Switch Conflicts

Looks like I’m up to it again, another conflict hack. It’s just so much fun to take things apart, see how they work, and put them together again a little differently! At least this one seems to be a little more light weight :slight_smile:


Situations seem to come up where nobody at the table is happy with the conflict that is currently being played out, not because they are losing, but because the nature of the conflict no longer matches their goals. This can be particularly true if a conflict drags on. Maybe you’re in an argument and your opponent says something truly heinous. You don’t want to win the argument anymore, you want to stick a sword in his neck, but you can’t. You could surrender the argument and start a kill conflict, but by surrendering the argument you agree to the jerk’s terms which may prohibit drawing swords. Or maybe you start a kill conflict, and halfway through realize that your motives were misguided, and what you really want to do is capture your adversary or just convince him to see reason. While he may not agree with the sentiment now that blood has been drawn, maybe there’s a chance, maybe it even makes sense for the narrative.


When to switch: Between rounds, before choosing weapons, the players can describe if their objective or overall strategy has changed, or they can describe an attempt to change the type of conflict. Based on their description the GM can decide to initiate a conflict switch and may decide what the new conflict type is appropriate, or the GM may describe how their attempt to change the flow of the conflict is thwarted and continue with the conflict as is. The new conflict type must be acceptable to the GM, the players, and the narrative. If no consensus can be reached, the conflict continues as it was.

Knocked out: Any players that were knocked out remain so and cannot help with the new disposition roll.

Roll disposition: Roll disposition for the new conflict as normal and divide it between all participants, even the participants that are knocked out. This is the new maximum disposition for each character going forward. For each character that was knocked out, their current disposition is 0 whether their new maximum is higher, lower, or the same. For each character still in the fight, subtract any damage they already had from their new maximum disposition. This is their current disposition.

Carry on with the new conflict type as if you were in the middle of it. Switching conflicts does not take an extra turn as it’s all still part of the same action.

Killing is still my business: If the conflict switches from a Kill conflict to any other type of conflict, death is still on the line. If the players turn tail and flee during a tough fight, failure to flee means death. If they throw down their swords and attempt one last desperate plee for their lives, they will be murdered if they fail. The GM has no obligation to allow players to switch out of a kill conflict once it has begun, but if he is so generous and thinks it fits the narrative, he may do so and invoke this rule to ensure there is no easy reprieve for the players.

Huh. Interesting notion. As a nitpick: I’d suggest that you have everyone switch up how you track disposition loss. Have them write their max disposition (after distribution), then have them track damage taken. When they reroll disposition, they just keep the damage they’ve taken, and don’t have to recalculate anything. You’re incapacitated when your damage equals your max disposition.

(For instance, let’s say we have three players. A has 3 Health, B has 3 Health, C has 4 Health. During the course of the fight, A takes 2 damage and C takes 1 damage. You reroll disposition, and keep damage. Now A has 4 Health, B has 3 Health, and C has 3 Health. They keep the same damage totals.)

I’m wondering how this squares away with gaming the system. Could you use this to effectively game a reroll in a conflict?

I thought of that, keeping damage on a per character basis. But then some characters might be revived by a conflict switch if the new total is higher. No good. You could throw away any extra disposition that goes to someone knocked out, I suppose. Hmm… actually that might be cleaner.

I guess the important thing is that like starting conflicts in the first place, it’s not up to the players. Players describe to live, but the GM determines the mechanics to employ. So the players can’t “game the system” because they aren’t playing that game. They don’t pick the conflict, they just say what they are trying to accomplish and the GM decides if that means a conflict switch or if their goal is even achievable given the circumstances. I’ll make that more explicit in the OP. And obviously the GM is just being silly if he lets them switch from a Drive-Off conflict to a more different Drive-Off conflict just to reroll their disposition.