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 Post subject: EoS: Social Combat
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:08 pm 
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This is a proposed Social Combat system similar to Duel of Wits in BW, but using the two-exchange mechanic from RoS as its base instead of BW's scripted system.

The community has already given me some great input on an earlier thread, which can be found here. viewtopic.php?f=19&t=572. Along with some excerpts from my first play test.

I've tried to incorporate some of the thoughts from that earlier thread into a new draft. This hasn't been playtested yet, and likely won't for a while as my players are new to role-playing, and I don't want to overwhelm them with anything too complicated until they have the core system down.

EoS: Social Combat


This system would elimnate all skills of a social nature from the game and replace them with Social Proficiencies. (more haggling, seduce, debating, etc...) The Social Proficiencies work almost identically to Combat Proficiences. The biggest difference will be the ease that a Character switches between Social Proficiencies during Social Combat (it's a lot simpler to go from seductive to intimidating then to draw a second weapon and dual-wield).

The Social Pool is (social+wit)/2 + Social Proficiency.

The Body of Argument (like Social Hit Points) is equal to the Social Attribute.

Shock, Pain, and Blood Loss are called Surprise, Hesitation, and Doubt. They function identically to their physical counterparts.

Players must choose a proficiency at the beginning of the round. They cannot change it until the following round (this avoids fluctating dice pools).

Social Proficiencies

Seductive (point, counterpoint, soothe)
Intimidating (point, intimidate, incite)
Persuasive (point, counterpoint, avoid the topic, soothe)
Eloquent (point, counterpoint, incite, trap, rebuttal)
Negotiative (point, counterpoint, feint, rebuttal)

Social Maneuvers

Point
Incite
Fast Talk
Trap
Intimidate

Counterpoint
Rebuttal
Avoid the Topic
Soothe

Offensive Manuevers:

Point - This is the basic offensive move in a debate, and how a player subtracts points from another player's Body of Argument. "We can't risk waiting for the enemy to attack first. We must bring war to them." To make a point, a player declares the maneuver and assigns dice from their debate pool to roll with.

Trap - This is a move where one player lures the other into a trap and then springs a prepared response on them. Typically this is embarrassing. "So you would say that leniency towards criminals is a sign of weakness? Yes? You must find our king a weak man in that case as he's pardoned 5 thieves from the firing squad this year alone." To use Trap, a player begins by declaring a point maneuver and assigning dice, then after the opponent assigns dice to their defensive maneuver, the player can add dice to their original point maneuver at a cost of 2 for 1.

Incite - This is a direct insult designed to drive an opponent into lashing out recklessly. "You clearly don't understand this matter, but it isn't surprising given your upbringing. This is why commoners should stay out of politics." To use incite, a player must make a contested roll of their (Wit/Social)/2 against their opponent's Willpower. If successful, the opponent loses dice from their debate pool equal to the margin of success and must use half of what remains (rounded up) to make a point (no other maneuvers allowed) immediately on the following exchange.

Fast Talk - This is a technique that confounds an opponent, not giving them a chance to register what was said or give an appropriate response. The things said don't have to be accurate, or even plausible, as long as they are stated fast and with confidence. "Have you considered the significance of first century Dwarven fertility rituals to these people? No, don't bother answering. I can see it in your face. You haven't taken any of those factors into account, nor considered the ramifications of NOT taking said factors into account, nor even considered the gravity of those ramifications should they occur. Look at you. You don't even know what I'm saying, do you?" To use fast talk, a player burns dice as many dice from their debate pool as they desire. The player and opponent then do a contested roll of Wit with each die burned on the maneuver raising the opponents TN by 1 (from the debating default of TN 5). If the player wins, they maintain initiative and on the next exchange their opponent loses dice out of their debate pool equal to the margin of success. This maneuver becomes less effective over time. Starting at 0 for the first use, the activation cost goes up by 1 each time it is used on the same opponent.

Intimidate - This is a technigue that disrupts an opponents flow and throws them off kilter. It can be something subtle or an outright threat. "Choose your next words carefully, Leonidas. They may be your last as king." To use Intimidate, a player declares the maneuver and then assigns dice as they would for a Point. If the player wins, their opponent loses dice from their Social Pool equal to double the Margin of Success. The player maintains initiative and the opponent may only use the Avoid the Topic maneuver in the next round.

Defensive Manuevers:

Counterpoint - This is a basic cancelling out of your opponent's point and is used to stop them from taking points out of your Body of Argument. "A preemptive attack is foolish and guarantees war." To make a counterpoint, the player declares the maneuver and assigns dice to roll out of their debate pool.

Avoid the Topic - This is more or less a retreat used to take a breather when your opponent has you at a disadvantage. The audience will always look on this with disfavor, but it may be better to avoid a topic entirely than to have an advantaged opponent trounce you. "That's not really relevant. I won't bother to dignify it with an answer." To avoid the topic, the player declares the maneuver and assigns dice out of their debate pool to roll. The target number for this roll will be TN 4 as opposed to the debating default of TN 5. If successful, the debate is broken off and initiative must be rerolled. Regardless of the outcome, the player loses one point from their Body of Argument (this stacks with other lost points in the case of failure).

Rebuttal - This is a counterpoint, followed up by a point of the player's own, reversing the tide of the debate. "A preemptive attack is foolish and guarantees war. My opponent's war will destroy a peace that has lasted generations. It will bring ruin to our lands. It will see your son in an early grave." To make a rebuttal, the player declares the maneuver, burns two dice from their debate pool, and assigns dice to roll from what remains. If the roll is successful, the player gains bonus dice for the next exchange equal to every success rolled by their opponent.

Soothe - This is a calming technique, disarming your opponent with quiet words and compliments. Typically, the next exchange will have a softly spoken offensive maneuver. Done with skill, this will likely make your opponent believe he has won, even after losing the Duel of Wits. "Your wisdom in these matters is well known throughout the kingdom. I have know doubt you will consider every angle before committing to this preemptive attack and feel comfortable leaving the matter in your hands." To use Soothe, the player assigns dice and rolls against a TN of 9. If the player wins, they take initiative for the next exchange and their opponent loses dice from their Social Pool equal to half of what they had committed to their offensive maneuver. If the player fails, the loss to their Body of Argument is increased by 2 levels.


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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Social Combat
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:45 pm 
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For some reason this post went a bit wrong during the database load. It was the most recent post and therefore the last record to be loaded -- perhaps that is why it went astray. Anyway, jetlagg, if I have introduced any errors then you have my apologies...

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Social Combat
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:55 pm 
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jetlagg wrote:
This system would elimnate all skills of a social nature from the game and replace them with Social Proficiencies.


This assumes that social skills in TRoS are always tested through an opposed roll. The outcome of this mod seems to be either success or failure.

In heavy intrigue games the pressure point is often time. "Yes, you can do that, but it will take time -- you need to accumulate 7 successes, each roll represents an encounter with the Courier and you can only manage that once a day. If you haven't got the successes after three rolls then the TN is raised by 1 for each subsequent roll." That sort of thing.

My concern here is that if you lose the skills then everything devolves into social combat -- which, in a number of situations, doesn't really work just as everything devolving into combat doesn't work.

Nevertheless, I like the way the social combat system itself is headed. I look forward to seeing how the manoeuvres are split amongst the proficiencies.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Social Combat
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:48 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
For some reason this post went a bit wrong during the database load. It was the most recent post and therefore the last record to be loaded -- perhaps that is why it went astray. Anyway, jetlagg, if I have introduced any errors then you have my apologies...


No worries. Everything seems to be in order.

The maneuvers for each Social Proficiency are listed in the parentheses following the proficiency name. I should have made that more clear. I'm interested in the idea of certain things (like Intimidating say) being limited to offensive maneuvers, so a truly savvy social character would need to be well rounded, versed in intimidation as well as oratory.

Quote:
My concern here is that if you lose the skills then everything devolves into social combat -- which, in a number of situations, doesn't really work just as everything devolving into combat doesn't work.


A good thing to be concerned about. In my playtest I definitely noticed this is the sort of thing that would be reserved only for significant scenes where the players wanted a bit more control over their fate. In other situations, a player could choose one Proficiency and roll against an Obstacle set by the GM. Although, the one problem with that is Obstacles for Proficiencies (where dice pools are very large) would not match up at all with Obstacles for Skills (much smaller dice pools).

Regarding the issue of time in intrigue-heavy campaigns and time constraints. I believe that can still be accomplished easily. Say the players break into the Prime Minister's quarters to try and convince him to change the venue for his speech (they have information about an assassination attempt, they are playing politics, whatever) and they have to accomplish this before the Minister's aide returns and catches them all. The GM could set a limit (say 5 rounds) and the players would need to win the Duel of Wits before that time, or they'll have some guards breathing down their necks.

Another example would be if the players were trying to do something like cast doubt on a Lord's claim to the throne before the day of his coronation, which is three weeks hence. As the GM, you could rule each round of Social Combat is abstracted and takes place over the course of a week. The players would be intercepting this Lord in public and calling him out before the masses. Of course, each round is ticking down to that coronation date. The players would need to move fast, perhaps using more aggressive tactics than they normally would.


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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Social Combat
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:49 am 
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Quote:
My concern here is that if you lose the skills then everything devolves into social combat -- which, in a number of situations, doesn't really work just as everything devolving into combat doesn't work.


jetlagg wrote:
A good thing to be concerned about. In my playtest I definitely noticed this is the sort of thing that would be reserved only for significant scenes where the players wanted a bit more control over their fate. In other situations, a player could choose one Proficiency and roll against an Obstacle set by the GM. Although, the one problem with that is Obstacles for Proficiencies (where dice pools are very large) would not match up at all with Obstacles for Skills (much smaller dice pools).


In TRoS we have a number of ways of performing a skill check. One of these is the Contested Roll -- which is the situation covered by Social Combat. All the other rolls are not easily covered by Social Proficiencies. In the end I'm just not seeing a need to remove the social skills. The other rolls are useful and to my mind happen more frequently used than social combat. I would prefer to see a Social Proficiency number derived from the Social Skill value.

jetlagg wrote:
Regarding the issue of time in intrigue-heavy campaigns and time constraints. I believe that can still be accomplished easily. Say the players break into the Prime Minister's quarters to try and convince him to change the venue for his speech (they have information about an assassination attempt, they are playing politics, whatever) and they have to accomplish this before the Minister's aide returns and catches them all. The GM could set a limit (say 5 rounds) and the players would need to win the Duel of Wits before that time, or they'll have some guards breathing down their necks.


Sure -- but there are other times where you just want to know how long something takes. The Extended Roll in TRoS serves that function. The referee is saying, when he calls for an Extended Roll -- "Your character's skill level is such that it is inevitable that you will succeeed at this task. The only thing we need to know is how long it will take (or how many resources are consumed, or whatever)."

So while time might be a constraint, it doesn't have to be so conflict-driven.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Social Combat
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:54 pm 
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Quote:
In TRoS we have a number of ways of performing a skill check. One of these is the Contested Roll -- which is the situation covered by Social Combat. All the other rolls are not easily covered by Social Proficiencies.


Ah, I understand you better now.

I'm often confusing myself on this thread as I'm trying to speak in terms of basic RoS rules that I imagine most people here are using. I'm using a homebrew that takes more inspiration from BW than it does from tRoS regarding the Skill mechanics, so really in my game, Skills and Proficiencies are indistinguishable. In fact, when it's time for my players to create new characters, I'll probably do away with Proficiencies entirely, and just call everything a Skill. For a priority-based character creation mechanic, that would obviously mean merging the Proficiency priority with the Skill Priority.

I've found that this makes for more modular rules (a good thing, if you're asking me). There's the core mechanics that are capable of handling any scenario, and then, if a player desires, they can get really granular by opening up the rules for Social or Phyiscal Combat.


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