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9 hours ago, Simlasa said:

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.

Japanese Schoolkids could still just be hack and slash: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Royale

Tho' if everything is GM fiat, then what kind of game is that? Everyone adds their part to the narrative for a nice story?

One thing social combat rules do is to prevent social stats from becoming dump stats. You can do it as "everything is a task", esp with skill systems, and the is sort of how it being done in a OSR clone of a World of Darkness game I'm player in. Never have had combat and it has been going for over a year, most everything is just task rolls, on following clues and doing research. Personally I'd like to see it different/ more innovative than melee. Social ability tracks heavily in reality also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence

This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:

  1. Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one's own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
  2. Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
  3. Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
  4. Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

... or something similar.

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For me at least, it isn't a matter of controlling the GM, but rather leveling the playing field a bit for those of us that aren't naturally charismatic or don't have the mental energy that day for extensive roleplaying, but still want to play say, a diplomat or con-man. One thing to remember is that roleplaying is the one thing in RPGs that someone can be bad at and it affects their character. I'm no bodybuilder and aside from some boxing, I don't really know much about fighting with a weapon. But I can play a swordsman that swings on chandeliers and fences no problem. I don't know how to pick locks, but I can play a thief fairly easily. But if you aren't good with words, or you had a hard day at work and just can't seem to find your character's voice, then it gets difficult to play more charismatic characters. I work at a restaurant with other cooks, and we aren't exactly people friendly, so when I run D&D for my co-workers, I tend to softball it a bit with rping.

Things get really dicey too when people are reprimanded for 'bad roleplaying' without knowing why it was bad. I've been told by many players that they don't roleplay because a GM just uses it to punish them, so it gets difficult to get them to open up to NPCs and the world around them. A good thing to remember is that fear of public speaking is huge, young and old, and that is essentially what roleplaying is. So I think something to help with that can make the game more fun for those that just simply aren't good at roleplaying.

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22 hours ago, Mankcam said:

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'.

 

Yes, but my point is that the mechanics of any game, Mythras included, are what set it apart.  Otherwise there would be one RPG out there.  The question is not whether anyone has ever addressed the idea before, or how they did it in some other system.  Rather, it is how to integrate new rules most suitably into the system at hand.  Bolting on existing rules could work, but we are looking for elegance and seamlessness.  That's the difference between Michelangelo's David and Frankenstein's Monster.

For example:

"thats a no brainer"  --  Well, is it?  Are you sure it would not be (CHA+INT)/2, or simply CHA?  If we're going by M-SPACE, there is lots of freedom.

"It could possibly work well for things like oration and debate"  -- There is already a Professional skill called Orate in Mythras.  What becomes of that?  There is also the slightly different Standard skill Influence.

"an entertainer trying to impress an audience"  --  There are already Professional skills such as Craft (Storyteller) (if you think that should be different than Orate), Play (Instrument), and Act, and the Standard skill Sing.  How do they square with the proposed Social Combat system?

Yes, some prefer roleplaying and some prefer an explicit game mechanic.  That has already been addressed in prior posts.  You favor the former--fine.

Again, my point is that game design is real work, if you want a real result.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Matt_E said:

Yes, but my point is that the mechanics of any game, Mythras included, are what set it apart.  Otherwise there would be one RPG out there.  The question is not whether anyone has ever addressed the idea before, or how they did it in some other system.  Rather, it is how to integrate new rules most suitably into the system at hand.  Bolting on existing rules could work, but we are looking for elegance and seamlessness.  That's the difference between Michelangelo's David and Frankenstein's Monster.

For example:

"thats a no brainer"  --  Well, is it?  Are you sure it would not be (CHA+INT)/2, or simply CHA?  If we're going by M-SPACE, there is lots of freedom.

"It could possibly work well for things like oration and debate"  -- There is already a Professional skill called Orate in Mythras.  What becomes of that?  There is also the slightly different Standard skill Influence.

"an entertainer trying to impress an audience"  --  There are already Professional skills such as Craft (Storyteller) (if you think that should be different than Orate), Play (Instrument), and Act, and the Standard skill Sing.  How do they square with the proposed Social Combat system?

Yes, some prefer roleplaying and some prefer an explicit game mechanic.  That has already been addressed in prior posts.  You favor the former--fine.

Again, my point is that game design is real work, if you want a real 

I'm not sure we are in any disagreeance.

For example, I know there are Orate, Play Intrument, and Act skills in Mythras, but they are just single rolls.

My point was that some skills like this could actually work quite well as an extended roll/social conflict mechanic. 

Just not all skills. Influence, as an example - sure, it could work with Social Conflict, but in my experience its more fun actually roleplaying it verbatim. But everyone's game differs.

I was just chiming in on the banter, agreeing that Social Conflict rules could work well for some situations and less so for others. 

Social Hit Points is an interesting concept. I think it is reasonable calculating them as (CHA+POW)/2 if it represents a concept like 'Conviction'.

The more I think about it, the more I also think there will be situations where it could represent other concepts, like Logic for instance (perhaps just INT), or 'Bearing' (just CHA), who knows? Yes I agree that there may be many different ways to calculate Social Hit Points.

Social Combat has been raised a few times in these forums a while ago, although it may have been more general BRP. Much of those discussions may still be relevant here. However I do like the Mythras-specific take on this,   some of the 'social combat styles' that Alex Greene suggested in the original post have alot of flavour.

 

Edited by Mankcam

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Social combat is a bit harder to generalize. Who do you score points with? Your direct opponent, or the crowd of onlookers, or the judge/king/whoever overseeing the exchange? In combat, you score against the character you target. In an appeal before court, you need to score points with the jury, as does the opposing barrister. On the other hand, if you want to convince or befuddle your opposition, you need to get to change their intention.

Edited by Joerg

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Most of you who are still thinking of social combat as being like physical combat, with hit points and damage, are not thinking of the bigger picture. Social combat is about winning a person over, about making them see past the cognitive dissonance of doing something that could be counter to their natures, and getting what you want while ensuring that you give the other guy the bare minimum of what they want. So it is really like a gradual steering of the other guy towards consent, or to a state where they believe that you are telling the truth. So it's not so much "social hit points," maybe, and more "resistance points," which could easily be something like one-tenth your Willpower score. Each net success deducts one Resistance from the opponent. Critical Success, it's two Resistance points and they start to warm up to you. If they win, it's your Resistance that takes a hit; two points, if they score a crit.

Special Effects could include Make Good First Impression, Wrap Them Around Your Little Finger and Compel Surrender (requires brandishing some sort of weapon at close range). These could have further effects, such as making your next social skill roll a grade easier, or making theirs a grade harder, and so on.

Negotiation: You're trying to secure a deal that allows the nomads access through the lands that have just been bought up by your Rival's House. Your Rival does not want to honour a treaty that has allowed them access along that path for more than six thousand years. Ink on a page is worth more than spit in the hand. You have to win them over, by offering things the nomads can give: they already have their own laws and customs of offering gifts of hides and animal dung (it makes fields fertile) to farmers whose lands they must cross, so this House is no different to any other landowner to them. It doesn't matter that it is personal to you.

Securing An Alliance: Your greatest Enemy lies before you, his armies broken and scattered, his resources gone. He awaits the sword stroke that will sever his head from his body, and his soul from all worldly concern. Instead, you offer him back his life. He still doesn't trust you, but he is reminded that the other option is always the sword.

Fast Talk: "Honestly, Investigator, they literally just fell through a hole in my roof from the apartment above. I can show you the hole they fell through, and you can see it's fresh. I have never seen those bodies before in my life. And no, I still can't explain why my daggers are sticking out of their chests ... though ... I did get burgled, and my knives got stolen the other day. Would I lie to you?'

Obtaining Access To A Grimoire: You know that the Chantry won't let you just walk in and read the Grimoire. They know they won't just let some Zorridan-come-Lately just walk in off the street and look at their greatest secrets. But the Chantry's janitor is always popping in and out of that sanctum sanctorum of theirs to polish the brass, and yes, they sold off the gold ten years ago and it's nothing but brass in there, so how about another drink and we can talk about taking off for the day and letting someone else go in wearing that tabard and work uniform? Here's a full day's pay to sweeten the deal. Make that two ..

Seduction: This one, you're going to have to imagine for yourselves, you dirty stopouts. :D

Edited by Alex Greene
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Most of you who are still thinking of social combat as being like physical combat, with hit points and damage, are not thinking of the bigger picture. Social combat is about winning a person over

While this is certainly true, any mechanics we consider need to follow certain design conventions established in other parts of the rules. If we design a social conflict system, replete with styles of conflict, special effects and so on, we also need to follow other combat-related conventions to maintain consistency and simplicity. For example, Spirit Combat closely follows traditional combat, as does mass combat. Damage is used against a form of hit points, and damage in these two cases is based on the rating in a particular skill. Hit points differ in their source, but we still use them either as indicators for other factors, such as  morale weakening, or simply as a handy shorthand to see who is winning and the degree of harm sustained by the other party. Introducing new damage concepts or ways of tracking such things breaks the underlying design philosophy of the rules and requires additional explanation, possibly new rules, and potentially complicates things to a point where the system starts to break down. It also requires more play testing too.

A crucial part of such rules will be taking time to frame the objectives of the conflict. These should be specific and their nature will determine a number of other factors, such as the skills used by aggressor and defender, and the source of the hit point measurement.

We're carefully considering all this stuff, but we will be careful to maintain sympathy and parity with Mythras's existing internal logic to ensure coherence and playability. 

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5 hours ago, Alex Greene said:

Most of you who are still thinking of social combat as being like physical combat, with hit points and damage, are not thinking of the bigger picture.

I'm trying to stay positive/not become totally negative here, but it's becoming difficult...so, this is the last I will contribute to this thread.

The quoted sentence at first seems merely to be a disingenuous argument ("moving the goalposts"), but shortly is revealed to be a complete canard, as the following sentences proceed to describe precisely the same ideas of hit points, damage, etc., just using different words--!  What, then, is the "bigger picture", exactly?  The OP was the one who brought up "designing a game", so I am dumbfounded by the claim that I have somehow missed the point in focusing on mechanics (especially when the alleged point is then described in essentially the same terms that I would use in my own suggestions).

I should probably just go back to publishing some content...

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Physical combat is presented as this entity whose goal is to kill some targets. Adventurers go in, they see the orcs or goblins, they get into slaughter. No quarter given; no quarter expected. It ends with dead and injured everywhere. That's it. The combat is its own sweet thing - kill or be killed. Slaughter, mark off hit points, narrate the cut and thrust, heal the injured afterwards.

What if the combat has a purpose beyond "Hey ho, here's the bad guys, let's line up and roll initiative"? The bad guys come up and tell you that they've got a message - don't try and interfere with the Snake Cult operating out of the warehouse district. The combat ensues when they try and emphasise their point with a beatdown. Suddenly, your guys have combat with a purpose - stay alive and respond in kind, possibly even turn the tables on the bad guys and send them scurrying home to their snake temple with a note tied to their behinds reading "You're next" in explosive runes.

The bigger picture is that combat with a purpose fits in with the narrative. Not even brute animals fight for no reason at all: they fight to defend their young and their nest, or they attack because they are hungry or pain from an infected wound has addled their brains, or because you are in their territory. Or because they are just plain stubborn and evil, like horses and camels, the evil jerks.

Combat is currently presented in many roleplaying games in the style of a video game, where the scene is only completed, and victory is only assured, by the complete extinction of every single bad guy in the scene. But if there is a goal to the combat, it is possible to turn physical combat into a small subset of social combat. Combatants in social combat want something. The other guy, not necessarily a bad guy, wants something else that stops the protagonists getting what they want. If they can get it through charm, through deceit, through magic, through Oratory, through an entertaining interpretive dance routine or simply through trade, then that can be a better approach than going in with swords drawn all the time.

And if the protagonists know what their goal is, they can achieve those goals with victory conditions other than complete annihilation of the other party; alternatives such as driving the antagonists off, buying them off, scaring them away, conning them into abandoning their posts or simply asking them nicely.

That's where Resistance would come in. Each Resistance point is like one door to open between where things stand now and a victory for your side. Each Resistance point removed represents one more obstacle in the way of what you want removed, and the antagonist brought that much closer to seeing things your way.

So it's all about stating what you want, and what you think the antagonists should do, and engaging in social or physical combat to achieve that goal, whether it's "I want to seduce the Duchess and her daughter" or "I want to stop the guard from alerting the castle to my presence, and the best way is to apply Palsy to his head."

Edited by Alex Greene

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Physical combat is presented as this entity whose goal is to kill some targets. Adventurers go in, they see the orcs or goblins, they get into slaughter. No quarter given; no quarter expected. It ends with dead and injured everywhere. That's it. The combat is its own sweet thing - kill or be killed. Slaughter, mark off hit points, narrate the cut and thrust, heal the injured afterwards.

Except that, Mythras combat isn't.

The whole system, and a considerable amount of the advice given throughout Mythras about combat (and even including combat with animals), is concerned with options where a foe can be incapacitated - often without injury - rather than being butchered outright, or take options to withdraw, retreat or flee. Many Mythras fights don't end in slaughter or amputated limbs everywhere; the whole system is geared towards the Action Point economy and the application of the Special Effects (many of which are non-lethal in nature, or designed to create a non-lethal situation) to achieve victory. It isn't geared towards Hit Point attrition.

Now, in other games, combat may be (and very often is) framed in precisely the terms you suggest, although I'd argue that if every single combat is always about utterly butchering the foe, it says more about the attitude of the players and how the GM manages them than the combat system itself.

However, we're discussing Mythras here, so it's worth reiterating that the system is consciously geared towards offering many alternatives to inevitable carnage, both mechanically and anecdotally. Social conflict will follow a similar ethos.

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1 hour ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

the system is consciously geared towards offering many alternatives to inevitable carnage, both mechanically and anecdotally. Social conflict will follow a similar ethos.

I'm sold on this. I never thought this thread would reach two pages. I honestly thought it'd die a death, zero views, zero replies, sinking to the bottom. It was indeed a weird dream that I'd had, and I'm very interested, in the fullness of time, to see what turns up.

And you do realise that if the next book offers social combat rules, I'll buy the book they appear in, sight unseen, virtually on the spot. That's brand loyalty for you.

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2 hours ago, Matt_E said:

 

Just for the record everyone, I was only thinking with the Combat system analogy because the original arguement was framed as 'Social Combat'.

So one would assume that it would replicate such with a form of 'combat style' and 'hit points', retrapped to portray a social context rather than a physical one.

So I am not sure where any confusion comes from

Otherwise that whole idea is really just down to a bunch of extended rolls, which many of us already do, using milestons as a base, like the extended crafting rules.

Some good ideas in this thread, but also some confusion as well. I also might also bow out of this one, to keep it on track.

Edited by Mankcam

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And you do realise that if the next book offers social combat rules, I'll buy the book they appear in, sight unseen, virtually on the spot. That's brand loyalty for you.

It certainly is, and much appreciated, but we won't be sliding social conflict rules into either of the core rules sets (Mythras or Imperative). Our most likely route will be to release it as a short, concise supplement, ala Ships & Shield Walls or a free PDF download. More likely the former than the latter, because there are a couple of other subjects that we've been toying with that would make for a nice Companion volume.

Let me sum a few things up...

  • Social conflict rules are a good idea; we've been thinking about them for a while
  • They need to be properly framed and appropriate advice needs to be given for their use
  • They're not for everyone, so they should remain optional
  • They can follow the conventions of traditional combat, with obvious adjustments
  • Anything we release for Mythras will be in a separate volume of its own, rather than being baked into the core rules

And on this note, let's close the topic.

:)
 

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On 5/7/2017 at 8:33 PM, Simlasa said:

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...

To a certain extent, but that penalises shy players or those who don't like talking much.

RuneQuest and heroQuest, to a certain extent, are skill-based systems, where the skills determine how good you are at doing something. I might be an eloquent speaker in real life but have a PC with Communication 30%, why should real-life eloquence mean that i always succeed in social situations?

What i tend to do is to use the skills but to award a bonus, or penalty, based on how the situation is roleplayed. So, a player might roll a fast talk when talking to Bigclub the Giant in SnakePipe Hollow, howerver if if he also called him F**kface, which happened in one of the scenarios I was in, the roll makes little difference.

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5 hours ago, soltakss said:

To a certain extent, but that penalises shy players or those who don't like talking much.

I think you misunderstand my stance.

I am fine with the Player attempting a bit of roleplay, then falling back on a skill (Bargain) or a stat (APP) to determine outcome. Simple and fast and good enough for most any situation. I'm not god's gift to character acting either... but I do think the Player should at least give it a shot, interact a bit.
No need for an entire social combat system for dealing with the common stuff and I prefer to get as much of that stuff done with verbal interaction as is reasonable.

But I will stand by my previous notion that if someone at the table is really THAT shy, and isn't going to even attempt to come out of their shell... why play such a social game that's just going to foreground that?
There are plenty of nice RPG-ish boardgames than will let them just roll dice for everything. It's not like boardgames are somehow 'lesser'... but they generally don't require much acting/talking (except for party games and stuff like Diplomacy).

Edited by Simlasa

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Sometimes even though they are shy, they are making the effort to try and break out. Or they just want to be around their friends. Eventually, they grow into their own in a game and find their character's voice so to speak, but you can't really force it.

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On 5/10/2017 at 12:15 AM, lawrence.whitaker said:

Let me sum a few things up...

  • Social conflict rules are a good idea; we've been thinking about them for a while
  • They need to be properly framed and appropriate advice needs to be given for their use
  • They're not for everyone, so they should remain optional
  • They can follow the conventions of traditional combat, with obvious adjustments
  • Anything we release for Mythras will be in a separate volume of its own, rather than being baked into the core rules

I'm very much looking forward to reading these rules. I think they can be a great addition to Mythras!  \(^o^)/

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On 5/11/2017 at 4:47 PM, Simlasa said:

But I will stand by my previous notion that if someone at the table is really THAT shy, and isn't going to even attempt to come out of their shell... why play such a social game that's just going to foreground that?
There are plenty of nice RPG-ish boardgames than will let them just roll dice for everything. It's not like boardgames are somehow 'lesser'... but they generally don't require much acting/talking (except for party games and stuff like Diplomacy).

Some people just aren't that comfortable "inhabiting" their character, speaking in that voice, etc.

I always prefer that players do so; encourage it, etc; prefer GMs who use different voices & body-language for different NPC/GMPC's.  But I don't insist.

Like you, I experience a "why even...?" about a player who roleplays by saying stuff like "my guy will approach the bard and use my Guile skill to chat him up without him knowing I'm trying to figure out which nobles are flaunting extra wealth this season...<rolls dice>"   But I've learned different people like/play different stuff, and have stopped trying to make them have fun my way...  I just shrug.

 

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