Fate games offer wonderful mechanics for diverse combat situations, especially when you consider that they can apply to more than gun fights and tavern brawls. Social combat, for example, has an entire dynamic to it that most other systems limit to a single skill check or at most a contested challenge of skills. In Fate games like Dresden Files and Spirit of the Century, social combat can have lasting consequences that mechanically affect your character.
Now Social Combat technically works the same as physical combat, but my experience is that many players and GMs struggle with that aspect of the game and often overlook it. Perhaps we are more comfortable with physical combat because we have more experience with it thanks to tabletop and video games. Or perhaps we are afraid that our characters will not have much to do in social combat. Or maybe many of us assume that social conflict is boring.
You may be reading thinking none of those things, and that is great! Either way, we’re gonna take a look at Social Combat and simplify it down to the basics. Then we can talk a bit about how to build some exciting encounters with those basics.