Social Combat Cheat Sheet
Social Combat: How to win friends and influence people
In brief, social combat is exploiting intimacies to influence people to do things they may or may not (to varying degrees) want to do.
The basic formula for an influence roll is Social Attribute + Relevant Skill vs the target’s Resolve (Wits + Integrity + Specialty)/2 rounded up.
Note that players with higher appearance stats making influence rolls gain bonus dice equal to the difference between their appearance and their target’s resolve.
BUT WHAT ABOUT INTIMACIES?
Intimacies can either assist or resist influence rolls, depending on whether or not they apply to the action being attempted. Full mechanical implementation of this facet will be displayed in the quick calculation section.
More specific formula and important notes follow:
Nothing is possible without exploiting an intimacy. You cannot convince someone to do something they are not at least slightly inclined to.
There are no hard and fast rules as to who rolls first in social combat.
Read Intentions: (Perception + Socialize) vs Guile ([Manipulation + Socialize + Specialty]/2 Round up)
Read Intentions allows the player to discern what another characters wants to achieve in a scene of interaction, or, determine an intimacy. When attempting to discern an intimacy, the player must broadly inquire as to what kind of intimacy they’re trying to deduce.
Targets unaware of being observed suffer a -2 penalty to guile.
Instill: Change the feelings and beliefs of others. The player declares what he wishes their target to feel or believe, with mounting penalties up to -5 for how outlandish the claim. Successful rolls create intimacies for that belief.
When altering intimacies:
—Strengthening a Minor Intimacy, or weakening a Major
Intimacy, can only be done if the target has a different
Minor or better Intimacy that supports the attempted
—Likewise, raising a Major Intimacy, or weakening a Defining
Intimacy, is only possible if the target has a different
Major or better Intimacy that supports the attempted
—Strengthening an existing Intimacy requires that the
evidence raised or argument made in favor of strengthening
it be more compelling than whatever caused the
Intimacy to arrive at its current intensity. For example,
if a shopkeeper gained a Minor Intimacy of distrust toward
the Guild after learning that they often undercut local
merchants, he would need even stronger evidence in
order to strengthen his Intimacy to Major. Perhaps he
learns that a Guild merchant plans to buy out his shop,
or speaks to a man who once partnered with a Guildsman
and was betrayed and sold into slavery
Persuade: Convince other characters to perform an action or task that you give to them. The extent of the action depends on the Intimacies of your target. These actions and intimacies are
Inconvenient – Requires Minor
Serious – Requires Major
Life-Changing – Requires defining.
Bargain: Similar to persuading, bargaining requires no intimacies to work off of, instead relying on the exalted convincing the target that what they are offering is worth what they are asking for. Note that the social station of the target is taken into account when evaluating the effectiveness of a bribe.
Threaten: Similar to bargaining, except you’re offering the target something they don’t want. In addition to attempting to compel an action, threaten can also be used to instill an intimacy such as fear of you, or intensify one that already exists. Note that it will almost always do that anyway, regardless of whether or not the player wants it to.
Inspire: This action is sued to incite emotions, usually with the performance ability. Once emotions have successfully been incited, they may contextually choose to act on an intimacy or form a new one.
Spending Willpower: You can spend a willpower to resist creating a new intimacy, weakening a major or defining intimacy, or resist an inspire action.
Decision Points: If a player failed a resolve roll to resist a specific call to action, they enter a Decision Point.
Essentially, the player must choose an intimacy of equal to or greater than the one that supported the influence roll. Note that it cannot be one you used to resist the influence roll already. If you can convince the storyteller that this other intimacy would allow you to resist the influence action, you can spend a willpower to resist it.
These rules continue for the course of the game. Against the same initiator arguing the same point, the defender cannot invoke an intimacy to raise resolve that was already overcome.
If a request is completely antithetical to the nature of a character, it will automatically fail.
Influencing Multiple People at Once
Whenever an influence roll targets more than one character, it suffers a -3 penalty. Successes are compared against each target.
Written Social Actions
Must be used with linguistics, operate normally otherwise, with Storyteller determining how long they take to write.
Gestures and Body Language
Attempts solely to use these add +2 to target’s resolve.
If someone has been successfully persuaded, and you wish to persuade them against their new course of action;
- They gain +3 resolve that stacks with intimacy
- The initiator must spend a point of willpower before attempting to argue
- Decision points do not require willpower
Retrying Social Actions
For Instilling, Persuasion, Bargaining, and Threatening, one simple common sense rule applies: Try a different method, and try it harder.
Inspire: You must wait until the scene ends before retrying an inspire action.
You can do them! They’re considered combat actions.