Pathfinder Cards: Social Combat

4.50/5 (based on 4 ratings)
Pathfinder Cards: Social Combat
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Charm and Guile!

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!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-610-2

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Pathfinder Cards: Social Combat Pathfinder Cards: Social Combat

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4.50/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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Surprisingly Great!


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.

Social Encounters Come Alive!


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!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Announced! Cover image is a mockup, and will change prior to publication.

Sovereign Court


Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

VERY cool.

I love the way the cards line has matured. The more experimental decks are always my favourites. This looks to be another to add to that list.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds cool, social combat systems!

SOLD! Is it March yet? ;)

I always get a fear when I see the phase 'Social Combat' associated with RPG...but this might not be that bad.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

I am extremely excited about this. I designed a similar idea back in 3.5 for social combat and I'm interested to see how this stacks up.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Loving it!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

interesting...but is there nothing scheduled between Tides of Battle and this?

This sounds very interesting, and I want to know more about the concept. Please post some examples to the store blog as soon as possible!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

DitheringFool wrote:
interesting...but is there nothing scheduled between Tides of Battle and this?

Yes, but they don't have product pages yet.

January: Tears at Bitter Manor Campaign Cards
February: Mummy's Mask Item Cards

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sounds interesting though curious how it will work exactly.

Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Are these going to be sanctioned for Pathfinder Society?

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

SOCIAL COMBAT *Insert techno music*

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.

Verdant Wheel

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 ?

ah, nifty. I've been waiting for something like this.

Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Updated product image and description, added sample images!

Verdant Wheel

There is some sort of division by what type of approach you are trying to do or you can randomly flirt with someone while in social combat ?

I guess this plays more along the lines of the chase cards. So... I'm looking forward to getting them, but I doubt I'll see them in action.

DM Sothal wrote:
I guess this plays more along the lines of the chase cards. So... I'm looking forward to getting them, but I doubt I'll see them in action.

Just wondering why not?

Haven't really had a chase scene in any games I ran or participated.

These could see some more use, but I'll see that once I have them.

Sovereign Court

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....


Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've just purchased these, but I live in Australia so I won't see them until my next sub comes in. Once they do I'll give them a spin to see how it works.

Liberty's Edge

Mark Norfolk wrote:

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.

Hello, I've seen 2 different versions of this; one with a long pointing to a subject & the other with a golden bad guy sitting on a pile of skills. Both are PZO 3040.

Any differences? One contain errata?

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