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RebelDave

Using Charm and the like AGAINST PCs

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FFGSW however does have a mechanic through the use of Setbacks and Upgrading Difficulty to represent acting against ones own interest. So as I described in my earlier post you can apply these tools to the PCs affected without forcing the Player to do anything they don't want to, just everything they want to do is now that much harder.

 

This.

 

Charm:  If a character is "charmed" I don't tell them how to behave, but I will tell them they find the person trustworthy, or likable, or they find themselves liking him despite their better judgment.

Coercion:  Once again I don't want to tell them exactly how to behave, but I will tell the characters they find this guy really intimidating, or he's got a lot of presence. 

 

This too.

 

I'm the type of player who often says things like, "I think this guy is up to no good, but my character trusts him so I'm going to follow him into the dark alley alone." Sure, it's a bit of a meta-game to tell the other players what I really think and discuss how I think the story arc is going, but I find it's a handy tool to use to play the character how they would act in that situation while letting the other players know that I'm just role playing.

 

In fact, I do that when my character does something that I personally wouldn't agree. Let's say that I'm hot on the trail of my parent's killer and I just need one piece of information out of someone. If I want to play my character full of rage and anguish I might say the following. "My character is upset and needs to get that information by any means necessary, so he'll start cutting on the captive until he starts talking." I feel that pulling out to third person like that is useful to show that you're playing a game and making choices based upon how the character would react and not based upon what you think is right as a player.

 

You can do it as a good/trusting perspective too. In D&D we don't search for traps on a hidden door until we run across one. Every time we find a hidden door we're always saying, "I'm just going to open the door without searching for traps. I mean really, who traps a hidden door?"

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Stick versus carrot. I prefer to use a carrot incentive more than the stick, when feasible. But sometimes the carrot just doesn’t work, and maybe you have to bring out the stick.

 

Why choose??? Feed them a carrot when they're good. Beat them with a carrot when they're not!

 

For what it's worth, I hate carrots.

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I'm against forcing a PC to do anything the player doesn't want to do short of some sort of unnatural compulsion (basically being mind-controlled). However, the skills should have some effect against the player. Maybe it's as simple as giving false information to the players to make them feel more comfortable. Maybe they get bonus XP for playing along with the result. Maybe they suffer strain for playing against the die roll.

 

There are a lot of ways to make social skills relevant against the PCs without taking choices away from the players.

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I'm against forcing a PC to do anything the player doesn't want to do short of some sort of unnatural compulsion (basically being mind-controlled). However, the skills should have some effect against the player. Maybe it's as simple as giving false information to the players to make them feel more comfortable. Maybe they get bonus XP for playing along with the result. Maybe they suffer strain for playing against the die roll.

 

There are a lot of ways to make social skills relevant against the PCs without taking choices away from the players.

 

I find that force only needs to be used when the player doesn't go along with the dice results. Some players just don't want to play along with the results. Which is amusing since if the GM did the exact same thing they would call foul. But if the player simply refuses to go along with the way the dice turned out then I see nothing wrong with forcing the PC. The player would insist that the GM following the result of a social roll against an NPC afterall. 

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A lot of these replies read like players think they're their characters.  It might be worth a sidebar out-of-character to remind players that they are in fact not, and the illusion of free will needs to be colored by their environment.  I wouldn't force a player act a certain way, but if said player was just undeniably charmed and then acted like it didn't happen, I'd certainly stop the session and look at them over the top of my glasses.   It's my job as GM to present this in a compelling narrative, but conversely it's the player's job to act on this information.  If you're going to ignore consequences, you might as well ignore that pesky damage when you're shot, too.  

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A lot of these replies read like players think they're their characters.  It might be worth a sidebar out-of-character to remind players that they are in fact not, and the illusion of free will needs to be colored by their environment.  I wouldn't force a player act a certain way, but if said player was just undeniably charmed and then acted like it didn't happen, I'd certainly stop the session and look at them over the top of my glasses.   It's my job as GM to present this in a compelling narrative, but conversely it's the player's job to act on this information.  If you're going to ignore consequences, you might as well ignore that pesky damage when you're shot, too.  

I lean towards this! Previously our group played the Green Ronin Game of Thrones RPG and it literally has social combat called intrigue. PCs and NCPs can try to deceive and manipulate each other through intrigue and if you lose you have to accept whatever they are trying to convince you of within reason. The more important the plot of an intrigue the more intrigues(battles) you have to win. 

 

Anywho, I've never encountered a player or players who just flat out refused to roleplay being influenced by rolls in a game like the OP talked about. If you are playing you have to be willing to adhere to the roll of the dice. 

Edited by unicornpuncher

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I have ran into some players like this before. They think they are above this social thing. I guess "they" feel have to feel it for "their" character to feel it. While I am not one to tell a character how they feel or how they should act outright, I do let them know that rolls made will affect their feelings, attitudes and judgments. I think if a GM is being being fair and not abusing the power of the GM and trying to tell a fun story then getting the buy in from the Group shouldn't be a problem. But bringing in a professional con man every adventure to con the group's ship from them all the time is abusive and should not be done. But yes, using social skills against PCs and rolling against them is totally fair, and telling them how their characters feel is totally fair. As a GM it is my job to set the scene, and helping to describe their emotional state is part of that job, just as it is for me to describe their physical state. When they take damage, and I tell them they get hurt, I don't really have to hit them in the arm with a two-by-four to show them it hurt... Characters can be fooled and conned. I am not a professional actor or con man. I can not be expected to always fool or con a player, just as I should not expect the Player to fool me or con me, but they should be able to fool, con, charm my NPC. I also should not present "traps" or puzzles that the Players have to solve for the adventure to progress that only relies on the Players knowledge or skill, not the Characters unless we all agree to that before hand. At one point in time I used the Tangram game for some timed puzzles for the group, and they liked it.   If the group said hey we don't like this, I wouldn't use it then. Anyway, the dice say whether your character gets hit in combat or not, not if I really hit you with my Nerf gun or not. This is not a LARP.  And the dice also say if the character "Swizzlestick" gets charmed into believing this NPC is not a threat, not if if the player Bob does or not. If Bob does not want to play that way, then Bob is not playing the game right, and I would not award him any XP for the entire session, and would have serious talk with him after the game.  This is after all a Role Playing Game, the players are playing a ROLE, not themselves. There are series of rules in place to help the game progress in a fair fashion.                                                                                                           SPOILER

When Sean Bean found out that Aidan Gillen's character was going to betray him he didn't call BS, he had to follow GRRM's rules and play his game, not the game that Sean wanted.   

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My character felt he was in a long term relationship once when the GM threw two high charisma scantily clad Twi'lek twins after him, very, uh, grateful for having been heroically saved from a life of Zygerrian slavery... Luckily he (barely) kept his Cool and made the defense rolls. But even failure wouldn't have seen my character dump his plans by giving in to the GM's Lethan herrings. (As it was, he had great stress either way :blink: )

 

Anyway, he did let the planted spies stay around far too long, until the GM could stage the betrayal at a critical juncture, coming very close to torching that relationship and almost getting everyone in the party killed and costing us 60,000 credits of profit from two very dangerous missions. :angry: So, I guess I played along a bit after all.

 

(Another moral of this story: Sometimes when an NPC is charming your character along, you might have to ask the GM for an anti-deception check every once in a while.)

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I guess I am not sure why there would be any assumption that charm type skills aren't to be used against PCs in any game, let alone this game. Not only do I think it is wrong to limit NPCs from using these social abilities against PCs, PCs also need to be able to use them against other PCs. This game has so much to offer players other than just the ability to wield a blaster, and they need to be able to make use of those abilities. My first character was a politico who wouldn't hesitate to resort to using his charm skills on teammates. Likewise, given that he wasn't even remotely a combat character, if no NPCs ever used any social abilities on him, then he would be left out of a significant portion of the adventure.

 

Now I don't think that rolls dictate forcing players to do something they don't want to do. A lot depends on how much role playing your players do. My current group has to regularly be reminded that their characters don't know what their players know. But I also don't think that everything should be left in the players hands to RP. We don't let the players decide if they take wounds from getting shot in combat. Why should it be up to them to decide if they respond to a failed "social combat" roll?

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Nothing fries a game faster than pissing off the players.   Removing agency from PCs is a quick way for them to not want to keep playing.

 

But they can't always have it their way, and good players know this.  Talk to them outside the game, take a time out and have a drink and discuss where this is going. Get them on board.

 

I've been role-playing for 35 years, since I was 10, and I've learned this - rewarding players works, penalising them doesn't. Talking to them and setting expectations does.  

 

Basically everything Brad Knowles and Whafrog said.  Mechanical penalties work well if they really can't role-play it.

Edited by MTaylor

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My face to Face Star Wars group is, fortunately, a Bunch of adults new to Roleplaying, So they never questioned whether they should or shouldn't be able to not be charmed... so When I have them make rolls and tell them something, they tend to play it as it is given.

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Players generally accept negative physical roll results, such as combat, and being injured or killed could easily be argued as "something my character wouldn't do", so I can't understand the mentality of cringing from a failed social roll and citing your character's unwavering personality and reactions. As has been mentioned multiple times here, softening "social combat" greatly diminishes characters invested in skills and talents tailored to just that.

Just as socially-focused characters often need to learn skills in order to be viable in combat, your combat-heavy characters need to accept they need to do the same socially, or else accept (and play) the results of being weak-minded/-willed.

Edited by Alderaan Crumbs

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Players generally accept negative physical roll results, such as combat, and being injured or killed could easily be argued as "something my character wouldn't do", so I can't understand the mentality of cringing from a failed social roll and citing your character's unwavering personality and reactions. As has been mentioned multiple times here, softening "social combat" greatly diminishes characters invested in skills and talents tailored to just that.

Just as socially-focused characters often need to learn skills in order to be viable in combat, your combat-heavy characters need to accept they need to do the same socially, or else accept (and play) the results of being weak-minded/-willed.

I agree completely. Can't understand what would even be the point of all the social skills if players aren't forced, to some degree, to abide by them. It becomes just like old school D&D where the guy playing the Barbarian with an intellect so low that all he can do is bash and drool ends up being the one to solve the challenging puzzle because the person running that character has a higher intellect. Seems like sidestepping the rules. When I made my politico, I made him with no combat skills and dumped everything into social skills. I was looking for social encounters and if I lost a roll, I accepted the consequences. That was my "combat." Likewise, the other players went all combat heavy and put virtually nothing in social skills. That needs to be reflected in actual gameplay, from PCs, NPCs, and the GM.

 

I understand some complaining that making players feel like they have lost free agency in their characters can upset them. I think that, with this game in particular, this needs addressed at character creation. I LOVE this game because someone can be a non-combat character and have a lot to do. That non-combat player recognizes his limitations in part of the game. There needs to be an equal understanding with regard to the social skills.

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The only time I actually saw this being an issue was players using social checks to control eachother. I take a blank view on that unless the reason is really compelling; my Rodian for example doesn't trust Jedi at all and thus he is often deceptive around the Jedi, to the extent where he's actually trained apprentice during a long absence of duty (covered by the time jump) though the truth has it's own way of coming out in the end

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Using social checks to control another PC for purely selfish reasons is the same as shooting them: an incredibly immature move that is a failing in the player(s), not the system. The only good exception is when players enjoy and agree to have non-disruptive inter-party conflict, which if handled well, can add amazing depth (such as a Force user falling to the dark side and their friends trying to redeem them).

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Using social checks to control another PC for purely selfish reasons is the same as shooting them: an incredibly immature move that is a failing in the player(s), not the system. The only good exception is when players enjoy and agree to have non-disruptive inter-party conflict, which if handled well, can add amazing depth (such as a Force user falling to the dark side and their friends trying to redeem them).

Inter-party conflict can totally and completely destroy the group, if it’s not pre-arranged and coordinated. IMO, it’s best if you don’t even consider inter-party conflict to be a valid option.

Been there, done that. Not interested in going there again.

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I think inter-party conflict is a valid option in EotE, as unlike say, Dungeons and Dragons, you're unlikely to severely curtail another character's agency or kill them if things come to blows. That being said, the rules don't really call out inter-party conflict in any significant way (at least that I'm aware of), so this is very much a social contract thing, and I imagine the baseline assumption at most tables is that the PCs are supposed to be working together.

 

I have had good fun with systems that specifically allow for and even see inter-party conflict as something to be encouraged, but anyone who's read the rulebook for those systems knows it's on the table and so is theoretically prepared to make that adjustment.

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You need the right type of Players, and a Good mediator GM, for inter-party conflict. I also FInd that if it is something determined by the Dice rather than just out right done by the players, It tends to be taken better. 

 

As for it being along the same lines as shooting another players character? It depends on the circumstances. 

 

For instance, In my face to face game, a New player was joining the group. I set the player up with a Job for the group and Gave him the information he would need about the Job, how much it paid and so forth. Then left it to the player to reveal what he wished. 

 

At one point, during the negotiations, another player Stated they were trying to determine if they were being lied to. 

 

So I Had the new Player Roll a Deception check and the others a Discipline Check (I had them each roll privately, so know one knew the actual results of success, and then gave each player interested the information They might have determined. 

 

Whether the Player was Lying or not is unimportant at this point. Each player that Failed/lost the check will come up with what they believe they actually learned on their own and act accordingly, Just as they do in Real life. 

 

And Something Is going to go down eventually, that May lead some of them to believe that they have been set up by that new character when the job goes south. 

 

I have also had Times where a Player felt following a certain course of action was against their characters personae.  So we resolved it, after the players presented their characters arguments to the reticent, by rolling an opposed Coercion or Negotiation (what ever happened to be appropriate)  check with Boost or Setback dice applied based on how many were on te one side or the other, along with how well or poor the argument presented was. 

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Sorry to necro an old thread, but I was reading through and there's some really interesting stuff here (and also on this thread).

One thing that I've been considering, but have yet to actually use, is the idea that if NPCs successfully use a social skill against the PCs, then the PCs must act in an appropriate manner OR flip a destiny point to avoid doing so.  (Of course, "act in an appropriate manner" is very much open to interpretation, depending on the character.  After all, I think it's a not unreasonable statement to say that Galen Erso was successfully coerced by the Empire...)

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On 12/6/2015 at 5:09 PM, Daeglan said:

There is an episode of the order 66 podcast on social combat. One of the things is to flip the die roll. Ie don't roll for the npc. Have the pc roll to resist. They will be more willing to go with it if they rolled the failure

The problem is that the dice are NOT equal.

reds are inferior to yellows - the yellow is +5/6 (=20/24), while the red is -3/4 (=-18/24).
Purples are likewise inferior to greens: green is +5/8(=15/24)  while purple is -1/2 (=-12/24).
Letting the defender roll is a +1/12 to +1/8 success per die advantage. 

Blue and Black are equally matched for success, but blue grants advantage about twice as often as black gives threat. Doesn't skew the success odds, but does screw with the threat/advantage axis hard.
 

I'll note that I've allowed the defender to roll the reds and purples when defending against another PC...

Table 2: Averages

Die

Success

Advantage 

Triumph/Despair

Blue

+8/24

+16/24

0/24

Green

+15/24

+15/24

0/24

Yellow*

+20/24

+16/24

2/24

Black

-8/24

-8/24

0/24

Purple

-12/24

-18/24

0/24

Red*

-18/24

-16/24

2/24

 

* Note that Yellow success includes the success component of the Triumph, and the red success includes the fail component of the despair.

Edited by AK_Aramis

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On 12/6/2015 at 4:04 PM, RebelDave said:

So... how would you work this?

Tell them to suck it up and if they don't want their characters believing every lie coming out of the NPC's mouth to have a good discipline.

6 minutes ago, TheMOELANDER said:

You did notice, that you quoted a post, almost two years ol, did you?

GODDAMNIT!

Edited by Desslok

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2 hours ago, Desslok said:

Tell them to suck it up and if they don't want their characters believing every lie coming out of the NPC's mouth to have a good discipline.

GODDAMNIT!

No worries! the feedbacks appreciated!

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