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Mark Hall
2012-10-22, 11:24 AM
So, the PvP Diplomacy thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259068) trotted out an old chestnut that goes, essentially, "You don't make people demonstrate their sword skills, so why do you make them play out social interactions."

I truly dislike this saying. Partially because it is false. We do not make people act out each sword swing, but that's partially because a single roll of the die is not a single swing of the sword... it represents several feints, parries, and that one good opening. You miss a beat, lose the rhythm, and nothing falls into place... and you've rolled a 1, even though you "can't miss". What we insist on is tactics, and bad tactics will bring you down. Bad tactics are what makes people fear kobolds. Bad tactics is what leads to a TPK against low-level enemies who were willing to use good ones. Good tactics won't save you from defeat against a wildly superior foe... your 1st level party isn't going to take down a Great Wyrm Red just because you remembered to flank him... but they do tip the balance more in your favor.

In many game, combat is only partially about sword skill. Sure, the 10k5 guy is ALWAYS going to win against the 1k1 guy in L5R combat... or, at least close enough to always to be mathematically indistinguishable. But when opponents are roughly evenly matched, a lot more comes down to tactics... to eking out every possible bonus from your tactics, giving you each little edge you can. The 1k1 guy is best served by learning tactics that will give him every iota of bonus, because while 10k5 is likely gonna whup him, he can make it as hard as possible for him to do so.

Similarly, however, is social interaction. Sure, having a +20 Diplomacy modifier means you're pretty much always going to win against the +3. Even if he rolls his best, you have to roll 3 or less for him to have even a chance of beating you. But that means that the low-modifier guy, if he's going to get into combat with your silver tongue and asbestos hide, needs to build up every possible bonus... and, sometimes, that involves going off the reservation.

Tactics. In combat, there are all sorts of tactics. Get the high ground. Have somebody flank your opponent; even if they don't attack him, they make your job easier. Blind your opponent. Conceal your moves. Do the unexpected. Engage your opponents emotions so they get in the way. Go where he can't follow, or wear armor he can't penetrate. There are a lot of mechanics resolved around this. Flanking is a +2 bonus. If you make your opponent move, he doesn't get a full attack. If you Intimidate him or Bluff him, you get combat advantage. If you fly away and he can't fly, he certainly won't be hitting you with a sword, now will he? We are all familiar with these things.

Similarly, though, in social interactions, if you've got a bad score, you need to have the bonuses to improve your situation. Evidence. A good enough Honor rating that he thinks twice about attacking you. Allies who will watch your back and, even if they don't attack him, are still there to watch him. Most gamers, IME, think about these things, too... but they fail to use them, or demand bonuses for them.

So your fighter doesn't have much of a diplomacy score. Intimidate them, drive their ability to resist you down. Have the rogue dig up some juicy gossip that you can throw at them. Heck, preempt the entire conversation by challenging them to a duel in YOUR arena. A player who fails to engage in these actions as part of social combat is no different than a character who stands in the middle of a fight, not attempting to use positioning, feats, or other abilities to his advantage

Because we don't penalize people for not being Conan, but we do penalize them for not being Bobby Fischer. If they fail to use strategy and tactics, and boil everything down to a single die roll, they are going to fail if they're at a significant disadvantage. Not every time; they may pull that 1 in 400 chance where they pull a 20 and their opponent pulls a 1; but they're going to fail more often than not. And a player who does not think tactically about social combat, for all that they may be playing Rain Man instead of Dustin Hoffman, is going to get whalloped in social combat.

I realize there are generalities, and that there's always crazy DMs on either outlier... the kind who give you everything for a roll, and the kind who turn every gaming session into a Stanislavskian gulag. We all have stories about them... but we have stories about them because they're horrible GMs.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-10-22, 11:52 AM
Interesting corollaries from that, actually, and it made me more clearly define how I view social conflict. And why I like Burning Wheel's model a lot.

Good social conflict shouldn't emulate a blow-by-blow argument, which is where it falls apart for many people. I think it's totally fine (and sometimes preferred) to abstract out a social conflict. In fact, I think that gamers need to be more comfortable with not playing something out line-by-line.

Second observation: tactics. I think that a good tactics system is the most important part of social conflict. What do social tactics look like? A good social conflict system should include a means to elegantly reward players for good tactics.

And I don't necessarily mean "you gain circumstantial bonuses for having evidence or leverage". That's no different than saying "you may take a movement action to gain a +2 circumstantial bonus to your combat roll". (Which could be an interesting idea, it actually reminds me of Apocalypse World.) If combat is given a tactical maneuvering system, social conflict can easily have one too.

This is where I discuss Burning Wheel. I like Burning Wheel's "Duel of Wits" because it fulfills both criteria. You abstract an argument into "volleys", where the dice determine the effect of each volley. There are also tactics involved: you have a Rock-Paper-Scissors sort of dynamic, and your current situation dictates how risky you can afford to be with your choice.

I'd like to see systems include some nod to the actual maneuvering of social interaction. It's a lot more complex and subtle than "I talk him into letting us pass".

Water_Bear
2012-10-22, 06:31 PM
I like roleplaying social interactions. When I'm a Player I try to talk to every NPC I can, conversations debates whatever, and I usually try to negotiate or barter whenever I get the oppertunity. As a DM I love making villain speeches, pre-recorded illusory halves of conversations, and obviously RPing any random NPC the players run into. I try to be in-character while also making the best points I can and generally working the conversation towards whatever goal the character has at the moment.

But I can't really justify penalizing other people for not doing that.

There really are people with poor social skills, whether from autism or just from social isolation in childhood/young-adulthood, who cannot be expected to keep up with their 18 Charisma Sorcerer. I've seen a lot of Players like this, people who really have a hard time with ordinary day-to-day interactions with the people around them, and they just want to have fun at the table without having their nose rubbed in that fact. No-one's sense of verisimilitude is worth taking that away from someone.

As a DM, I'll let Players talk tactics OOC to coordinate and make sure they're using their abilities efficiently, and I let people know if they're going to make a mistake their character would recognize. If players are bad at arithmetic, bad at CharOp, bad at tactics, every DM I've ever seen would cut them a break or at least get someone else in the Party to help them. Why in the world is social interaction so much more important than these that we can't let someone just roll the dice and see how they did?

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-10-22, 10:49 PM
As a DM, I'll let Players talk tactics OOC to coordinate and make sure they're using their abilities efficiently, and I let people know if they're going to make a mistake their character would recognize. If players are bad at arithmetic, bad at CharOp, bad at tactics, every DM I've ever seen would cut them a break or at least get someone else in the Party to help them. Why in the world is social interaction so much more important than these that we can't let someone just roll the dice and see how they did?
Um...couldn't you do the same for a social situation?

Otherwise, flipside, I could say "why in the world is combat so important..." etc.

The thing is, the relation between combat and social mechanics is very asymmetrical. What boils down to a single roll in the social side is preceded with large amounts of tactics and setup in combat. Why not both?

TuggyNE
2012-10-22, 11:14 PM
So, the PvP Diplomacy thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259068) trotted out an old chestnut that goes, essentially, "You don't make people demonstrate their sword skills, so why do you make them play out social interactions."

I truly dislike this saying. Partially because it is false.

Oddly, I disagree with your conclusion (presented up front), but as far as I can tell, the entire rest of your argument is fine. Mind filling me in on just why you consider that statement false?

In particular, you seem to be arguing rather well for a moderately-abstracted view of social interaction, where it's necessary to keep track of roughly what your character is claiming, arguing, or ducking, but the die rolls largely govern the final results (with copious circumstance modifiers added to represent the player's skill in maneuvering at a higher level). Which, I would argue, isn't making them play out social interactions in the sense often objected to, because it specifically relies on character skill to make the final determination.

Mark Hall
2012-10-23, 12:11 AM
Oddly, I disagree with your conclusion (presented up front), but as far as I can tell, the entire rest of your argument is fine. Mind filling me in on just why you consider that statement false?

Editing got to that one a bit. Basically, we don't make people play out sword skills because sword skills are, for the most part, irrelevant to the game, with tactics being far more relevant.

NichG
2012-10-23, 12:39 AM
With regards to the argument about variances in player ability:

As a DM, I really want the players to be clever, creative, inspiring, witty, and all those other things that are honestly difficult to do. The reason is that such things bring the game much closer to what it is in some sense emulating, and it improves the experience for everyone at the table. When I read a book, I'm going to be more interested if the author comes up with an honestly clever way for the hero to trick the villain than if the author makes the villain take a pratfall because its the only thing they can think of.

So what it comes down to is, I will help players who are having problems, but with the goal of eventually helping them improve and be able to do these things on their own. I'm willing to give handicaps, to give hints, to demonstrate social (or optimization, or combat tactics) techniques, and so on in order to make this happen.

But at the end of the day, I want to reward the ones who add to the game by putting real cleverness, real compelling speech behind the numbers and the scenario. I want players to keep doing clever things - really, seeing what zany, amazing, incredible, etc stuff players can come up with in a pinch is really what the game is about to me. This means creating an environment where players cannot participate entirely independent of their own ability. There are lots of things that can be done to help people catch up, or to normalize difficulty for the ability of the table as a whole, but when it comes down to it I want good players or at least players who are willing to try to improve.

I'll admit that nothing I've said so far wouldn't apply to a game that required players to swordfight in real life to resolve combats. However, I somehow feel its easier to teach and coax out mental abilities than physical abilities. There's a lot of muscle memory, strength training, etc, etc that gets in the way of doing it physically. That said, I've played with a GM who proposed a push-up rule (get a +1 bonus on a given roll after seeing the result per push-up you do). It wouldn't treat me well, but its at least an interesting (if somewhat arbitrary) idea. I've also been in a somewhat Call-of-Cthulhu-esque game where it was proposed that instead of rolling dice to determine if you're terrified, you can opt to take a fear challenge of the GM's choosing (which you can always bow out of and default to the roll). Things like 'I've left a bag of dice in the attic. Fetch them with the light off', 'go view an image on this website', etc.

TuggyNE
2012-10-23, 01:09 AM
Editing got to that one a bit. Basically, we don't make people play out sword skills because sword skills are, for the most part, irrelevant to the game, with tactics being far more relevant.

OK, fair enough. I suppose the real question is then primarily a matter of taste: are player social skills the point of the game, or not? I prefer a game in which social tactics are still important, but not specific phrasing etc for the most part; I think I've also made something of a case that that should be the default in D&D-like games.


But at the end of the day, I want to reward the ones who add to the game by putting real cleverness, real compelling speech behind the numbers and the scenario. I want players to keep doing clever things - really, seeing what zany, amazing, incredible, etc stuff players can come up with in a pinch is really what the game is about to me. This means creating an environment where players cannot participate entirely independent of their own ability. There are lots of things that can be done to help people catch up, or to normalize difficulty for the ability of the table as a whole, but when it comes down to it I want good players or at least players who are willing to try to improve.

Hmm, that's a decent counterargument for why it can be fun to switch to a player-skill-required game. I don't really have much to say to that except what I've already said, and to note again that I don't think this should be assumed as the default. :smallsmile:

kardar233
2012-10-23, 04:19 AM
Coming from a free-form background, I don't like the use of dice in social situations in general.

This is an example interaction from one of my games. My character, Aliza, has finally discovered that the lord of the house she wants to take over is a spy for an opposing kingdom. She steps out of her hiding place, uses a hurled dagger to destroy his runestaff and then...



Aliza: Hello, Lord Mulgrum. Or should I say, Koldun Kapitan Alexey Vasilyev?
Alexey: It took you long enough. You're not bad, though.
Aliza: Thank you. Let's lay it out, shall we? I want this fief. I'm not particular about how I get it. I had your son poisoned and pinned it on you, using the poison you used to kill the wives who could have outed you.
Alexey: Yes, he was a tough one. He got all the way back here with enough strength to attack me, so I had to ice him. You could have used a stronger dose.
*Aliza curtseys.*
Aliza: My deepest apologies. Now, if I want this fief, the most straightforward way would be for me to kill you, out you as the spy and claim it as my reward.
Alexey: You think you can take me?
Aliza: I'm pretty sure, yeah. You think you can dodge this iron rod when it's coming at you at ten times the speed of a cannon shot?
Alexey: If you were going to do that, you would have done it already.
Aliza: Yeah. I'm not a fan of doing things straightforwardly. Now, I've told the authorities that it was your son who was the spy, and that you poisoned him because you found out and didn't want a scandal. I could let you go, stick to the official story, and you could head back to your Motherland in peace on "retirement".
Alexey: Why would you do that? You've got the opportunity to out a veteran spy, red-handed.
Aliza: Because I look long-term, and I realize that what's better than a new fief is a new fief and friends in Ayn Vanar's court. I've got big plans. So, what do you say?
Alexey: Agreed.


Now, that's pretty much bald of flattery and speech tricks. It's basically just laying out the situation that Aliza has set up.

In a situation like this, there should be no chance for failure. The character of Alexey has been defined as a cold, logical man, and there's no way he would throw his life away when there's a better offer.

Here, Alexey (despite being an NPC) has the same kind of defined mindset that a PC has. There isn't room for using Diplomacy or similar against PCs because (disregarding the OOC concerns about control of the character) that PC's personality dictates that they are going to act that way; that personality happens to be controlled by a player behind that. I don't see why NPCs should be any different.

Totally Guy
2012-10-23, 04:29 AM
In the other thread you said that the method depended on the type of game and I think that shows a good level of understanding. But it also means that you can't generalise with a thread like this. You need to be specific about what type of game you're talking about.

I think that games that support a thing can be played with that thing. Games that don't support a thing can be played without the thing being a focus of play. But that's not a particularly interesting opinion.

Madeiner
2012-10-23, 05:59 AM
In a situation like this, there should be no chance for failure. The character of Alexey has been defined as a cold, logical man, and there's no way he would throw his life away when there's a better offer.


Diplomacy is used to convince someone to do something they normally wouldn't want to. If your character proposes something, and the NPC like this one decides on his own accord that it is the right choice, you dont need to roll anything.

If the NPC in question was a murderous barbarian, then i would have let you roll diplomacy, at a high penalty in this case, to "convince" him to listen to you and do as you say.

scurv
2012-10-23, 06:28 AM
I distinguish between by Dice Roll Play groups and my role-play groups

If its roll-play or if we are in roll-play mode (it happens to the best of us) Dice rolls for social situations can be acceptable, with in reason. Let me paint a picture to illustrate this.

You are in the center of your maze, and this ragged and very bloody motley-crew advances on you in formation, Their leader (you think) Is this huge mass of muscle with a 5 cha and a 22 str (I do permit low cha to have a positive effect in some situations...like this one Lets be real, do you want to pick a fight with the person who has a face that looks like hamburger?) Walks upto your position headless of your drawn weapons, Though the people behind him are well armed and ready to strike. And he looks down at you and simply grunts.

Now although all of the above may not be explicitly stated in rp, That is what the npc's are seeing and knowing. and it is what I would take into account. Although in roll play....Well let us just say dialogue from pc's is not why I would do roll play. (on those rare times it is normally just trying to make it though a crawl)



In the more role-play situated groups, I accept that not every player is as able to express them self as others. I personally am well familiar with that
from both the LD (edit) student (/edit) and the support helper roll (not by choice!) . What I care about is effort. Very few people lack the full spectrum of social and intellectual skills to fully handy cap them in that regard. If the player needs to step oocly for a moment to explain what they want. so be it, But as a social and talk/text based game, I want social interaction to be the basis of decision making.

This is why I have a sit down with each player when we draw up their chars. Quite often people who have issues expressing them self, Still are very capable of observation and reasoning skills. I will be the first to say that life is not fair and neither am I, But I am reasonable, As long as the player is making an effort we can work that. I am not allergic to a little coaching of the player and I do keep tabs, If there IRL social skills handicap them to a certain extent in regards to other pc's, I try to toss them a bone later.

Now understand, I came up in an LD program due to my lack of social skills. So that being said I am use to dealing with the spectrummy personalty's. Granted I fully understand how taxing it can be to deal with those. But if you are wishing to deal with socially inept players. here is a simple rule of thumb that works.

Be blunt, Blunt to the point of being slightly on the rude side.
Have them tell you, what you just told them.
Do not hint, It will be missed.
Accept that there is going to be some hurt feelings, Just do not make it personal.
And act early. It does a favour to all concerned.

Thinker
2012-10-23, 06:32 AM
I do like the idea of adding tactics and extending negotiations. I have always been dissatisfied with the single roll that is used in most systems to resolve any sort of conflict. Even telling a lie should require more than just opposed rolls with added synergy. I don't think that the answer is to force players to roleplay the social situation though.

The players should be able to use tactics that the game should codify. Games discuss flanking, reach, charging, cover, concealment, disarming, grappling, tripping, and many other tactical decisions. They do not do the same for social situations. Therefore, it seems as though games should provide a codified list of negotiation tactics and the benefits of doing so. Luckily, Wikipedia has a list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negotiation#Negotiation_Tactics_2) of tactics used in negotiations. The article also discuss the importance of body language in resolving communications.

It shouldn't be too difficult to homebrew such a subsystem for a game that already has some rules for social interaction.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-10-23, 09:15 AM
In a situation like this, there should be no chance for failure. The character of Alexey has been defined as a cold, logical man, and there's no way he would throw his life away when there's a better offer.

Here, Alexey (despite being an NPC) has the same kind of defined mindset that a PC has. There isn't room for using Diplomacy or similar against PCs because (disregarding the OOC concerns about control of the character) that PC's personality dictates that they are going to act that way; that personality happens to be controlled by a player behind that. I don't see why NPCs should be any different.
In response to this bolded bit: why not? I find "there's no way ______" to be a rather limiting proposition when it comes to interesting stories. It's when our expectations are unexpectedly contradicted that stories are made. Characters shouldn't be completely predictable; they're complex creations with a number of motivations and aspects.

The dice are thrown to help us choose what prevails in a situation with so many variables. They are an abstraction of everything going on in the situation that could spiral out in ten different ways.

Embracing the unexpected and moving the story along that way does wonders for drama.

Slipperychicken
2012-10-23, 10:16 AM
Um...couldn't you do the same for a social situation?

Otherwise, flipside, I could say "why in the world is combat so important..." etc.

The thing is, the relation between combat and social mechanics is very asymmetrical. What boils down to a single roll in the social side is preceded with large amounts of tactics and setup in combat. Why not both?

Because many games don't have such extensive mechanics to encourage social strategy. If a game did have as many rules dedicated to social interaction as dnd 3.5e does to combat, you would see players optimizing social tactics, and arguing on these boards about which argument-presentation method is the best, or which mud-slinging tactic is most effective, and so on.

As it often is, though, the outcome of social interaction is almost entirely fiat. Optimization is impossible without an established conflict-resolution framework (i.e. rules), to objectively determine the effect of any social action. Establishing such a framework would allow players to strategize their social interactions effectively.

NichG
2012-10-23, 10:24 AM
Combat tactics and social tactics either supported by or ignored by the mechanics leads to sort of an interesting point. Namely, when you explicitly codify a list of things in mechanics then you can get paradoxical stories. What I mean by this is, certain things 'make sense' in our real-life intuition and experience and any codified list of mechanics only approximates and generalizes those (and then only to the best of the ability of the system designer). Different types of players will respond to these paradoxes differently, and it can be the source of a lot of strife at the table depending on how fixated someone gets on the one or the other.

For instance, player 1 is thinking using real-life intuition and decides that sneaking up on an enemy (Player 2) and holding a dagger to their back is really threatening. Player 2 knows that he is not helpless, only flatfooted, and that Player 1 is not a rogue, and that he can survive 1d4+Str damage, or even a full attack of those, so is completely unthreatened. Different people will favor Player 1's or Player 2's interpretation depending on their gaming philosophy, but both players are at least somewhat 'right' about their decisions - Player 1 is respecting the tropes of the story, and Player 2 is respecting the mechanics, and here they come into conflict.

One solution is to abstract enough away that you can narratively justify the success or failure of the attempt to cover up the paradox (e.g. Player 2 is unthreatened due to mechanical considerations, but its narrated as being the consequence of some unspecified fact like Player 2 mishearing the threat, or having confidence in his armor, or whatever). This narrative healing is used to good effect in some styles of roll-driven RP, where you roll and then use the roll to guide the conversation. However, if you're trying to make a more tactics-driven game, I'm not sure its the right direction to go in.

I think the key is to try to make mechanics that augment the things that we as humans are best at figuring out, rather than to try to replace them. Also, focus the mechanics on large-scale decision making and offscreen decision making. An example of some stuff from my campaign:


There's a PrC called 'Mastermind' which lets you 'have retroactively made some preparation you could do without serious risk a certain number of times per game'. So if you're playing out a trial scene or something, you could use this to 'have planted evidence' or 'have bribed the witness'. Things like that.

There's an added ability to Bluff for a 'Spy' PrC called 'Spin'. This lets you alter the story that people remember after a series of events, even if it doesn't let you alter the immediate impression. So for instance if a villain did something villanous he could try to use Spin to, in an abstract and global sense, pin it on someone else or at least get away with it in the public image. But he could still be convicted in a trial with direct witnesses - however, if he was good enough at Spin, he could even have the population ready to rebel at the unfairness of the court system.


I also like the earlier suggestion that Diplomacy can be used to determine, in a broad sense, how other NPCs view the person who goes against the suggested course of action. There's an interesting tradeoff there, and if you want to start putting mechanics to it that are more advanced than pass/fail skill checks you could imagine something like 'social HP' which directly correspond to how much the current social environment supports the character - how many favors, supporters, etc they have. If they are out of social HP, then they are completely vulnerable to the opinions others create of them (so you can frame them, paint them as a coward, whatever) unless they go along with your desires.

Gamer Girl
2012-10-23, 12:24 PM
I see social interactions as an important part of the game. But not the part of the game that is listed on table B-6 on page 134. Social interaction is the important part of the game as your sitting around a table with real people. An to role play is a huge part of the game.


If a player really wants to do the ''I roll a 20 and convince the guard to let me go'', I gently suggest that they might want to go play a video game. Then they can have fun in a world where every NPC just stands around with no life and waits for the player to speak to them. When you sit down at a role playing game, your gong to be expected to play a role in the game. Not roll your way through a game.

And tactics are important in combat, but both in and out of combat. In a true role playing game, you have to think out and plan before you take actions. Again, if you just want to endlessly fight monsters, who nicely sit and wait for you to approach them you might want to just play a video game.

navar100
2012-10-23, 02:22 PM
I see social interactions as an important part of the game. But not the part of the game that is listed on table B-6 on page 134. Social interaction is the important part of the game as your sitting around a table with real people. An to role play is a huge part of the game.


If a player really wants to do the ''I roll a 20 and convince the guard to let me go'', I gently suggest that they might want to go play a video game. Then they can have fun in a world where every NPC just stands around with no life and waits for the player to speak to them. When you sit down at a role playing game, your gong to be expected to play a role in the game. Not roll your way through a game.

And tactics are important in combat, but both in and out of combat. In a true role playing game, you have to think out and plan before you take actions. Again, if you just want to endlessly fight monsters, who nicely sit and wait for you to approach them you might want to just play a video game.

I agree a player should make some effort, but he doesn't have to compete for an Oscar or Tony Award to do so. It is enough to say what idea he is trying to get across. He could pay a bribe or convince the guard he's underappreciated to not be so loyal or use seduction then roll for success. For those players who can improvise a grand tale of speech hooray for them. They should still roll. For those players who can't, state the tactic used then roll. Neither way is BadWrongFun.

Thrawn4
2012-10-23, 03:25 PM
The right degree of abstraction is actually a matter of taste. On the one hand, you can have a very fair game that only relies on a characters stats. Every conflict is solved by one or more dice rolls, for example Lying, Charisma, Improvise and so one during a conversation. The downside here is that players have no decision whatsoever and basically play with statistics.
On the other hand you can also give incentives for the players to be involved into the game by solving conflicts through application of their real life skills, e. g. using their people skills or muscles instead of a dice. The downside here is that it is often unfair. People have different skills, and not all of them are useful in every campaign.
As nobody likes a game that is unfair or only about statistics, all games are somewhere in the middle of this scale. Most of them allow to make different decisions that influence the chances. Whether and where this decisions have a huge impact is dependant on the system and the house rules, but everybody adheres to rules that they consider fun. Some like the medieval-fight-monster-in-the-wilderness style and don't need complex systems for diplomacy, whereas others enjoy a witty discussion. Really a matter of taste.

BUT the reason why we don't ask players to apply their real life knowledge of swordfighting is because people in general would not like it, either because they just want to play a game without having to study a new subject, or because not everybody is familiar with it and this would be unfair.
However I am sure that if you found a group of players who all enjoy real life swordfighting anyway, they might actually like to involve their swordfighting in their campaign.

TL/DR: We apply social skills but not RL swordfighting because the former offers more much more incentives for most people.

Friv
2012-10-23, 03:38 PM
I see social interactions as an important part of the game. But not the part of the game that is listed on table B-6 on page 134. Social interaction is the important part of the game as your sitting around a table with real people. An to role play is a huge part of the game.

If a player really wants to do the ''I roll a 20 and convince the guard to let me go'', I gently suggest that they might want to go play a video game. Then they can have fun in a world where every NPC just stands around with no life and waits for the player to speak to them. When you sit down at a role playing game, your gong to be expected to play a role in the game. Not roll your way through a game.

And tactics are important in combat, but both in and out of combat. In a true role playing game, you have to think out and plan before you take actions. Again, if you just want to endlessly fight monsters, who nicely sit and wait for you to approach them you might want to just play a video game.

I'm going to repeat myself from the other thread:

If you let someone take Charisma and the Diplomacy skill, don't act shocked when they try to use it. :smallannoyed:

The idea that if someone would like their character to have versimilitude, they must be a video-game loving roll-playing freak is one of the most annoying fallacies I've ever encountered.

Guess what? I'm a decently charming guy, but I'm not capable of swaying crowds or convincing hostile people to sign on to my project. If I could do that, I'd be a millionaire and not a guy chatting on an online forum. The idea that I am forbidden from ever playing a smooth-talking conman because you've decided that I don't want to have character interactions is extraordinarily insulting. Maybe I just like playing conmen.

Baka Nikujaga
2012-10-23, 04:03 PM
Personally, I enjoy writing scripts beforehand for my players (or other players, if I get to play), listening to their reactions, and improvising as necessary. But, at the same time, I realize that not all of the people I play with may be capable of role-playing all of the aspects of their character. As an example, one player might be playing as a Paladin and can properly RP social interactions with either a single individual or a small group of individuals, but isn't confident in improvising either a rallying speech or threat against a large group. Similarly, a player might not be particularly good at improvising in any such situation but would still like to make such a character. To hold either of these facts against the respective player by either invoking penalties or denying them access to a skill seems a bit harsh and unfair.

To this end, I'll advocate for a system like the one that navar100 voiced. If the players feel up to the challenge, than it's important to let them improvise (or recite, if it was prepared beforehand) and, maybe, grant them some sort of bonus, if that player performed particularly well. But I think it's equally important to realize that not everyone enjoys participating in social encounters because, despite what may be written on the character sheet, the player, him or herself, might not feel that he or she is up to par.

NichG
2012-10-23, 04:38 PM
Similarly, a player might not be particularly good at improvising in any such situation but would still like to make such a character. To hold either of these facts against the respective player by either invoking penalties or denying them access to a skill seems a bit harsh and unfair.

...

But I think it's equally important to realize that not everyone enjoys participating in social encounters because, despite what may be written on the character sheet, the player, him or herself, might not feel that he or she is up to par.

Its always important at any table to establish what people at the table enjoy. Some people like tactical, challenging combat. Other people want to kick ass and not worry too much about the details.

I guess my question would be, if you have a player who doesn't enjoy participating in social encounters, what is the particular reason they have made a social character. If they truly dislike social encounters then it might be best to just put things in the game they do like, and avoid trying to test them with social encounters (while the players who do like it can shine there).

I guess I feel a bit like a player who doesn't enjoy social encounters but builds a character designed to mechanically defeat social encounters could be saying 'I don't want to bother with this, so I made it so my character can just defeat it without me having to engage in it'. If there's a mix of interests at the table, it might just be better to not try to force that player into social encounters. If everyone but that one player wants to do social encounters, then it might be worth considering if there's a fundamental conflict (i.e. one person is basically playing a different game than everyone else).

The other possibility is that the player wants to explore the fantasy that they are socially brilliant when they are personally not. In that case its an opportunity to help them actually learn some of those skills and improve. The DM has people respond positively to that character a bit more readily than others so that they feel encouraged to try, and then as they get better the DM can slowly remove that handicap.

I think that perceived 'harshness' and 'unfairness' is kind of hypocritical though. A player who can't grasp game mechanics very well is at a disadvantage when playing a game with mechanics, but we don't consider it 'unfair' for games to have mechanics because these players exist. Instead, we cooperate and help them improve or at least have something playable. If you're up front about the fact that you're playing a game about social interactions, I don't think its at all unfair to expect players to interact socially and for their personal skill in that to matter, just like amongst a group of chess player personal skill at chess can vary a lot.

I guess part of the reason that such things feel unfair to people is because the game is generally designed to be collaborative instead of competitive?

Gamer Girl
2012-10-23, 08:27 PM
If you let someone take Charisma and the Diplomacy skill, don't act shocked when they try to use it. :smallannoyed:

I'm never shocked. This is really one of the top five ways I often kill off a character. It's common enough for a player to try the ''rule the world with diplomacy'' trick and then they are shocked when the foes still attack and kill their helpless character.



Guess what? I'm a decently charming guy, but I'm not capable of swaying crowds or convincing hostile people to sign on to my project. If I could do that, I'd be a millionaire and not a guy chatting on an online forum. The idea that I am forbidden from ever playing a smooth-talking conman because you've decided that I don't want to have character interactions is extraordinarily insulting. Maybe I just like playing conmen.

Well, I just see Social Roll Playing to be a waste of time.

Player 1:"I walk into town and con everyone out of their money'' Rolls dice.
DM:"Wow, it's so much fun to sit here and watch you roll.''

I guess that is fun to someone, but not to me.

Zeful
2012-10-23, 08:33 PM
Well, I just see Social Roll Playing to be a waste of time.

Player 1:"I walk into town and con everyone out of their money'' Rolls dice.
DM:"Wow, it's so much fun to sit here and watch you roll.''

I guess that is fun to someone, but not to me.

Name a single game where the rules actually state that's what's supposed to happening? Without a single game that tells you that's what you're supposed to do, your argument has no merit because it's not the rules screwing things up- it's the DM.

Hiro Protagonest
2012-10-23, 08:40 PM
Well, I just see Social Roll Playing to be a waste of time.

Player 1:"I walk into town and con everyone out of their money'' Rolls dice.
DM:"Wow, it's so much fun to sit here and watch you roll.''

I guess that is fun to someone, but not to me.

Well, how would the other players feel as you and that one player acted out every single con?

If you want to play a game where players actually role-play their actions, play something other than D&D. D&D does not have stunt dice. It does not encourage role-playing during situations where a die roll is relevant. It is a small-scale tactical wargame. There are games with stunt dice, like the White Wolf ones. There is FATE, which has Aspects, and Cortex, which has Traits and specialization, which encourage the player to at least describe which route of persuasion he's taking. I think L5R is also good for this. But not D&D, not any edition of it.

valadil
2012-10-23, 08:43 PM
IMO, combat is the wrong comparison to make. You're better off comparing socials skills with other skills.

Let's say you're in a dungeon and the entire party falls into a 15 foot pit. You might make a climb check. Maybe you'll use a rope. If you're particularly worried about falling, you might even knot the rope.

So what's the difficulty of the climb check? Well that depends what you're doing. Climbing a wall is a different matter than climbing a rope. A knotted rope is just a little bonus. The point is, what you're rolling for depends on how you're going about making the check.

In my opinion social skills work the same way. If someone tries to roll diplomacy against a guard that's a different check than if they provide a convincing argument. Rolling the die with no demonstration or explanation of what you're trying to say is just like trying to scramble up the wall.

Keep in mind, I don't expect a player to have as smooth a delivery as the character they're playing. They don't even need to demonstrate what they're going for. I just want an explanation of how they expect the skill to work so I can figure out how successful they might be.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-10-23, 08:44 PM
Well, I just see Social Roll Playing to be a waste of time.

Player 1:"I walk into town and con everyone out of their money'' Rolls dice.
DM:"Wow, it's so much fun to sit here and watch you roll.''

I guess that is fun to someone, but not to me.
It's all in the presentation.

Medic!
2012-10-23, 08:47 PM
Something that hasn't been explicitly mentioned is the almighty DM's Best Friend, which comes into play very heavily with skill checks more-so than combat.

In combat, circumstance bonuses are pretty well fleshed out already (attack bonuses for a charge, for flanking, bonuses or penalties for being prone, on higher ground, etc).

In a social situation, what you say can have a pretty decent impact.
As an example, with convincing a guard to let you go:


PC: I'm sorry, Captain, my mother is deathly ill, and we don't have enough money for a doctor. I'll put the bread back, no harm done, right? I know it was wrong, and I'll work off the damages to the shopkeeper's door with him. Please don't take me to jail, as you can see I'm just a puny waif, it would destroy me!

PC makes his diplomacy roll, and the DM can either add some bonuses (at the most generous I'd say +2 for flattery calling the Lieutenant a Captain, another +2 for working off the damage *enforced by the guard*, and +2 for sympathy with the sick mother) +6 to your check ain't such a bad deal!

Conversely you could assess penalties: -2 for calling the Major a Captain, -2 because the Major hates being reminded of the plight of the filthy poor who'd rather steal than work, -2 for lying about your intention to fix the door.

Morithias
2012-10-23, 09:01 PM
Question for all the DMs who demand roleplaying charisma based skills.

What would you do if it was a class feature rather than a skill?

What if it flat out says YOU DON'T HAVE TO ROLL period?

I present, the propagandist's (champions of darkness) capstone.

"Information Dissemination (EX): At 5th level by combining this talent with his other skills a propagandist can put a "Spin" on news and events, to manipulate how people interpret those events. He can present a specific interpretation and make it sound plausible to the "masses" or downplay the implications of an event so that people either miss them entirely or dismiss them as not very likely. This ability also gives the propagandist a sense of timing as to when to release certain news in order to achieve the desired reaction. This ability has no roll, but relies on the DM's ability to incorporate the information into her story plot."

Ravenloft - Champions of Darkness, page 33.

What do you do? If you disallow this, your player might as well not taken the class, which makes charisma and social based classes useless. Everyone might as well play the tier 1 god clerics and wizards, since "I can level your city so surrender" is legit, while "I want to forge a diplomatic relation" depends on the autistic kid roleplaying a peace treaty like a diplomat rather than a disabled kid having a good time.

I like charisma based classes, it helps that I had a lot of drama training, but most people don't. Most people aren't trained actors, they're a bunch of people with a hobby that involves sitting around a table and talking in funny voices.

Zeful
2012-10-23, 09:22 PM
Well, how would the other players feel as you and that one player acted out every single con?

If you want to play a game where players actually role-play their actions, play something other than D&D. D&D does not have stunt dice. It does not encourage role-playing during situations where a die roll is relevant.
Um, what? Did we even play the same game? Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Sense Motive, these are things that need roleplay to work properly, for the simple fact that the DM cannot read the player's mind to know the whos, whats, and wherefores. The player needs to explain why he's using the skill, what he's looking to get out of it, and then it's a small jump from an OoC explanation, to In-character role play.

Slipperychicken
2012-10-23, 09:29 PM
PC: I'm sorry, Captain, my mother is deathly ill, and we don't have enough money for a doctor. I'll put the bread back, no harm done, right? I know it was wrong, and I'll work off the damages to the shopkeeper's door with him. Please don't take me to jail, as you can see I'm just a puny waif, it would destroy me!


-10 because that's the kind of crap this guard hears every day of his life, and he's absolutely sick of lowlives like you wasting his time with excuses. The hatred and annoyance in the guard's eyes is palpable. He slams the cuffs so tight it feels like he's trying to cut them off, and you quickly lose circulation to your hands. As he presses you into a wall, he whispers in your ear:

"Once the inmates are done with you, you'll wish you were destroyed, scumbag"

Friv
2012-10-23, 09:31 PM
I'm never shocked. This is really one of the top five ways I often kill off a character. It's common enough for a player to try the ''rule the world with diplomacy'' trick and then they are shocked when the foes still attack and kill their helpless character.

Neat. In my experience, DMs who murder characters after a game has begun because they don't like their character builds, rather than behaving like rational adults and explaining their goals to the group ahead of time, are the worst DMs there are, and all of their players leave too soon for them to have a list of top five ways to kill them.

I guess we're just playing in different circles of people. *shrug*


Well, I just see Social Roll Playing

I was going to respond to this part, but then you used the phrase "roll playing" and my brain shut down.

Hiro Protagonest
2012-10-23, 09:31 PM
Um, what? Did we even play the same game? Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Sense Motive, these are things that need roleplay to work properly, for the simple fact that the DM cannot read the player's mind to know the whos, whats, and wherefores. The player needs to explain why he's using the skill, what he's looking to get out of it, and then it's a small jump from an OoC explanation, to In-character role play.

A small jump? It's hardly a small jump from "I seduce the barmaid" to actually acting it out, which is very, very hard to do for some people, just as actually swinging a sword with precision, speed, and power is very hard to do for many people.

And Sense Motive only requires anything on the DM's part, because they have to decide what quirk gives away the lie.

Zeful
2012-10-23, 09:47 PM
A small jump? It's hardly a small jump from "I seduce the barmaid" to actually acting it out, which is very, very hard to do for some people, just as actually swinging a sword with precision, speed, and power is very hard to do for many people.

And Sense Motive only requires anything on the DM's part, because they have to decide what quirk gives away the lie.

Right, pick the one instance where actually acting it out is uncomfortable for everyone involved, that totally destroys my point. It's a huge jump for that because what it actually involves- intimacy, self-confidence, wit- is difficult to just "turn on" (pun not intended) without preexisting chemistry. But for most scenarios that you'd use those skills for, all it takes is push them for more detail a couple of times and then suddenly engage him with in-character responses. Keep doing it (without penalizing them for not making the transition instantly or smoothly) and you're conditioning your players to expect the sudden transition into In Character dialog. That's why it's a small jump, it's just mindset.

Friv
2012-10-23, 10:11 PM
A small jump? It's hardly a small jump from "I seduce the barmaid" to actually acting it out, which is very, very hard to do for some people, just as actually swinging a sword with precision, speed, and power is very hard to do for many people.

And Sense Motive only requires anything on the DM's part, because they have to decide what quirk gives away the lie.

I think what he means is that it's a hard jump to do a lot of acting out, but it's not hard to say, "I walk up to the barmaid, compliment her hair, and order a drink in a flirtatious way", rather than "I seduce her." It still relies on a Diplomacy roll, but you can describe the scene in a way that lets people imagine exactly what's being said.

NichG
2012-10-23, 10:55 PM
There's an important difference between spotlight play and offscreen play that I think bears keeping in mind. That is to say, some things you abstract because the details really are unimportant and have become uninteresting to the table. For instance, shopping and haggling is usually an offscreen thing for most tables (though not all). It is an often-repeated task where the RP doesn't really change every time. If there were a special unique item on sale, or something plotty about the merchant, a GM might choose to promote that to spotlight. You can have offscreen play of things other than social encounters - mass combat, for example, usually involves an abstracted flowchart or subsystem to handle most of the fighting, because it'd be uninteresting (and impractical) to actually go and play out every single soldier's actions.

Spotlight play is when the details really matter or are interesting. This is in some sense the meat of the campaign, containing the moments that are relevant to everyone at the table whether or not you are actually driving the action at that point (at least, thats the ideal). A tense conversation with a villain who outclasses the party, trying to determine whether he will attack or leave the party be (and if any information can be finagled from him in the conversation); an argument before the king, the outcome of which will decide the direction of things to come; a conversation with the mysterious oracle.

Everyone is going to have their preference as far as how much mechanics belong in each thing, but I think that preference can logically differ for offscreen play versus spotlight play.

For instance, I tend to prefer RP-based social interaction rather than mechanically-based social interaction, but I like using mechanics for offscreen-type social interactions and RP for spotlight interactions. It means you don't get too hung up on the stuff in which the details are unimportant, and you can spend time on the important stuff.

That Ravenloft Spin ability is a good example of an ability that interacts with offscreen play. It might take speaking with thirty different people to start something like that off, and you wouldn't want to RP each individual conversation. Furthermore, the ability doesn't interfere with spotlight play. So at least at my table it'd be fair game.

Thinker
2012-10-24, 06:29 AM
Well, I just see Social Roll Playing to be a waste of time.

Player 1:"I walk into town and con everyone out of their money'' Rolls dice.
DM:"Wow, it's so much fun to sit here and watch you roll.''

I guess that is fun to someone, but not to me.

Sure. And so is this:
Player 1:"I walk into the dungeon and kill all of the monsters" Rolls dice.
DM:Wow, it's so much fun to sit here and watch you roll.

Good mechanics for social situations should be like good mechanics for combat. As Mark Hall spelled out in the first post, combat mechanics aren't a single roll of the die with no decision making and social mechanics should be no different. They shouldn't necessarily use the same methodology, but using tactics for a prolonged challenge, situational modifiers, and adding in flavor text to go with the mechanics would be fun.

I would envision social mechanics where a player arrives in town and tries to be given all of their money to go more like this (with good mechanics):

Player:"I see the beggar on the side of the road. I bet he's been given some coins lately. I walk up to him and ask him for his coins."
DM:"Both of you roll for first impression. Since you're new to town and no one knows you, you have no reputation bonus, but since you are wearing a royal crest, he recognizes you as a nobleman. The beggar has no social standing, nor any obvious rank, but he seems very charismatic."
<Beggar rolls 15, Player rolls 12>
DM:"The beggar doesn't seem to want to give you his money if he's not going to get anything out of it. He declares his goal to be wanting your cloak. Declare your goal."
Player:"My goal is to acquire all of his money."
DM:"Alright. So, based on first impressions and goals, the mutual goal is his money for your cloak and can be attained once you both have 5 points. He attains his goal if he gets 7 points and you attain yours if you get 10 points. Since he won the first impression, he gets one point and gets to act first. The beggar opens with Auction, saying 'Look, I've got an offer for a blanket from the innkeeper's wife and that's just as good as a cloak.' Roll for savvy."
<Beggar rolls 14, Player rolls 17>
Player:"If you already had an offer, you would have taken it by now, I call your bluff! I counter with Threat since he's a commoner and I'm wearing the noble's crest. Now give me all of your coin, knave!"
<Beggar rolls 6, Player rolls 19>
DM:"Well done. Since you beat him by 10, you gain 3 points plus the one for beating him before so now you have 4 and he has 1. It's his turn so he uses Flinch, responding 'You want all of my money?!?' He lets out a guffaw and says 'I ain't starving for no one.'"
<Beggar rolls 13, Player rolls 7>
DM:"He beat you by 5 so he gains 2 points. 4 to 3."
Player:"I'll use Snow Job then. I start telling him about all of the needs of my house and how every little bit helps. I start talking about long-term economics."
<Beggar rolls for intelligence, rolling a 9.>
DM:"The beggar's eyes glaze over and he can't seem to follow what you're saying. He takes a -2 to his roll."
<Beggar rolls 11, Player rolls 13>
DM:"You beat his roll by less than 5 so you only gain 1 point. 5 to 3. He squints up at the sun and uses Deadline, "I have an appointment with Father Cornelius over at the church so we need to wrap this up now. May I take the cloak with me?"
<Beggar rolls 2, Player rolls 18>
DM:"You beat his roll by 16 so you gain 4 more points. 9 to 3."
Player:"I tell him that I'll walk him to the church while he counts up his coin for me. I will use Brinkmanship and tell him that I will tell Father Cornelius about how he's a thief and a liar and that I saw him acting lewdly with a barmaid."
<Beggar rolls 17, Player rolls 6>
DM:"The beggar beat your roll by at least 10 so he gains 3 points. It's now 9 to 6. He seems to be severely agitated and shouts that he's never stolen or acted lewdly toward anyone. He also shouts that he's certainly not a liar. He says that he's willing to trade his coin for your cloak, but is unwilling to continue talking with you otherwise. Do you want to make the trade for his money?"
Player:"No. I like my cloak. Can I continue to try to take his coins?"
DM:"He seems unwilling to talk to you and ignores you on his way to Father Cornelius. You lose 1 reputation in this town."

I would like to come up with more effects than just rolling for using the tactics and maybe figure out a way to involve a game board to represent different positions, but something like that would be a workable system.

valadil
2012-10-24, 12:14 PM
What if it flat out says YOU DON'T HAVE TO ROLL period?
This ability has no roll, but relies on the DM's ability to incorporate the information into her story plot."


I'd let the player narrate the effects of the ability. I'm okay with sharing the narrative spotlight with a creative player. If the player isn't able to do that, I'm also okay with letting his class be weaker than intended.


Neat. In my experience, DMs who murder characters after a game has begun because they don't like their character builds, rather than behaving like rational adults and explaining their goals to the group ahead of time, are the worst DMs there are, and all of their players leave too soon for them to have a list of top five ways to kill them.


That seems a little harsh. Ever see a player claim his character was "waving his arms diplomatically" to indicate that he wanted to roll diplomacy to charm an enemy? It might work to stop a bar fight, but if the BBEG sends assassins against the party, I don't care what the PHB says about turning hostile enemies to fanatics. Someone who throws diplomacy at every single fight is eventually going to encounter something that can't be bargained with, and when that happens the diplomat will die. That's how I read Gamer Girl's post.

Gamer Girl
2012-10-24, 12:39 PM
Neat. In my experience, DMs who murder characters after a game has begun because they don't like their character builds, rather than behaving like rational adults and explaining their goals to the group ahead of time, are the worst DMs there are, and all of their players leave too soon for them to have a list of top five ways to kill them.

I don't care about builds(but you don't want to get me started). My house rules do warn players to not act like idiots, young punks, special snowflakes or worst of all video game players.



I was going to respond to this part, but then you used the phrase "roll playing" and my brain shut down.

Well, I don't like roll playing. The role playing story comes first, then the rolls to support that.

Friv
2012-10-24, 01:01 PM
That seems a little harsh. Ever see a player claim his character was "waving his arms diplomatically" to indicate that he wanted to roll diplomacy to charm an enemy? It might work to stop a bar fight, but if the BBEG sends assassins against the party, I don't care what the PHB says about turning hostile enemies to fanatics. Someone who throws diplomacy at every single fight is eventually going to encounter something that can't be bargained with, and when that happens the diplomat will die. That's how I read Gamer Girl's post.

I read Gamer Girl's post as constructing an elaborate strawman about how wanting to have social mechanics in a game means that I'm a mechanics-obsessed mouthbreather who doesn't deserve to be in her games, with no deliniation between the fairly vast gulfs of "I don't want any social skills" and "OMG I ROLL 20 HE LOVES ME".

It is possible that I am being a little harsh, but the fact that every time I suggest there's a middle ground she starts hauling out the old "roll-player" fallacy instead of actually discussing my arguments has rendered me increasingly disinclined to play along.

I made my arguments, she made hers, there is no way for our arguments to result in a civil discussion, and I don't think we're going to agree on anything.


The role playing story comes first, then the rolls to support that.

I stand corrected, we do agree on something. That is exactly how social mechanics should work.

NichG
2012-10-24, 01:13 PM
Sure. And so is this:
Player 1:"I walk into the dungeon and kill all of the monsters" Rolls dice.
DM:Wow, it's so much fun to sit here and watch you roll.

Good mechanics for social situations should be like good mechanics for combat. As Mark Hall spelled out in the first post, combat mechanics aren't a single roll of the die with no decision making and social mechanics should be no different. They shouldn't necessarily use the same methodology, but using tactics for a prolonged challenge, situational modifiers, and adding in flavor text to go with the mechanics would be fun.

I would envision social mechanics where a player arrives in town and tries to be given all of their money to go more like this (with good mechanics):

...

I would like to come up with more effects than just rolling for using the tactics and maybe figure out a way to involve a game board to represent different positions, but something like that would be a workable system.

Maybe this needs to branch off into yet another thread, but yeah, I think that a game of push-and-pull between numbers like that isn't really much deeper than a single roll to resolve, it just takes longer. It really needs qualitative effects, conditions, environmental considerations, and all the other stuff that makes combat rich.

Keeping to the whole offscreen philosphy, how about something like this example for conning a town:


Ogden Phelps walks into town with the goal of eventually conning the townspeople out of all their money. His initial situation, being new to town and travelling under the assumed name Horace Blankley, is:

Ambient Trust: -1 (small town, so it generally mistrusts strangers). If asking someone to take a risk, there is a minimum Trust that much be achieved - this trust is their personal level of trust plus the ambient level. Ambient trust can be raised by doing things to help the town, or by one point per year of residence there, up to a maximum of +3 (+6 if in a service job, such as the town priest or doctor). Personal trust can be raised by helping someone, getting them to help you, keeping promises, or interacting with them amicably for a period of time. A person's Greed lowers the threshold Trust for taking risks, but it must be 'paid for' with the promise of reward (whereas someone who is taking a risk purely based on Trust does so with no expectation of reward).
Fame: 0 (false identity, so he starts off at zero)
Infamy: 0/(2+Cha mod max) (the town is a small place, and so there is not much space for infamy to go unpunished or unreacted-to - as such, its base infamy max is 2, whereas a large city would be 5 or 6). All characters in town are aware of someone's Infamy score implicitly; whether it modifies their personal trust depends on their particular inclination. High Infamy can be good if you're trying to propose illegal activities, for example.

Ogden has the following abilities:
- Evaluate Mark: Can determine the target's Greed, wealth, and aversion to embarassment, which determine how easy it is to get them to bite on a swindle and how likely they are to report that they've been swindled. Using this on a target takes 1d4 hours of observation.
- Create Social Prop: Ogden can bribe or convince ambient NPCs to support his cons by pretending to know him, etc. Cultivating one such NPC from scratch takes a day, but reusing them is possible until they suffer a negative consequence of participation.
- What I Meant To Say Is: Ogden can immediately take back something he said once seeing the target's reaction to this. He can do this twice per day.
- False Identity: Ogden can attempt to shed Infamy by assuming a new identity. If successful, the new identity has zero infamy. However, if the connection between the identities is uncovered (e.g. someone beats his Disguise check with Spot), then he regains all the shed infamy plus one.
- All According to Plan: 1/game, Ogden can revise an aspect of his plan retroactively.

His primary enemy to his goals in the town is the local Sherrif, Markus Billings. Markus has the following abilities:
- Interrogate: 2/day Markus can ask a direct question of someone and if they refuse to answer or are discovered to be lying, their infamy increases by 1.
- Authority: Markus can legally arrest anyone with Infamy equal to or above the town's cap. Against a target whose infamy is double the town's cap, he can use lethal force at will.
- Receives Reports: If someone decides to report a crime or admit to a crime, Markus gets to know.
- Word on the Street: Markus knows the town's troublemakers, and has a general idea if they've been more active than usual.

Ogden starts by finding the town's center of gossip, the local diner. He sits there for a day, evaluating potential marks, and finds a moderately wealthy lawyer who might make a good target - the fellow is greedy and wants to get out of the small-time small-town stuff, and he needs to maintain his reputation, so if Ogden swindles him in the right fashion it might not get out.

Ogden decides that his scheme is going to be to ask the lawyer to act as executor of a fictitious estate, disbursing payments to charitable organizations and the like. The catch is that the estate is still somewhat in legal turmoil, but the need for payment is immediate; to make up for the inconvience, he is being promised an extra 50% on top of whatever he disburses, a somewhat shady though lucrative proposition. This will trigger the lawyer's Greed, and so instead of being at Trust -1, Ogden's Trust with the lawyer is 2. This isn't quite enough to get the lawyer to give Ogden the funds he wants, so he has to spend a few days getting to know the lawyer before springing the trap, as well as creating supporting evidence for his story.

Ogden uses his Create Social Prop ability to get a few NPCs to pose as belonging to these charitable organizations, and eventually to solicit the funds from the lawyer. Each NPC will be paid a portion of the funds they are to recover - this is a dangerous plan, as Ogden doesn't have complete loyalty from his Props, but he figures he will entice them to stay loyal by stringing the scheme out across multiple payments, so that stealing any one payment is not worth the reward that the NPCs will receive over the entire run. With these props as support, the lawyer is more likely to believe Ogden's story when the time comes (+1 Trust).

Finally, Ogden comes to the lynchpin point, selling the story to the lawyer. This is the only scene that must be RPed out in this sequence.

Ogden: My friend, could I ask for some legal advice? I've got a bit of a problem...
Lawyer: Certainly. I normally charge, you know...
Ogden: Of course, of course. This is more of a private matter, I don't really want it to be on the records though. Could I just buy you dinner at the local tavern, and we could discuss it there?
Lawyer (gets upset): I am the soul of privacy! What are you implying? (-1 Trust)

Ogden uses 'What I meant to say was'. Whatever he says next aside, any trust loss from the previous line is ignored.

Ogden: I mean to say, I don't want to get you involved in something dangerous. (this ends up being tricky for Ogden, as he has social props pretending to be charities, not debt collectors)
Lawyer: I see... Hm, thats very irregular. (but doesn't lose trust)
Ogden: (Phew). You see, I'm kind of in trouble. I made some promises to the Church of the Watchful Eye. My mother has been very ill, and she just recently passed away. I had promised to give them half the money from her estate, which I assumed I would receive in full, but my stepfather is contesting the will. Its a thorny matter.
Lawyer: I see. Those Watchful Eye people don't tolerate debts for long...
Ogden: Yes, exactly. Is there any way you can help me?
Lawyer: Well... perhaps (if the Lawyer agrees, it increases Trust by 1 due to helping Ogden). I could help represent you in the matter, for a fee.

Ogden activates his social prop and uses All According to Plan to change things around a bit.
Misc NPC wearing Watchful Eye garb: Horace Blankley! I thought I might find you here! The Eye of the Watcher falls upon you everywhere, you know.
Ogden: (pales) Look, I'm getting you the money.
Watchful Eye NPC: When we agreed to find your brother's killer, there was a price to be had. We know everything you've done, every skeleton in your closet Horacle Blankley, and if you don't pay up, so will the rest of the world.
Lawyer: I say, give the man a chance to pay you. His mother just died!
Watchful Eye NPC: We've got a church to build and offerings to make. Don't take too long. (Leaves)
Lawyer: Rude fellow! Well, it looks like you don't have much time.
Ogden: It seems not. Look, this has me over a barrel. My mother's estate can easily pay for this with room to spare, but I just don't have that money right now. If you help me defer the Watchful Eye, I'll give you half again of your outlay.
Lawyer: (Considers carefully. Mechanically, is his Trust of Ogden sufficient for the scam, factoring in his Greed? If so, a die roll may happen here). Okay, you have yourself a deal.

Game proceeds now, with Ogden extracting money from the lawyer, up until the point where either Ogden leaves town with the money, tries to change identities, or until Markus, awakened by Ogden's Social Prop usage, starts asking questions.


None of those abilities use die rolls, but you could easily put relative skills and skill checks in or whatever.

Morithias
2012-10-24, 01:13 PM
This is why I prefer mind control to diplomacy. Stack enough penalties from curses, unseelie fey, and other such tricks and it doesn't matter if the prince rolls anything but a natural 20, he's your boy-toy.

Plus Dms tend to be more open about it. "Okay so you blast him with a dispel magic to remove his ring of mind shielding, slap him with a monsterous thrall spell and then order him to remove any magical items that might prevent the spell from working." Is oddly more acceptable then. "I try to impress the Prince with an amusing joke, I roll a perform check."

I'm just saying, as far as a lot of DM are concerned, you're more likely to succeed if you basically force them into liking, marrying, and making kids with you, than if you actually try romancing them.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-10-24, 01:24 PM
Maybe this needs to branch off into yet another thread, but yeah, I think that a game of push-and-pull between numbers like that isn't really much deeper than a single roll to resolve, it just takes longer. It really needs qualitative effects, conditions, environmental considerations, and all the other stuff that makes combat rich.

Keeping to the whole offscreen philosphy, how about something like this example for conning a town:


Ogden Phelps walks into town with the goal of eventually conning the townspeople out of all their money. His initial situation, being new to town and travelling under the assumed name Horace Blankley, is:

Ambient Trust: -1 (small town, so it generally mistrusts strangers). If asking someone to take a risk, there is a minimum Trust that much be achieved - this trust is their personal level of trust plus the ambient level. Ambient trust can be raised by doing things to help the town, or by one point per year of residence there, up to a maximum of +3 (+6 if in a service job, such as the town priest or doctor). Personal trust can be raised by helping someone, getting them to help you, keeping promises, or interacting with them amicably for a period of time. A person's Greed lowers the threshold Trust for taking risks, but it must be 'paid for' with the promise of reward (whereas someone who is taking a risk purely based on Trust does so with no expectation of reward).
Fame: 0 (false identity, so he starts off at zero)
Infamy: 0/(2+Cha mod max) (the town is a small place, and so there is not much space for infamy to go unpunished or unreacted-to - as such, its base infamy max is 2, whereas a large city would be 5 or 6). All characters in town are aware of someone's Infamy score implicitly; whether it modifies their personal trust depends on their particular inclination. High Infamy can be good if you're trying to propose illegal activities, for example.

Ogden has the following abilities:
- Evaluate Mark: Can determine the target's Greed, wealth, and aversion to embarassment, which determine how easy it is to get them to bite on a swindle and how likely they are to report that they've been swindled. Using this on a target takes 1d4 hours of observation.
- Create Social Prop: Ogden can bribe or convince ambient NPCs to support his cons by pretending to know him, etc. Cultivating one such NPC from scratch takes a day, but reusing them is possible until they suffer a negative consequence of participation.
- What I Meant To Say Is: Ogden can immediately take back something he said once seeing the target's reaction to this. He can do this twice per day.
- False Identity: Ogden can attempt to shed Infamy by assuming a new identity. If successful, the new identity has zero infamy. However, if the connection between the identities is uncovered (e.g. someone beats his Disguise check with Spot), then he regains all the shed infamy plus one.
- All According to Plan: 1/game, Ogden can revise an aspect of his plan retroactively.

His primary enemy to his goals in the town is the local Sherrif, Markus Billings. Markus has the following abilities:
- Interrogate: 2/day Markus can ask a direct question of someone and if they refuse to answer or are discovered to be lying, their infamy increases by 1.
- Authority: Markus can legally arrest anyone with Infamy equal to or above the town's cap. Against a target whose infamy is double the town's cap, he can use lethal force at will.
- Receives Reports: If someone decides to report a crime or admit to a crime, Markus gets to know.
- Word on the Street: Markus knows the town's troublemakers, and has a general idea if they've been more active than usual.

Ogden starts by finding the town's center of gossip, the local diner. He sits there for a day, evaluating potential marks, and finds a moderately wealthy lawyer who might make a good target - the fellow is greedy and wants to get out of the small-time small-town stuff, and he needs to maintain his reputation, so if Ogden swindles him in the right fashion it might not get out.

Ogden decides that his scheme is going to be to ask the lawyer to act as executor of a fictitious estate, disbursing payments to charitable organizations and the like. The catch is that the estate is still somewhat in legal turmoil, but the need for payment is immediate; to make up for the inconvience, he is being promised an extra 50% on top of whatever he disburses, a somewhat shady though lucrative proposition. This will trigger the lawyer's Greed, and so instead of being at Trust -1, Ogden's Trust with the lawyer is 2. This isn't quite enough to get the lawyer to give Ogden the funds he wants, so he has to spend a few days getting to know the lawyer before springing the trap, as well as creating supporting evidence for his story.

Ogden uses his Create Social Prop ability to get a few NPCs to pose as belonging to these charitable organizations, and eventually to solicit the funds from the lawyer. Each NPC will be paid a portion of the funds they are to recover - this is a dangerous plan, as Ogden doesn't have complete loyalty from his Props, but he figures he will entice them to stay loyal by stringing the scheme out across multiple payments, so that stealing any one payment is not worth the reward that the NPCs will receive over the entire run. With these props as support, the lawyer is more likely to believe Ogden's story when the time comes (+1 Trust).

Finally, Ogden comes to the lynchpin point, selling the story to the lawyer. This is the only scene that must be RPed out in this sequence.

Ogden: My friend, could I ask for some legal advice? I've got a bit of a problem...
Lawyer: Certainly. I normally charge, you know...
Ogden: Of course, of course. This is more of a private matter, I don't really want it to be on the records though. Could I just buy you dinner at the local tavern, and we could discuss it there?
Lawyer (gets upset): I am the soul of privacy! What are you implying? (-1 Trust)

Ogden uses 'What I meant to say was'. Whatever he says next aside, any trust loss from the previous line is ignored.

Ogden: I mean to say, I don't want to get you involved in something dangerous. (this ends up being tricky for Ogden, as he has social props pretending to be charities, not debt collectors)
Lawyer: I see... Hm, thats very irregular. (but doesn't lose trust)
Ogden: (Phew). You see, I'm kind of in trouble. I made some promises to the Church of the Watchful Eye. My mother has been very ill, and she just recently passed away. I had promised to give them half the money from her estate, which I assumed I would receive in full, but my stepfather is contesting the will. Its a thorny matter.
Lawyer: I see. Those Watchful Eye people don't tolerate debts for long...
Ogden: Yes, exactly. Is there any way you can help me?
Lawyer: Well... perhaps (if the Lawyer agrees, it increases Trust by 1 due to helping Ogden). I could help represent you in the matter, for a fee.

Ogden activates his social prop and uses All According to Plan to change things around a bit.
Misc NPC wearing Watchful Eye garb: Horace Blankley! I thought I might find you here! The Eye of the Watcher falls upon you everywhere, you know.
Ogden: (pales) Look, I'm getting you the money.
Watchful Eye NPC: When we agreed to find your brother's killer, there was a price to be had. We know everything you've done, every skeleton in your closet Horacle Blankley, and if you don't pay up, so will the rest of the world.
Lawyer: I say, give the man a chance to pay you. His mother just died!
Watchful Eye NPC: We've got a church to build and offerings to make. Don't take too long. (Leaves)
Lawyer: Rude fellow! Well, it looks like you don't have much time.
Ogden: It seems not. Look, this has me over a barrel. My mother's estate can easily pay for this with room to spare, but I just don't have that money right now. If you help me defer the Watchful Eye, I'll give you half again of your outlay.
Lawyer: (Considers carefully. Mechanically, is his Trust of Ogden sufficient for the scam, factoring in his Greed? If so, a die roll may happen here). Okay, you have yourself a deal.

Game proceeds now, with Ogden extracting money from the lawyer, up until the point where either Ogden leaves town with the money, tries to change identities, or until Markus, awakened by Ogden's Social Prop usage, starts asking questions.


None of those abilities use die rolls, but you could easily put relative skills and skill checks in or whatever.
+1 to this.

It actually reminds me of Apocalypse World and its cousins. They effectively tear down the difference between various scopes of play, bringing it all back to the narrative level.

Thinker
2012-10-24, 02:13 PM
Maybe this needs to branch off into yet another thread, but yeah, I think that a game of push-and-pull between numbers like that isn't really much deeper than a single roll to resolve, it just takes longer. It really needs qualitative effects, conditions, environmental considerations, and all the other stuff that makes combat rich.

Keeping to the whole offscreen philosphy, how about something like this example for conning a town:


Ogden Phelps walks into town with the goal of eventually conning the townspeople out of all their money. His initial situation, being new to town and travelling under the assumed name Horace Blankley, is:

Ambient Trust: -1 (small town, so it generally mistrusts strangers). If asking someone to take a risk, there is a minimum Trust that much be achieved - this trust is their personal level of trust plus the ambient level. Ambient trust can be raised by doing things to help the town, or by one point per year of residence there, up to a maximum of +3 (+6 if in a service job, such as the town priest or doctor). Personal trust can be raised by helping someone, getting them to help you, keeping promises, or interacting with them amicably for a period of time. A person's Greed lowers the threshold Trust for taking risks, but it must be 'paid for' with the promise of reward (whereas someone who is taking a risk purely based on Trust does so with no expectation of reward).
Fame: 0 (false identity, so he starts off at zero)
Infamy: 0/(2+Cha mod max) (the town is a small place, and so there is not much space for infamy to go unpunished or unreacted-to - as such, its base infamy max is 2, whereas a large city would be 5 or 6). All characters in town are aware of someone's Infamy score implicitly; whether it modifies their personal trust depends on their particular inclination. High Infamy can be good if you're trying to propose illegal activities, for example.

Ogden has the following abilities:
- Evaluate Mark: Can determine the target's Greed, wealth, and aversion to embarassment, which determine how easy it is to get them to bite on a swindle and how likely they are to report that they've been swindled. Using this on a target takes 1d4 hours of observation.
- Create Social Prop: Ogden can bribe or convince ambient NPCs to support his cons by pretending to know him, etc. Cultivating one such NPC from scratch takes a day, but reusing them is possible until they suffer a negative consequence of participation.
- What I Meant To Say Is: Ogden can immediately take back something he said once seeing the target's reaction to this. He can do this twice per day.
- False Identity: Ogden can attempt to shed Infamy by assuming a new identity. If successful, the new identity has zero infamy. However, if the connection between the identities is uncovered (e.g. someone beats his Disguise check with Spot), then he regains all the shed infamy plus one.
- All According to Plan: 1/game, Ogden can revise an aspect of his plan retroactively.

His primary enemy to his goals in the town is the local Sherrif, Markus Billings. Markus has the following abilities:
- Interrogate: 2/day Markus can ask a direct question of someone and if they refuse to answer or are discovered to be lying, their infamy increases by 1.
- Authority: Markus can legally arrest anyone with Infamy equal to or above the town's cap. Against a target whose infamy is double the town's cap, he can use lethal force at will.
- Receives Reports: If someone decides to report a crime or admit to a crime, Markus gets to know.
- Word on the Street: Markus knows the town's troublemakers, and has a general idea if they've been more active than usual.

Ogden starts by finding the town's center of gossip, the local diner. He sits there for a day, evaluating potential marks, and finds a moderately wealthy lawyer who might make a good target - the fellow is greedy and wants to get out of the small-time small-town stuff, and he needs to maintain his reputation, so if Ogden swindles him in the right fashion it might not get out.

Ogden decides that his scheme is going to be to ask the lawyer to act as executor of a fictitious estate, disbursing payments to charitable organizations and the like. The catch is that the estate is still somewhat in legal turmoil, but the need for payment is immediate; to make up for the inconvience, he is being promised an extra 50% on top of whatever he disburses, a somewhat shady though lucrative proposition. This will trigger the lawyer's Greed, and so instead of being at Trust -1, Ogden's Trust with the lawyer is 2. This isn't quite enough to get the lawyer to give Ogden the funds he wants, so he has to spend a few days getting to know the lawyer before springing the trap, as well as creating supporting evidence for his story.

Ogden uses his Create Social Prop ability to get a few NPCs to pose as belonging to these charitable organizations, and eventually to solicit the funds from the lawyer. Each NPC will be paid a portion of the funds they are to recover - this is a dangerous plan, as Ogden doesn't have complete loyalty from his Props, but he figures he will entice them to stay loyal by stringing the scheme out across multiple payments, so that stealing any one payment is not worth the reward that the NPCs will receive over the entire run. With these props as support, the lawyer is more likely to believe Ogden's story when the time comes (+1 Trust).

Finally, Ogden comes to the lynchpin point, selling the story to the lawyer. This is the only scene that must be RPed out in this sequence.

Ogden: My friend, could I ask for some legal advice? I've got a bit of a problem...
Lawyer: Certainly. I normally charge, you know...
Ogden: Of course, of course. This is more of a private matter, I don't really want it to be on the records though. Could I just buy you dinner at the local tavern, and we could discuss it there?
Lawyer (gets upset): I am the soul of privacy! What are you implying? (-1 Trust)

Ogden uses 'What I meant to say was'. Whatever he says next aside, any trust loss from the previous line is ignored.

Ogden: I mean to say, I don't want to get you involved in something dangerous. (this ends up being tricky for Ogden, as he has social props pretending to be charities, not debt collectors)
Lawyer: I see... Hm, thats very irregular. (but doesn't lose trust)
Ogden: (Phew). You see, I'm kind of in trouble. I made some promises to the Church of the Watchful Eye. My mother has been very ill, and she just recently passed away. I had promised to give them half the money from her estate, which I assumed I would receive in full, but my stepfather is contesting the will. Its a thorny matter.
Lawyer: I see. Those Watchful Eye people don't tolerate debts for long...
Ogden: Yes, exactly. Is there any way you can help me?
Lawyer: Well... perhaps (if the Lawyer agrees, it increases Trust by 1 due to helping Ogden). I could help represent you in the matter, for a fee.

Ogden activates his social prop and uses All According to Plan to change things around a bit.
Misc NPC wearing Watchful Eye garb: Horace Blankley! I thought I might find you here! The Eye of the Watcher falls upon you everywhere, you know.
Ogden: (pales) Look, I'm getting you the money.
Watchful Eye NPC: When we agreed to find your brother's killer, there was a price to be had. We know everything you've done, every skeleton in your closet Horacle Blankley, and if you don't pay up, so will the rest of the world.
Lawyer: I say, give the man a chance to pay you. His mother just died!
Watchful Eye NPC: We've got a church to build and offerings to make. Don't take too long. (Leaves)
Lawyer: Rude fellow! Well, it looks like you don't have much time.
Ogden: It seems not. Look, this has me over a barrel. My mother's estate can easily pay for this with room to spare, but I just don't have that money right now. If you help me defer the Watchful Eye, I'll give you half again of your outlay.
Lawyer: (Considers carefully. Mechanically, is his Trust of Ogden sufficient for the scam, factoring in his Greed? If so, a die roll may happen here). Okay, you have yourself a deal.

Game proceeds now, with Ogden extracting money from the lawyer, up until the point where either Ogden leaves town with the money, tries to change identities, or until Markus, awakened by Ogden's Social Prop usage, starts asking questions.


None of those abilities use die rolls, but you could easily put relative skills and skill checks in or whatever.

That is excellent. Far better than the trash that I posted. I think that it could be codified a bit more to create more consistent effects across situations, but is definitely a good start. I think that at this point a new thread to discuss a mechanical system would be good.

Gamer Girl
2012-10-24, 03:08 PM
I read Gamer Girl's post as constructing an elaborate strawman about how wanting to have social mechanics in a game means that I'm a mechanics-obsessed mouthbreather who doesn't deserve to be in her games, with no deliniation between the fairly vast gulfs of "I don't want any social skills" and "OMG I ROLL 20 HE LOVES ME".

Sure I said that....just hold my post up to a mirror and read it backwards but skip every third letter and you will see it.

[QUOTE=Friv;14105183
It is possible that I am being a little harsh, but the fact that every time I suggest there's a middle ground she starts hauling out the old "roll-player" fallacy instead of actually discussing my arguments has rendered me increasingly disinclined to play along. [/QUOTE]

What middle ground? Roll-players can't role-play is a fact. What middle ground is there between someone acting out a social activity and someone who rolls a dice and says ''I do it, lets go kill, loot, repeat".

Friv
2012-10-24, 03:25 PM
What middle ground? Roll-players can't role-play is a fact. What middle ground is there between someone acting out a social activity and someone who rolls a dice and says ''I do it, lets go kill, loot, repeat".

Social mechanics are the middle ground.

TuggyNE
2012-10-24, 04:52 PM
Maybe this needs to branch off into yet another thread, but yeah, I think that a game of push-and-pull between numbers like that isn't really much deeper than a single roll to resolve, it just takes longer. It really needs qualitative effects, conditions, environmental considerations, and all the other stuff that makes combat rich.

Gotta say, this is very nice, and would work quite well. It's mechanically fleshed-out, and directly rewards careful planning without needing as much DM adjudication.

Zeful
2012-10-24, 05:21 PM
What middle ground? Roll-players can't role-play is a fact. What middle ground is there between someone acting out a social activity and someone who rolls a dice and says ''I do it, lets go kill, loot, repeat".

St-st-st-stormwind Fallacy.[/Unreal Tournament Announcer]

I like playing the numbers game in D&D, I'm terrible at it, but I like doing it nonetheless. I also like roleplaying, and try to pin down who my character is and why he acts the way he does and stick to it. But I'm a terrible speaker, lack confidence and am not generally all that witty. How is it wrong for me to not want to deal with my own inadequacies when my character, regardless of his nature, wouldn't have them? Because that's essentially your argument, I'm not charismatic or a good orator, thus my characters can't be. But that line of reasoning can also be trivially applied to combat (not a skilled fighter or archer), magic (it doesn't exist) resulting in the players all playing as homeless commoners with no relevant skills. I'm sorry, this isn't Sword Art Online, my skill at something should not be the sole determining factor of play.

Water_Bear
2012-10-24, 05:50 PM
It seems like a lot of people are really missing this point, so I'm just going to repeat it one final time; some people simply cannot accurately judge how other peoples moods and reactions. I know quite a few people like this; they aren't lazy, or stupid, or inconsiderate, they are simply unable to do something we take for granted. And since these people get pushed into the nerd camp, they're more likely to play RPGs a lot more than neurotypicals.

If you're comfortable penalizing these people for that, that's your choice as a GM. But I wouldn't recommend it, because you're just making your own job harder; running a game means making sure everyone is having fun, and making people feel inadequate really sucks the enjoyment out of their night.

On the topic of robust social combat rules, I absolutely support them because they are fun to play and remove a lot of the ambiguity that trips people up. It's obviously just not a "roll one die and call it a night" situation, but also keeps people from getting marginalized. That said, not every game needs those kinds of rules and sometimes simpler ones like D&D's are actually preferable.

DMClockwork
2012-10-24, 05:54 PM
I think there is a major difference between "I roll dice for to make things happen" and "I am actually trying to roleplay here, even though I am not great at social interaction myself"

If someone makes a good-faith effort to tell what they want from an action and is willing to play it out a bit (even if they aren't good at it) I don't think a die roll is out of the question.

If yet another thread for this debate is started I vote for it to be titled "Strawman 2: Strawmen in Space"

Kaun
2012-10-24, 05:59 PM
Roll-players can't role-play is a fact.

This forum needs a set sarcasm color or font.

Are you being serious with this statement?

And if so what evidence is this fact based on?

Hiro Protagonest
2012-10-24, 06:01 PM
It seems like a lot of people are really missing this point, so I'm just going to repeat it one final time; some people simply cannot accurately judge how other peoples moods and reactions. I know quite a few people like this; they aren't lazy, or stupid, or inconsiderate, they are simply unable to do something we take for granted. And since these people get pushed into the nerd camp, they're more likely to play RPGs a lot more than neurotypicals.

I'm like that. I didn't pick seduction in my earlier example because it was awkward. I picked it because it was the best example of a social situation I could think of that required no betrayal of fear and good ability to read people. I can't do that in real life, I can't find out what angle to use on a girl by looking at her for ten seconds. Should I try to impress her? Make up a sad story? Are there any signs she's dating, or homosexual/asexual, or just not interested in one-nighters? I don't know. And because to me, trying to find out is scarier than going into a dark corridor, I would inevitably clam up even if I managed to keep my voice steady.

Zeful
2012-10-24, 06:10 PM
I think there is a major difference between "I roll dice for to make things happen" and "I am actually trying to roleplay here, even though I am not great at social interaction myself"

If someone makes a good-faith effort to tell what they want from an action and is willing to play it out a bit (even if they aren't good at it) I don't think a die roll is out of the question.

If yet another thread for this debate is started I vote for it to be titled "Strawman 2: Strawmen in Space"

There is a difference between those two stances, but the problem is conflating the desire to just roll dice to make things happen with "I don't care about RP at all, the numbers say I win". I have yet to see a player new to D&D or roleplaying games in general wanting to roll dice to make things happen, because well, roleplay isn't something that people extensively do past the age of 6 or there about. A person who has no idea how to roll play can't really make a good-faith effort to involve themselves in this manner, and outright stating that if you aren't a great orator, don't bother trying, isn't going to make people want to try either.

NichG
2012-10-24, 06:25 PM
It seems like a lot of people are really missing this point, so I'm just going to repeat it one final time; some people simply cannot accurately judge how other peoples moods and reactions. I know quite a few people like this; they aren't lazy, or stupid, or inconsiderate, they are simply unable to do something we take for granted. And since these people get pushed into the nerd camp, they're more likely to play RPGs a lot more than neurotypicals.

If you're comfortable penalizing these people for that, that's your choice as a GM. But I wouldn't recommend it, because you're just making your own job harder; running a game means making sure everyone is having fun, and making people feel inadequate really sucks the enjoyment out of their night.



For the record, I do not feel that it is the DM's responsibility to run a game for all possible takers.

I feel this is a bit of a touchy subject I think, but there's something to be said for being selective about your players. There's a world of difference between someone who is simply shy and someone who has a neurological disorder, and I think you might be overestimating the frequency of occurence of the latter (or you play with a very different demographic than I've experienced). I've had players with quirks, players who were shy, players who were really social, and so on, but I've never had a player who was mentally incapable of RP. There might be an implicit screening here in how I advertise my games, or amidst players who have left my games after a few sessions due to disagreeing with the style of game I run of course.

Water_Bear
2012-10-24, 06:49 PM
There's a world of difference between someone who is simply shy and someone who has a neurological disorder, and I think you might be overestimating the frequency of occurence of the latter (or you play with a very different demographic than I've experienced). I've had players with quirks, players who were shy, players who were really social, and so on, but I've never had a player who was mentally incapable of RP. There might be an implicit screening here in how I advertise my games, or amidst players who have left my games after a few sessions due to disagreeing with the style of game I run of course.

I think it comes down to where you are. I started playing in an engineering school with a mix of people who were either really isolated socially most of their lives, were on the autism spectrum, or were otherwise socially-capable narcissists. These were friends, people I had to deal with every day, and more than decent if you're willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

But this stuff isn't rare; a full third of us here in the US are on psychiatric medication, and while most of that is mild and fairly invisible there are a lot of people on the "not so mild" end of the pool. You don't see them a lot because, well, that's what marginalization is; pushing people to the margins and pretending they don't exist.

(That said, if someone is being disruptive or harassing/threatening others I'll kick them out in a heart-beat. Just because I don't feel like capping people's characters Charisma at their RL levels doesn't mean I don't have standards.)

NichG
2012-10-24, 07:50 PM
I think it comes down to where you are. I started playing in an engineering school with a mix of people who were either really isolated socially most of their lives, were on the autism spectrum, or were otherwise socially-capable narcissists. These were friends, people I had to deal with every day, and more than decent if you're willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

But this stuff isn't rare; a full third of us here in the US are on psychiatric medication, and while most of that is mild and fairly invisible there are a lot of people on the "not so mild" end of the pool. You don't see them a lot because, well, that's what marginalization is; pushing people to the margins and pretending they don't exist.

(That said, if someone is being disruptive or harassing/threatening others I'll kick them out in a heart-beat. Just because I don't feel like capping people's characters Charisma at their RL levels doesn't mean I don't have standards.)

Do you start with a group of friends and then transition to saying 'Lets start a tabletop campaign!', or do you start with 'I want to run a tabletop campaign' and then recruit from your pool of friends?

Water_Bear
2012-10-25, 03:20 PM
Do you start with a group of friends and then transition to saying 'Lets start a tabletop campaign!', or do you start with 'I want to run a tabletop campaign' and then recruit from your pool of friends?

Yes? I don't really see the difference.

NichG
2012-10-25, 03:51 PM
Yes? I don't really see the difference.

If you have a group of friends with a certain set of abilities and you propose that they all play a game together, its only considerate to pick a game that doesn't exclude one of your friends who you are proposing it to.

If you have a game that you want to run and a pool of potential players, you can pick a game that is only well suited to some of them and it isn't inconsiderate, because it is their choice whether or not to join your game, whatever the parameters you set may be.

The existence of people who can't run doesn't make the existence of soccer somehow 'bad'. But if you propose to your circle of friends, including someone who is paralyzed from the neck down, to start up a soccer league then you're being pretty inconsiderate.

Water_Bear
2012-10-25, 04:26 PM
If you have a group of friends with a certain set of abilities and you propose that they all play a game together, its only considerate to pick a game that doesn't exclude one of your friends who you are proposing it to.

If you have a game that you want to run and a pool of potential players, you can pick a game that is only well suited to some of them and it isn't inconsiderate, because it is their choice whether or not to join your game, whatever the parameters you set may be.

The existence of people who can't run doesn't make the existence of soccer somehow 'bad'. But if you propose to your circle of friends, including someone who is paralyzed from the neck down, to start up a soccer league then you're being pretty inconsiderate.

And luckily D&D doesn't really require much in the way of social graces; just a certain amount of imagination (or ability to regurgitate Tropes), basic reading comprehension and average arithmetic skills. Other RPGs like nWoD up the reading comprehension and lower the arithmetic requirements, but generally being able to play mainstream RPGs as written is a pretty low bar to clear.

The only things which might exclude my friends in terms of playing the game would be if I adopted any of the houserules proposed here which ignore the existence of social skills and cap in-game social ability at RL levels. Something I have been arguing against because it excludes people without a particularly compelling reason to do so.

"I try to seduce the Prince" and a die roll isn't really that different from saying "I look deeply into the Prince's eyes purse my lips and softly whisper 'Come to bed won't you?'" in terms of adding to the game. If someone is into their role and having fun without being disruptive, whatever amount of RP they want to give me is the amount I'll accept. I don't see any advantage to asking more of people than they can give, or of refusing to accept what someone has because they don't play the game the same way I do.

RFLS
2012-10-25, 04:37 PM
I'm never shocked. This is really one of the top five ways I often kill off a character. It's common enough for a player to try the ''rule the world with diplomacy'' trick and then they are shocked when the foes still attack and kill their helpless character.



Well, I just see Social Roll Playing to be a waste of time.

Player 1:"I walk into town and con everyone out of their money'' Rolls dice.
DM:"Wow, it's so much fun to sit here and watch you roll.''

I guess that is fun to someone, but not to me.

So...what do your players do, exactly? If you think about it, all d&d IS is rolling; what you said seems to imply that you think it's all pointless.

RFLS
2012-10-25, 04:48 PM
What middle ground? Roll-players can't role-play is a fact. What middle ground is there between someone acting out a social activity and someone who rolls a dice and says ''I do it, lets go kill, loot, repeat".

I've lost count the number of times that this has been explained, but you are wrong in saying this. Demonstrably wrong. Here's an example you'll either completely disregard or call me a liar for:

The group I DM has a player running a half-elf barbarian (Pathfinder, so not as mechanically terrible as it sounds). He's made very mechanically solid choices for his character taking the Superstitious archetype and having a good feat selection. This same player is the best role-player at our table. His character, who, as I've mentioned, took the Superstitious archetype, acts this out; he is fearful and respectful of magic. The character has also developed a deep attachment to the Oracle of our group; to the point where, when the Oracle was imprisoned, the barbarian decided that the best way to get him back was to tunnel in by smashing walls with his hammer. When the guards went to stop him, he explained, in character, complete with swinging hammer motions, that his friend was being held by the bad people. This guy rarely breaks character at the table, and he doesn't insist on rolling being the end-all be-all. Nevertheless, he does optimize his characters, in the Playground sense of the word.

NichG
2012-10-25, 05:13 PM
And luckily D&D doesn't really require much in the way of social graces; just a certain amount of imagination (or ability to regurgitate Tropes), basic reading comprehension and average arithmetic skills. Other RPGs like nWoD up the reading comprehension and lower the arithmetic requirements, but generally being able to play mainstream RPGs as written is a pretty low bar to clear.

The only things which might exclude my friends in terms of playing the game would be if I adopted any of the houserules proposed here which ignore the existence of social skills and cap in-game social ability at RL levels. Something I have been arguing against because it excludes people without a particularly compelling reason to do so.

"I try to seduce the Prince" and a die roll isn't really that different from saying "I look deeply into the Prince's eyes purse my lips and softly whisper 'Come to bed won't you?'" in terms of adding to the game. If someone is into their role and having fun without being disruptive, whatever amount of RP they want to give me is the amount I'll accept. I don't see any advantage to asking more of people than they can give, or of refusing to accept what someone has because they don't play the game the same way I do.

If that satisfies you, then congratulations, you're happy with your gaming, and thats a good thing! I happen to disagree that the one doesn't add something more than the other, and I'd ask you not to demand that other people appreciate only the same things you do, or to try to imply wrongdoing or that they should feel guilty for 'marginalization'.

The point is, different tables are really very much different games. I find tactical wargaming on its own pretty boring. Other people here will swear that it is the heart and soul of D&D. Great - them to their tables and me to mine!

There is nothing wrong with testing certain skills in a game. It may not be for everyone, and the choice of what skills to test is individual too. Personally, I appreciate the game more when I can be actually clever, actually persuasive, actually manipulative, actually wise, than when it is just numbers. It is a challenge that I am overcoming, not one whose outcome was determined when I built my character. This is what I get out of gaming. As a DM, I like it when players do things like this, and I feel it does improve the table experience for all involved. You may disagree, which is fine, but both are 'valid' games.

Zeful
2012-10-25, 05:23 PM
If that satisfies you, then congratulations, you're happy with your gaming, and thats a good thing! I happen to disagree that the one doesn't add something more than the other, and I'd ask you not to demand that other people appreciate only the same things you do, or to try to imply wrongdoing or that they should feel guilty for 'marginalization'.

The point is, different tables are really very much different games. I find tactical wargaming on its own pretty boring. Other people here will swear that it is the heart and soul of D&D. Great - them to their tables and me to mine!

There is nothing wrong with testing certain skills in a game. It may not be for everyone, and the choice of what skills to test is individual too. Personally, I appreciate the game more when I can be actually clever, actually persuasive, actually manipulative, actually wise, than when it is just numbers. It is a challenge that I am overcoming, not one whose outcome was determined when I built my character. This is what I get out of gaming. As a DM, I like it when players do things like this, and I feel it does improve the table experience for all involved. You may disagree, which is fine, but both are 'valid' games.

And that would be fine and dandy it certain groups were actually changing the rules to testing certain skills. Which so far, not a single person actually removing the use of social skills from the game are actually doing. They're removing them out of fallacious logic entirely based around fringe edge cases that in most instances are not even how the rules even freaking work. "Oh, no the rogue could con everyone out of their money with a die roll": yeah no, if the DM lets that blatant disregard for the bluff rules work, it's not the player not wanting to roleplay, that's the DM not knowing the rules to the game and allowing themselves to be exploited by the player.

Water_Bear
2012-10-25, 07:07 PM
If that satisfies you, then congratulations, you're happy with your gaming, and thats a good thing! I happen to disagree that the one doesn't add something more than the other, and I'd ask you not to demand that other people appreciate only the same things you do, or to try to imply wrongdoing or that they should feel guilty for 'marginalization'.

Well, the last thing I want to do is imply malice; I don't see any reason to assume that. But when you alter the rules so that certain people are penalized for circumstances outside of their control, then repeatedly claim that those people should just adapt and "try harder" to overcome your changes, then claim that there really aren't that many people like that anyway, that is marginalizing those people. Not out of a sense of hatred or contempt but just indifference.

If I thought you were genuinely out to get people there would be no point in having this conversation; I just think that your reasoning is flawed and am trying to point out why.


There is nothing wrong with testing certain skills in a game. It may not be for everyone, and the choice of what skills to test is individual too. Personally, I appreciate the game more when I can be actually clever, actually persuasive, actually manipulative, actually wise, than when it is just numbers. It is a challenge that I am overcoming, not one whose outcome was determined when I built my character. This is what I get out of gaming. As a DM, I like it when players do things like this, and I feel it does improve the table experience for all involved. You may disagree, which is fine, but both are 'valid' games.

I have no problem with a Player choosing to roleplay a social situation, or a DM giving reasonable (+2 - +5) Circumstance bonuses to reflect excellent roleplay. Hell, I love roleplaying social skill rolls and would fight tooth and nail if anyone tried to take that away from me.

But there is a middle ground between "Roleplaying Social Skills is Forbidden" and "Roleplaying Social Skills is Compulsory," and it's one people here seem reluctant to explore. I would like to see good RP rewarded without punishing people whose RP is weaker because of no fault of their own, and solid mechanics which encourage tactics while avoiding over-reliance on Player skill.

Can we agree that would be the best solution?

NichG
2012-10-25, 07:49 PM
Well, the last thing I want to do is imply malice; I don't see any reason to assume that. But when you alter the rules so that certain people are penalized for circumstances outside of their control, then repeatedly claim that those people should just adapt and "try harder" to overcome your changes, then claim that there really aren't that many people like that anyway, that is marginalizing those people. Not out of a sense of hatred or contempt but just indifference.

If I thought you were genuinely out to get people there would be no point in having this conversation; I just think that your reasoning is flawed and am trying to point out why.


I felt that the thread might have been turning from discussion to something more heated, which I want to avoid. For that reason I'll refrain from repeating my prior statements here, and simply say I think we're destined to disagree on what is fair game.



I have no problem with a Player choosing to roleplay a social situation, or a DM giving reasonable (+2 - +5) Circumstance bonuses to reflect excellent roleplay. Hell, I love roleplaying social skill rolls and would fight tooth and nail if anyone tried to take that away from me.

But there is a middle ground between "Roleplaying Social Skills is Forbidden" and "Roleplaying Social Skills is Compulsory," and it's one people here seem reluctant to explore. I would like to see good RP rewarded without punishing people whose RP is weaker because of no fault of their own, and solid mechanics which encourage tactics while avoiding over-reliance on Player skill.

Can we agree that would be the best solution?

Its an interesting design space. We aren't going to find a universal solution that will satisfy everyone though, and its important to be realistic about that from the beginning.

My constraints on the system for me to consider using it would be the following:

- Preservation of the agency of all entities involved, PC and NPC. This is a really hard one, but I'm pretty sure TotallyGuy has posted the solution, and that is to use a bidding system. Both parties must agree to engage in the conflict and can effectively voluntarily wager loss of agency in order to win the conflict. The corresponding requirement here is, there must be some benefit to engaging in social conflict or some penalty for refusing to do so otherwise the system will not get used. TotallyGuy's flowchart had 'failure to participate means either walking away or escalating to physical violence', which is certainly one solution, but there may be better.

- The system should recognize and exploit the richness of actual human social interaction and structure. If the system replaces nuance with pre-tabulated statistics, that would make it unappealing to me. The prior point helps this a little bit, since there's always a fallback, but the fallback is pretty primitive so we need to do better and directly address this.

- The system should never say 'you aren't smart enough to come up with that plan' or 'you aren't charismatic enough to know to say that'. There are other ways to make social stats count than to require the DM to arbitrarily police his players, and I'd like to focus on those.

- Require appropriate effort in play for appropriate success. Not necessarily social RP effort, but this goes hand in hand with 'tactics' to me. A system where character creation determines that A will beat B 100% of the time is uninteresting. I want the environment, the particulars of the situation, etc to matter more than the degree to which the player has specialized. That is to say, make it like combat should be: every character should be roughly equally able to participate, but in qualitatively different ways, and figuring out how to exploit your 'way of being good at it' in the face of the scenario is what the tactics are about. I don't want a system where someone deciding to make a social character trivializes social interactions, and someone who didn't decide to make a social character basically can't participate - better to take every class/archetype/whatever the system will have, and give them certain unique social abilities.

- On that note, don't assume D&D is a baseline. Okay, this isn't really a requirement, but I think things will go a lot smoother if we discard D&Disms and try to make something that is actually for what it is for. Such a thing could be transplanted back into D&D later.

So if something can satisfy both our requirements, I think it could be productive to work on it. Otherwise I'm afraid it might just be an exercise in frustration.

Water_Bear
2012-10-25, 08:34 PM
I agree with pretty much all of your constraints except the one below, mainly because I'm not sure what you're saying.


- Require appropriate effort in play for appropriate success. Not necessarily social RP effort, but this goes hand in hand with 'tactics' to me. A system where character creation determines that A will beat B 100% of the time is uninteresting. I want the environment, the particulars of the situation, etc to matter more than the degree to which the player has specialized. That is to say, make it like combat should be: every character should be roughly equally able to participate, but in qualitatively different ways, and figuring out how to exploit your 'way of being good at it' in the face of the scenario is what the tactics are about. I don't want a system where someone deciding to make a social character trivializes social interactions, and someone who didn't decide to make a social character basically can't participate - better to take every class/archetype/whatever the system will have, and give them certain unique social abilities.

So, it seems like you're saying that a character's abilities should have only a small impact on the result, with most of the thrust coming from circumstantial modifiers and tactics, and neither character should have a 100% chance of winning a given argument. But I'm not sure what extent you're talking about; is this a "No Bards/Daeva/<Party Face>" situation where everyone is on literally equal footing, or are better social abilities balanced against things like combat and other non-social skills? Would something like nWoD's fumble and 10-again rules and circumstance/Willpower dice be enough to say victory isn't certain, or do you require a statistically significant chance of failure?

Aside from that ambiguity though, I like the general idea.

If I had to point out a set of Social Combat rules which epitomize what I think you and I are both after, it would be the ones in Dungeons; the Dragoning. They are fairly simple, very tactical, have strict limits on what they can accomplish, and supplement good RP rather than requiring or discouraging it. If you don't have the PDF, it's free and a really great read, and I think they meet your criteria assuming I understand what you were saying above.

RFLS
2012-10-26, 12:17 AM
- The system should never say 'you aren't smart enough to come up with that plan' or 'you aren't charismatic enough to know to say that'. There are other ways to make social stats count than to require the DM to arbitrarily police his players, and I'd like to focus on those.

I really, really wish I could agree with this. I really do. The problem is that I'm not entirely sure such a system exists; there will always be the cases where, if the DM is given no means to police the players' roleplaying, one of the players will dump the relevant abilities/skills/whatever and then try to roleplay like he's Morgan Freeman's voice and Scarlet Johansson's body.

Sadly, it boils down to the mind just being more important than the body, and much, much harder to understand. You can look at how strong someone is, and then flat-out tell them "No, you can't throw the T-Rex," but there's really no way to regulate mental actions without allowing the DM some leeway in telling his players "you really wouldn't do that/be capable of coming up with that"

NichG
2012-10-26, 01:15 AM
So, it seems like you're saying that a character's abilities should have only a small impact on the result, with most of the thrust coming from circumstantial modifiers and tactics, and neither character should have a 100% chance of winning a given argument. But I'm not sure what extent you're talking about; is this a "No Bards/Daeva/<Party Face>" situation where everyone is on literally equal footing, or are better social abilities balanced against things like combat and other non-social skills? Would something like nWoD's fumble and 10-again rules and circumstance/Willpower dice be enough to say victory isn't certain, or do you require a statistically significant chance of failure?


Hm, no, not quite. I'm saying that the core determination of success or failure in a scenario should come from the player's engagement with the scenario, using the tools that their character has. Part of this (that the core determination of success comes from that) is that characters should not, out the gate, be able to be either totally incompetent or hypercompetent at the social system to the extent of either being (practically) unable to contribute on the one hand, or on the other hand being unable to be challenged by variations in scenario beyond things specifically designed to counter them.

This is basically key in making a system that is tactically interesting. If too much swing is allowed during character building, a given scenario will be negated by one build, impossible to solve by another build, and so on. It becomes a game of 'go fish' with 'did I put the right thing in my build 3 months ago?'. Thats what I want to avoid here. The game can be informed by what happens before the table, but it should be about what happens at the table (at least, for any system that I have any interest in working on)



If I had to point out a set of Social Combat rules which epitomize what I think you and I are both after, it would be the ones in Dungeons; the Dragoning. They are fairly simple, very tactical, have strict limits on what they can accomplish, and supplement good RP rather than requiring or discouraging it. If you don't have the PDF, it's free and a really great read, and I think they meet your criteria assuming I understand what you were saying above.

I'm not familiar but I'll take a look.

Edit: I've taken a look now, and it doesn't seem to satisfy my 'agency' requirement, since the target of social combat can be ambushed, socially bludgeoned, and dominated within these rules (for instance) without having the ability to say 'fine, I withdrawl' or raising the stakes to physical aggression. Its also really focused on doing things that push around minor bonuses to opposed rolls, which doesn't really create much tactical richness, just numerical complexity, and I think we need to do a lot better than that.

Anyhow, I'm going to create a thread in Homebrew for this with a few initial ideas.
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259496


I really, really wish I could agree with this. I really do. The problem is that I'm not entirely sure such a system exists; there will always be the cases where, if the DM is given no means to police the players' roleplaying, one of the players will dump the relevant abilities/skills/whatever and then try to roleplay like he's Morgan Freeman's voice and Scarlet Johansson's body.


So, what Water Bear and I are talking about constructing is a system where social interaction is tactical due to mechanics, just like combat is in D&D. In such a system, dumping 'relevant abilities/skills' would be akin to playing a Bard and treating Charisma as a dump stat. I personally dislike even having stats like 'Intelligence' that try to constrain external characterization because no one can really play them, no one can agree on what they mean, etc. There's always the character type that is poorly described by them (well, I'm perceptive but I'm foolish. Oops, can't do that in D&D), and its generally a mess. Leave the characterization to player imagination I say, and make the stats only talk about what characters can mechanically do.



Sadly, it boils down to the mind just being more important than the body, and much, much harder to understand. You can look at how strong someone is, and then flat-out tell them "No, you can't throw the T-Rex," but there's really no way to regulate mental actions without allowing the DM some leeway in telling his players "you really wouldn't do that/be capable of coming up with that"

My point is, I don't want to regulate mental actions at all. But I do want to have powers and abilities that key off of stats, such that someone with better stats gets better mileage out of powers and abilities associated with those stats.

An example, using my favorite mechanic. Lets say Int modifiers above 4 gave a special power: 1/game, you can say 'good thing I planned for that contingency' and retroactively have done something ahead of time. If a player is smart enough to do that legit, let them - it takes a lot, its an impressive feat, and I say it should be rewarded. If a character on the other hand is smart enough, they can take a sort of meta-game action that helps the player model a superhuman intelligence without actually having super-human intelligence.

Frozen_Feet
2012-10-26, 11:14 AM
So, the PvP Diplomacy thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259068) trotted out an old chestnut that goes, essentially, "You don't make people demonstrate their sword skills, so why do you make them play out social interactions."


Wait, you DON'T? What blasphemy is this? :smalltongue:

Seriously, I often make my players demonstrate what they're after regardless of what they're doing. This doesn't mean I discount character skill, it's merely a way to get the correct picture of what they're trying to do, and a good way of checking the players actually have some idea of what their characters are doing, as opposed to just stating a result they want without much thought on how to achieve it. This is sometimes needed to bring them back to earth in regards to some weirder off-the-wall attempts. ("You show me how to build a nuclear device with medieval trekking equipment, and then I'll let you do it.")

Personally, I prefer use of fairly simple social interaction rules, usually consisting of one or two reaction rolls to get a starting point for the NPC actions, if it's not immediately obvious. After this, conversation follows as normal between characters. In case of socially unskilled players who are nonetheless playing a socially skilled chara cter, I offer hints as to what to say and allow more eloquent players to help the poor sod. I find this to be more interesting than mere dice rolling.

ThiagoMartell
2012-10-29, 11:38 AM
It looks like most people here are only aware of games where the result of all social interaction is defined by one or two dice rolls (like D&D).
There are plenty of games in between, with actual social mechanics. A Song of Ice and Fire RPG has a beautiful intrigue mechanic, because social interaction is the heart of the series and they wanted everyone to be able to join the party. If your character is manipulative/seductive, things get easier, but it's far from a sure shot. It depends on tactics and roleplaying for it to work, and that sounds perfect to me. I frequently want to play tricksters types, but I'm a terrible liar and A Song of Ice and Fire is a game that allowed me to do so. Mecha and Manga, a 2nd Edition Mutants & Masterminds supplement, also includes interesting social mechanics (thought it feels too much like combat, IMHO). Burning Wheel Gold also includes the Duel of Wits, even though I don't really like it.
Marvel Superheroic Roleplaying separates stress (damage) in physical, mental and social. It is far more open than any of the systems I mentioned before and it depends both on mechanics and on roleplaying.

NichG
2012-10-29, 12:10 PM
It looks like most people here are only aware of games where the result of all social interaction is defined by one or two dice rolls (like D&D).
There are plenty of games in between, with actual social mechanics. A Song of Ice and Fire RPG has a beautiful intrigue mechanic, because social interaction is the heart of the series and they wanted everyone to be able to join the party. If your character is manipulative/seductive, things get easier, but it's far from a sure shot. It depends on tactics and roleplaying for it to work, and that sounds perfect to me. I frequently want to play tricksters types, but I'm a terrible liar and A Song of Ice and Fire is a game that allowed me to do so. Mecha and Manga, a 2nd Edition Mutants & Masterminds supplement, also includes interesting social mechanics (thought it feels too much like combat, IMHO). Burning Wheel Gold also includes the Duel of Wits, even though I don't really like it.
Marvel Superheroic Roleplaying separates stress (damage) in physical, mental and social. It is far more open than any of the systems I mentioned before and it depends both on mechanics and on roleplaying.

Advice from an eye experienced with these alternate systems would be appreciated on the system creation thread!

There's one point in here which I really like though, which is that social interactions should not feel like combat (or at least 'its bad because it feels too much like combat'). Its a different sort of thing, and most real social interactions are not so much about winning as they are about collaboration, resolving incompatibilities, reaching understanding, etc. Those things should somehow be an important part of any social mechanics system, perhaps even more important than direct conflict. In real life, social 'attacks' seem to come in two forms: subtle attempts to influence people without them realizing you're doing it (that then fall apart utterly if the person catches on), and situations where you're trying to get an undecided third party to side with you or your enemy (e.g. debates, trials, elections, ...). We're focusing a lot on the whole 'I dominate you by saying something really well' kind of thing D&D has going on, but thats actually a really bad model.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-10-29, 12:40 PM
Did I miss the system creation thread?

NichG
2012-10-29, 12:45 PM
Did I miss the system creation thread?

I must have been too subtle about it, I'm the only one posting on it so far. It's here:

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259496

Its really kind of incoherent since I was just throwing out ideas to get people started, but I don't feel like I have a good mental image of how play would actually proceed or things would get done. I'd really like a few other voices involved to help with that.

GolemsVoice
2012-10-30, 05:02 PM
An example, using my favorite mechanic. Lets say Int modifiers above 4 gave a special power: 1/game, you can say 'good thing I planned for that contingency' and retroactively have done something ahead of time. If a player is smart enough to do that legit, let them - it takes a lot, its an impressive feat, and I say it should be rewarded. If a character on the other hand is smart enough, they can take a sort of meta-game action that helps the player model a superhuman intelligence without actually having super-human intelligence.

So if I play a guy who, mechanicaly, is barely intelligent enough to know his sword from his boots, but am a brilliant orator in real life, I can "win" social situations easily? And, on the other hand, if I'm playing a guy that has (let's stick to D&D here) a charisma of 30, a wisdom of 20 and an intelligence of 40, but in real life I'm shy and easily persuaded, my character won't get anything out of his superhuman charisma but the occasional nod to my charisma bonus?

I mean, nobody would ever base a fighting role on the player's and ability to actually fight, where a clever description of a maneuver gives more boni than just "I swing at him". So why not give players who can't roleplay that well the ability to roleplay a charmer or an orator? Why exclude them here, where 12 year olds can play a 100 year old superscientist and nobody would bat an eye?

Make no mistake, social situations are a conflict as much as combat is, and the stats and mechanics exist to provide a way to get a result that is not depending on player skill. So two characters with 10 ranks in bluff will have an equal chance on succeeding on a bluff check if in the same circumstances, just like two characters with the same move silently ranks would in another situation.

Now, many people, as other posters have said, act like there's no middleground. You either state your intention ("I want to convince the guard to release me") and then roll, or you act it out and don't even need to roll, ideally. I, instead, think it's best that everybody should act to the level that he or she is comfortable with. Somebody wants to hold great speeches and have witty banter? Great! I LOVE that. But if somebody doesn't want, or rather, can't to the extent that would be required, let them roll and state the general outline of what they're saying.

What I will never do, and what most people are probably thinking of when they disagree with "rolling" social situations, is to use rolling as a means of resolving everything with one roll of the die. If you can't at least provide me with a rough idea of what you want, you'll either get a penalty to your roll, or you don't get to roll at all. This can range from a few sentences to 10 minutes of talking.

In the end, the DM should require rolls as he sees it fit, but keep in mind the type of game and the player.

NichG
2012-10-31, 10:26 AM
So if I play a guy who, mechanicaly, is barely intelligent enough to know his sword from his boots, but am a brilliant orator in real life, I can "win" social situations easily? And, on the other hand, if I'm playing a guy that has (let's stick to D&D here) a charisma of 30, a wisdom of 20 and an intelligence of 40, but in real life I'm shy and easily persuaded, my character won't get anything out of his superhuman charisma but the occasional nod to my charisma bonus?


Yes. Aside from the various special perks for high stats that I just mentioned, which impact your ability to "win" social situations by giving you quasi-supernatural advantages. And aside from all the mechanical things those give you such as Will saves, spellcasting save DCs, skill points, bonuses to skills such as Spot, Use Magic Device, Craft, Disable Device, Knowledge, feat prereqs, X-stat-to-Y class abilities, etc, etc. Plus any of the aforementioned perk powers. If writing a system from scratch, I don't put in stats that try to model the mental abilities of the character that I feel are part of 'player skill'. If working with D&D, I'm stuck with them, so I restrict them to certain specific mechanical things and tell my players that.



I mean, nobody would ever base a fighting role on the player's and ability to actually fight, where a clever description of a maneuver gives more boni than just "I swing at him". So why not give players who can't roleplay that well the ability to roleplay a charmer or an orator? Why exclude them here, where 12 year olds can play a 100 year old superscientist and nobody would bat an eye?


I'd bat an eye at 12 year olds playing a 100 year old superscientist. Especially in D&D where there's no mechanical support for that archetype, so they'd likely end up frustrated unless they could actually do the superscience and force the archetype into being through their own skill - which is perfectly valid IMC. Maybe the 12 year old has that skill, in which case sure! Then again, I don't tend to play with people younger than 20 or so.



Make no mistake, social situations are a conflict as much as combat is, and the stats and mechanics exist to provide a way to get a result that is not depending on player skill. So two characters with 10 ranks in bluff will have an equal chance on succeeding on a bluff check if in the same circumstances, just like two characters with the same move silently ranks would in another situation.

Now, many people, as other posters have said, act like there's no middleground. You either state your intention ("I want to convince the guard to release me") and then roll, or you act it out and don't even need to roll, ideally. I, instead, think it's best that everybody should act to the level that he or she is comfortable with. Somebody wants to hold great speeches and have witty banter? Great! I LOVE that. But if somebody doesn't want, or rather, can't to the extent that would be required, let them roll and state the general outline of what they're saying.


Two players with different tactical intuition and given the same exact Wizard to play with the same exact spell selection do not have an equal chance in succeeding in combat. Right now in D&D, social situations are basically either resolved by a single, easily buffable die roll (so no amount of player skill really matters), or they're resolved via RP and are entirely about player skill. There's almost no room in the basic system for 'social tactics'. This is the reason for the aforementioned thread in homebrew, to try to find a middle ground.

The thing is, as a GM, IMC, a character's success or failure in social manipulation depend far more on what they're doing making sense than if they actually say it 'charismatically'. I don't care if they stutter, its whether or not the thing they're doing is clever. I think there's a misconception where the only two choices are 'guy who says everything in an embarrasingly poor way' and 'guy who says do my bidding in such an ineffably charismatic way that people fall to their knees'. There is some power in how you say something, body language, etc, but the big thing that people miss is that also making things make sense to the target of social manipulation is a huge deal, not just a +2 bonus here or there. Saying to someone 'die for me!' is a lot more effective when you know that they've lived their life in poverty, oppressed by a certain nobility and specifically one baron, and you promise them the baron's life while also espousing a future philosophically counter-aligned to the society that nobility has constructed. A player who figures that out will have more success than one who doesn't, no matter 'how' either of them says it.

Similarly, I've had a player manipulate the perception of the other PCs by actually telling them 'explanations' he figured out for events in the campaign that were really false, but were reasonable enough that the PCs believed him - based both on the explanations making sense, and based on the fact that in the past he had predicted a lot of things accurately. Yes, there was probably some amount of skill in bodylanguage, phrasing, etc in there - but a good portion of pulling one over on players is making the lie believable.



What I will never do, and what most people are probably thinking of when they disagree with "rolling" social situations, is to use rolling as a means of resolving everything with one roll of the die. If you can't at least provide me with a rough idea of what you want, you'll either get a penalty to your roll, or you don't get to roll at all. This can range from a few sentences to 10 minutes of talking.

In the end, the DM should require rolls as he sees it fit, but keep in mind the type of game and the player.

I agree with all of this as reasonable and wise.

Slipperychicken
2012-10-31, 10:44 AM
So if I play a guy who, mechanicaly, is barely intelligent enough to know his sword from his boots, but am a brilliant orator in real life, I can "win" social situations easily? And, on the other hand, if I'm playing a guy that has (let's stick to D&D here) a charisma of 30, a wisdom of 20 and an intelligence of 40, but in real life I'm shy and easily persuaded, my character won't get anything out of his superhuman charisma but the occasional nod to my charisma bonus?


Everyone knows mental stats are an ability tax for being a bad roleplayer who is also an idiot.


Maybe you should try eloquently describing the way you stab someone. Then the DM might give you automatic hits in combat. Just like with social rolls!

ThiagoMartell
2012-10-31, 11:16 AM
I'd bat an eye at 12 year olds playing a 100 year old superscientist. Especially in D&D where there's no mechanical support for that archetype, so they'd likely end up frustrated unless they could actually do the superscience and force the archetype into being through their own skill - which is perfectly valid IMC. Maybe the 12 year old has that skill, in which case sure! Then again, I don't tend to play with people younger than 20 or so.
What does it matter if D&D has support for superscientists or not? :smallconfused:
They can play a Int 30 Wizard, it's the same think.



Two players with different tactical intuition and given the same exact Wizard to play with the same exact spell selection do not have an equal chance in succeeding in combat. Right now in D&D, social situations are basically either resolved by a single, easily buffable die roll (so no amount of player skill really matters), or they're resolved via RP and are entirely about player skill. There's almost no room in the basic system for 'social tactics'. This is the reason for the aforementioned thread in homebrew, to try to find a middle ground.
Actually, Bluff is the middle ground in D&D. The more believable your lie, the more likely it is to succeed. I have a player in my group that never puts points in Bluff, but uses it every now in then because he makes you believe whatever he said was believable.


The thing is, as a GM, IMC, a character's success or failure in social manipulation depend far more on what they're doing making sense than if they actually say it 'charismatically'.
I'd really like if the real world was like that.

I don't care if they stutter, its whether or not the thing they're doing is clever.
This would probably mean wizards are better in social interaction than bards.

I think there's a misconception where the only two choices are 'guy who says everything in an embarrasingly poor way' and 'guy who says do my bidding in such an ineffably charismatic way that people fall to their knees'.
I don't think those are the only two choices, though some people in this thread do seem to lean that way.

There is some power in how you say something, body language, etc, but the big thing that people miss is that also making things make sense to the target of social manipulation is a huge deal, not just a +2 bonus here or there. Saying to someone 'die for me!' is a lot more effective when you know that they've lived their life in poverty, oppressed by a certain nobility and specifically one baron, and you promise them the baron's life while also espousing a future philosophically counter-aligned to the society that nobility has constructed. A player who figures that out will have more success than one who doesn't, no matter 'how' either of them says it.
Well, to be fair, in D&D that's not a single +2 bonus. You have several circumstantial bonuses going on there. And 'how' surely makes a difference. I think you're biased towards one side of social interaction, while both are equally important.


Similarly, I've had a player manipulate the perception of the other PCs by actually telling them 'explanations' he figured out for events in the campaign that were really false, but were reasonable enough that the PCs believed him - based both on the explanations making sense, and based on the fact that in the past he had predicted a lot of things accurately. Yes, there was probably some amount of skill in bodylanguage, phrasing, etc in there - but a good portion of pulling one over on players is making the lie believable.
I think it's 50/50.

NichG
2012-10-31, 11:45 AM
What does it matter if D&D has support for superscientists or not? :smallconfused:
They can play a Int 30 Wizard, it's the same think.


Well, okay. 12 year old plays an Int 30 Wizard. Whether he chooses to prepare tactically brilliant or foolish spells is up to his skill, not his character's Int score. Of course all of this is 'IMC'.



Actually, Bluff is the middle ground in D&D. The more believable your lie, the more likely it is to succeed. I have a player in my group that never puts points in Bluff, but uses it every now in then because he makes you believe whatever he said was believable.

...

I'd really like if the real world was like that.


Well, realizing what things people want to hear and saying them is part of this. Understanding the psychology of people. And that is used. A lot. The examples I'd like to give edge into forum rules, though. Just keep in mind that when you see an advertisement or a political speech or something, thats the collective work of several people - the person giving the speech, the writers, and probably dozens of people who were exposed to the content and had their reactions gauged. The really effective stuff makes use of very carefully gathered knowledge of what people will respond to viscerally and emotionally, and then applies that. Its still often an appeal to pathos, but the way to do that has been constructed based on knowledge of the target audience. Even con men pick their targets based on careful consideration of whether they look like they have vices, what their social status is, how they'd respond to embarassment, etc. Raw charisma not backed by that understanding and analysis only gets so far.



This would probably mean wizards are better in social interaction than bards.


Only if the players of wizards are more clever than the players of bards. IMC, of course.



I don't think those are the only two choices, though some people in this thread do seem to lean that way.

Well, to be fair, in D&D that's not a single +2 bonus. You have several circumstantial bonuses going on there. And 'how' surely makes a difference. I think you're biased towards one side of social interaction, while both are equally important.

I think it's 50/50.

Well its how I run it anyhow. It could also be that successful players are successfully manipulating me with their charisma, and its harder to perceive when someone is being persuasive due to body language than due to cleverness. That aside, I'll admit to a strong bias: the cleverness is what I am interested in testing with my game, so it is what I choose to focus on whether or not that is 'realistic' (since realism isn't really important to me). I think that honest cleverness is also something that is easier to enjoy table-wide (other people can appreciate 'oh, that was a clever plan!').

Really, the surest way to failure in social interactions IMC is to be flippant/careless with them. Give it some thought and you get a fair shake - the game is about how the PCs go around and kick ass, and so things (again IMC) are weighted in their favor unless they go biting off more than they can chew or do something that is really dumb. I'm not interested in enforcing realism, enforcing RP based on stats, or making 'every build choice equally valuable'.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-10-31, 12:20 PM
Maybe you should try eloquently describing the way you stab someone. Then the DM might give you automatic hits in combat. Just like with social rolls!
Well, to be honest, that is how Exalted and Wushu Open work. Sorta. Though you still roll.

GolemsVoice
2012-10-31, 12:28 PM
And there's nothing wrong with that. When the system is designed around the fact.

Gamer Girl
2012-10-31, 01:00 PM
I'd bat an eye at 12 year olds playing a 100 year old superscientist. Especially in D&D where there's no mechanical support for that archetype, so they'd likely end up frustrated unless they could actually do the superscience and force the archetype into being through their own skill - which is perfectly valid IMC. Maybe the 12 year old has that skill, in which case sure!


I generally think that players should only role play what they can role play. This is one of the things a DM should do: monitor the character a player wishes to play. So if a 12 year old does want to play a 500 year old vampire, you might suggest another character type if they plan to play it like ''I'm coolz and drinkz the bloodz!'' And you don't need to scrap the character, just alter a detail or two: the vampire could very well be a 500 year old kid.

A good player will do some research and homework for a character. If they want to be a superscientist, it does not hurt to goggle 'science'.

I'll never get the whole 'no mechanical support for that archetype' though. As if giving the player a +2 to Know Stuff will make some sort of big difference to a super scientist played by a 12 year old that simply runs around and goes ''Pew pew!" will make some sort of impact.

NichG
2012-10-31, 01:29 PM
I'll never get the whole 'no mechanical support for that archetype' though. As if giving the player a +2 to Know Stuff will make some sort of big difference to a super scientist played by a 12 year old that simply runs around and goes ''Pew pew!" will make some sort of impact.

Its more like, okay, you're going to be a superscientist in basic D&D. What do you actually do to make that character? Focus a lot on alchemy? Well, you'll be obsolete by Lv3 or so. Be a Wizard and do 'scientific analysis' of spells, like using Decanters of Endless water to make perpetual motion machines? Better, but now it starts to require the player to edge into an area that is usually considered pretty cheesy. There's a line somewhere between saying 'aha, now I can power all the mills in town!' and 'aha, now I True-Creation a bunch of anti-osmium and blow up the world!' - both are kind of 'sciencey' things to do, but one is just impolite table manners, and identifying which is which takes a level of maturity not all players have. Its easier when you can point to something in the system called 'scientist' and just play that - thats the 'no mechanical support' problem.

A more telling example 'I want to play a gunslinger!' 'okay, but there are no such things as guns in this system.'

IMC I usually have a cosmology and 'things that are not known' and so on, so you can be a scientist and research those things, and use them to your advantage or whatever. Is it enough to make a fully-functioning character out of? Sometimes, if I've done it right. I've got a player right now whose thing is 'inventing new elements', and another player whose thing is 'inventing new types of undead', and another player whose thing is 'inventing new materials'. Probably the most inventor-heavy party I've ever had. And all of those things are only really feasible due to A. it sort of being part of the campaign premise to invent new stuff, and B. a willingness to add mechanical support for new things on the fly.

Siegel
2012-10-31, 02:03 PM
Interesting corollaries from that, actually, and it made me more clearly define how I view social conflict. And why I like Burning Wheel's model a lot.

Good social conflict shouldn't emulate a blow-by-blow argument, which is where it falls apart for many people. I think it's totally fine (and sometimes preferred) to abstract out a social conflict. In fact, I think that gamers need to be more comfortable with not playing something out line-by-line.

Second observation: tactics. I think that a good tactics system is the most important part of social conflict. What do social tactics look like? A good social conflict system should include a means to elegantly reward players for good tactics.

And I don't necessarily mean "you gain circumstantial bonuses for having evidence or leverage". That's no different than saying "you may take a movement action to gain a +2 circumstantial bonus to your combat roll". (Which could be an interesting idea, it actually reminds me of Apocalypse World.) If combat is given a tactical maneuvering system, social conflict can easily have one too.

This is where I discuss Burning Wheel. I like Burning Wheel's "Duel of Wits" because it fulfills both criteria. You abstract an argument into "volleys", where the dice determine the effect of each volley. There are also tactics involved: you have a Rock-Paper-Scissors sort of dynamic, and your current situation dictates how risky you can afford to be with your choice.

I'd like to see systems include some nod to the actual maneuvering of social interaction. It's a lot more complex and subtle than "I talk him into letting us pass".

what he said. EVERYTHING he said in this threat.
Just read Burning Wheel you guys and see a working, tactical, roleplay heavy social system!

ThiagoMartell
2012-10-31, 03:26 PM
what he said. EVERYTHING he said in this threat.
Just read Burning Wheel you guys and see a working, tactical, roleplay heavy social system!

Yeah, it's just 600 pages long.
I really dislike Duel of Wits, by the way. Unnecessarily complicated. Like most of Burning Wheel, I might add.
IMHO, A Song of Ice and Fire and Mecha & Manga both do social interaction better.

GolemsVoice
2012-10-31, 04:12 PM
Well, the scientist was just as example, and maybe even a bad one.

Gamer Girl
2012-10-31, 08:09 PM
Its more like, okay, you're going to be a superscientist in basic D&D. What do you actually do to make that character? Its easier when you can point to something in the system called 'scientist' and just play that - thats the 'no mechanical support' problem.

So by 'mechanics', your really trying to say ''the pure combat abilities of the character''. So mechanics equal combat, not any other type of game play.

I've often found mechanics to be quite disappointing.

Morithias
2012-10-31, 08:19 PM
Let's not forget people. According to WOTC, a character's IQ is equal to their ability score times 10.

So all of you playing 18 int wizards? 180 IQ.

So yeah, the 12 year old kid playing the super scientist isn't that much of a stretch.

Hell once you reach level 15 and your ability score is 28 or something, you've got an IQ higher than ANY person who has EVER been alive.

So yeah...

Edit: Hey we have the same avatar! Go Blue wizard girls!

TuggyNE
2012-10-31, 09:04 PM
So by 'mechanics', your really trying to say ''the pure combat abilities of the character''. So mechanics equal combat, not any other type of game play.

I've often found mechanics to be quite disappointing.

It would be more accurate to say that, in D&D, most mechanics relate to combat, which is not an entirely satisfactory state. A different system, or a revised version of D&D, or whatever, need not succumb to the same problem, and could reasonably have mechanics for all kinds of other things like being a superscientist, for example.

RFLS
2012-11-01, 09:07 AM
So by 'mechanics', your really trying to say ''the pure combat abilities of the character''. So mechanics equal combat, not any other type of game play.

I've often found mechanics to be quite disappointing.

Yeah....so, like tuggyne said, most D&D mechanics are directly related to mechanics. The support for social interaction within D&D is Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Intimidate, and Bluff.


Hell once you reach level 15 and your ability score is 28 or something, you've got an IQ higher than ANY person who has EVER been alive.

Nitpick- The IQ system starts breaking down around 150. It's not particularly reliable for the preceding 20 or so points, either.

Double nitpick- Uhm. D&D. I doubt we've ever had anyone with a 28 in anything. Can you imagine someone with a 28 in Strength? Yeah, didn't think so. I wouldn't particularly expect realism out of the system. Which, to be fair, is why I play.

Frozen_Feet
2012-11-01, 09:46 AM
Let's not forget people. According to WOTC, a character's IQ is equal to their ability score times 10.

So all of you playing 18 int wizards? 180 IQ.

So yeah, the 12 year old kid playing the super scientist isn't that much of a stretch.

Hell once you reach level 15 and your ability score is 28 or something, you've got an IQ higher than ANY person who has EVER been alive.

Numerical IQ means precisely nothing, since it is calbirated differently between tests. The only constant is that 100 is the average or mean intelligence.

A better way to look at the scores is to look at the bell curve given by 3d6 roll, in which case INT 18 corresponds to 1/216 of people. For comparison, top 2% or 1/50 are admitted to MENSA.

NichG
2012-11-01, 10:54 AM
So by 'mechanics', your really trying to say ''the pure combat abilities of the character''. So mechanics equal combat, not any other type of game play.

I've often found mechanics to be quite disappointing.

Actually, no, I don't mean combat mechanics. I mean any actual 'things' you can 'do' based on the system. D&D has no support for a superscientist in any real form. If you want it, you have to do it completely yourself. So if someone wants to play a superscientist, they're likely to be a lot more frustrated than someone who wants to play, e.g., a Wizard (which has lots of support in and out of combat, some would argue too much support).

Some things need less mechanical support than others - that was kind of the question in this thread. Something purely based on RP: a negotiator, a mediator, etc, you can do just by playing it. Something based on the world reacting in predictable and controllable ways: a scientist, say, requires that the world actually follow your expectations.

Morithias
2012-11-01, 12:10 PM
Numerical IQ means precisely nothing, since it is calbirated differently between tests. The only constant is that 100 is the average or mean intelligence.

A better way to look at the scores is to look at the bell curve given by 3d6 roll, in which case INT 18 corresponds to 1/216 of people. For comparison, top 2% or 1/50 are admitted to MENSA.

Look I'm just citing was WOTC said. Blame them for not understanding the system, not me.