Originally shared by Alasdair Lawrence
I’ve been thinking recently about what might be called Social Combat and I was wondering if anyone had any ideas about how to implement it elegantly in FotF or DW or how the current moves might be used to create a more structured social confrontation
Currently, as I understand it, a physical combat has HP which is attacked with Damage dealt by successful Fight/Hack n Slash/Volley/etc rolls
a social combat might come down to a Negotiate roll or a Charisma-based Defy Danger/Saving Throw
The difference between the two is the 10+ outcome of a Fight roll is not “the monster dies” since it’s understood there is an HP stat which must be exhausted. On the other hand the Negotiate roll is rather all-or-nothing – if the player’s intent is to convince the king the evil baron is not to be trusted, a 10+ roll will thus convince the king. Perhaps you could make them roll more than once on the same stat to represent various stages of convincing, but that’s quite boring and unfair as you’re basically just asking them to try over and over until they fail.
There is a system called Honor & Intrigue in which social combat is represented with a social HP called Composure and there are various ’rounds’ of repartee where players and NPCs roll + relevant modifiers and a successful roll lowers the other’s Composure. Reaching 0 Composure means that person is defeated, and might storm off in a humiliated huff or spill the beans or confess to the murder etc.
I think there are situations which might call for a similarly-structured social combat where there is a Social HP to exhaust before victory. Perhaps I’m overcomplicating things, but here’s an early, very rough rule. It’s basically Fight/Hack n Slash but with an attempt to include HP into a Charisma roll.
When you engage with an intractable or uncooperative group or figure in verbal repartee, say what you want from your opponent or what you want them to do. Then describe how you want to approach your opponent (schmooze, mock, intimidate, plea, etc.). Then both sides hold 3 Composure.
When you make a verbal attack, describe what you say and how. The GM may award a +1 for engaging roleplay. Then roll + CHA
10+ your wordplay overcomes their defenses. They lose 1 Composure
7-9 you make some headway but they retort with a smart comeback. They lose 1 Composure, but retaliate
6- mark XP, you are tongue-tied or your delivery falls flat. GM makes a move
When Composure reaches 0, that character is defeated. They will storm off, burst into tears, reveal hidden information, etc. If the player is defeated, describe how your character deals with the humiliation or intimidation of their loss and mark XP.