Advantages / Disadvantages in Duel of Wits

So I read the BWG version of DoW last night and I was surprised not to see mention made of advantages or disadvantages in Duel of Wits. Do you think they would operate as in the Fight! mechanics?

For instance, if you are presenting your case to the Court and the PC’s have uncovered compelling evidence do they get a +1D (or maybe even +2D) to one of their Points?

What about disadvantages? I have a player who is a foreigner from a distrusted nation. When he is trying to make arguments, I think he should suffer a penalty to this. Should all of his DoW roles be at a +1 Ob?

Absolutely! Use this thread to work up a list.

I’m a fan of doing this kind of thing in both the initial BoA roll (that would be where the macro conditions you mention come in) and in each test, where I judge FoRKs, advantage, and disadvantage based on what was scripted and how the player narrated it. It makes DoW deliciously strategic and less mechanical. I loves it.

I’m a fan of DOW opponent conceding an advantage die to someone that does a good job of leveraging that opponent’s BITs in what they say. You want to get your Artha/promotion? This is something that is expected of you.

Don’t forget that, in cases where the person being convinced isn’t one of the participants, advantage dice for leveraging his or her BITs is just as reasonable as your opponent’s BITS.

Having a ‘court’ should make a difference, I suspect that’s half the point of such a place: to impress, intimidate and subtly alienate outsiders and supplicants with its splendor, obscure etiquette, and a hand-picked audience looking for any excuse to curry favor with the patron.

(In fact, outside of DoW, makes me think that Etiquette backed up by a court, or other symbols of office, could serve as a sort of specialized Intimidate.)

Also, reputations and popularity with the audience. An audience that has a lot to gain from one party winning should provide a considerable advantage, at least at the outset.

Well run SCA courts certainly do have a mild intimidate/impress factor.

SCA herald - PE - speaking from experience as both a baronial and principality court herald

Badly run ones can be simply boring. More than anyone, the coronet and the primary herald determine jointly the tone and success of a court. Even I can’t make certain people’s courts impressive - they lacked the presence to be so at the time - so instead one goes for efficient and glamorous. Have the chamber dress him pretty, and get it over with in direct manner. (Prince-consort. Nice guy, still working on being impressive. And getting there now that he’s an adult. It was great fun showing up as a substitute teacher at his high school and bumping into him and reflexively saying “Good morning, your highness!”) His Princess-Sovereign WAS impressive. Her Courts were gorgeous, impressive, and efficient - she new how to impress, and left efficient up to the heralds, and let the chamber dress her and her consort in exquisite garments.

Sounds like several linked tests to me: Heraldry for the herald to get it all right, Clothing-Wise by someone (usually the chamber staff) to dress them well, court-wise or conspicuous by the officers to be suitably imposing, and intimidation or conspicuous by the coronet the court belongs to… and on exceeding the target’s will, a steel test…

I like the idea of leveraging BITS but in order to do so effectively the player would need access to Aura Reading, correct?

No, just have a GM or opponent who’s been playing them.

My players leveraged the beliefs of my NPC Count Paris of Verona last sunday in a DOW… his dislike of the feuding parties of Montague and Capulet (yes, they’re crossing through the aftermath of Romeo and Juliet…) and his inherent distrust of courtiers.

BITs are secret, though, unless you have Aura Reading… Otherwise what’s the point of it?

Yes, true that. My point, and maybe it is slightly off the text as written, is I consider it the player’s choice as to whether or not their BIT should count against them. To bring it tighter to the BWG rules, it is highly advisable that the GM take huge consideration in the opinion of the player of the character with the pertinent BITs when it has a direct negative impact on that player. I believe that is in the spirit of the player having the choice to ignore/deny [their own character’s] BIs and character Traits in other situations.

BITs are not secret. Nothing is secret, save for what the GM has up his sleeve for a Deeds point somewhere down the line. You are as allowed to hammer away at a fellow player’s BITs as the GM is. You know that your player has an Instinct to draw his knife when surprised? Grab his ass when he’s greeting the princess - that’s good play! Same with a Duel of Wits. If you know that there are definitely things your character shouldn’t know, then maybe stay away from them, but otherwise feel free to use the other player’s BITs as fertile ground for your Points and Rebuttals.

Well this thread took a turn I didn’t expect.
Personally, I think advantage dice for calling out a Belief is counter to the spirit of the game.

I was think thinking of things more along the lines of:
+1D for evidence of a crime.
+1 Ob for being out of fashion
+2 Ob for being a filthy, bloody mess.

Oh, right, lists. Let’s see:

+1D for having leverage over your audience (e.g. you know the judge has a mistress)
+1-3D if you have a reputation or affiliation that is of benefit (e.g. you’re the Hero of Canton and trying to convince the mudders to rise up)
+1-3 Ob if you have a reputation or affiliation that’s working against you (e.g. you’re the Hero of Canton trying to get the magistrate to let the mudders go)
+1 Ob for discourtesy (e.g. bringing a weapon into court)
+1D/+1 Ob when arguing with someone of a different station or social status (e.g. a soldier arguing about your orders with the Captain of the Guard? +1 Ob)

Agreed, Luke. This BITs stuff is confusing me.

Zelbinian, the Aura Reading skill is specifically designed to allow your character to view the BITs of others. If BITs are not secret then what is the point of this (I think very nifty) skill?

The BITS aren’t secret from the Players, but the players need to keep the limits of character knowledge in mind. If your character has no idea that the Duke has a mistress, pointing out that the chamberlain has threatened her is bad roleplay, and gets the +1 Ob for bad RP. If you knew about her, then it’s good RP, for the +1D for good RP.

Aura Reading gives you an excuse for your character to know the bits that you as a player already know. (In running BE, we found it convenient to copy down the bits we had learned about from the other characters.)

I would put having useful knowledge of BITs in the same category as having useful evidence. You’ve got something persuasive up your sleeve, objective or not. If you know the magistrate is racist and keep hammering at your opponent’s ties to the Dwarves, +1D seems reasonable to me. I’m much more willing to give that advantage die to arguments where the opponent or audience is an NPC, though. Players get to decide whether their characters are convinced by something that’s actually good debate practice.

Ok, I get that, but folks here were talking about leveraging BITs as if you could just DO that in a weird metagame way. At least, that’s the impression I got. So, yeah, either the NPC has to make his Beliefs very obvious or Aura Reading is involved.

More than one character can Help the primary orator, correct? I wonder if there should be a limit to that. At what point does it look like “ganging up” and actually does more harm than good?

The reason I ask is because I’m pretty sure my PCs will find themselves in a DoW next game and neither of them have a useful skill. Nor do their companions! Their only real chance is to Help the hell out of each other – but I’m not sure four people (none of whom are particularly trusted) shouting at one man will win anybody’s heart or mind!

You can’t get Help if you or they lack the skill. You can get linked test advantage dice, but that seems outside the scope of DoW for me. Encourage them to do every skill they can… to earn those routine tests vs Ob 0.

Let the key guns be mounted, make a brave show of waging war, and pry off the lid of Pandora’s Box once more. - Amy Lowell

I see the bar very high on Belief, really in practice it is more “if you hit this bar, I’m likely just going to concede the whole DoW instead”. So I don’t think we are far off there. I see Instincts as a slightly lower bar but similar situation. Character Traits is where the real action is, I think, in piping up to say “yeah, you’ve really got inside my character’s head with that, at the heart of their character, it deserves a +1D”. It fits better with the promotion cycle, too.