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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    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. {snip} The one thing that isn't honest is taking it for granted that dice are better.
    Or it becomes something like "an unsupported assertion" or a "belief" at best.
    You made some interesting points on math (player) skills being given a privileged status and social skills being scorned. Thanks for how you did that.
    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.
    Is it any wonder that those with high math / low social skills would be biased in that direction?
    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.
    Nailed that dive.
    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    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 sufficiently predefined personality that I can anticipate what approaches should 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.
    Interesting observation.
    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).
    I've done mock trials (not in an RPG). It is a game form of its own. Slapping a piece of that on to a game system is I think where the root of your problem lies. (And having sat on three juries, our whole legal system is a game form all its own, but we are getting a bit off topic with that).
    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.
    Like military stuff, it has developed it's own technical jargon.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    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. {snip the rest}
    Nice post, and I agree: to play a purely rules based game a video game does just fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    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 the bargain, was impressed even if they shouldn't objectively want to be, etc.
    Interesting post; as to seduction in RPGs lines and veils are the tools that I use for that. Very few groups I game with liked seduction attempts to go any further than a certain point and then fade to black. I won't comment on the player agency issue since I am not sure which game systems you are referring to.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-11-29 at 10:25 AM.
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    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Well, it's less about seduction per than the mechanical results of that outcome. It doesn't have to go all the way to the bedroom (and if it does, fading to black is a very, very good idea) - it could simply be "you know you shouldn't mention it, but your character so badly wants to impress the Bad Guy Spy that he let's slip that..." all the way to "...never thought he'd feel this way, but later in yhe wee hours of the night tells Bad Guy Spy everything, determined not to keep any secrets this time." Or "following strangers into the alley behind a tavern can be dumb, but your PC really wants to - shes clearly not a Bad Guy Spy!" How far it goes and if it goes are a matter of mechanics, conditions setting. and all the other business a good GM takes into account for everything from scaling a wall to creeping through the woods unseen. What it isn't is the GM attempting to seduce the player and then getting stonewalled or pulled into a fifteen minute conversation.

    And that's really a nessecity. If we were to take negotiation as an example, we know that anyone can pretty quickly be trained into BATNAs, anchoring, price targeting, and most of the mechanical aspects of it. We also know that the same students or trainees can be shoved around pretty easily if they're risk and conflict adverse, coming out with worse outcomes than their theory says they should. A player is the theory crafting that sets the target; a character is the person who might damn well know they want a certain thing, but somehow never gets the deal they should, or Van walk away with a zinger even though they don't hold all the info.

    Without mechanics, it's just the player speaking, and the player speaking is actually a really bad way to handle negotiation, because it takes away the whole human part.

    Extrapolate and there you have the rest...

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

    You know, for seduction I think it's a hell of a lot better to have people "no sell" it when they're not into it, rather than force it on people who object. Even just talking about PC to NPC, "doesn't matter who they are, high enough roll and anyone wants to **** me" is creepy at best.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-11-29 at 07:56 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    You know, for seduction I think it's a hell of a lot better to have people "no sell" it when they're not into it, rather than force it on people who object. Even just talking about PC to NPC, "doesn't matter who they are, high enough roll and anyone wants to **** me" is creepy at best.
    Yeah, seduction checks are kinda the most egregious example of "mind control" social skills at work. Sometimes I suspect people who do it are kind of counting on the GM being understandably hesitant to do it in-character, and thus the dice rolls pretty much take over everything.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-11-29 at 08:07 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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    Yeah, seduction checks are kinda the most egregious example of "mind control" social skills at work. Sometimes I suspect people who do it are kind of counting on the GM being understandably hesitant to do it in-character, and thus the dice rolls pretty much take over everything.
    I think maybe "mind control social skills" is a d&d-ism hanging around from a no context & 'no common sense dming' reading of the d&d 3e diplomacy dc table. I certainly never encountered it in actual play in any game before or after d&d 3e, and especially not in games with actual social combat mechanics.

    There is something close in ShadowRun but if I recall correctly it involves serious tech/hormones/aresol drugs jacking the targets mind & emotions in order to reach the fabled diplomancer levels.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

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

    From what all I've heard, knowing what arguments / tactics will work with a given person is as essential a part of persuasion as the delivery of those arguments. Being a great con-man doesn't mean being able to fool anyone into anything, it means knowing who you can fool into what.

    So in D&D terms, Sense Motive / Insight is as important to one-on-one social maneuvering as the Cha-based skills are. What I'd like to see in terms of "superhuman social ability" is HUD / prediction / undo abilities like NichG mentioned above, rather than mind-control by a different name (unless it's supposed to be a creepy power that would make people nervous to be around you).

    Now is there a case where the insight part doesn't matter as much? Yes, when you're trying to influence an entire crowd. Again, your persuasion isn't guaranteed to work on any given member of the crowd, but if it works on most of them that's good enough. Although being able to read the crowd and/or knowing what opinions are popular among them would still help.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-11-29 at 09:11 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    Well, it's less about seduction per than the mechanical results of that outcome.
    And keeping track of what the player, in their role as their character, actually says to the other party, isn't a sufficient measure of the outcome because...?

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    What it isn't is the GM attempting to seduce the player and then getting stonewalled or pulled into a fifteen minute conversation.
    Oh, right. The reason is because you don't actually want to listen to the people at the table talk.

    Let's put this into some context. My standard length for a game session is 4 hours. This stems directly from local convention guidelines. The shortest games I run are 1 hour long.

    In the former case 15 minutes is 6.25% of available play time. Using that much time to determine if a character reveals something important to a spy is well worth it. For contrast, consider all those people playing complex dice-based games, complaining about how a single combat, modeling maybe a minute of game time (minute is 10 six second rounds in modern D&D), can take up to an hour of real time.

    In the latter case, it's still only 25% of play time. If you're confused by "only", consider: the entire point of such a short game could be to cover one pivotal event, such as the seduction attempt. Taking only 25% of available time leaves time for three equally important events.

    I suspect the reason why 15 minutes feels like a long time, is because you're imagining a number of other people sitting around the table, bored, waiting for their turn. Why are you imagining that? The idea of only one player at a time engaging someone socially is, more often than not, an artefact of the very sort of skill and "social combat" mechanics you are proposing as alternatives to having an actual conversation.

    But fine. Let's suppose there are other people at the table who don't have a character present at the conversation, who want to do something else. Let me propose a radical solution: people take turns. The conversation is broken into 1-minute pieces, so that for every minute the conversation takes, other players get a minute each to act on their fronts.

    If that sounds too slow, look again at the contrasting example and tell me how fast your dice-based games are. Related: anyone reading this is free to explain what other mechanic they have in mind for guaranteeing player turns take a reasonable amount of real time, other than keeping track of real time.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    It doesn't have to go all the way to the bedroom (and if it does, fading to black is a very, very good idea) - it could simply be "you know you shouldn't mention it, but your character so badly wants to impress the Bad Guy Spy that he let's slip that..." all the way to "...never thought he'd feel this way, but later in yhe wee hours of the night tells Bad Guy Spy everything, determined not to keep any secrets this time." Or "following strangers into the alley behind a tavern can be dumb, but your PC really wants to - shes clearly not a Bad Guy Spy!"
    You are conflating two things: detailing sex and detailing what information is exchanged. Doing the latter doesn't require doing the former, that is, whoever plays the spy can directly ask from the player of the seduced character about those things they want to know. You never have to take the decision of what they tell away from the player of the seduced character.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    How far it goes and if it goes are a matter of mechanics, conditions setting. and all the other business a good GM takes into account for everything from scaling a wall to creeping through the woods unseen. .
    Said "good GM" would have a lot less to account for if they focused on player-generated character dialogue, the one thing that directly tells what information has been passed between characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    And that's really a nessecity. If we were to take negotiation as an example, we know that anyone can pretty quickly be trained into BATNAs, anchoring, price targeting, and most of the mechanical aspects of it. We also know that the same students or trainees can be shoved around pretty easily if they're risk and conflict adverse, coming out with worse outcomes than their theory says they should.
    What are you saying here? Some people at some situation aren't capable of flawlessly executing a negotation tactic, therefore, you shouldn't negotiate in a game?

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    A player is the theory crafting that sets the target; a character is the person who might damn well know they want a certain thing, but somehow never gets the deal they should, or Van walk away with a zinger even though they don't hold all the info.
    This is backwards. The players are the real people who have real wants, the characters and their wants are what's theoretical and imaginary. Somehow "never getting the deal you should" etc. are problems which are known to occur with dice-based games as well, so using it as criticism of non-dice-based games is kind of silly.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    Without mechanics, it's just the player speaking, and the player speaking is actually a really bad way to handle negotiation, because it takes away the whole human part.

    Extrapolate and there you have the rest...
    Ah, so real humans trying to act like other humans makes such a bad model of the human element, that you instead have to replace it with low-fidelity mathematical model reliant on random or pseudorandom functions?

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    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.
    *SNIP*
    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?
    Which "role-playing" rules did you read? I'm curious because I'd like to extend my library of role-playing rules.

    Also, if the role-playing mechanics match the aesthetic/themes of the game... then the answer is "yes". Rules do not have to match reality, but they should match the game "reality". If that makes any sense.

    As for myself, I am a big fan of social/role-playing rules as an idea, but have yet to find a system outside of Duel of Wits that would work for me for the so-called "social combat". I find some of the systems fun to play with, and to provide a good gaming experience - not necessarily an improvement for freeform roleplay, but a good guideline (mainly for the ever-GM that is me).

    I don't think there are objective reasons to implement social combat/debate/persuasion/seduction rules into the game - because most of the arguments will end with "we like these mechanics" or "they are fun to play with". But the same goes for any type of mechanics and "game" additions: combat mechanics, skill systems, miniature combat, character sheets, dice, maps, handouts...

    ...basically, the whole "role-playing" part can be done with theater of the mind. You don't even need other players or the GM for that.

    But it's more fun that way for some people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Oh, right. The reason is because you don't actually want to listen to the people at the table talk.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    So. Many. Unquestioned. Assumptions.
    Otherwise, carry on

    It's a fun debate and quite interesting topic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

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

    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?"
    Firstly because people are implied to habe all the normal organs and stuff which acts sort of a counter statement

    Secondly because it's unclear what hit points represent. If they represent an action hero-like ability to avoid non superficial injuries that seems redundant with AC and/or action points. Unless it's more like an anime thing where they're taking the blows head on and it's still somehow only causing grazes and scrapes. And either of these makes it unclear just what the healing spells are healing. And if it's meat then do high level characters who have taken several times the amount of damage needed to kill a normal person finish combat looking like the Black Knight?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Firstly because people are implied to habe all the normal organs and stuff which acts sort of a counter statement

    Secondly because it's unclear what hit points represent. If they represent an action hero-like ability to avoid non superficial injuries that seems redundant with AC and/or action points. Unless it's more like an anime thing where they're taking the blows head on and it's still somehow only causing grazes and scrapes. And either of these makes it unclear just what the healing spells are healing. And if it's meat then do high level characters who have taken several times the amount of damage needed to kill a normal person finish combat looking like the Black Knight?
    I square this circle by saying high level characters (and in fact all the people of this fantasy realm) are not "normal people" (at least if normal means earth-normal). We know that (in D&D 5e at least) there is background magic that is part of the regular physics, in and through everything. That's black-letter text. So why are people just earth-people? They're not. And the ability for high-level people (and strong souls of all types) to take extreme amounts of damage and walk away is part and parcel of what it means to be a strong soul. Leveling up literally changes your body.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Well I think you missed the point on a fair bit of it with the LARP references, but I think I understand how you run your table top games. You're closer to the old school runs where it was mainly player skill vs the dungeon with the characters being the functions that the players use to affect the game state. Despite your talk you probably don't make the players use their own RL strength or dexterity to determine how hard the characters swing swords or walk tightropes. What you are doing is having the players use their RL mental and social abilities in place of the characters' abilities

    I agree with this assessment

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I square this circle by saying high level characters (and in fact all the people of this fantasy realm) are not "normal people" (at least if normal means earth-normal). We know that (in D&D 5e at least) there is background magic that is part of the regular physics, in and through everything. That's black-letter text. So why are people just earth-people? They're not.

    And this is why I advocated in the Tasha thread for removing human characters from the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    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.

    Plus you're arguably not playing the character you've statted. An argument could be made that if you really want to RP the character you should roll and then tailor the strength of the argument to the result of your roll.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    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.

    ...

    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.

    I think trials are probably actually an ideal place for "mind control" type social skills, since they already look and sound like witchcraft anyway

    And speaking of which, I think that high skill in social abilities looking like mind control is fine, the real problem is that similarly fantastic feats aren't achievable with other skills at non-epic levels. That's the change that should be made if any. You shoukd be able to build magic items with just the craft skill, leap tall buildings in a single bound with a good enough jump check, walk on water with a balance check, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Ah, so real humans trying to act like other humans makes such a bad model of the human element, that you instead have to replace it with low-fidelity mathematical model reliant on random or pseudorandom functions?

    I think PhoenixPhyre's response to my hitpoint question also answers this nicely ("high level characters (and in fact all the people of this fantasy realm) are not "normal people"")
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-11-30 at 11:50 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    And this is why I advocated in the Tasha thread for removing human characters from the game

    I think PhoenixPhyre's response to my hitpoint question also answers this nicely ("high level characters (and in fact all the people of this fantasy realm) are not "normal people"")
    D&D humans != earth humans, except superficially. D&D physical laws != earth physical laws, except superficially. That's the consequence of having background magic in and through everything. Earth physical law doesn't have magic as part of physics; D&D physical law does. Therefore they aren't the same. And that has knock-on effects, at least if we want to be consistent.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I think trials are probably actually an ideal place for "mind control" type social skills, since they already look and sound like witchcraft anyway

    And speaking of which, I think that high skill in social abilities looking like mind control is fine, the real problem is that similarly fantastic feats aren't achievable with other skills at non-epic levels. That's the change that should be made if any. You shoukd be able to build magic items with just the craft skill, leap tall buildings in a single bound with a good enough jump check, walk on water with a balance check, etc.
    If it's like mind control, expect people and society in general to react to it like they would mind control. So you'd have a lot of laws and customs to limit it. Characters might not even be permitted to speak at their own trial rather than having to utilize a representative whose skill is intentionally limited or at least calibrated. Or they'd have to write down their testimony and there'd be a reader who recites it in an intentionally stilted fashion to apply as large a penalty to the potential effects as possible.

    When haggling, rather than face to face discussion you might just communicate in numbers.

    When meeting the king, you might have to speak to The King's Ear, the lowest Charisma and most uneducated character who can be found, who would repeat your words to the king to strip off undue influence.

    Being observed to be too persuasive in one's dealings could even be considered a crime. Guards might be temporarily magically deafened during their shifts to prevent manipulation attempts, or might work on a stab first questions never basis.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    If it's like mind control, expect people and society in general to react to it like they would mind control. So you'd have a lot of laws and customs to limit it. Characters might not even be permitted to speak at their own trial rather than having to utilize a representative whose skill is intentionally limited or at least calibrated. Or they'd have to write down their testimony and there'd be a reader who recites it in an intentionally stilted fashion to apply as large a penalty to the potential effects as possible.
    It's still only high level characters that can do it consistently. So it would be like Lord of the Rings. People in general speak freely but by the end of The Two Towers they're quite wary specifically of letting Saruman speak

    EDIT:
    Other examples include the kidnappers making a special point to gag Lady Jessica in Dune and the injunction against conversing with the demon in The Exorcist
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-11-30 at 04:20 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    It's still only high level characters that can do it consistently. So it would be like Lord of the Rings. People in general speak freely but by the end of The Two Towers they're quite wary specifically of letting Saruman speak
    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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I think PhoenixPhyre's response to my hitpoint question also answers this nicely ("high level characters (and in fact all the people of this fantasy realm) are not "normal people"")
    PhoenixPhyre's response is a solution to a self-created problem caused not simply by presence of hitpoints, but by presence of ever-ascending hitpoints. It's of specific context and applicability.

    For someone like me who also plays games that aren't high level, aren't D&D and aren't genre fantasy, it isn't particularly interesting.

    But even in context of genre fantasy, such replies hit a limitation when you try to apply them to games. Your players are humans, and so are you: you make decisions and react to things in fundamentally human ways. This isn't merely a local thing, it is recursive through the myths that make up foundation of genre fantasy: all the magical nonsense creatures reflect human ideas and human biases of how minds and social interaction work. They are humans, plus or minus a trait or two. Any serious attempt to make them more than that is wee bit more work than +N on a die roll.

    So how playing these supposed non-humans actually goes is that your players are just going to play them as humans, and you'll just have to pretend they aren't. There are more interesting way to cover those "plus or minus a trait or two" than dice.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    But even in context of genre fantasy, such replies hit a limitation when you try to apply them to games. Your players are humans, and so are you: you make decisions and react to things in fundamentally human ways. This isn't merely a local thing, it is recursive through the myths that make up foundation of genre fantasy: all the magical nonsense creatures reflect human ideas and human biases of how minds and social interaction work. They are humans, plus or minus a trait or two. Any serious attempt to make them more than that is wee bit more work than +N on a die roll.

    So how playing these supposed non-humans actually goes is that your players are just going to play them as humans, and you'll just have to pretend they aren't. There are more interesting way to cover those "plus or minus a trait or two" than dice.
    Now this is something I am very interested in: how would you approach building a game with not so human-like minds and interactions? Are there any good examples?
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    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

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

    I am involved in a play-by-post freeform game where I play an artificial intelligence. The way I'm doing it is that I regularly have three to four Wikipedia pages on computer science, philosophy, psychology, linguistics and science fiction open when I write, in addition to two different dictionaries. You can go to freeform subsection on these forums and judge by yourself how good the end result is.

    In addition, every time I have convincingly played a non-human, I have already been a real life cultural alien to other players.

    On tabletop, I haven't seen non-human player characters done well, ever. I've seen non-human non-player characters done reasonably well, but those benefit from a game master's ability to omit information and keep explicit motives of the non-humans out of the spotlight. Aliens in Stalker and sorcerers and demons in Praedor are in that category.

    On field of wider fiction, Solaris, both the film and the book, are classics. Xenogenesis also tries and succeeds to a degree. Lovecraft tries, but in practice, many of the iconic horrors are perfectly understandable, with elder things and shoggoths even called out as human-like in mentality even if they are not in psychology. Deep ones are also "humans plus or minus a trait or two". Only few of the vaguer creatures, like Azathoth, truly approach inhumanity, by virtue of being largely metaphorical representations of things beyond human comprehension.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacco View Post
    Now this is something I am very interested in: how would you approach building a game with not so human-like minds and interactions? Are there any good examples?
    Classic Traveller. I'm away from my books so this will be short on details.

    Traveller characters have a 'social' stat, literally your social rank in the interstellar feudal empire of humanity. If you have high enough social rank you're literally duke or duchess, so while general rp & circumstances can change you social stat on the low levels you have to get enobled in play to get above a certain score. This is an example of the game setting being baked into character rules, very different from d&d.

    Enter the Vagyr (possible mispelling), a canid style alien species. They don't have the human social stat, they have... memory fail, but its basically a "pack leader" score. It has totally different rules than the human social stat and drives the vagyr's player to choose actions differently from a human character.

    There were notes that in a sufficiently mixed species crew/party it may be useful to track both human socials and vagyr leadership scores on some characters, and of course a sufficiently culturally assimilated person from one species may simply use the score of the other if its appropriate. The rules themselves weren't heavy, maybe a page if I'm remembering right. They gave a human player a good guide to run a character that wouldn't be just another a "human in makeup" faux-alien.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    I wouldn't want juvenile antics and descriptions for the erotic flare, but I don't object when the subject happens as appropriate in game. I play with adults only. The subject matter can have a humor about it, and it can be silly fun for the game, but we don't go graphic and we "fade to black" when it happens. There can be romantic moments as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    On field of wider fiction, Solaris, both the film and the book, are classics. Xenogenesis also tries and succeeds to a degree. Lovecraft tries, but in practice, many of the iconic horrors are perfectly understandable, with elder things and shoggoths even called out as human-like in mentality even if they are not in psychology. Deep ones are also "humans plus or minus a trait or two". Only few of the vaguer creatures, like Azathoth, truly approach inhumanity, by virtue of being largely metaphorical representations of things beyond human comprehension.
    The inhumanness of the deep ones was secondary to the fact that Innsmouth's economy was based on human sacrifice. And also the deep ones, or those at Innsmouth at any rate, were part human anyway.

    Also if they were too alien they'd seem unrealistic or would fall flat. The Dunwich Horror (despite also being part human) falls into thos category; it's barely more of a character than the mundane disasters some of its actions are attributed to.

    Conversely, something can be alien and still map to a human-like mentality, just like animal instincts and drives can be seen in human behavior, but humans are still far enough above animals that our behavior is inscrutable to them, even compared to their u derstanding of other species different from their own. Dolphins are bright enough to come up with novel strategies for catching fish and communicate them to other dolphins, but they still keep getting caught in fishing nets and run over by speedboats

    Which brings me to the real reason Lovecraft falls flat, which is that a lot of his villains don't live up to the narrstor's fears of them. Cthulhu may be immortal but he can be knocked out by a medium sized civilian boat. An actual navy could keep him in check indefinitely, and more generally his villains, while often horrible, are still less horrible than the things a lot of his readers would have seen in the war or that could happen in a regular disaster. The Dunwich Horror might as well just be a tornado or something it has the same aspects that make a tornado dangerous; it knocks down houses and can't be shot dead.

    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"
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-11-30 at 09:14 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Dolphins are bright enough to come up with novel strategies for catching fish and communicate them to other dolphins, but they still keep getting caught in fishing nets and run over by speedboats
    There is a type of primate that is stupid enough to get hit crossing a road yet intelligent enough to create extra automated tools around to try and prevent it.

    I'm talking about humans. Human behaviour is already pretty confusing at times. Which is probably why rules that relate to how people think are so hard to get right.

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    Anecdote:

    In the 2E Monster Manual entry for human, they have Intelligence 10.
    In the 2E Monster Manual entry for dolphin, they have Intelligence 11.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Well, that was a lot of replies. After sifting through the answers and filtering out the sophistry, it looks like there's fundamentally three broad reasons people don't like using social mechanics. I think there's pretty reasonable points to be made why you might consider otherwise.

    1. It can make the PC (or the GMs NPC) do something the player doesn't want to.

    I would say that presuming you keep things in good taste, yes. That's rather the point. The measure of if a character is decieved, intimidated, out negotiated, etc is if the character is, not the player (GM included). Besides being consistent with most other task resolution in RPGs ( the we don't put on boxing gloves to settle who punched who in the tavern brawl argument), there's a simple matter of fairness.

    Namely, without mechanics to force characters into outcomes the players -GM included - get a free pass to negate character capabilities. Why should social skills be the one build that can be stonewalled on a because I feel like it? Is it fair that the GM decides the guard will never be intimidated if he doesn't want to be? That the merchant will never agree to a trade agreement if the GM thinks he doesn't want to? That a PC can listen to the golden orator of the age and not be in any way affected just because he doesn't want to be?

    2. The mind-control/unrealistic outcomes argument.

    Reasonable enough. But presumably you scale the spectrum of outcomes to the nature of the game. In a low powered, "realish" game then sure, have social outcomes reflect that.

    But if the game says a high strength Stat means you can run around in 500 lbs of gear and chop right through steel plate or the dragony equivalent with a short sword...are we really going to say high charisma has to follow real world constraints? Double guy at the gym issue?

    3. Humans provide more realistic human outcomes than dice.

    Counterintuitive, but they don't. We have entire fields of academic study dedicated to plumbing the depth to which humans do not behave in the way they "should", where should can be anything from rational self interest to directly doing things they say they know are bad and that they don't want to do.

    The kick is that people are, with sufficient information and incentives, able to identify the answer they think is best (and where demonstrable, actually ks). Don't eat tide pods. Don't stay in abusive relationships. Don't tell miss October all about your exciting job at the nuclear research lab two beers after you meet her. Ask your boss for an industry average salary or better, and don't back off that position. And without mechanics, this is where players and to a lesser extent GMs will call it - they after all aren't in the real situation, they're the neutral observer solving the problem set.

    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. The barbarian with poor impulse control probably IS more susceptible to being talked into a bad idea - even if the player knows its not a great idea. The bright yet only averagely brave hacker probably is more likely to knuckle under when faced with intimidatiin even when his player wants to be a hero. You get the idea.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    Well, that was a lot of replies. After sifting through the answers and filtering out the sophistry, it looks like there's fundamentally three broad reasons people don't like using social mechanics. I think there's pretty reasonable points to be made why you might consider otherwise.

    1. It can make the PC (or the GMs NPC) do something the player doesn't want to.

    I would say that presuming you keep things in good taste, yes. That's rather the point. The measure of if a character is decieved, intimidated, out negotiated, etc is if the character is, not the player (GM included). Besides being consistent with most other task resolution in RPGs ( the we don't put on boxing gloves to settle who punched who in the tavern brawl argument), there's a simple matter of fairness.

    Namely, without mechanics to force characters into outcomes the players -GM included - get a free pass to negate character capabilities. Why should social skills be the one build that can be stonewalled on a because I feel like it? Is it fair that the GM decides the guard will never be intimidated if he doesn't want to be? That the merchant will never agree to a trade agreement if the GM thinks he doesn't want to? That a PC can listen to the golden orator of the age and not be in any way affected just because he doesn't want to be?

    2. The mind-control/unrealistic outcomes argument.

    Reasonable enough. But presumably you scale the spectrum of outcomes to the nature of the game. In a low powered, "realish" game then sure, have social outcomes reflect that.

    But if the game says a high strength Stat means you can run around in 500 lbs of gear and chop right through steel plate or the dragony equivalent with a short sword...are we really going to say high charisma has to follow real world constraints? Double guy at the gym issue?
    These two points at least start from the assumption that the system already has things which measure a character's persuasive power, which is then negated after the fact. They don't address the situation in which you don't write things like 'charisma' or a persuasion skill into the system in the first place.

    E.g. sure, someone with 50 Strength can do incredibly superhuman strength-based things, but that's not an argument that there must e.g. be a stat controlling movement speed that can scale and be boosted similarly, or a stat controlling actions per round, or one controlling the ability to see so well you see the future, or one which is a character's weight of protagonism which literally provides fortune and misfortune and plot armor and such (a ta'veren stat if you were doing a Wheel of Time game...)

    You could choose to have such stats, at which point you've defined something about the kind of superhuman archetypes the system is intended to express. At which point you're sort of on the hook to follow through. But you could also choose to design a system such that there aren't such stats in the first place. That's the point at which the 'yes/no social combat' decision should be made'.

    To point 1, if you don't create capabilities for persuasion, then no character capabilities are being negated.

    To point 2, if there's no social stat to scale, you aren't forcing a 50 in one stat to be held against different standards than a 50 in another stat.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-12-01 at 01:36 AM.

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

    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.

    I would say that presuming you keep things in good taste, yes. That's rather the point. The measure of if a character is decieved, intimidated, out negotiated, etc is if the character is, not the player (GM included). Besides being consistent with most other task resolution in RPGs ( the we don't put on boxing gloves to settle who punched who in the tavern brawl argument), there's a simple matter of fairness.
    "The character" is a theoretical, imaginary construct. What counts as a measure for a character being deceived etc. is based only on prior agreement by players and the idea that only the players' skills in math plus a random function should count is arbitrary.

    Consistency is a reason to do all things one way, but on its own it's a weak reason. It's in the same category as speed: if you prioritize that one thing over all the other things, it may be a sufficient reason. If not, it's not. The fairness argument is exactly the same as the bias argument, just flipped around. The answer remains the same: dice-based games cannot and should not be assumed to be fair. Fairness comes from available people who are committed to being fair and able to spot and correct biases.

    The "we don't box to solve who wins the tavern brawl" argument continues to be fallacious. There's no "we", live-action roleplayers do this and comparable things all the time. There is no ought from is, so "we don't do physical stuff to solve physical conflicts, so we shouldn't do social stuff to solve social conflicts" is fallacious. Actually list the reasons why you don't want to box. Maybe you don't want to leave the tabletop. Maybe you dislike physical pain and exhaustion. Maybe you're afraid of injury. Maybe you don't have physical space to box in. Then check separately if those reasons apply to social skills. This is all a rehash of what I've already said, but it's pretty hard to avoid repetition when one person after another goes right back to the start.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    Namely, without mechanics to force characters into outcomes the players -GM included - get a free pass to negate character capabilities.
    Freeform games, for example ones on these forums, have codified this into a rule and give all players a free pass to negate any attack on their characters by another player's. It works about as well as any tabletop game ever did.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    Why should social skills be the one build that can be stonewalled on a because I feel like it?
    Hmmm, good question, why not give everyone the ability to stonewall ALL the builds?

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    Is it fair that the GM decides the guard will never be intimidated if he doesn't want to be? That the merchant will never agree to a trade agreement if the GM thinks he doesn't want to? That a PC can listen to the golden orator of the age and not be in any way affected just because he doesn't want to be?
    Depends. Do you trust your game master and the other players to be reasonably fair? If yes, then YES. You can trust and accept your GM's ruling that the guard will not be bribed. You can trust and accept your GM's ruling that some agreements will always be off the table for a given merchant. You can trust and accept the other player's assessment that the orator was off today and didn't deliver.

    Entire games can be run this way and have been designed this way.

    By contrast, if you can't trust them to be reasonably fair, why do you think they'll be rolling dice fairly? Who calls the rolls? Who picks the dice? Did you even stop to check if the dice are loaded?

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    2. The mind-control/unrealistic outcomes argument.

    Reasonable enough. But presumably you scale the spectrum of outcomes to the nature of the game. In a low powered, "realish" game then sure, have social outcomes reflect that.

    But if the game says a high strength Stat means you can run around in 500 lbs of gear and chop right through steel plate or the dragony equivalent with a short sword...are we really going to say high charisma has to follow real world constraints? Double guy at the gym issue?
    Ability to entertain arbitrary premises does not entail obligation to do so. I don't need to have mindcontrollers around just because I have people with super strength around, anymore than I need to have space aliens around because I have dragons around. I can value realism in social skills more than I value realism in physical ability, or vice versa, without contradiction. "Guy at the gym" in its ordinary form is not a fallacy - there's nothing wrong with saying that for a given game, a player character cannot outperform what mundane humans do without some kind of a fantastic excuse.

    Nevermind that I can implement mindcontrol etc. superhuman abilities separately from normal social interaction. They don't have to use the same system anymore than they have to use dice.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    3. Humans provide more realistic human outcomes than dice.

    Counterintuitive, but they don't. We have entire fields of academic study dedicated to plumbing the depth to which humans do not behave in the way they "should", where should can be anything from rational self interest to directly doing things they say they know are bad and that they don't want to do.
    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. 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    The kick is that people are, with sufficient information and incentives, able to identify the answer they think is best (and where demonstrable, actually ks). Don't eat tide pods. Don't stay in abusive relationships. Don't tell miss October all about your exciting job at the nuclear research lab two beers after you meet her. Ask your boss for an industry average salary or better, and don't back off that position. And without mechanics, this is where players and to a lesser extent GMs will call it - they after all aren't in the real situation, they're the neutral observer solving the problem set.
    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. A picture of a sexual act, even more so. Go ahead and test it, you're on the internet, you're perfectly capable of doing so.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat
    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. The barbarian with poor impulse control probably IS more susceptible to being talked into a bad idea - even if the player knows its not a great idea. The bright yet only averagely brave hacker probably is more likely to knuckle under when faced with intimidatiin even when his player wants to be a hero. You get the idea.
    Ye, I get the idea. But you apparently don't believe anyone could get the idea, because if other people can get the idea, what stops them acting in the proper manner out of their own volition?

    This is the same kind of silly argument I've seen in threads about flaw mechanics. "Flawed characters would make for good games (etc.), but I don't believe my players would play flawed characters on their own, so I need to bribe them with points". If you are capable of thinking flawed characters make for good games, at least some other people can do so too, which means they'll be willing to play those flawed characters for sake of the game, without any additional reward mechanic. Same thing here.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    "we don't do physical stuff to solve physical conflicts, so we shouldn't do social stuff to solve social conflicts" is fallacious. Actually list the reasons why you don't want to box. Maybe you don't want to leave the tabletop. Maybe you dislike physical pain and exhaustion. Maybe you're afraid of injury. Maybe you don't have physical space to box in. Then check separately if those reasons apply to social skills. This is all a rehash of what I've already said, but it's pretty hard to avoid repetition when one person after another goes right back to the start.
    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. 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?

    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?

    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.
    Depends. Do you trust your game master and the other players to be reasonably fair? If yes, then YES. You can trust and accept your GM's ruling that the guard will not be bribed. You can trust and accept your GM's ruling that some agreements will always be off the table for a given merchant. You can trust and accept the other player's assessment that the orator was off today and didn't deliver.
    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.

    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? 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.
    Nevermind that I can implement mindcontrol etc. superhuman abilities separately from normal social interaction. They don't have to use the same system anymore than they have to use dice
    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?

    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.

    All that is pretty general, but it applies across the whole game. If a game gives characters combat abilities then I like to see a rule structure for combat that makes characters with lots of those abilities better at combat than characters without any such abilities. Same for exploration, social conflicts, magic/sfx, and the other stuff in the games. If a game has no social, magic, or combat abilities then I don't expect it to have rules for them. But when a game has those character abilities then I expect some rule structure that hopefully has more substance or thought than "the DM makes a wild guess" type of thing that we were using 25-30 years ago.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    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.
    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.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-12-01 at 01:42 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 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.
    That I can engage with. The question of if a game gives characters a "persuade" thing and "resist persuasion" thing then should they apply equally to all characters in the game and how should they be applied. That I can do.

    But a game giving those things to characters and the saying we shouldn't have rules for them because games without those things don't need rules for them? Or that we don't need any rules because we're humans talking to humans in a shared language, even if the characters are a thousand year old dragon and a spawn of an eldrich horror bartering souls for magic in an ill defined trade-pidgin language?

    In a game where characters have "persuade", "deceive", "charm" abilities/skills and 'the silver tongued bard who can talk good' as an archetype I like more rules/advice/guidelines than "talking to enemies is hard" and "DM does a butt-pull". Because chances are there's going to be characters in play that are supposed to exceed the players abilities in those areas and relying on all the payers to always be able to be unbiased & play at that level is a bit unrealistic.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

    DtD40k7e rewrite complete.

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

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

    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.
    Government brain washing? Welcome to Placia!

    We guarantee you'll love your stay.

    If Placia were a Paranoia game, after the description you gave, people would be asking your security clearance, because that's remarkably close to SOP. Quertus, my signature academia mage for whom this account is named, knows enough to fear coming to the attention of The Man, despite his generally patriotic bent. And doesn't dare pursue any non-government powers on Placia, for not dissimilar (if at times unfounded) reasons.

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