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Hyper-Man

The myth of Hero

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In reality, what happens in courtrooms is rarely exciting. Law & Order HERO would be a game of cinematic courtroom drama.

 

So finding the bit of evidence needed to exonerate your client (or convict the perpetrator) would be critical. That takes it back into the investigation side of things, which is more familiar territory. (Not to mention protecting witnesses!)

 

Of course, the courtroom side would exist as well. Cross-examining witnesses would be essential - but strategies for doing so would generally be prepared beforehand.

 

I suspect the courtroom side would have to be roleplay heavy, or else it would just be rollplay.

 

HERO could handle it. The core mechanics are already in place.

 

But I'd still have the bad guys trying to tamper with the jury, threaten witnesses and so on.

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Many action/adventure movies or shows have had a tense courtroom drama at some point. Most Sci Fi shows have had tense medical issues, and time-limited scientific research, create drama in the show How do we duplicate that in the game?

 

A potentially interesting question that nobody in the hobby cares about the answer to. This is evidenced by the fact that virtually no commercial RPG has ever bothered to deliver detailed mechanics for these activities. It's not that the source material doesn't have these dramatic elements, it's that nobody cares to re-enact them with complicated, time-consuming game mechanics. Yet the fact that we routinely do that for combat is part of a long history of re-enacting combat in games to excruciating detail.

 

(Please note that when I say "nobody", it is shorthand for "not enough people to motivate the marketplace". I don't mean it literally.)

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I think the closest I saw to this notion of taking non-combat scenes of high drama and working up more detailed mechanics for them was in Torg. That game encouraged the practice of taking any activity that would normally be resolved by a single skill roll and expanding it into several phases of activity, each requiring its own resolution and time scale.

 

So, for example, disarming a ticking time bomb with a single Demolitions roll would be replaced by a string of activities, each potentially requiring a separate skill roll, with consequences for failed rolls (e.g., a set-back that sent you back to an earlier stage of the activity to start over again, but with the original time constraints still applying...that timer is still counting down after all).

 

It was a neat idea, but there was no formal methodology for constructing the multi-stage versions of any given activity, and there was no book full of "action recipes" that gave you the multiple stages already pre-built. Consequently, this idea never migrated out of Torg and into the mainstream of RPG game mechanics.

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I'd look at how SF games like Traveller handle things like starship repair. While they wouldn't necessarily have things formally tied into a dramatic framework, there would probably be examples of chains of necessary tasks.

 

Post-Apocalyptic games might consider recovery and use of relic technology.

 

Games like Pendragon and Prince Valiant (Pendragon's "little brother") were very interested in social interactions.

 

Call of Cthulhu was strong on research and investigation, given the lethality of combat in that game.

 

For courtroom drama, though, I would treat it as an extension of investigation/mystery games.

 

The first step would be to establish the facts. (Investigation, research, social interaction).

Research (for legal precedents and the like) would follow.

(Assuming a Hollywood US legal system), negotiation - plea bargaining and so on.

And finally, a "performance" stage - the actual courtroom itself. Presenting the facts, discrediting the opposing arguments, cross-examining witnesses, and persuading the jury.

 

You might also include factors like who is the judge, jury selection (and tampering), witness protection and so on.

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A potentially interesting question that nobody in the hobby cares about the answer to. This is evidenced by the fact that virtually no commercial RPG has ever bothered to deliver detailed mechanics for these activities. It's not that the source material doesn't have these dramatic elements, it's that nobody cares to re-enact them with complicated, time-consuming game mechanics. Yet the fact that we routinely do that for combat is part of a long history of re-enacting combat in games to excruciating detail.

Chicken or the egg? I've certainly heard gamers suggest they would like to recreate those kinds of scenarios, but they gave up because it always fell flat on its face in actual play. Why? Because we have no workable system for it - so back to combat where we have a workable system.

 

Gamma World had those flowcharts for figuring out ancient tech. The challenge is those formal methodologies, and no one has come up with the system for it yet.

 

As to whether there is a market, if you polled 100 people in 1957 on the market for paying for bottled water, what do you think the percentages would look like? Now we have guys selling bottled air. There's markets for pretty surprising things.

 

I wonder how much combat will feature in this upcoming release (warning:  those with weak constitutions may wish to refrain from clicking!]

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A potentially interesting question that nobody in the hobby cares about the answer to. This is evidenced by the fact that virtually no commercial RPG has ever bothered to deliver detailed mechanics for these activities. It's not that the source material doesn't have these dramatic elements, it's that nobody cares to re-enact them with complicated, time-consuming game mechanics. Yet the fact that we routinely do that for combat is part of a long history of re-enacting combat in games to excruciating detail.

IMO things like courtroom drama, medical drama, et. al. are best handled as roleplaying opportunities, punctuated with appropriate Skill/Char Rolls. You don't need detailed mechanics for "I talk to this NPC" - you just talk to them. Combat OTOH is harder for most of us to simulate without injuring ourselves/others/the cat/the furniture, so game mechanics are all we have.

 

One of the (few) interesting things in 4e D&D was that they introduced mechanics for resolving Skill Challenges. When I first read them I thought they sounded perfect for handling exactly the sort of noncombat situations you mention. But after trying them a couple times, we decided they basically eliminated roleplaying in favor of a long series of dice rolls. Yawn.

 

(warning:  those with weak constitutions may wish to refrain from clicking!]

Thanks for the warning.

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GUMSHOE handles that part very well. In fact I treat a lot of skills/deduction/etc from Hero as GUMSHOE Investigative Skills in play. Base skill equals 1 Investigative Point. Each paid +1 is +1 IP. Works out great without needing to change anything in chargen. The doing part of the skill I left unchanged.

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Chicken or the egg? I've certainly heard gamers suggest they would like to recreate those kinds of scenarios, but they gave up because it always fell flat on its face in actual play. Why? Because we have no workable system for it - so back to combat where we have a workable system.

 

Right, well that's where everyone's latent desire to be a game designer comes into play. Rather than wait for someone else to design a workable system, they should design a workable system themselves. Necessity is supposed to be the mother of invention, and given the number of RPGs that most gamers have played, there is certainly no lack of existing systems to draw ideas from.

 

I'm more inclined to believe that the demand for such mechanics has been too low to fuel the necessary development. Noone's homebrew system (for this sort of thing) has ever garnered enough critical praise to become a standard. You gotta figure that if you put enough gamers on the task, eventually something successful (and enduring) will emerge, but in 40 years nothing has.

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Right, well that's where everyone's latent desire to be a game designer comes into play. Rather than wait for someone else to design a workable system, they should design a workable system themselves. Necessity is supposed to be the mother of invention, and given the number of RPGs that most gamers have played, there is certainly no lack of existing systems to draw ideas from.

 

I'm more inclined to believe that the demand for such mechanics has been too low to fuel the necessary development. Noone's homebrew system (for this sort of thing) has ever garnered enough critical praise to become a standard. You gotta figure that if you put enough gamers on the task, eventually something successful (and enduring) will emerge, but in 40 years nothing has.

 

 

I'm confused, though. There are many RPGs out there that have systems for handling social conflict and the like. Or are you restricting it to some subset of RPGs -- ones that make the top 10 list of best sellers, or something like that?

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I imagine that if you gathered statistics for the number of games that have detailed non-combat action resolution mechanics (detailed to the same level as the combat mechanics of most RPGs), they would be in the bottom 0.1% of games sold and played throughout the history of the hobby. They would be such statistical outliers as to not even count.

 

Remember, the question essentially was, "Why does only combat get highly detailed resolution mechanics? Why not other activities?" So we're looking for mechanics with the same degree of "crunch" as (Champions) combat. Mechanics so detailed that non-combat scenes take as long as combat scenes to resolve. (The underlying assumption here seems to be that complexity and time-to-resolve are signifiers of dramatic significance.)

 

For all intents and purposes, such mechanics don't exist. I think that is rather self-evident. The real question is why don't they exist (to any meaningful degree)? I've given what I think the answer is to that.

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Ah, I see where you're coming from.

 

You're right, I'm not aware of any RPGs that treat social conflict with the same amount of crunch as Champions combat. And all the games that do offer more-than-usual crunch in the social arena most likely have not sold as many rulebooks as Champions/Hero alone...in aggregate.

 

The nice thing is that the Advanced Players' Guide offers some additional crunch for the social stuff, for those who sometimes have a use for it (such as myself).

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O things like courtroom drama, medical drama, et. al. are best handled as roleplaying opportunities, punctuated with appropriate Skill/Char Rolls. You don't need detailed mechanics for "I talk to this NPC" - you just talk to them. Combat OTOH is harder for most of us to simulate without injuring ourselves/others/the cat/the furniture, so game mechanics are all we have.

The problem with this approach is that it does not allow players to "play any character they can imagine". I can imagine a brilliant Starfleet Medical Officer, a suave James Bond superspy, a ladies' man who can charm himself into the Mother Superior's boudoir, a Perry Mason-eque lawyer and a martial artist whose hands are deadly weapons.

 

But I myself am none of these things. I play RPGs to place myself in a cinematic, heroic role outside my real life capabilities. "Just role play it" means I can play the Martial Artist, but none of the others. Meanwhile, a smooth talking player can build a Martial Artist equivalent to my own, and get all the benefits of the other character types simply by glib talking.

 

My characters should have skills and abilities I lack (if they pay for them)and lack skills I have (if they don't pay for them).

 

One of the (few) interesting things in 4e D&D was that they introduced mechanics for resolving Skill Challenges. When I first read them I thought they sounded perfect for handling exactly the sort of noncombat situations you mention. But after trying them a couple times, we decided they basically eliminated roleplaying in favor of a long series of dice rolls. Yawn.

To me, that also describes combat if no attempt is made to role play. "I swing - do I hit?" YES "13 damage" HE FALLS "move to the next opponent" THEY ARE ALL DOWN "Look for treasure". The key, IMO is to have balance of both "role playing" and "game".

 

 

Right, well that's where everyone's latent desire to be a game designer comes into play. Rather than wait for someone else to design a workable system, they should design a workable system themselves. Necessity is supposed to be the mother of invention, and given the number of RPGs that most gamers have played, there is certainly no lack of existing systems to draw ideas from.

 

I'm more inclined to believe that the demand for such mechanics has been too low to fuel the necessary development. Noone's homebrew system (for this sort of thing) has ever garnered enough critical praise to become a standard. You gotta figure that if you put enough gamers on the task, eventually something successful (and enduring) will emerge, but in 40 years nothing has.

I'm not sold on the "infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters" theory. However, the reality is that nothing has ever emerged to really handle these challenges well, at least in my experience. But I stopped reading many new games a long time ago.

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The problem with this approach is that it does not allow players to "play any character they can imagine". I can imagine a brilliant Starfleet Medical Officer, a suave James Bond superspy, a ladies' man who can charm himself into the Mother Superior's boudoir, a Perry Mason-eque lawyer and a martial artist whose hands are deadly weapons.

 

But I myself am none of these things. I play RPGs to place myself in a cinematic, heroic role outside my real life capabilities. "Just role play it" means I can play the Martial Artist, but none of the others. Meanwhile, a smooth talking player can build a Martial Artist equivalent to my own, and get all the benefits of the other character types simply by glib talking.

 

My characters should have skills and abilities I lack (if they pay for them)and lack skills I have (if they don't pay for them).

 

 

To me, that also describes combat if no attempt is made to role play. "I swing - do I hit?" YES "13 damage" HE FALLS "move to the next opponent" THEY ARE ALL DOWN "Look for treasure". The key, IMO is to have balance of both "role playing" and "game".

 

 

 

I'm not sold on the "infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters" theory. However, the reality is that nothing has ever emerged to really handle these challenges well, at least in my experience. But I stopped reading many new games a long time ago.

I think that one of the problems has often been that social skill systems are generally mired in the idea of "I do this roll, this happens to this person", whereas often, there are conflicting social things happening at the same time, each having an influence.

 

To actually systematize it, one needs to not view each act as a single thing. If treated like combat, an argument is not one roll, but a series of points and counter-points, rhetorical methods, and outright browbeating.

 

I've actually been putting quite a lot of thought to this for a while now. It also comes into play in inventions, investigations, etc. There is a tendency to allow one roll to solve too much, ending that entire part of the game. Or to allow players who, in life, are more social, to outperform players whose characters should, by their build, have great influence in the area in question, but in-game have little opportunity to have more than an occasional roll with it, because one roll is all it takes.

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For example, the social player who has a character of no notable social skill often drives things, when, in fact, many NPCs could very easily ignore them even when the player is right or the approach WOULD work for a CHARACTER with stronger social skills.

 

In fact, that could be an in-game joke. Tom's always right, but no one listens to him. Florence has to repeat what he says before we can get anywhere. And even Florence didn't used to listen to him.

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The problem with this approach is that it does not allow players to "play any character they can imagine". I can imagine a brilliant Starfleet Medical Officer, a suave James Bond superspy, a ladies' man who can charm himself into the Mother Superior's boudoir, a Perry Mason-eque lawyer and a martial artist whose hands are deadly weapons.

 

But I myself am none of these things. I play RPGs to place myself in a cinematic, heroic role outside my real life capabilities. "Just role play it" means I can play the Martial Artist, but none of the others. Meanwhile, a smooth talking player can build a Martial Artist equivalent to my own, and get all the benefits of the other character types simply by glib talking.

That's a totally valid point of course. The way we generally handle that is by using healthy doses of "...but my character says that way cooler than I did." Essentially the player comes up with the general approach, but the character's stats (and the dice) determine how effective it is. Or conversely, Skills like Deduction are great for when the player is stumped and needs to play the "My character is smarter/cooler than I am" card.

 

To me, that also describes combat if no attempt is made to role play. "I swing - do I hit?" YES "13 damage" HE FALLS "move to the next opponent" THEY ARE ALL DOWN "Look for treasure". The key, IMO is to have balance of both "role playing" and "game".

Too true, and I much prefer to see combat RPed out as well. But again, with combat we have little choice but to rely heavily on mechanics because we can't usually act it out.* With interaction skills, we can at least provide the basic framework for the conversation.

 

* I did actually run a game once where one of the players was a fencer, and he wanted to physically act out the sword fights and use that to inform/modify the dice rolls. It was entertaining, but not something I've ever had an urge to revisit.

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Too true, and I much prefer to see combat RPed out as well. But again, with combat we have little choice but to rely heavily on mechanics because we can't usually act it out.* With interaction skills, we can at least provide the basic framework for the conversation.

 

* I did actually run a game once where one of the players was a fencer, and he wanted to physically act out the sword fights and use that to inform/modify the dice rolls. It was entertaining, but not something I've ever had an urge to revisit.

I think we can treat both similarly.

 

In combat, I can ask for more than "I use my Blast spell on Orc #3", perhaps "I invoke the Wrath of the Flame Lords to smite the Orc closing in from behind my stalwart warrior comrade". In social interaction, I can ask for more than "I try to Charm her", expecting some actual mock phrasing (and maybe the best I get is "Perhaps Milady would like to retire somewhere more relaxing - I have heard you are a patron in the Arts. Perhaps we could visit my chambers and I will show you my etchings").

 

Now, my character can target the Orc much better than I can, or maybe that fencer's character actually has much less skill and expertise than his player does. And my character may be a lot more suave than I am, or perhaps he's actually spent little or nothing on interaction skills and can only mutter "Hey, sweetcheeks, howzabout you and me goes back ta my room and does the horizontal tango?"

 

But as a player, I define what my character attempts to do. His success or failure should be dictated by his skills, not mine - for better or for worse. If I can get a +3 bonus to entice Her Ladyship into my boudoir by my own smooth talking (or earn a -3 penalty for coming off like a creep), then a +3 bonus to hit for great fencing skill (or a -3 penalty when I trip over my shoelaces) should be equally accepted.

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In principle I agree completely.

 

However, one area I always found a bit problematic was the Super Intellect character concept. I've seen players buy up INT and Deduction to a point where they could never fail even under extreme conditions, and they expected to be allowed to solve every adventure puzzle with a die roll rather than using their own brains to work out the clues and figure out what to do next.

 

I feel like there needs to be a limit to how disconnected the player should be from the persona they are playing, particularly when it comes to intellectual and social interactions. What little immersion value the game experience provides can be too easily undermined by players who refuse to play "in character" and who expect to do no meaningful roleplaying at all, preferring instead to replace it all with roll-playing. As bigdamnhero points out, this disconnect is necessary for combat because acting that kind of violence out physically is impractical. But the same constraints don't apply to intellectual and social interactions/conflicts/challenges.

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I've frequently had intelligent and charismatic players play characters who were neither, but still expected to be able to roleplay their way out of trouble without a single point spent in interaction skills. As such I don't generally give bonuses or penalties or good or bad roleplaying, and I'll often require rolls even when the player roleplays an interactions well. Precisely because I only want my players to gain the benefits of skill and abilities they paid for, not skills and abilities they possess as players. Sometimes that means that a line such as Hugh's first Charm example doesn't work, even though it sounds like it should, or that a line that sounds stupid and crass, Hugh's second Charm example, works against all expectation. As the GM it is my job to figure out a reason for why the roll's result comes to pass (and fast)... For example: Perhaps the lady in question is used to the guile of courtiers, and appreciates the character's straight forward honesty. If the player rolls well, but roleplays the interaction poorly, we will sometimes take a moment a come to a consensus as a group what the character might have said or done instead.

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However, one area I always found a bit problematic was the Super Intellect character concept. I've seen players buy up INT and Deduction to a point where they could never fail even under extreme conditions, and they expected to be allowed to solve every adventure puzzle with a die roll rather than using their own brains to work out the clues and figure out what to do next.

It seems like that Super Intellect should solve those puzzles without any effort. This sounds, to me, a lot like a player bringing a Telepath to a game focused on mysteries. No, you can't have a Telepath - it renders the challenges trivial. Similarly, you can't have a Super Sherlock Holmes if it will render adventure puzzle challenges trivial.

 

I feel like there needs to be a limit to how disconnected the player should be from the persona they are playing, particularly when it comes to intellectual and social interactions. What little immersion value the game experience provides can be too easily undermined by players who refuse to play "in character" and who expect to do no meaningful roleplaying at all, preferring instead to replace it all with roll-playing. As bigdamnhero points out, this disconnect is necessary for combat because acting that kind of violence out physically is impractical. But the same constraints don't apply to intellectual and social interactions/conflicts/challenges.

 

Then face the issue head on. No INT or PRE skills. No PRE attacks. The GM decides how NPCs will react and the players decide how PCs react. If the players can't figure out the puzzles, neither can the PCs. If the GM cannot outwit the players, his hyper-intelligent villain can't stay one step ahead.

 

To me, when the player who invested no character resources into interaction abilities wants to use his personal abilities to "role play" the situation, he is not role playing. Role playing would be playing the socially inept boor you built, not expecting player skill to replace character lack of skill.

 

I've frequently had intelligent and charismatic players play characters who were neither, but still expected to be able to roleplay their way out of trouble without a single point spent in interaction skills. As such I don't generally give bonuses or penalties or good or bad roleplaying, and I'll often require rolls even when the player roleplays an interactions well. Precisely because I only want my players to gain the benefits of skill and abilities they paid for, not skills and abilities they possess as players.

Bingo! That's not to say one could not get a bonus for doing your homework, and knowing that Milady is a patron of the arts, so your musicianship or etchings are more likely to impress her than your brute strength or tactical genius. THAT could gain a bonus, but it is the same bonus anyone using that approach, with similar artistic skills, would receive.

 

Sometimes that means that a line such as Hugh's first Charm example doesn't work, even though it sounds like it should, or that a line that sounds stupid and crass, Hugh's second Charm example, works against all expectation. As the GM it is my job to figure out a reason for why the roll's result comes to pass (and fast)... For example: Perhaps the lady in question is used to the guile of courtiers, and appreciates the character's straight forward honesty. If the player rolls well, but roleplays the interaction poorly, we will sometimes take a moment a come to a consensus as a group what the character might have said or done instead.

I think the reality is that the two players wrote the speeches for each other's characters. My suave, charming Prince certainly didn't suggest, in the middle of a dinner party, that he and Her Ladyship find a cheap hotel and knock boots. But that boorish peasant with no social skills? He may have done so.

 

I recall an old D&D session where a player made an eloquent speech. The GM asked

 

"What was your character's Charisma again?"

 

SIX.

 

"The Mayor conspicuously pulls out his handkerchief and wipes your saliva from his cheek."

 

WHAT?

 

"Well, clearly your character's deficiency is neither shyness nor lack of speaking skills. I assume he is a spitter."

 

If you want to play a social butterfly, invest character resources into the skills required to be a social butterfly. Or play a horse's hindquarter who THINKS he is cool, suave and sophisticated.

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Then face the issue head on. No INT or PRE skills. No PRE attacks. The GM decides how NPCs will react and the players decide how PCs react. If the players can't figure out the puzzles, neither can the PCs. If the GM cannot outwit the players, his hyper-intelligent villain can't stay one step ahead.

 

I believe there is a reasonable middle ground between allowing game stats and dice rolls to govern everything and having them influence nothing, don't you? That's why I spoke of adopting limits on the disconnect, not adopting a position at any one extreme end of the roleplaying spectrum.

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I believe there is a reasonable middle ground between allowing game stats and dice rolls to govern everything and having them influence nothing, don't you? That's why I spoke of adopting limits on the disconnect, not adopting a position at any one extreme end of the roleplaying spectrum.

Sure. I also believe the influence of game stats and die rolls on combat and non-combat abilities should be similar to identical if we are asking players to choose which of the two they will invest their scarce character building resources in. If you can "role play" your way around having a low INT and PRE, and no social or intellect skills, but you can't "role play" your way around having a low DEX, no agiity skills and no combat abilities, then the players should logically build combat monsters and "role play" around other challenges. Points spent on combat abilities are more valuable than points spent elsewhere under that model.

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But as a player, I define what my character attempts to do. His success or failure should be dictated by his skills, not mine - for better or for worse. If I can get a +3 bonus to entice Her Ladyship into my boudoir by my own smooth talking (or earn a -3 penalty for coming off like a creep), then a +3 bonus to hit for great fencing skill (or a -3 penalty when I trip over my shoelaces) should be equally accepted.

Honestly, I think we're mostly saying the same thing, just saying it differently. I don't feel the need for more mechanical crunchiness in resolving those sorts of encounters, but otherwise it wounds like I'd be very comfortable at your table or vice-versa.

 

As such I don't generally give bonuses or penalties or good or bad roleplaying, and I'll often require rolls even when the player roleplays an interactions well. Precisely because I only want my players to gain the benefits of skill and abilities they paid for, not skills and abilities they possess as players.

I get your point, but I'll always give a bonus for good roleplaying or for the player coming up with a clever idea. Now if you character didn't put points into Charm, you're still starting from an 8- so that +1 may not be enough to make a difference; conversely if  you character has Charm at 16-, that -1 situational penalty might not be a deal-breaker. But there's (almost) always a roll, and there's (almost) always something the player can do to make it better or worse. Just like you can get a +1-2 for coming up with a Surprise Move whether your OCV is 3 or 13.

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Social stats are problematic by their very nature. Does no one listen because the person has a low charisma, or is from peasant class? Both these could be the reason. Some systems parse these two into separate stats, but they are really just one example. I know charming people who cannot get a date. I know clueless imbeciles who can hardly string a sentence together that can.

 

Strength is easily defined. Dexterity, a little more wiggle room. But charisma, or social skills, are almost entirely undefined, which contributes to the difficulty in making them part of anything systematic.

 

To use hero, combat is tied to a host of stats. Social interaction is tied to nowhere as many. Thus, one system is far more systematic than the other.

 

Now, of course, this gets back to what you guys have talked about a bit, how systematic is beneficial while allowing role playing to occur?

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Honestly, I think we're mostly saying the same thing, just saying it differently. I don't feel the need for more mechanical crunchiness in resolving those sorts of encounters, but otherwise it wounds like I'd be very comfortable at your table or vice-versa.

In many games, a lot of crunch in combat and a die roll or two for social interaction works fine. It's about the focus of the game. I could see games where focus is removed from combat, and a different arena needs more detailed rules. But, just lie combat boils down to a lot of rolls using OCV and DCV, we might well have a more granular breakdown of the path from start to win/loss, using the same tools we have now. Or we might have social equivalents of OCV, DCV, STUN, BOD, etc. and relegate combat to simple skill rolls.

 

I get your point, but I'll always give a bonus for good roleplaying or for the player coming up with a clever idea. Now if you character didn't put points into Charm, you're still starting from an 8- so that +1 may not be enough to make a difference; conversely if  you character has Charm at 16-, that -1 situational penalty might not be a deal-breaker. But there's (almost) always a roll, and there's (almost) always something the player can do to make it better or worse. Just like you can get a +1-2 for coming up with a Surprise Move whether your OCV is 3 or 13.

The problem is defining "good role playing". What is my bonus for describing my attacks rather than just saying "Use my Blast". That should be pretty similar to describing my approach to an interaction challenge instead of "Use my Charm on her". Situational modifiers like a surprise move or giving her the flowers she really likes? Again, if it's easy and common to get +2 on that Charm roll, it should be just as easy and common to get +2 on a To Hit roll (or +2 DC on damage).

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