Social Combat Hacks
The Appearance modifier to social combat is based on Appearance vs. Temperance, not App vs. App.
DEVA has an appearance of 6 and a temperance of 2
EVOLUTION has an appearance of 3 and a temperance of 4
When DEVA makes a social attack against EVO – EVO’s MDV is reduced by 2
When EVO makes a social attack against DEVA – DEVA’s MDV is reduced by 1
It simply makes more sense for ones mind to resist hotness with temperance, that’s what temperance is all about.
The external modifiers for Virtues and Intimacies are switched.
Thus leaning on an Intimacy to bolster you MDV with accrue +(1-3) MDV rather than one.
Virtues are very broad and pertain far more ofter – it makes more sense to reduce them to +1 MDV.
Intimacies however fall into three categories, major (3) moderate (2) minor (1).
Note: Intimacies have changed in number. Their health is dictated by their importance, however how many you can have is no longer determined by compassion using the same system. Now you may have (compassion) major intimacies, (compassionX2) moderate intimacies, and any number of minor intimacies within reason.
Note: If DEVA accuses EVO of being a coward and unwilling to fight for the populat – this is a social attack targeting her valor. If EVO has a defining virtue of valor she would suffer -1 MDV to this social attack. EVO could lean upon her temperance if a defining virtue to resist or look to intimacies for some reason to resist. One can not resist a social attack with the same virtue as the opponent is using without a stunt. This means that it is up to the ST’s digression.
Willpower can no longer be spent as a free perfect defense against social attacks.
Turn to perfect mental defense charms for such abilities. Rather, each character has a social resolve track with is effectively social hit-points. If you wish to use Willpower in social combat, use it to bolster dice pools, launch powerful social combos, and so on.
Possible Use of Social Health Track?
-0 // Resolve is strong. The words of your opponent find no purchase upon your mind.
-1 // Your ears are open. The words of your opponent are heard, they could be lies or foul to you, but the words echo in your mind.
-2 // Your mind is open. The words of your opponent race through your mind. What makes them think this way? You try to understand their point of view. This does not mean you support their view but you seek to understand their logic, even if it is flawed to you.
-4 // Your soul is open. The words of you opponent echo with something within you – their words make sense. There is some truth to their words that will bear investigation. You can not refute that they have a point and that there is something there. You may still be more loyal to your point of view at this point, but the words of your opponent have worth and importance to you.
Incap // You are theirs. The focus of the social combat is resolved and the opponent has won you over to their point of view. This may be used to change an opinion or to move an intimacy next lower/higher level or create an intimacy.
Because social combat works on a health mechanic, social combat attacks can now deal more than one point of damage with each attempt. For simplicity, every (3) successes over the first will deal another point of resolve damage.
Example: If the Lover were attempting to turn Isoroku’s love from Jesss and unto another, herself or Rose, she would wear Isoroku down this track. Her great beauty would work against Isoroku’s temperance and her honeyed words would have greater strength for that. Isoroku has an moderate intimacy towards Rose and if attacked correctly, the Lover would further reduce his MDV. Isoroku would cling to his intimacy towards Jess (a major intimacy) and make counter attacks against the Lover using his own good looks but really against the Lover such resistance would be futile. Over two scenes she would be able to degrade Jess to a minor intimacy, one Isoroku would betray for Rose’s comfort as a moderate intimacy.
Even a loves as great as Isoroku’s have been eroded and turned countless times in classical literature. A prime example being Circe in Homer’s Odyssey. There’s another good example in the final episode of Vikings, but I don’t expect anyone to go hunt that down.
Note it would also be possible for the Lover to erode Jess once to a moderate intimacy and then raise Rose to a major intimacy and accomplish the same ends. Isoroku would care more for Jess in this scenario than the other – but would come to love Rose. Rose would need to maintain this level of intimacy or it could erode under her sometimes cruel and dark demeanor.
Note also that this example is moot – I was smart and picked up Righteous Lion for my beloved. Our love will never be broken :)
Reinforced Coil of Self
A new charm to increase the number of resolve/denial health levels.
Reinforced Coil of Self
Cost: — [0m]; Mins: Wits 2, Essence 2;
Keywords: Obvious, Stackable
Prerequisite Charms: None
The Champion fortifies his mind through the installation of cross-analytic protocols, redundant memory baffles , whispering conscience nodes, and reinforcing concept matrices. This Charm adds either: (one -0 resolve level, two -1 resolve levels or three -2 resolve levels) configured at the time of installation, and may be installed up to (Essence) times. Installations require no installation cost.
The following I would like feed back on – I am still hashing these out in my mind and thinking on balanced and fair rules.
One thought is escaping social combat. Movement plays no real role in this combat dynamic and to allow people to simply run and withdraw without a mechanic makes it too weak. If such were the case the social character would need to maneuver parties into situations around peers to cause them a loss of face. Rather, when one is in a conversation one tries to extract themselves from combat. Often one does not even realize they are in social combat, to represent this I would like to impose a rule that players can not feel any threat in a conversation till:
1) The opponent fails a social attack roll – the fumble giving the player some hint as to true motive.
2) The defending player makes a successful Wits+Investigation roll to determine the point of the conversation. A social attack must be made to have anything to analyze other than mood of the other party.
Once the player has detected something fishy it is acceptable for them to extract themselves from combat. In some situations, such as a party or court function, this could cause a loss of face. Players may make a socialize+attribute roll to extract themselves without any negative consequence, a cunning lie to excuse oneself with matters of urgency or perhaps a sly grin and a paramour upon the arm as one saunters off into the shadows. The difficulty of such a roll would be more difficult in the court an unfriendly Kingdom as compared to a village festival or a vassals party for a newborn son.
Another thought is that social combat is usually an all or nothing deal in regards to its attacks. This has the serious repercussion of making social combat take forever – even between a skilled orator and a bumbling stable boy. That said, with opening up multiple levels of damage I wonder is some degree of soak is not in order but would not know how to represent such. Perhaps requiring 5 success over the first is enough to prevent a social character ripping someone down and apart too quickly. It seems the best defense is to determine the opposing players point with investigation rolls – to identify and extract oneself from a troublesome situation. It becomes a race – can the social attacker convince the other party before the danger is identified. Things become more complicated when the socialite becomes infamous as friends see their friends turned from old intimacies and alliances by a few moments with the snake tongued.
The last though is that no one can be a whipping boy – though this has seemed the case in the past with social combat. If a courtier gets into a melee with a sword master – his best course of action is to run. I believe this is still case, when one is vastly outmatched they flee. Social combat is not so overtly a danger, thus the danger needs to be identified. Yet, when two sword masters meet, they exchange blows. Until the danger is identified, both parties can and should be influencing the other. It is perfectly acceptable for a player to remain silent and get bombarded by a social juggernaut if that is their wish.
Another thought is maybe the veiled danger should be a particular mode the social combatant can make use of, it seems to fit manipulation characters better. That said, I don’t want people fleeing from Charisma characters, besides one has to pierce the veil of the Charaisma character as well. The Charisma characters veil is one of general likability and wanting to believe their every words as compared to Manipulations sly methods of hiding their attacks in turns of phrase and lies and a poker face or false emotions. So I feel like it best to use the same mechanic for both methods of social attack. I wonder if the investigation should be a contested active defense or a counter – I think a contested active defense is better – I just don’t like doubling the number of rolls needed when I just cut down on the length of social combat in other areas.
Overall I think the above tweaks are enough to make they system workable. MDV’s not only act as a buffer against social attacks – but should the attacker fail to beat them then your able to deconstruct their statement and see with clear eyes what they are driving at. High MDV’s not only weaken social attacks against you, but also throws up the red flags.
Some actions are social attacks without seeming that way too – happening beyond time and distance. Pulling a prince from a burning building is most certainly a social attack despite transcending the mechanics. Gratitude to a rescuer is hardwired and some degree of intimacy is bound to spring up from such an act regardless of the rescuer’s social skill.
I’ll try to construct an example below:
Yurgan’s Temperance of (4) cancels out Isoroku’s unbuffed Appearance of (4)- Isoroku respects Yurgan too much to wear a false face with him in private. This cancels any appearance bonuses Isoroku might have. Yurgan has an Appearance of (4) and Isoroku’s Temperance is (2) – Yurgan has a (2) die bonus to social attacks should they be made.
Isoroku raps upon Yurgan’s oaken door at Mother’s Hearth, the cold air is so distant in these sun bathed halls, the door opens and bushy whiskers and grinning teeth greet the fallen dynast.
Isoroku bows deeply, a gesture of honest respect, and lifts his head up with a grin his own upon smooth cheeks and dark eyes, “Lord Yurgan, thank you for making the time to see me. I know you are busy with planning your march on Whitewall, but I shall not take up much of your time.”
(Join Debate, Yurgan wins)
Yurgan buffs up in mock insult, “I’ve got time for you my boy, come in, I’ve taken a break from my maps to mull over meat and spirits anyhow. What troubles you Isoroku?”
(Yurgan makes an investigation roll and with a success can tell Isoroku is troubled, but without a social attack from Isoroku as yet he can not detect anything of worth)
Isoroku takes the invitation and sits across from Yurgan at his heavy stone table grown from the very bones of the manse, Yurgan orders a guard to send word to the kitchens to send up food for his companion, “I’ve had my head bowed over spirits the last few days as well, I’ve spoken to Caltia, god of Halta…my slain fathers homeland. She has agreed to aid in opening the path to Yu-Shan that the knife might be given over to the Maidens.”
(Isoroku has made his first social attack in trying to make Yurgan feel gratitude towards Halta, Isoroku leans upon Charisma and the good will he radiates. Speaking truths – that the agents of Halta work with them and the mention of his father underlines the places importance to him. Isoroku channled compassion and scored three more successes than Yurgan’s MDV, Yurgan’s ears are open to this prospect that Halta may be worthy of his friendship for these deeds but his stance that they were enemies not long ago still holds his heart)
Yurgan strokes his whiskers as he bows his head at mention of Rain, “I truly am sorry for your pain Isoroku, I know the wound is fresh in your heart, he died a hero. How soon will she have the gate open for us?”
(Yurgan rolls his investigation roll and scores a success once again, he can tell Isoroku wishes to build his good will and appreciating towards Halta. Yurgan still needs the rest of the report and would not want to insult his friend Isoroku, so he makes no move to end the combat at this time)
Food arrives and Isoroku takes a moment to fill the emptiness in his belly and drown his fear with a cup of Leolin Firewine, “When our task in Yu-Shan is finished and Whitewall falls, where will your legions march next? My father’s mate yet remains, Halta yet has leaders I respect and owe my life to, Caltia has shown they can work with you. Does Halta need to become part of this Empire, I believe they would be a stronger force as your allies.”
(Isoroku knows that he can be dismissed more easily if he gives up the small shreds of information he holds, so he clings to it for a few moments more. He makes another attempt to sell Yurgan on the usefulness of Halta and its powerful backers. Better to have those beings with you than disposed and a fragmented people under your banners. True words as Isoroku believes them. Isoroku manages to score two more successes, Yurgan spends a willpower to bolster his mind against such talk. Yurgan is firmly into -2’s, he understands that Isoroku believes these things and wants to understand why, but at the same time Yurgan has a negative intimacy towards Halta that is causing him some irritation at the direction this discussion is going.
Yurgan pushes his empty plates away and throws down the last of his own wine with none of the watery gloss in his own eyes, “Isoroku, I know you owe your mentor much. He saved your life from the lost gods of Whitewall who would have had your soul consumed by Fay. I understand you have no love lost on Whitewall, but the people of Halta a like lost leaves in a cold wind. They have enemies in every direction and the Realm begins to see what lies coiled up in that distant corner of the world. A vast Shadowland lies at the heart of the North-Eastern forest and your mentor never healed that scar, even as it visits dangers upon all of Creation with its mere existence. I, no, we can not leave all of those innocents to flounder lost without guidance with the dead and the neverliving and other foes beside all about them. I’ve rarely heard you speak kind words of your father’s mate, do you believe the Haltans well be better served under her?”
(Yurgan feels that it would be best to spare Isoroku the pain of split allegiances, Halta has lost an elder Lunar and needs stability in the huge void that creates. Halta needs Yurgans firm hand to push out the predations of the Neverliving Fay and to cleans the Shadowland formed by the wars the Llenowin and Haltans have carried out for eons. Halta needs Yurgan to lay down that sword and unify the Llenowin and Haltan people under one banner against the enemies that hound Creation. Yurgan makes a Charisma roll and appeals to Isoroku’s moderate intimacy towards Halta, with his low temperance and Yurgans extreme presence – Isoroku crumbles to his -2 resolve level after losing 4 resolve levels)
Dodge MDV is refusing to engage, your not talking to the opponent, you’re just ignoring them and their words. Whenever you use Parry MDV you volunteer to use none of what was just said to aid in your defense or counter offensive. Dodge is thus more useful in a larger brawl, but you will quickly make yourself useless in attacking the other party through extended use – you’ve heard little to nothing that they’ve said. Use of Dodge MDV is seen as rude by onlookers and others involved in a social situation – unless obvious UMI is in use, in fact Dodge is probably best used against UMI or potent social charms while Parry is used in almost all mundane social situations.