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Interaction Skills, how do you handle as a GM?

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#1 MalVeauX



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Posted 06 February 2014 - 12:10 PM



So I'm curious, those of you who GM or have a GM and experience something like this, here'a a question and situation basically and I'm curious how you guys & gals handle it, or if you even allow it to a certain point.






A character with huge Fellowship and lots of bonuses (+20, Talented, Peer, etc), with these skills. They can roll 80~100 or higher easily for tests with stacked values. They can do this early on. And most opposed tests are Willpower, Scrutiny, etc. All of which really, are going to be in the 40's or 50's really unless you fudge up your NPC stats for this purpose (at least most of them; some opponents/NPC's might have big Fellowship, like a NPC Rogue Trader or something).


How do you handle a character that is great at social interaction and basically can roll to foil every social interaction setting by leading the conversation to whatever they want? Can't get through the door to the secret meeting? Charm/Deceive/Intimidate them. Boom. You're in. No combat sessions needed. At a secret moot with other Rogue Traders? Charm/Deceive/Intimidate and boom, you might just sway them to do what you want.


Do you folks have problems with this? Have you had issues where entire planned encounters are basically wiped away because someone brought a really good social interaction character? Are there times that you make the roll fail, no matter what, because it would change your planned encounter?


Interested in your thoughts.


Very best,

Rogue Trader PBP at forums.gvillegaming.org :: I host games, feel free to come by!

#2 Brother Orpheo

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 12:32 PM

These are typically Opposed Tests, therefor the social outcome favors whomever has the highest DoS. Having a high Skill score does not mean auto-win, it just means a greater chance to get more DoS. A Rogue Trader (or whomever) can still get one or two DoS to his target's three or four, thus flubbing the social encounter. 


#3 riplikash



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Posted 06 February 2014 - 12:45 PM

Opposed tests, but also negative circumstantial modifiers.


Honestly, a charismatic character SHOULD succeed with anything basic in regular or favorable circumstances, just as an Arch Militant will succeed at shooting people in an empty field. I don't have a problem with that, that is their specialty.


But there may be opposing interests, old promises, and negative situations. That's when challenge gets involved. Convincing someone to ally with you is easy, convincing them to break a long standing agreement to ally with you is very hard. Organizing a trade agreement on your bridge or in a port is easy, doing so on the ground as they load the cargo you want onto another traders shuttle is hard.


I think most GMs are more accustomed to making challenging combat situations than social ones. But you should treat them very similarly. Combat shouldn't occur in static empty field against peasants, it should be on a moving train against orks with cover while a time bomb ticks under you. Social encounters shouldn't be planned against isolated individuals with little training. They should be against others with similar levels of skill, in interesting circumstances, with people who have conflicting interests, under time limits (for example). 


If something is valuable enough for a Rogue Trader to be interested, other, comparable individuals should be interested. The target should have a vested interest in defending it, or complications that make him dislike the Rogue Trader, or any number of other situations complicating the issue. Just like in combat.


Also, try to avoid single target victory situations. Just as combat is uninteresting if it's always against one person always on the defense, social combat should have multiple stake holders. Most important accomplishments can't be made by just convincing a single individual in the real world.


Long story short, try and treat "social combat" more like "physical combat". Plan out the encounters, make things interesting, provide a variety of foes, time limits, and opposition.

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#4 Erathia



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Posted 06 February 2014 - 01:14 PM

These skills control how your actions are perceived by other people, and as a result can be very important if you just embarked on a campaign of dubious morality. For example, you've just destroyed a Dark Eldar raiding party that was terrorizing a colony and boarded the non-completely-destroyed vessels. Are you going there to salvage the materials, or ensure that every last one of the filthy Xenos are dead? (Realistically, you're doing both).


You then go to the colony, bask in the success and ask for a few supplies to replenish your losses defending them. Are you greedy profiteers or honest traders hoping that we can band together and overcome these xenos together? (Realistically, you are only the former).


The perception of your actions will be influenced by how you spin things to your colony. It greases the wheels of situations, and may get you a few tangible benefits out of it (yes, we would be happy to replenish your crew losses as you are clearly heroic adventurers), but they're not going to completely disassemble their colony to repair the damage your void ship took.


At a formal dinner you have one of your Dynasty rivals there, and start engaging in social combat to try and break down their perceptions. Honestly I've found most RT enemies kind of underwhelming, but even then they could have entrenched followers, toadies in the crowd to egg them on, and pre-existing bribes that could impose secret bonuses for them and/or penalties for you. Regardless though, you're not going to convince your rival to surrender to you and hand over their Warrant of Trade and Flagship, but you can make him look like a gaping buffoon and have a quest (that you were trying to find a hook for your PCs for anyway) fall into their lap as someone becomes convinced that your group is clearly the superior traders.

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