So far I have talked about some of the basic changes that we have made to improve the VP System for Fading Suns Third Edition (FS3). I want to continue by taking a look at conflict resolution. The first thing to note was that previous editions of the game (FS1/2) only had mechanics for resolving physical combat, leaving social conflict purely up to roleplay and the GM. So, one of the early proposals was to implement a system to handle social conflict.
The conflict system in FS3 has been through three complete iterations, each time being stripped down and rebuilt over from scratch. The current system was designed to work with the 'one action, one goal test' ideal. Initially, we had a system for combat and a system for social conflict, but that really grated on me. These are both conflict situations; why do they use different mechanics? In the end, we developed a universal conflict mechanic that can be utilized to resolve any type of conflict, be it physical, mental or social.
Okay, so that sounds great! How does it work? The basics are very simple. In every turn of conflict, one party (these can be groups or single characters) is the active 'aggressor' while the other becomes the reactive 'defender'. (Actually, the terms 'aggressor' and 'defender' are poor descriptions. The active party can fight defensibly, while the reactive party can choose to fight aggressively. This is more-fully detailed in the rulebook.) This status can shift backwards and forwards as one party dominates the conflict or gains the upper hand. This is called having 'the Edge' -- the party with the edge is active and receives a small goal roll bonus for being the dominant party. This mechanic completely replaces the need for initiative in combat and is used universally in all types of conflicts.
Each party chooses a 'stance' -- basically, is the character attacking, defending, or a balance of the two. Naturally, every player is encouraged to describe how they are attacking/defending/whatever. Each party then makes a goal test and compares VPs. The one with the highest VPs wins the turn, may inflict some type of injury (depending on the type of conflict), and most importantly, takes 'the Edge' for the next turn. The process then repeats until conflict is resolved.
Now I realize that some of you reading this may be thinking, "What the...!?!". Trust me on this -- it works very well, very quickly, and uniformly. Better yet, it simulates dueling very very well!