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Air of Menace in Lingua Bellum

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  • Air of Menace in Lingua Bellum

    Hello,

    I'm using Lingua Bellum system from Guide to the Night, and while some merits have their applications/changes spelled out in the book, for obvious reasons it's not all of them.
    In any case, I got into an argument with one of my players, after he asked how would it apply, and since he does not like my ruling, we're coming to the forums for some collective wisdom.

    Air of Menace in normal system has 4 effects.
    1) +2 bonus to intimidation rolls when cowing opposition
    2) Characters with lower intimidation score must spend 1 WP to initiate combat with you
    3) Characters who don't know you start with impression 1 lower than normally
    4) You must open one additional door when talking with others.

    In my opinion, 1,2 directly translate to the Lingua Bellum system with no changes. I have not considered 3, as it's not relevant to the situation at hand, but hearing thoughts about it would be interesting.
    4. I figured that the number of doors most directly translates to Dominance of the target. Since once all doors are open - you achieve your goal. once all dominance is gone - you achieve your goal. I figured that adding 1 point of Dominance to opposition is appropriate here (Yes, I do know it get's weird in multi side arguments, but this one would be a 1 on 1).

    Now the player claims that he should also get a social defensive bonus, "since it's hard to argue with scary person". I disagree, given that the original merit gives no social defensive bonuses. In the end, backtracking from the discussion, he wanted the drawback to not apply as it's a "different system" entirely. Due to it representing similar things, and Doors being pretty much the same as Dominance conceptually I disagree.

    After a bit back and forth, we figured that additional opinions would be useful. Anyways, thoughts?


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  • #2
    They already got their social defense bonus in the form of willpower expenditure being required to initiate combat.

    I disagree with the premise "it's hard to argue with a scary person" especially if there is no concrete way of pinpointing what makes a person "scary". In fact verbally arguing with a scary person may be their preferred way of attempting to assert dominance or confront the "scary person" because violence is not viewed as an acceptable recourse or the thought of getting their ass kicked by the scary person is even less palatable.

    #3 Can be an either or type of thing. The lower impression could be due to assumption that the character uses violence as a solution to everything and so they don't want to talk to you.

    My assumption regarding #4 is that it applies when making persuasive requests from others even if threats aren't
    being issued because making threats via intimidation is your forte, not asking nicely. But I would probably expand on it to say they have one less door to open if they employ threats.

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    • #3
      Wow... this could be an example in a book how to misrepresent the opponent's idea, hanging on the first argument and ignoring the rest of the conversation. The merit was not included in the system for a couple of reasons, few of them might be that this merit isn't in vampire books, the other, this book came out later than the system was established and not adapted to that particular system (maybe the creators could comment on that). I will start presenting my arguments because Griautis didn't try to do that... Lingua Bellum (literally meaning language FIGHT or COMBAT) is the new social COMBAT system that is a part of social maneuvering (keyword combat).

      Now let's breakdown the merit to the core effects: It is easier to intimidate people (thus +2 to Intimidation), it is harder to start a COMBAT with the player (must spend WP to start it, key effect of this merit), because of these effects, there are more doors and people guard themselves.

      Now let's analyze the Fluff - "Opponents less menacing than the character also think twice before provoking him" - nowhere here it states that it should be a physical provocation because more often than not, provocations are SOCIAL (I doubt there are a lot of fights happening without any social interaction beforehand). "Opponents with Intimidation dots fewer than the character’s must spend a point of Willpower to initiate combat against him." - Again, Lingua Bellum systems is a social COMBAT system and the again fluff doesn't particularly state that it must PHYSICAL combat.

      My arguments are - there are three parts to the merit. Your adoption of the merit to the social combat system should consist of three parts as well, not dropping the main advantage that is the core of this merit. Either there shouldn't be any drawback (+2 to intimidation still stays, because it covers all non-discipline rolls with intimidation) or you keep all THREE effects adapted to the system: the core effect, +2 and the drawback

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      • #4
        One thing is Im pretty sure Lingua Bellum doesn't supplant Social maneuvering just helps give mechanics to Elysium Drama.


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        • #5
          Lingua Bellum is not combat. And no combat merits should apply to it in a direct way. Nowhere in the book does it say that it is combat.


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