Have your players ever circled up an enemy?

As far as I can tell, there’s no Ob penalty to this, which made for a funny situation in-game.

The players have made an enemy of a former contact, Dorak, who is an advisor and now general of Keroon’s forces in the field. Dorak is angry and feeling betrayed as the players allied themselves with the invading Bloodlanders in an attempt to forestall a disastrous conflict between the two. (Souls of the deceased will merely go to the liche’s Tower of Silence, fueling his power.) They players managed to curry support from other Kerooni, however, and Dorak was marginalized.

The players now want Dorak to cough up some black powder, to blow up the Tower of Silence. They circle him up.

  1. As far as I can tell, there’s no specific penalty for circling up an enemy, and judging from the modifiers it was Ob 1! Dallin has the same social standing, Dorak is in the same camp, etc. This seems hilariously low to win a neutral hearing from your foe, but perhaps winning the audience isn’t problematic, it’s the convincing (see #2, below). Has anyone had this, players circling up an enemy?

  2. The ‘Enemy’ modifiers to Social tests and DoW apply (+4D to BoA) to anybody the GM feels is hostile to the players, correct? It’s not a specific penalty for positive-relationships turned enmity, correct?

  3. I’m embarassed to say I made a foolish mistake and considered the DoW penalty as symmetric - Dorak and the players are mutual enemies (Dorak recently tried to kill Dallin). I waived the penalty, on the basis that Dorak’s intent was aggressive and a compromise was likely to hurt. But I think the point here isn’t what’s realistic, it’s just to make enemies into much harder social challenges than friends or neutral parties, right?

  4. What happens if NPC enemies come to the players wanting something? Do they face the +4D penalty, does it not apply, or do they still get it as a bonus for feeling hateful (or, as I said earlier, just as a mechanical challenge booster)?

  1. Dorak’s disposition toward the PCs is already set. They can’t change it with a Circles roll. Success means they get him and have to deal with his feelings toward them. Failure gives you the opportunity to introduce a new enemy with the Enmity Clause. Remember that Enmity doesn’t necessarily mean that the person you were attempting to locate has enmity, it just gives you the opportunity to introduce someone with enmity, including an existing NPC with enmity. Anyway, this means there’s no particular need for an additional modifier for circling up an enemy.

  2. The modifier is especially for characters in a PC’s Enemy Circles.

  3. Yes.

  4. By its very nature, a Duel of Wits means both sides want something from the other. Otherwise it should be a test with the subject/victim’s Will as the obstacle.

Note, they CAN change Dorak’s disposition toward them with a Duel of Wits.

  1. Cool, good point.

  2. From my reading of the rules, it seems this designation isn’t a formal one. Enmity is a clear marker of ‘enemy’ status, but the Enemies to Friends, Friends to Enemies is very loose and seems to imply that I have a lot of latitude to say someone’s an enemy for the purposes of the social test/DoW penalty. Some examples:

a) Dorak - the players betrayed him, then humiliated him in a duel when he escalated to violence. I think that makes him an Enemy.

b) Galu, being extorted by the liche, ambush the players to prevent them from reaching the Tower of Silence. Siggar tries to talk them out of it - seems like not an Enemy to me.

c) The Keeper of Silence, guardian of the tower, not introduced by circles whatsoever. The players want to blow up her tower, she doesn’t want that. They try to talk her into coming outside where it will be safer for them to try to kill her with a bomb. Enemy?

  1. Cool.

  2. So enemies gain the +4D to DoW, regardless of the circumstances (e.g. they come begging for a temporary alliance)?