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Cyvaris

Social Encounters Question

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I was glancing over the Social Encounter rules last night and now I have a rather odd question. Is it expected for NPCs to roll Charm/Coercion/Deception checks often against the PCs? WIth how the rules, especially Strain, seem to stand that looks to be the case, but it still seems odd to me. 

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Why does it seem odd? If the PCs are making checks to influence NPCs why can't NPCs return the favour? Heck, PCs and NPCs alike make combat checks against each other and no one bats an eye. Why should less-lethal conflicts be any different?

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2 minutes ago, c__beck said:

Why does it seem odd? If the PCs are making checks to influence NPCs why can't NPCs return the favour? Heck, PCs and NPCs alike make combat checks against each other and no one bats an eye. Why should less-lethal conflicts be any different?

Does it make sense though? If an NPC tell the PCs a lie, and you roll Deception and get a success, then the players know it's a lie, even if their PCs don't, which is just going to cause a disconnect. However if the NPC lie and they ask "do I think it is a lie?" and we roll a contested roll and the NPC wins you tell them "you believe he is telling the truth", and the players are still not sure of the outcome. I'd never have the NPCs roll Deception.

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2 minutes ago, Morridini said:

Does it make sense though? If an NPC tell the PCs a lie, and you roll Deception and get a success, then the players know it's a lie, even if their PCs don't, which is just going to cause a disconnect. However if the NPC lie and they ask "do I think it is a lie?" and we roll a contested roll and the NPC wins you tell them "you believe he is telling the truth", and the players are still not sure of the outcome. I'd never have the NPCs roll Deception.

If the NPC lies, then it makes total sense to roll Deception. Remember that social rolls are opposed, not contested. Also, "Competitive checks occur when several characters try to accomplish the same goal at the same time or try to determine who performs a task better than another." (CRB page 26). Seeing if a PC believes an NPC's lie doesn't fall under that qualifier.

It doesn't matter who rolls the dice, the table will see the result and know the outcome. Whether the NPC succeeds on their Deception check or the PC fails their Vigilance check the outcome is clear: the player character believes the lie; it shouldn't matter if the player believes it.

That may be a stylistic preference, though. I prefer to play in games where I am not just a player/GM but part of the audience, as well. I don't know where the plot is heading and playing up the things that my character believes are true is playing to the tropes of whatever genre we're playing in. When reading a book or watching a TV show/movie, we as the audience know things the protagonists don't, and it causes us to yell at them! That's exactly where my play style comes from: I enjoy making my characters go through hêll.

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One simple way around this is not to roll yourself but have the players roll an opposed check.
In Star Wars I get my players to roll perception checks and set the difficulty based on the deception (As an example) even if the NPC is telling the truth; it means players don't know if they're rolling to believe them or figure out if their lying.

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33 minutes ago, Cynthorus said:

One simple way around this is not to roll yourself but have the players roll an opposed check.
In Star Wars I get my players to roll perception checks and set the difficulty based on the deception (As an example) even if the NPC is telling the truth; it means players don't know if they're rolling to believe them or figure out if their lying.

Yeah that's how I did it in Star Wars as well.

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2 hours ago, Morridini said:

Does it make sense though? If an NPC tell the PCs a lie, and you roll Deception and get a success, then the players know it's a lie, even if their PCs don't, which is just going to cause a disconnect. However if the NPC lie and they ask "do I think it is a lie?" and we roll a contested roll and the NPC wins you tell them "you believe he is telling the truth", and the players are still not sure of the outcome. I'd never have the NPCs roll Deception.

This was basically where my stumbling block was (likewise with Coercion). It just fees odd to roll social checks as GM against the PCs. It's fine against NPCs since well...GM controlled, but players can be finicky about things. 

On reflection I'll either:

 

A.) hope they roleplay well 

 

or 

 

B.) Use the "Romance and Drama" tone Metagame Maneuvering Rule

Edited by Cyvaris

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2 hours ago, Morridini said:

If an NPC tell the PCs a lie, and you roll Deception and get a success, then the players know it's a lie, even if their PCs don't, which is just going to cause a disconnect.

Then they'll just have to pretend they don't. That's kind of the point.

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Regardless of how well your players can roleplay and avoid metagaming, deception on the part of NPCs is always going to be more dramatically effective when it's left ambiguous and unknown until the climactic moment of betrayal/reveal/whatever. 

Like, sure, good players can play along and act as if they don't know what an NPC is doing despite knowing full well OOC, but it changes the way the narrative works massively; suspense and ambiguity become dramatic irony. Perfectly suitable for some games but not all. 

Plus, honestly even the best roleplayers will metagame a little without realising it. It's hard to avoid factoring OOC information into your roleplay. 

The opposed check suggestions above are pretty solid, that's always been my approach with this system. 

Edited by Tom Cruise

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26 minutes ago, Tom Cruise said:

Regardless of how well your players can roleplay and avoid metagaming, deception on the part of NPCs is always going to be more dramatically effective when it's left ambiguous and unknown until the climactic moment of betrayal/reveal/whatever. 

Like, sure, good players can play along and act as if they don't know what an NPC is doing despite knowing full well OOC, but it changes the way the narrative works massively; suspense and ambiguity become dramatic irony. Perfectly suitable for some games but not all. 

Plus, honestly even the best roleplayers will metagame a little without realising it. It's hard to avoid factoring OOC information into your roleplay. 

The opposed check suggestions above are pretty solid, that's always been my approach with this system. 

Assuming every social check is going to have that kind of long-lasting consequences.

A Deception check from an adversary could be "I just got trolled for 15 minutes." No need to milk the giant cow for every bad social roll.

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Generally, I would prefer for the PCs to be making rolls, than for me to be doing it.

If an NPC is lying, the player rolls Vigilance vs a difficulty = the NPC's Deception.

I feel the system works better this way, because players are the ones most often adding Boosts or removing Setbacks, and it gets kind of weird when an NPC rolls against a PC who has a Boost on a check: does that convert to a Setback?

For example, Player A has a Boost to Vigilance checks. If Player A rolls a Vigilance check vs the NPC's Deception, they add their Boost, but if the NPC rolls a Deception vs Player A's Vigilance, do they roll a Setback to represent the player's Boost, or is the Boost just lost, because the player isn't the one rolling?

I'd rather have the players roll most of the time, if only just to avoid this.

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@Yeti1069 I GM That way for the most part as well, my issue was looking at the way the social encounter rules are structured, especially around Strain lose. From how the set up there goes it's mostly active checks causing it, which seems to imply NPCs should roll. Otherwise, the only strain PCs would suffer is on failure or threat, which gives them a large advantage. 

Edited by Cyvaris

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So for Star Wars I had a lot of newcomers to RP. I found out after a while that they would always metagame when an npc rolled deception and coercion and such. To counter this, I just never rolled social checks for npcs and if they said they wanted to know if a character was lying they could roll discipline vs the target's deception (regardless if it was deception or truth). Success meant they would find out if what the target spoke was truthful or not but it wouldn't pinpoint anything specific as like hey that one sentence is a lie! They'd have to further converse and pull out information from the target and more pointed questioning once they are on the right track could do that.

 

Social encounters will be a new way of handling it and I think genesys itself is a game I'd probably bring some old star wars players into because they are already familiar with the basic rules.

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