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Topics - Tarkisflux

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The social non-combat encounter seems a bit at odds with the later skill games, and it’s been bothering me since I read them all together in the 1.0 release. They both use tokens and you’re supposed to be able to drop from the skill games into the social encounter, but the generalized social encounters make checks against their opponent’s DC instead of the player’s DC and don’t use the tokens in the same [Action round] bidding way. And the offer / counter offer design seems a lot like the demand / concession setup of Negotiation. Roll that all together and I feel like they form a non-unified mechanic for achieving social goals, where you need to know two different sets of rules and behaviors instead of just different options. It’s not a big problem, certainly, but it’s one that bugs me.

While it would be pretty easy to rewrite the skill games to use opponent/terrain DCs like the general social encounter setup, it results in larger token pools to play with for one side or the other and is a lot more work. Instead of doing all of that, I just want to bring this outlier into the fold instead. And so I present this generic social encounter replacement:

Persuasion

Type of skill game: Bidding
Number of Skills Chosen per Action Round: 2
Skill List: Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Perception.

The Persuasion skill game is useful for modeling informal social requests, favors, and the general building of relationships between groups. It works as a lighter version of, and gateway into, the Interrogation and Negotiation skill games.

Each Persuasion skill game begins with a request, a goal that the initiating side wishes to see completed. This may be as simple as convincing the other party to pick up the tab for dinner or a more involved cessation of hostilities. Requests are generally categorized as moderately inconvenient or significantly inconvenient, the exact meaning must be determined on a party by party basis. A party always has the option of not participating in the Persuasion skill game, which has the same effect as ending the game by walking away (described below).

The actions in Persuasion offer various methods of getting the other party to agree the request, or for the other party refusing or acquiescing in various ways. More complicated interactions including counteroffers or forced compliance can be achieved with actions that change the skill game to Negotiation or Interrogation, with both parties bringing their tokens into the new game.

Unlike other social skill games, the persuasion skill game can occur simultaneously with combat; the most common requests are “surrender” or “stop the violence”. An [Action round] is resolved after every 2 combat [rounds] in these instances. If one side is obviously ‘winning’ the encounter, they gain an additional 1 token per [Action round]. Some bidding actions are not available in combat, however.

Persuasion ends when the request is resolved, when neither party makes a bid and the request is effectively dropped, or when one party walks away. Resolving the request or electing to not bid ends the skill game on an amicable note, and both parties retain any unspent tokens which  may be spent on future Persuasion, Interrogation, or Negotiation attempts. Walking away does not end the skill game on a friendly note. The party that walked away loses any tokens acquired during this game, as well as half of any retained from previous games. It also sends a message to the other party that simple persuasion is unlikely to succeed in the future.

Persuasion Action Set

Because the goals of the parties are potentially different, the actions available to each are different.

Wheedle: After making a request, a bit of coaxing may be all that is needed to get it granted. Wheedling is a good tactic if you expect your request to be granted, but a poor one if you expect it to be refused.

Grant: When a request is made of you, you can simply agree to it. This represents an acceptance of the request regardless of how inconvenient or dangerous it might be, and regardless of the opposing bid.

Refuse: Refusing to do a thing is a time honored tradition that dates back centuries, whether you actually don’t want to do it or just want to make them work for it.

Lay Groundwork: Either side may spend time laying groundwork for a later move. This time is often spent detailing or questions whether the request is fair or necessary for either side. When you bid this option, you may immediately roll an additional skill for the [Action round] from among those not selected for the round. If one of your checks is high enough, you gain a token as normal. The Lay Groundwork action is intended only to delay resolution, leaving time to allow additional tokens to be gathered and spent on a later action. The bid of the opposing side may still resolve the request if their bid was high enough compared to yours, however.

Interrogate: If the requesting side is capable of forcing an answer from the other party, physically, politically, or otherwise, they may move a normal Persuasion to an Interrogation. This option is not available in open combat, though it may be available after a foe has been subdued. If you fail to win the bid but otherwise meet the force conditions, you may still force the target into interrogation. If you elect to do so, both your bid and the target’s bid are invalidated for the [Action round], and your target gains 1 token. Token pools from the Persuasion are carried over into the Interrogation.
 
Negotiate: Either side may move a normal Persuasion into the back-and-forth of a more thorough Negotiation in an attempt to reach a more nuanced resolution of the request. Negotiate is a good option if you expect your request to be refused, but may be a poor one if you expect it to be granted. This option is not available in open combat, though it may immediately follow a cessation of hostilities or be introduced during a lull in the fight. If you fail to win the bid, you may still force the target into interrogation. If you elect to do so, both your bid and the target’s bid are invalidated for the [Action round] and you must grant them a significant concession but non-dangerous concession. Token pools from the Persuasion are carried over into the Negotiation.

Persuasion Action Table

Wheedle
Bid was won by 1: You successfully convince the target to honor a moderately inconvenient but mutually beneficial request over their refusal or delaying. If the request is significantly inconvenient or somewhat dangerous, you instead recover 1 token for use later.
Bid was won by 2: You convince the target to honor either a moderately inconvenient if somewhat dangerous request or a significantly inconvenient but mutually beneficial request. If the request is significantly inconvenient but not mutually beneficial, you instead recover 2 tokens for use later.
Bid was won by 3: You convince the target to honor a significantly inconvenient but not dangerous request. If the request is significantly inconvenient and somewhat dangerous, you instead recover 3 tokens for use later.
Bid was won by 4: You convince the target to honor a significantly inconvenient and somewhat dangerous request.

Refuse
Bid was won by 1: You successfully refuse a significantly inconvenient and dangerous request without social fallout. The requester loses this Persuasion and may not continue trying to get you to honor the request, though they may try again after a period of reflection so long as they offer a significant concession. If the request is not significantly inconvenient or not somewhat dangerous, you instead recover 1 token for use later.
Bid was won by 2: You successfully refuse a significantly inconvenient and non-beneficial request without social fallout. The requester loses this Persuasion and may not continue trying to get you to honor the request, though they may try again after a period of reflection so long as they offer a significant concession. If the request is not significantly inconvenient or is mutually beneficial, you instead recover 2 tokens for use later.
Bid was won by 3: You successfully refuse a significantly inconvenient request or a moderately inconvenient but somewhat dangerous request without social fallout. The requester loses this Persuasion and may not continue trying to get you to honor the request, though they may try again after a period of reflection so long as they offer a significant concession. If the request is not significantly inconvenient or not somewhat dangerous, you instead recover 3 tokens for use later.
Bid was won by 4: You successfully refuse any request without social fallout. The requester loses this Persuasion and may not continue trying to get you to honor the request, though they may try again after a period of reflection so long as they offer a significant concession.

Lay Groundwork
Bid was won by 3+: You recover any tokens that would cause you to win the bid by more than 2.

Interrogate
Bid was won by 1-4: In addition to forcing the other party into an interrogation, you also gain the benefit of a successful Extract action as if you had won the bid by the same number of points.

Negotiate
Bid was won by 1-4: In addition to bringing the other party into a negotiation, you also gain the benefit of a successful Demand action as if you had won the bid by the same number of points.



Supporting Adjustments

Couple of other things need to be tweaked to finish things up:
  • Unspent tokens in the Interrogation and Negotiation games go into a pool to be used later. This results in a bit more tracking maybe, but you could already drop from those games down to the social encounter game and save those tokens anyway.
  • The Interrogation and Negotiation games could get a bid action to drop into the Persuasion game, but I’m not sure it’s necessary or more useful than the “just agree to change over” model they have now.
  • The Lay Groundwork action could be added to the Negotiation game as a lighter form of Hornswaggle.
  • There’s also some feats that would need adjusting, but I don’t want to worry about that without getting this out for commentary first.

Anyway, that’s what I got. I’m not as deep into Legend as some of you are, and I’d appreciate a second opinion on the merits before I put more work in. Getting it out has been nice though.

Edit: And yes, this may have been a colossal waste of my time for <reasons>. I'm pretty ok with that, though I would appreciate it if you could fill those reasons in if you believe it to be the case. ;-)

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