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So I woke up this morning imagining that we were going to get a new ruleset in the next iteration of Mythras Imperative, such that every character gains a Social Combat Style to go with the Combat Styles they learn.

So somebody could learn Domination by Insinuation (Influence, Oratory) and someone else could practice Pillow Talk (Influence, Seduction) while yet another goes for Charismatically Creative (Sing, Dance, Oratory).

Imagine the Special Effects of Social Combat - Compel Surrender, Make Good First Impression, Build Anticipation, Entice, Hypnotise, Terrify, Browbeat.

Mic Drop.

Wow The Crowds.

Wrap Around Your Little Finger.

I haven't dreamed of designing a game in ages.

Edited by Alex Greene
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This is quite brilliant, actually!

More broadly, any sphere of conflict might potentially have "combat styles."

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My initial thought is, how does this actually square with Combat Style, in a close analogy?  The problem is, Combat Style brings a bunch of weapons together under a single score, perhaps with a trait.  There are no "weapons" in Social Combat, and there are no traits, so far.  There are Special Effects, if you consider the Spirit Combat table--fine.  

The way things are now, in Social Combat you would get to use your favorite appropriate skill for the Task at hand.  Skills are not weapons, though.  Each has a score for success, but none for damage, so to speak.

Also, what are the "hit points" in Social Combat?  Physical Combat (actual HP) and Spirit Combat (MP, or Tenacity) have their tallies; for Social Combat, would this be based on CHA, as suggested in M-SPACE?

How would all of this interact with, or replace, the Task mechanic for conflict resolution?

This requires a bit more careful thought, it seems to me.  It would be lovely and elegant to have a single, overarching approach to Combat in Mythras, with consistent, unified concepts and mechanics.  Based on the OP, it seems like we could end up with one approach for Physical Combat, one for Spirit Combat, and still one more for Social Combat...which is what we have now, actually, when you think about it...

 

Edited by Matt_E

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I've never understood the desire for getting that detailed regarding social situations. Those are usually the moments that shine for me regarding table-top RPGs vs. video games. Actually talking to the NPCs and PCs... vs. rolling yet more dice to resolve things.

Sure, your APP and skills in Bargain or Oratory can give you a boost... but you still roleplay all that out, yes?
What is the attraction of more elaborate social combat rules? Am I wrong for suspecting that it is some inherent lack of trust in the GM to fairly adjudicate the situation? That we need the dice to over rule any bad intentions?

Maybe I just don't want that much 'game' in my games...

Edited by Simlasa
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They can be fun. Most of my campaigns involve a lot of personal, emotional and social conflict and while we definitely enjoy roleplaying through these things, there are times where either a player isn't comfortable interacting at that level (and so their character is at a disadvantage); or where having a formal mechanism would actually help assist the outcome more fluidly based on the social skills noted on the character sheet. I think having some Social Special Effects can be great fun too - but they do need very careful thought, which is why we haven't rushed to them yet. We still may not; as Matt says, we do have the Task Rules and there are plenty of existing mechanisms that do the job well enough.

It never hurts to kick these ideas around though.

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I guess I just get my hackles up whenever I see suggestions for adding more rules and systems... particularly when they're for something I never felt I needed more rules and systems for.
I CAN see how social combat rules could be fun... but, IMO, in a different sort of game. Like, if it were a game about Japanese schoolgirls who did not engage in physical combat but everything relied upon social connections and cliques. That, lacking combat, I'd probably want some other excuse to throw dice at my PCs major concerns.

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I also think it's good to have both. Roleplaying social conflicts when it works, using dice when needed. 

In M-SPACE, I usually suggest a combination. You play it out to the degree you're comfortable with, using dice to determine the actual effect. This way, the extroverts don't take over and win all the time.

Very much looking forward to the mechanics you are working on Lawrence : ) I'm also a bit envious of Alex. I wish I also could dream up new rules now and then. It sounds very efficient.

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One of my most-vivid memories from any RPG table -- and it makes a good story now, but wasn't fun at the table, at the time -- was at a convention in the SF Bay Area... DunDraCon or KublaCon.

One PC was a suave, debonair, attractive-in-a-dangerous-way guy; clearly modeled after 007 (James Bond).  The other was attractive young Damsel-in-Distress.  The RP interaction was very-nearly mandated...

The 007-PC was played by a 14ish-yo boy; the DiD-PC was played by a 30something lady whose RL presentation could have come from Central Casting with the script having called for "Attractive Woman who causes all teen boys stumble into awkward silence."

Nobody expected a full-on seduction, but a "leading that way" flirtation was appropriate; the boy made a valiant attempt at RP; the woman tried to help.  But really... no.  The RP interaction was doomed from the very beginning.

===

Similarly, RP'ing a high-formal etiquette scene when NOBODY at the game-table understands the formalities... Just NO.  It's on the sheet, roll.  Don't even try to role-play...

Same-same for a great many scenes.

Sure, many social scenes can (and ideally perhaps, "should") be RP'ed and not rolled.  But having the dice & mechanics for some of them is a really-really-really Good Thing.  Plenty of social skills might be on a PC's sheet that aren't within the player...  ;-)

 

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1 hour ago, Matt_E said:

My initial thought is, how does this actually square with Combat Style, in a close analogy?  The problem is, Combat Style brings a bunch of weapons together under a single score, perhaps with a trait.  There are no "weapons" in Social Combat, and there are no traits, so far.  There are Special Effects, if you consider the Spirit Combat table--fine.  

The way things are now, in Social Combat you would get to use your favorite appropriate skill for the Task at hand.  Skills are not weapons, though.  Each has a score for success, but none for damage, so to speak.

Also, what are the "hit points" in Social Combat?  Physical Combat (actual HP) and Spirit Combat (MP, or Tenacity) have their tallies; for Social Combat, would this be based on CHA, as suggested in M-SPACE?

How would all of this interact with, or replace, the Task mechanic for conflict resolution?

This requires a bit more careful thought, it seems to me.  It would be lovely and elegant to have a single, overarching approach to Combat in Mythras, with consistent, unified concepts and mechanics.  Based on the OP, it seems like we could end up with one approach for Physical Combat, one for Spirit Combat, and still one more for Social Combat...which is what we have now, actually, when you think about it...

 

I disagree on a lack of weapons. Logical argument, insinuation, hysterical reactions, all kinds of stuff can manipulate the conversation and win your point. Indeed, I've spent the better part of this weekend marshaling my own social combat weapons for a meeting for the next two days.

also, you all might be interested in https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?794830-What-is-the-Runequest-Mythras-system-focus/page3 and specifically https://docs.google.com/document/d/1B2ea0q2dqipcW7zc2aQI4gANmq0l5_MUKSNO4FZsMQU/edit in which Loz chimes in.

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1 hour ago, g33k said:

Sure, many social scenes can (and ideally perhaps, "should") be RP'ed and not rolled.  But having the dice & mechanics for some of them is a really-really-really Good Thing.  Plenty of social skills might be on a PC's sheet that aren't within the player...  ;-)

All that makes sense to me. In real life I'm not prone to haggle with shop keepers... but in an RPG I'll give it a go, and roll my PC's Bargain skill for backup.
That's fine.
What I don't want or need is to turn that shopping experience into a mini-game, with multiple contested rolls and special effects. Perhaps, if I were a stable boy attempting to seduce the Queen it might be interesting to add a bit more detail, give and take, but, in most games, that sort of thing is out of the ordinary. I've never found myself wishing there was a 'combat' system for it.
The vast majority of the time I'm good with a solid attempt at roleplay and a skill roll.

Maybe I fear that the presence of such rules will lead to people not wanting to attempt the roleplay aspect at all. Similar to some I've played with who reach for the dice and declare they're rolling for a skill before they describe their actions, before the GM even asks for a roll, because they find refuge in the mechanics.
IMO RPGs are a social experience. If a person doesn't enjoy roleplaying, speaking in character, perhaps they would enjoy wargames or boardgames instead.

Edited by Simlasa
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What I don't want or need is to turn that shopping experience into a mini-game, with multiple contested rolls and special effects. Perhaps, if I were a stable boy attempting to seduce the Queen it might be interesting to add a bit more detail, give and take, that sort of thing is out of the ordinary.
The vast majority of the time I'm good with a solid attempt at roleplay and a skill roll.

We completely agree with you. If we publish Social Conflict rules, they'll be entirely optional and won't be baked into the core of the game.

Quote

Maybe I fear that the presence of such rules will lead to people not wanting to attempt the roleplay aspect at all. Similar to some I've played with who reach for the dice and declare they're rolling for a skill before the GM even asks for it, because they find refuge in the mechanics... but RPGs are a social experience. If a person doesn't enjoy roleplaying, speaking in character, perhaps they would enjoy wargames or boardgames instead.

I think some people will react in such a way, but as with any rules for a roleplaying game, it's up to the GM to moderate when, where and how they are used. Some people love the open-ended nature of RPGs but simply aren't comfortable going too far down the dramatic path or even speaking in character; I'd never suggest to any of them (and I play with a couple of such people at the moment) that they go and focus on wargames or boardgames. There's definitely no harm in having such mechanics, and having the right guidance on when to deploy them. It's not that far removed from the mass combat rules in Ships & Shield Walls; we could say "And if you want pitched battles, there's this great set of 15mm rules published by..." Instead, we offer them a compatible set of abstracted rules to simulate this particular occurrence.

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Like the combat rules are perfect for solo play, so too would social combat rules serve someone well in a situation where all he had to do was just abstract the process of winning over a crowd, or a stubborn guard and so on.

And no, I literally cannot read minds. I just woke up from a dream, in total unawareness that someone else was putting the idea through its paces in real life.

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19 minutes ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

There's definitely no harm in having such mechanics, and having the right guidance on when to deploy them.

Excellent use of whatever social skills you were employing there... talked me right down off my ledge of concern and dismay.
Thanks!

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6 hours ago, Raleel said:

I disagree on a lack of weapons. Logical argument, insinuation, hysterical reactions, all kinds of stuff can manipulate the conversation and win your point. Indeed, I've spent the better part of this weekend marshaling my own social combat weapons for a meeting for the next two days.
 

Sorry, I didn't mean to say that there are or should be or could be no "weapons" in Social Combat.  I agree that there are.  All I meant was that presently there is no formal equivalent in the system, or in the proposed alternative.  There should be, though.  As I said, though, finding these formal equivalents for "real" combat aspects like weapons, HP, CS traits, and SEs will take some consideration.

Good luck at your meeting!

 

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8 hours ago, Simlasa said:

 

Maybe I just don't want that much 'game' in my games...

You might though, if regular combat isn't that common, then the social combat part fills the same role.

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These Social Conflict ideas have been kicking around for some time, especially since they were highlighted many years ago in games like HeroQuest where any notable trait can be used for simple or extended rolls, for almost any situation involving some form of competition.

I have not had time to fully read my RD100 book yet, but I think it may suggest social conflict rolls, I'm unsure 

"Social Hit Points" would probably be based on (POW+CHA)/2, thats a no brainer. They would need a more appropriate name, something like "Conviction Points" spring to mind.

It could possibly work well for things like oration and debate, such as Pompey and Caesar verbally duking it out in the Roman Senate.

Another idea could involve an entertainer trying to impress an audience through showmanship, although I'm not sure how you would handle 'group social hit points'.

For things like fast talking I would definately prefer if the player character actually roleplays the verbatim, and the GM assigns modifiers to their Fast Talk/Influence roll based on the verbatim - there are some circumstances that you definately don't want to replace 'role-play' with 'roll-play'.

 

Edited by Mankcam
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16 minutes ago, dragoner said:

You might though, if regular combat isn't that common, then the social combat part fills the same role.

That's why I mentioned that it might be a satisfying focus in a game about Japanese schoolgirls, in a setting that doesn't already have them fighting with guns/knives/magic.

It still not something I find inherently interesting, but I can see it's use in certain situations that are important in-game... not for every social interaction, not as a prophylactic against GM fiat.

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7 hours ago, Raleel said:

I disagree on a lack of weapons. Logical argument, insinuation, hysterical reactions, all kinds of stuff can manipulate the conversation and win your point. Indeed, I've spent the better part of this weekend marshaling my own social combat weapons for a meeting for the next two days.

also, you all might be interested in https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?794830-What-is-the-Runequest-Mythras-system-focus/page3 and specifically https://docs.google.com/document/d/1B2ea0q2dqipcW7zc2aQI4gANmq0l5_MUKSNO4FZsMQU/edit in which Loz chimes in.

I agree 100% with Raleel. In my runeblog I talked recently about handling non-violent conflicts in RQ and other d100 games. Then I found Deliverator's rules for Social Combat in Mythras and I thought they can be ver useful in campaigns like Mythic Rome, but also from time to time in your usual fantasy campaign, when the PCs have to convince the dwarven kingdom not to go to war, for example. So I figure that, if TDM eventually releases a supplement like Ships & Shieldwalls for social combat, the rules will be very close to the ones designed by Deliverator. :)

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7 hours ago, Raleel said:

I disagree on a lack of weapons. Logical argument, insinuation, hysterical reactions, all kinds of stuff can manipulate the conversation and win your point. Indeed, I've spent the better part of this weekend marshaling my own social combat weapons for a meeting for the next two days.
 

Some examples of social 'weapons' might be Know Embarrassing Fact, Understand Political Situation or Have Read Your Psychological Profile.

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Burning Wheel has a social combat mechanic that is fairly robust. Duel of Wits is pretty good at simulating the combat of a social encounter whilst still encouraging the players to think and act and play their characters.

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1 hour ago, HorusArisen said:

Burning Wheel has a social combat mechanic that is fairly robust. Duel of Wits is pretty good at simulating the combat of a social encounter whilst still encouraging the players to think and act and play their characters.

I think that's what the ones I posted are based on, and why they exist. Someone played burning wheel and wanted the same thing in mythras.

a ships and shield walls like supplement with social combat in it would be excellent, actually. Good format for it, in my novice view. 

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That would be a good format, small optional supplementals like that are a great way to add expansion to a game without making it mandatory in some players minds.

Edited by HorusArisen
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