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Lets talk Coercion!

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We just started a new game and my new character, he's a Enforcer, a hard boiled sonuvabith clone wars vet who is going to lean very heavily on Coercion, especially when I branch out into Gunslinger. But it really hasn't come up much before in our game and the section as written is vague on how this goes down (and intentionally so). Now, I'm not looking at coercion as a magic bullet that stops enemies in their tracks and makes them run away. I'm fine with that.

But I wanted to get an idea on how you guys handle something like this. How does coercion unfold in your games?

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The only advice I have is that boosts and setbacks should be added based on your ability to carry out your threats.

If he's alone against 10 Barabels, that will require some setbacks to make them back down. On the flip side, even a Toong who's scared out of his mind can still be intimidating if he has an army and you don't.

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5 hours ago, Yaccarus said:

The only advice I have is that boosts and setbacks should be added based on your ability to carry out your threats.

If he's alone against 10 Barabels, that will require some setbacks to make them back down. On the flip side, even a Toong who's scared out of his mind can still be intimidating if he has an army and you don't.

I agree. I also use boost and setback dices not only for Coercion, but for the other social skills, too, depending on how is facing the player the situation and how this confront with the motivations or personality of the character being coerced, charmed, etc (I took this idea from Genesys rpg)

For example, in the last game session one of my players (a mandalorian charmer/pilot) discovered that the boss of a mine property of the hutt she worked for, dealt with spice and smuggled part of the cargo. She roleplayed so well her speech and the idea was so good that when she rolled for coercion I gave her two boost dices.

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Treat it like any other social skill.  If they are already shooting at you, the best you can do is try to make yourself intimidating, and thereby draw their fire (good if you have the soak for it).  If they haven't started shooting, you might get them to back down through threats.  Just like you could get them to back down by buying them a drink (Charm), bribing them (Negotiation), impersonating their boss (Deception), or convincing them to follow your orders (Leadership).  Depending on the situation, each roll will have a different difficulty.  

Stopping a pair of on-duty stormtroopers could be Coercion 1P2R +black/blue based on situation (3P from willpower, 1 upgrade from minion group class skill Discipline, 1 additional upgrade for on-duty penalties).  Charm would be 3R (1P from presence, 0 upgrades from Cool, 5 upgrades for obvious dereliction of duty hazard).  Bribing them would be 2R (1P from presence, 0 upgrades for negotiation or cool, 3 upgrades for less obvious dereliction of duty hazard) + up to 5 black depending on circumstances of how likely they would be to be caught.  Deception would be 2P1R (3P from willpower, 1 upgrade from minion group class skill Discipline) with liberal black/blue based on uniforms and other props.  Leadership would be the same as deception.

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12 hours ago, Yaccarus said:

If he's alone against 10 Barabels, that will require some setbacks to make them back down.

Quibble:  in such an extreme case, setback don't quite cut it, I'd be increasing and upgrading difficulty...

I had a player very much enjoy his Enforcer, just the Fearsome and Intimidating alone provided great flavour, plus he made sure his Coercion was as good as his Melee.  I handled direct application of Coercion in a couple ways, though I'll admit up front it was kind of informal and dependent on the scenario.  However, the basic benchmark for me was that successes, especially with Advantage, could cause Strain.  Maybe not to the level of Scathing Tirade, but still effective.  This is the kind of thing suggested in the Far Horizons and Desperate Allies books.

These are situations that came up in our game:

Example 1:  the combat is wrapping up, a couple of minions are still hiding behind a crate.  The Enforcer steps out and says, pointing to the carnage, "do you really want to join your buddies?"  Success and they run off.  The narrative result in this case was neutral, but:  if there had been threat they'd get a message out; advantage and they're too petrified to leave, and instead surrender and offer information.

Example 2:  the poison-breathers of Anoat have been harassing the party.  A big fight has broken out, and the Anoatians were trounced, long enough for the party to escape and find their way out to the street.  More Anoatians come out of the buildings, about a block away.  Enforcer steps up, snaps out his twin stun batons, says nothing.  Success, Triumph.  The Anoatians slink back into their buildings.  In this case, I was lenient because I preferred to give the party a breather, but still wanted to show they weren't safe.  Threat would have caused Strain, or maybe the stun baton fizzes out, while Advantage would have revealed a new escape path, etc.

Example 3:  the party has noticed they're being tailed, watched, etc for the past several days.  They go to the local diner for food.  A party of goons walks in, the Enforcer makes his Streetwise roll with panache and identifies them as high level thugs for one of their current nemeses.  He decides he's had enough of this, so he walks over to their table, and confronts them directly, asking if they're here to "play" and wouldn't they rather "play outside so as not to disturb these good folks".  The thugs were no pushovers (rivals, each), with a Discipline of YYG, so RRP on the negative dice, plus there were four of them, so I boosted that to RRRPSS.  The player's dice were hot, so he ended up with Success and several Advantages.  The success was they would all go outside, and not trash the diner (most of the locals were known NPCs).  The Advantage meant they were open to further "negotiation", and maybe they were getting tired of working for the nemesis.  The player pushed this and said "Fine, I want to talk to your boss right now."  At this point the player was on a roll, so he starts berating the boss over the com link warning him to take a settlement deal (a few thousand credits) or face the consequences.  I figured this was "impossible", especially over a simple voice call, so RRRRPSSS.  Didn't matter, most of the reds came up blank, and he got a couple Triumphs and some Advantage.  Funds were transferred (so the nemesis saves face), and the thugs were ordered back home, but not before the Enforcer bought them diner and a round of drinks...he'd also been working on his Charm, and they were possible allies for future stuff.

Now normally I wouldn't just close a plot thread like that, but in this case I was eager to close it (to move on with other things), the role-play was superb, and the result was epic.  Plus, normally I wouldn't let a single player dominate a scene like that, but the other players were enjoying the show and egging him on, so it all worked out.

Hope that helps.

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1 hour ago, Daeglan said:

One thing. Failures should have very negative consequences. People dont react well to people who try and fail to coerce them. 
A failure on a negotiation or charm check is unlikely to have as bad of result as a failure to coerce someone. 

Failure with enough Disadvantage (say 2 or more) on a Charm test can result in the PC unintentionally mocking an NPC, resulting in an "incident." Failure on a Negotiation test can result in the PC coming off us untrustworthy.

Any failed Social test can have a nasty outcome if the GM and players put a little thought into it.

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2 hours ago, Daeglan said:

People dont react well to people who try and fail to coerce them. 

They don't react very well to people who succeed in coercing them either.  This is something which I firmly pointed out to a new player just recently when she was trying to decide what skill she wanted to tie her Smooth Talker talent to.  Sometimes it's the best choice and sometimes it's the only choice, but using Coercion is always going to leave you with a new enemy.  

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4 hours ago, whafrog said:

I had a player very much enjoy his Enforcer,

Excellent to hear. I was on the fence waffling between Enforce and 'Slinger, but the Enforcer seemed to match my vision right out of the gate.

4 hours ago, whafrog said:

Hope that helps.

It should!

5 minutes ago, Vorzakk said:

using Coercion is always going to leave you with a new enemy.  

Just not necessarily at that exact moment. Sometimes that's all you need.

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I've only had one of my PC's try coercion . . . Once.

The PC was a passenger in a taxi following a prison truck and realizing that the prisoner (the target of a rescue) was going to the local ISB HQ in two miles, pulled out his blaster pistol and demanded that the driver ram the truck.

There were lots of setback and difficulty dice, but would you look at that?  He succeeded.

 

My only other thought on this topic is to say, "I refuse to be bullied into this discussion!"

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Another thing to remember about Coercion is that it's not just limited to physical threats, but can encompass a variety of negative consequences that you promise to inflict if the target doesn't do what you want. In this way, it's the mirror image of Negotiation: Negotiation involves offering them something they want to get what you want, Coercion involves promising to do something they don't want to get what you want.

Telling someone to approve your request or you'll bury them in so much red tape they can't go to the refresher without a form signed in triplicate? Coercion.

Threatening to tell everyone that a shop sells subpar goods unless you get a discount? Coercion.

It's not just "I'll beat your face in." It's also "I want to talk to your manager."

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On 6/21/2018 at 11:50 AM, Vorzakk said:

They don't react very well to people who succeed in coercing them either.  This is something which I firmly pointed out to a new player just recently when she was trying to decide what skill she wanted to tie her Smooth Talker talent to.  Sometimes it's the best choice and sometimes it's the only choice, but using Coercion is always going to leave you with a new enemy.  

I don’t think it should always leave you with a new enemy. You can make a subtle threat that is not aimed directly at them but just demonstrates how dangerous you could be.

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Success on a Coercion check can also have big negative consequences.  Sure, you coerced the gang boss to do something, still doesn't mean he's not going to come after you for using coercion.

PC actions have certain natural consequences even if no Threat/Advantage is generated.

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I also think that Corc has a place when asserting on the character the gravity of the situation. "Look, I know we haven't worked together much before, but I know full well that a sith lord is going to do something under coursant that is going to do something horrible. Sure, you could hide from him but after he's killed me, and he will because I do not feel I can handle him alone, he will come after you and eventually you will find yourself on some backwater planet without a plan. So I prepose an alliance until the threat can be taken care of."

It isn't a leadership because I'm not in a position of authority, it isn't a charm because I'm not appealing to the better part of their character, I am simply informing them of exactly what is going to happen if I fail if they do not assist me. Reminding a character of the heavy gravity of a situation to make them give aid is another good way to use the skill, using the weight of words and consequence to both of us to convince them that there is no other way.

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That example comes across as Negotiation rather than Coercion. That the consequences are more serious than a few missed credits doesn't change the fact that you're trying to work out a deal that's better for the both of you, and the same goes with pretty much any alliance of necessity.

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5 hours ago, Garran said:

That example comes across as Negotiation rather than Coercion. That the consequences are more serious than a few missed credits doesn't change the fact that you're trying to work out a deal that's better for the both of you, and the same goes with pretty much any alliance of necessity.

Either or really. The main crux of the issue was that neither character particularly trusted one another due to our complicated history that varied from adversary to reluctant ally too frequently to tell, usually, a Hand of the now dead Emperor isn't one to be cowed. Just more the intent was that she was attempting to go into hiding; the counter point was that no matter how good she was at hiding, one day she would run out of good luck and die alone against a rapidly growing great evil. I didn't use the precise wording of my argument, but it was more a statement of just how vulnerable she would be if the sith got their way to use her own fears to bring her about to my perspective. It was a threat about a future that could come to be.

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