Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 31 to 60 of 80
  1. - Top - End - #31
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Abstract Social Skills and Hidden Information

    Imagine a Fighter making tactical movement across a battlefield, carefully considering movement rates, reach, line of sight, etc, as he maneuvers into position to attack a fire elemental using his 2e-style golf cart of weapons. Now, imagine that, unbeknownst to this Fighter, there are landmines and/or hidden treasures buried on this battlefield, such that their exact movement and positioning matter even more than they know.

    So, regardless of how clever their plan, they may hit a landmine, suffer a setback, and be forced to reevaluate their plan. Of course, a savvy character (perhaps one who has encountered landmines before, or whose player has noticed the "find traps" skill, and asked, "what does this do?"), might well have realized that landmines and/or hidden treasures were a possibility, and plan accordingly. A wise character might start to take or avoid paths others have already taken (to avoid landmines, or hit treasures, respectively), and a particularly Wiley character might try to take or avoid paths others were likely to be about to take (to clear mines for allies, find treasures before enemies do, maximize the chance of the party finding the treasure, attempt to influence which paths others take, or (if they have some "trap avoidance" skill) to (falsely) convince enemies of the safety of a given path.

    Imagine a player who really enjoyed this complex tactical minigame. Now imagine someone asking, "can we just resolve this with dice rolls?".

    Obviously, it won't scratch the same itch. But can we? Well, we could give each battlefield landmine and treasure ratings, and cross reference those with movement rates to produce a probability of encounter roll. Then, we could add "well-worn paths" and "virgin territory" maneuvers to affect those probabilities. And utilize "move carefully" maneuver and "find traps/treasures" skills to allow characters the chance to notice things as they move.

    At which point, we've added in a bunch of extra rules to abstract things that were handled automatically by our concrete system, but we can do it.

    Except that we forgot the "trick enemy onto landmine" and "manipulate the movement of others" maneuvers.

    And that's the thing. At best, an abstract system will reasonably handle the types of interactions it was explicitly designed to handle. Anything outside that, it will likely handle nonsensically, or not at all.

    Want to push someone onto a landmine? This abstract system has to go through additional steps to maybe handle reasonably what the concrete map with hidden landmines handles automatically.

    And, if we're still using the map for tactical movement for those other considerations (LoS, reach, etc), the interaction between the concrete and abstract systems might produce unrealistic results.

    -----

    As I already lost this post once, I'll address the rest later.
    .

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Termination Shock comes to mind. It uses a Physical/Social/Intellectual hit point structure, but for social skill use the default is more soft power than direct harm - social skills offer an option between taking some damage or doing what is asked. It also requires some sort of bond or leverage.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Hillfolk (Dramasystem) is a simple rpg game designed to focus on the socio-emotional aspects of relationships.

    I just got it and it's amazing.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Abstract Social Skills and Hidden Information

    Imagine a Fighter making tactical movement across a battlefield, carefully considering movement rates, reach, line of sight, etc, as he maneuvers into position to attack a fire elemental using his 2e-style golf cart of weapons. Now, imagine that, unbeknownst to this Fighter, there are landmines and/or hidden treasures buried on this battlefield, such that their exact movement and positioning matter even more than they know.

    So, regardless of how clever their plan, they may hit a landmine, suffer a setback, and be forced to reevaluate their plan. Of course, a savvy character (perhaps one who has encountered landmines before, or whose player has noticed the "find traps" skill, and asked, "what does this do?"), might well have realized that landmines and/or hidden treasures were a possibility, and plan accordingly. A wise character might start to take or avoid paths others have already taken (to avoid landmines, or hit treasures, respectively), and a particularly Wiley character might try to take or avoid paths others were likely to be about to take (to clear mines for allies, find treasures before enemies do, maximize the chance of the party finding the treasure, attempt to influence which paths others take, or (if they have some "trap avoidance" skill) to (falsely) convince enemies of the safety of a given path.

    Imagine a player who really enjoyed this complex tactical minigame. Now imagine someone asking, "can we just resolve this with dice rolls?".

    Obviously, it won't scratch the same itch. But can we? Well, we could give each battlefield landmine and treasure ratings, and cross reference those with movement rates to produce a probability of encounter roll. Then, we could add "well-worn paths" and "virgin territory" maneuvers to affect those probabilities. And utilize "move carefully" maneuver and "find traps/treasures" skills to allow characters the chance to notice things as they move.

    At which point, we've added in a bunch of extra rules to abstract things that were handled automatically by our concrete system, but we can do it.

    Except that we forgot the "trick enemy onto landmine" and "manipulate the movement of others" maneuvers.

    And that's the thing. At best, an abstract system will reasonably handle the types of interactions it was explicitly designed to handle. Anything outside that, it will likely handle nonsensically, or not at all.

    Want to push someone onto a landmine? This abstract system has to go through additional steps to maybe handle reasonably what the concrete map with hidden landmines handles automatically.

    And, if we're still using the map for tactical movement for those other considerations (LoS, reach, etc), the interaction between the concrete and abstract systems might produce unrealistic results.

    -----

    As I already lost this post once, I'll address the rest later.
    .
    There are many of games that support highly-detailed, tactical combat just as there are many games that support abstract combat. The existence of games with battle mats, specific positioning, cover, reach, difficult terrain, flanking rules, etc. does nothing to prevent the creation of games that use fuzzy positioning, abstract cover, and narrative tactical advantage. Both types of games are popular and the existence of one does nothing to extinguish the creation of another.

    This discussion is not centered on whether or not abstract rules for social mechanics should exist - there are plenty of good reasons for why it should. The main ones are that without robust rules, outcomes are based almost entirely on GM fiat, which requires a great deal of trust; player skill and character skill are not always in-tune (for example, the 20-charisma bard being played by a shy person); and rules encourage gameplay within that space - if there are few rules for social interaction compared to combat, players believe that the game is primarily a combat-engine and are more reluctant to roleplay.

    Whether you would enjoy rules and gameplay that rely on a social system is irrelevant to the discussion since others are already asking for such a system. Instead, the discussion is about what would make for good rules. What should a social system be able to do? Can you sway a crowd? Barter over an item's cost? Intimidate rivals to make them stand down from a fight? Bargain with gods for power? Hire teamsters to haul loot back from the dungeon? Beyond that, how should it work within the framework of other rules? Should it rely on a similar system to combat or should it use its own framework? Are the character attributes that are in the game already sufficient to describe the new system or do we need to expand on them?

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by GentlemanVoodoo View Post
    The best game systems I have played to handle what your talking about would be either any White Wolf game and Fantasy Flight's take on Legend of the 5 Rings.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Anyway, onto skill systems. I am going to ignore social systems, because a) other people are covering them, and b) they never really work that well. I think the best I've seen is nWoD2e/CofD, where you have to do things to get NPCs to be willing to do something for you, represented by 'doors'.
    I last played WoD back in the 90s when it was actually made by White Wolf. Although there were social stats and skills, there wasn't much of an actual rule-structure around using these to determine social outcome. I take it the more recent games have taken the critiques to heart? If so, is there an SRD-equivalent or other legally-free ruleset that includes this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vorpal Glaive View Post
    Hillfolk (Dramasystem) is a simple rpg game designed to focus on the socio-emotional aspects of relationships.

    I just got it and it's amazing.
    Much like GURPS is really good at 'mapping out people,' Hillfolk/Drama system is really good at 'mapping out relationships.' When the system hits play, though, it can be gamed as easily as some of the other ones mentioned. So again there is a necessary level of trust required.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    There are many of games that support highly-detailed, tactical combat just as there are many games that support abstract combat. The existence of games with battle mats, specific positioning, cover, reach, difficult terrain, flanking rules, etc. does nothing to prevent the creation of games that use fuzzy positioning, abstract cover, and narrative tactical advantage. Both types of games are popular and the existence of one does nothing to extinguish the creation of another.

    This discussion is not centered on whether or not abstract rules for social mechanics should exist - there are plenty of good reasons for why it should. The main ones are that without robust rules, outcomes are based almost entirely on GM fiat, which requires a great deal of trust; player skill and character skill are not always in-tune (for example, the 20-charisma bard being played by a shy person); and rules encourage gameplay within that space - if there are few rules for social interaction compared to combat, players believe that the game is primarily a combat-engine and are more reluctant to roleplay.

    Whether you would enjoy rules and gameplay that rely on a social system is irrelevant to the discussion since others are already asking for such a system. Instead, the discussion is about what would make for good rules. What should a social system be able to do? Can you sway a crowd? Barter over an item's cost? Intimidate rivals to make them stand down from a fight? Bargain with gods for power? Hire teamsters to haul loot back from the dungeon? Beyond that, how should it work within the framework of other rules? Should it rely on a similar system to combat or should it use its own framework? Are the character attributes that are in the game already sufficient to describe the new system or do we need to expand on them?
    Your first paragraph has nothing to do with what I was saying, beyond going into detail and taking the metaphor in a direction I wasn't, so that's all I'll say about that.

    Your second paragraph is highly interesting to me, and I'd love to discuss it, but it's a bit further off-topic than what I was discussing. Hopefully, we can circle back to this once the thread has derailed a bit more?

    But your third paragraph - that's what I was talking about. To sum up my post in my own words, "whether you enjoy a particular abstraction probably says more about you, and the ways that you use the abstraction / view social interaction than it does about the fitness of any given abstraction. Given the complexity human interactions, the various abstractions will (hopefully) all have things that they model reasonably, and things that they… don't.".

    So, yes, the question very much is, "what makes a good social system?", except that it is inherently subjective, based on the desires and preconceptions of the user. So, instead, it's, "what makes a good social system for you?". Which was pretty much the point of my post (with a nod towards realizing the possibility that some people might not be satisfied with *any* abstraction, so, for them, it's an impossible quest).

    I cannot answer what makes a good abstract social system for the OP. I could, at best, tell them the various ways social systems I have used worked, and the various ways that they have failed.

    … OK, actually, in that light, your second paragraph could be on topic. Although I could only respond that, while your implementation of role-playing had those problems, my implementation (mostly) did not. I do agree that it makes the activity a trust building exercise - I just view that as a feature rather than a bug.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify the meaning of my metaphor. I probably would have rambled on about golf carts for a few posts before getting to the point otherwise. Or my senility would have made me forget entirely.

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Unless we limit meaningful in-game interactions to trivial mappings of pieces, so things can be genuine
    I will roleplay the effect of my 'in-story' ability to send troops from Silesia to Galacia combined with my ambassadors ability to lie to to theirs that no such thing will happen by telling the player that no such thing will happen when Sil-Gal is on my order card
    Or we form some kind of deal with the mafia
    It turns out that your character will lose a hand to save his sister from torture, good on you. Perhaps in gratitude she can role the next few dice...
    Anything we do is going to be a trite gaming abstraction. That ship is sailed, gone into the ocean, founded a new colony and built dockyards of it's own.

    With that in mind the question is what do we want from our abstraction of skill/social systems, which in turn depends on what we want from our game, Which in turn is related to the initial (and implicit contracted boundaries) of the situation. And then what trite gaming abstraction suits it.

    White wolf's masqueradesque situations need a social/skills situation that can bite back at the player.
    A good heist/court one, would need one that had complex levers (including over time)
    Dungeons and Dragons can be as light and unobtrusive and very subservient to the combat system.

    The three games I want to play are:
    (players v terrain), in which case the game will hopefully provide half the situation for real life decisions to map game ones anyway
    heists
    courts, in which case I want something that can handle emotions and deceptions interestingly

    _----_
    The corollary being that the question is What skill/social systems work for which games.
    (with a second corollary being what games/roles am I prepared to role-play)
    Last edited by jayem; 2019-12-31 at 04:44 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2018

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    **About mind control and persuasion:**

    Do peoples never had players that refuse to faithfully apply the effect of charms or any subtle mind control, forcing the DM to either accept a very weakened magical effect, or take full control of the PC for the duration of the spell (or at least players that get very openly frustrated)? A significant portion of the players are just against the idea of their character personality/behaviour being out of their control.

    Magic sometimes get a pass because (1) it is temporary (2) it happens rarely and (3) magic often gets a pass to everything.

    (Note that treating high charisma as supernatural, and the result of diplomacy / persuasion checks as an explicit "charm" that can be broken by another skill check latter on can help to treat social skills against PCs)

    **About skill systems in D&D:**

    If you don't like technical combat systems, you don't play D&D. There are plenty of RPG better for you.

    However, among the D&D players, you will have a huge variety of expectations about "how technical the skill system should be". There will be peoples who don't want to be restrained by their own real-life skills and peoples who want at the contrary to play with (some of) those real-life skills. There will be will be peoples fine with a flexible universe (where the results of a diplomacy checks retroactively determine that the NPC's unspecified eldest child was a son or a daughter) and peoples who expect the world to resolve as a simulation from all the hidden informations and the actual wording of the arguments.

    I think this is why D&D skill and social system is so minimalist. They tried to build something that could accommodate most tables. (And by accommodate I mean "try to frustrate the least amount of peoples" not "try to be fun to the most amount of peoples")

    When going deeper on design of skill and social systems, you have to chose who will be your audience, because you won't please everyone.
    Last edited by MoiMagnus; 2020-01-01 at 06:39 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Morty's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I cannot answer what makes a good abstract social system for the OP. I could, at best, tell them the various ways social systems I have used worked, and the various ways that they have failed.
    Which is exactly what people have been doing since the start, so you've expended a lot of words to say nothing in particular.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Which is exactly what people have been doing since the start, so you've expended a lot of words to say nothing in particular.
    . .. ... I suppose I cannot speak for anyone else. So I can only say that *I* did not enter this thread with that mindset. And that, if others were already posting with that mindset, then many of the posts are… suboptimal.

    The linked thread does a reasonable job of explaining just how poorly Exalted models normal human communication. If you want to model supernatural mind control, sure, Exalted is great. If you want to model and incentivize people interacting even remotely similarly to how humans interact IRL? Forget about it.

    Beyond that linked Exalted thread, my senile mind is only recalling a few instances where someone explicitly called out "X system does / does not handle Y situation well, because it does Z".

    So, worst (best?) case scenario, everyone else was already looking at this question that way, and I was just talking to myself, getting up to speed.

    Even then, I could try to add structure to the conversation. For example, what types of social interaction are there? What actions could one take in each scenario? What type of responses / results could one realistically expect to see from these actions? What governs the effectiveness of these actions?

    For example, someone says that I have spent a lot of words saying nothing. How could I respond? I chose to try to convince them of the various value vectors of those words. What could the possible results of this action be? What governs which of those possibilities becomes reality?

    Now, which game systems could model that particular social interaction with sufficient fidelity? And can you glean that answer solely from the posts in this thread?
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-01-03 at 01:55 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Well, making a system doesn't necessarily have to be about abstraction or conflict resolution. You can also design systems around augmentation of the participants' abilities. Examples I tend to use in thinking about social systems are:

    - Takebacks. If the reaction you got wasn't what you wanted, you can back up and try a different approach.

    - What if? Analyze a character's likely reaction to a proposed scenario or approach in advance of committing to it.

    - Readouts. Get information about how characters view eachother as the situation progresses. Get information about motivations.

    - Attention/cover/interrupt. Be able to have a voice in a conversation or suppress someone else's voice for a single sentence.

    - Suspicion alarms. Receive notice just before pushing too hard or saying something that arouses suspicion.

    These kinds of features don't replace dialogue as a social mechanism, but they absolutely can confer advantage. However, it will be like playing a rogue rather than a fighter - if you just wade in without giving thought to things like flanking, cover, and exposure to risk, you're likely to get swatted even if you're at a high level. So attempts to brute force 'charm the king to hand over his kingdom' in an augmentation based system are the equivalent of walking up to a dragon, attacking, and giving it an easy full attack in response.

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Well, making a system doesn't necessarily have to be about abstraction or conflict resolution. You can also design systems around augmentation of the participants' abilities. Examples I tend to use in thinking about social systems are:

    - Takebacks. If the reaction you got wasn't what you wanted, you can back up and try a different approach.

    - What if? Analyze a character's likely reaction to a proposed scenario or approach in advance of committing to it.

    - Readouts. Get information about how characters view eachother as the situation progresses. Get information about motivations.

    - Attention/cover/interrupt. Be able to have a voice in a conversation or suppress someone else's voice for a single sentence.

    - Suspicion alarms. Receive notice just before pushing too hard or saying something that arouses suspicion.

    These kinds of features don't replace dialogue as a social mechanism, but they absolutely can confer advantage. However, it will be like playing a rogue rather than a fighter - if you just wade in without giving thought to things like flanking, cover, and exposure to risk, you're likely to get swatted even if you're at a high level. So attempts to brute force 'charm the king to hand over his kingdom' in an augmentation based system are the equivalent of walking up to a dragon, attacking, and giving it an easy full attack in response.
    I'm probably going to feel dumb for asking, because these might be as simple as they sound, and because you said "think about" rather than "design", but, if you have made such systems, can you you give examples of how they worked / how they played out?

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I'm probably going to feel dumb for asking, because these might be as simple as they sound, and because you said "think about" rather than "design", but, if you have made such systems, can you you give examples of how they worked / how they played out?
    I used mechanics like these in a Memoir, but honestly the players didn't make heavy use of them (that's not to say that the party didn't socialize, but no one went really deep into the mechanical side of it). Memoir in particular was kind of a surrealist post-apocalyptic setting, so while there could have in principle been advantages of going social, it wasn't as heavy as, say, a court intrigue campaign.

    There was a subsequent system based on the same core rules called Dynasty which was more of a nation-building game, but a lot of the stuff was more nation scale than personal scale there. E.g. characters did things like 'the bank my clan runs is going to call in your debt unless you do what I say' or 'I have diplomatic immunity as the representative of a foreign nation'. I think there may have been some mechanical use of more person-scale abilities by that character in a negotiation to bankrupt a small island nation whose solitary export was coffee, but it's been awhile and I forget exactly how that situation ran - he might have gone with a stealth/theft approach instead, now that I think about it. In Dynasty there were still things like the Empathy skill, but rather than specific abilities like 'take back something you said', there were a schedule of DCs. I think 'Seduction' (which basically amounts to 'figure out what the target wants' rather than 'make the target do what you ask') got used a bit.

    We did have a character in Memoir who used a mechanical ability called 'Thy Cup Runneth Over', which basically means that you're always the right kind of person to get bumped to the front of the queue for clubs, can always find someone willing to buy you a drink, etc, and that did see some use (it's of the form of the attention/cover type of ability, though it's on the edge of what I'd call an augment). It was somewhat explicitly supernatural in that game system - essentially, it was on the same list as abilities which work 'because the universe sees your character a certain way', a consequence of the PCs possessing tiny slivers of the portfolios of deities that had been basically shattered into millions of pieces in the event which started the campaign. There was a similar ability called 'Ha ha what a guy' (reference to an obscure puzzle game) which made it impossible for anyone to perceive the words coming out of the character's mouth as an insult no matter what - that's a bit beyond what I'd call an augment normally.

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    @NichG - so Memoir is a system that contains a lot of supernatural "win buttons" like "Thy Cup Runneth Over" and "Ha ha what a guy". OK, but… what mechanics did the system use for everyone else to determine if someone bought them a dink, or took offense at what they said?
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-01-04 at 08:56 AM.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    @NichG - so Memoir is a system that contains a lot of supernatural "win buttons" like "Thy Cup Runneth Over" and "Ha ha what a guy". OK, but… what mechanics did the system use for everyone else to determine if someone bought them a dink, or took offense at what they said?
    Well as I said, the social mechanics in Memoir were not conflict resolution mechanics, they were augments. So there is no mechanic to decide 'did they take offense?' or 'would they buy you a drink?'. If you said something offensive to an NPC, they'd take offense. But you could use for example the Empathy skill at various levels to know ahead of time that they would/wouldn't take offense, to take something back that you said that had a result you didn't like, etc.

    It's generally pretty hard to use abilities to forcibly affect targets in Memoir. Against most things, characters have a pool of points they can spend from to execute a perfect defense (even if they are unaware of the attack). So 'roll to convince' wouldn't really work in that system. Stuff like "Thy Cup Runneth Over" and "Ha ha what a guy" are starting perks - you can take up to 10 points of flaws to take up to 10 points of perks (of which both of them cost 2 I think), but there's no way to increase that after character creation. So you're spending a pretty serious resource to get a social ability that bypasses defenses (and even then, Thy Cup Runneth Over doesn't specify that any specific character will buy you a drink - given the wonkiness of Memoir, its more like you actually create such a person from nothingness purely for the purpose of buying you a drink, after which they cease to exist).
    Last edited by NichG; 2020-01-04 at 09:07 AM.

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Well as I said, the social mechanics in Memoir were not conflict resolution mechanics, they were augments. So there is no mechanic to decide 'did they take offense?' or 'would they buy you a drink?'. If you said something offensive to an NPC, they'd take offense. But you could use for example the Empathy skill at various levels to know ahead of time that they would/wouldn't take offense, to take something back that you said that had a result you didn't like, etc.

    It's generally pretty hard to use abilities to forcibly affect targets in Memoir. Against most things, characters have a pool of points they can spend from to execute a perfect defense (even if they are unaware of the attack). So 'roll to convince' wouldn't really work in that system. Stuff like "Thy Cup Runneth Over" and "Ha ha what a guy" are starting perks - you can take up to 10 points of flaws to take up to 10 points of perks (of which both of them cost 2 I think), but there's no way to increase that after character creation. So you're spending a pretty serious resource to get a social ability that bypasses defenses (and even then, Thy Cup Runneth Over doesn't specify that any specific character will buy you a drink - given the wonkiness of Memoir, its more like you actually create such a person from nothingness purely for the purpose of buying you a drink, after which they cease to exist).
    OK, I'm hearing a lot of "just roleplay" / "use the human mind as the underlying system to handle social interaction", which is what I advocate / the only thing I've ever found adequate to the task. Now, let me compare my "systems" to yours, to see if I am following you / to see what I've missed / what other systems you have.

    So, there's the issue of "saying something you shouldn't have". I tend to use Knowledge to allow retcon "you would have known better than to say that", and Likability to grant "social HP", to limit the damage done. So, in 3e parlance, each step on the "NPC attitude" chart might have a number of "social HP" equal to your Diplomacy bonus. If you say something dumb / offensive, it "damages" your relationship, and you check to see if that drops the NPC's attitude to a lower level. Whereas Knowledge would almost never be a check - either you've spent the effort / had the experiences to learn that the target is a… patriotic thrill-seeking sadistic devout pro-life gay vegetarian libertarian with a fear of spiders… or an overconfident vain sensual Nazi critic fitness-buff with a love of nature… or you haven't.

    Whereas you… allow Empathy to… know only if you use it ahead time? Reflexively? As a retcon? to know that actions would be a bad idea (and take them back?).

    (EDIT: I suppose, for me, Empathy would be a way to "test the waters", to get that Knowledge - but only in response to the correct stimulus (which the character could themselves provide (albeit at potential risk (of damaging their relationship / arousing suspicion / etc))))

    As I said in another thread, one reason (the least important of the 6 or so reasons) Armus moves to protect one of the PCs (who has better defenses than he does) is to provide a stimulus for the other party to react to, to allow him to, in 3e parlance, "make a sense motive roll". Zombies will respond differently to Armus' action than predators, who will respond differently than trained soldiers, noncombatants, allies, etc etc. Armus takes that action, in part, to ask the question, "Who are you? What do you want? Why are you here?", to see how you respond when Armus reframes the scene as a battlefield. (EDIT: this allows Armus to make any last-minute corrections to the board state, by making some inane comment like, "the big one's mine", "protect <the tank>”, or just whimpering.)

    I handle this by listening to how my GM has the NPCs react, and, occasionally, with a Sense Motive style skill. How would Memoir handle (that portion of) Armus' action?
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-01-04 at 09:52 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #47
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Whereas you… allow Empathy to… know only if you use it ahead time? Reflexively? As a retcon? to know that actions would be a bad idea (and take them back?).

    (EDIT: I suppose, for me, Empathy would be a way to "test the waters", to get that Knowledge - but only in response to the correct stimulus (which the character could themselves provide (albeit at potential risk (of damaging their relationship / arousing suspicion / etc))))
    There's a gamut of things that you can accomplish. Advance uses are generally lower skill ranks than retcon abilities, but both exist.

    As I said in another thread, one reason (the least important of the 6 or so reasons) Armus moves to protect one of the PCs (who has better defenses than he does) is to provide a stimulus for the other party to react to, to allow him to, in 3e parlance, "make a sense motive roll". Zombies will respond differently to Armus' action than predators, who will respond differently than trained soldiers, noncombatants, allies, etc etc. Armus takes that action, in part, to ask the question, "Who are you? What do you want? Why are you here?", to see how you respond when Armus reframes the scene as a battlefield. (EDIT: this allows Armus to make any last-minute corrections to the board, by making some inane comment like, "the big one's mine", "protect <the tank>”, or just whimpering.)

    I handle this by listening to how my GM has the NPCs react, and, occasionally, with a Sense Motive style skill. How would Memoir handle (that portion of) Armus' action?
    In Memoir you can use any evidence that exists in the narration, any intuition of your own, etc, without ever making a roll or check. In addition to that, there are skill waza that do things like 'get the DM to interpret evidence you have and tell you absolutely if your conclusion is correct or incorrect', which you could use to double-check your own thinking (but not actually generate new information). Furthermore, there are waza you can use to directly read out passively available information in the scene - posture, expression, etc - which might not have been in the narration, in which case you do obtain new information. The function of such abilities is independent (and additive with) any actions you take to try to provoke information to be revealed.

    So you can say 'I'd like to figure out if these guys are zombies, mercs, or non-combantants - I'm going to try to read them (roll)'. Then if that fails (or if it succeeds), you can say 'I'm going to take a defensive position but otherwise be non-threatening, and watch how they react' and there's no mechanics there - I just tell you what happens and if its useful to you, so be it (or if you draw a wrong conclusion, so be it).

    The point is that the one doesn't replace the other (or abstract the other) - they're purely additive. You have 'everything you can do as a human with your own skills, abilities, and insights' + 'some extra game mechanical stuff you also get to have because of your character'.
    Last edited by NichG; 2020-01-04 at 10:40 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #48
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    So you can say 'I'd like to figure out if these guys are zombies, mercs, or non-combantants - I'm going to try to read them (roll)'. Then if that fails (or if it succeeds), you can say 'I'm going to take a defensive position but otherwise be non-threatening, and watch how they react'

    The point is that the one doesn't replace the other (or abstract the other) - they're purely additive. You have 'everything you can do as a human with your own skills, abilities, and insights' + 'some extra game mechanical stuff you also get to have because of your character'.
    I've had to scrap several replies, because this level of "fine tooth comb" is apparently really easy for me to get wrong.

    So it doesn't get lost, I'll start by saying that I mostly like this general setup. But I focus more on "game mechanical stuff to fill in the difference between being there and getting a 3rd party account".

    No, even that's not right. Let me try again. When a GM describes (or fails to describe) a room, my usual first question is, "entrances and exits?", because those are usually the details that are most important to most of my characters. But I also may ask about dust / trails / wear patterns on floor or other features, or any number of other questions, depending on the character and what's on their mind. Similarly, when the GM describes a group of people, I'll often ask questions to get the GM to fill in the details that my character likely would have noticed / paid attention to. Maybe that's looking for concealed weapons, maybe that's the condition of their clothes, maybe that's how they're positioned or whether the smile on their lips reaches their eyes. As you may guess, Spot and Sense Motive are by far my favorite skills in any system.

    Now, sometimes, those questions require a roll (or an opposed roll); other times, it's just information my character could obviously gather just by looking.

    So, I suppose, it's "questions are for when the GM does not give you all of the information that your character should have¹; rolls/mechanics are for when getting that information is not automatic²".

    That out of the way… you've got a lot of supernatural and win button stuff that… shrug, I would probably never take. Rather than "is x true", I (at most) would want to ask, "is there any reason I wouldn't believe x?". I'm all about getting to be wrong, just not "pants on head stupid" because the GM failed to mention something¹.

    I'm not in the habit of telling my GM, "I'd like to know if these guys are x". Usually, if my characters want to know about someone, they'll provide stimulus to let that person tell about themselves. Something as simple as leading a thirsty group to the river, and watching them drink, for example, often provides all the clues I need to get started. Armus moving to protect someone, and clearly framing the scene as a combat, is the Firefly-approved³ "volcano's edge" of getting to know someone.

    But the purely additive method, where other people who enjoy that kind of game can play with those win buttons added, but I can play without them? Sounds like wins all around!

    Actually, even better, if I wasn't in the mood to play Sherlock, I could, with the same character simply switch over to roll-based, "just tell me what I know", right? And Memoir would handle my moodiness / mental exhaustion / whatever fairly seamlessly?

    So, back to this thread, Memoir does not have systems for "convincing people" beyond "OK, convince them" (kinda the opposite of people's expectations for 3e Diplomacy), has had limited play testing on political manipulation, and is tentatively Quertus-approved for information-gathering and supernatural social abilities⁴. Does that sound like a fair appraisal?

    Actually, "OK, convince them" is probably Quertus-approved at that level, but the I'd need to look through the specifics of the take back mechanics etc, and probably declare it, at best, "not suited for many of my tables".

    ¹ this is a neutral statement, as there are both good and bad ways of and reasons for providing incomplete information.
    ² I happen to have a preference for maxing out information-gathering skills & abilities, and for minimizing the number of times there is any doubt whether my character could gather that information.
    ³ IIRC, Armus predates Firefly (or, at least, my exposure to it), so, sadly, Firefly was not the inspiration for Armus' behavior.
    ⁴ where Quertus is a tough audience for muggle social skills, but an easy audience for social magic, contrary to his usual desires for muggles to have nice things.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-01-04 at 08:42 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #49
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So, back to this thread, Memoir does not have systems for "convincing people" beyond "OK, convince them" (kinda the opposite of people's expectations for 3e Diplomacy), has had limited play testing on political manipulation, and is tentatively Quertus-approved for information-gathering and supernatural social abilities⁴. Does that sound like a fair appraisal?

    Actually, "OK, convince them" is probably Quertus-approved at that level, but the I'd need to look through the specifics of the take back mechanics etc, and probably declare it, at best, "not suited for many of my tables".
    Basically a lot of the design of Memoir and associated systems centers around the idea that mechanics given to the players are all active things - they specify some kind of guarantee that 'you should assume that your character can do this' rather than being about answering the question of 'can your character do this?'. The attack vs defense systems and things like that also work the same way - defenses aren't designed the way they are because 'you should be able to defend', they're there to give a metagame ability to know more precisely when you're in danger and what your limits are. A lot of the game design basically works on players being able to 'buy' certainty about things (which is inspired by the way that D&D casters play, where if you have a spell you just cast the spell and get the effect, you don't roll to cast or cast to roll).

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    For a very light social system, 5e is about 3/4 of the way there. The ideal, bond, and flaw that any important NPC should have is a list of traits that are theoretically discoverable, and any social interaction that plays on them will generally get a reaction. How closely those reaction matches to the socializing character’s desires will be a factor of how well the player rolls (convincing the target that his blandishments are sincere and relevant) and how well the line of discussion really ties the ideal, bond, or flaw to what the character rolling the skill wants.

    This is still quite light, because “how well it lines up” and “what is a reasonable response” are very fuzzy, but it at least narrows the gap on what the rolls are trying to achieve.

  21. - Top - End - #51
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    For a very light social system, 5e is about 3/4 of the way there. The ideal, bond, and flaw that any important NPC should have is a list of traits that are theoretically discoverable, and any social interaction that plays on them will generally get a reaction. How closely those reaction matches to the socializing character’s desires will be a factor of how well the player rolls (convincing the target that his blandishments are sincere and relevant) and how well the line of discussion really ties the ideal, bond, or flaw to what the character rolling the skill wants.

    This is still quite light, because “how well it lines up” and “what is a reasonable response” are very fuzzy, but it at least narrows the gap on what the rolls are trying to achieve.
    Unless there's more in the DMG... reading through the PHB, any interaction between the Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws on one hand, and Skills on the other, appears to be entirely implied.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

  22. - Top - End - #52
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Morty's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    I won't be surprised if in ten years or so, a sixth edition of D&D introduces a social system based on ideals, bonds and flaws while touting it as a groundbreaking invention.

    And on a less glib note, to me a social interaction system has two main purposes. First is to help determine what is and isn't possible to accomplish with persuasion, deception, intimidation and so on, with less reliance on GM adjudication. Second is to give mechanical hooks for social interactions beyond just "have a good modifier and roll very well". This applies both to character building and to in-game decisions.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  23. - Top - End - #53
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    I won't be surprised if in ten years or so, a sixth edition of D&D introduces a social system based on ideals, bonds and flaws while touting it as a groundbreaking invention.
    Based on the general D&D lagtime, 6e seems about due to introduce Aspects, then start talking about how groundbreaking they are. That would feed into the social skill system particularly easily.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  24. - Top - End - #54
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Unless there's more in the DMG... reading through the PHB, any interaction between the Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws on one hand, and Skills on the other, appears to be entirely implied.
    There's a reason I said it's about 3/4 of a system. The majority of that missing 1/4 shares a vast amount of venn diagram space with what's missing from 5e's skill system, in general.

    I've outlined, in other threads, an idea for building and manipulating ideals, bonds, and flaws, and it was somewhat rightfully pointed out that it sounds a lot like Exalted 3e's social system (because I was inspired by it). I will say that I was trying to avoid some of the pitfalls of Ex3's system, but it also was one man's effort of an hour or less of thought, so probably wasn't nearly perfect.

    For me, the reason both Ex3 and 5e have reasonable starts on social systems is that they attempt to lay out the conceptual "field" in which the game is played. There's at least some knobs, hooks, or terrain features (depending on the analogy you want to use) on which to hang understanding what is and is not a good move, with more clarity as to why one thing works when another does not, and why one thing might be possible to convince somebody of or to do while another is entirely unreasonable.

    You're not going to convince the guard who does his job for love of country, and who associates protecting his family with protecting his country AND with keeping his job long-term, to let you get away with violating the security of the things over which he has jurisdiction with a simple bribe. Even if it COULD retire him and his family comfortably forever, it risks their safety by risking the safety of his nation, and it violates his patriotic love of country. You're also not going to get him to betray his duty on purely patriotic principles that his country is corrupt and needs to be bettered, because the upheval could endanger his family and losing his job could make him unable to support them.

    Knowing what it is that motivates him and how can help you construct your approach to persuading him, such that any rolling comes down to seeing how well you do in convincing him to value one of his drives over others, or in your sincerity or the veracity of your claims, rather than trying to say "you're changing his very heart over a 1 minute conversation."

    The guard who isn't particularly interested in short-term bribes because he's got long-term plans for his job may not be persuaded without enormous wealth, but if he also has this cute girl he's got his eye on and you can tie the bribe to an expensive (but not life-changingly so) bit of jewelry, or a hard-to-get favor (e.g. access to an exclusive resort for a date), suddenly he might be more amenable to a smaller bribe, and all you have to do is convince him that the bribe will result in getting the girl's positive attentions, rather than having to convince him to change his financial priorities to accepting short-term gains at the expense of secure long-term prosperity.

    (For whatever reason, I always default to convincing guards to do things in white room social rules discussions for my examples. I need to broaden my horizons a bit, but I have trouble coming up with generic "this would happen in about any RPG" scenarios.)

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    There's a reason I said it's about 3/4 of a system. The majority of that missing 1/4 shares a vast amount of venn diagram space with what's missing from 5e's skill system, in general.
    The Diplomancer was one of the extreme examples of skill-system misfires in 3e that I'm convinced are the reason that 5e skills are so loosey-goosey.

    (For whatever reason, I always default to convincing guards to do things in white room social rules discussions for my examples. I need to broaden my horizons a bit, but I have trouble coming up with generic "this would happen in about any RPG" scenarios.)
    • "You have to let us through, it's an emergency!"
    • "You have to get out of here (despite _______), the place is about to blow up/flood/crash!"
    • "I need you to do us this favor, despite the risk you are taking."
    • "You really want to take this deal, even though what we're offering isn't quite what you are looking for."
    • "I can readily defeat you, but I don't want to hurt you, so put your weapons down and your hands up."

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    (For whatever reason, I always default to convincing guards to do things in white room social rules discussions for my examples. I need to broaden my horizons a bit, but I have trouble coming up with generic "this would happen in about any RPG" scenarios.)
    It makes a good test case, there's a clear simple desired outcome, a well defined single obstacle. The player is in a position of relatively perfect self-control.
    Which gives almost pure freedom to try various approaches, and see what other factors then come into play (are modelled, are needed to be modelled).

    Then some kind of intellectual debate/excercise to examine the boundary of PC and Player knowledge.

    I'd suggest either torture or romance as being cases where the player has to react and unless the PC is a sociopath will not be interestingly modelled by a detatched player. Deciding that these are aspects you want to be outside of the game-game is of course a perfectly fine outcome (especially as there won't be a properly good outcome), however the better they are handled then the better more borderline cases (e.g. arranging food, keeping secrets) will be.

    And some kind of crowd based problem. Perhaps "You have to get out of here, this place is going to (something obvious/something unbelievable") is a good one as everything is almost proscribed and everything totally depends on the PC/crowds attributes.

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    You're not going to convince the guard who does his job for love of country, and who associates protecting his family with protecting his country AND with keeping his job long-term, to let you get away with violating the security of the things over which he has jurisdiction with a simple bribe. Even if it COULD retire him and his family comfortably forever, it risks their safety by risking the safety of his nation, and it violates his patriotic love of country. You're also not going to get him to betray his duty on purely patriotic principles that his country is corrupt and needs to be bettered, because the upheval could endanger his family and losing his job could make him unable to support them.

    Knowing what it is that motivates him and how can help you construct your approach to persuading him, such that any rolling comes down to seeing how well you do in convincing him to value one of his drives over others, or in your sincerity or the veracity of your claims, rather than trying to say "you're changing his very heart over a 1 minute conversation."
    This is really the key here, and the whole "social skills aren't magic."

    Any social skill usage really comes down to one of two scenarios:

    1) Getting someone to choose one thing they value over another thing they value. This is generally the pleasant type of social interaction.

    2) Getting someone to choose to avoid something they don't want by giving up something they value. This is generally unpleasant (threats and intimidation)

    Either of these can be accompanied by lies.

    But in general, people won't give up something they value for nothing. They'll want something. This can be an abstract thing - it doesn't have to be material.

    It's also useful to think of things in terms of values, and tactics (I've heard other terms for these but I forgot them). I "want to provide for my family" so "I'm working as a guard." is a great example. Getting people to change tactics is comparatively easy, compared to getting them to change values.

    Normally I just eyeball this stuff and go from there, but I think you could use this as a starting place for a more mechanized system. Even allowing some "tactics" to become goals in some kind of hierarchical chain, with stats on how deeply held and important they are (which may not be the same thing), and how various things support each other.

    Like, if a guard was a guard to protect the city, because he feels the nation is his home, because he believes the king is working for the best interest of all and is a good leader, then a sufficient attack on "the king is a good leader" could break the whole chain from there. Or something. I mean, again, for me just eyeballing this stuff is cool, but if someone wanted to mechanize it that's probably where I'd start.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    This is really the key here, and the whole "social skills aren't magic."

    Any social skill usage really comes down to one of two scenarios:

    1) Getting someone to choose one thing they value over another thing they value. This is generally the pleasant type of social interaction.

    2) Getting someone to choose to avoid something they don't want by giving up something they value. This is generally unpleasant (threats and intimidation)

    Either of these can be accompanied by lies.

    But in general, people won't give up something they value for nothing. They'll want something. This can be an abstract thing - it doesn't have to be material.

    It's also useful to think of things in terms of values, and tactics (I've heard other terms for these but I forgot them). I "want to provide for my family" so "I'm working as a guard." is a great example. Getting people to change tactics is comparatively easy, compared to getting them to change values.

    Normally I just eyeball this stuff and go from there, but I think you could use this as a starting place for a more mechanized system. Even allowing some "tactics" to become goals in some kind of hierarchical chain, with stats on how deeply held and important they are (which may not be the same thing), and how various things support each other.

    Like, if a guard was a guard to protect the city, because he feels the nation is his home, because he believes the king is working for the best interest of all and is a good leader, then a sufficient attack on "the king is a good leader" could break the whole chain from there. Or something. I mean, again, for me just eyeballing this stuff is cool, but if someone wanted to mechanize it that's probably where I'd start.
    It's probably the headache, knee, and painkiller talking (or loosening the tongue), but sometimes I get the impression that there are plenty of gamers who do think that social skills are some sort of magic.

    And even if they don't, they often seem to consider social interaction with NPCs a waste of time, and want to get the social maneuvers out of the way so they can get to other things, so spending 5 minutes on figuring out how to influence the guard gets more negative response than 2 hours spent on fighting a few guards...
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It's probably the headache, knee, and painkiller talking (or loosening the tongue), but sometimes I get the impression that there are plenty of gamers who do think that social skills are some sort of magic.

    And even if they don't, they often seem to consider social interaction with NPCs a waste of time, and want to get the social maneuvers out of the way so they can get to other things, so spending 5 minutes on figuring out how to influence the guard gets more negative response than 2 hours spent on fighting a few guards...
    Well, to be fair, there are some players who just want to play the combat minigame, and maybe the dungeon-exploration minigame. And there's nothing wrong with that. The trouble is when and if they start to insist that anybody who has different interests not only shouldn't be in their game, but shouldn't be seeking to design or play a game that has parts other than those they like.

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Morty's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What skill/social systems work?

    An important part of a good social system is determining when you can't talk your way out of a situation, at least not at the time and not in that way. That's what Defining Intimacies and unacceptable influence in Exalted 3E are for.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •