When a contest is required to resolve a situation, the following sequence of events is followed:

1) The player initiating the challenge announces the nature of the test, and his 'acting level'. The 'acting level' is usually the total of an appropriate attribute and ability, but can be announced as lower than the true value, i.e. the challenger can withhold some of his/her total.
E.g: "Challenge: I'm trying to intimidate you by smashing this table, Strength plus Intimidate at 7"

2) The defender can either yield to the challenger, or announce a 'defending value'. Again, this is normally the total of an appropriate Attribute and Ability, but the defender can also choose to withhold some of the total. Willpower is another common defending value (versus Dominate, Presence, etc.). Note that the defender has the advantage of knowing the challengers total before declaring his/her own.
E.g. "I'm not so easily intimidated, Willpower at 6".

At this point, the players are encouraged just to roleplay on the basis of the declared numbers. But if a definitive test is required, we proceed to step three.

3) The challenge is resolved on the basis of the declared numbers using the +contest command. +contest works something like this..

+contest 8 vs 6
Challenger total is 8, defender total is 6… Challenger wins.

A win for the challenger means the challenge was successfully completed as the challenger specified (Eg, in the example above, the defender was intimidated, and will back down), a tie means that the challenge was not successfully completed (but in some cases another attempt may be allowed), while a win for the defender means that some advantage accrues to the defender (Eg, in the case above, the defender might retain composure enough to unnerve the challenger).

Which Attributes and Abilities do we use to contest?

Which attribute and ability you use is generally up to you, as long as its appropriate to the method you're choosing.

For example, to persuade someone to stand aside and let you pass you might try:
Strength+Intimidate - to push them aside, intimidating them with strength.
Charisma+Leadership - ordering them aside.

If your opponent doesn't agree your choice of Attribute and Ability are appropriate, briefly discuss what statistics to use. If no agreement can be reached, you may ask someone to arbitrate.

Some examples:

Michael is trying to sneak past George without being seen. George isn't paying much attention. Michael roleplays starting to sneak past, then announces (via page, not ICly) "Challenge: I'm trying to sneak past you. Dex plus Stealth at 6". George responds, "Perception plus Alertness at 5". George decides he wants to go to a +contest. Michael wins the test, and George doesn't notice him sneaking past. If George had won, he would have spotted Michael. If there had been a tie, Michael didn't get past, but didn't get spotted.

Michael is trying to sneak back past again, but the guard has been changed, and Simon is now there. Michael announces his challenge as before, but this time the response is "Perception plus Stealth at nine" (Simon is good at sneaking around, so can use his Stealth skill with Perception to spot people sneaking around). This time, Simon is three points better than Michael, so he is likely to win. Had he been 4 points better, he would have spotted Michael automatically.


Q: Do I round up or down when dividing my willpower in a contest?
A: When a challenge indicates <Willpower/2> you are to round up. (E.g. 3/2 = 1.5 —> 2)
The same holds true when any contest involves dividing by 2.

Claiming Advantage

In some circumstances, an even contest may not be appropriate. For example, if a lone player attempts to intimidate one who is surrounded by four allies. In these situations, the players may agree that one of them is at an advantage. Advantage is worth a bonus to your total, and is calculated for you by +contest. Only one character can ever have advantage in a +contest; multiple advantages may be used only to cancel out your opponent's claims to advantage.

If the players cannot agree on advantage, they may ask other nearby players or a narrator to arbitrate.

Advantage FAQ

Q: Can you ever have more than one Advantage?
A: No. Consider Advantage to be like this magic coin. You can hold it, your opponent can hold it, or it can lie on the floor. Powers, and circumstances give you the ability to move that coin - to pick it up from the floor, drop it, and force your opponent to do the same.

There can be multiple reasons for Advantage, but they must be different reasons.

If I have a power that gives me Advantage, and a circumstance that gives me Advantage - then I have two reasons. If my opponent has claimed Advantage, my first cancels his (he drops the coin), my second gives me Advantage (I pick up the coin). If I have a third reason (perhaps another power), it doesn't do me any good, since I already have the coin.

Q: If I have Advantage, and my opponent spends Willpower to cancel Advantage, can I spend Willpower to get it back again?
A: Yes, if you got Advantage from a reason other than Willpower. Spending Willpower is a reason to claim Advantage like any other. You can only spend Willpower once on a contest, but both parties may spend 1 point (and cancel each other out).

Q: In combat, if a vampire has celerity at 3 and attacks a vampire without celerity, she may claim advantage on CBT and DMT for having two levels more celerity than the attacked vampire. What about the third level of celerity? Is it just ignored or does it give another bonus to CBT or DMT?
A: It's just ignored. The most Celerity can give you is one reason for Advantage on CBT, and one reason for Advantage on DMT. Even if one of these is cancelled by something else, you may not use Celerity to claim it back. You must have another, different, reason if you want to claim Advantage again.

Q: If I spend Willpower for advantage on the contest for an area affect power (like Presence1 or Obfuscate4) do I need to spend 1 WP per person affected, or 1 WP for everyone.
A: One willpower point will only affect one contest. Since more then one person requires more then one contest, each person will require a separate expenditure of willpower. The power user can select those they wish to spend willpower on and those they do not.

Contest Commands

Command Usage Example
+contest <challenger total> vs <defender total> +contest is used to perform the random element in a test. Either party may resolve the test, the results are announced publically to the room. Contest output uses the verifiable message system. +contest 4 vs 3
+privatecontest <challenger total> vs <defender total> to <recipients> +privatecontest accomplishes exactly the same but allows you to share the results to a restricted list of players.
<total> may be specified as <number> for a simple total, as <number>+ to indicate a total to which Advantage should be added, or as <number>+<bonus> to indicate a total to which a bonus for the Multi modifier on certain power cards should be applied.
+privatecontest 3 vs 5 to frederico alvin


+contest 4 vs 3
«VERIFY» Calum resolves a challenge..
Challenger total is 4, Defender total is 3.
Result is… Challenger wins.

More Examples:

+contest 4 vs 3+
«VERIFY» Calum resolves a challenge..
Challenger total is 4, Defender total is 3 (plus Advantage).
Result is… Tie.

+contest 6 vs 3+9
«VERIFY» Calum resolves a challenge..
Challenger total is 6, Defender total is 3 (plus Multi bonus of 9).
Result is… Defender wins automatically.

+contest 6+ vs 3+9
«VERIFY» Calum resolves a challenge..
Challenger total is 6 (plus Advantage), Defender total is 3 (plus Multi bonus of 9).
Result is… Defender wins.

Contest Statistics

+contest operates roughly like this..

  • If the totals are more than three points apart, the player with the higher total is considered to win automatically.
  • There is roughly a 2/3 chance of the higher number winning if there is two or three points separating the score.
  • If the totals are within one point of each other, there is roughly an even chance of either winning, or of a tie.
  • Advantage is worth roughly +2
  • If you have Advantage, you have at least a 1/3 chance of winning.
  • Advantage will not give you an automatic win if you didnt have an automatic win already.

For interest and info:
When Calum uses these rules in his LARP games, tests are resolved as follows:

  • If the totals are more than three points apart, the player with the higher total is considered to win automatically.
  • If the totals are within one point of each other, the two players play a single round of Paper/Scissors/Stone, and the result of this is the result of the contest.
  • If the totals are two or three points apart, the two players play a single round of Paper/Scissors/Stone as above, but the player with the higher total wins the contest if the game of Paper/Scissors/Stone is a tie.
  • Advantage is worth +2 to your total, but will not give you an automatic win if you didnt have one already.
  • You cannot automatically lose if you have Advantage.
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Original Work is licensed under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 US License.