This is a topic worthy of discussion I think in the general forums, as it's not just up to the GM to make it happen. Players, I think, need to encourage their GMs to give them some interesting results when they make general social skill checks or "perform stunt" or use their Social Action cards. Additional feedback and discussion is welcome!
How is it working in your games or do you mostly only use rule consequences for physical actions and not social actions?
<cross-posted>This is something that has really ramped up in my WFRP games. Our social encounters fall into FOUR general categories. Once you decide which TYPE of encounter it is, you can make your social encounters much more meaningful. Two terms must be remembered: INFLUENCE and SHAME. Shame is for social combat. Influence is for getting someone to do what you want (give you information, agree to something, etc.) Influence also equals shame if applicable and can inflict shame.
Here are the four types of Social Encounters:
Social Encounter Type One: Single Check by single player character (pass/Fail)
* Haggling, gossip at a tavern, asking peasants for directions to the local magistrate
* No Initiative necessary; occurs generally in story-mode. Shame doesn't occur, but stress might. May take multiple rounds to succeed at influencing the target.
Social Encounter Type Two: Unopposed Multi-Event checks
* Pleasant dinner party with three courses where you are simply making a charm(gossip) check each round or if the party is split up and 4 events are occurring simultaneously.
* Initiative not usually rolled; occurs generally in story-mode. Shame doesn't occur but stress might.
Social Encounter Type Three: Duel of Wits/Social Combat
* Negotiation situation where someone is challenging your honor or attempting to oppose whatever you are attempting to accomplish.
* Initiative required
* GM may rule that only one or two characters make the INFLUENCE check with others only able to use SUPPORT social actions.
* Goes on until one person exceeds their Shame Threshold.
* You are ENGAGED to the target. If you leave, they may follow and continue to shame/influence you.
* This situation also occurs if an NPC attempts to influence a player character. It is ALWAYS a duel of wits and never a single check. For example: a local ***** (secret cultist) attempts to convince a player character to come up to room. Instead of "shame" it is technically influence, but the mechanic is the same. A player can over-ride this, but it's better if they actually play their character as influenced and not meta-game Don't willy-nilly these situations for every proposition a player character gets..only use them for IMPORTANT situations.
4. Social Actions During Physical Combat:
* Monsters are lining up against you and one player decides to use Steely Gaze to intimidate a creature to move-along, flee, or at least not attack him.
* Initiative: Yes - use combat initiative.
Next: PERFORM STUNT is the default social influence/shame card. I always give it ONE PURPLE minimum, plus the difficulty of the check, PLUS the difficulty of the action you are attempting to duplicate. For example FLIRT is a card from lure of power. Use the chart below for quick reference.
a) Do you roll for initiative and prepare a tracker, to track who will begin first talking, swaying, lying, intimidating etc. ?
b) Can you walk around in the encounter, such as if, go from engaged to close range, or something like that?
c) Could you provide an example?
Also, I am also lost on the Action cards and when to use them, outside of encounters.a) Can you use an Action card outside of the encounter? If so, how do you remove the cooldown tokens? Is it once per day,hour,minute,second?
If in combat, then it while the encounter is occurring. If it is in story mode, then it is when the GM feels adequate (see single-check above).
b) This also applies to talents and other abilities, how do you manage these and explain clearly to people, when they just simply want to use these outside of combat or social encounter?
For a SINGLE-CHECK encounter (for example: bribing a low-level guard), let them use what they want.
I've found it best to ENCOURAGE as much social action as we do combat action. It helps drive the story and encourages players to make their characters more than just axe-wielding morons
LURE OF POWER has a really good explanation of this inside the book. I highly recommend taking a look at it and then just discussing the 4 situations above with them and how it will work. It's really no different from Physical Combat or a regular skill check, but if you encourage players to use them, they will!
One more thing about Lure of Power. When it came out, we all got our undies in a bunch because many of the cards looked like basic skill check types of things: flirt, bribery, etc. In reality, these cards are "Advanced" versions of those skills, much like "improved dodge" is an advanced version of dodge. For simple skill checks, "flirt" comes down to pass-fail. The Flirt card gives you additional powers and should have a lower difficulty than a Perform Stunt (considering you should always add an extra purple to the difficulty of any Action Card use that the player doesn't have..double-strike for example in Melee combat).
Also, I'd print out the list below for handy reference as a GM and for the players to show them how cool using social actions can get. Most player characters will only have one social action at most and will be stuck using Perform Stunt (always add a 1 purple penalty if they don't have the action card that they need..for example FLIRT), but that shouldn't disencourage them from attempting to INFLUENCE targets using the rules.
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.
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