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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Lets see, can the players in my game fast talk a troll or persuade a dragon? Well I'm not a troll or a dragon, I have different capabilities and values. I don't have a troll or dragon handy for then to talk to. Things that work on me probably won't work on a troll or dragon. The players aren't actually good at fast talking people and their persuasive arguments are usually all just appeals to emotion with little substance.
    Where in this block of text is a statement of values, the actual reason why you care about any of this?

    As I pointed out, trolls, dragons and other such creatures in myths are humans, plus or minuss a trait or two. Beyond that, there is no non-arbitrary benchmark for how these creatures ought to be, because they are not real. A playgroup has complete freedom to decide how they work, so deciding that they work within the real capabilities of that playgroup is perfectly valid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    Plus it may all takes a fair bit of time, should we sideline four other players while the DM & one person rp out a two hour argument in character?
    Already adressed this line of thinking in a prior reply to KineticDiplomat. If you value time, that's a good argument for keeping track of time and breaking conversations into turns. If you value resolution speed above other things and can prove dice are faster, then that's a good argument for replacing conversations with die rolls. But you can't have your cake and eat it too. Ie., don't bother claiming to me that fast dice-based systems are any less arbitrary and any less inaccurate than players talking. You aren't doing a high fidelity simulation of a troll or dragon if you're rolling 2d6 to see if it's friendly or hostile.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    Should that mean the player whose character has a 20 charisma and is expert at persuasion & deception is screwed because The DM has inherent biases towards one mode of persuasion and the player's personal style is clumsy & doesn't match those biases? Should we ignore that the system that provides those character resources and options to players?
    Or you could give the player and the game master real resources, like a manual on real social skills or acting. Or use a the principles I outlined earlier in the example of how to use weight-lifting to model weight-lifting. I have never argued for ignoring giving players resources or options, I've argued for resources and options that aren't basic arithmetic and dice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    Sure, you can build a system without any social attributes or skills. You can "build" a system without anything at all. But I don't talk about those sorts of systems in a thread about social contest mechanics because those systems can't do that sort of thing by design. I talk about systems with things like 'charisma' attributes, 'deception' skills, and that use dice rolls to decide uncertainty. I don't bother wasting words on LARPs because we aren't talking about putting social conflict dice mechanics in them.
    NichG already covered this, but please go back and reread the original post by Quertus. Quertus was very specifically asking if accepting absurdities of, f.ex., hitpoints, means he should also accept absurdities of social combat systems. My basic point directly applies to that. Many of my other points are elaborations on the alternatives.

    Fun fact: many fantasy LARPs had inherited dice-based mechanics and stats from tabletop games, back in the day. They were done away with when LARPers figured out they were unnecessary or that there were alternatives better suited to live-action medium. The only thing ignoring LARPs does is that you miss out on any innovations that could be backported to tabletop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    I trust more thsn half the people I know who DM to be relative novices who don't have much (if any) experience outside the D&D family tree of games. I trust that they don't think about social mechanics if its not an entire chapter or bolded & highlighted subsection in the main play book. I trust inexperience to allow them to make mistakes that I made 20+ years ago when I started DMing. I trust that they haven't tried to examine their own biases about how people persuade other people.
    That goes back to the question I already asked: Why do you think having an instruction manual on something else than real social skills will solve the problem these people are having?

    Related: if part of the problem is that these people haven't played games outside D&D's game design paradigm, how is part of the solution not having them play games outside that design paradigm?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    How many faux-medeval games with truth magic have you seen where there's this assumption it uses a modern style "innocent untill proven guilty" law enforcement with juries and no coercion or involuntary application of truth magic?
    Funniest thing: I hear a lot about this type of game, but I almost never see or experience them. I don't hold them myself, because my commitment to doing research means I have at least some knowledge on justice systems and law enforcement of different times and places, and because my commitment to having players use their own wits means there is little to no uncomplicated truth magic. People who hold games for me have also avoided doing this, because they did at least some research and thinking on it beforehand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    I've seen lots, just because DMs and players don't think about how or why these things happen. Likewise, I've seen lots of things like ancient & magic obsessed liches have the social, mental, & moral abilities & values of 20-something college students. I trust more than half of DMs inexperience & ignorance of statistics & social psychology to influence the game more than their assessment of things ouside their (or my) areas of expertise.
    Yes, yes, the people around you predictably suck due to ignorance and lack of expertise. Have you tried encouraging them to be less ignorant and maybe gain more expertise in the subject matters covered by their games?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    Oh yeah, mind control magic, powers, supernatural stuff, etc., is easy. Most systems already manage that in whatever rules they use for special effects. But since I tend to shut off or start trolling when the phone scammers start fast talking at me and my players are worse at social manipulation than the phone scammers should I require them to fast talk me in order to successfully use their character's 20 charisma and expert social skills?
    See the earlier example of how to use weight-lifting to model weight-lifting and the conversation that followed about non-dice based handicaps and crutch mechanics to give unskilled players a leg-up for a conversation.

    You being better at social skills than your players isn't a problem. Use your skills to give them pointers and raise them to your level, or lower yourself to theirs. Ie., act, and help them to act.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    I find value in rules structures that help cover areas I know that I'm weaker at in adjucating on my own. I value rules structures designed to enable archetypes that the game promotes. I value rules structures that reduce my DMing cognitive load. Ivalue rules structures that assist novice DMs to avoid common mistakes or help then be a more neutral refree. I like that if a game indicates a character is good at some activity then it doesn't just leave the actual implementation of that to if the DM thinks your rp of it is beliveable according to their own experience or lack of experience with that aspect of the character.
    See, this is what you should've started your post with. Then I could've spent my time giving examples of non-dice-based rules and mechanics you can use to serve these values.
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2021-12-01 at 03:56 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Well… perhaps it's a trick question?

    The term "role-playing rules" is… used differently by different people. Anything I've *recognized* as role-playing rules, I've evaluated as a detriment to role-playing. Social combat rules, that involve forcing action, are simply the most obvious and easiest to discuss set of role-playing rules.

    But anything that moves beyond "Bluff vs Sense Motive", anything that moves beyond "what does my character perceive", is, IME, a detriment to role-playing.

    Or, at least, to role-playing human beings as they exist in this reality.

    My question is, should I continue to decry such rules as producing "unrealistic" caricatures of human behavior, or should I just accept that systems with social rules aren't about human interactions, but alien ones? Just like HP perhaps less model "real" humans, and more model "action movie" humans.

    Should I play games for what they are, or for what I want them to be?
    First and foremost I think all rules in a roleplaying game are “roleplaying rules” by definition.

    Second, we don’t need to think of rules as necessarily modelling anything, at least not primarily. Rules might be generating or incentivising or some other verb, rather than modelling.

    But yeah I think you’re on the right lines with HP creating an action movie feel. Rules for diplomacy, negotiation, deception etc might create some other kind of feel. You don’t necessarily need to jettison any notion of normal human behaviour to make them work.

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I think it's pretty relevant to talk about in a thread questioning whether social mechanics are reasonable to have in an RPG. Otherwise it's a circular argument: we should have them because we have them.

    That excludes a lot of options like play a different system, homebrew them out of a system you otherwise want to play, design a new system from scratch... We're not actually hostage to what WotC or White Wolf or whomever puts in their games.
    It's fine for those other game systems to not have social mechanics, but then I'd expect those game systems to have been built with that in mind. The players of those games can have their fun. I might even enjoy it given the opportunity. As an analogy, I like board games with defined rules and a winner, but I can also enjoy party games which are more about the participation than having rules and an ultimate winner. However, I prefer the RPGs with social mechanics and such a game is not wrong to have them. If that's not to your taste, that's fine, but that's all it is - a matter of one's personal taste. A game is not superior or inferior for doing it a particular way, nor is a player required to play the other type. A player might agree to try it when asked by his friend, but there's no commandment that he must do so.
    Quote Originally Posted by OgresAreCute View Post
    "Welcome to Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition, where the DCs are made up and the rules don't matter."

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Has anyone considered that a roleplaying game where the player has to perform an act of the relevant ability in order to completa an action would be a kickass idea for a gameshow?

    Like they could have a Double-Dare style obstaclemcoirse for dexterity and one of those carnival ring the bell strength yesters for strength and for constitution you'd have to go on some dizzying tilt-a-whirl esque ride without vomiting.

  5. - Top - End - #125
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Has anyone considered that a roleplaying game where the player has to perform an act of the relevant ability in order to completa an action would be a kickass idea for a gameshow?
    Yes, reality TV has been invented already.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    yeah, but this would be in the context of an RPG

  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    There already are reality television game formats which are or include roleplaying (EDIT: as well as filmed and televised LARPs). If you think this hasn't been done, you haven't watched a whole lot of TV.
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2021-12-02 at 04:34 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    And are probably a better person for it.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by HidesHisEyes View Post
    First and foremost I think all rules in a roleplaying game are “roleplaying rules” by definition.

    Second, we don’t need to think of rules as necessarily modelling anything, at least not primarily. Rules might be generating or incentivising or some other verb, rather than modelling.
    Playability is a thing; the rules need to be playable. This is a game we are talking about.
    (Board game example on how playable a game is: Afrika Korps is a lot more playable, out of the box, than 1914. (Both are Avalon Hill products)).
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by HidesHisEyes View Post
    First and foremost I think all rules in a roleplaying game are “roleplaying rules” by definition.
    Not exactly.

    A roleplaying game is a rule-based exercise where a player assumes viewpoint of a character in a staged situation and decides what to do, how, and why.

    A lot of rules in a roleplaying game do not directly concern who a player's character is, what they can do, how, or why, or how the player's actions translate into game actions by their character. They instead govern what the situation is, how it is staged, who stages it, etc.. Obvious examples of such rules are rules which define whether there's a game master and what a game master is supposed to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by HidesHisEyes
    Second, we don’t need to think of rules as necessarily modelling anything, at least not primarily. Rules might be generating or incentivising or some other verb, rather than modelling.
    On this part, you're correct. In addition to modeling game events, generating game content or encouraging specific player behaviours, some common types of rules govern acceptable table conduct, division of labour, who enforces the rules, etc..

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Not exactly.

    A roleplaying game is a rule-based exercise where a player assumes viewpoint of a character in a staged situation and decides what to do, how, and why.

    A lot of rules in a roleplaying game do not directly concern who a player's character is, what they can do, how, or why, or how the player's actions translate into game actions by their character. They instead govern what the situation is, how it is staged, who stages it, etc.. Obvious examples of such rules are rules which define whether there's a game master and what a game master is supposed to do.



    On this part, you're correct. In addition to modeling game events, generating game content or encouraging specific player behaviours, some common types of rules govern acceptable table conduct, division of labour, who enforces the rules, etc..
    I see what you mean. Yeah that distinction makes sense. I was speaking very broadly to say a roleplaying game’s rules are all ultimately there to facilitate roleplaying since that’s what the whole thing is about. But you’re right that some rules will be there to establish a framework to make roleplaying possible, while resolution mechanics are how the roleplaying actually happens.

    My main point is that those latter rules - resolution mechanics, let’s say - will typically be activated in all sorts of situations, from combat to exploration to diplomacy, and in all cases it makes sense to call them “roleplaying rules”. I think people sometimes get confused when it comes to diplomacy and similar things because the part where the characters speak is more obviously “roleplaying” because it’s more likely to disclose something about the character’s personality, background etc. But the same can be true of exploration when a character makes a decision about whether to sneak down a side passage or draw their sword and kick the main door open. Even decisions made in combat on a basis of pure tactical optimisation are telling us this character wants to win this fight.

    And with this in mind the actual words the character says in a social interaction scene, how eloquent they are etc, become less important than tangible things like what they want from the NPC and want they’re offering in return. I think this is a good way around the dilemma people often bring up here about player skill vs character skill.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    As for people who did an inhuman perspective well, I recommend Whargoul by Dave Brockie, and Rooms Full of Me from the blog "Strange Stories About Sad People"
    Big thank you for the recommendation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    In the 2E Monster Manual entry for human, they have Intelligence 10.
    In the 2E Monster Manual entry for dolphin, they have Intelligence 11.
    When Ron Edwards described D&D as incoherent, I suspect that this may have been the kind of thing he was pointing toward.
    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    1. It can make the PC (or the GMs NPC) do something the player doesn't want to.
    It doesn't matter for the NPC, it matters for the Players.
    Namely, without mechanics to force characters into outcomes
    Do you understand the problem with that for a lot of players?
    2. The mind-control/unrealistic outcomes argument.
    But with magic the suspension of disbelief usually makes it palatable.
    3. Humans provide more realistic human outcomes than dice.
    Yep, it's humans who sit around the table to role play.

    To get to where people are - eating tide pods, satyinh in abusive relationships, routinely under negotiating their pay, giving out secrets they objectively know they shouldn't be giving to miss October -something has to account for the fact that the character really is in the circumstance and is susceptible to human foibles.
    I'd suggest that you not demand that a game become a reality simulator as support for your point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    "The character" is a theoretical, imaginary construct.
    All in all a very good post which I'll mostly trim to respond to a point or two.
    The "we don't box to solve who wins the tavern brawl" argument continues to be fallacious.
    As ever.
    A direct answer would be that social skills are posited to occupy a different place on the continuum of use of force than other skills and if a player character gets stonewalled socially, they are meant to try something else. People who are unwilling or unable to do anything beyond socializing simply lose those exchanges. A "build" that relies ln social skills to exclusion of others either is illegitimate for such games or simply sucks.
    Yep.
    {Snip nice treatment on mind control}
    How real humans operate is the benchmark for realistic humans. When an academic theory predicts behaviour that doesn't match what real humans do, it is the theory that is being unrealistic. This is independent from the fact that the simplistic dice-based models seen in tabletop games aren't even accurate to current academic theories. Dice are low-fidelity both compared to real human behaviour and real theories of human behaviour.
    I am not sure that any dice based game is a good tool for that, TBH.
    Your claim that game masters and players are mere neutral observers solving problems is exactly the kind of theoretical statement that has been shown to not hold up in practice. Real game masters and players can and do get emotional about their characters, they are capable of empathizing with their imaginary characters and the staged situations surrounding them. In short, fake situations can create real feelings. Even more absurd is the claim that dice help with this. If anything it's the opposite: the layers of abstraction that come with playing around with dice and math are the very things keeping players at arm's length emotionally. For an obvious example, detailed verbal description of sex has much greater psychological impact than a die roll.
    As the creator of Microscope pointed out in the preface of the game, role playing game are an activity centered around people sitting around a table talking to each other about things real and/or imagined. Dice are not a required element of that. They are a tool with some utility, however.
    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Lets see, can the players in my game fast talk a troll or persuade a dragon? Well I'm not a troll or a dragon, I have different capabilities and values.
    You play the role of one if you are the DM or the GM. They are, and they become, whatever your imagination and style leads them to be. Given that they are fantastical creatures, I fail to see the problem here.
    Quote Originally Posted by HidesHisEyes View Post
    ... , while resolution mechanics are how the roleplaying actually happens.
    No. Roleplay can happen and does happen, without mechanics. Roleplay does not require mechanics to work. What it needs is a sufficiently shared understanding (which may include the infamous suspension of disbelief in some scenarios) among the players at the table.
    And with this in mind the actual words the character says in a social interaction scene, how eloquent they are etc, become less important than tangible things like what they want from the NPC and want they’re offering in return.
    Intention, approach, and such relevant detail as the scene calls for takes care of the majority of this. Some players need to be taught how to present what they are doing in terms of the Intention and Approach method.
    So here's an actionable takeaway: teach them how to do that, if need be.
    It will be a win-win deal in that the player 'wins' by improving their RP and communication skills, and the whole table wins since the scenes will tend to flow better.

    I will offer a modest example of a role playing scenario that required no dice to resolve.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Core point of tension: "I'm pregnant, the baby is yours, and I'm going to have it."
    Context:
    Characters: D&D 5e female life cleric (my PC) and NPC Rogue{Mastermind} /Noble, who had been with the party for numerous sessions, and who had just taken up his post as trade representative after the "we finally got the escorted NPC to his destination and story arc" blow out (In Character) had been completed. This role was played by my nephew.

    Set up: at the end of a session, as various players signed off, I decided that the cleric (who'd been snubbed mostly by this handsome/charismatic NPC) would try to fulfill her not well publicized desire for him and jump his bones. DM shrugged, did one roll to see if, when drunk, he might accept her attempts at seduction, got a positive result. We did a quick "fade to black" as the two drunks ended up in a tangle somewhere in the tavern. (This isn't the role play I am referring to, it's the set up).

    The Catalyst: DM rolled a d100 to determine: did she get pregnant? (That isn't role play, that's the DM choosing to let RNG inform the consequences of her drunken choice). I watched the 00 appear on the screen. (roll20 table top) He and I both muttered expressions of amazement and surprise.
    We jointly decided to embrace it, but told nobody else for 17 in world game days. My PC didn't know she was with child for 17 days. (Number determined by a 3d10 the DM rolled roll to see when the first heartbeat would be felt). We had a number of adventures and combats during those 17 days.
    The Role Play:
    Using Discord voice, after the session where she tells the rest of the PCs that she's retiring because she's expecting and she wishes to make a home/tend the shrine to her deity in this walled town, my nephew (who had been the one 'playing' the NPC in most combats as he also had a rogue) and I role played the meeting between the two.
    His role: somewhat arrogant, rich noble's son who was now his home city's trade representative to this town in another kingdom.
    My role: the women he didn't like all that much (beyond being fellow adventurers) telling him, over a dinner she'd prepared at the shrine, that she'd only been sexually active once in the past half of a year and 'the other night was it' - the baby's yours!

    Her objective: get him to acknowledged the child as his, and decide on what level of discretion is needed, in public, and to get a commitment of support for the child.

    His objective: avoid scandal and treat with sufficient honor his adventuring companion such that the rest of the party does not come and kick his butt if he treats her like that cad that he's mostly shown himself to be.

    Noble made it very clear that no, he's not marrying some girl from a coastal town whose mom was a serving lady and cook in a tavern (all part of my PCs back story) and who'd been to seminary
    since
    he needs to be married to someone of his social station for many reasons: his own preferences and the demands of his position as his city's representative.
    He also prefers women who are more physically attractive than my PC. (She is best described as having average / regular looks; neither ugly nor beautiful)

    The scene lasted about 15-20 minutes of RL conversation, with the DM taking notes mostly.
    A resolution of the child's future, support, and acknowledgement was ironed out based on the two of us negotiating.
    No initiative was rolled, no violence was involved, though some hurt feelings and friction were for sure on display as we played it out in-character.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-12-03 at 10:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    No. Roleplay can happen and does happen, without mechanics. Roleplay does not require mechanics to work. What it needs is a sufficiently shared understanding (which may include the infamous suspension of disbelief in some scenarios) among the players at the table.
    Intention, approach, and such relevant detail as the scene calls for takes care of the majority of this. Some players need to be taught how to present what they are doing in terms of the Intention and Approach method.
    So here's an actionable takeaway: teach them how to do that, if need be.
    It will be a win-win deal in that the player 'wins' by improving their RP and communication skills, and the whole table wins since the scenes will tend to flow better.

    I will offer a modest example of a role playing scenario that required no dice to resolve.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Core point of tension: "I'm pregnant, the baby is yours, and I'm going to have it."
    Context:
    Characters: D&D 5e female life cleric (my PC) and NPC Rogue{Mastermind} /Noble, who had been with the party for numerous sessions, and who had just taken up his post as trade representative after the "we finally got the escorted NPC to his destination and story arc" blow out (In Character) had been completed. This role was played by my nephew.

    Set up: at the end of a session, as various players signed off, I decided that the cleric (who'd been snubbed mostly by this handsome/charismatic NPC) would try to fulfill her not well publicized desire for him and jump his bones. DM shrugged, did one roll to see if, when drunk, he might accept her attempts at seduction, got a positive result. We did a quick "fade to black" as the two drunks ended up in a tangle somewhere in the tavern. (This isn't the role play I am referring to, it's the set up).

    The Catalyst: DM rolled a d100 to determine: did she get pregnant? (That isn't role play, that's the DM choosing to let RNG inform the consequences of her drunken choice). I watched the 00 appear on the screen. (roll20 table top) He and I both muttered expressions of amazement and surprise.
    We jointly decided to embrace it, but told nobody else for 17 in world game days. My PC didn't know she was with child for 17 days. (Number determined by a 3d10 the DM rolled roll to see when the first heartbeat would be felt). We had a number of adventures and combats during those 17 days.
    The Role Play:
    Using Discord voice, after the session where she tells the rest of the PCs that she's retiring because she's expecting and she wishes to make a home/tend the shrine to her deity in this walled town, my nephew (who had been the one 'playing' the NPC in most combats as he also had a rogue) and I role played the meeting between the two.
    His role: somewhat arrogant, rich noble's son who was now his home city's trade representative to this town in another kingdom.
    My role: the women he didn't like all that much (beyond being fellow adventurers) telling him, over a dinner she'd prepared at the shrine, that she'd only been sexually active once in the past half of a year and 'the other night was it' - the baby's yours!

    Her objective: get him to acknowledged the child as his, and decide on what level of discretion is needed, in public, and to get a commitment of support for the child.

    His objective: avoid scandal and treat with sufficient honor his adventuring companion such that the rest of the party does not come and kick his butt if he treats her like that cad that he's mostly shown himself to be.

    Noble made it very clear that no, he's not marrying some girl from a coastal town whose mom was a serving lady and cook in a tavern (all part of my PCs back story) and who'd been to seminary
    since
    he needs to be married to someone of his social station for many reasons: his own preferences and the demands of his position as his city's representative.
    He also prefers women who are more physically attractive than my PC. (She is best described as having average / regular looks; neither ugly nor beautiful)

    The scene lasted about 15-20 minutes of RL conversation, with the DM taking notes mostly.
    A resolution of the child's future, support, and acknowledgement was ironed out based on the two of us negotiating.
    No initiative was rolled, no violence was involved, though some hurt feelings and friction were for sure on display as we played it out in-character.
    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Absolutely roleplaying can and does happen without mechanics. What I meant was that mechanics - or certainly most action resolution mechanics - are there to facilitate roleplaying when there’s a desire for the game system itself to affect how the roleplaying goes. And I don’t think there’s any reason to cordon off social interaction scenes and say mechanics never get involved in that specific aspect of a game. You don’t need to use them every time PCs talk to NPCs, not even when there’s something meaningful at stake. But these scenes are absolutely fair game for mechanics.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by HidesHisEyes View Post
    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Absolutely roleplaying can and does happen without mechanics. What I meant was that mechanics - or certainly most action resolution mechanics - are there to facilitate roleplaying when there’s a desire for the game system itself to affect how the roleplaying goes. And I don’t think there’s any reason to cordon off social interaction scenes and say mechanics never get involved in that specific aspect of a game. You don’t need to use them every time PCs talk to NPCs, not even when there’s something meaningful at stake. But these scenes are absolutely fair game for mechanics.
    I agree with the bold. There are times when having mechanics is nice. I don't want, however, to be expected to switch to "social initiative" and track "social HP" (or anything similar) when people make "social attacks" and "social saves". I'm totally fine with D&D's (especially 5e's) relatively anemic social mechanics (basically just the regular uncertainty resolution mechanics), invoked when I, the DM, am not sure whether the player's stated method can achieve the stated intent. Just like any other attempted action.

    There are times for more one-off subsystems--I recently had a "council session" with a bunch of NPCs all with different agendas that the PCs were trying to persuade or not anger. But those, in my experience, are so fact specific that having a pre-generated subsystem isn't all that much help. It's mostly note taking and comparing what the PCs said (or didn't say!) to pre-determined triggers for increases in support or decreases. Did they talk about the war? If so, NPCs A, B, and C increase by 1, while NPCs D and F decrease by 4. Or whatever. On a simple 1-10 not-support/support scale. With endpoints triggered in a few different ways. Certain topics or asks are such that they immediately cause "something else" to happen that ends the social scene for the moment. Whether that's a temporary adjournment to discuss or lunch or everything breaking down into chaos. But all the work was done in figuring out what those breakpoints and triggers would be and the size of the change, which are all tightly tied to the individuals in question and their history with the PCs up to that point.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I agree with the bold. There are times when having mechanics is nice. I don't want, however, to be expected to switch to "social initiative" and track "social HP" (or anything similar) when people make "social attacks" and "social saves". I'm totally fine with D&D's (especially 5e's) relatively anemic social mechanics (basically just the regular uncertainty resolution mechanics), invoked when I, the DM, am not sure whether the player's stated method can achieve the stated intent. Just like any other attempted action.

    There are times for more one-off subsystems--I recently had a "council session" with a bunch of NPCs all with different agendas that the PCs were trying to persuade or not anger. But those, in my experience, are so fact specific that having a pre-generated subsystem isn't all that much help. It's mostly note taking and comparing what the PCs said (or didn't say!) to pre-determined triggers for increases in support or decreases. Did they talk about the war? If so, NPCs A, B, and C increase by 1, while NPCs D and F decrease by 4. Or whatever. On a simple 1-10 not-support/support scale. With endpoints triggered in a few different ways. Certain topics or asks are such that they immediately cause "something else" to happen that ends the social scene for the moment. Whether that's a temporary adjournment to discuss or lunch or everything breaking down into chaos. But all the work was done in figuring out what those breakpoints and triggers would be and the size of the change, which are all tightly tied to the individuals in question and their history with the PCs up to that point.
    Yeah I’m on the same page. The kind of mechanical resolution of talking scenes that I was talking about is not some crunchy subsystem with “social hit points” etc. I actually don’t even like the combat subsystem in D&D, I prefer even combat to be handle as far as possible by the same strong, flexible core mechanic as everything else, personally.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by HidesHisEyes View Post
    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Absolutely roleplaying can and does happen without mechanics.
    OK.
    And I don’t think there’s any reason to cordon off social interaction scenes and say mechanics never get involved in that specific aspect of a game.
    Good thing I didn't say that.
    You don’t need to use them every time PCs talk to NPCs, not even when there’s something meaningful at stake. But these scenes are absolutely fair game for mechanics.
    Depends on the situation, yeah.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    I do think that if you're going to have mechanics, and if the mechanics are going to be optional as to whether they come into play (and especially if that option belongs to the GM), then it's important that the mechanics not actually involve resource investments or tradeoffs on the part of the players.

    So if you want to have a 'NPC personality table' that you roll on to find quirks and blackmail opportunities and ardent beliefs and so on, so you don't have to think of those for every NPC, that's fine. If you want to have a general rule for initial reactions like 'roll d100, 1-10 is hostile, 90-100 is eager for an alliance, etc', that's fine. If you have a general rule of 'if the exchange is middling and you can't think of what the NPC would choose, roll a die adjusted according to the party's general reputation in the region, and here are the criteria for reputation...', that's fine.

    But I'd avoid having a skill that a player has to intentionally invest in if you're mainly going to be using it for occasional on-the-fence resolution, because then that becomes a trap option. Generally I think mechanics offered to the player should be promises of things they get to consistently predict or control - you're telling them how something will be resolved, so they can plan around it. Giving a mechanic which says 'I will choose when you roll this' defeats that purpose. It's not just social skills, but any skill the player must invest in which is dependent on the GM asking for a check rather than allowing the player to ask for a check is poor design I think.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    The rules should definitely be in sync with how it's run, yeah. A lot of the ideas mentioned here should be stated as house-rules as used, and full rebuilding should be on the table if they're introduced mid-campaign (IMO, full rebuilding should always be on the table anyway, but YMMV).

    I'd note though, that (in D&D 3.x at least), the idea that Diplomacy checks let you directly make people do things with no limit is fanon, it's not actually in the rules. Unless you use the optional and poorly-balanced rules from the ELH, the most that Diplomacy can do is make the target "helpful". That's it. It doesn't directly let you force any action, and you still make requests/demands by actually making them, with the NPC's reaction being informed by their adjusted attitude but still based on what the request is.

    So, for example, telling the king to trade you his castle for a piece of string, by RAW:
    Unfriendly: "What?! Guards, throw this idiot in prison until he learns some manners!"
    Helpful: "Hah, a good jest! Wait, you're serious? You walk a fine line there, many rulers would have you imprisoned for such a statement - but I like your chutzpah. I'm obviously not giving you the castle, but it's possible for an outsider to become a lord if they perform great deeds for the kingdom - talk to my chancellor on that matter."
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-12-03 at 04:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I do think that if you're going to have mechanics, and if the mechanics are going to be optional as to whether they come into play (and especially if that option belongs to the GM), then it's important that the mechanics not actually involve resource investments or tradeoffs on the part of the players.

    So if you want to have a 'NPC personality table' that you roll on to find quirks and blackmail opportunities and ardent beliefs and so on, so you don't have to think of those for every NPC, that's fine. If you want to have a general rule for initial reactions like 'roll d100, 1-10 is hostile, 90-100 is eager for an alliance, etc', that's fine. If you have a general rule of 'if the exchange is middling and you can't think of what the NPC would choose, roll a die adjusted according to the party's general reputation in the region, and here are the criteria for reputation...', that's fine.

    But I'd avoid having a skill that a player has to intentionally invest in if you're mainly going to be using it for occasional on-the-fence resolution, because then that becomes a trap option. Generally I think mechanics offered to the player should be promises of things they get to consistently predict or control - you're telling them how something will be resolved, so they can plan around it. Giving a mechanic which says 'I will choose when you roll this' defeats that purpose. It's not just social skills, but any skill the player must invest in which is dependent on the GM asking for a check rather than allowing the player to ask for a check is poor design I think.
    Aye, there's the rub. Other people precisely do want characters to have resources to affect such things. They want a button a push. Rather, I will specify this to D&D. For these people it's a feature of a class it gets a specific power associated with that class to influence a non-combat thing, with social use being one of the possible things. It doesn't have to be every class, and in fact, they would prefer it not be every class, but they do want every class to have something for non-combat use. The problem for these people is D&D gives equal weight to having a power button for combat and non-combat. That is, given two classes where they each get Something at level X, one class gets a power to affect combat. The other gets a power to affect noncombat, let's say a social thing for thread context. Which is better depends on the observer, but many people will say the class that got the social thing is better off because it already gets combat stuff elsewhere. Their dream is for everyone to get combat and noncombat buttons, and it would be superiorly done if combat and noncombat stuff aren't in competition of when a PC gets such a power button.

    It is fine if everyone gets the same relative social stuff. In D&D's case it would be the social skills of Persuasion, Intimidation, Deception, and Performance. Everyone does have equal access to those skills, with some classes getting powers to make use of them better. The only issue is for people who don't want class buttons for these, to have them be universal, then they should stop complaining a particular class or two doesn't have a noncombat power button for this.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    The rules should definitely be in sync with how it's run, yeah. A lot of the ideas mentioned here should be stated as house-rules as used, and full rebuilding should be on the table if they're introduced mid-campaign (IMO, full rebuilding should always be on the table anyway, but YMMV).

    I'd note though, that (in D&D 3.x at least), the idea that Diplomacy checks let you directly make people do things with no limit is fanon, it's not actually in the rules. Unless you use the optional and poorly-balanced rules from the ELH, the most that Diplomacy can do is make the target "helpful". That's it. It doesn't directly let you force any action, and you still make requests/demands by actually making them, with the NPC's reaction being informed by their adjusted attitude but still based on what the request is.

    So, for example, telling the king to trade you his castle for a piece of string, by RAW:
    Unfriendly: "What?! Guards, throw this idiot in prison until he learns some manners!"
    Helpful: "Hah, a good jest! Wait, you're serious? You walk a fine line there, many rulers would have you imprisoned for such a statement - but I like your chutzpah. I'm obviously not giving you the castle, but it's possible for an outsider to become a lord if they perform great deeds for the kingdom - talk to my chancellor on that matter."
    This isn't really a houserules/true rules thing... I'm just talking about making design decisions for a game, not debating some existing game. It's easier to just assume that every table runs 'That Table's RPG', and if it bears resemblance to D&D or WoD or whatever, well, imitation and flattery and all that. From a design perspective, a character-bound mechanic is a promise of placing some decision power and resolution power in the hands of the controller of that character. If you make a character-bound mechanic whose usage is always determined by someone other than the controller of the character, it's bad design. That's true whether it's D&D, house rules of D&D, a completely new game you just invented, etc.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So, I've been having something of a "crisis of faith" in my "gaming religion". It all started with me noticing an inconsistency in my reasoning regarding map vs territory. From there, it spread to "entitlement" (specifically, who is entitled to make the game less fun for others). And, while I was trying to get my thoughts in order on that one, thinking that it might make a good thread, I ran into a third installment that is going "straight to video": social combat.

    But before I get into it, I want to talk about HP.

    Some people complain that HP aren't realistic, that they don't match reality. This, of course, is a silly complaint for any game that isn't supposedly taking place *in* this reality. The key part here, though, is my response: "if the game is 'like this reality, unless stated otherwise', why can't people accept HP as a 'stated otherwise' change?"

    And that's what got me thinking.

    I hate all "role-playing" rules I've ever read. Because they all encourage bad role-playing. They don't map to actual human behavior and motivation.

    But… so what? What if any game with social rules is just like HP, it's an explicitly stated difference between the alien inhabitants of that world and this one? Shouldn't I accept that the rules are clear, and the beings we're role-playing aren't remotely human in psychology and temperament?

    If the rules of, say, Exalted, allow this set of exchanges:
    Joe: Buy my noodles!
    Jon: No!
    Joe: They're the best in town, buy them!
    Jon: I don't want noodles!
    Joe: You'll change your mind after you try, now buy. My. Noodles!
    Jon: Sigh... okay.

    But, since each of these "buy my noodles" attacks is a self-contained thing, and since there's no effect as long as the guy resists by burning WP, it may as well go like this:

    Joe: Buy my noodles!
    Jon: No!
    Joe: They're the best in town, buy them!
    Jon: I don't want noodles!
    Joe: Okay, then, maybe you'd like to sell your wife into slavery instead?
    Jon: Yeah, guess I can do that...
    … and everyone is mechanically incentivized to initiate combat the moment someone opens their mouth, shouldn't we just accept that that's how reality works in those systems, and roleplay our characters and the world accordingly?

    Have I been wrong all this time, accusing "role-playing" mechanics for not matching reality when, like HP, I should have been accepting them as a statement of how their reality diverges from our own?
    This is an absolutely hilarious misreading of Exalted's social mechanics. I'm not entirely sure where to start here, but my best guess is to recommend you read the Social Influence 301 thread on rpg.net so you can see how the system... actually functions in practice.

    For the record, Apocalypse World's Read A Person move is, imo, the cornerstone of one of the best social 'combat' systems in any rpg. It acknowledges that we don't need to resolve our characters' arguments with rolled dice, comparing numbers on a sheet - people communicate through their motivations and beliefs, just like you said. The strength of Read A Person is that it puts all parties involved on the same page in regards to everyone's motivations and beliefs. It's central mechanic is asking questions, which can be answered diagetically or explained OOC and then inferred by the characters in-game through context or shared history with the NPC in question. You as the MC or as another player can frame your answer as "Okay, you've known X character for a long time, and you're pretty sure he'd do anything as long as you gave him enough to drink." Think of it as the platonic ideal of what a good 'Sense Motive' check ought to accomplish.

    Here's the text of the move in question. There's also a page or so of advice on how to adjudicate it in the Apocalypse World 2e core rulebook that is pretty useful.

    READ A PERSON
    When you read a person in a charged interaction, roll+sharp. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7–9, hold 1. While you’re interacting with them, spend your hold to ask their player questions, 1 for 1:
    • is your character telling the truth?
    • what’s your character really feeling?
    • what does your character intend to do?
    • what does your character wish I’d do?
    • how could I get your character to __?
    On a miss, ask 1 anyway, but be prepared for the worst.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    I skimmed some of this thread, so apologies if I missed something. I promise that I'm not deliberately ignoring any point, and if one is relevant to something I'm saying, by all means point it out to me.

    My main response to the OP is that the important difference, as I see it, is as follow:

    "Damage" in some setting working differently than actual physical damage doesn't preclude roleplaying a character in that setting, because it doesn't preclude the existence of of people with motivations, emotions, beliefs, and so on. "Motivations", "emotions", "beliefs", etc. that work differently from the real thing are different, because substituting other things for those potentially rules out anything that can meaningfully be called "a character", depending on what is substituted.

    And it's not even a simple binary, either, where sufficiently egregious departures from reality completely destroy players' ability to relate to their "characters", but anything less than that is fine. Rather, it's a continuum, where characters feel less like characters and more like weird abstract alien things the more weird, abstract, and alien their psychology is made.

    I don't expect that every player even cares about that, but roleplaying a character is part of the appeal of a roleplaying game for a lot of people, and replacing characters with something else and roleplaying with some other activity is going to be unsatisfying on that front. In short, lack of psychological verisimilitude in particular is an issue in an RPG due to the target audience inherent in the very term "roleplaying game".

    That all said, fictional characters in general often seem unrealistic to varying degrees, partly due to being written with goals other than realism in mind, and partly due to our understandings of others' and our own minds being rather less than perfect simulations. Some level of suspension of disbelief is necessary. And RPGs have plenty of goals other than character plausibility, with the relative importance of those goals varying from one gamer to another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So, I've been having something of a "crisis of faith" in my "gaming religion". It all started with me noticing an inconsistency in my reasoning regarding map vs territory. From there, it spread to "entitlement" (specifically, who is entitled to make the game less fun for others).
    No one should be regarded as being entitled to make the game less fun for others. Some may be entitled to do things that make the game less fun for others, but never because it reduces someone else's fun. (I assume that that isn't actually what you meant, but, like, yikes! Phrasing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Some people complain that HP aren't realistic, that they don't match reality. This, of course, is a silly complaint for any game that isn't supposedly taking place *in* this reality. The key part here, though, is my response: "if the game is 'like this reality, unless stated otherwise', why can't people accept HP as a 'stated otherwise' change?"
    It's all well and good for your fantasy world to contain psychic kangaroos with laser eye beams, but calling them "dragons" is going to annoy people for being misleading if nothing else. And "dragon" is a broad term used for a wide variety of different creatures! "Human" is a word for a specific species in the real world, and most RPG players have a pretty detailed understanding of what humans are like, due to having encountered more than a few humans themselves.

    For this and other reasons, the job of "humans" in fantasy, even more so than many other things called by familiar names, is to be indistinguishable from the real things they're named after under normal circumstances. So why would you call something "human" if it works differently than a human? Because it looks the same? But why does it look the same? Perhaps because you're trying to insinuate that it's something that it isn't?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Bur HP can describe the reality similar to our own! You just need not too few of them in number, so you can have attacks that are harmful but not enough to kill character if he suffers four of them, attacks that are lethal in reality taking most/all of the average character's HP, not to great disparity in HP between different characters and some penalty for taking damage beyond the loss of HP.
    I think that Quertus intended "HP" as shorthand for how Dungeons & Dragons handles damage to characters. But you're right that the basic model of having characters fall down when a number called "hit points" falls to zero can entail a lot more realism than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    I'm fine with hitpoints because higher fidelity models of physical endurance are hard to run on the tabletop, but I'm not fine with social combat mechanics because having real conversations, negotiations etc. is not hard at all.
    But, as you yourself have noted, it's possible to engage in real physical activities as well. Sure, that's the domain of LARP rather than tabletop games, but then why play tabletop games instead of LARP? Not just because they have a different name, presumably!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Attack rolls, armor class, and hit points exist because you can't really resolve a sword fight by describing where each characters are awinging their swords and how they move all their limbs to get them out of the way. That just doesn't work
    Citation needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    These both fall under the fallacy of thinking of social interaction as combat, where someone is victorious only if the other person is beaten.

    A player can absolutely get a deal which they think is good at the time, but where later they realize they could have gotten better. Or, it's good for them but turns out to help their enemy. Or it seems good, but in the end they regret it. Similarly a player can refuse to deal and in the end lose more from that refusal and how it's perceived by or informs the behaviors of third parties than if they compromised.
    Honestly, those all seem at least consistent with social interaction as a zero sum game, and thus less than ideal for, well, illustrating that social interaction doesn't have to be a zero sum game, and thus shouldn't exclusively be modeled as such.

    The assumption that some form of communication will always be adversarial can certainly lead to weird holes in the rules. I've noticed that in D&D 3.5, for example, the Bluff and Sense Motive skills cover one character trying to trick another but not one character trying to convince another of the truth. It intuitively seems like being honest shouldn't make it harder to convince someone, and thus that one should still use Bluff which should probably be renamed to Persuade or such, and that a good Sense Motive roll on their part should help rather than hurt, but it's still a bit of work from there figuring out how to turn an opposed roll into a cooperative one.

    That "honesty shouldn't make things harder" issue also rears its head in Exalted, where it seems to be a fundamental flaw of the system (in 2nd Edition, at least; not sure if 1st or 3rd are any different here). If the Manipulation character attribute covers any attempt to influence someone's behavior or attitudes, then it can be used for all social attacks (even if some of them can also be made with Charisma instead), because that's what social attacks are. And if it specifically covers the use of deception, that creates a bizarre incentive for characters with higher Manipulation than Charisma to work trickery into every social interaction, because that makes it more likely to work. Now, that may make sense for the Ebon Dragon (and his Exalts, who are themselves slightly Ebon Dragon), but the vast majority of characters are not the Ebon Dragon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    TL;DR social skill roll = attack roll, the strength of the opposition's dedication to their belief is the HP, and the strength of the ways you're compelling him to break from that belief (through bribery, trickery, coercion, insightful discourse, magical/psychic/chemical/whatever manipulation, etc) is the damage roll.
    I quite like "Skill rolls are attack rolls, but the damage depends on the weapon" as an approach to "social combat". (Although to what extent social interaction should parallel combat at all is a different question!)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    If high skill level is possible, I'd expect a precautionary principle to apply. Especially if the system has a high variance random source and fixed targets like D&D. Maybe 99 of 100 who go in front of the king aren't going to hit the persuasion DC, but all it takes to create a disaster is someone rolling high...

    I suppose there'd also be the flip side. If it's normalized, maybe the king has Royal Persuaders who go town to town brainwashing the populace into loyalty and obedience. Maybe to even enter the palace you basically have to let yourself get brainwashed into service to the crown by a dedicated Diplomat.

    The point being, if that's how skill at persuasion is implemented in the system, you're going to get a society that recognizes that fact and is shaped around those realities. And it's likely to not actually favor 'playing a social character' in that case, because it makes socializing into a pure risk and liability rather than a net positive interaction.
    I'd expect for the positions of highest authority to be held by those most capable of the most mind control, and for them to limit the use of mind control by others, as with violence in real life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    This is completely backwards.

    How real humans operate is the benchmark for realistic humans. When an academic theory predicts behaviour that doesn't match what real humans do, it is the theory that is being unrealistic.
    The relevant idea is that naive predictions of human behavior can be wrong in systemic ways, not that any theory is "more true" than actual events, which is a preposterous strawman.

    Of course, as you noted, this is a moot point unless a system actually tried to reflect some psychological theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    It doesn't matter for the NPC
    Why not?

    That's not a rhetorical question, by the way. Some people might answer with "Because the GM should never have a problem being obligated to have an NPC behave in some way", while others would reply "Because the GM should always be able to fiat any damn thing anyway". But yet others would say "It is neither necessary nor desirable to give the game master the role of either tyrant or doormat".
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate
    But, as you yourself have noted, it's possible to engage in real physical activities as well. Sure, that's the domain of LARP rather than tabletop games, but then why play tabletop games instead of LARP? Not just because they have a different name, presumably.
    I've listed a number of reasons in form of questions. The one applying to me personally is lack of available space. Sometimes, there's no space for a live-action game, but there is space for a tabletop game, so if some kind of a roleplaying game is desired, a tabletop game serves as an alternative. Of course, at the moment available tabletop spaces are also limited due to public health concerns, which is why I'm back to playing play-by-post freeform.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Honestly, those all seem at least consistent with social interaction as a zero sum game, and thus less than ideal for, well, illustrating that social interaction doesn't have to be a zero sum game, and thus shouldn't exclusively be modeled as such.
    Well, those examples were a response to the idea that without a mechanic to force decision, players could always 'win' by refusing to agree with what they were being asked to do, so those examples all have something to lose, which is not necessarily of the same magnitude as what there is to gain for another party. Those outcomes could easily be negative sum.

    Or more nuanced, examples where refusing to engage socially at all is negative sum, but agreeing to socialize could be negative, zero, or positive sum depending on what agreements are made.

    Walking away from negotiations or digging in heels and just repeating demands isn't always the optimal move, was the point. Whereas with the social combat way of thinking, going to a debate with earplugs is pretty much a win.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    This isn't really a houserules/true rules thing... I'm just talking about making design decisions for a game, not debating some existing game. It's easier to just assume that every table runs 'That Table's RPG', and if it bears resemblance to D&D or WoD or whatever, well, imitation and flattery and all that. From a design perspective, a character-bound mechanic is a promise of placing some decision power and resolution power in the hands of the controller of that character. If you make a character-bound mechanic whose usage is always determined by someone other than the controller of the character, it's bad design. That's true whether it's D&D, house rules of D&D, a completely new game you just invented, etc.
    Are you saying, "elves have a 1-in-6 chance of noticing secret doors just by walking past them" is, by virtue of the player not getting to place the secret doors (therefore there might not be any to find), and not knowing where they are located to intentionally trigger the power even when the doors do exist, is bad design?

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Are you saying, "elves have a 1-in-6 chance of noticing secret doors just by walking past them" is, by virtue of the player not getting to place the secret doors (therefore there might not be any to find), and not knowing where they are located to intentionally trigger the power even when the doors do exist, is bad design?
    A little bit, yeah. It's not the most egregious thing since its not like there's some unknown level of continuous investment arms race to it, and you aren't really given so many things to choose between. I'd say it's mostly flavor at that point, not great mechanics design but maybe not worth the effort to do differently.

    But imagine if there were 20 different kinds of secrets or passive hurdles like this, and you had to pick which 8 would be most important to have in the party. It'd be pretty arbitrary without some sort of consistent expectation about how often it'd come up and what the consequences for not having it would be.

  27. - Top - End - #147
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    The latest Web DM episode is about handling charisma checks and it seems to be really good.

  28. - Top - End - #148
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Mar 2020

    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    @NichG & Quertus: as comment on your last tangent, the line of thought going "ability X is bad design because players have no control over when X is triggered" implicates scenario design as the cause most of the time, and in games where a game master is responsible for setting up a scenario, it implicates the game master as culprit for said bad design. Scenario design can make any character ability worthless.

    So, ignoring other ways to evaluate, say, "elf has 1/6 chance to detect secret doors" as a rule, a game master has to A) remember to include secret doors in a scenario and B) remember to include several secret doors, in order to make this ability noticeably to the players.

    A good way to test this is: play whatever game you're testing as one of hidden character information. Only a game master knows exact traits of characters in play. Players describe their character actions in a natural language to the game master, who then interpretes them according to game rules, and returns natural language descriptions.

    Does the player of the elf notice that they have a chance to detect secret door where others do not? How long does it take?

    If it doesn't seem even conceptually possible that the player would figure this out (say, because there are no secret doors), then that's a good sign that either the ability has to be ignored in weighing character abilities or omitted outright (no point to a rule that never comes up), or the character is better off placed in a different scenario. If it looks like it would take a really long time to notice, then that's a good reason to increase trigger rate.

    The next step is asking the question: once players know a character trait exists, how much can they increase trigger rait of that trait? Let's use favored enemy and favored terrain as examples, because they serve better for demonstrating this aspect:

    If a character has favored enemy in goblins, then they'd be best off fighting mostly goblins. If a character has favored terrain in desert, then they'd be best off staying in the desert. If there's a lot of goblins around, a principled goblinslayer, then, chooses to go and kill goblins, untill all the goblins are dead or they are. A desert nomad won't wander outside the desert as long as their livelihood is there. So if these (favored enemy and favored terrain) are bad design because a player has no control over what they fight or where, the question becomes: why, exactly, is that? What compels the goblinslayer to go fighting ogres, dark elves, undead, dragons, or anything else that isn't a goblin? What compels the desert nomad to leave their home and wander into a tropical jungle or arctic mountains?

    For social skills, the application should be obvious, but in case it isn't: do the players have a choice of who to socialize with? Do they have any indication that some approaches would not work, or would work better? How long will it take? So on and so forth.

  29. - Top - End - #149
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Elves's Avatar

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    Feb 2019

    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Social hp sounds kind of cool, I could swing with that

  30. - Top - End - #150
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    I don't think that "combat" is a good model for social interaction.

    I'm a Fate fan, and it uses Conflicts, which can be applied to social situations. But Conflicts are less... "combaty" than many combat systems, and frankly I think people reach for Conflicts in Fate for social situations waaaaay too often - they should be reserved for situations where people are basically trying to shout each other down, or emotionally hurt people enough that they rage quit the argument.

    That doesn't mean that there can't be mechanics, I just don't think combat is a good model, especially for anything resembling a negotiation, persuasion, etc.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

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