The rules for these print out on one side of a sheet of A4. At the foot of this page, you will find a link to a printable file of them.
I was playing a short campaign set in medieval times, and wanted to add a bit of flavour and character to the game. One way to do this was to give each leader a name, and some individual quirk. Each contingent of a side had a leader, and each side one overall commander, and typically there would be two or three contingents per side, which meant that there might be in the region of seven named figures on the table, which didn't seem too much to cope with, and was enough to create some skirmishy character to the game.
The traits I came up with were appropriate for my fast-play skirmish system. You may be using other rules, but will probably find that most of the traits I devised could be modified to fit your rules. To make it easier for you to make the conversions, I'll explain that Morale refers to a number that starts at about 6 for a typical contingent of troops, and when it is lowered to zero signals the retreat of that contingent from the table. "QR" refers to the Quality Rating of a figure, where tough well-armoured and skilled men are QR3, typical soldiers QR2, and peasants and civilians are QR1. A Push-back is a melee result which means that a figure is moved back one base depth. A Retreat is a more extreme result, where a figure is moved back two full moves immediately - the man has been spooked and has temporarily removed himself from harm's way.
Players do not get to choose their leaders' traits. Indeed, some of the traits would never be chosen, because they are disadvantageous. Instead, players roll 1d20 to determine what trait(s) each leader has.
- Quick: +2 to initiative rolls.
- Cunning: +2/-2 to initiative rolls, may choose either every turn. *
- Lucky: may reroll three rolls per game, once each, for actions involving self.
- Icon: may recruit from broken contingent on 5+ on 1d6 per figure withdrawing within 4".
- Popular: may exert command radius on allied contingent members. Re-roll trait if overall commander.
- Scoundrel: if enemy refuses challenge, fails Morale test on 1 only. Refusing challenge, fail on 1 or 2 only.
- Honourable: enemy suffers two Morale tests on refusing challenge. Must offer mercy to wounded duellist.
- Stalwart: may convert Retreat result on self to Push-back.
- Inspirational: may convert underlings' (within 4") Retreat results to Push-backs on 5+ on 1d6.
- Rash: must attack in front rank of melee within 4" or roll for Morale loss. Must follow up Push-backs.
- Timid: rolls twice for Morale loss on refusing challenge, plus cannot close voluntarily with enemy.
- Horseman: +2" on horseback and +1 fighting from horse. If killed on horseback, only horse dead 5+ on 1d6.
- Tough: counted as QR4 for wound table rolls.
- Swordsman: QR4 for melee rolls.
- Terrible: when causing Push-back to personal enemy, enemy Retreats instead.
- Half-hearted: if wounded, routs off table.
- Unknowable: QR 1d4 in melee, QR3 in other ways.
- Mighty: QR4. If killed, roll twice for Morale loss.
- Roll twice and gain both traits, ignoring 19 and 20.
- Roll thrice and gain three traits, ignoring 19 and 20.
* If using Type III initiative system, change to: Taunt: foes roll thrice for Morale loss when refusing a challenge.
So now in my games a figure is not known as "the leader of contingent three", but instead perhaps "Sir Percy the Scoundrel" which is more fun.
The rules for duelling again assume that players are using my fast-play medieval skirmish rules, but could be adapted to other systems. They rely on two things: that contingents/units of troops on the board have some sort of morale score, which when whittled away to zero means that they withdraw from the battle, and that victory is something on a sliding scale, rather than all-or-nothing. This means that duelling can increase the magnitude of a victory or ameliorate the misery of a defeat. Leaders of contingents can issue challenges, and there is a cost to refusing a challenge. The men following a leader who refuses a challenge will suffer some potential loss of morale, since their man proves to be inferior to their man. A leader who wins a duel can be an inspiration to his men whose morale will get a boost.
To issue a challenge, a knight must be within two move distances of the challengee; must challenge a man who is not in combat nor next to men who are in combat; and must be in plain sight of him.
Challenging men: A contingent's leader, if he is a knight, may offer a challenge to an individual in a group on the opposing side. If that foe has men of greater quality in his group, the challenger's side suffers a Morale roll - it is only honourable to challenge the strongest of the enemy. If the challenged man is of the highest quality in the group, but not QR3, then the challenged man may accept if he wishes, or refuse with no risk of dishonour. However, if he accepts, and in the fight the challenger is forced to retreat or pulls out of the fight after a wound, then his side faces two extra Morale tests. If the knight wins, his side makes a test to gain a Morale point.
Challenging knights: If the challenged man is QR3, and refuses the challenge, his contingent suffers a Morale roll. Subsequent challenges from the same challenger only have this effect on 5+ on 1d6. Any QR3 or higher figure may accept a challenge on behalf of the challenged, at the cost of a Morale test to the challenged side, and if the challenger then backs down, his contingent faces two Morale rolls.
The duel: When a duel starts, 1d8 is used to resolve the melee, not 1d10. The duellists must start to duel at least 3" away from their own men. A roll of 1 does not cause a player's duellist to die automatically.
Knightly outcomes: In a fight between knights, the following are possibilities: causing the opponent to Retreat scores 1 VP, gains a point to the winning contingent's Morale and loses one for the losing side. Killing the opponent is worth 3 VPs, +1 Morale, and the usual penalty to the opposition's Morale. If one knight is wounded, he may ask for mercy, declaring his foe the victor. If the other agrees, and lets his opponent retire to his lines, he gains 2 VPs and becomes Honourable if not already, or normal if he was previously a Scoundrel, and his foe rolls twice for Morale loss. If he refuses, one more round of the duel is fought, and he gains only the normal game gains for a victory, but loses the duelling losses for a loss. After this, play returns to normal.
Cheating: Either side can cheat by intervening and sending reinforcements or attacking the winner of the duel while he is still alone. When this happens, the cheating side loses a VP. A knight whose own contingent cheats first becomes a Scoundrel. As soon as more men than two are involved, the fight uses 1d10 again as usual. A side that loses its duellist to a cheat loses no Morale points. If the cheated duellist escapes back to his own lines, his side gains a Morale point, and the opposition loses one, in addition to normal rules (so if he is wounded, he suffers a Morale roll as usual). If in a later game a cheated wounded or killed knight is replaced, there is a 50% chance that his replacement will, in righteous vengeful spirit, count as Honourable when facing the men who cheated his kinsman, and a 50% chance that he will count as Rash in the same circumstances.