DoW action: Make Consession + Bloody Debate

We have simple Vs tests for both martial and social combat, complex conflict systems for martial and social combat, and we have Bloody Vs. Why not Bloody Debate?

Both sides declare intent and dueling skill. Either can walk away. Split dueling skill into two pools, attack and defense. Make your case, and roll the dice. Defense successes are subtracted from offense successes. He who has the most successes at the end wins. If his opponent has just one or two fewer, Major compromise. If his opponent has half his successes, Compromise. If only one or two, minor compromise. Any reason this wouldn’t work?

Also, I’ve been toying with the idea of some kind of verbal judo maneuver, where one character makes a consession to the other’s demands in DoW, and in doing so, makes the other look bad. Something like, sacrifice a point of disposition, and if your opponent Incites or Dismisses, they hesitate on their next action. Or maybe, apply your opponent’s successes from a point, dismiss, or rebuttal to BOTH player’s disposition. Something like that. Thoughts?

For your Bloody Debate, there is really no separate effect for the second roll, I don’t see why I wouldn’t put all my dice into offense. If I roll more defense successes that the other guy’s offense successes, I lose those successes.If we do split our dice, in the end, you are comparing my successes against your successes, with the complication that excess defense successes go away. You are comparing Min(my offense - your defense, 0) vs Min(your offense - my defense, 0). If we take out the Min(0) bit, it’s MyO - YouD vs YouO - MyD which is the same as MyO + MyD vs YouO + YouD which is the same as MySkill vs YourSkill.

Make Concession doesn’t seem like it would work with your second option, if I am poorly matched against you, it becomes a guaranteed way of scoring points against you.


I disagree. By spending points on defense, you reduce the probability that your opponent will get successes through, decreasing the chance of a compromise, at the cost of decreasing your punching power. It changes the ratio. 5S vs 7S is different than 2S vs 4S, even though the margin is the same. The alternative would be to set specific Obs… different levels of success mean different amounts of your agenda get through, and you put up blocks against your opponent’s agenda. Or something. I’m not sure exactly how it should work. I just feel like there should be some level between a straight up vs test and DoW, where both Compromise is possible, much like in Bloody Vs, where both people can walk away with wounds.

I haven’t figured out exactly how it would work, but yes, the second idea is that it is a garunteed way of scoring points, at the cost of making it virtually certain that you’ll lose the argument. I suppose it could be modeled by just going Point Point Point. But I feel like deliberately giving up points might be an idea. Maybe you can burn points of your own disposition for extra dice? I don’t know.

Bloody Versus works because there is an injury subsystem. Without an analogous system, I think a Talky Versus would lack punch. However, with something in place I could see it working fairly well.

Concession sounds neat, but I think what might be really helpful for clarifying it and getting discussion going on it is some examples from other media that it would model better than the current options. I’m not really that concerned about having a move that’s quite useful for the underdog, as it simply means that you need to have a move that is particularly effective against it. That way everyone knows the temptation is there but there is also a counter. The question in scripting would then be, “Am I going to do enough damage to his BoA in the first two exchanges that he’ll script that just in case, and should I counter it?” Pick something that the leader wouldn’t normally use as the best defence (Avoid the Topic seems good here, and also sensible given what it is) and let Obfuscate work normally or even somewhat more efficiently against it (again, not a great move for the leader, so it is fine to let Obfuscate potentially drown it out).

Alternatively you could allow Dismiss to let you buy bonus dice for burning BoA. In essence you make one blazing attempt to shove the conversation to where you can tolerate it being and close it there. The ratio of dice from BoA to roll would control the tone and use of the option. One to one is pure spite. One BoA to two bonus dice is ‘even’ and can really swing things, but makes it somewhat appealing to those who have a strong starting advantage. Anything better than that makes it absurdly beneficial to the leader, especially if it is an initial lead.

Bloody Debate
I was thinking the compromise mechanics would take the place of the injury system. But taking it to it’s logical conclusion, you roll against your opponent’s defensive roll. Whoever rolls the most successes on the attack roll gets his intent. For the loser, matching or exceeding the defensive roll by 1 get a minor compromise. Success by 2 or 3 means you get a major compromise, half of what you want… Success by 4 or 5 means you get a major compromise, all of what you want. Just like incidental, mark, and superb hits. Alternately, you could base it off of the target’s Will - sucesses up to half the target’s will give a minor, from half to will give a moderate, and anything higher than the target’s will gives a major compromise. I just want to get away from the all or nothing nature of social vs tests between PCs.

I’m only thinking Concession would be strong against really aggressive maneuvers, a way to pull the rug out from under your opponent and change the terms of the debate. When the Diplomat screaming ‘We Will Bury You’ is met with “Ok, we’ll pull our troops back. Ok? No need to get so worked up.” “Wait… you will?” Or even “Sure, fine, I’ll do that, but you need to give me something too.”

Or it could be used to power non damaging abilities. When the General in A Few Good Men incriminates himself to shock the courtroom into silence with one final incite, that could be a concession. An admission of culpability that is used to distract or stun.

I suppose you could argue that the entire DoW system is trying to model that kind of interaction, but I feel like it falls down a bit when you try to actually negotiate between two parties who are willing to give ground to inflict consequences on their opponents. “Yes, I understand your concerns and they are valid, but…” By saying that your opponent has a point, you give up ground in order to inflict more damage. A conversational tactical withdraw.

That being said, I’ve modeled this in the past with Point Point Point, ignoring whatever my opponent does to my disposition to ensure that his goes down as quickly as possible. I just think, from a game perspective, Disposition could be a resource that is spent as well as lost.

I’ve seen a very elegant handling of this, actually.

Step 1: each side tests the appropriate skill.
Step 2: the side with the most successes wins the debate, and those successes constitute their initial Body of Argument.
Step 3: each success of the losing side removes one point of the winner’s Body of Argument; exact a Compromise according to the amount of BoA lost.

So let’s say both sides roll, I get 3 successes and they get 5. Their BoA is 5, but reduced by 3…and at that point, we’re looking at a pretty hefty compromise, even if they won.

Wish I could remember who proposed this, because I think it’s brilliant.

Thank you. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I’m one of the ones.

That IS elegant! I like that a lot. Way less work.

Way cool!

I would give advantage dice to the person with the greater Will, and for certain Traits. Scheming springs to mind.

Well, there are traits that do this in DoW

That sounds like a really cool idea.