The Duel of Wits worksheet and the DoW chapter of BWG only list Suasion under Obfuscate and Rebuttal, but the description of the skill says it is a Persuasion skill for the clergy, with Persuasion capitalized.
Does this mean Suasion can be used wherever Persuasion is listed in the Duel of Wits? Is Suasion even useful against nonbelievers? (“Shun the nonbeliever… shhhuunnnn!”)
I’m unclear on whether a priest needs to spend general skill points on Persuasion or if Suasion suffices, essentially. Also, sorry, whenever I say nonbeliever I think of Charlie the Unicorn.
It is Persuasion for use by the clergy, not only for use on the clergy. That said, I think the description is left over from BWR and I’d treat it as the DoW chapter says during a DoW.
Of course, you must color your roleplaying correctly, and if you are unsubtle about that your GM can and should assign obstacle penalties. On the other hand, quite a lot of (for instance) Martin Luther King Jr’s speeches make heavy use of Suasion without being explicitly directed only at those of his religion. An even more extreme example would be the Dalai Lama: he makes a lot of moral arguments to people who aren’t even Buddhist. It’s quite possible to use Suasion while making an argument grounded in values or morality rather than theology.
Let’s give some examples.
A Catholic priest is talking to a devout Christian of a nonconfessing Protestant sect, about the latter’s sins.
a) He could make an argument very specifically about the Sacrament of Penance. This would be Suasion, but at a pretty heavy penalty because he’s hinging his argument on details of his own faith that his audience does not share.
b) He could make an argument on more general Christian terms about the nature of sin, the need to repent and to seek God’s forgiveness, and the certainty of receiving that mercy. This would be Suasion, with no penalty: he’s making a moral argument about souls, and making it on common ground shared by his audience.
A pastor of a Christian sect is speaking to a mixed audience of non-churchgoing believers, agnostics, and atheists (but picture typical Americans, so they know Christian values and probably mostly respect the higher aspirations of the faith), trying to talk them down from violence.
a) She could make an appeal to Scripture. Suasion, but at a penalty.
b) She could make an appeal to mercy and compassion. Suasion, no penalty.
c) She could talk about how they’re all on camera and the cops are coming. A very good point, but she’d need something besides Suasion to make it with.
Forgive me for being unclear; I did understandd that it was for use by the clergy, not simply among the clergy. My wording made that opaque.
It still seems strange to me that a skill with the Obstacle of the target’s Will that is used to persuade cannot be used to make a Point in a one-on-one Duel of Wits.
That said, I don’t understand why Rebuttal and Point don’t have the same skill list, either. Rebuttal has all the skills listed that Point does but adds Extortion and Suasion. If it can be used to refute a point and make a counter-argument, shouldn’t it be able to be used for the argument itself?
Excellent examples, by the way. I never really thought about the Dalai Llama and MLK Jr’s speeches being instances of Suasion, but it encapsulates them nicely.
Edit: Reading through the skills you get as you ascend through the Religious subsetting, this may be a way of intentionally making priests good at dealing with groups of people (they get Oratory) while not as skilled at dealing with individuals when not performing specific rites or explaining the faith (with Ritual and Doctrine, respectively). I’d still like confirmation that Suasion on the Duel of Wits worksheet is working as intended, though.
In the case of any questions, use the action descriptions for Duel of Wits as described in the book.