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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    In A) the outcome is basically completely dependent on the character's skill value and random chance. The player's skill doesn't really come into it, whether at talking, math or something else.
    .
    Using the basic d20 system as an example: characters get class-dependent amount of skillpoints per level. Cross-class skills cost more points than class skills. So, just by understanding this, before character creation is over, a math-savvy player can have +4 modifier to a skills versus a +2 for the same point investment. By choosing proper feats like Skill Focus, they can add another +3 to a skill, for total of +7. Optimizing for Charisma can add +4, for a total of +11. By now, since skill checks don't autofail, you are always beating DCs below 10.

    Achieving second level allows +1 rank and, by choosing other related skills, a +2 synergy bonus, for total of +14. So on and so forth. Picking right class combination allows for always Taking 10, substituting one skill for others, rerolling failures, etc.. One build geared for this, the Jumplomancer, substitutes jumping for diplomacy, using massive skill bonuses from Jump spell to hit Epic skill check DCs and make people fanatics who will give their lifes for the character, just by jumping around. So, just by mathematically optimizing character creation and progression, a player can beat this situation before it even happens.

    In and around the actual in-game situation, the player can argue for favorable conditions or aid another for another +2, spend money for a tool granting a masterwork bonus, or pay for a spell buff or ask another character for one. Just by optimizing buffs, it'd possible to get high enough modifier to beat the actual range of a twenty-sided die, making the die roll meaningless, since skill checks do not autofail on 1.

    Do I need to go on?

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Dice do nothing to eliminate a game master's biases as long as they call the rolls; if you say rules call the rolls, now you've swapped the game master's biases for a game designer's; if you say players call the rolls, now you've swapped the designer's biases for the players'.
    Biases are not a binary problem. Without eliminating them, some approaches will reduce the GM's tendencies to be biased.

    For example, if you're doing an argumentation relying on some moral view that the GM fundamentally disagree with (like making a utilitarianism argument while the GM is more of the deontological kind), the GM might be more likely to cast aside his own biases to focus on "what is the point of view of this specific NPC" if you're extensively relying on dice rather than by playing the "convince the GM that your argument is sound" mini-game.

    And more generally, peoples are rarely truly in favor of fully eliminating parts of the game they don't like. Peoples complaining in 3.X that system mastery was too strong and imbalanced the game too much did not want system mastery to not be relevant at all, they just wanted to reduce significantly its impact so that non-munckins don't get completely overshadowed by munchkins during combat encounters (which 5e did reasonably well).
    Similarly, when peoples complain about being able to fast-talk the GM into agreeing with you as being "too strong", they don't want to completely eliminate the bonuses from coming up with good RP. They just want to reduce significantly its impact so that socially-awkward peoples don't get completely overshadowed by extroverts during social encounters.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Pointless remark. I'm not arguing for my preferences, I'm arguing against specific logical fallacies. I'm not arguing for "One True Way", I'm arguing for checking if your way has any actual merit. As far as yours go, the idea that dice eliminate game master's biases is wrong, in the same way and largely for the same reasons Batcathat's idea of dice eliminating player skill was wrong. Dice do nothing to eliminate a game master's biases as long as they call the rolls; if you say rules call the rolls, now you've swapped the game master's biases for a game designer's; if you say players call the rolls, now you've swapped the designer's biases for the players'. It's a thorny problem which for games is most often solved by selecting a single person who is perceived as fair and has the greatest knowledge of a game's rules to serve as a referee, which is precisely what a game master position is supposed to be - raising the question why their judgment wasn't sufficient in the first place? I can name at least one game designer, Ville Vuorela, who, after entertaining this question seriously, went and made a diceless system to pretty much prove the point. (See: STALKER RPG, by Burger Games)
    When you tell me this . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Your skills as a real human are what you're using to model your character, however you do it. The idea that you play your character better by relying on basic arithmetic and probability can and should be questioned.
    Yes, you are saying I'm playing the game wrong yours is the One True Way.

    It's fine you prefer players needing to convince the DM type play. I prefer game mechanics to exist for social interactions.
    Last edited by Pex; 2021-11-25 at 12:10 PM.
    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 - #64
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    This is a good point. I'm occasionally annoyed with the forum's frequent assumption that every RPG is D&D, but I hadn't considered this even more basic assumption [that not every role-playing game is a tabletop role-playing game].
    As a very simple example I refer to pen-and-paper role-playing games a lot because I play a lot of games that don't use battle-mats or models or anything you need to put a table really. I mean its convent for character sheets, but clipboards would do as well. If the table (and its top) has nothing to do with how the game is played is it a tabletop game? I don't think so. (Plus, it is way less pretentious then trying to justify theater-of-the-mind as a medium.) This might not be the greatest revelation but I think it does support that medium and genre are not tied.

    On the other hand there are many computer RPGs which aren't role-playing games, they are something else which, to add to the confusion, has the same name.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Do I need to go on?
    Yes. Please state your position and then start from the beginning. I have no idea how "LARPS exist and TSR didn't want a D&D one" is intersecting with "should social stats, skills, and encounters have defined structure" in you posts. Likewise you stated that D&D had a skill system where you could have a difference of over 20 points between characters, but I am unable to understand how you think it relates to the discussion.

    I'm sorry I couldn't finish previous posts or follow up before now, but... Life.

    I generally find that having a set of rules/guides for complex situations, or situations where reliance on DMing skill and only DMing skill is the make/break point in the game continuing to function, is better than having no rules. I prefer a set up where I have a rule or system that I can ignore when the outcome is obvious or easily & simply adjucated. I dislike when a system gives me skills, stats, and abilities for an action but no functional guidance beyond "easy things have low DCs, hard things have high DCs". As a player I dislike systems where my characters get stats & abilities that tell me they're "good" at an activity, only to find the system is also telling the DM that thier personal biases & experiences are the sole determinator of if my character has a good or bad chance to succeed at that character's "good at" activity.

    I've literally seen "challenges" where the 5 foot 1 inch stay-at-home parent playing a D&D 25 strength character got a "test of might" and rolled a die to succeed. Yet the next person in the "challenge" being an D&D 30 intelligence & wisdom history mage/cleric the player was asked to solve a riddle. It went like this:
    Player:"After the fourth 'knight' I lost track of whether you meant 'knight in shining armor' or 'night the time of day', could you go back over the last five or six-"
    Dm: "Just answer the riddle."
    Player:"Let me see if anything on my character sheet will help."
    Dm:"No. Its an easy kids riddle, just answer it."
    Player:"Thirty wisdom?"
    Dm:"No. Just answer the damn riddle."
    Player:"Disentegrate."
    Dm:"What?"
    Player:"I cast disentegrate on jerk-face. I don't care if hes an oracle or priest or anything. Save or be vaporized."
    Dm:"But you can't get the reward then."
    Player:"I don't care, save. Then I'm going to blow up this whole stupid temple."

    So if a system I'm running has some "yalk good at people" stats, skills, or abilities, and a player has a legal & reasonably normal character I'm going to treat it the same as I treat a character in that system that has "lift heavy things" stats, skills, and abilities. I'm not going to tell the player of the talky character that they have to personally convince me in order for their character to do the thing the game says thier character is good at. Not because I think all games need social combat mechanics or thay the dice should rule the game, but because I'm not going to make the player of the strong character clean & jerk 300 pounds in order for thier character to lift something heavy.

    I have found structured social conflict rules in some rpgs to be useful in helping me run things like legal trials & negotiations where the players and don't have extensive experience and the outcomes should be reliant on the character's abilities. Just like I use the physical combat rules for life & death sword fights, or medical rules for invasive surgery (if the system has that). If I don't need to use the rules for something then I don't. Slit the throat of an unconsious, tied up, totally helpless foe? If the character has something sharp it works. Seduce random people in bars? If thats the characters thing and they're good at it, sure, no problem. Treat minor injuries? If the character is an experienced doctor then yes, its automatic. Get into a scene where the character is trying to get the king to do one thing and the evil vizer wants him to do something else? If there's rules for that so I don't have to make up a method on the spot and I can just enjoy the game? Its worth a try.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

    DtD40k7e rewrite complete.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I have found structured social conflict rules in some rpgs to be useful in helping me run things like legal trials & negotiations where the players and don't have extensive experience and the outcomes should be reliant on the character's abilities. Just like I use the physical combat rules for life & death sword fights, or medical rules for invasive surgery (if the system has that). If I don't need to use the rules for something then I don't. Slit the throat of an unconsious, tied up, totally helpless foe? If the character has something sharp it works. Seduce random people in bars? If thats the characters thing and they're good at it, sure, no problem. Treat minor injuries? If the character is an experienced doctor then yes, its automatic. Get into a scene where the character is trying to get the king to do one thing and the evil vizer wants him to do something else? If there's rules for that so I don't have to make up a method on the spot and I can just enjoy the game? Its worth a try.
    It is definitely possible to produce effective 'social combat' rules for certain well defined 'social' situations, like haggling, or formal debate, or short-term seduction, and so forth. The tricky part is that these systems tend to be 1v1 systems - because most social struggles do in fact unfold in such ways, large group arguments quickly degenerate into no resolution shouting matches - and that carries all the problems of halting the game that any other such 'minigame' setup does. This is similar to how many games have alternative combat-like minigames for things like hacking that, while they may be mathematically functional and even representational, cause problems at the actual table because only one player can effectively use them at a time.

    This is actually a very important reason why simplification is a major part of social-based challenges in TTRPGs, because the need is to simplify for speed. Role-playing out, for example, the haggling process behind a major purchase (ex. buying a car) would take almost as long as actually doing that (I bought a car this year, it's not a swift process) and will freeze out the rest of the table while it's happening. 'Roll Diplomacy' or 'Roll Manipulation+Subterfuge' (long a staple WoD approach) has the advantage of being fast.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

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

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    Biases are not a binary problem. Without eliminating them, some approaches will reduce the GM's tendencies to be biased.
    Don't confuse my claim for one I'm not making. I am not claiming "biases are a binary problem" anywhere in this thread. I am claiming "dice do not eliminate bias". The reason for that is because bias enters the game at the point where it's decided who calls the rolls. You can change whose biases they are, you might even be able to make different biases cancel out, but the dice are not the mechanism through which this happens, and once you realize this and a have a person at the table who you trust to be reasonably unbiased, you can do away with dice entirely. My argument is given further strength by the fact that even if dice did something to eliminate bias, my conclusion would still hold true: if you have reasonably unbiased people at a table, you do not need dice for purposes of eliminating bias, and an application of Occam's Razor eliminates dice from the game's design.

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    For example, if you're doing an argumentation relying on some moral view that the GM fundamentally disagree with (like making a utilitarianism argument while the GM is more of the deontological kind), the GM might be more likely to cast aside his own biases to focus on "what is the point of view of this specific NPC" if you're extensively relying on dice rather than by playing the "convince the GM that your argument is sound" mini-game.
    You are skipping a question: why is the game master rolling dice to begin with? If your answer is "because it's in the rules!", you have not skipped the "convince the GM that your argument is sound" mini-game - you have simply replaced what argument you are trying to convince your game master of.

    The rest of your post is besides the point. I have already described a method for helping socially awkward people and making things harder for socially apt people that doesn't use dice. So why are you using dice? In what respect are dice better? These are not rhetorical questions - they can be asked and answered honestly. For example, Mechalich's post has one valid answer: speed. It can be argued that a dice mechanic is faster than the non-dice mechanics I described, so if you value speed over other things my mechanics have that dice don't, then it makes sense to use dice. You can, in fact, continue to empirically test this very fact and prove dice are faster.

    The one thing that isn't honest is taking it for granted that dice are better.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    When you tell me [to question why I'm doing a thing]

    Yes, you are saying I'm playing the game wrong yours is the One True Way.

    It's fine you prefer players needing to convince the DM type play. I prefer game mechanics to exist for social interactions.
    Saying something can and should be questioned isn't the same as saying something is wrong - the former argues there are important unasked or unanswered questions regarding the issue, the latter states an answer.

    An actual example of me arguing you're wrong is the argument I'm making about dice and biases. And that argument is not me trying to convince you to adopt my preferences, that's an argument for why dice do not serve YOUR preference. By not engaging with that argument, you are not defending your preference for unbiased games, you are failing to defend your claim that dice serve to remove bias.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Yes. Please state your position and then start from the beginning.
    Okay, one: the question you are quoting was specifically aimed at Batcathat, regarding a different tangent of the discussion than you and I are engaged in. I can understand confusion, I was confused by Batcathat jumping back into the discussion as well. The specific point being made to Batcathat is an attempt to prove how skill in math can be used to overcome a random number generator in a real game system. The attempted proof exists because Batcathat has expressed confusion over how player skill is relevant in dice-based games, when individual die rolls appear independent and random.

    Two, this entire discussion, by nature of its format, is recorded and capable of being viewed from the start by default. I'm not going to rewrite all my arguments when you can go back an re-read them already.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I have no idea how "LARPS exist and TSR didn't want a D&D one" is intersecting with "should social stats, skills, and encounters have defined structure" in you posts. Likewise you stated that D&D had a skill system where you could have a difference of over 20 points between characters, but I am unable to understand how you think it relates to the discussion.
    The tangent about D&D exists simply because you asked whether I use the kind of rules I described for D&D. No, I use them for LARPs, and it makes no sense to call those LARPs D&D, because of a reason. That's it, for that point.

    As for the rest: Any real social situation conducted in a natural language has a defined structure given to it by rules of that natural language, just like a live-action roleplay fencing match conducted using fake weapons has a structure given to it by real rules of physics, above and beyond anything written in a rulebook.

    A tabletop RPG system using basic arithmetic and dice maps the real mathematical skills of its player to imagined social and combat skills. A basic category error made by, f.ex. Batcathat, is that because a player stopped using the same skill, they have stopped using any skill. A basic motive behind this category error, is worry of more skilled players dominating unskilled players. What the category error prevents people with these motives from seeing, is that since they have not eliminated skill, simply swapped which skill is being used, they have not eliminated the threat of skilled players dominating unskilled players, they have simply changed who dominates.

    The rest of your post goes back to the point I made in my very first post to Quertus. Hume's quillotine separates could from should, therefore "we use rolls for physical skills, therefore we should use rolls for social skills" is a fallacious statement: the second part does not follow from the first. You have to explain what you value in a game, then demonstrate how rolls serve your values for physical skills, then check separately if those reasons hold for social skills as well.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Have you tried playing D&D using RL weight lifting to replace the character strength scores? Maybe you replaced the intelligence scores with subject matter quizzes? Or perception checks with eye tests? How did it go? Did all the players love filling out a Forgotten Realms history quiz every time you called for an intelligence:history check?

    Edit: not snark, really am curious if you've tried it. If not then please do try it and let us know the results.
    There's numerous modules with puzzles, history quizzes, etc, that test exclusively player skills / knowledge.

    And, except for the puzzles, I hate them.

    If it were, instead, say, "if you have no ranks in Knowledge: history, you must answer all 8 history questions correctly to pass. With 1 rank, and for every multiple of 5 ranks, reduce the number of questions by 1", I might accept it as having the character be meaningful, rather than just the player.

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    Biases are not a binary problem. Without eliminating them, some approaches will reduce the GM's tendencies to be biased.

    For example, if you're doing an argumentation relying on some moral view that the GM fundamentally disagree with (like making a utilitarianism argument while the GM is more of the deontological kind), the GM might be more likely to cast aside his own biases to focus on "what is the point of view of this specific NPC" if you're extensively relying on dice rather than by playing the "convince the GM that your argument is sound" mini-game.

    And more generally, peoples are rarely truly in favor of fully eliminating parts of the game they don't like. Peoples complaining in 3.X that system mastery was too strong and imbalanced the game too much did not want system mastery to not be relevant at all, they just wanted to reduce significantly its impact so that non-munckins don't get completely overshadowed by munchkins during combat encounters (which 5e did reasonably well).
    Similarly, when peoples complain about being able to fast-talk the GM into agreeing with you as being "too strong", they don't want to completely eliminate the bonuses from coming up with good RP. They just want to reduce significantly its impact so that socially-awkward peoples don't get completely overshadowed by extroverts during social encounters.
    Good RPů well, good acting would be to represent the character's skills (or lack thereof) via the delivery; good RP could involve representing the character's skills (or lack thereof) via the argumentation style, tone, or underlying logic.

    But I'm curious why you think "follow the dice" will encourage GMs to ignore their biases. IME, "consider the argument and the personality of the target" has a much higher success rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    When you tell me this . . .



    Yes, you are saying I'm playing the game wrong yours is the One True Way.

    It's fine you prefer players needing to convince the DM type play. I prefer game mechanics to exist for social interactions.
    Eh, no. On a bad day, I might word a similar position as, "those who cannot or do not question their opinions and beliefs do not deserve to have opinions or beliefs".

    That in no way implies that one particular belief - especially not that held by the speaker - is the one true way. Quite the opposite, IMO - it's advocating *not* complacently believing that you have found the one and only Truth.

    Clearer?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    An actual example of me arguing you're wrong is the argument I'm making about dice and biases. And that argument is not me trying to convince you to adopt my preferences, that's an argument for why dice do not serve YOUR preference. By not engaging with that argument, you are not defending your preference for unbiased games, you are failing to defend your claim that dice serve to remove bias.
    The dice remove bias because of the math. A character is more likely to succeed or fail based on the build choices the player makes, not on the real life ability of a player to speak eloquently and/or convincingly nor of the DM liking or not liking what the player has to say. That's the whole point of having the dice. The player is trying to convince the king to help the orcs defend against the hobgoblins, not the player trying to convince the DM to have the game story go in that direction.

    You prefer the at the table real life conversation to be the arbiter of social outcomes between players and NPCs. That's fine you do. I don't. The roleplay is the fun, not the decider.
    Last edited by Pex; 2021-11-26 at 06:21 PM.
    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."

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    It is definitely possible to produce effective 'social combat' rules for certain well defined 'social' situations, like haggling, or formal debate, or short-term seduction, and so forth. The tricky part is that these systems tend to be 1v1 systems...
    I've most found that 1v1 socials (in my games) can be direct discussion around the table and maybe a roll or two if the NPC has a sufficently predefined personality that I can anticipate what apporaches shold or should not work. It's the stuff with multiple actors and especially 3rd parties that are being influenced where I've found the most benefit in social conflict rules.

    Especially trials. I'm beginning to think that near all rpg games need to spend at least some thought, or at least actual guidelines or optional rules in the settings, on how the system will handle the PCs getting dragged into a trial as criminals (framed or actual). Because thats a great place to have a decent rule structure that lifts a burden from the DM, and it happens fairly often. Plus its a good point to introduce how the system intends a "get out of prison" type scenario to function.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    As for the rest: Any real social situation conducted in a natural language has a defined structure given to it by rules of that natural language, just like a live-action roleplay fencing match conducted using fake weapons has a structure given to it by real rules of physics, above and beyond anything written in a rulebook.
    Thank you. That cleared up some stuff. I still don't get the point you're trying to make in it, but the origin---break for other people again, sorry.

    However it sounds like you've not tried to hold rational conversation with a sleep deprived SO who has been only interacting with 2 year old children for 40 of the last 48 hours. Its an extreme example, but "natural language" can lose structure & rules fast. For that matter, not all social situations involve natural language. Modern American jurisprudence is a place where I could argue that the language has deviated far enough from "natural" that its 'rules' are at least partially incomprehensible to people only using natural language, often to their severe detriment when they try to use natural language in those situations.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

    DtD40k7e rewrite complete.

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

    @Pex: I have already countered the argument you are trying to make, twice. Mathematical systems are not by any general rule unbiased; biases enter the game at the point where who calls the rolls is decided; by placing the onus for being unbiased on a mathematical system, you are now relying on that system's designer being unbiased; and you have to actually convince the real people at a table to actually use it. No matter how you try to do it, the actual mechanism for making an unbiased game is having real people available, who have commitment to being fair and can spot and correct biases.

    ---

    @Telok:

    If a player is speaking comprehensible sentences, they are still within bounds of rules of natural language. If they are so sleep-deprived that they can't, there is no point to playing any kind of game with them. Playtime's over, that player's going to bed. I'm not interested in trying to craft playable games for people who cannot hold straight thoughts.

    On the flipside, for people who can still hold straight thoughts, asking them to emulate someone who is badly sleep-deprived is a low bar to pass. "Your character has not slept for 48 hours, try to act like that" is a fine request to make of your players. There is, of course, a natural danger to it: by which I mean, I've been explicitly tasked with playing a sleepy character, the result was me beginning to fall asleep at the table.

    As for legalese, you are correct that there are social situations which use some formal language which isn't natural. To deal with that, you have several options:

    1) learn enough of the new language to at least hold a simplified version of the conversation in that language - f.ex. you aren't going to hold a full trial, but you will look up real legal definition of a crime you're accused of and see if there's a common knowledge case which is reasonably close to the one in the game, and take the solution from there.

    2) substitute a language you know for the one you don't. F.ex. hold the trial using a natural language.

    3) do not cover the behaviour you cannot model in a game at all. F.ex. there will be no trials in the game, getting involved in a situation requiring legalese is out-of-bounds for the game and the game ends if it ever happens.

    There is no automatic jump from "I can't use this language" to "therefore, use basic arithmetic and dice". More importantly, mathematics is a language of expression. When you are substituting basic arithmetic and probability for legalese, you are already following option 2). Indeed, when you are substituting any kind of formal game rules for legalese, you are also already following option 2).

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    No matter how you try to do it, the actual mechanism for making an unbiased game is having real people available, who have commitment to being fair and can spot and correct biases.
    The history of gaming suggests this is an extremely rare circumstance. Most of the time the greatest source of bias at a gaming table will be the people seated at it, something that holds true even when using horribly stilted systems. In particular, the absence of a gaming system (or in some cases the presence of an overly convoluted one with obscure rules) can cause games to degenerate into 'Mother May I' gameplay, where the capability of anyone at the table is measured almost entirely by their relationship with the GM. Social conflicts are in some ways especially vulnerable to such degeneration, since the GM may be themselves not especially socially adept and not realize how stilted social circumstances have become due to a lack of obvious measures. This compares to even very minimalist combat where it tends to be fairly obvious if one PC is massively out-damaging the others.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    ...can cause games to degenerate into 'Mother May I' gameplay, where the capability of anyone at the table is measured almost entirely by their relationship with the GM...
    Had one of those "the GMs current romantic partner wants to play and supposedly rolled three 18s and a vorpal sword during char gen" did you?
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

    DtD40k7e rewrite complete.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Had one of those "the GMs current romantic partner wants to play and supposedly rolled three 18s and a vorpal sword during char gen" did you?
    Never had quite that bad of a personal horror story, though I've certainly observed some fairly blatant favoritism at the table (hasn't everyone?). More substantially, I've also run MtA many times, and the sphere magic system is basically a really esoteric form of 'Mother May I' since it's so wound up around itself that using it basically involves calling for a roll and making a completely arbitrary judgment afterwards. It's the ultimate 'awesome concept, terrible execution' setup.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The history of gaming suggests this is an extremely rare circumstance. Most of the time the greatest source of bias at a gaming table will be the people seated at it, something that holds true even when using horribly stilted systems.
    That doesn't change my argument. Rather, it only adds: doing what Pex wants to do is kinda hard, y'all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    In particular, the absence of a gaming system (or in some cases the presence of an overly convoluted one with obscure rules) can cause games to degenerate into 'Mother May I' gameplay, where the capability of anyone at the table is measured almost entirely by their relationship with the GM. Social conflicts are in some ways especially vulnerable to such degeneration, since the GM may be themselves not especially socially adept and not realize how stilted social circumstances have become due to a lack of obvious measures. This compares to even very minimalist combat where it tends to be fairly obvious if one PC is massively out-damaging the others.
    Mother May I is a game of social awareness and negotiation - it is a microcosm of how humans interact socially, and one of those games children play to learn real social skills. It also has actual rules, so people should stop using it as shorthand for complaining about lack of those.

    When you characterize "Mother May I" as degenerate gameplay specifically in respect to modeling social situations, that's the equivalent of a tabletop player looking at live-action roleplayers doing contact sparring with weapons, and going "You actually hit each other? With physical objects? How do you keep the stronger person from dominating the weaker person? People who don't know what they're doing could get hurt! People who don't know what they're doing might not even realize they're hurting somebody!"

    Those are great arguments for why somebody who is really inept in the relevant skills shouldn't be doing the thing, but please stop and think for a moment: who is that inept and what prevents them from becoming not so?

    At the end of the day, tabletop gaming is a social hobby, you literally cannot have a stable playgroup without them meeting the low bar of being able to understand and play Mother May I. The kind of a game master you are proposing is a disaster waiting to happen for any kind of multiplayer game, it raises the question of why are you letting that person be in that position? Are all people in the playgroup literally 10 and both unwilling and unable to ask a parent, an older sibling, a teacher or any other kind of youth leader to serve as a referee? Why do you think having an instruction manual on something else than real social skills will solve the problem these people are having?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Why do you think having an instruction manual on something else than real social skills will solve the problem these people are having?
    That is an absolutely fascinating question. Allow me to give one attempt at an answer to that question.

    When the game has rules, and the GM knows that if they don't follow those rules the group will take them out to the parking lot and beat them up, they quickly learn to follow those rules.

    However, in the process, they'll be all but forced to notice and confront any resistance they have to following those rules.

    This gives them an optimized opportunity to evaluate their biases. *Why* did it bother them to use Drown Healing? *Why* did it bother them to kill their SO's PC? *Why* did it bother them to let, "uh, we're supposed to be here" work?

    Once they've identified their biases, they're better equipped to remove them ("the first step to fixing a problem is to realize that there is a problem; the second step is to figure out what the problem is"), or to choose a system and/or set of up-front house rules that match or accommodate their biases.

    Now, sure, most GMs I've had are terrible, and would shy away from such self-improvement. But, IMO, a good GM would take the opportunity provided by following the rules to learn about and correct for their biases.

    Hopefully, someone with better social skills and a better understanding of human psychology then my own hobbiest interest will correct me with a more accurate answer, but that's my entry into this most fascinating subtopic.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    That is an absolutely fascinating question. Allow me to give one attempt at an answer to that question.

    When the game has rules, and the GM knows that if they don't follow those rules the group will take them out to the parking lot and beat them up, they quickly learn to follow those rules.
    Obvious counterpoint 1: ability of players to co-ordinate to beat up a game master they don't like is a real social skill.

    Obvious counterpoint 2: ability of a GM to recognize their players will beat them up is a real social skill.

    Corollary: a GM who can recognize players who will beat them up for running a game in a way they don't like, can actively avoid such group. Which means this...

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    However, in the process, they'll be all but forced to notice and confront any resistance they have to following those rules.
    ... never happens.

    Basically, your argument for how an unstable social can fix their problems without instructions for social skills, is to assume they already have specific social skills, as well as a specific social situation where other players have both physical and social power over their game master. The whole set-up raises the question of why is the game master running games to these people in the first place?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    Hopefully, someone with better social skills and a better understanding of human psychology then my own hobbiest interest will correct me with a more accurate answer, but that's my entry into this most fascinating subtopic.
    Your idea of fixing biases in games is homologous to a criminal gang or a group of school bullies physically and socially coercing a person in a weaker position to run games for them. Which leads to:

    Obvious counterpoint 3: beating people up in the parking lot is, in most places, illegal. Your advice is not actionable in those places, or, if acted upon, will lead the playgroup into legal trouble. The actual legal and realistic option is for the players to threaten leaving a game if they don't like their game master.

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

    From my standpoint, all humans have bias, to the point that removing all bias is not possible. And bias isn't inherently bad, so removing all bias is not inherently good. In fact, I absolutely don't want a neutral DM who does nothing but play "by the rules". I want a DM (and want to be a DM) who is a fan of the characters and a fan of the world. Which is an inherently biased thing. The DM should be actively looking to provide opportunities for the players to have fun however those players define it. And understanding that the DM, too, is a player who deserves to have fun. By whatever standards they use to define it. If I wanted a purely neutral, rules-engine DM, I'd play a video game. Because that's the closest that we as humans can get to such a thing--outsource the rules engine to a computer. Which is still biased, but biased by its programmers. One of the reasons I play TTRPGs is because everyone involved can be biased. Because we all have a stake in the outcomes at hand.

    Purely rule-based (especially rules printed by some third party who isn't at the table) social systems, like any other rule set, will have incongruities with the actual in-game fiction (because they're disconnected from the actual fiction by the very nature of being printed for all cases), while there is the possibility that a non-rule-based social system will not. Not a guarantee, but a possibility. The only question for the group is "are the benefits of a fixed social system for this group larger than the costs of dissonance?" Rules are scaffolds. And like all scaffolds, they're appropriate some times and for some people and not appropriate at other times and for other people. Each table needs to make that decision.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    @Pex: I have already countered the argument you are trying to make, twice. Mathematical systems are not by any general rule unbiased; biases enter the game at the point where who calls the rolls is decided; by placing the onus for being unbiased on a mathematical system, you are now relying on that system's designer being unbiased; and you have to actually convince the real people at a table to actually use it. No matter how you try to do it, the actual mechanism for making an unbiased game is having real people available, who have commitment to being fair and can spot and correct biases.
    I continually reject this because it's pedantry. Naturally we're playing with people not computers. I had already allowed for those occasions where no dice rolls are needed. The dice rolls are only used when the outcome can go either way. On those occasions you prefer the DM judge the player's acting skills. I prefer the game judge the character's talent.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    To whoever talked about the "fallacy of social combat", that may be mostly true in real life, but it certainly is not a fallacy in RPGs. You will inevitably have times when two characters want opposing social outcomes - and you need some form of resolution mechanics for that unless you want to go "rhetoric in front of the GM" as your answer.

    For example, we know seduction is not a simple matter of winner/loser in reality. But we also know that anyone attempting to honey pot a PC is going to get stonewalled because the player definitely doesn't want the Bad Guy Spy seducing their character. Unless, of course, you have a mechanic. We could go into negotiation, deception, making friends, manipulation, making a good impression and on and on. At some point the dice need to speak and someone just got the downside of thr bargain, was impressed even if they shouldn't objectively want to be, etc.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    To whoever talked about the "fallacy of social combat", that may be mostly true in real life, but it certainly is not a fallacy in RPGs. You will inevitably have times when two characters want opposing social outcomes - and you need some form of resolution mechanics for that unless you want to go "rhetoric in front of the GM" as your answer.

    For example, we know seduction is not a simple matter of winner/loser in reality. But we also know that anyone attempting to honey pot a PC is going to get stonewalled because the player definitely doesn't want the Bad Guy Spy seducing their character. Unless, of course, you have a mechanic. We could go into negotiation, deception, making friends, manipulation, making a good impression and on and on. At some point the dice need to speak and someone just got the downside of thr bargain, was impressed even if they shouldn't objectively want to be, etc.
    In these cases, I think it is better to not assume that such a sort of compulsion is at all possible, rather than to create a mechanic which promises it or which suggests that it should work. That is to say, don't make 'person who can sweet talk a guard into letting them into a high security location' a protected archetype of the fiction at all in the first place. Don't may 'seduce someone from a cold start with no indication of interest on their part' something which the game suggests should be possible. When creating mechanics, focus on allowing mechanics to communicate guarantees to the players about what is and isn't possible, rather than mechanics which cause things to be possible.

    A mechanic which, say, highlights everyone in a room who would respond to seduction, bribes, sob stories, etc would be a different way of handling it than something which says 'assume that there is some possibility that for any character, you can seduce them - and this is the number that if you optimize it will turn that possibility into a guarantee'.

    Similarly, its not a fundamentally essential thing that a bad guy spy be able to seduce a PC, any more than it's necessary that PCs be able to be captured alive or compelled to undertake a dangerous quest for the king or share in the cultural sentiments and biases of their country. Those are all things that can happen in some games, but games can also function without those things. If the Bad Guy Spy can't seduce a PC with sexuality, then they seduce them with offers of power, or create an enemy and offer to help them indulge in their rage, or create confusion so that the PC makes a mistake and needs help...
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-11-28 at 02:09 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    I continually reject this because it's pedantry. Naturally we're playing with people not computers. I had already allowed for those occasions where no dice rolls are needed.
    It would not actually make a difference for my argument if we were playing with computers; computers are not unbiased as any general rule and computer programs often encode biases of their makers. Positing existence of an unbiased computer game necessary entails positing existence of a programmer committed to making a fair game who is capable of telling that program how to spot and correct biases.

    You reject my arguments as "pedantry" at your own peril. Personally, I consider you to have conceded the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex
    The dice rolls are only used when the outcome can go either way. On those occasions you prefer the DM judge the player's acting skills. I prefer the game judge the character's talent.
    And now you're right back to begging the question. What "the game" judges in the design paradigm you're using, is a player's skills in basic arithmetic and probability, plus a random or pseudorandom function. These count as "character talent" only because of a prior agreement by the players that they do.

    If you prefer math and probability, say you prefer math and probability. Stop obfuscating the issue by calling them "character talent" or "playing your character".
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2021-11-28 at 05:35 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    To whoever talked about the "fallacy of social combat", that may be mostly true in real life, but it certainly is not a fallacy in RPGs. You will inevitably have times when two characters want opposing social outcomes - and you need some form of resolution mechanics for that unless you want to go "rhetoric in front of the GM" as your answer.
    "Rhetoric in front of a game master" is already a resolution mechanic in every game empowering the game master to serve as a referee, by including any variant of the rule "the game master has final say over game events".

    What did you think you're doing when convinving a game master that you're rolling for one skill over other skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    For example, we know seduction is not a simple matter of winner/loser in reality. But we also know that anyone attempting to honey pot a PC is going to get stonewalled because the player definitely doesn't want the Bad Guy Spy seducing their character.
    So. Many. Unquestioned. Assumptions.

    First of, the assumption that anyone will get stonewalled. Second, the assumption that the player knows the seducing character is a Bad Guy. Third, the assumption that the player knows the seducing character is a spy. Fourth, that the player doesn't want their character to be seduced.

    Let's start from the first. The player is assumed to know the seducing character is a bad guy, a spy, and doesn't want their character to be seduced. What can the player of the seducing character do, which would make at least some other players fall for the seduction? Let's list a few options: they can threaten violence. They can threaten seducing someone more vulnerable target. They can offer material bribes. They can offer exchange of information. They can threaten spreading compromising information about the other party. At least some players in some situations will choose to be seduced over the alternatives. No die roll needed, all necessary uncertainty is produced by the reacting player. The threats and offers don't even need to be possible, they only need to be plausible in the eyes of the reacting player.

    Which naturally leads to second and third. It is very easy for the player of the seductive character to selectively omit or mispresent information to either make it look like they're on the side of angels or otherwise harmless. If you don't know how this works, stop playing D&D for a moment and go play Diplomacy, Werewolf, Mafia, Murder, Among Us, Saboteur, Bluff, etc.. There's an entire genre of games across multiple media, from children's games to card games to board games to live-action roleplaying games to computer games, which teach you how to cheat your friends.

    Which leads to fourth. If the reacting player's resistance to the idea of being seduced is based on having specific information, that resistance crumbles or will not exist in the first place if you change what information that player has. But even in presence of all the information telling hooking up with this Big Bad Spy Guy is a bad idea, the player might still want to go along with it. Maybe the reacting player finds the idea dramatically appealing and is already looking forward to playing out all the regrets and hurt feelings caused by the betrayal. Or maybe the reacting player is just horny and you showed or drew them a picture of the Big Bad Spy Guy, who is very dark and handsome, and now the player wants to tap that... which means, their character wants to tap that. Even if its against their best interests.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    It would not actually make a difference for my argument if we were playing with computers; computers are not unbiased as any general rule and computer programs often encode biases of their makers. Positing existence of an unbiased computer game necessary entails positing existence of a programmer committed to making a fair game who is capable of telling that program how to spot and correct biases.

    You reject my arguments as "pedantry" at your own peril. Personally, I consider you to have conceded the point.



    And now you're right back to begging the question. What "the game" judges in the design paradigm you're using, is a player's skills in basic arithmetic and probability, plus a random or pseudorandom function. These count as "character talent" only because of a prior agreement by the players that they do.

    If you prefer math and probability, say you prefer math and probability. Stop obfuscating the issue by calling them "character talent" or "playing your character".
    That's how the game mechanics works. It is math by design and the point of using the rules. The game roleplay is the player making decisions as his character, choosing to be social in this case and how to do it - persuading, intimidating, deceit, etc. The acting/performance thing the player physically and/or verbally does at the gaming table is the fun roleplaying for the sake of having fun playing pretend. Some groups place more emphasis on that part than others as a means of enjoying playing the game. I enjoy that part too, but I flat out reject how well any particular player can do such a thing to dictate the success rate of his character achieving a task. If you're offended by that that's your problem. I will call it whatever I want. The game part of the roleplaying game is to roll the die to determine results when the outcome is not certain. Even when the character fails the player is free to act/perform physically and/or verbally at the gaming table how his character failed and the results there of.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    A category error rears its head once again. No, the game part of a roleplaying game isn't rolling dice. Even most roleplaying games with dice have plenty of non-dice mechanics, and then we have those games where you draw cards or blocks out of a Jenga tower, or which do away with such means of producing uncertainty entirely.

    And while I may or may not be personally offended by your misuse of words, I know other people who are. To borrow words of a frustrated live-action roleplayer: "here we go again, bunch of odd folks rolling dice on a table, thinking what they do better counts as "playing your character" than dressing up as them and trying to act like them".

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    A category error rears its head once again. No, the game part of a roleplaying game isn't rolling dice. Even most roleplaying games with dice have plenty of non-dice mechanics, and then we have those games where you draw cards or blocks out of a Jenga tower, or which do away with such means of producing uncertainty entirely.

    And while I may or may not be personally offended by your misuse of words, I know other people who are. To borrow words of a frustrated live-action roleplayer: "here we go again, bunch of odd folks rolling dice on a table, thinking what they do better counts as "playing your character" than dressing up as them and trying to act like them".
    There you go again of telling me I'm playing the game wrong and not the One True Way. Other people's offense is not my problem. I do not need their permission nor approval, nor yours. I don't care what other games do. I don't play those games. I don't need to play those games. Those who have fun playing those games are welcome to play them. I like what I like, and for you or anyone you know who hates that, that's just too bad for you. You keep demanding of me to defend how I play. I have not asked you to defend your way. You're the one who has the problem we like different things.

    I am done with you. Welcome to my ignore list.
    Last edited by Pex; 2021-11-28 at 03:02 PM.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    The approach I've always taken as GM, regardless of system, is that when the heavy duty persuasion, intimidation, etc checks start getting rolled, I pay just as much attention to the means by which they're being improved versus what the dice are telling me. It's not a very mechanical approach to the problem, unless you were to break down and re-tweak the values of the various types of bonuses or even create some sort of tiered system (which, now that I think about it, might actually be a neat idea if I ever had the time to pursue it).

    It tends to come up in Shadowrun a lot, where the difference between a pretty slick dude and a professional shadowrunner face is supposed to be as vast as the difference between the average beat cop and a cybered-up special-forces trained super street samurai. But how vast is that difference, and how did they get so far? Are they really going to be like that one GITP comic where they can tell the guards things like "you can't see me", "you're a bird" etc and they believe it? If so, what's letting them do that?


    The simplest way to explain it is this - there comes a point where just normal speech, regardless of how well performed, will not change someone's mind. Either some way of directly manipulating the reasoning, perceptions, or beliefs of the target (some sort of charm or memory alteration spell, some sort of pheromone nonsense, etc) or by compiling some heavy duty evidence or other sort of leverage material; ideally both. Games still make the main portion of the social interaction be the inherent skill of the parties involved, with the weight of those other elements being reduced to relatively small incremental bonuses per item. But it shouldn't be that way, really; the weight of how much you can achieve with a roll should be based on what you know or can do, and the success or failure of executing that should be in the skill roll. Just like how you could either blow up a tank or miss horribly with a rocket, but pretty much have no chance of hurting it barring some fluke or brilliant plan with just a pistol, the "attack roll" is your social check, but the "damage" is what you're hitting them with.

    In the theoretical system I'm kind of half envisioning in my head (which wasn't there before I stumbled across this post), I feel like there should be some sort of adaptation of the GURPS reaction table sort of system in order to try to quantify "tiers" of how well you can manipulate someone socially, with your tiers sort of being the bounding limits of how much you can spin someone's head around.

    The base tier would be just walking up to the guy, giving him a once over to learn a few obvious things about him, and then talking to him. I don't care if you've got a +50 bonus to Diplomacy, or 30 dice in Negotiation, or ten total dots in CHA + Persuade, whatever system we're talking here. If you don't either have a way directly into this dude's head like magic or something, don't have a full dossier on his life and a behavioral analyst's report memorized, a major scoop of blackmail or coercion material like a hostage, etc, I don't see how you could persuade someone like a professional soldier, bodyguard, Federal agent, etc to do something like just hand you the keys to the cells, or their gun, or leave the VIP completely unprotected with you, a total stranger. You could almost certainly get information out of them they didn't *mean* to tell you with a good roll, like that their partner is lazy and leaves the back door open on smoke breaks, or that they feel kinda sick and didn't really wanna come into work today, but straight-up changing their minds about core stuff through verbal kung fu isn't gonna happen.

    Now, the higher tiers are when you DO start stacking stuff. Be it mundane stuff like a correct observation that their higher-ups aren't treating them well or concrete evidence of misbehavior they wouldn't want their higher-ups to see, all the way to "we have your wife and kids in a van by the docks, better unlock the cells if you wanna see 'em again" or even just the implication of this (A great example is in the movie the Town, where robbers intimidate the cash room guards to open up the massive steel door by reading off the names, addresses, and family members of everyone that's inside that room with the accompanying threats being fairly obviously extrapolated).

    It doesn't matter if it's a bluff or not in such a situation, since we're not talking about whether or not they believe you right now (though that is a parallel issue). It's a matter of whether or not that's sufficient leverage to make them do what they obviously never would dream of consenting to with just a polite request. Perhaps that can be part of where the skill roll comes in; a total amateur would just blurt out "we know where you live!" and expect that to have the desired effect; whereas a competent speaker like in the movie opts to list off that information in a level, factual way to drive home the point that we really do know where your family lives. Other examples of this would be if you were bluffing, just saying "I'm a cop let me in" would be the base tier. Maybe you CAN persuade the night watchman that you're a cop with a good roll, but there's a good chance of him realizing "hey I know this guy says he's a cop and he seems on the level, but I'll get my ass handed to me if I don't see some ID or call in to confirm before letting him in". A higher tier could be achieved by having a fake badge; a quality fake uniform, a partner wearing an equally fake uniform, with a fake/stolen police cruiser in view would be a very high tier deception. Even then it only takes a little Freudian slip or something for it all to come crashing down, but you were able to build it that high in the first place with all that visible, tangible evidence supporting your bluff roll of "hey we're cops let us in". If you show them the badge, are in uniform, rolled up in a police vehicle, and present a valid reason to be let in, they've pretty much run out of reasons to not let you in; ie they are out of "social HP". The 1990 Gardner Museum Heist is a great example of this: the night guard, Richard Abath, was convinced to open the door to the museum just like in the example, because the robbers walked up in police uniforms, presented badges, and asked to be let in to investigate a disturbance which Abath says sounded reasonable because there was a rowdy St. Patrick's Day party nearby that was definitely disturbing the peace. In this example, the bluff was ably performed and continued by a good execution of a good preparation (let's ignore the totally valid alternate theory that Abath was in on it because shut up that destroys my nice little example).

    Another heightening of that tier system would be to know about the specific psychology of the person you're talking to. What you might have thought was a high tier intimidation check of "we have your wife, here's a live webcam feed of my guys standing guard over here, you can see the machete on the table, do what we say or else" might not actually be so great if it turns out this guy hates his wife so much that he's been considering murdering her himself. On the other hand, it might turn out to be GREAT if this guy treasures his wife above all else and would risk anything, even something as otherwise unthinkable as leaking nuclear codes or his admin codes for the Pentagon's mainframes, to save her. For the fake police example, it'd be a great bonus if you know ahead of time or can conclude through observation that the person is very respectful and trusting of police in general or is afraid of them enough to do what they say without resisting; it'd be a serious negative if the people you're trying to use this on believe that cooperating with law enforcement in any way will get them labeled as a snitch, bootlicker, etc or believes themselves to be above the law in some way. To return to the Gardner example, Abath specifically says he chose to comply with the police even though the museum policy says anyone, even law enforcement officers, need approval from the security director to enter after hours because (and I ****ing love this answer) "he had tickets to a Grateful Dead concert the next day and didn't wanna miss it by getting in trouble with the police". There's an example of an internal belief that trumped what is otherwise a valid reason for him to not comply, which is the museum policy.

    You could probably get even higher if you actually did burrow into their heads with magic, or use Shadowrun-style heightened pheromones to dial up the fear response of their autonomic nervous system to make them more susceptible to intimidation. That would be the highest tier; present an airtight case (be it in the form of persuasion, intimidation, bluffing, etc), present evidence you already know is true or will work, knowing ahead of time or having observed through careful observation of his behavior and verbal/nonverbal cues that this is a strong argument for him in particular, and then dialing their response to it to 11 by toying with his very reasoning itself through whatever means you have in your system, you've laid yourself the groundwork for an absolute home run of a social check. But it all relies on you not making a misstep that accidentally exposes your ulterior motive, or reminds him of the consequences of what you're proposing, etc, which is where the roll comes in.

    In the Gardner example, you could imagine them maybe using illusion magic to convince him there's an intruder in the museum and he needs to open the door for the cops because of that, or a mind altering spell to make him forget the things he's guarding are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and there's honestly no reason to go through all this nonsense, or some sort of sci-fi sedative-hypnotic gas to strip him of his intuitive capacity to think that it's weird that the cops are here in the middle of the night to investigate an empty museum.

    It's not that a super high roll is letting you convince the guard "hey why don't you just pop open this door, buckaroo" apropos of nothing just because you said pretty please with sugar on top. It's that through this carefully woven setup, you've put yourself in a position where the best your high roll can do goes from "getting him to let his guard down for a moment" to "complying without hesitation".

    On the character vs player argument, you can always adjust just how much of that interaction is self contained in with the roll. Obviously the roll in this situation can't do things like retroactively have your associates take a hostage or procure disguises or whatever, but it can certainly fold into itself you probing the guy's moral, intellectual, or emotional weak points, forming the plan of attack, and executing it all in one roll. You could see that the player rolled very well, and say "while chatting with this dude you infer that he doesn't have that much respect for authority in general, and especially not that of his supervisor in particular. You get the feeling he'd much rather be home with his wife and kids, given how much he's talked about them, and you get the feeling that that's probably your best avenue of approach, doing something that hinges on his family over his dedication to the job."

    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.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-11-28 at 03:43 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Do not try a linear campaign, without some discussion with them. Players very often look at your hooks and then try to accomplish it in a different way, not touch it, try to do the complete opposite, or somehow set it on fire.

  28. - Top - End - #88
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Dec 2010

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

    For getting towards the fantastical level I tend to like the idea of abilities which act like a HUD or aim assist for the player. Abilities which let the player take back something they said which went wrong and try again, or which let them take back something someone else said even. Abilities which reveal what people care about, what they're hiding, what'll make them angry, what they'll respect, what they'll fear. Abilities which let you detect the connections between people and the usage of leverage. Abilities which give broad strategic hints like 'if you want this person to believe something, you could argue against it with passionately stated but easily attacked arguments while putting them in the position of defending the idea'

    Basically stuff like Tattletale from Worm does.

  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    For getting towards the fantastical level I tend to like the idea of abilities which act like a HUD or aim assist for the player. Abilities which let the player take back something they said which went wrong and try again, or which let them take back something someone else said even. Abilities which reveal what people care about, what they're hiding, what'll make them angry, what they'll respect, what they'll fear. Abilities which let you detect the connections between people and the usage of leverage. Abilities which give broad strategic hints like 'if you want this person to believe something, you could argue against it with passionately stated but easily attacked arguments while putting them in the position of defending the idea'

    Basically stuff like Tattletale from Worm does.
    In D&D all there is is the Insight skill and judicious use of the Detect Thoughts spell. DMs do like it when players take the time to research and discover the motives of Important NPCs before speaking to them. Depending on context that could be an autosuccess on whatever social skill or at least roll with Advantage. However, I do like your idea of these proposed "social powers". Players like to push buttons so these would encourage those players who don't care for the social stuff to care. It could inspire players in general. Having such a social system is more likely in games that don't encourage a lot of combat, but it doesn't have to be exclusive. A game system could have both. D&D could use something like this. People do complain warriors don't have a lot of out of combat utility. This idea would come in handy.
    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."

  30. - Top - End - #90
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    In D&D all there is is the Insight skill and judicious use of the Detect Thoughts spell. DMs do like it when players take the time to research and discover the motives of Important NPCs before speaking to them. Depending on context that could be an autosuccess on whatever social skill or at least roll with Advantage. However, I do like your idea of these proposed "social powers". Players like to push buttons so these would encourage those players who don't care for the social stuff to care. It could inspire players in general. Having such a social system is more likely in games that don't encourage a lot of combat, but it doesn't have to be exclusive. A game system could have both. D&D could use something like this. People do complain warriors don't have a lot of out of combat utility. This idea would come in handy.
    Things like judging willingness to violence, gaining bonus initiative if in a conversation that breaks down into a fight, judging experience, skill, whether someone has PTSD or if they're 'blooded' or 'cold' in terms of the way they value life or their willingness to take life, seeing signs of squeamishness and risk-averseness versus someone who is looking for a way to die should all be the sorts of things that warriors in particular could get. The 'Tactician' class in the homebrew I'm currently running has a high level ability called 'perfect trace' which basically lets them know how a given other character would act in a particular hypothetical situation, so they can do things like 'if we offered to kill this guy, would they find that worthwhile or would they attack us because they're actually secretly in league with that guy?' or 'if we staged an ambush, what would this guy do during the first round?', but it can be used in exactly the same way for social hypotheticals.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-11-28 at 05:42 PM.

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