Social Contests

Social Contests

Here at LA: A House Divided, it is policy that players need to respect social and mental attributes every bit as much as they respect physical attributes. Social actions should generally be resolved by roleplaying - but oftentimes there will arise situations where one player or another feels slighted.


Vinnie the Ventrue, Primogen of the Known Universe, walks into Elysium and gets into a shouting match with Bob the Bootlickin' Brujah. Vinnie has greater status, greater age, and also has Intimidation 4 - making him one of the scariest people in the city.

Vinnie's player OOCly informs Bob's player of these facts, and suggests that Bob might back down. A respectful discussion pursuant to the Cooperative RP policy ensues.

It's absolutely fine to page the other person and work out whether it is going to work or not without a +contest. But Bob does not have the right to simply say "My character just wouldn't back down." He can present arguments why Bob wouldn't back down, such as nature or Willpower, or a well-placed +status/ignore, but in the end it might be easier to work these into a +contest as advantages.

Work with other players to find ways to resolve disagreements and conflict. We ask a lot of our players in term of maturity and patience. Work to meet those standards.

This applies with particular poignancy to the status system. Your character's status is a stat, and it matters. If someone with a higher status confronts you, you need to recognize that and roleplay it. Or be willing to suffer the consequences for flouting the status rules that dominate vampire society. Make liberal use of +status/ignore if you want to be a rebel. But always remember that IC actions have IC consequences, and you can't simply backtalk to an Elder and think you'll get away with it.

A few of ground rules to help you work things out:

  • You can't make anyone do anything directly opposed to their Nature with a social contest. Getting that Caregiver to cut off the fingers of the little kid is going to take Dominate. Or IC extortion sufficient to convince the character to act. Intimidation or Leadership simply won't cut it.
  • If someone is attempting to persuade you to do something very in tune with your Nature, you should either do it without calling for a contest, or give the challenger advantage.
  • The final decision for whether a +contest is required is a decision for the target of the action (the intimdation, the swindle, the fast talk, or the command). But at the same time, if you feel that a target is being unreasonable and is violating the spirit of Cooperative RP, follow the procedures set forth in arbitration. Get a second opinion from someone else on the grid.

Remember, characters who have invested a great deal in social stats have done so by forgoing the ability to simply bust heads. They have skills as well… but they are more subtle. They should not have their character concepts rendered impotent by a stubborn, unyielding refusal to play fair.

Claiming Social Advantage

Social Advantage FAQ

Q: Can I claim Advantage on Dominate and Presence powers for higher Status/Reputation/etc (all the things listed by +status)
A: Usually, yes. With the exception of Dominate-3, all the powers are based on social challenges, so you can claim Advantage.
Why? Well, its pretty hard to resist someone's use of Dominate or Presence while simultaneously being careful to defer to their social status. Bear in mind, though, that you can ignore that Advantage - and pay the price…

Q: Can I claim Advantage on Obfuscate (particularly Obfuscate 4 vanishing) for higher Status/Reputation/etc (all the things listed by +status)
A: No. Although Obfuscate uses a social attribute in the test, that does not make it a "social challenge." A social challenge is a test to determine a social action. Issuing a command, either regularly or via Dominate, is a social action. Vanishing into thin air is not.

Commands for Social Advantage

These commands, in conjunction with the status commands, the boon commands and the prestige commands, administer the complex interaction of vampire relationships that determine advantage on social contests.

Determining Social Advantage

+status +status will list your own status and harpy traits (if any), how many votes you currently have, and how your votes are allocated among other characters. A status vote represents how much of your personal clout that you have invested in supporting or undermining the social position of others. Increasing territorial control (a.k.a. standing) is the most common way of acquiring additional social clout. Another way, and the most common route among neonates and youthful ancilla, is to earn the respect (a.k.a. harpy votes) of a sufficient number of vampires. With enough harpy votes, a vampire is known unofficially as a harpy, and he or she has the social clout of a primogen.
+status <player> +status <player> will list <player>'s standing, title, and known social traits such as Camarilla status and anarch reputation. This command will also indicate whether you or <player> can claim advantage in social contests as referenced in +news systems/status.
+status/glance +status/glance provides and abbreviated summary of the relative standing, titles, and social traits of everyone in your location, including where social advantage lies between you and each other person.
+status/claim <player> +status/claim <player> provides a verifiable emit that proves you can claim advantage over <player>.

Ignoring Social Advantage

+status/ignore <player> +status/ignore <player> is used to ignore the status or reputation of <player> that give <player> social advantage over you. This command has consequences. For a substantial period of time after using the command, you cannot use your own social traits to claim social advantage over other characters. Additionally, a rumor is generated that memorializes this occurrence, including a status disfavor against you. You do not need to use this command if, and only if, <player> -volunteers- to keep your insolence secret and all witnesses consent. To give Obfuscated players an opportunity to object the ooc command (+help ooc/ooc, p.2) must be used to negotiate.
+prestige/ignore <player> +prestige/ignore <player> is used to ignore the clan prestige of <player> that gives <player> social advantage over you. This has the same consequences as +status/ignore
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