Author Topic: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat  (Read 2373 times)

Offline ChupacabraJohn

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Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« on: December 05, 2013, 09:40:12 PM »
Hey guys,

I'm on a hunt for the best system mechanics for non-combat encounters. Most mainstream games either gloss over social encounters as a single die roll, or have a completely free form system where players are expected to be able to roleplay characters with alien mindsets or far more intelligence/wisdom/charisma than they actually have and everything is up to the DM on how convincing the player (not the characters) is. Does anyone know any games floating around out there that have good and in-depth mechanics for social and other non-combat encounters?
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Offline Atmo

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Re: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 09:45:31 PM »
Fate, as some people said. Never played.

OVA, if you have the time to adjust combat system to social combat system.

Risus. Heh.

Offline ChupacabraJohn

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Re: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 01:37:51 AM »
Isn't fate the system that has social hit points, that's always struck me as very weird. Has anyone played it? Does it actually work well?

I'll look into OVA, I've got plenty of time on my hands.
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Offline veekie

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Re: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 06:40:20 AM »
Social conflict in FATE works in two possible ways. The quick way is simply an Overcome use of a social skill, when the target has no particular reason to object to your request nor counter demand. The complex way is if both parties have something they want out of the exchange.

In the latter case, you handle it exactly like regular combat, your social attack of choice resisted by their defense, with results as mental stress. When you exceed their mental stress track and take them out, they'd have to concede to your demands unless they can reduce mental stress with consequences(which can be considered to be either your pressures at work, or a concession in another area to avoid the main concession).
Unless it's really important you probably would concede after the lowest rank of consequence has been taken by both sides, since the higher consequences put a crimp in your operations for quite a while.
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Offline The_Mormegil

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Re: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2013, 04:15:16 PM »
Social "combat" for Fate works pretty damn well IMO, but it works because of the rest of the framework. Without traits, with all their rules, the consequences system won't ever work. Without the consequences system, "social hp" is pretty stupid and pointless (look at exalted *sigh*). The rest of the social system can be substituted with basically any kind of resolution system, including the classic d20 one (well, busted skill modifiers kinda ruin the fun). On the other hand, adding traits to a game will result in changing it beyond recognition, because suddenly the focus shifts significantly (that's the whole purpose of traits in the first place...). If you have never tried Fate out, I recommend at least reading the core manual. It is an experience, and may change the way you see DMing entirely (or not). Fate is not for everyone, in fact the people that actually play it and like it are very few; but its perspective is very interesting.

Offline linklord231

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Re: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2013, 04:40:47 PM »
I'm a fan of the Duel of Wits in Burning Wheel. It's a good blend of mechanics and RP, with an interesting rock-paper-scissors meta game.
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Offline SolEiji

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Re: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2013, 06:38:45 PM »
I'm a fan of the Duel of Wits in Burning Wheel. It's a good blend of mechanics and RP, with an interesting rock-paper-scissors meta game.

Hmmm, can you go into detail?  Rock paper scissors as a social combat sounds interesting.
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Offline SneeR

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Re: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2013, 12:19:15 AM »
There is always the Diplomacy houserules here.
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Offline linklord231

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Re: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2013, 01:37:58 AM »
I'm a fan of the Duel of Wits in Burning Wheel. It's a good blend of mechanics and RP, with an interesting rock-paper-scissors meta game.

Hmmm, can you go into detail?  Rock paper scissors as a social combat sounds interesting.

Each side starts with a Statement of Purpose - it has to be an affirmative statement, not "I don't want that to happen."  Both sides must agree to the terms before the Duel can start. 
Next you determine your Body of Argument (basically Hit Points for the Duel) by rolling your primary argument skill.  In the RP, you should try to roleplay the use of that skill (no rolling Intimidate, then roleplaying all your points as a silver-tongued devil). 
The Duel itself works like this:  each "exchange" (round) has 3 "volleys" (instances in which you may take an action), and you have to "script" (decide what actions to take) an entire exchange at a time.  You choose from 7 or so actions - Point, Dismiss, Avoid, Obfuscate, Rebuttal, Feint, and Incite.  Point is a basic attack, Dismiss is a powerful attack, but you have to spend the next volley doing nothing afterwards, avoid is a basic defense, obfuscate makes your opponent lose whatever action he had planned, rebuttal is a block+attack, Feint auto-wins vs Rebuttal (and loses to anything else), and Incite makes your opponent lose his next action.  Since you have to script 3 actions at a time, it's very strategic. 

The rock-paper-scissors comes from the way the actions interact.  Feint beats Rebuttal, Avoid and Rebuttal both mitigate Point and Dismiss, Dismiss beats Obfuscate, and so on. 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 01:40:17 AM by linklord231 »
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Offline SolEiji

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Re: Best game/system/mechanics for social combat
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2013, 08:03:06 AM »
I'm a fan of the Duel of Wits in Burning Wheel. It's a good blend of mechanics and RP, with an interesting rock-paper-scissors meta game.

Hmmm, can you go into detail?  Rock paper scissors as a social combat sounds interesting.

Each side starts with a Statement of Purpose - it has to be an affirmative statement, not "I don't want that to happen."  Both sides must agree to the terms before the Duel can start. 
Next you determine your Body of Argument (basically Hit Points for the Duel) by rolling your primary argument skill.  In the RP, you should try to roleplay the use of that skill (no rolling Intimidate, then roleplaying all your points as a silver-tongued devil). 
The Duel itself works like this:  each "exchange" (round) has 3 "volleys" (instances in which you may take an action), and you have to "script" (decide what actions to take) an entire exchange at a time.  You choose from 7 or so actions - Point, Dismiss, Avoid, Obfuscate, Rebuttal, Feint, and Incite.  Point is a basic attack, Dismiss is a powerful attack, but you have to spend the next volley doing nothing afterwards, avoid is a basic defense, obfuscate makes your opponent lose whatever action he had planned, rebuttal is a block+attack, Feint auto-wins vs Rebuttal (and loses to anything else), and Incite makes your opponent lose his next action.  Since you have to script 3 actions at a time, it's very strategic. 

The rock-paper-scissors comes from the way the actions interact.  Feint beats Rebuttal, Avoid and Rebuttal both mitigate Point and Dismiss, Dismiss beats Obfuscate, and so on.

This is similar to what I thought for Steamspace (specifically, the idea of "morale hp"), but didn't think of making a rock papers scissors aspect.  I shall absorb some of these ideas and see what works.
Mudada.