?