Friday, May 30, 2014

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Risus leads the pack in abstract and wonderful combat rules. Any situation can be considered combat. You get to say what happens to your defeated opponent. Of course beheading a person you just beat at checkers is still considered low class. In Risus combat can take a social or intellectual form. You can blow everyone away when you and your entourage make an entrance at the club or win a reasoned debate. What about losing?

After all a person who loses a physical conflict is likely to have some injuries that will take time to heal. Why should characters who go for social and intellectual aspects get away light? In most games a person who creates the smart or charismatic character expects someone else to do the major share of the fighting.

My modest suggestion is losing a debate, say will have repercussions. Not only do you lose but your line of reasoning is discredited. This is not to say you're wrong. Anyone can roll all ones. But other people will doubt your reasoning. This is a great story hook. How many mad scientists got their start when those fools laughed them out of University? It can lead to reduced employment options ('No one will work with me. They think I'm mad!') Others who shared your theories may even find themselves unpopular and pass that ill will onto you. Being locked up as a lunatic is another option. A person might find his intellect based cliches are given higher task numbers than normal due to self-doubt until he wins a debate.

Loss of social stye combat can be worrisome. You may have to operate at a lower social standing than normal. Your one time friends and allies may be more reluctant to help out. That trendy club you like might not admit you (which is annoying when your contact is inside.) More troubling, you fashion model character could discover he no longer sets fashion but must return to following it (check out the film Zoolander for a hilarious treatment of social combat between models called a 'runway-off.')

Classic Traveller doesn't really have a mechanic for social or intellectual combat. A basic rule could be to throw 8+ to hit DM +1 the relevant stat being 9+ and any skills that might be appropriate. Carousing, Admin and Liaison for social combat seem to work. Intellect based combat would use the technical skill relevant to the debate. Successful hits reduce the opponent's Intelligence, Education or Social Standing by 1d6 (or 2d6 in an intense situation.) Having one characteristic reduced to zero means you lost the combat and shut up or leave at the very least. Having two characteristics reduced to zero means you shut up or leave at the winner's discretion. Having all three reduced to zero means you will comply with a simple request and then leave. You regain these stats after one hour if one characteristic was zeroed, in a day if two were zeroed and in three days if all three were zeroed. Until they are regained the characteristics are at a value halfway between the normal and wounded value. Optionally winning such a contest or some other affirming activity like an intervention or pub crawl can restore you.