Make your social encounters come alive with new surprises and tactics! This beautifully illustrated 52-card deck gives you a great way to run courtly intrigue and tavern showdowns in your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaign. Whether you’re using deception, wit, or intimidation to get your way, this deck presents complete rules for extending subtle and devious conflicts. Jump into the drama and dominate the scene with Pathfinder Cards: Social Combat!
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I've now used the Social Combat deck in a couple of key encounters in my Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign. The idea with "social combat" is that it turns persuading someone (an NPC, a crowd, whatever) into a skills challenge the whole party can participate in instead of just having the party "face" making a single Diplomacy (or Bluff or Intimidate or whatever) check. The GM creates a grid of the cards and, in a sort of mini-game similar to the Chase rules, the PCs need to succeed on one of two options on a card in order to move on to the next one. There's some strategy involved in deciding which of the checks to attempt and which card to move to, with the goal of getting to the opposite corner to win before a certain number of failed checks mean a loss. For example, one card is "Higher Power" and allows the PCs to proceed with either a DC 15 Diplomacy check or a DC 20 Knowledge (religion) check, and presumably the GM would expect the player to role-play something in relation to their deity. Many cards have a traditional social skill and one that's a bit more unusual (like Appraise, Perception, or Linguistics) so that a wide variety of characters can still help the team.
The deck comes with clear instructions and a couple of alternative rules. I've actually used a homemade variation when the PCs aren't just trying to persuade a passive audience but are instead competing with another NPC who is trying to persuade that same audience (like in a courtroom)--the competing NPC is on the same grid, and whoever gets to the end first wins the argument! It's important for the GM to remember that they don't have to lay down the cards completely at random from the whole deck, but can instead prune the deck down to just the cards that make sense in the particular social situation the PCs are facing.
It may sound a bit artificial, but my players and I have really enjoyed the results when we've used the deck. It makes what would otherwise be a single d20 roll into a memorable, special event where the stakes seem higher and the thrill of victory sweeter because it was achieved with real teamwork. I honestly wasn't expecting to enjoy the deck as much as I have, and I'll definitely bring it out again for important social challenges.
FINALLY, I've found some way to make social encounters more than just two die rolls!
This deck makes exchanges between characters and NPCs go from one die roll to full-fledged encounters with pitfalls, surprises, and ways for characters to show off! It has every character participate in the encounter, ensuring that no party's step out of the bard's or rogue's way when lips start moving instead of weapons. It focuses on more obvious skills like Diplomacy and Bluff, but also allows more skills like Knowledge, Perform, or even a Combat Maneuver to move the encounter along!
If the DCs seem too low for the characters tackling them, it also includes alternate to rules to bump the DCs, create a timer, or make the encounter better reflect the foes they are conversing with.
All-around fun, this deck will make my social encounters as nail-biting and intense as any tussle in a dungeon!
Really interested to see what these bring to the table. I've only recently got into using the different card sets (having recently introduced Plot Twist cards in my game as purchasable with Hero Points) but I haven't been disappointed.
It is like the chase deck, so i guess we would have diplomacy, intimidate and bluff cards. But it would it be as good for a seduction attempt like would be for a diplomatic meeting or a garther information or anything else or only for especific situations just like the chase deck ?
I would like to see a detailed example of these cards in use, could be they will make life easier for players whose characters have great social skills but the player himself can barely order coffee without a hem-haw.
Anyone got these yet and able to explain how they work? Looking at the example cards, it feels like the chase deck, which isn't exactly what I was looking for, but could work for me. I'd prefer something more adversarial for use in my homebrew game I'm working on that includes a lot of dealing with the politics of the kingdom, but I'll take what I can get.
Some kind of preview of the use of these cards - an example of them in action might be useful. I was very disappointed with the Tide of Battle cards so want a little reassurance....
I have explained in my product review how they work. It is different than the initial Chase Deck and I rather like the mechanic Jason has designed.
At its heart, this is a Skill Challenge system that allows those who are not Charisma skill based characters to still contribute -- and allows the players to work together to decide how best to succeed at the "Social Combat".
I thought this product was particularly well suited to Vol 3 of the Mummy's Mask.
I tried these for two encounters in a recent session with my group. My players seemed to like them -- they gave us a way to formalize a social encounter and allow everybody to participate.
However, the final card in one of the encounters allowed a Linguistics check (DC 20) or a Diplomacy check (DC 25). My players could not make either roll mathematically, so I house-ruled on the fly that they could use the aid another action to assist each other.
I like these cards and I don't like them. I like them because they provide a nice structure for resolving social encounters that involves everyone in the group. I don't like them because they prevent me from restructuring social encounters on the fly. I will probably mix and match in the future -- use them for some encounters, not for others.