So, tomorrow half my group comes over for our first test of the conflict system in the Dresden Files RPG. It’s very similar to the Spirit of the Century system, but with a couple of tweaks to add a little detail (like weapons and armor) and scale up the grit a bit. It looks like DFRPG conflict is going to be a little nastier than SotC, more of a noire feel than a pulp one.
Both systems allow for different types of conflict. There’s the common physical conflict system (i.e. combat), of course. But they also allow conflict in the mental and social arenas. So yeah, your character can lose an argument by using the mechanics. Or get embarrassed in public. Stuff like that. There are rules for your confidence and your reputation taking a hit and affecting you throughout the game. Or longer. Man, I love the Aspect system in this game. That’s where this kind of flexibility comes from.
Anyway, these tests aren’t going to be a full-on game, just a stress test of the system. I’m coming up with one of each type of conflict, and we’re going to play through it, and see how it goes. Postmortem on the play, then maybe run them again to see if different choices in play make a big difference in the outcome or if the stats and skills on the character sheets determine winner. Depends on how much time we have.
All this means that, today, I’m trying to come up with one of each type of conflict to play through, based on the Magical Winnipeg setting and the characters we’ve created. The physical one is easy: I figure a bunch of Mad Cowz led by a hyena lycanthrope. I’m struggling a little with the mental and social conflicts, though. I’ve got a number of options, and I’m trying to work out which ones will work best for a group. Here’s what I’m toying with:
- Arguing a case before the Council of Ghosts in the Vaughn Street Jail.
- Out-thinking the Corn King spirit manipulating a corn maze on Hallowe’en and finding the way through to the centre.
- A riddle contest with trickster faeries.
- Persuading Operation Clean Sweep to hold back from a raid on a Manitoba Warriors club house until the Warriors take down a Mad Cowz shaman.
- Negotiating a cease-fire between the Indian Posse and the Deuce.
- Persuading a group of Gimli Einharjar to stop trashing a bar and go home.
- Convincing the Spirit of Two Waters not to grant a boon to a necromancer.
- Revealing a White Court Pentecostal preacher to his congregation as the emotion-sucking vampire he is.
Now, all these things are doable with the system (and how great is that?), but some are going to be more interesting than others. I’ve got to put together encounters where everyone has a chance to contribute, and not everything hinges on a single roll, or a single skill. While things like that might work in a normal game, it doesn’t fairly test the system, which is the point of all this. So, I’m thinking.
I’ll let you know what I come up with, and how people handle it.