OSR Based Tournaments
|Michal Zebrowski in the film 1612|
This post details how to make a tournament structure derived from OSR Mechanics. Essentially, rather than making a single elimination bracket, you use the rules for a monster encounter in order to figure out who fights whom on what day. The following assumes a week long tournament following the schedule posted below.
Week Long Tournament
Day 1: Introduction and Set Up
Days 2-6: Series of Single Elimination Bouts
Day 7: Celebration and Crowned Champion
Days two through six are essentially a single bout followed by announcements of who will face each other the following day. The first day of the tournament everyone arrives and registers.
The procedure for determining who faces who is essentially a Wandering Monster Roll with each part of the monster encounter determination how the match will be.
Three Mechanical Parts of a Monster Encounter
1. Which Monster
2. Reaction Roll
3. Surprise Check
The "Which Monster" component becomes the "Which Combatant" roll.
Each round roll on the Which Combatant Table and that's who you will face. As the tournament continues the table will be rolled upon with a smaller die as the lower values on the encounter chart are more difficult/dramatic to encounter.
Day 2 Roll a 1d12 (256 competitors)
Day 3 Roll a 1d10 (128 competitors)
Day 4 Roll a 1d8 (64 competitors remain) later (32 competitors remain)
Day 5 Roll a 1d6 (16 competitors remain) later (8 competitors remain)
Day 6 Roll a 1d4 (4 competitors remain) later (final 2 competitors face off)
On the first two days, due to the high number of competitors there is only 1 bout per day. As their number reduces the number of bouts increases.
Which Combatant Table
|1||Another Player's Character (Variable HD)|
|2||NPC the Players have encountered before (Variable HD)|
A Competitor Favored to Win (5+1d4 HD)
Competitor Temperament Table 1d6
Member of Nobility
Noble Identity Table 1d6
Traveling Outlander (Roll on Outlander Table)
Criminal Type Table 1d6
Disguised Person Table 1d6
Monster Poorly Hidden by Cloak (Variable HD)
Tournament Monster Table 1d6
Unscrupulous Cheater (3 HD)
Flip a Coin
Heads: cheating before the match Tails: cheating during the match
Knight Errant (1+1d4 HD)
Knight Errant Table 1d6
|11||Generic Guy (Stats as Bandit)|
Age Inappropriate Contender (1 HD)
Flip a Coin
Heads: Prepubescent Tails: Nearly Senile Old
Reaction RollThe reaction roll is used for the bookies and gamblers rather than the opponent. The same distribution is used
Gambling Prediction Table
Favors Character to Lose
Favors Character to Win
Surprise RollThe surprise roll is used to see if the crowd favors someone. Traditionally a roll of 1 surprises monsters and a roll of 6 surprises the player's characters.
Crowd Favor Roll 1d6
1 - Favors Player Character
6 - Favors Other
Fights are essentially until someone gives up in front of a crowd. Using the GLOG system HP heals back rather quickly so being reduced to 0 hp isn't that bad for a Player Character. There will be lots of betting each round and each day there is a 1 in 6 chance of someone attempting to sabotage a combatant for the purpose of rigging bets. (This is essentially a wandering monster check.)
Player Character Losing/Following Other Combatants
If a player character loses, then simply have whoever beat them progress to the next round and roll for who they face. Flip a coin to see if they win their next match unless it seems highly unlikely. If there is only one player character still contending for victory and they roll that they would fight another player character simply substitute a fighter who previously beat another character. Halfway through Day 5 there will only be 8 combatants left and if the players wish to know who they can bet on, then it would be appropriate to roll for who those 8 are. As day 5 ends, simply flip a coin to see if a combatant continues onward. The idea is that the tournament if player facing and that the other fights are only important if the players want them to be.
Mechanical Aspects of the Competitors
I would simply use the regular OSR system combat rules for these matches. Each Combatant has attached HD and is pretty loose mechanically speaking otherwise. If you want some inspiration on how to give them further abilities you can simply roll below and use the suggested class table to assign abilities as if they were that HD.
Suggestions for Abilities 1d6
Martial (Fighters, Dwarves)
Specialist (Elfs, Specialists)
Magic Users (Wizards, Clerics)