City of Mist In Action #3: Social Conflict
Welcome back to another City of Mist In Action, where we explain the rules of our favorite cinematic modern fantasy TTRPG through showing them off in-game. In our previous videos, we’ve covered alleyway brawls and dockside tussles to show you how to fight. But what about when you have a problem that can’t be solved with fists and magic swords?
In today’s video, we’ll be running a social conflict to show how you can run a dramatic confrontation within a conversation. Thankfully, the rules for exchanging barbs aren’t that different from the rules for exchanging blows!
Diplomacy in City of Mist often comes down to three moves: Convince, Go Toe to Toe, and Hit With All You’ve Got. The MC will often tell you which to use based on their cinematic considerations.
Convince is used when you’re trying to resolve a social challenge in one roll, rather than a whole scene. If the person you’re talking to is more of an obstacle–like a bouncer or guard– and you don’t want to spend a lot of time on the interaction, you’ll want to use Convince.
But if the person you’re talking to is a Danger with social spectrums like CHARM 2, SCARE 3, or FOOL 4, then they’re no longer a simple obstacle. Now the conversation becomes an encounter, with an exchange of words that requires Go Toe to Toe and, if there’s an opening, Hit With All You’ve Got.
Let’s set the scene. A fancy gala is being held at a ballroom in Wolfe Tower. Anyone who’s anyone is dining, including our wealthy socialite and master of every weapon Excalibur. Her goal is to chat up the various movers & shakers here to convince them to donate to her charity. She’s also on the lookout for anything fishy that the rest of the crew can investigate later.
But before she starts shaking hands, Excalibur wants everyone in the room to know that the party has officially arrived. To make a dazzling party entrance, she’ll use her power tags glamorous and family ‘friends’ in high places with the Move Hit With All You’ve Got to attempt to dazzle the unsuspecting crowd. It’s a good plan, all things considered. But the dice have other plans.
A roll of 4 turns into 6 which turns into a failure for Excalibur. Now the MC can make a Hard Move, and they decide to Complicate Things, Bigtime. Turns out, there’s another wealthy socialite in the crowd, and she doesn’t like to be upstaged.
Erica Drum, a main broadcaster for Monte Wolfe Media, is just tickled pink that Excalibur is here. She knows Excalibur has been sticking her nose into Monte Wolfe Media’s business. Humiliating her in front of the City’s elite would be the perfect way for Erica to get rid of her.
For this demo, we’ll be using the Social Butterfly Danger profile for Erica. The profile has three social spectrums: BEFRIEND 5, SHAME OR OVERSHADOW 4, and THREATEN 2. If Excalibur can max out any of these spectrums, then Erica will cease to be a problem. But pay attention to her special ability Words Can Never Hurt Me. Any unwanted social status will have their tier reduced by 1, so Excalibur will have her work cut out for her.
Erica is also the Rift of Baron Munchausen, a noble who became famous for telling tall tales. To reflect her own magical lying powers, we’ll add the Trickster power set from the MC Toolkit to her profile.
Erica walks right up to Excalibur and greets her as loudly as possible, so almost everyone in the ballroom can hear. While Excalibur grits her teeth and responds politely, Erica drones on and on until she says, “It’s a wonder you came out tonight with that scandal on your hands!” This is a soft move by the MC to indicate Erica is about to cause a scene.
As more eyes turn to the two of them, Excalibur knows she has to do something fast. She’s now going to Go Toe to Toe with Erica for control of the conversation. Using her power tags widely supported public figure, family ‘friends’ in high places, and glamorous, Excalibur rolls a 5 for a total of 8. A mixed success.
Remember that with Go Toe to Toe, you can choose one of three options on a mixed success. You can achieve a specific goal, hit your foe with a status, or dodge their best counterattack. In this case, Excalibur is going to hit Erica with a status of shamed-3 and insult her. She says, “I wouldn’t miss this party for the world, especially knowing one of the City’s biggest frauds is in attendance!”
Erica Drum takes the hit and reduces the status to shamed-2 with her passive ability. But Erica is a bold liar and she isn’t going to take that sitting down. Since Excalibur didn’t choose to dodge, Excalibur will now Face Danger against Erica’s own accusations. The status dealt is the same as one of Erica's hard moves: shamed-3.
One thing to note is that Excalibur’s previous Go Toe to Toe and her current Face Danger are Linked Moves, meaning one is happening as the result of another. A tag can only be used once in a set of linked moves, meaning Excalibur can’t use any of the three tags she used previously to help her out now.
Still, this isn’t Excalibur’s first party. Using her tough as a nail power tag, she rolls a 6 for a total of 7. With a mixed success, she knocks one tier off the shamed-3 status Erica would have given her, meaning both women now have a status of shamed-2.
There are whispers through the crowd as more eyes turn toward these two women locked in a verbal duel. Excalibur knows the more she denies whatever lies Erica cooks up, the more it’ll work against her. But what if she could turn it around?
In a rare move, Excalibur’s player asks the MC if they could do a quick Flashback. You can have a flashback once per session, so the MC agrees.
The scene changes to Excalibur hunched behind a computer earlier that day, investigating the attendees of this party. She wouldn’t go in unprepared after all. Rolling to Investigate, Excalibur uses certified accountant, contacts in every neighborhood, and bullshit detector and rolls a complete success! Erica Drum has a Deceitful ability to make it harder to find info on her, but that won’t help her much with a success this large. Three Clues turn into three questions which eventually turns into Excalibur gaining a story tag: dirt on Erica Drum.
We flash forward to the present moment. With the evidence now to back it up, Excalibur loudly asks, “How are you handling your own scandal, darling? If MWM fires you, will you have enough money for lawyers?”. Excalibur reveals her phone and Goes Toe to Toe with Erica once again.
Along with the story tag dirt on Erica Drum, Excalibur also uses widely supported public figure, family ‘friends’ in high places, and glamorous for a Power of 4. While she would normally take -2 for her shamed-2 status, Erica also has a shamed-2 status, which means they cancel out. To add insult to injury, Excalibur adds her cushy bank account power tag and gives Erica a small wad of cash as she walks away, saying “Let me know if this helps, you poor, poor soul”.
With a Power of 5 and a dice roll of 7, Excalibur rolls a complete success! Now able to pick two options, Excalibur chooses to hit Erica with a status and dodge her best counterattack. As she brushes Erica away, Erica takes a status of shamed-5. Even with one tier taken off for Words Can Never Hurt Me, her new tier-4 status maxes out her tier-4 spectrum, leaving her speechless. As whispers continue around the ballroom, Erica Drum slinks off into the shadows, leaving Excalibur to schmooze to her heart’s content. However, Excalibur did not leave the catfight unscathed, as she is still shamed-2, which will make her fundraising all the more difficult.
There’s a number of different ways this encounter could have gone, just like with any other encounter in this game. And note that not all social conflict aims to defeat the other party. Some Dangers have a CONVINCE, APPEASE, or BEFRIEND spectrum to see if you can get them on your side before the scene ends or other drama ensues. A Danger with such a spectrum cannot be resolved with one Convince move – you'll need an entire encounter to win them over.
Whatever the case, we hope we’ve made it clear that the same City of Mist system of tags and statuses can be used for diplomatic negotiation as well as a ballroom blitz.
Be sure to check out our previous City of Mist In Action videos for in-depth looks at the game, along with the other videos on our channel for all things City of Mist.
Until next time, let us know what you think in the comments, on social media, or on the City of Mist Discord. Until then, have fun!