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Kalrunoor

Building a good social character (Please sir may I have another 50 xp)

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It seems like building a character that can handle any social situation is much more involved than in other rpg's (e.g. D&D). By my estimation you need at least a three in Presence, Cunning, and Willpower, and ranks in around 10 skills (streetwise, charm, discipline, deception, negotiate, cool, leadership, and probably Knowledge core worlds and knowledge outer rims and knowledge underworld. Am I trying for to much? How would you split these amongst multiple PC's?

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It seems like building a character that can handle any social situation is much more involved than in other rpg's (e.g. D&D). By my estimation you need at least a three in Presence, Cunning, and Willpower, and ranks in around 10 skills (streetwise, charm, discipline, deception, negotiate, cool, leadership, and probably Knowledge core worlds and knowledge outer rims and knowledge underworld. Am I trying for to much? How would you split these amongst multiple PC's?

Usually players focus on one, maybe 2 social skills until they get a lot of XP.  Heck, most talent trees tend to focus on one primary social skill.  From the core rule book there is Scoundrel: Deception; Gadgeteer: Coercion; Politico: Charm/Deception.  Plus more in the splat books.

 

Discipline is good against incoming Deception or Coercion, meanwhile Cool is good to resist incoming Charm.

 

Negotiation tends to be used more for the actual buying and selling of things, but it doesn't have to be.

 

Streetwise isn't super social.  It is mostly used for more general checks than talking one on one with someone.

 

Leadership tends to go towards inspiring allies.

 

 

Essentially, Charm, Deception and Coercion are the core social skills.  Cool, Discipline, and Leadership are more supportive.  Negotiation and Streetwise have their own place too, but it usually (in my experience) isn't in talking directly with NPCs, or involve social checks of a different nature (buying/selling).

Edited by rowdyoctopus

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It seems like building a character that can handle any social situation is much more involved than in other rpg's (e.g. D&D). By my estimation you need at least a three in Presence, Cunning, and Willpower, and ranks in around 10 skills (streetwise, charm, discipline, deception, negotiate, cool, leadership, and probably Knowledge core worlds and knowledge outer rims and knowledge underworld. Am I trying for to much? How would you split these amongst multiple PC's?

 

 

I'd say so, you can develop more into a few skills and still be very effective.  It's sometimes more fun when your character develops a "signature flavour".  I'm not advocating being a one-trick pony and using, say, Deception for everything, but a couple of different methods is just fine.

 

I have a player with an Enforcer who wants to be badass with a stick and intimidating, but with a charming side...you know, the mean guy who is also nice to small children and animals.  So he branched into Scoundrel for the Charm (among other things...they also run a smuggling operation), and now focusses on two social skills (Coercion and Charm) while still being able to lay waste with his truncheon.  He's complemented by the Ambassador character who handles the Leadership/Negotiation side of things.  It makes for a very adaptable and innovative crew.

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It seems like building a character that can handle any social situation is much more involved than in other rpg's (e.g. D&D). By my estimation you need at least a three in Presence, Cunning, and Willpower, and ranks in around 10 skills (streetwise, charm, discipline, deception, negotiate, cool, leadership, and probably Knowledge core worlds and knowledge outer rims and knowledge underworld. Am I trying for to much? How would you split these amongst multiple PC's?

 

Yes, yes you are.  Noone (should) expect a single character to handle all forms of combat; don't do the same for anything else.

 

Streetwise, Deception, and Perception are a natural set for the cynical fringer.  Charm, Knowledge, and Negotiate for the smooth politician.  Discipline, Leadership, and Cool for the inspiring officer.  Or mix-and-match to suit your characters; it's more interesting and fun that way.  Different skills and combinations will be important to different groups, of course.

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If you want to have one character that covers all the bases I suppose, but I'm not sure that kind of a character makes a lot of sense if you are trying to get there with stats.  Someone who is naturally charming and warm tends to not be very intimidating and tough, as well as, logical and calculating, all at the same time.  If they are, they're probably a sociopath, and that would tend to be a very complex person which equals a lot of xp.  

 

You might choose two of those pathways using stats to represent natural character, and then the third could be filled in with skill purchases to represent being trained.  Like you're very charming, but also very logical and smart.  You then went on the learn how to interrogate people as part of a career.

Edited by 2P51

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I don't think it's so different from a character built for combat. A starting combat-specced character isn't going to be proficient with pistols, swords, fists, explosives, and heavy weapons, and they don't need to be. They find their niche and they develop out from that.

 

Similarly, a social build is predicated on your character background. Is she an analytical fence who knows the ins-and-outs of the black market and knows how to put someone to the screws at the negotiating table? Focus on presence and negotiation, with a secondary focus on coercion and willpower to bully the opposition. Is he a suave charmer who flatters and seduces before taking advantage of his marks? Presence and charm to lure them in,  and focus secondarily on skulduggery and cunning to yank what he wants from underneath their noses. Is she a silver-tongued politico who earns the trust of individuals to bend them to her will? Leaderhip and presence to gain everyone's attention, minored with deception and cunning to keep their eyes where you want them.

 

You can expand later, of course, but focusing on a specific "angle" lets you get a feel for your character before they branch out into other specializations. You should be able to get by with one social character. The fun part is leveraging situations to take advantage of your character's strengths.

Edited by dxanders

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Build your foundations then build outwards. I'd suggest either

 

3 in cunning, presence and willpower and some Charm, Negotiate, Deception and Coercion and pick up the others as you go (personally I don't care for knowledge skills and leadership tends to less useful early).

 

or

 

Forsake 1 especially if you have someone else covering that stat and focus on the other two.

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Another thing I forgot to mention.

Well written NPCs and social Encounters will work regardless of social skill used. If a GM is writing an encounter and he decides that the only way to accomplish the goal is to charm the NPC, he is doing the players a disservice and stifling creativity.

The best way for a GM to leave it open to all social skills is to give the NPC some type of motivation or conflict of interest. If the PCs address that, regardless of whether is was charming, lying, or threatening, a successful check will allow the PCs to progress. They might get different results as far as lesser consequences, or they might have different difficulties, but they all are possible and all allow the story to continue forward.

Edited by rowdyoctopus

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I think Careers and Specializations are your friend here.  They tend to conglomerate a set of necessary and useful skills for a specific type of social character.

And yes, there are multiple kinds of social characters but not so many that you can't make a very competent generalist "face" character. 

And a face character can branch out into Knowledge skills or other ancillary stuff but you don't need a lot of ranks or a high characteristic.

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A human can start with four abilities at 3, and if you're building a face character, three of them should be Cunning, Presence and Willpower.  The Politico has Charm, Coercion, Deception, Leadership, Knowledge (Core), Negotiation and Streetwise available as Career skills.  The other skills can be picked-up by the Human species ability to grab 2 non-Career skills at start.

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I'd love to have something really novel to say here, but everyone seems to have covered all the bases all already.  The big points:

  • You don't really *need* 3s in 3 attibutes, 2 should be fine in at least one, if not 2.
  • You don't have to have maxed ranks in all the skills
  • 3 - 5 of the skills you list either aren't or are debatably not social skills

The most I can add is 

  • The should be some species to ease the cost of attribute point buy
  • Upgrading from a green to a yellow probably isn't as important as you think (esp the third one)
  • Don't forget talents

As for how to break up skills among PCs... To me this seems like defining PCs around game mechanics, which is like putting the repuslorlift before the speeder.  Put character concept first, then make decisions based on that.

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