Let's imagine this being for a game like Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry or a similar very popular fantasy rpg.
When you want to have a cooking competition, argument or another conflict not covered by the combat system, do like this. Decide who is "attacking" whom, and exactly what is the expected outcome of anyone winning. Then decide which stat you are going to start to use in the conflict. Divide the stat by two, this is the amount of points or tokens you start with. Use dice or poker chips, or write it down.
Now, explain to the GM what you are doing this round, role play as much as you like. (Option: if you and your players like to act it out, you might now give a small bonus, -2 at the most, to the roll). Roll 1d20 below the stat you have chosen, both of you. Since the "attacker" and defender might want to use very different stats, work out a way for it to make sense in the game world. Now pick and action, and bet any amount of your tokens. There are four different actions you can choose. For most effect, choose secretly and then reveal.
- attack +1 to the roll
- defend -1 to the roll
- probe you don't loose anything
- all out defence loose one less, -1 to roll
- all out attack gain one extra, +1 to roll
The results then. If you fail, you loose your bet. If you succeed and the opponent loose, you gain the lost bet. If you crit, i.e. roll below 3, you gain another token in addition to any other effect. First player to loose all tokes loose the conflict.
Will it be very cumbersome? Maybe. Will it be fun? Well, it seemed to work in Savage Worlds.
I imagine it could be used for prolonged conflicts, where each turn is hours, days or even longer stretches of time. Also, I guess it could be used for almost anything, mass combat or court intrigue.
One of these days, I'm testing it. Let me know if you have tried something similar (like the rules in Shark Bytes), or even test this set of rules.