Strife, also known as Grief for the trolls, is the command used in Homestuck and Hiveswap to have a character initiate combat with a hostile presence. Combat can be non-fatal and can last multiple rounds.
During Strife, opponents face-off against each other and the player issues commands to their player character. Different characters possess other battle options, such as Rose's ability to Aggrieve (passively) and Abstain and John's ability to Accede. Notably, all known battle commands begin with the letter "A".
It's possible that battle commands are classed by color-coding. Basic offensive commands are shown in green, harsh offensive commands in red, defensive commands in blue, taunts in yellow, special-case commands in purple, and Abscond in magenta. However, due to the nature of the game, these standards may be bent and broken at any time and by any character. For instance, Jade's battle commands during Strife with Becquerel imply offense, yet they are colored purple. Then again, the commands' wordings, coupled with the overall outcome of Strife against Bec, indicate that Jade was simply playing with Bec and knew that she wouldn't be able to hurt him, thus making them special-case commands.
It is probable that when the player is not in control of a character's actions, such as two of Dave's player character acts freely without the need for input commands., the commands are set to either Assail or Assault and the
Known Battle Commands
- Accede ()
- Aggress (Passive) ()
- Arraign ()
- Arsenalize ()
- Artillerate ()
- Armamentify ()
- Arf ()
- Aggrub ()
- Main article: Strife deck
A player is restricted for the most part to using the Kind Abstratus selected in his or her Strife Specibus, which can be set either by selecting an option from a lengthy dropdown list or by allocating an appropriate item to the Specibus. (However, the item must first be captchalogued - it cannot be placed in the Specibus directly from the player's environment.)
John sets his Kind Abstratus to hammerkind and finds himself unable to change it. His ability with hammers is initially rather poor, largely due to his strength being insufficient to wield a sledgehammer effectively on multiple occasions. He resorts to weaponizing his Sylladex in Strife instead. John acquires the bunnykind Strife Specibus, which was dropped by a Shale Imp, and stores it in his strife deck alongside the hammerkind Specibus. He later adds an "umbrellakind" Strife Specibus, which had been , although this specibus is never seen in use.
Rose's Kind Abstratus is set to needlekind using her Knitting Needles. Rose is slightly more adept at combat than John and is able to deal a series of attacks against her mother. However, her mother's Blotto-Parry easily evades the assault. Alchemization provides her with more powerful magic-based needles.
Dave's Kind Abstratus is set to bladekind prior to the events of Homestuck, presumably through the list on the back of the card. His skill with bladekind weapons is remarkable, to say the least, but Dave's skill pales in comparison to that of his Bro, who easily dodges or counters all of Dave's attacks. In a particular Strife with Bro, Dave's Strife Specibus is damaged and cut in half, changing his Kind Abstratus to ½bladekind.
Jade's Strife Specibus is set to riflekind, as there would be hell to pay if her Grandpa found her outside the house without a good firearm equipped. As a result, she is an excellent markswoman. She assures Grandpa that the rifle she currently has allocated to her riflekind card "is a perfectly deadly gun [that] shoots lots of incredibly deadly bullets".
The guardians easily use whatever is at hand during Strife and all are far more skilled in combat than their charges. John's Dad wields safes, lighters, shaving cream and cakes in addition to fighting unarmed. Dave's Bro uses Lil Cal, lightning speed, a sword, and, again, unarmed combat all with equal effectiveness. Rose's Mom uses alcohol offensively and defensively, yet also possesses the vague moneykind Abstratus, giving her the ability to summon at will anything which she can afford (which is plenty). Becquerel possesses the power to warp reality. He can seemingly alter physical objects to his will and can even change time and space itself. Grandpa uses his rifle on a Copper Giclops on LOWAS, but he is unable to kill it before it absconds.
Equius' fistkind specibus implies that unarmed combat requires you to captchlogue certain body parts and apply them to your strife specibus. How this would be achieved is unknown. A possibility is that he ripped an arm off a robot he created and allocated that, or given that he is a troll of particular STRENGTH, someone's actual arm. It remains unclear if it would be necessary to do so as it seems rather stupid to have to allocate a Specibus to fight without a weapon in the first place.
Strifes, while present in Hiveswap, are mechanically very different from how they appear in Homestuck, acting more like a puzzle of evasion, rather than a mechanic for actual combat. Instead of using battle commands, the player uses items in the Sylladex, or character-specific abilities to distract or evade enemies, or trick them into attacking other enemies. As these Strife sequences act as puzzles, there is a set sequence of actions required to completing every strife sequence. Kind Abstratuses appear to still be present, but have lesser emphasis than in Homestuck.