Encounters in The World of Cartyrion | World Anvil



When individuals or groups first encounter one another, their initial Dispositions towards each other can determine the path the encounter will take. Disposition is a general guide for the type of behavior and attitude that one side of an encounter will have toward another. Five degrees of disposition are used to guide both players and Gamemasters in deciding the appropriate behavior of two sides of an encounter prior to - or instead of - simply launching into combat.

The first disposition to discuss is the one that will most likely be in play when two individuals or parties chance upon each other for the first time. The Neutral disposition means simply that the individual or group in question has no pre-conceived notions about the other, and there are not other circumstances in play that would call for a different disposition to be in effect. If one is Neutral towards another, greetings will be cordial, but cool. Pleasantries may be offered. Local customs may dictate a degree of hospitality but if this is offered at all, it will be without "heart". The Neutral disposition may shift one way or the other depending on the actions of the group being met.

One step up from Neutral is the Friendly disposition. If one is friendly toward another, greetings may be warmer, and pleasantries may be exchanged in conversation. But this disposition does not guarantee blind cooperation or support. One can be friendly toward another and still be quite unwilling to risk health or wealth to aid the other. Perhaps more convincing is needed; more assurances that the party in question truly has your interest in mind.

A Helpful disposition suggests that one is willing to take some chances to offer assistance to another individual or group. Helpful is as positive as disposition gets, but even this is not a guarantee that one will do whatever the other party asks of them. If asked to aid in something dangerous or illegal, a Helpful associate may actively try to talk their good friend out of it - pointing out the dangers involved.

In the other direction from Neutral, one could be Unfriendly toward another. This disposition implies some degree of distrust and unwillingness to associate, but not to the degree of violence. An Unfriendly interaction should not be expected to yield cooperation - at least not unless there's something really worthwhile in it for the unfriendly party.

Finally, there's Hostile. This disposition suggests either extreme dislike, or at least extreme indifference toward the well-being, of another. You'll fight them if they get in your way, or if they attempt to use or misuse you in any manner. Hostile actions don't have to result in direct combat; a hostile villager could simply report a party's intentions to the town guard - possibly inflating the story a bit to make sure the hated group gets what's coming to them.

The final point about dispositions is that when two parties, be they individuals or groups, encounter one another, the disposition of each should be considered separately, and they might be quite different. A group of adventurers just arriving from a successful jaunt in the wilderness might be quite happy and inclined to approach village shopkeepers with a Friendly or even Helpful attitude. But the blacksmith, whose wife just ran off with the undertaker, and whose son was arrested for starting a tavern brawl last night, might not be in the mood to deal with anybody; his reaction to the loud, laughing, happy people that have just invaded his workspace could well be Unfriendly, or even bordering on Hostile. Resolving disparate dispositions can make an encounter interesting!

Using Disposition
The Gamemaster should take dispositions into account when setting DC's for checks associated with encounters. It is suggested that the Gamemaster start with assuming a Neutral disposition to establish a DC appropriate for a given situation. Then, if the target party is Friendly, reduce the DC by 2, and if Helpful, reduce it by 5. If the target party is Unfriendly or Hostile, increase the DC instead by 2 or 5 respectively.  
Changing Disposition
An individual or group can take various actions to change the initial disposition that another has for them. This might simply mean long, patient conversation to convince a wary villager that you mean no harm. It might require that you offer to do a minor favor for a mistrusting individual whose help you need. And if mundane conversation or action doesn't work, there are numerous magical means to improve relationships, though unless these are followed up with real displays of friendship, the use of magic to temporarily sway someone toward friendship or helpfulness is likely to have a long-term result of souring the relationship.

Adjudicating dispositions and their effects on encounters is up to the Gamemaster. While the various magical spells that can affect it spell out specific results, the nonmagical attempts are not always so clear-cut.


The Laurels and Loot Rule System is published by Bob O'Brien
It is available to all in accordance with the Creative Commons (Attribution) license
(Creative Commons 4.0 International License)

Laurels and Loot Rules are derived in part from the following sources:
Knave 2.0 TTRPG System Rules published by Ben Milton
in compliance with
(Creative Commons 4.0 International License)

The banners on these pages was composed with art attributed to:
b0red from Pixabay (treasure chest image)
Gordon Johnson from Pixabay (laurels image)

The side panels are composed with art attributed to:
Evelyn Chai from Pixabay (dungeon passage)


Please Login in order to comment!
Powered by World Anvil