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sidescroller

Social mechanics vs. strife and outbursts

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This is a question for people who dislikes strife/outbursts because you feel like it's telling you how to role-play:

What's the difference between:

  1. Strife triggering an outburst, and
  2. A Courtesy/Water check from an NPC you don't like to get your character to like them?

Do strife and outburst do anything differently than social mechanics to tell you how to role-play?

 

Oops sorry I posted this in the Rules Questions section instead of the general section.

Edited by sidescroller
apology

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14 hours ago, okuma said:

The 2nd is a complex, time-consuming action that can be countered by attempting a social defense, has interactions with other characters and many others ramifications.

1st is just bad luck telling you to go seppuku yourself.

Yep. I mean, we don't expect RPG characters to be Swiss Army Knives. Matsu Marvin is going to hit the things and Doji Doreen is going to talk to the things.  Just as Doji Doreen is going to choose an appropriate strategy on the battlefield (by either "not going" or bringing her bow since every Courtier is also an expert archer), so shall Matsu Marvin choose an appropriate strategy in court which may also include "not going" or shooting things with his bow."  Now, if Shosuro Scott tricks Matsu Marvin into getting angry and embarrassing himself, and Matsu Marvin fails his Willpower or Honor check, we've matched one character's ability against another's in a contest of wits and wills, and Matsu Marvin has lost.   But that's also because Shosuro Scott is a professional at being a subtle jerk.   Matsu Marvin knew this ahead of time, but he didn't put himself in the right position to protect himself from Shosuro Scott's trickery.  This is an interaction. A functional, competitive mechanic.  Matsu Marvin's character had control oh his character at all times, and then lost a contested roll, that while suitably randomized, was still a single, understood battle.

Strife is just Matsu Marvin doing Matsu Marvin things, getting ambiguously agitated by happenstance of physics revealing certain die faces, until Shosuro Scott inflicts a handful of additional squigglies to Matsu Marvin's Strife Ledger. and he loses his Composure.

 

Of course, this whole example is silly, since Matsu Marvin isn't a Courtier and isn't interested in winning the exchange, only not losing, and has Composure 10 and Water 3 and will just Strife Joust your silly Intrigue conflict until it ends or half the gaming group goes home because it's 2AM and they are bored.  Good luck Shosuro Scott, beating a character with nothing to lose and stripping an average of 4 Strife per turn.  Don't you wish you could force him to make a contested Willpower or Honor check now?

Edited by TheVeteranSergeant

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10 hours ago, TheVeteranSergeant said:

[Matsu Marvin vs. Shosuro Scott]

This is an interaction. A functional, competitive mechanic.  Matsu Marvin's character had control oh his character at all times, and then lost a contested roll, that while suitably randomized, was still a single, understood battle.

Strife is just Matsu Marvin doing Matsu Marvin things, getting ambiguously agitated by happenstance of physics revealing certain die faces, until Shosuro Scott inflicts a handful of additional squigglies to Matsu Marvin's Strife Ledger. and he loses his Composure.

Let me summarize what I read to make sure I understand:

  • Matsu Marvin vs. Shosuro Scott using social skills is okay because it's a functional mechanic (a contested roll).
  • Matsu Marvin's strife --> outburst is not okay because it's a bad mechanic (too random and too ambiguous)

(not making a point--just checking for understanding)

Edited by sidescroller

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On 10/20/2017 at 9:30 AM, sidescroller said:

A Courtesy/Water check from an NPC you don't like to get your character to like them?

 

Jokes on you, we never do this. Disposition is entirely up to the player and the way the GM roleplays the NPC. An NPC can give away an impression with a Social Skill roll, but it is up to the player to do something with it. For example, while an NPC might roll Intimidation to threaten the PC, a successful roll will only make him actually look threatening - if the player decides that the situation and her character's personality/attitude does not align to be threatened, then the NPC fails with the intimidation despite putting up a pretty good effort. 

Heck, this happened in my first Beta test session too. 

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18 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Jokes on you, we never do this. Disposition is entirely up to the player and the way the GM roleplays the NPC. An NPC can give away an impression with a Social Skill roll, but it is up to the player to do something with it. For example, while an NPC might roll Intimidation to threaten the PC, a successful roll will only make him actually look threatening - if the player decides that the situation and her character's personality/attitude does not align to be threatened, then the NPC fails with the intimidation despite putting up a pretty good effort. 

Heck, this happened in my first Beta test session too. 

Why do you even bother rolling than? I understand some people don’t like social mechanics forcing them to act in a certain way. Makes sense. I think it’s kind of childish, but I understand it. Why though would you bother to roll only to invalidate the result? Given this system you could literally stop as soon as intent is declared.

”He’s going to try and intimidate you by towering over you and making oblique threats about someone ‘getting hurt if they don’t know what’s god for them’.”

”Cool, don’t bother rolling. That won’t work on me.”

Other than the mandated 1 kept die (which you only deal with if you choose to roll, you can always choose not to roll), every die you keep is at your discretion. If you want to play your character as impassive, you can choose not to keep strife. The game isn’t telling you how to roleplay, its asking you to make a decision. Complaining that the game is forcing you to fail would be like complaining that you have to play a starting character. The more experianced your character is, the more dice they can roll in order to not have to accept strife to gain the results they desire.

Roleplaying is a collaborate hobby. Compromise is an essential part of any group activity. Part of that is learning to accept that your vision for how something might play out won’t always be the one that occurs. So while your vision of a scene may be your character standing up against the intimidation heroically, part of agreeing to play the game as part of the group is agreeing to let the rules of the game arbitrate that conflict. Otherwise we are just back to ‘playing pretend’. There is nothing wrong with that, but you don’t need a game system if that is what you are going to do.

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4 hours ago, DarkIxion said:

Why though would you bother to roll only to invalidate the result?

 

The check doesn't create a tunnel between the PC and the NPC. It can affect other NPCs or even other PCs. And, of course, the player negating the result it is not a given at all. The GM is usually aware of when emotional manipulation can or cannot work on a PC. Making a check when the NPC has no chance is part of showing that the NPC is serious and/or desperate - depending on the success of the check (whether the NPC can give away the impression or not), things can develop quite differently. 

For example, if a simple thug tries to intimidate my maxed-out Mirumoto swordsman, then he obviously has no chance at all - nothing he can bring to the table can be even distantly a threat to my character, and my character is well aware of that. However, the thug successfully giving away the impression will have consequences - if he fails the check and makes a fool himself, then my character will just step over him and write him off as an annoyance; however, if he succeeds, and he shows him as a threat (no matter how minuscule), then my character can't ignore him anymore and probably has to cut the poor thug's head off for the insult. 

It is never that simple like "I just roll Intimidate - ok, success, now he is scared". That's just bad roleplaying in my opinion (no offense). 

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1 minute ago, AtoMaki said:

The check doesn't create a tunnel between the PC and the NPC. It can affect other NPCs or even other PCs. And, of course, the player negating the result it is not a given at all. The GM is usually aware of when emotional manipulation can or cannot work on a PC. Making a check when the NPC has no chance is part of showing that the NPC is serious and/or desperate - depending on the success of the check (whether the NPC can give away the impression or not), things can develop quite differently. 

For example, if a simple thug tries to intimidate my maxed-out Mirumoto swordsman, then he obviously has no chance at all - nothing he can bring to the table can be even distantly a threat to my character, and my character is well aware of that. However, the thug successfully giving away the impression will have consequences - if he fails the check and makes a fool himself, then my character will just step over him and write him off as an annoyance; however, if he succeeds, and he shows him as a threat (no matter how minuscule), then my character can't ignore him anymore and probably has to cut the poor thug's head off for the insult. 

It is never that simple like "I just roll Intimidate - ok, success, now he is scared". That's just bad roleplaying in my opinion (no offense). 

No chance at all you say? Seems like you need to play a super hero rpg or two. Intimidation done well looks like this:

”Either step aside or your wife will have a hard trip ahead of her when she finishes viewing the cherry blossoms. Oh, and if you think doing anything to me will stop that, think again. I have men all over, and if I don’t get back to them then her fate is all but sealed.”

Yeah, be as big a badass as you want. It won’t stop the world from hitting you where you are weak. In addition you might have noticed that my thug has a goal other than scaring you. Sure, he wants you to feel fear, but that’s not his goal. His goal is to get you to clear out of his way so that he can go do X (maybe talk to your lord, maybe extort him, maybe kill him). A single check likely won’t achieve that, but it will make you believe that he will do it. So you can’t ignore that his threat felt credible, but you might decide to cut him down because you value your honor more than your wife. Perhaps its actually a bad marriage and you’d prefer she ended up dead anyway. So you kill him and thank your lucky stars.

See, social checks aren’t mind control. Inciting someone won’t get them to do what you want every time. Success does mean though that you can’t just act like it never happened. Maybe this guy isn’t strong, but his gang could threaten anyone you have to leave alone. You don’t have to crap yourself, but you do have to do something, feel something. 

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1 minute ago, DarkIxion said:

”Either step aside or your wife will have a hard trip ahead of her when she finishes viewing the cherry blossoms. Oh, and if you think doing anything to me will stop that, think again. I have men all over, and if I don’t get back to them then her fate is all but sealed.”

 

The problem is that my character doesn't have a wife. This was already considered before the check by the GM, so while the thug might successfully give away an impression, it falls flat on my character. 

If the thug can harm me, then my character is aware of that via GM description or background info. That obviously changes the whole nature of the scene. 

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Just now, AtoMaki said:

The problem is that my character doesn't have a wife. This was already considered before the check by the GM, so while the thug might successfully give away an impression, it falls flat on my character. 

If the thug can harm me, then my character is aware of that via GM description or background info. That obviously changes the whole nature of the scene. 

See the guidelines one when a check is needed. If your character doesn’t have a wife then there is nothing really interesting here for success or failure. You keep on RPing until a check is actually needed.

Again, note that social mechanics aren’t mind control. If your character isn’t married, than it is impossible for this guy to convince you in a mundane fashion that he has her captive. So the scene would go on, the bandit maybe then being like, “But aren’t you Mirumoto Frank?” “No, I’m Bob.” “Well, move aside or Frank’s wife gets it!”

Or maybe the rouse is just up and he never had anyone to begin with. Maybe you start asking him questions to try and figure out if he actually captured anyone or is just bluffing. I think you get the point.

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Just now, DarkIxion said:

See the guidelines one when a check is needed. If your character doesn’t have a wife then there is nothing really interesting here for success or failure.

 

Oh, there is! As I said, if the thug fails the check, then he is just a fool and he can keep his life. If he succeeds, then the situation might develop for the worse, and it will have effect on the future with my Mirumoto introducing himself with a head flying through the room. The check is important, just not in the way the thug intends it to be. 

There will be no check if the thug knows that he is way below the character's league and only gives away a token impression, like a threatening grunt. 

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35 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Oh, there is! As I said, if the thug fails the check, then he is just a fool and he can keep his life. If he succeeds, then the situation might develop for the worse, and it will have effect on the future with my Mirumoto introducing himself with a head flying through the room. The check is important, just not in the way the thug intends it to be. 

There will be no check if the thug knows that he is way below the character's league and only gives away a token impression, like a threatening grunt. 

Yeah, but that isn’t his check. That you doing some kind of investigation check to see what you can discern about him. You are the one making the decision so its your roll. His attempt to intimidate you isn’t interesting to roll out, but your attempt to size him up just might be.

In essense, your conflating your response to his check with interesting results of failure and success. You lopping off his head may be interesting, but it has nothing to do with his intimidation and everything to do with you.

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Isn't this the genre where one warrior giving another warrior a wordless glance full of palpable hate/killing intent/determination is enough to give the target a bone-chilling sense of fear akin to that of a rabbit facing a snake that already wrapped itself tightly around it?  

 

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12 minutes ago, DarkIxion said:

Yeah, but that isn’t his check. That you doing some kind of investigation check to see what you can discern about him. You are the one making the decision so its your roll. His attempt to intimidate you isn’t interesting to roll out, but your attempt to size him up just might be.

In essense, your conflating your response to his check with interesting results of failure and success. You lopping off his head may be interesting, but it has nothing to do with his intimidation and everything to do with you.

Uhm... no? The Mirumoto does not have a clear intent here with the thug. He is just doing what he is doing, and then suddenly, thug. If the thug does not initiate any serious interaction by making the Intimidation check, then the Mirumoto will just walk past him. The Mirumoto initiating a serious interaction with the thug is a whole different story altogether. 

1 minute ago, WHW said:

Isn't this the genre where one warrior giving another warrior a wordless glance full of palpable hate/killing intent/determination is enough to give the target a bone-chilling sense of fear akin to that of a rabbit facing a snake that already wrapped itself tightly around it?  

 

That would be the Mirumoto meeting a Kakita. Or the thug going against another thug or maybe an ashigaru. 

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Serious interaction has nothing to do with checks. Your character doesn’t bumble along in the world until someone stops him by making a check.

Edited by DarkIxion

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6 hours ago, DarkIxion said:

I understand some people don’t like social mechanics forcing them to act in a certain way. Makes sense. I think it’s kind of childish[.]

Stopped reading at 'I think the way your group plays this game is childish and here's why.'

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Just now, Doji Meshou said:

Stopped reading at 'I think the way your group plays this game is childish and here's why.'

You want to play the victim? Go right on ahead. Your response means nothing to me since you admitted you didn’t read what was written. Maybe I’m an ***, maybe you just assumed. Too bad you won’t know which.

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1 hour ago, DarkIxion said:

You want to play the victim? Go right on ahead. Your response means nothing to me since you admitted you didn’t read what was written. Maybe I’m an ***, maybe you just assumed. Too bad you won’t know which.

Hah! A successful Social check with a negative PC response ;) !

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On 10/21/2017 at 1:30 AM, sidescroller said:

Let me summarize what I read to make sure I understand:

  • Matsu Marvin vs. Shosuro Scott using social skills is okay because it's a functional mechanic (a contested roll).
  • Matsu Marvin's strife --> outburst is not okay because it's a bad mechanic (too random and too ambiguous)

(not making a point--just checking for understanding)

Pretty much.  In a traditional roleplaying game, characters declare their intent, and then if it is trying to affect another character (player or non-player), it involves some kind of contest.  Either roll versus an opponent's statistic (attack versus Refx5+5+Armor+Potential Defense), or a contested roll (One character's Skill+trait vs another characters skill+trait).   In this system, the social mechanic is entirely divorced from the target.  If I'm Shosuro Scott, all I am trying to do in an Intrigue is either accumulate more Rhetorical Points and win the scene, or inflict enough Strife on my opponent that they break.  But at no point is the opponent actually involved in this. We're not in one scene.  We're both just playing concurrent games. Either he's trying to score RPs faster than me, or I'm throwing Strife at him and he's choosing if/how to remove it later. 

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On 10/22/2017 at 4:01 AM, DarkIxion said:

No chance at all you say? Seems like you need to play a super hero rpg or two.

Have you played rank 4+ characters in L5R 1E–4E? They are street-level superheroes in all but name. (Same with D&D at levels 8+ in most editions).

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