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Interaction Skills & Player Characters


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#1 craigio

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 02:45 PM

Hi all,

 

This is more of a hypothetical question from a relatively inexperienced roleplayer rather than a cry for help.

 

A small group of us have recently started playing a Black Crusade campaign in which I have taken a human apostate character, who will eventually become highly skilled in interaction (especially once he becomes aligned with Slaanesh). The rest of the group have taken space marine characters. Clearly a human character struggles to exert influence over a group such as this (especially physically) if any of the other players wish to ignore my character.

 

Basically my question is, how do other players handle interaction skills in relation to other player characters?



#2 Chaplain

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 04:19 PM

Using rules as written you can use Inspire special use of Command skill, give bonuces to your allies with Radiant presence talent or use Scrutiny skill to read your current allies' schemes and plots like an open book.

 

A more interesting option could be roleplaying a mere mortal's path to power among mighty Legionnaires. Make yourself valuable, and (by the time you are influential enough to be dangerous) irreplacible. Be the spy who knows which rival warband will backstab you, be the corruptor who infiltrates it and either usurps power or destroys it from inside. Be the leader of men, the guy who keeps fresh cultists rallying to your cause. Let the arrogant Astartes reign over your warband, but rule it yourself either as beloved prophet or as grey cardinal, and when the time will come to accomplish personal mutually exclusive goals you will have an ace or two in your sleeve which will make all the difference.


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#3 Cifer

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 05:40 PM

I would generally advise against rolling skill checks to influence other PCs. That being said, I consider it good RP to keep the abilities of others in mind when I react to them trying to influence me. I'll more often believe a lie when it's spoken by someone with a high Fellowship rating.

Mostly, this is something that you'll have to discuss as a group. It might also be helpful to discuss how you want to handle PvP in general, both social and physical.


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#4 Lynata

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Posted 01 June 2014 - 01:14 AM

The way I see it, there's two ways to go about this.
 
You can either force the Legionaries to see not just your frail human form when they look at you, but a hundred well-armed cultists who are more loyal to you than to them. In the BC ruleset, the gap between Astartes and Human weapons is notably closer than in the other games of FFG's 40k line, which means that even though one CSM versus one Human has a huge advantage, he's quite killable when facing an entire squad of your elite bloodsworn bodyguards. Depending on the characters' personalities and everyone's usefulness to their fellow heretics, this might even have your Apostate rise to a leadership position, as long as you manage the tricky task of keeping your Traitor Marines happy and thus loyal.
 
Of course, the downside is that this approach also comes with a significant risk of forcing internal conflict and scheming if your character fails to convince the Legionaries of them being better off with him at the helm, or at the very least a sort of council of equals (where you use your cunning and silver tongue to get the better of everyone else, in spite of this supposed equality).
 
Alternatively, you could also just suck it up, realise that - with the exception of psykers - this system still has a habit of sabotaging the idea of capable Humans measuring up to Astartes (though not nearly as much as the other games, as mentioned above), and try to settle into a supporting position where you may not call the shots on everything, but still live comfortably in a position of power at the mercy of your CSM overlords, who have recognised your usefulness and are willing to suffer your antics in exchange for the influence you are able to project onto the unwashed masses.
 
Both paths could make for a fun game - it really depends on what you wanted to get out of this character when you created him. :)


#5 Kamikazzijoe

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Posted 01 June 2014 - 05:31 AM

There are the social conflict rules in tome of excess that you could use when one marine is against your plan and another marine is supportive.


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#6 AlphariusOmegon7

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Posted 01 June 2014 - 08:54 AM

Interaction skills against PCs are something of a bugaboo in all RPGs - some people love em, most people hate em.  I think the real problem is overstating their importance.  

 

Think about it - what does a successful Charm Test actually mean?  It means you were charming and polite, possibly more persuasive, than you had been otherwise.  Depending on who it's directed against, this might mean someone treats you with more respect, or is more regretful and gentle when arresting you, or actually considers your point of view.  

 

It DOESN'T mean you somehow fundamentally change their point of view or ideas of how the world works, which some people seem to think successful interactions should mean.  You wouldn't believe the number of stories out there which seem to imply that stammering out some excuse about really being a guard, rolling a 01 on a Deceive Test, and then innocent NPCs just instantly agreeing is believable, or how the game should be played.  There's always context, for any Interaction, and Skill Tests should ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS take that into account, be they against PCs or NPCs.  

 

Then again, I don't roll many Interaction Tests, either as player or GM.  I prefer to let the characters' words speak for themselves, because that's how interactions in real life work.  


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#7 Darth Smeg

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 12:07 AM

Actually, Charm is not just "being charming", but is in fact changing peoples mind.

 

Just as Dodge isn't just "being evasive", but is in fact a game-changing ability in that you negate a successful blow.

 

As for using social skills vs other PCs, I'm in the camp that thinks they shouldn't be treated differently. They're skills. They cost XP. You can defend against them using other skills that also cost XP.

 

Why should the guy who invests in combat talents be allowed to use them to bully other PCs, if the guy who invests in persuasion is not?

 

Why should PCs be "immune" to certain game effects, but not others? If it's OK to just say "nah, my guy doesn't want that" when he is subjected to deception by a cunning apostate, then it must be ok to say "nah, that didn't hurt" when the space marine smacks him with his power-fist. Right?

 

I'd say either allow all skills to affect the PCs, or none at all. And if the fighty characters whine that is "isn't realistic" and that it makes no sense, then that's kinda the point. It makes as much sense as Uthak the Primitive being immune to the manipulation from Mr. Charisma.


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#8 BrotharTearer

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 01:03 AM

The Seduction rules in the Tome of Excess is what you're looking for if the pure roleplaying isn't working, nor the pure mechanical aspect of the interaction skills. They can basically not resist your Seduction attempts with high enough Fellowship modifier. But people can get a little pissy if you convert them from away their gods, for example.



#9 AlphariusOmegon7

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 06:08 AM

Actually, Charm is not just "being charming", but is in fact changing peoples mind.

 

Just as Dodge isn't just "being evasive"

Gonna have to stop you there.  Technically Dodge IS just being evasive.  It's just that being evasive has a different kind of effect than being Charming (possibly one that needs to be translated better in terms of relationships between game mechanics and reality, as there are a number of descriptive issues with combat vis-a-vis low level attacks, wounds, and low strength critical hits that don't match up with anyone's depiction of reality if taken at straight face value).  



#10 Lynata

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 10:21 AM

Actually, Charm is not just "being charming", but is in fact changing peoples mind.

 

Personally, I interpret Charm as something "in-between". Yes, it is about changing people's mind, but only to a degree. You couldn't Charm someone into jumping down a cliff, for example (well, not without drugs or other forms of mind-addling effects, anyways), which implies that there are limits to what you can achieve even when rolling high, as the target will always maintain a measure of control over their own mindset. How much obviously depends on the individual target's convictions, and on what you want them to do.

 

In short: To me, Charm and Deceive are about nurturing seeds that, in some form, must already be present (or, in some cases of Deceive, specifically cannot be present) - not "flipping a switch" in someone's brain.

 

And I think in a game where Social Skills are "abused" to lead other player characters away from their intended path, everyone would just buy the Cold Hearted talent, and react with violence every time another player tries to use Charm on them. I have a feeling this would not make for a very fun game and only force intra-party conflict.


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#11 AlphariusOmegon7

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 05:59 PM

 

Actually, Charm is not just "being charming", but is in fact changing peoples mind.

 

Personally, I interpret Charm as something "in-between". Yes, it is about changing people's mind, but only to a degree. You couldn't Charm someone into jumping down a cliff, for example (well, not without drugs or other forms of mind-addling effects, anyways), which implies that there are limits to what you can achieve even when rolling high, as the target will always maintain a measure of control over their own mindset. How much obviously depends on the individual target's convictions, and on what you want them to do.

 

In short: To me, Charm and Deceive are about nurturing seeds that, in some form, must already be present (or, in some cases of Deceive, specifically cannot be present) - not "flipping a switch" in someone's brain.

 

And I think in a game where Social Skills are "abused" to lead other player characters away from their intended path, everyone would just buy the Cold Hearted talent, and react with violence every time another player tries to use Charm on them. I have a feeling this would not make for a very fun game and only force intra-party conflict.

 

Exactly.  I may be wording this slightly badly, but this seems to fit with my interpretation as well, and is far better worded.  Hat off.  



#12 Terraneaux

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:36 AM

If you're going into the game with the intent of using your 1337 social skills to make the other PC's your *****, you're doing it wrong.  (Also, if they're going into the game with the intent of using their h4x combat skills to browbeat your character constantly, they're doing it wrong too).


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#13 Traejun

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 02:19 AM

Hi all,

 

This is more of a hypothetical question from a relatively inexperienced roleplayer rather than a cry for help.

 

A small group of us have recently started playing a Black Crusade campaign in which I have taken a human apostate character, who will eventually become highly skilled in interaction (especially once he becomes aligned with Slaanesh). The rest of the group have taken space marine characters. Clearly a human character struggles to exert influence over a group such as this (especially physically) if any of the other players wish to ignore my character.

 

Basically my question is, how do other players handle interaction skills in relation to other player characters?

 

Situations like this are one of the major issues with BC, in general.  With mixed groups of humans and CSMs, the latter will dominate the former early on.  The human PCs will often feel useless in comparison.  A good GM knows this and realizes that with the majority of the denizens of the Vortex being humans/mutants, the non space marine PCs can/should have an easier time interacting with those NPCs.  THAT is your fellowship Apostate's role - you're the face an the group's mouth piece.  Let the CSMs do what they are meant to do... kill things and catch bullets for you.

 

Behind he scenes, be smart and conniving.  Use the CSMs to accomplish your goals with carefully laid plans designed to make them think they are benefiting from it.  While this happens, build support by making allies/minions of some important NPCs and bring them into the warband.  They will be loyal to you since you're the one that brought them there.  Similarly, pick one of the CSMs to actually ally with (likely by legitimately doing things to benefit him with no tangible benefit to you).  When and if the time does come, you can pit your ally against the other CSM.  If they're busy watching each other, they won't see what you're really doing until its too late.



#14 Moirdryd

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 12:43 PM

I've played an a long running BC game as a Human. Specifically the Apostate under the theme of Renegade Rogue Trader. The rest of the group were Traitor Astartes and a Heretek. I never felt underpowered because I did invest in those all important combat skills. When a fight broke out, I hid. Sure I had some really nice toys for use in combat but my stats were never directed that way. I used to infiltrate planetary governments, loyal regiments, other warbands, imperial fleet vessels, all sorts. I created Cults and lured loyal men into acts of treason along the way and opened up the path for my "Warlord" to do what he wanted to do. 

 

Konrad's power became impressive. There was even a warband member of the astartes who wanted me dead, very very dead. But he never got his shot. 

 

In a mixed game the benefits of being human lie almost entirely with the social and chameleon aspects of just that thing. I ran a campaign with a whole bunch of traitor astartes and a lass playing a renegade commissar. She was terrifying and most of the horrendous damage done to the hiveworld was down to her working with the Apostate creating a hero myth and personality cult,.  

 

As with many games the idea ios for the PCs to be working together. Do that and all is cool, even when they have some opposing goals. 



#15 Lynata

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 05:26 AM

Yeah, the problem really "just" rests with combat-focused characters - such as the Renegade - trying to get a bit of spotlight, too. Human characters in general can find a role either behind the scenes or by utilising knowledge and interaction Skills, but I'd recommend discouraging players from picking the Renegade once you have CSM in your group. (or removing the inflated gap between "Legion" and everyone elses weapons/armour)

 

Unless they're fine taking the back seat, that is. The Archetype can still have interesting concepts, such as a skilled assassin for infiltration and targeted violence, or even a pilot/driver kind of character.


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#16 Terraneaux

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 01:20 PM

On the other hand, there are some human archetypes that do combat just fine with CSM around, like the Frost Father, or anyone with the Mark of Nurgle.



#17 BrotharTearer

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 01:29 PM

On the other hand, there are some human archetypes that do combat just fine with CSM around, like the Frost Father, or anyone with the Mark of Nurgle.

 

Or any psyker that's not horribly built.



#18 Lynata

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 02:05 PM

Sorry, I should have been clearer - "combat-focused character" to me is the traditional ranged or melee warrior. Psykers are ... psykers.  :lol:

 

Perhaps I ought to have said "fighter" or something, but that sounds very D&D.



#19 Andkat

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 10:18 PM

To be fair, Mechanicus characters can also get enough cybernetics to have augmented capabilities comparable to those of Astartes. The increased availability of cybernetics is nothing to sneer at, nor at the starting augments. Good quality cerebral implants, best quality synthmuscle grafts, mechanicus assimilation, etc. can give them some pretty considerable advantages. Not quite Astartes but it's better than what most humans can manage.



#20 Vandegraffe

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 12:35 AM

Oh please, when is the last time you saw a Mechanicus character (doesn't matter if it's Dark or orthodox Mars-lover) who wasn't a walking tank?  Or a twisted hulk of a mutant freak genetor? 

 

But yes, aside from the cogboys, it's generally unwise for a squishy human to go toe-to-toe with an Astartes.

 

Cheers,

- V.






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