Opinion on this homebrew SA

One of my players (Cutter) is a duelist. He recently found this special ability in a homebrew playbook for a Duelist. It reads…


You are not affected by the quality or tier of your opponent’s equipment or training in combat.

This ability lets you contend with higher-Tier enemies on equal footing. Whether you’re

brawling with a back-alley cutthroat, locking blades with a trained assassin or trading

shots with a military sharpshooter your effect level is never reduced due to the superior Tier

or Quality of your opponent’s weapons or training. However, other dominant factors such

as scale and potency can still work against you. This ability does not help you comfortably

fight twenty opponents, wrestle a demon, or have a shootout with a battleship."

I’m wary of dipping outside the book, but I also don’t like saying no, especially when I know how difficult it is to actually break Blades in the Dark.

However, I can’t help but imagine what this looks like when paired with Not To Be Trifled With (which this player has).

What do you think?

This is somehow built on the model of the Lurk’s INFILTRATOR Special Ability. But it involves combat, a much more dangerous activity… I personally wouldn’t allow such an advantage. At least I would make it much narrower: only for brawling, or only for duelling, but not for brawling, duelling AND sharpshooting…
And as you say, combining this SA with NTBTW would put any PC on equal footing with even a small team of high-tier opponents, very early in the game…
TLDR : I think it’s OP.

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I think it is wild to have a skill that allows you to completely ignore disparities in equipment and skill at all times.You might want to tweak it so they need to push to activate this skill, but it’s probably a better bet to just reinterpret Not to be Trifled With to include “Engage with an opponent of higher tier on equal footing”


Seems like it’d be more balanced if you had to push yourself to do it.
I think if I had a player using this as written I would really leverage position and effect here, like if you are tangling with a famously lethal opponent then that’s desperate in most situations, or if there’s a demon you wanna wrestle then that’s probably a limited effect given that Demons are usually unfazed by full Nelsons.

I would recommend a complete rewrite of the special ability to keep the spirit of what the player is looking for, but move it from a mechanical advantage to a fictional one. For instance…

WORTHY OPPONENT: Through appearance, reputation, or quick wit, you can convince higher tier (or higher scale) opponents to “fight fair.”

Thank you for the replies and excellent input. We decided to tack the ability onto Not To Be Trifled With, so he can still spend stress to get the effect. I think we’ll be fine.