The art of fighting duels, although considered brutal by some, is well-respected in the universe of Imperium Nova. Combatants face each other one-to-one, armed only with a choice of hand-to-hand weaponry - usually various types of sword. The duel takes place in a specially-prepared area known as the Duelling Pit, a sunken area surrounded by rows of benches for spectators. Duels are often broadcast live, and a particularly high-profile duel may be seen and talked about throughout the galaxy.
Duels fall into two categories - Honour Duels and Prizefights. The former are fought to avenge an insult or other slight, the latter to earn the victor money. To see a list of upcoming duels, go to the 'Duels and Prizefighting' section, from the Galactic Affairs main menu option. From this section you can view recent duels by clicking on the 'Previous Duels' link and then selecting 'Details'. Alternatively you can watch a duel 'live' once it is in progress by clicking the 'In progress' link. Once underway a round of combat will be resolved every (real time) minute, and you can use the 'Refresh Page' link to update the results as you watch.
If one of your characters is involved in a duel, you may select tactics for the duel. There are four possibilities:
A duel will continue until one of the duellists loses - through being killed or rendered unable to continue as a result of serious injury or maiming. Such wounded characters will recover but suffer a significant penalty to any activity until their injuries heal - a process that may take several months. Whilst wounded a character may not participate in any further duels and will lose one status if called upon to do so.
The winner of a duel may also be wounded, with the same effect, despite being victorious. Characters may also increase their duelskills slightly by participating in a duel against an equal or superior opponent. This is the only way to improve your duelskills once over the age of 25.
Such is the appetite of the public for duelling action, that a good deal of money can be made by skilled duellists through entry into the Prizefighting pool. This is a pool of fighters who must always accept any challenge laid down by another pool member - regardless of who it comes from. As soon as such a challenge is made, a duel is scheduled between the two parties. The winner will walk away with a prize of between $1,000 and $20,000 Galactic Solars. The loser will be lucky to walk away at all.
The size of the prize on offer for any such duel is dictated by two factors - the skill level of the better of the two fighters, and the difference in skill between the combatants. The more skilled and evenly matched the duellists, the higher the prize. Two superb duellists in the pit are likely to command the maximum prize - but none but the most bloodthirsty want to see a one-sided fight between a rookie and an expert, for the result will never be in doubt.
You may submit a dynasty member or retainer to the prizefighting pool as long as he or she has at least average duelling skills, and has no other commitments such as education or sphere leadership. The submission costs $5000.00 and if confirmed, will enrol the character into the prizefighting pool for a period of one game year. After this time the fighter leaves the pool, although you may always re-enrol the same character again. To view the current prizefighting pool and enrol a fighter of your own, follow the 'Prize Fighting' link from the 'Upcoming Duels' page.
Once you have a fighter in the pool, you will see a 'Challenge' link alongside any rival fighters that may be challenged by at least one of your fighters. You may submit as many fighters as you like to the prizefighting pool, but they may never fight one another. Each prizefighter may also participate in only one duel at a time, and if injured must wait until fully recovered before issuing or accepting another challenge.
As seen in the Rulebook
Despite how the rules read, dueling styles do not have a rock, scissor, paper relationship. The reason for this is because certain styles let you attack your opponent much more often than other styles, and with a higher chance to deal a debilitating blow. Dueling is still highly random, so the following should be taken with salt shakers.
Frenzied: Debatably the Best Dueling style. If a duelist using Frenzied stance hits with their initial charge, they are very likely to win the duel, and frenzied duelists will almost always attack first.
Cautious: The second best defense against Frenzied stance. If a duelist using Cautious can avoid the initial blow from frenzied, they will likely win the match against a frenzied opponent. It fairs poorly against Balanced.
Balanced: Average style. Nothing special.
Flamboyant: Flamboyant adds nothing to the match besides an added chance of losing. Rarely will a flamboyant duelist manage to get through a match without twisting their ankle, or some other similar misfortune.