Duel of Wits/Persuasion Beginners Questions

(Zelbinian) #9

I mean, if both sides agreed to those terms, then those are fine. I guess the right thing to do is to make sure that the players understand that, with those terms set, should the guy without The Sword win, he’s made a convincing enough argument that the one with The Sword is willing to give it up. The compromise is the real crux. Generally the defender will get some sort of concession. “Ok, you’re right, the Sword is rightly yours, Ssisz, but you only get it once you lead us back out.”

Honestly, if my character had The Sword, I’d probably just stab the dude that tried talking it out of my hands and then ask who was next.

(Kublai) #10

And tell him the character doesn’t exist and that the squelcher is indeed cheating.

It’s like engaging in Fight!, getting mortally wounded, and claiming, “No, my character wouldn’t get hurt like that.” Or failing a Steel test and saying, “No, my character wouldn’t be afraid.”

DoW is a conflict resolution system just like any other in BW. The player has to abide by the results or he is cheating, like in the bad use of the word.

The only way to get out of the results is to Escalate to Violence and kill the winner. But even, then, if a crowd is witness, that won’t get you out of the agreement!

(noclue) #11

You don’t have to use the word convince in the stakes, by the way. “if I win, you give me the sword” is usually better than “if I win, I convince you to give me the sword.” It avoids the misperception that the loser is forced to agree to anything and focuses on what happens. It Leaves the why for the players to figure out.

(SentientAfro) #12

That’s what I thought. I think my group is still stuck in the Pathfinder mindset, where combat is all mechanics and roleplaying isn’t.

(noclue) #13

It’s a hard thing to get used to. I’ve had my character convinced of all sorts of things in a DoW, but I’ve learned to always think it through and consider an ending where I’ve lost completely and utterly. If I can live with that result, I grab a scripting sheet. If I can’t see how my guy would go there, I try to hone the stakes more or (rarely) refuse the duel.

(yeloson) #14

Yep to the advice in this thread.

  1. Is this open for debate for your character? Could they be convinced in any way about this?
    (Deeper thought: in what ways is your character open to doing things that aren’t in their best interest? It makes good stories, such as most of Shakespeare’s stories…)

  2. No? Then there can be no argument. Better wrestle, fight, or sneak it away from them later.

  3. Yes? Do you want something in return? If not then it’s a Social roll vs. Will. (“No, I just want to keep the Sword, you got nothing I really want.”) If so, then it’s a DoW. (“I want to keep the Sword, and we paid you so you better show us the way back out.”)

Most of the time, unless you’re explicitly aiming to impress someone, a social roll doesn’t have to make anyone LIKE the fact they just got hustled out of (or into) something. Think of family who gets on your nerves, but you keep helping out.

But either way, once the dice get rolled, that’s what happens. Those are the consequences. If someone’s asking something ridiculous, you say, “No, not going to test on that”. Savvy players will start figuring out sometimes the key is to ask for things more reasonable, or even things the person will agree with without a test. “Let me use the Sword to protect you from the Elf”… thing is, the other player knows if that’s your stake, you WILL have to abide by it, so… then it becomes a game of measuring your odds.

A fun thing to do for characters you build is give them an Instinct to Always trust… or Never trust… a specific PC, or a type of person. “Always listen to the Councilor’s advice”, etc. It’s a great way to tell the GM exactly how you’d like to get into trouble AND mine a lot of Artha in the process.


(SentientAfro) #15

That really puts things into a clear scope. Thanks!

And thanks to everyone else for the advice as well!

(Wrathbone) #16

Just to reiterate what Noclue said, when in doubt, always make the stakes about what the characters will do, not what they believe. I win, you do x; you win, I’ll do y.

That being said, I like social tests that aim to mold others’ beliefs. If a missionary can use Suasion to make you believe in God, then a layman can use [per]suasion to make you believe in his right to rule. The important thing is that the players agree to the stakes because the results are fun and lead to interesting play.

You can even ask yourself at the start of every social conflict, is this A) a test where I want others to take an action on my behalf or B) a deeper situation where I’m trying to really get into someone’s head and convince them of a new way of thinking about the world.

(Storapan) #17

One important thing that I think got a bit lost in the discussion - although a few people touched on it - is that there is a very bad basis for a Duel of Wits in this specific situation if one player actually HAS the sword. A Duel of Wits where the stakes or “I win, I get it, you win, you get it” seems more rooted in a situation where noone actually has the sword yet, or at least hasn’t claimed it. It’s a debate on who deserves it most.

If someone already has the sword (at least from my perspective), then for one he/she is really in control of if there will be a Duel of Wits at all, for starters, but also in control of the stakes. He could agree to the Duel of Wits just to settle the matter - “OK, we’ll debate who has the best claim to the sword, but then that’s that”. He could also up the ante and say “fine, we’ll debate this, but if I win you agree to help me escape this dungeon safely”, thus gaining an ally against any other claimants.

(Jeremiah Frye) #18

Also a DoW where the stakes are 1: I get the sword, 2: No, I get the sword is usually pretty weak sauce and generally better handled by a vs roll. DoWs shine much more when the statements of purpose aren’t at direct odds – it makes the nearly-inevitable compromise so much better.

(SentientAfro) #19

One last question, one of my players is telling me that Duel of Wits can only work when there is a third party. Is this true?

(Luke Wheel) #20

Also not true. It’s a bit meta, but consider the characters as part of the audience as well as participants in the duel.

(Wayfarer) #21

The real problem with the DoW as presented is that the guy with the sword has no reason to due. If somehow the question ended up being debated in front of a court of nobles, or even a bunch of guys with swords and the ability to enforce the will of whoever is more convincing, maybe it’s good. But alone in a dungeon? The guy with the sword has no reason to argue? Here’s how it goes:

“I think you should give me the sword.”
“Cute. I think you should shut up.”

And that’s it. Any argument requires two participants, and both participants need a reason to participate. The stakes here range from complete reversal of fortunes to status quo; the best case scenario for the guy with the sword is no change. He’d be a fool to debate unless he has pressing reasons (like beliefs, or instincts) to do so.

Rolling persuasion against a PC is usually worse. If it’s important enough that the PCs are arguing, it probably should be a DoW so there can be a compromise. If not, or if any compromise is impossible, one of the PCs is just going to say, “No,” and walk off. Always remember that your choices when faced with a duel of wits are to ante up or walk away.

(noclue) #22

I don’t see that as a problem.

(yeloson) #23

This would be a) why most people don’t go away from civilization with people they don’t trust (well, actually, most people don’t go alone into dark alleys with skeevy people, much less dungeons…) and b) why things like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are all about having something as insurance you can hold over someone else - an item, a hostage, information or a unique skill. “You NEED me!”

That said, if you’ve got nothing, and aren’t able to get physical (or run away) consider the value of Begging or Inconspicuous (“Forget it. You’re not worth killing. When you get back, I’ll be in charge of the city, and everyone will see you for what you are - a pathetic fool.”).


(noclue) #24

Sometimes someone has no reason to argue and you’re just shit out of luck.

Sometimes someone has no reason to argue and they find themselves getting into an argument anyway.

(Colin Booth) #25

The way I got past this stumbling block is by remembering that the person who wants to enter the dual needs some way to get the other person interested. By hooking a belief or putting something out there that the other person wants you can shift it from a straight Persuasion at Will Ob. to a DoW.

“I think you should give me the sword.”
“Cute. I think you should shut up.”
“All right, I guess I won’t tell you what I heard about your father…”

That said, it’s on the part of the person who wants to get the sword to bait the belief and to put something on the line for it. That then changes the possible outcomes from “Keep the Sword and forward my belief” to “Lose the sword.”

Depending on when/how the stonewalling happens there is always the chance that the person walking away from the DoW is just being obstructonist in which case they may be playing the wrong game.

(Kublai) #26

The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are perfect examples of characters with excellent Beliefs and why no one ever says “shut up.”

But if there are no Beliefs to hit, “shut up” is actually a viable answer.

(noclue) #27

If there are no beliefs to hit…play better!

Too snarky? :wink:

(Michael Maleficum) #28

Cash dice! Everybody likes money! :wink:

(I’m pretty sure a savvy player could entice another with something cool, on personal, meta and ‘character’ level.)

Remeber that there’s a trait vote coming, beeing perceived as a social coward, a dreg, a blocker or just anti-social or even unfriendly can leave one with undesireable traits. :wink: