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Breaking a cardinal RPG rule: player can't automatically disregard social influence


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#1 Emirikol

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 04:36 AM

In RPGs, free-will ruins games IMHO.  The way that it works is this:  If a player would be socially influenced by another character, the player can just disregard it and ignore it and do whatever he wants.

For example:  if the prostitute uses her "FLIRT" ability, the player can just say that her character ignores the effect using "Player Free Will."  Without making the PC a puppet of the GM, I've always found it ironic that you can suffer a wound and not ignore that, but heaven forbid that a social action be a 'real' effect.

Now, I don't really know which way wfrp pushes it, but now that I've really familiarized myself with the Lure of Power stuff, I'm planning on creating a random chart of social actions.  I'm creating two charts.  One for influence and one for the other stuff.  I"m looking forward to using bribe, flirt, Bad witch hunter, Belittle, etc.

 

Hyper Convenient List of Social Actions

Basic:  Perform Stunt (social): Card difficulty is one purple, plus whatever the opposed check is (if applicable)  Green/Red and recharge time are coded.

 

(highlighted are influencers)

 

CORE/Player's Guide (p274+) (Green/Red) Purple/black

1.        Big City Bravado (G/R)b-red social bonus white

2.        Conundrum (G/R)-delay one ability one round

3.        Devious Manoeuvre (G/R)-target gains one bonus or penalty

4.        Exploit Opening (G/R)b-ally gets a free maneuver

5.        Fake Out (G)-®b-influence

6.        Fear Me! (G/R)bb-influence and fear1

7.        Fluster (G/R)bb-green white bonus to social

8.        Formal Diplomacy/Informal Carousing (G)bb®P-influence

9.        Honeyed Words (G/R)--influence

10.     I Thought We Were Friends (G/R)b-green gets penalty to social

11.     Inspiring Words (G/R)bb-inspired and influence

12.     Scrutinize (G/R)b-learn fact

13.     Staring Contest (G/R)-influence

14.     Steely Gaze (G/R)-influence

15.     Trivial Knowledge (G/R)-bonus white

16.     Twisting Words (G/R)-bonus white and penalty black

17.     Winning Smile (G/R)-influence and being attacked delayed by one round

Lure of Power

18.     Bad/Good Witch Hunter–LoP- (R/G)-influence

19.     Berate/Belittle –LoP- ® bb- (G)b- stress + influence or reckless

20.     Blather –LoP- ®Pb (G)P-add 1p to opponent

21.     Bolster–LoP- (R/G)Pb –target increases shame threshold

22.     Bribery–LoP- (R/G) b- Influence on bribe

23.     Compose Yourself–LoP- (both)PP-Recover shame

24.     Crack a Joke –LoP- (R/G) b-modify stealth/skullduggery

25.     Don't you know who I work for? –LoP- (R/G)b-influence

26.     Feel for the Moment –LoP- (R/G)PPb-recharge other card & roleplay

27.     Flirt –LoP- ®bb(G)b-influence

28.     Impersonate-LoP ®PP-Guile(G)guile or social

29.     Incite/Calm down –LoP-®P-target reckless(G)target conservative

30.     Intuit Intention –LoP- (R/Gb-opponent gets penalty to guile

31.     Me First (R/G) Reaction interrupt

32.     Obfuscate/Elucidate –LoP- (R/G)P-influence

33.     Perfect Gift –LoP- (R/G)PP-influence

34.     Quip –LoP- (R/G)-reaction add 1 white to social

35.     Sage Advice –LoP- (R/G)-Add 1 white to social for target

36.     Sermon –LoP- (R/G)PP-Influence

37.     Skeleton in the Closet –LoP- ®P(G)-Influence

38.     Style and Grace –LoP- ®PP(G)Pb-bonus white to social

39.     Twist the Knife –LoP- (R/G)-target’s shame turns one to insanity

40.     Teller of Tales –LoP- (R/G)PP-influence

Black Fire Pass

41.     Litany of Grudges -BFP-Dwarf only- (G)PP(R4)-Influence on 1+

42.     Social Drinking –BFP- (G!)PP-influence on 3+-(R5)P-Influence on 1+

43.     Dwarf Stubbornness -BFP- Dwarf only (G4/R4)-/- =-Reaction bonus

Liber Fanatica #8 (pull-out section)

44.     Solemn Glance /Indignant Glare–LF8-(G)Pb®Pbb-Fel 2 white or purple

45.     Putting it As it Is/Verbal Fireworks–LF8- (G)PP®P-influence

46.     Debater/Trained Voice –LF8-(G/R)--enhance

47.     Look At'em Mommy's Boys! –LF8- (G)Pb®Pbb-Inspired

48.     Pulling the Plug/Tongue Lashing –LF8- (G/R)P-target move more neutral

49.     Scrimshank/Not Bothered –LF8- (G)P®Pb-guile or ignore

50.     Reading the Crowd/Chat'em up! –LF8- (G)bb®P-white to social

DLSS/Creature Guide

I’ll Make You Such A Deal-DLSS-move target one back to neutral add recharge

How Dare You Talk To Me Like That!-DLSS-bonus Fel and target penalty

Imperious manner-stress or cow

Pronouncements of doom-demoralize

Resist the lure **defense

 

 

..


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#2 r_b_bergstrom

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:29 PM

Emirikol said:

In RPGs, free-will ruins games IMHO.  The way that it works is this:  If a player would be socially influenced by another character, the player can just disregard it and ignore it and do whatever he wants.

For example:  if the prostitute uses her "FLIRT" ability, the player can just say that her character ignores the effect using "Player Free Will."  Without making the PC a puppet of the GM, I've always found it ironic that you can suffer a wound and not ignore that, but heaven forbid that a social action be a 'real' effect.

Now, I don't really know which way wfrp pushes it, but now that I've really familiarized myself with the Lure of Power stuff,

..

Isn't this exactly the point of Duel of Wits / Shame Threshold mechanics from Lure of Power are all about? It's basically Social Hit Points, so that you can give your NPCs some teeth in the social arena, without having "Flirt" be equivalent to "Mind Control". It's been a while since I've read it closely, but that was how I interpreted it.



#3 valvorik

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 12:30 AM

Having character fall down to wounds evokes less reaction than saying "you can't resist playing a few rounds of the friendly dice game for a few shillings" because the mountebank made a successful Charm check against your Discipline etc.  I'm lucky that I have "mature" players who mostly go along with that sort of thing.  I used to give alternatives (haven't had to for a while) of things like an automatic negative condition if choosing not to "go along" (e.g., you must be depressed and drinking heavily then, intoxicated instead)

 

 



#4 Emirikol

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 03:48 AM

That's how I rule it:  not mind control, but a player should be heavily encouraged to roleplay it.  If they get seduced and lose a couple of times against the person's influence checks, I'd encourage them to roll with the story.  The same is true for wounds, only that's a bit more hard line.  My guess is there aren't a lot of players whose GMs allow them to ignore wounds just because they don't feel like roleplaying that so I lean towards these social things (special action cards) having actual consequences.  Again, not mind control, but seduction is seduction afterall.

 

jh


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#5 Yepesnopes

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:17 AM

I agree with Emirikol here. Players and player characters are a different thing, and this has to be clear to players and GMs alike. The same as a player character gets wounded even if the player does not want it, a player character can be terrorized by a dragon and forced to flee, or can be "influenced" (using warhammer 3 terms) by a noble and forced to accept the deal. The player has to be mature enough and deal with it and role play the situation. At the end of the day, this is a role play game.

Indeed, some rpgs which are more mature in its audience deal directly with this fact, and clearly state that under this situations the player has to accept the reuslt dicted by the dice and role play it. That is the wayI like to do it. Although, I have to confess that we haven't play like this always. In py opinion this is a more mature approach on how to play an rpg and it took us some years to embrace this style of playing.

Cheers,

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#6 Skie

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:30 PM

My group has been playing RPGs for years and years (17 now?) and some time ago we arrived at smiliar conclusions as Yepesnopes. In combat situations it's clear that you get wounds when you got hit and no-one complains about it. But very often in social situations the character skills in talking etc are pushed away if the player is quite suave etc. Which works both ways - GM (or rather, NPCs) is not always able to convince/intimidate the players. So we try to remember about dice rolls and roleplaying accordingly.

And yes, it works both ways - so NPCs can influence player characters. This has worked in L5R, Song of Ice and Fire and seems to be working in WFRP3 as well, whether the situation is a small social encounter (haggling) or a longer one (seducing or a formal dinner).



#7 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 10:30 AM

This is less a system/game problem and more a "don't play with dicks" issue. If you game with people who don't roleplay, then you are going to end up with situations like this.

Also …

Emirikol said:

 

In RPGs, free-will ruins games IMHO.  The way that it works is this:  If a player would be socially influenced by another character, the player can just disregard it and ignore it and do whatever he wants.

 

 

… this isn't a Cardinal Rule. Some people feel the need to play this way, but it's not some intrinsic law of roleplaying. It's purely a social contract thing.


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#8 Emirikol

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 12:51 PM

I just had a nice, lively discussion about this on the Pen and Paper chat.

Here are some thoughts on the matter:

The players aren't expected to be able to roleplay a character with a 6 Fellowship.  They can just roll to Influence an NPC.

Is the GM expected to /not/ be able to influence a player character if he is unable to ROLEPLAY a 6 fellowship?  

Are player characters just pawns on a table or are they an extension of you with the threat of free will being taken away if your character failed a roll to reduce seduction?  How far does that free will extend?  Does it extend to a player denying a combat wound?  

Is social influence the same as mind control?  What is the limit of influence from a skill check and why is it such a big deal to fight over when its perfectly ok for magical spells to influence someone?


Some people really took offense that I indicated that perhaps we are just playing a game and characters may not be an extension of ourselves, but perhaps just pawns on a table and that social influence is the equivalent as combat (is the equivalent of any other skill check).

 

 

 

Opinions?

 

jh

..



#9 dvang

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 07:31 AM

r_b_bergstrom said:

Emirikol said:

 

In RPGs, free-will ruins games IMHO.  The way that it works is this:  If a player would be socially influenced by another character, the player can just disregard it and ignore it and do whatever he wants.

For example:  if the prostitute uses her "FLIRT" ability, the player can just say that her character ignores the effect using "Player Free Will."  Without making the PC a puppet of the GM, I've always found it ironic that you can suffer a wound and not ignore that, but heaven forbid that a social action be a 'real' effect.

Now, I don't really know which way wfrp pushes it, but now that I've really familiarized myself with the Lure of Power stuff,

..

 

 

Isn't this exactly the point of Duel of Wits / Shame Threshold mechanics from Lure of Power are all about? It's basically Social Hit Points, so that you can give your NPCs some teeth in the social arena, without having "Flirt" be equivalent to "Mind Control". It's been a while since I've read it closely, but that was how I interpreted it.

Yes. LoP's Shame mechanic was used (at least during our playtesting) as essentially social wounds.  It gave structure and reasoning for players to understand when their social behavior falls out of their control.  



#10 Emirikol

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 04:02 AM

Shame seems to have a very specialized use.

Essentially we have the following:

1.  General skill check (e.g. Charm-gossip)

2.  Perform stunt check (e.g. Charm-convince someone to do something/ i.e. basic influence)

3.  Special Action check (e.g. honeyed words/  basic influence or complex, multi-round influence)

4.  Duel of Wits/Shame:  (e.g. Twist the Knife:  multi-round influence most likely)

 

jh



#11 ragnar63

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:34 PM

I think you have to play to the cards otherwise it can become very boring very quickly, even if that puts a PC in an awkward position. Obviously you have to tailor the difficulty to the PC. For instance in the case of a human ***** trying to seduce a normal dwarf there might be significant difficulty involved whereas a Trollslayer might be more easily seduced as they can no longer be shamed. In the case of one of our PC's, Otto the Magnificent, we wouldn't have allowed the player to roll as his character was always bedding as many whores as he could afford. It depends on the character!

The shame rules in LoP can be used just as well in situations that don't involve Nobility and High Society. Shame and the social action cards can work just as well in criminal gangs and mercenary companies as in polite society, it just takes a little bit of thought. Status in high society can be replaced by status in a gang etc.



#12 phild

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:56 AM

Emirikol said:

Shame seems to have a very specialized use.

Essentially we have the following:

1.  General skill check (e.g. Charm-gossip)

2.  Perform stunt check (e.g. Charm-convince someone to do something/ i.e. basic influence)

3.  Special Action check (e.g. honeyed words/  basic influence or complex, multi-round influence)

4.  Duel of Wits/Shame:  (e.g. Twist the Knife:  multi-round influence most likely)

I think this is spot in. It's a shame (pun intended), but I found the Social Combat section of Lure of Power to be inadequate compared to systems included in games like Burning Wheel and A Song of Ice & Fire or even that in Torg / Masterbook (not that those systems are perfect by any means, but they're better, that's all I'm saying!)

Lure of Power should have had a lot more that discusses and codifies social interactions on something like that 4 point scale above, explains better what Influence is (and how many Influences are needed to get particular results), whereas Shame is an extremely specific mechanic with limited use.

And on the title of the thread: this hasn't been a cardinal RPG rule for many many years. The first time I saw social mechanics affecting characters was with Torg, back in 1992. That may not have been the first. But assuming RPGs began c. 1975, the rule has been broken for more years than it has been true!



#13 Yepesnopes

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:14 AM

phild said:

Lure of Power should have had a lot more that discusses and codifies social interactions on something like that 4 point scale above, explains better what Influence is (and how many Influences are needed to get particular results), whereas Shame is an extremely specific mechanic with limited use.

The designers of Warhammer 3 decided at some point to go for a game with very vague rules. Whether the goal was to create a very "free to interprete game" or not I don't know. But in my opinion they have gone too far, and we ended up with a game which is not fleshed out enough (indeed, not by far).


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#14 Emirikol

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 02:28 PM

A scale of interaction with NPC/PC: (food for thought in social encounters).  A person could be anywhere on this scale "at last they met."

 

 

Reaction  Table (From Lankhmar boxed set)

Hostile/Flight

Threatening  

Cautious  
Indifferent  
Sociable  
Friendly

Faithful



#15 Keats

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:53 PM

Very nice subject and some very nice replies, you people here at the forum sure are an intelligent bunch. 

 

I think it's more than fair to dictate how pc's feel during social encounters. But remember that even though we are sometimes influenced during a social encounter, it doesn't always mean we will act on it.

 

A pc meeting a flirty woman can be influenced by her looks and charm but this doesn't necessarily mean he will end up in bed with her.

Just like you and me. If we meet a flirty woman in a bar then it doesn't mean that we will take her home (especially if we are in a relationship).

 

Therefore I think it's more than fair to tell a pc that he's attracted to the flirty girl, but let him decide how he will react.

 

 

If a pc acts too much out of character and basically ignores a social encounter I simply exaggerate and narrate the scene the way he perceives, but not the way it really is.

Example: A character meets a bully who succeeds in an intimidation check. If the player completely chooses to disregard this and act his pc without fear, I begin exaggerating. I'll tell him he notices that the guy is really an ogre crossbreed, or something that looks like a witch hunter's hat on his back, or that he has four friends standing around the corner, or basically anything I know will make the player (not the pc) afraid. It is not something that is real but the player doesn't know this so he will play his character accordingly. 

 

Another example could be a conversation with a noble (gold tier). If the player doesn't show fear/respect, I tell him he hears a sound from the cellars beneath where they are sitting. He's not sure but it sounds just like the screams that would come from the wife and kids of a silver tier commoner who didn't show enough respect. 

 

It usually works quite well and tends to give us all quite a few laughs. Of course all my players are aware of this technique so they constantly ask me "is this real or is it what my player imagines". I just smile and tell them that they should just play their character according to the scene and they'll find out later.



#16 socratim

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 03:13 AM

I took some ideas from The Warhammer MMO: To represent "tanking" pcs, there are abilities that get others to hit you because they do less damage to others when those abilities are used. So I took that over to pen&paper roleplaying: If you are influenced at some level, you are still free to ignore it, but it gives you penalties. Like stress. So to be seduced by the prostitute means, unless you pay her and engage in some kissing with her, you suffer 1 stress per (insert time appropriate to situation) you are aware of her.



#17 archon007

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:06 PM

In FATE games the player has to Roleplay it or spend fate point to ignore an effect like that. In Star Wars EotE I run they can either Roleplay or that stress damage to resist or has to use a force point.

#18 Twodogz

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 05:59 AM

In RPGs, free-will ruins games IMHO.  The way that it works is this:  If a player would be socially influenced by another character, the player can just disregard it and ignore it and do whatever he wants.

For example:  if the prostitute uses her "FLIRT" ability, the player can just say that her character ignores the effect using "Player Free Will."  Without making the PC a puppet of the GM, I've always found it ironic that you can suffer a wound and not ignore that, but heaven forbid that a social action be a 'real' effect.

Now, I don't really know which way wfrp pushes it, but now that I've really familiarized myself with the Lure of Power stuff, I'm planning on creating a random chart of social actions.  I'm creating two charts.  One for influence and one for the other stuff.  I"m looking forward to using bribe, flirt, Bad witch hunter, Belittle, etc.

 

Hyper Convenient List of Social Actions

Basic:  Perform Stunt (social): Card difficulty is one purple, plus whatever the opposed check is (if applicable)  Green/Red and recharge time are coded.

 

(highlighted are influencers)

 

CORE/Player's Guide (p274+) (Green/Red) Purple/black

1.        Big City Bravado (G/R)b-red social bonus white

2.        Conundrum (G/R)-delay one ability one round

3.        Devious Manoeuvre (G/R)-target gains one bonus or penalty

4.        Exploit Opening (G/R)b-ally gets a free maneuver

5.        Fake Out (G)-®b-influence

6.        Fear Me! (G/R)bb-influence and fear1

7.        Fluster (G/R)bb-green white bonus to social

8.        Formal Diplomacy/Informal Carousing (G)bb®P-influence

9.        Honeyed Words (G/R)--influence

10.     I Thought We Were Friends (G/R)b-green gets penalty to social

11.     Inspiring Words (G/R)bb-inspired and influence

12.     Scrutinize (G/R)b-learn fact

13.     Staring Contest (G/R)-influence

14.     Steely Gaze (G/R)-influence

15.     Trivial Knowledge (G/R)-bonus white

16.     Twisting Words (G/R)-bonus white and penalty black

17.     Winning Smile (G/R)-influence and being attacked delayed by one round

Lure of Power

18.     Bad/Good Witch Hunter–LoP- (R/G)-influence

19.     Berate/Belittle –LoP- ® bb- (G)b- stress + influence or reckless

20.     Blather –LoP- ®Pb (G)P-add 1p to opponent

21.     Bolster–LoP- (R/G)Pb –target increases shame threshold

22.     Bribery–LoP- (R/G) b- Influence on bribe

23.     Compose Yourself–LoP- (both)PP-Recover shame

24.     Crack a Joke –LoP- (R/G) b-modify stealth/skullduggery

25.     Don't you know who I work for? –LoP- (R/G)b-influence

26.     Feel for the Moment –LoP- (R/G)PPb-recharge other card & roleplay

27.     Flirt –LoP- ®bb(G)b-influence

28.     Impersonate-LoP ®PP-Guile(G)guile or social

29.     Incite/Calm down –LoP-®P-target reckless(G)target conservative

30.     Intuit Intention –LoP- (R/Gb-opponent gets penalty to guile

31.     Me First (R/G) Reaction interrupt

32.     Obfuscate/Elucidate –LoP- (R/G)P-influence

33.     Perfect Gift –LoP- (R/G)PP-influence

34.     Quip –LoP- (R/G)-reaction add 1 white to social

35.     Sage Advice –LoP- (R/G)-Add 1 white to social for target

36.     Sermon –LoP- (R/G)PP-Influence

37.     Skeleton in the Closet –LoP- ®P(G)-Influence

38.     Style and Grace –LoP- ®PP(G)Pb-bonus white to social

39.     Twist the Knife –LoP- (R/G)-target’s shame turns one to insanity

40.     Teller of Tales –LoP- (R/G)PP-influence

Black Fire Pass

41.     Litany of Grudges -BFP-Dwarf only- (G)PP(R4)-Influence on 1+

42.     Social Drinking –BFP- (G!)PP-influence on 3+-(R5)P-Influence on 1+

43.     Dwarf Stubbornness -BFP- Dwarf only (G4/R4)-/- =-Reaction bonus

Liber Fanatica #8 (pull-out section)

44.     Solemn Glance /Indignant Glare–LF8-(G)Pb®Pbb-Fel 2 white or purple

45.     Putting it As it Is/Verbal Fireworks–LF8- (G)PP®P-influence

46.     Debater/Trained Voice –LF8-(G/R)--enhance

47.     Look At'em Mommy's Boys! –LF8- (G)Pb®Pbb-Inspired

48.     Pulling the Plug/Tongue Lashing –LF8- (G/R)P-target move more neutral

49.     Scrimshank/Not Bothered –LF8- (G)P®Pb-guile or ignore

50.     Reading the Crowd/Chat'em up! –LF8- (G)bb®P-white to social

DLSS/Creature Guide

I’ll Make You Such A Deal-DLSS-move target one back to neutral add recharge

How Dare You Talk To Me Like That!-DLSS-bonus Fel and target penalty

Imperious manner-stress or cow

Pronouncements of doom-demoralize

Resist the lure **defense

 

 

..

 

This is a great post.


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#19 Gallows

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:19 AM

If a PC haggles over the price with a NPC merhant and he ends up paying more, then he simply want to pay that price as his PC genuinely believe it's a fair deal. That's how I run it.



#20 valvorik

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 09:45 AM

Absolutely, re "price haggled up that's what you pay".  Anyone who says that's not realistic has obviouisly not seen a good salesperspon at work.






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