Jump to content
Khyrith

Coercing Opponents into Surrender

Recommended Posts

And here is my NEXT "should I have..." question to pose to fellow GMs:

SITUATION: the experienced crew (actually only a few of them) are giving chase on foot to some opponents, who have captured a key NPC (sound familiar?).

The Bounty Hunter (Willpower 2, Coercion 4, Intimidating 1, Natural Enforcer) managed to close the distance to Short Range.   Then.... she declares that she is going to use the Coercion skill (as her Action) to tell the driver of the slide (Rival with 2 ranks of Willpower and 1 rank in Discipline) that "Stop!   That's OUR droid!"   The roll (2Y, 2G vs. 1R, 1P) is hugely successful - 3 or 4 successes and a Triumph.   For the Triumph, the BH suggests that the driver (again, a Rival) is so intimidated that he caves and stops the sled.    The encounter is quickly henceforth resolved (the BH rolls again and coerces the accompanying opponent minion group to also surrender).   Thus, an epic encounter (per the pre-published adventure) ends in less than 10min of Roll20 time.

QUESTION: did I resolve this correctly?   At the time, it seemed epic and cool to resolve the challenge without gunfire.  In retrospect, I am now a bit worried that the PC will start Coercing every NPC into laying down their arms at the outset of every combat encounter.

ALTERNATIVE: should I have resolved it as a "social combat" attack?  Wherein the Coercion skill inflicted a certain amount of Strain... requiring SEVERAL attempts by the PC to get the pilot to stop (like a cop chasing a fleeing criminal who repeatedly demands he pulls over via the car exterior PA system).   So that when the NPC reaches his Strain (= Wounds for a Rival) Threshold, his will breaks and he succumbs?  

How would YOU have handled this situation where a normally very-kinetic PC decides to go non-kinetic and intimidate (3.5 / 4e D&D term) an opponent into submission?   It kinda makes sense that using Coercion on a wounded Minion / Rival opponent could entice surrender (by making their Strain - Wound threshold go to 0).   And it seems a bit of an "easy" button to simply let a few successes and a Triumph on a single dice roll END an epic encounter before it hardly begins.

Thoughts?   What would YOU have done?

Thanks in Advance / May the Force be with You!

- GM Khyrith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting.... so what I'm hearing so far is: if its meant to be a "pew pew" encounter, it HAS to be resolved as a "pew pew" encounter?   Sounds more like SWTOR than player choices...  :-)

"Social combat" (strain damage from threatening the target) doesn't apply here, then?

Edited by Khyrith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What happened was perfectly valid, especially when a Triumph is involved. It's just that if the targets have an obvious 'out' then the difficulty should be adjusted accordingly. No, not enough to make it impossible, but it's certainly worth an upgrade.

The focus here should probably be on the narrative why - just yelling at someone to stop probably won't make them stop, so what about the command was impressive enough to actually make them do so? An unexpected association is likely with that triumph - maybe the driver just happened to be someone that the PC knew in the past, or perhaps the PC managed to bellow *just* like that drill sergeant who used to terrify the driver every day? Etc. Make a story out of it rather than it just happening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Khyrith said:

Interesting.... so what I'm hearing so far is: if its meant to be a "pew pew" encounter, it HAS to be resolved as a "pew pew" encounter?   Sounds more like SWTOR than player choices...  :-)

"Social combat" (strain damage from threatening the target) doesn't apply here, then?

Whatever you want to apply applies, not what anyone else says.

Without a reason for them to surrender I wouldnt have them surrender outright. The social combat rules seem to be good for that. If the party had already blown away a minion group, or a rival or had done something that could arguably give a reason the opponents morale was a bit shaken, then definitely on 3 sucsesses and a triumph, I would have them surrender. With the provision that if the players make it a main tactic that is used all the time that it will be used against them.

I would also say it would never work on a nemesis tho.

The thing is, if the player wants to make a character who is so good at intimidation that no one ever will fight him, then let him and figure out some rules and how it is going to work between you and the player, and RAW be dammed. If it is fun, then it is good. If it becomes a problem, work with the player to make it fun. There is no reason that a rule, house rule, or GM judgment has to be a gospel that never can change.

Sounds like you had an awesome roll with an awesome result. If your players think that too, then you did right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was resolved just fine, I've had my Enforcer completely Coerce his way out of a bar brawl, and then Coerce the "boss" over a com link to leave him alone in the future.

However, I would have upped the resistance and/or added setback.  In my case even the rivals benefited from numbers, and the difficulty against the nemesis was 3 reds and a few blacks.  Also, I'm not sure I'd necessarily allow the Triumph to be narrated as "moar success!", which is effectively what happened.  I'm not a huge fan of completely crumbling the will of non-minions.  Instead you could introduce an external event...maybe a patrol car appears, and everybody is suddenly eager to play nice.  This way the NPC  still stops the sled, but retains their mental independence, which could make a big difference later on.

All that said, if you feel like it's too easy, then applying Strain is certainly appropriate.  If you also feel that instead of enhancing the session it detracted from it, or stole some opportunities for a longer more epic chase, you shouldn't feel compelled to stick with the numbers of NPCs you had originally planned.  Spawn NPCs as needed...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The important thing to remember is that Coercion isn't mind control. They can still disobey your successful Coercion check. I would give them negatives to whatever dice check the NPC makes next if it does not fall in line with what you wanted them to do.

 

In some cases, the NPC may just simply do what is asked but it should not be a 1 check resolution every time for your PC's rolling Coercion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My hesitation with this in a dynamic situation is completely practical.  You're chasing a vehicle on foot, particularly where there are by standers, how do you form complete sentences and sprint? Can your target realistically even hear you?  What if the kidnap victim is screaming, can you be heard over them?  Are the other opponents talking among themselves and not even paying attention?  Is there weapon fire going off?  

Coercion isn't magic.  It requires a conversation in a setting where you can be heard and the target has to listen to what you say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd have to agree with the pirate.  It's very hard to try to intimidate someone while sprinting after them. I would have uprgraded the difficulty and added a ton of setbacks.

I save coercion for situations where enemies are backed into a hole with no way out, at least during actiony encounters.  In other social situations intimidation is normal (although PCs really need to be ready to back up those threats :P )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, 2P51 said:

If the opponents have an out I wouldn't allow Coercion.  If they were cornered or shot down or something that would be fine.

I disagree. Coercion should be allowed, but don't forget that Boosts or Setbacks can and should apply based on conditions. In some cases, not having an out might actually give a Setback on Coercion while giving them a relatively attractive surrender option might provide a Boost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/17/2017 at 8:50 PM, 2P51 said:

If the opponents have an out I wouldn't allow Coercion.  If they were cornered or shot down or something that would be fine.

I would allow coersion, but I'd probably upgrade the difficulty a few times (they're in a vehicle with the PCs on foot) and apply any despairs to "Must go faster!"  Maybe a few setback due to the confidence of the NPC that they can escape and as said elsewhere, their potential lack of ability to hear the yelling PC.

Overall, as a GM, it's up to you to make sure that the odds of the roll fit the situation at hand.  Making someone who's trying to escape from you in a vehicle when you're on foot by threatening them should be a very difficult check indeed.  If the default difficulty doesn't reflect the situation, it's up to you as the GM to bump it up to something more reasonable.  This may mean that some rolls are real Hail Mary's, and the nonbinary system of the die results allow for a lot of risk for attempting a tricky roll.  This is a good thing, use it to your advantage!

 

On 3/17/2017 at 10:21 PM, Khyrith said:

Interesting.... so what I'm hearing so far is: if its meant to be a "pew pew" encounter, it HAS to be resolved as a "pew pew" encounter?   Sounds more like SWTOR than player choices...  :-)

"Social combat" (strain damage from threatening the target) doesn't apply here, then?

Well, THAT'S a bit rude.

If you think it's reasonable to have a social encounter with one party  going 60mph and the other going 6, feel free.  But you might not find a lot of people who agree with that assessment.  Doesn't mean they're playing SWTOR.

Edited by Benjan Meruna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In this situation I would say that what you did was fine, as they PC rolled a Triumph. However, with that being said, if the player hadn't rolled a Triumph I would say that it should add the strain equal to success from the roll to the NPC. That way the encounter lasts a bit longer, feeling more epic to the PCs, even if it is resolved without a single blaster being fired.

 

Edit: But do what you feel is best in the situation for the players and the story

Edited by VikingWolf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aye, in order to actually imtimidate someone I would argue that the player would have to be in a relatively strong barginning position to begin with; a car isn't going to pull over just because you shout at it really loudly but there are ways to do it climatically. E.g. The shaken driver loses control at the corner and crashes, or when the runner vaults after the driver and lands in the backseat, either fisticuff starts or everyone puts their hands up. XD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, LordBritish said:

Aye, in order to actually imtimidate someone I would argue that the player would have to be in a relatively strong barginning position to begin with; a car isn't going to pull over just because you shout at it really loudly

It's not likely, but it's possible.  R. Lee. Emrey actually demonstrated this to Stanley Kubrick and co during the filming of Full Metal Jacket.  Ermey felt the Drill Instructor rolle wasn't authentic, and went over to Kubrick to ask for the part himself.  Kubrick said no, but then Emrey snarled "Stand up when you're talking to me!"  and Kubrick instantly straightened up, then promptly hired him.

Some people just have the ability to put the fear of your deity of choice into you, regardless of the amount of actual threat they present at that exact moment.  They hit you right in that primitive lizard-brain and tweak it juuuuust right to get you to do what they want.

Naturally, this is not an easy thing to pull off, and would probably require a  better roll than the one the players got in this scenario, which is why I would be pretty free with difficulty upgrades and setback.  But I wouldn't just disallow the roll entirely; that's no fun.

Edited by Benjan Meruna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I would have done in the situation, since they're in a speeder chase is to have them stop immediately and having the PC(s) in the chasing vehicle fly past them. Have them turn around and have the chase continue. Or make it a roll that they can't succeed at in that particular instance. "Just stop that's our droid!" menacingly isn't enough reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...