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Evilschemer

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It is not a matter of "more mechanics" but of "more objectivity".

If it is "more objectivity" that you seek, why not play a computer game? You can't get more objective than software.

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I never said "do not allow roleplaying" or "do not give bonuses for roleplaying".

I just said "provide a well-defined procedure". You may think that "roleplay and then make one roll with a bonus for what you said" is a sufficiently defined procedure, but is it really? Does your game include only one - and always one - roll for social interactions?.

It may come as a surprise to you Rosen, but you can't actually have a "definate well- defined procedure" for every little thing in an RPG, or it would be infinite. GMs are there for a purpose you know.:P

In the situation that Evilschemer mentioned, if one PC interacted with the NPC law man, and the GM wants this not to drag on too much, then one roll could determine the outcome of the conversation. Does your game include one and only one game for social interactions? Do you take shampoo and conditioner into the shower? Methinks I smell an advert.:P

Would you find it acceptable for combat??.

WTF does that have to do with this topic? Put that spliff down and concentrate man!

Would you appreciate a combat in which you are not told how many hit points of damage your attack dealt, but just what skill to roll? Or one in which most of your chances of success in combat depended on how well you mimicked your attack moves, rather than your character's skill? Please note that I produce a game (Aegis) where this actualy happens - if you do not describe the attack in colorful words, it fails - so this is not "wrong" in itself, just not coherent with the BRP game model. But why should Fast Talk work differently?.

Oh I see now; its about you pushing more product.

In synthesis, I fail to see why "simply sticking to a well-defined procedural mechanics based on statement of intent and subsequent die rolls" is considered good for combat and "boring roll-playing" for social conflicts.

In the situation that Evilschemer mentioned, roleplaying and a skill roll are simple and effective procedures, in accordance with the BRP rules. If he wants to have some quick fix mechanic for that then fine, its his game. But I see it as a waste of a dramatic roleplaying opportunity for the players.

Edited by Conrad

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I would like to point out that in first post I suggested a mechanic for quickly resolving intractable social conflicts that were boring to roleplay.

Then, in my second post, I essentially recanted my first post, suggesting instead that GMs, when faced with an intractable social conflict that no one is having fun roleplaying, should instead take a break and think of a third alternative that disrupts the conflict or causes it to come to a swift resolution. It's a twist on the classic "..and then, suddenly, ninjas attack!" trope in RPG story-telling.

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If it is "more objectivity" that you seek, why not play a computer game? You can't get more objective than software.

I think this argument deserves its own name. Probably "argumentum ad computergamum" will work;).

It may come as a surprise to you Rosen, but you can't actually have a "definate well- defined procedure" for every little thing in an RPG, or it would be infinite.

It will probably be a surprise to you, but you can do that in a game with rules as long as 3 pages. Want examples:)?

GMs are there for a purpose you know.:P

Yes, but it's not to invent games during play. There are enough in game events to track, you know;)!

WTF does that have to do with this topic? Put that spliff down and concentrate man!

Both social and physical conflicts are forms of conflict. And both can kill you.

Oh I see now; its about you pushing more product.

Am I pushing my product as well?

In the situation that Evilschemer mentioned, roleplaying and a skill roll are simple and effective procedures, in accordance with the BRP rules. If he wants to have some quick fix mechanic for that then fine, its his game.

And if his rules work, they're a good thing. Otherwise, he might be better served by some other rules.

That's assuming he has dealt with his problem player already, of course.

But I see it as a waste of a dramatic roleplaying opportunity for the players.

Are your combat rules there to supplement or to replace the combat descriptions? If the latter, I see it as a waste of dramatic roleplaying opportunity for the players as well. You don't stop roleplaying during combats, you know?

Well, at least I don't, haven't played with you;D!

I would like to point out that in first post I suggested a mechanic for quickly resolving intractable social conflicts that were boring to roleplay.

Then, in my second post, I essentially recanted my first post, suggesting instead that GMs, when faced with an intractable social conflict that no one is having fun roleplaying, should instead take a break and think of a third alternative that disrupts the conflict or causes it to come to a swift resolution. It's a twist on the classic "..and then, suddenly, ninjas attack!" trope in RPG story-telling.

Yeah, and people told you it's likely not to work with a problem player. No mechanic helps that, other than the social conflict mechanics in Real Life 1.0 the RPG;).

The alternative might work, but then the player is still essentially making you avoid a whole slew of situations. Are you fine with that?

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To resolve bits of RP that've got intractable/boring for the players, I'd have thought a quick Fast Talk or Oratory or CHAx5 would be enough. Succeed and they get away - Fail and, well... violence is always an option. ;)

More involved 'Social Interaction' mechanics don't sound convincing to me. Basically just more fluff to cover up the bottom line when the players fail their rolls: the GM takes control of the characters away from the players. That's a bad thing.

Particularly in the example given - where I think the players were right to expect bad things if they surrendered (including, very likely, execution). They were daft to get them selves in that situation though - the murderer (Dave?) was actually smarter - he ran away and hid!

Certainly, a co-incidental Ninja Attack would be an alternative to get them out of trouble. But you can only use that maybe once or it gets silly (and even then players like Dave may - justifiably - object to such 'GM Fiat'). Best to solve the problem properly, rather than avoid or cover it up.

I think the key is to treat the player-characters as individuals, not a group. In that stand-off, single-out the most belligerent(the one giving the most lip, or even just with the lowest CHA!) - and make it clear HE will die if he doesn't surrender. And if he doesn't - make it happen, by the 'lawmen' all shooting him until he is very obviously dead. And so on. It doesn't have to be a TPK unless the players choose it to be.

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To resolve bits of RP that've got intractable/boring for the players, I'd have thought a quick Fast Talk or Oratory or CHAx5 would be enough.

Sometimes they are. For something they're ready to negotiate 4 hours of real time? More involved is a better bet.

Succeed and they get away - Fail and, well... violence is always an option. ;)

But with a more involved social conflict system... there's always another way;).

More involved 'Social Interaction' mechanics don't sound convincing to me. Basically just more fluff to cover up the bottom line when the players fail their rolls: the GM takes control of the characters away from the players. That's a bad thing.

I'm not asking how many involved systems for social interactions you know. I'd like to ask you whether you've read this thread, though.

See this quote?

(snipped)

Ditto. THERE IS NO MIND CONTROLLING OR FORCING PLAYERS TO CHANGE THEIR MINDS in a good social conflict mechanics. Forget Pendragon Traits, that is NOT a social conflict mechanics. Not at all.

So, frogspawner, who's taking control of what characters;D?

Yo fanboy...er I mean brutha. I got what you need to ease the dullness o' that 'ho' BRP. Lookit mah fine Aegis bitch ass! She cheap. She ride you long time, boy!;t)

I think I figured it out why your current title says "Alephtar pimp";).

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I'd like to ask you whether you've read this thread, though. ... So, frogspawner, who's taking control of what characters;D?

Yep, I have. Er, the GM would be taking control of the characters in EvilSchemer's example.

I'm not convinced by the assertion "There is no ... forcing players to change their minds", you see?

So I asked for an example - and I've yet to see one.

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I did provide one, Frogspawner. The problem is that it is not a "the die roll dictates what happens" solution (and THAT would be a mind control) but a "the die roll dictates what options you have besides violence" solution.

Seriously, I think you should all forget that Pendragon ever existed. Debate rolls are not there to tell you how your PC behaves. They are there to tell you how people will judge how he behaves. It is still up to you to decide if your PC will face being declared Anathema ("social" death) for sparing that criminal's life.

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I did provide one, Frogspawner. The problem is that it is not a "the die roll dictates what happens" solution (and THAT would be a mind control) but a "the die roll dictates what options you have besides violence" solution.

You mean this...?

In our case, things could have been handled this way: the guards want the PCs to surrender their weapons. The PCs then attempt to argue with them with two goals:

a) persuade the guards that it would be dishonourable to surrender weapons and let them go with them voluntarily (Persuade/Orate/Etiquette/Status/Whatever)

B) determine if this is a trick to slaughter them once they are tied up (Insight)

If the party succeeds in a), the problem is solved: no disarming (it's the guards' problems now, as their boss will probably get angry). If the party succeeds in B), most players would agree to lay down their weapons, as the risk is reduced. If the party tries a) but fails, they still have the option to fight: however, your average player is much more likely to give up violence as an option once he has been given a fair, objective chance to talk himself out of trouble.

I'm afraid I don't find it convincing, and don't think it really addresses the 'impasse' problem.

Because the problem is only solved if the players succeed at (a), i.e. make their Persuade/Whatever rolls. But that's obvious - in the example, we can presume they already tried that (and failed).

And success at (B) doesn't matter. No matter how much Insight the players get into how little these Bad Guy Lawmen want to hurt them, they still won't want to surrender to them. For plenty of reasons: 1) They know they did it! And when the Lawmen find out...; 2) The Lawmen's Boss may later decide he DOES want to hurt them; 3) They totally lose control of their fate - and they're probably playing this game to have such control; 4) Shooting bad guys is what they want to do - why not these bad guys, now? So I don't believe the players would give up their weapons. The risk to them isn't reduced by Insight, and failing a Fast Talk (no matter how long a procedure is involved) isn't going to convince them either, IMHO.

That example isn't an example of the problem being solved at all...

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Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much option to violence in this situation. So the only reasonably possible outcomes are 1) the PC get shot; 2) the Bad Guy Lawmen get shot; or 3) enough of the PCs get shot that the remainder decide to surrender. Or even 4) EvilSchemer's rebels/ninjas turn up and start a co-incidental firefight... but like I said, that can only be a very-rarely-used solution.

PS: If a 'Social Conflicts' system existed that could actually convince the players to surrender, that would be fine. I don't reckon there is, or could be, such a system though.

PPS: The 'alignments' mechanism I suggested before probably wouldn't work in this situation, because the murder-victim was a bad guy, so to kill him probably wasn't that 'evil' after all... (in the context of a game where you're supposed to kill the bad guys).

Edited by frogspawner
PS & PPS

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The problem is that any mechanics that CONVINCES PCs to do something is actually a railroad. Showing players that there is Only One Right Outcome is a railroad. Not that I have never done such a thing, but it is not the best option.

What I was suggesting is that a correct, well applied social interaction can show the players that they are being given OPTIONS. But in order to do so, you must have a very codified procedure, where players are aware of the odds. There must be no GM calls in the process, and there must be plenty of time and opportunities, including the opportunity to roleplay the scene if the players want to, or to skip the roleplaying if they do not. Hence, I think that the "quick roll" proposed here would not work: it would leave the players with the impression that the GM actually managed to have them fail the conflict.

Once the players are really aware that they have been given a choice, the problem is gone. In 90% of the cases, they will surrender. Even in the remaining 10% of the cases, if they do not surrender, and you kill them, it will be ok. Because they know that it has been the result of their free will, and not of a reaction against a railroading attempt.

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Didn't mean a 'convince the PCs there's only one option' railroad, just 'convince the players there's another viable option' - that would be enough. But in this case I reckon that'd be impossible, because frankly I agree with them that surrender was not viable.

The "quick roll" needn't be that quick - as much RP as they like, then roll it. (Out in the open, with pre-stated modifiers if you really think trust in the GM is so lacking). And once they fail - that's it, no other option but fight or surrender. I really don't think 90% of players in such a situation would surrender, though - I'd say 90% would fight.

The players are probably thinking there are other options, too - 1) Brazen it out so the Lawmen go away, or at least let them keep their guns; and 2) Win a firefight; and 3) Lose and blame the GM for forcing them into a fight that was 'unbalanced'!

Like I said, I think the key lies in convincing the players that their characters will die if there's a firefight. Picking on one, and showing it to be true if he doesn't agree, might be what it takes to convince the others...

...of course, the players might win (though I'd expect the Lawmen to feign withdrawal and set up an ambush if the odds aren't already overwhelming enough). Either way the outcome must be the player's choice.

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So I get into this thread telling myself "cool a conversation about social conflicts" and start reading the posts, some of the reading like a lecture on what must be done and above all what is wrong to do. Still, nothing wrong with a heated debate so I carry on reading until I get to this :

Seriously, I think you should all forget that Pendragon ever existed.

Now that rubs me the wrong way. Especially from someone who publishes games and that I assume would prefer if people would not forget his books ever existed.

I'll chalk it up to "in a heated debate this is not really what he meant" because I can respectfully tell you sir that if I ever have to forget a game ever existed, you will not be the one to tell me which one and KAP won't be the game I choose to forget.

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They sound like spoiled gamers to me (and LORD there are a lot of them around nowadays). Every fight doesn't have to be balanced and the players should be smart enough to know when a potential upcoming coflict is going to be too much for them. If they don't, it's our jobs as GMs to teach them a valuable lesson they can take into real life: Don't go against a superior opposing force. In that case, and especially when the opposing force (not only being larger or better armed) thinks (whether they do or not) have right on their side, they will suffer. "Balanced" encounters are for D&D and it's up to each and every player to decide when he is outgunned and outclassed. If he cannot recognize this, it's up to the GM to educate him.

When an investigator in my Call of Cthulhu game was facing a twitchy guy with a double-barrel shotgun, he attempted to regain his pistol from where it lay on the beach. The blast nearly tore him in half and he was dead before he hit the ground. His friend, already walking away from the situation by leave of the twitchy man's accomplice (and having left his own sidearm behind) fled the scene as quickly as he could. And twitchy and his friend were gangsters - not police officers.

I said it before and was slapped down but I'll repeat it. This is a role-playing issue, not a rules issue. If you, as the GM, did not want to deal with the situation, the lawmen should have laid down an ultimatum (as they thought they were doing what was right - in the murder investigation) and if the PCs didn't comply, gunfire probably would have occured. Authority figures DO NOT like those who ignore their authority and will usually do something about it.

It was a bad situation, but as a GM, sometimes you have to follow through on your threats. You have numerous 'lawmen' outnumbering and outgunning the PCs? Then the lawmen have the upper hand and the PCs better capitulate - otherwise, they will die. It sucks when you have to bring the hammer down, but giving the PCs an out in a situation that they shouldn't have ... no, I disagree with that. In this case, the out was "We won't have you arrested for resisting questioning if you come along peacefully - otherwise, you're facing at least jail time and possibly a hanging" (depending on the law level of the area actually).

Just some thoughts.

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Yes, my bad. Of course I was not referring to "Forgetting KAP the game". Just as "clearing your minds of all influences it may have on your judgement, for the current discussion".

I certainly do not believe that Greg Stafford's intentions when writing Pendragon was that of suggesting that game variables (traits) should limit player freedom. Still, if you read the posts of two pages ago, it is very easy for people to think in terms of "social mechanics telling me what to do", just because this can sometimes happen in Pendragon.

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Thank you for the clarification Rosen. I figured this is what you meant and I am now at peace again :)

Actually, what I like about the Personality mechanic is that it helps define a mindframe for a character that might be very different than the player's. I personally perfer when a player decide how he will define his traits either by choosing one type of roll as described in BGB, by assigning himself the value or even by mix and matching. It thus give them the power to create the character they want and give them something to fall back on when they are not sure or they want to explore how there character could react to a situation.

It can also be in my opinion a great tool to colour social conflicts and interractions. After all someone with a high level of Suspicion and a directed trait "Despise authority" might give strong indications (and bonuses) when the guards ask to surrender his weapon. I do not see/use this mechanic to limit players' freedom but on the contrary to empower them to influence results on how they should react in certain situations.

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Yes, when we played the Safelster PBM 15 years ago we used personality traits to define our characters, and it helped a lot. We were never forced to act according to our traits, instead we enjoyed referring to them when checking what to do. Unfortunately, along with the actual Pendragon, there is a "perceived" Pendragon, where you are always rolling against your Trait and losing freedom of action. People tend to be scarede off by this "perceived" KAP, and this creates a lot of misconceptions.

I do not know if the choice made by Jason to not include personality traits for PCs was a good one, but at least it avoids this confusion.

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I think we pretty much agree on how the Personality Traits are the most enjoyable as a mechanic. I also have no problem if it is decided by players and GM that the extreme ranges (below 10 and above 90 for example) are, to use a GURPS term, disadvantage territory where the GM might strongly suggest a course of action based on a very strong personality trait. It does demand great GM/player collaboration and trust though.

I would have preferred to see them as an option in the character creation chapter but at least they are in the book and nothing prevents me from using them for players :)

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I've been trying to develop a system of traits for player characters. The latest iteration looks good so far:

PCs choose 2 or more traits, up to CHA/4 (from the 'industry-standard' Pendragon list). They don't have percentages - you either have them or don't (well, nearly). If they do something 'in the manner of' one of their traits, their current action can have a re-roll.

That's the basic system. There is just a little bit more to it, though: If a character does something very notably in the manner of some trait they don't have, the GM may award them a 'threat' of gaining that trait (player lists it in brackets); if they do something similar again, then they fully gain that trait - which displaces one of their existing traits, of their choice.

That's it. No mind control of the players, no coercion (aside from telling someone they have a certain trait if they repeatedly, significantly act that way - but that's just stating a fact).

Of course, I also equate certain traits with D&D-style alignments (e.g. Vengeful = Evil). So a quick tot-up of your traits reveals your alignment. Doesn't mean much, but some players are desperate to avoid their beloved character being labelled as "Evil"...

Edited by frogspawner
spacing

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It seems that I am using Personality Traits in a slightly different way. In our

campaigns they are more like the expectations of the characters' society.

The characters were brought up to act according to these expectations,

and this behaviour is rewarded by their society. For example, when Just is

an expected trait, a character who acts accordingly is well respected and

usually has more success when using his social skills with members of the

same cultural background, while a character who shows the Arbitrary trait

will find that most people of his society will dislike him and often avoid to

deal with him. It is up to the player which traits his character really has,

but a choice and actions which go against the culture's expectations ha-

ve a price, in the extreme they can even result in a visit by many angry

people with torches and pitchforks.

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We are going a bit off topic...

PCs choose 2 or more traits, up to CHA/4 (from the 'industry-standard' Pendragon list). They don't have percentages - you either have them or don't (well, nearly). If they do something 'in the manner of' one of their traits, their current action can have a re-roll.

This is something extremely similar to what I am working on. I hope to include the mechanics in BRP Mecha, so that it becomes an available, published optional rule within 2012.

The result is exactly the same as what frogspawner suggests (you gain the ability to alter a die roll, in some way or another), but the mechanics is unified with that of Hero/Fate points if you use it, thus producing less variations of the same rule in the game. Incidentally, it is rather similar to how FATE handles the stuff, although not _exactly_ the same. Notably, everything is handled by the player, and the GM and rest of the group can only veto abuses.

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The PCs covering for a murderer are doing something stupid. If they get killed for this it is their own fault.

I agree 100%.

Players/PCs tend to be very arrogant and think that they can get away with anything. Sometimes they need a dose of reality to tell them otherwise.

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