Social Skills

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Jay Belarpin
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Social Skills

Post by Jay Belarpin » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:23 am

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Final Decision Space
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Whew. *gets ready to jump down the rabbit hole*

The underlying -pun intended- issue is the line between Player lying and Character lying. Without even getting into the age old game of telephone, most NPCs aren't lying though they're as capable of it as you are. It's typically they have either different information than you OR they perceive things from a different perspective. Which naturally varies from how the person portraying it may know or see. For instance, I'm the GM and *I* have knowledge of things various NPCs never would know. Additionally I keep pretty detailed notes of things your characters do and say including to/with who that is. Which works to shape the world around which your characters are portrayed in.

Yes, that literally means your characters actions impact the world around them, sometimes in immediate and very measurable ways like a certain Enclave town *ahem Kron*. Also in other ways, difficult ways like how your characters and events are viewed and the complex layers of information, including fact fiction and alternative facts. There is already a skill to assist you in deciphering this information, Follow the Money.

I'm not very fond of the options presented in this discussion. Perhaps especially due to it having not really being discussed very broadly. Which is not to say we cannot find common ground. Merely that it's more in the vein with the idea of what you're conveying. As opposed to stritctly those options.

We'll make it known that you can occasionally ask about the vibe someones jibe gives you. Additionally, when I write NPCs I'll include whether or not they're a good liar for their RP traits. This way, the person NPCing them can portray a common tell in the event the actual character is lying and not good at it.
As all of this happened, Bill poured a drink.

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jazzman831
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Re: Social Skills

Post by jazzman831 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:07 am

I know the idea of social skills (something like barter, bluff, diplomacy) have been discussed before and haven't really gotten anywhere, and for good reason, considering Role Playing is literally (in) the name of the game. So certain types of should probably never be made into karma-bought skills. Any action that relies on your own acting skill (much like how shooting at or hitting someone relies on your own physical combat skills) should not have a way to avoid by saying "I use my use of X".

But we do have skills that affect physical combat. I don't have to be dexterous to use Dodge, nor a good shot to use Head Shot. While I think social interaction should be based primarily on your own acting skills, there is something to be said for skills in the situation where you have to rely on someone else's acting abilities. If I want to be a good liar I need to work on my poker face; if I want to tell if someone else is lying it largely depends on how good an actor the other person is. If they aren't very good, I might misinterpret their intentions at no fault of my own.

Thus I submit the skill Intuition (at first I thought Sense Motive, but that might cut too close to others' intellectual property). Tashia and I have been talking about it, and we haven't fully fleshed it out yet, but we think it should have the following features:
  • You can take multiple buys of Intuition; each one allows you one use per day. In addition, it tells you your ability of intuition
  • Each use of the skill allows you to ask a GM how you feel about a given NPC interaction. The answer should be short and simple: you don't trust him, he seems truthful, he's got ulterior motives, you don't get a feeling either way, etc
  • There should be a counter to this skill. I don't think it should be another skill, but an idea we tossed around was total Karma (with bonuses for certain races or alien abilities)
I admit, as I write this, I'm realizing that it faces the fundamental problem all social skills have: this doesn't necessarily need to be a skill. It could just be baked into the rules that you can always ask how your character feels about a certain situation.

My lingering questions are:
  1. Is there a place for an Intuition skill, or should it simply be made more explicit in the rules that your character can already do this?
  2. How (if at all) should this be adjudicated against other PCs? I don't love the idea of a PC vs NPC-only skill.
  3. Are there other situations where a player relies on an NPC's acting skills, in which another social skill would be appropriate?
-Jebediah the Proud

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jazzman831
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Re: Social Skills

Post by jazzman831 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:02 am

So I was thinking about it again in the car, and I remembered an idea that would make it a little less "but you can already do that"-y. Instead of the skill allowing you to get a general feel for the situation, it allows you to ask the NPC if he/she is lying. Then the NPC must respond with Yes, Most Likely, You Aren't Sure, Probably Not, or No. The rest works as I described above.
-Jebediah the Proud

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Ander
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Re: Social Skills

Post by Ander » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:29 am

As the person who has brought up social skills in the past (although more in reference to Spells in my case) I'm pretty much in favor of the idea so long as they don't detract from the roleplay aspects of the game. As you mentioned, it should be in the same vein as headshot or dodge, providing a skill that you as a player can't necessarily reproduce.

So, in order:
1.) Both. I think it should be made clear that this sort of question can be asked anyway, AND I think there is a place for a skill that might get you better or different answers to those questions.
2.) As with so many things in LARP, I think PvP usage of such a skill would just have to operate on the honor system. Personally, I welcome it. I would be more than happy to provide an entirely honest yet annoyingly cryptic hint to anyone who cares to try. ;)
3.) I'm sure there must be, but I can't think of any right now. I'll give it some thought and post back.

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