Waggling a Silver Tongue
A Beginner's Guide to Vanguard
The full intent of this guide is
to give you a brief introduction of what Diplomacy is (Overview), an
explantion of Diplomacy mechanics (Basics and Advanced), a look at some
beginner Diplomacy quests (Competing Egos and Flesh to Stone), and a
hint of what might come after the entry-level quests (What Now?).
To help convey the complexities of the Diplomacy sphere, this guide
makes use of roughly 35 screen shots taken from Beta 4. The images will
appear small on this page, but you can click them to view the larger
version. Keep in mind that images taken from Beta 4 may not reflect
what the final product looks like.
To help you navigate this guide, use the links in the box below:
Diplomacy, one of the three major spheres in Vanguard, focuses on
contests of verbal wit bewteen the player and various non-player
characters (NPCs) throughout the world of Telon. A successful diplomat
can alter the course of politics in an area. Small tasks might be to
convince two sentient swords to resolve an old dispute so that their
owner can wield them harmoniously in combat (see Competing Egos). Most
difficult challeneges might ask you to investigate rumors of a merchant
rebellion in a major city. The Diplomacy process, which is called parley
, manifests on your screen as
a turn-based card game of sorts. Players who have experience with
Magic: The Gathering or Triple Triad from Final Fantasy VIII will have
an advantage coming into Vanguard's Diplomacy system. For those who
have experience in neither of those games, don't fret; this guide will
help any Vanguard Diplomacy newb get caught up in no time!
Your journey toward becoming a renowned diplomat begins when you talk
to the Diplomacy trainer in your starting area. Keep in mind that my
examples come from the Wood Elf beginning tree city. Different regions
regard Diplomacy with varied prestige. The Wood Elves call the art of
Diplomacy "The Language of the Wind," and its masters are held in high
esteem (image 1). Once you've expressed interest to the Diplomacy
are given two starter cards--expression
Your first task will be to prepare those cards for use in parley (image
the P key (default for Abilities menu) and click on the Diplomacy tab.
Click the Strategy button to make your Diplomacy "hand" appear. You'll
see five empty slots. As you gain more cards and learn what kinds of
diplomatic situations you are going into, you'll have to make tough
decisions about what kind of cards to put into your hand.
Click one of your two starter cards and then click one of the five
slots in your hand (you can also drag and drop) to place the card in
you hand. Repeat with the second card. Alternately, you can
trainer's tutorial on how to set up cards in your hand.
Now you're ready to speak to the trainer
again to begin your first lesson. (image 4). Don't be nervous. The
trainer will talk you through it--and you have this guide!
- Preparing cards
- Lesson 1
The trainer will walk you through the various aspects of a parley. The
focus of this first lesson is understanding what it takes to win a
parley. As your trainer will tell you, the parley window should be
viewed as two halves: your opponent up top, and you at the bottom. You
win a parley by playing cards that influence the marker on the far
right to your side (the bottom) of the board by the time one of you
uses all of your dialog points, which are represented by the numbers by
the dialog bubbles at the top and bottom of the scale (image 4). You
need only to end the parley with the scale tipped toward you to win,
but it is possible to win a parley outright by reaching one extreme end
or the other of the scale.
How do you the cards tip the parley scale in your favor? Cards have an
influence score indicated in their upper right corner (image 5). This
tells you how much the scale will move and in whose favor. Positive
numbers move the scale toward you. Negative numbers move the scale away
from you. We'll cover why a diplomat in his right mind would give the
advantage to his opponent in the Advanced section. For now, just know
that you want to end parley with the scale tipped in your favor, and
you use cards to influence the scale.
This first Diplomacy lesson also includes information about how to use
the cards and understand there features. Image 6 below contains many
notes to help you out. First, you can play a card by clicking on it and
then clicking the speak button in the parley window (blue lines on
image 6). Each card has a refresh timer shown on the bottom right of
the card, meaning you may have to wait several rounds before you can
play it again. Timers can be static or a random number in a range (lime
lines on image 6). It is completely possible that you will not have any
cards ready to play on your turn and have to choose the listen option
on the parley window (yellow lines on image 6). And as I will not in
Flesh to Stone, Listen can be a pretty good option even if you have
cards ready to play.
We'll look at more of the notes on image 6 in just a bit.
- The Parley Scale
- Card features
Your trainer will go on to explain that some cards have a cost required
to put them into play (Magic, Pokèmon, Yu-gi-Oh players will get
this). This cost is called Expression
and it comes in four types:
Demand, represented by red dots; Reason, illustrated by green dots;
Inspire, shown by blue dots; and Flatter, the yellow dots. Each of
these types can be seen below in images 7-10.
You gain the Expression needed to play a card when your opponent plays
a card. See, in addition to the influence your card has over the parley
scale, it also gives Expression to you and/or your opponent. The dark
green lines in image 6 highlight the fact that the Snippet of Wisdom
card gives the opponent one Expression point in each of the 4
Images 11-15 show you the dialog exchanged between my trainer and me.
It says basically the same thing I've said, but this is dense material;
it doesn't hurt to read the words again. Note that you don't have to
try to read all of the dialog during the parley. You can just
concentrate on winning and then read the text. In fact, you may find
yourself in a parley where you have a limited time to respond to your