Duel of the Iron Mic

Duel of the Iron Mic

Duel of the Iron Mic

When you pit your lyrical skills against those of an opponent, roll + CHA. On a hit, you prove your skill and win the duel 10+ choose two, on a 7-9 choose one.

– you embarrass or shame your foe

– their beef won’t come back to haunt you

– you’re inspired to even greater heights (take +1 forward)

On a miss, you stumble or stammer and your opponent wins the duel. Take -1 forward on top of whatever else.

30 thoughts on “Duel of the Iron Mic”

  1. Adam Koebel , oh, sure, I’m down with mechanical temptation, I’m just not sure it’s strong enough. I can think of some edge cases where I’d take embarrass and +1, but very few. And no beef and +1 is just plain boring, to me, personally.

  2. What if it’s “mark XP” instead of +1 forward? 

    I think the role of the third option is fine, tho I understand why some folks here aren’t excited by the specifics of it. Still, here are the 10+ scenarios from the fiction, as I see them:

    A+B = You put an end to this dueling nonsense, so thoroughly that your opponent hangs up the mic and recognizes that this life probably ain’t for him.

    A+C = You thrash your opponent and grow your own mad skills in the process. Your foe’s certain you’ll rue the day, and looks to make that happen.

    B+C = You put an end to this dueling nonsense, so thoroughly that even your opponent has to respect it as properly done — but you do it with respect shown to the other guy. He’ll remember that, and let you off the hook, and you’ll grow from having done it the harder, more respectful way.

    Those are three solid story outcomes.

  3. Fred Hicks that’s it, in a nutshell, you got it. It’s also what makes 7-9 more dangerous, because you’re functionally ignored or all you do is manage to not get noticed or you make yourself feel good but shit, now you’ve got an enemy.

  4. Keep the +1. As Fred said, it fictionally significant.

    (OK here I go again)

    Stories (games or otherwise) are there to create emotional response. If they do not we get bored. The best prose in the world is boring without emotional triggers. 

    That said:

    One should never underestimate the emotional value to the player if he gets a mechanical advantage like a +1. Watch your players as they play,  players have an emotional response to it if they think they earned it. AND +1 Forward makes the next roll emotionally much more loaded: Will my advantage pay off or will I blow it in spite of it?

  5. Here’s a love letter I wrote a while back:

    Dear Sucka MCs,

    Hip-hop is introduced to the city of Dis 1,500 years in the future. You, however, have decided you can’t wait that long. As members of the gifted-but-inexperienced crew, An Immortal Ruckus [or insert your crew’s name here], you got tired of being straight-up destroyed by every mediocre MC in the year 4268 of the Sultana’s reign, so you’ve magically time-traveled 3,000 years in the past to “invent” hip-hop and become the undisputed Lordz of Dis.

    Have your best MC roll+CHA to see how this has gone so far:

    On a 10+, you have successfully cultivated a small but vibrant scene. Sure, the music isn’t quite what you had in mind, since it’s often a couple of fiddle players doing ragtime in the background while one of you beats out a rhythm on a cast-iron kettle, and your crowds are mostly ratmen and spiderfolk so far, but it’s a start, right? And this one spider, who calls herself The Most Loquacious Widow, would honestly be quite sick on the mic, if there were actual mics, and if you could prevent her from stopping to feed on audience members in the middle of her set.

    On a 7-9, there’s not a scene exactly, but it hasn’t been a complete catastrophe. You’ve gotten a regular gig at a small, slime-covered bar near the old river and there’s a crowd of folks who you suspect are necromancers and diabolists who show up every Sultanasday to hear you spit. Afterwards, they come up and converse with you about “where the rhymes come from” and their connection with the dark arts, which is cool but also a bit creepy. Let me know if you’ve hooked up with any of the more attractive sorcerers yet.

    On a 6-, come on, you think you were the only crew who’d thought of this idea? There’s a well-established cross-temporal guild known as the Elemental Guardians who make it their business to protect the “proper” (that is to say, temporally linear) development of hip-hop in the known planes. History and context, they claim, matter a lot in preserving the authenticity of the medium and its natural spread. While you appreciate their theoretical position, it’s hard to have a conversation when they’re hunting your asses down. Can you escape, or defeat them in an epic, magical rap battle across time, space, and the 63 boroughs of Dis?

    Hugs and kisses,

    Your GM

  6. Necromancer of the Mic Arts

    requires: Duel of the Iron Mic

    When you pit your lyrical skills against those of another Mic Mage, roll +INT.

    Add the following options to your list of outcomes:

    – you spit hot fire! deal your damage and ignore armor.

    – you resurrect a smoked and fallen friend.

    – you gain mad respect, add a bond with someone present.

    On a 12+

    – you summon a crew of undead hype men, Mark XP and choose 2.

  7. While you’re counting calories, I Discern Realities

    Seeing through your lies & unwrapping all your fallacies

    Check one, check twice ‘fore you roll out the dice

    Your CHA’s so low your flow’s slower than ice

    Try to Parlay with me, better pray for some fives

    Or sixes… [pause] your flow’s broke so I fixed it

    I got a savvy head so I know what’s wrong with it

    You ask “What’s about to happen?”

    Just a whole lot of rappin’

    A rapper hack-n-slasher come to give you what you asked fer

    You might try to attack but I Defend and ask for passwords

    Make your move, but you lack fictional positioning

    Drop the groove, and I’ll tell you something interesting

    dice drop

  8. Rolls 12+

    I’m lollin at your attempt, You’re trying to be exempt

    from the consequence at hand, so pardon while I pre-empt

    And explain my fictional flow, my verbal prose, and go

    Too loco, medieval, straight berzerker on you bro.

    Like barbarians in hordes, you’ll need a wall to block me

    The keen edge of my swords, and you got 1d4 to stop me

    So ix-nay on your Parlay, better make some vous Francais,

    and raise your right hand, your white flag [pause] Are you listening?

    You quivering quisling, you cower before my might

    I got the battle bling, and my sword sings, and one other thing you’re missing

    I dabble in classes [pause], so I know some extra shit, see?

    I’ll Cast a Spell, Charm you to tell the world, that I’m your bestie

    My sword can fight, with a Light, cast my Missile at the rest, PEACE!

  9. Portents are way too grim

    For all you sucka GMs

    I inflict harm as established

    With my size-twelve Tims

    [pause] Try to grin

    But you fail to Hold Steady

    Then trigger your Darkest Self

    But, shit, you’re in it already

    Gotta cross off all your Strings

    But, hoss, you haven’t got any

    Cuz I’m the bossest MC

    And you’re just shredded confetti

    [pause] Shoulda thought first

    Before you messed with me

    I been playing this game

    Since it was Apocalypse D&D

    Just open your brain

    And I’ll commence with the spelling bee

    Remember “I” before “E”

    Except after “Catastrophe”

  10. Namedropping the big D,

    With your weak burns

    Bringing shame to the game,

    While we trade turns

    Bring it old school?

     Forgot one rule

    I’m like Tomb of Horrors

    Making Hard Moves.


    Your Hero’s like Nero –

    Fiddling while rome burns.

    Marked-XP-so-bad, you hit level ten –

    Before anyone even took turns

    We dropping big-booms like big-doom,

    Kneel down and repent:

    Yo momma’s, a sign

    Of an approaching threat

    I reveal, she’s eaten

    The ranger’s pet

    She got this terrifying maw

    Full on razor-tooth

    Oooh! I just revealed

    An unwelcome truth!

    Now let me slide out the door,

    ‘Fore you dudes assume

    That you’re legit,

    With a real GM up in the room.


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