As with any roleplaying game, some events and situations can be just acted out; characters interact with each other and with NPCs. But also as with any game, sometimes there needs to be a mechanical way to determine which side prevails in some contest. In Whitewolf LARP, games of Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS, also called chops) are used to implement randomness. The relative strengths of the contesting parties are reflected by the right to call for a rematch game of RPS (called a retest), and by the use of each party's relevant number of temporary traits to determine who wins a tied chop. The basic procedure is as follows:
- One party (the aggressor) declares their challenge. A determination is then made what type of traits the aggressor and defender are using. Usually, the two will be the same, but not always. The determination is made by rules governing that type of challenge, the book writeup for the power or ability, or rarely, ST discretion.
- Each party selects one named trait in the appropriate subcategory to risk. This is called “bidding” a trait. If the challenge is lost, this named trait will be the one lost, and cannot be bid unless it is regained through some power or ability. If the trait type is not Physical, Social, or Mental, it does not have named traits, and the player is excused from this requirement.
- Each party MAY call as many appropriate negative traits as they wish. For every trait that the other party has, that party must bid an additional trait, which will be lost as well if the challenge is lost. However, for every trait called falsely, the caller must bid an additional trait. Negative traits may be on a character's sheet, granted by a totem or other power, or may be characteristic of an item. If the opposing party's appropriate trait is not Physical, Social, or Mental, it does not have named traits, and a player may not do this.
- The parties play a game of RPS, or “throw chops.” If the parties tie, the winner of that chop is whoever calls more traits in their own relevant category(Physical, Social, Mental, or Temper). The aggressor must call first, and both parties may call FEWER than they truly have. If the parties have the same number of traits, the result is called a “push.” If a push is the final result of a Challenge, what happens depends on the type of Challenge:
- If the Challenge is the more typical kind, with an aggressor and defender, the defender wins.
- Less common is a "contested Challenge," which is when 2 parties are acting aggressively against each other at the same time. In a push, the aggressive actions fail, and both parties lose all bid traits.
- If no one calls for a Retest, the result of this chop is the result of the Challenge.
- The loser of the chop may call for a rematch (called a Retest) if he or she has something that gives them a Retest. A nearly exhaustive list of sources of Retests is below. The most common source of a Retest is an Ability:
- If the aggressor is doing something attached to an ability, and they actually possess that ability, they may spend a dot of that ability for a retest. The defender may do the same, though depending on the challenge, different abilities have to be used by each party.
- A dot in an ability is LOST (for the night) if used for a retest, regardless of the outcome of the challenge.
- If a party uses an ability for a retest, and the other party has not yet used an ability for a retest in the current challenge, instead of submitting to the rematch, the party may simply spend an appropriate ability to cancel the retest, in which case both ability dots are lost, and no rematch game of RPS takes place.
- In any single challenge, no party may have more than 1 total of cancels and retests from abilities.
When a retest is to be done, redo step 4. Unless otherwise stated (rare) each party is entitled to as many retests as they want, provided they have things that give them, and subject to 5.4 above. The outcome of the LAST chop determines the outcome of the challenge.
The following is a list of nearly all possible sources of retests
- Abilities - See above. To reiterate, only 1 Ability may be used per challenge, as a retest or as a cancel, player's choice. This restriction is UNIQUE to abilities.
- Magic items - This includes fetishes, talens, and any other magic item, weapon, etc. that a character has.
- Merits, Gifts, and Rites - Usually only in certain circumstances or on certain types of challenges, and usually requiring some expenditure. Keep in mind that rites take time to cast, and so you will only be allowed a retest from a Rite if it was already performed BEFORE the current challenge.
- Overbid - If a character believes that he/she has MORE THAN twice the traits as the opposing party, he/she may ask for this. If he/she does not, however, an additional trait is automatically bid.
- Ranged - Any party using a ranged weapon may use this retest. Ranged may be canceled with Ranged.
- Surprise - If an aggressor surprises their target, then they may use this Retest. There are 2 ways to gain the right to use this Retest: an ST may look at the situation and tell you you have it (you may need to ask), or if the target is a player, you may count slowly "Surprise 1, Surprise 2, Surprise 3" before making your Challenge, unless of course the target reacts to your counting before you finish.
- Tempers - Certain challenges are amenable to sheer force of self, such as challenges to subvert a player's will (can be defensively retested with WP) or Rage Heal Challenges (may be retested with Rage). When using a Temper Retest, one dot of that Temper is lost.
- Totem Advantages - Certain Tribes and Pack Totems grant special types of Retests. The most infamous is the Silver Fang Social Retest, which is a Final Retest (See below). If a Tribe or Totem simply gives Abilities, this category is NOT applicable.
- Final Retests - Certain Retests, once resolved, may NOT be retested, by either party. The phrase "The results of this retest always stand" or a similar phrase usually accompanies these retests.