Monday, January 2, 2017

Regency Romances and Social Mechanics: Part 3

New Setting Rules


Charisma is a measure of your character’s appearance, manner, and general likability. It’s 0 unless you have Boons or Flaws that modify it. Charisma is used by the Game Master to figure out how the nonplayer characters of the world react to your hero.

Anguish (and Composure)

Anguish is a Savage Worlds setting rule addition by the folks at Wine and Savages. (Here is an extended example.)  H+I already has a mechanic that works similarly to Anguish, so we don't really need to add a new mechanic, though from a setting perspective, labeling composure loss Anguish in certain circumstances helps mirror and support a Pride and Prejudice style of romance in the setting.
Composure: A measure of how much control a character has over their own emotions. As a character loses composure, they allow fear, anger, sorrow, or humiliation to get the better of them, causing them to make mistakes or embarrass themselves, giving a -1 Penalty to all rolls, as well as other consequences (H+I page 8).

Composure is a character’s self-discipline—the ability not to give in to our baser natures. Fear, hate, jealousy, sorrow, fury, pride, and various other impulses can cause one to lose Composure. Every character has 3 points of Composure. As Composure is lost, a character suffers a cumulative -1 penalty on all rolls (to a maximum of -3), as they begin to make mistakes due to emotional stress.

Composure is lost during Social Combats, as part of witty banter during duels, and also from various frightening situations (such as having one’s hat shot off). Composure can be regained by spending a Major Action or a Fortune Point. For more info see “Social Combat & Repartee” on page 84
(H+I page 16).

As a character loses Composure, they become so shaken that they begin making a lot of mistakes. Each time you lose a point of Composure, you get -1 penalty to all rolls; except those that aid you in fleeing the scene or giving up. This penalty accumulates to a maximum of -3, when all Composure is lost (which ends a Social Combat). Once a new scene begins, all Composure is restored (H+I page 85).

Recovery of Composure (or removal of Anguish)

Recovery of Composure is already covered in Honor+Intrigue. For recovery of romantic anguish, individual Game Masters may wish to require the player to run describe an interlude or otherwise soliloquize as their hero comes to terms with the source of their Anguish. 
Characters can spend 1 Fortune Point to restore one lost Composure without using an action, or avoid losing Composure without rolling (H+I page 16).

A character can sacrifice a Major Action to regain 1 Composure (H+I page 71).

Honor and Intrigue allows characters to use social combat maneuvers that are resisted by the appropriate quality: Flair to resist Taunt, Savvy to resist Trick, and Daring to resist Intimidate. A success by the attacker causes a loss of 1 Composure by the victim. Heroes, Villains, and Retainers have 3 Composure. Pawns effectively have only 1 Composure so any success against a Pawn results in the Pawn's defeat.

In some settings, words cut as deep as steel. It may be scheming courtiers in Heian-Kyo or catty debutantes at Almack's, but they'll use Intimidate and Taunt to defeat their foes as decisively as any swordsmen by inflicting composure loss, or Anguish, on their opponents. In non-combat scenes, successive Composure loss results in emotional stress and mental anguish that eventually result in defeat or incapacitation of the victim.

Effects: How a character defeated by composure loss or Anguish reacts will vary dramatically depending on the setting. A Regency gentlewoman may literally faint, overcome with emotion. A Baroque period courtier may retreat from Versailles to plot vengeance from his or her country estates. A Tokugawa era samurai may challenge his opponent to a duel -- or even lose his cool entirely and draw his sword in the Shogun's presence! In any event, the character who has lost all composure has "lost" that social encounter and must leave the scene in defeat.

Example: Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are having a tiff. Darcy taunts Elizabeth about her prejudice towards him based on their first meeting; he succeeds and she loses 1 Composure. Elizabeth, being a healthy young woman (and a Hero) starts the scene with 3 Composure so she is still able to act normally. Darcy would need to force her to lose 2 more Composure against her in order to inflict Anguish upon her.

Elizabeth taunts Darcy about his overweening pride; succeeds and he loses 1 Composure. If Darcy is loses the rest of his composure in the following rounds, he will be forced to confess his love for Elizabeth and then immediately flee the scene.

In settings that track social status being publicly incapacitated by Anguish may result in loss of fame, reputation, prestige, or even Social Rank. This loss can be recovered through dueling or humiliating the opponent in social combat on another occasion.

Dreadful Anguish

In some settings, such as Regency England and Heian Japan, Anguish can be particularly deadly. The GM may require a character incapacitated by Dreadful Anguish to make a Flair or Might roll before the next scene. Success indicates the hero is fine; a failure indicates the character has contracted a Short-Term Debilitating disease; a critical failure means the disease is Minor Debilitating Long-Term Chronic. (See "Disease, Hunger, Thirst,
Exhaustion, Intoxication" on page 87 of the H+I rules.)

Fear of Intimacy

In many cultures throughout history (ex. Heian Japan) and fiction (the planet Vulcan), the expression of powerful emotions has been censored by societal norms. In such a setting, the GM may require a player to make a Fear check (rolling either Spirit or Guts, depending on the setting) in order to overcome their character's fear of public censure in order to admit and/or act upon a socially-unacceptable desire or impulse. In most settings, failing the roll will result in a Fear/Nausea result but settings that emphasize extremes of emotion may instead be treated as Terror and call for a Daring roll versus the Terror rating (see H+I rules page 92).

In the most obvious use of this rule -- forcing characters to screw their courage to the sticking place in order to confess love -- the object of affection's Charisma is used as a negative modifier on the Terror check. In other words, the more desirable the beloved, the harder it is to admit love.

Additional penalties or bonuses may apply depending on the setting.

Example 1 (Fear/Nausea): Ranma Saotome is a Japanese high school student in an anime/manga-based setting. As the Japanese public education system discourages the free time that allows American high school boys to (frankly) learn how to talk to girls, Ranma is unable to tell his fiancee Akane Tendo of his feelings. When a new, smooth-talking rival wins a smile from Akane, Ranma tries to win her back with a confession of his love. She really is kind of cute (Attractive - Charisma +2), so Ranma applies a -2 penalty to his Daring roll. Failing the roll, he is stricken with self-doubt that leaves him fatigued and penalized in the coming "Anything Goes Salsa Dance" battle.

Example 2 (Terror): Sir Lancelot is a noble knight in a medieval setting of powerful passions. He has fallen hopelessly in love with his liege's wife and sneaks off to a tryst with her during a formal hunt. Approaching the beautiful Guenivere in a secluded forest glade, he rolls to overcome the battling demands of love and honor and fails. The queen has a +6 Charisma (Very Attractive and Noble) so Lancelot suffers a -6 penalty on the Terror check.


Removing or changing Flaws is already covered in Honor+Intrigue (see Flaws on page 40).

Eventually, some Flaws can be bought off with Advancement Points. Likewise, you can trade an old Flaw for a new one with the GM’s permission. 

Buying Off an Old Flaw

A character can buy off an old Flaw for 10 Advancement Points.

Permanent Flaws

These Flaws specifically cannot be bought off with Advancement Points, unless the GM allows it, usually for some very extenuating circumstance.

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