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For those who would rather best a foe with logic than steel, the argue command allows you to make an attempt to defeat a foe with words. Not all NPCs with debate on all topics, and all topics require both an understanding of debating rhetoric and an appreciation of the topic. Thus, while all debates require you to use your debating bonus, the topic will define what other skills come into play. NPCs will only debate within a 'fair' window of skills - if you dramatically outclass an NPC in terms of your bonuses, they won't debate you.
How does it work?
Arguing is a round based game. You or your opponent is chosen to start, and that person begins by advancing a new claim with 'argue new claim'. You don't need to make up a claim or anything here, it'll automatically create one abstract enough to stand in for anything you might say. At this point, the arguing takes off proper.
Each player can advance a maximum of three claims, each of which starts off hugely supporting their side of the argument. You then attack enemy arguments or support your own arguments with particular arguing techniques ('argue list techniques' to see them, 'argue technique details <technique>' to see what they do). Each technique affects how persuasive that claim is by increasing its value to you, decreasing its value to your opponent, or some combination of those. At the end, the winner is the one with the most persuasion. The exact impact on persuasiveness is based on both the skill of the person using a technique, and the skill of the person who last impacted on the argument.
During each argument, one technique will be picked at random to be especially effective. Another will be picked at random to be especially ineffective. As such, the best debating techniques will vary from argument to argument, subject to subject and NPC to NPC.
argue with <living> about <topic>
Argue with the indicated living about the indicated topic.argue [apply] <technique> [to] <argument>
Apply the particular technique to the indicated argument.argue new claim
Argue, making a new claim.argue [status]
Check on the status of your current argument.argue stop
Stop arguing with your current interlocuter.argue technique [details] <technique>
Get the details of a specific argumentation technique.argue topic [details] <topic>
Get the details of a specific argumentation topic.argue list topics
List the available argumentation topics.argue list techniques
List the available argumentation techniques.argue inquire <living>
Inquire about topics that the indicated object would be prepared to debate.
Example one> argue with lambert about reconstruction You are to start the argument. You start an argument with Amelie Lambert about reconstruction.
Example two> argue new claim You are completely tongue-tied, and unable to make your point at all! You make a debating point. You put forward a strident case for the One World Government Hypothesis to Amelie Lambert.
Example threeAmelie Lambert makes a debating point. Amelie Lambert puts forward a strident case for the One World Government Principle to you.
Example four> argue list techniques * defend * rebutt * ridicule * support * qualify * rephrase * obfuscate * invert * claim * focus * dismiss
Example five> argue apply ridicule to one world government principle You make a debating point. You rudely ridicule One World Government Principle, reserving particular scorn for distribution of authority.
Example six> argue You are currently in an argument with Lambert about reconstruction. It is Drakkos to argue, and it is round 5 of 16. You can advance two new claims. In this argument, using rephrase is more effective. In this argument, using ridicule is less effective. The following claims have been made: * The "Darth Vader Conjecture", advanced by Lambert [very convincing, last effectively addressed by Lambert and averagely difficult to change [0, 20]] * The "Darth Vader Theorem", advanced by Drakkos [very convincing, last effectively addressed by Drakkos and extremely hard to change [20, 0]] * The "One World Government Conjecture", advanced by Lambert [very convincing, last effectively addressed by Lambert and averagely difficult to change [0, 20]] Lambert is comfortably winning the argument