Conviction

This is only the germ of an idea at this point but I’m quite pleased with it as ideas go. I doubt I’m the first to come up with something like this but I haven’t seen it proposed by anyone elsewhere.

It’s an attempt to outline mechanics that could be used to integrate combat and social skills in roleplay through the introduction of a new character resource/currency called conviction. This represents a character’s innate determination and would be spent to follow through with actions where the declared intent was challenged.

For example:

Let’s say I’m a fighter and I want to kill a diplomat. I raise my sword to finish him.

“Wait!” cries the diplomat, desperately thinking of something to say that will stay my hand. “Please don’t kill me… I have a wife… and children!”

My conviction to carry out this deed has now been challenged.

The diplomat rolls his oratory skill to see how convincing an argument he can make and does rather well, raising the stakes/cost of this action.

Now I have to ask myself, am I prepared to spend conviction to go through with it. If I pay the conviction cost, then no sweat I can simply run him through, but I’ll have less in my conviction pool to support future actions (future actions that may be of greater importance to me). Just how badly do I really want him dead?

Oh all right then. I’ll spare him

This could also be used in conflicts that are only either social or combat.

In social conflicts it would measure how firmly you stick to your argument in the face of a convincing counter-argument. A decision not to meet the cost meaning you concede the point.

In combat it would measure how determined you were to continue in the face of mounting damage, superior opposition and growing fear for one’s life. A decision not to meet the cost meaning retreat or surrender.

I would envisage conviction working in tandem with character beliefs (i.e. cost reductions for actions in line with a character’s strongly held beliefs, cost increases for going against them) but I haven’t really thought any of this through yet. I also need to think about conviction pool size and rules for replenishment.

Obviously it’s only a rough concept at present and still needs a lot of work but does anyone out there have any thoughts on it? What do you reckon? Any comments or suggestions are most welcome.

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2 thoughts on “Conviction

  1. Tommi

    One potential method of recovery: When conceding on something you get back points.
    This can be fine-tuned in several ways. For example, by conceding to something that you believe in strongly, you might get fewer points (to discourage character change and promote consistency in roleplay), or more points (to promote character change). Or maybe a mix: Normally few points but a large heap if and only if you actually change that belief.

    I would also let players get instant emergency conviction at significant price. But I am big on character ownership right now.

    Reply
  2. Tumac Post author

    Hi Tommi, thanks for your comments. Much appreciated.

    Interesting I hadn’t thought of giving conviction back on conceding a conflict (it kind of seems counter-intuitive to me) but now you’ve suggested it I can see how it might work.

    And I do very much take your point on character ownership. Getting the balance right is one of my concerns. However I have been starting to feel that in order to bring in social play mechanics there will have to be some compromise in this regard. I don’t want to dictate player actions but I’d like players to maybe have to struggle against their character’s inner-demons somewhat. It’s a very difficult balance to strike.

    Reply

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