From Edge of Darkness Wiki
Social Combat is a dice-based system for resolving disagreements, originally printed in Danse Macabre, p.127-.
Nerve (Health) Composure + Highest Social Skill
- +3 Character has the Edge
- +2 Target is character’s ghoul or thrall
- +1 to +5 Appropriate Social equipment
- brandishing a weapon for Intimidation
- offering a bribe for Persuasion
- giving a gift to seduce
- showing fake evidence to confirm a Subterfuge attempt, etc.
- +1 Target is “family” (within two Embrace “steps” of character)
- +1 Character wears convincing clothing
- a nice suit for a salesman
- a sexy haute couture outfit for a seducer
- a rough biker’s outfit for threats of ass-kicking
- “I want to seduce her.”
- “I want to subtly insult her social standing in front of everyone.”
- “I want to convince him that he’s worthless and leave him weeping blood.”
- “I want to threaten him so he’ll stop beating on his own thrall.”
- “I want to get her drunk and stupid.”
- “I want him to buy my fake Rolex watch for way too much money.”
- Roll one die, and add to character’s Presence + Manipulation score.
Social Attribute + Social Skill—target’s Guile +/—other modifiers
- A Social attack doesn’t necessitate spoken conversation. It can easily be conveyed in sly glances, lip-licking, cruel grins, or other gestures and expressions.
- That roll, then, might be Manipulation + Intimidation for the spoken threat, or Presence + Intimidation for the unspoken warning.
- The character with the highest number of successes during this turn of Social combat has “won” the round.
- All other participants lose a number of points from their Nerve equal to the successes gained by the winner of the scene.
- The winner gains that amount to her Nerve if she has room in her pool (her Nerve points may not exceed her maximum Nerve pool).
- On a tie, the win goes to the character with the highest Dominance Modifier (not the highest Dominance for the scene). If that still results in a tie, then nobody is considered to have won the round, and all Nerve points remain the same.
Social combat may continue for as long as any and all participants choose to be involved, though it ends for any participant who has lost all Nerve. Losing Nerve means losing the Social combat. Losing the Social combat means not only dealing with the ramifications of having no Nerve (see “The Nature of Nerve,” p. 137), but also succumbing to the intent of the attacker.
- Without the addition of Discipline use (more info on that can be found on p. 137), a character cannot be made to:
- Physically harm himself
- Physically harm another
- Do something entirely counter to his character (“I want him to burn his favorite book”)
- Do something entirely counter to his well-being (“I want to convince him to go up to the Prince and thumb that fucker right in the eye”)
- Perform an impossible action (“I want her to disappear”)
- When a character reaches zero Nerve, he feels as if he’s lost all self-confidence, as if any Social savvy once possessed is now lost, never to be reclaimed. A character will feel weak, unstable, and more like prey than predator. As a result, he suffers from the following:
- A full -5 penalty on all Social rolls
- A -3 penalty against any Resolve + Composure rolls made to resist frenzy or the effects of derangements.
The character ambushes a target in Social combat with an unexpected assault—the character must possess some means of actually surprising the target, of course, and the Storyteller will be the ultimately arbiter of whether or not this is possible.
- Cost: 1 Nerve
- If successful, then the target loses his Guile against the next Social attack.
Back the Play (Teamwork)
The character chooses to not make a play of her own, and instead decides to back up or bolster another character’s Social attacks. This works like a Teamwork effort. The character must make the same roll as the subject she’s attempting to bolster (if she’s backing up the efforts of another character making threats using Presence + Intimidation, she must submit to the same roll). Successes gained on the roll are added as dice to the subject’s subsequent roll (in this turn or the next, following order of Dominance).
- Cost: None
The character “holds” his attack for this turn, making no Social rolls (meaning, in effect, he’s contributing nothing to the conversation and conflict). He instead lets the conversation play out, ideally measuring what would be the best approach (i.e. thinking before speaking). By taking no action and measuring the situation, he gains +2 to his roll on the next turn of Social combat. This is cumulative; for each turn he holds his attack and weighs his options, he gains +2 (to a maximum of +5) dice.
- Cost: None
Salt the Earth
The idea here is that the character so completely befouls the conversation, it allows her to win this scene of Social combat but largely destroys the relationship held between the two characters. The attack should be in some way scathing or otherwise inflammatory—boldly tearing down the Prince’s policies and ruining his good night, revealing the target’s deepest and darkest secret for all to hear, or speaking an insult that cuts straight through the bone and might as well be a willow branch aimed right for the target’s unbeating heart. The character gains +5 to his attempt on this turn. In addition, if the character wins this turn, then the victim loses all Nerve and the character wins the entire Social combat scene. However, this has a drawback: the relationship is effectively poisoned. The character from now on suffers -5 to all subsequent Social rolls made against that target. This penalty needn’t be permanent, but the character will need to work overtime to mend fences. Losing those penalty dice could be the function of an entire story (reducing the penalty by one per game session where the character makes appropriate amends).
- Cost: 1 Nerve
Throw Up Walls (Dodge)
The vampire attempts to throw up Social walls and become effectively unflappable for the turn. The character may do nothing else during this turn of Social combat; she can’t say anything beyond a cursory few words (“Go away,” “Fuck off,” “Don’t have time”). She may double her Guile score for the remainder of the turn. She can declare that she’s going to use this Social maneuver at the beginning of the turn regardless of her Dominance, provided she hasn’t yet acted. Like with Guile, throwing up walls reduces by one per participant beyond the first.
- Cost: None
A character who wins a Social combat—or has all participants bow out of the conversation early, leaving that character the default victor—gains the Edge. The Edge means that the vampire can now exult in his predatory success. Currently the only benefit conferred by the Edge is the +1 modifier to subsequent social combat. All other usage is not allowed.