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Resolving conflict and achieving outcomes without combat

Another thing D&D, and many other games, lack is a way to use social skills, empathy, and other non-tangibles, during a fight. Which is odd, considering how much talking happens in a fight in fiction.
I differ from some other DMs that I know in that I try to make the outcomes of social skills very transparent. So I'll say something like "if you succeed on this, the enemy will stop attacking but still won't let you through" or "if you succeed on this the enemy will still attack but won't try to kill you" and so on.

I agree that D&D doesn't have a structure for it, so I make a real effort to put one in, especially for this group!
 

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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
The resolution system always has the same target numbers. Mixed success has a floor of 6or 7 (it’s been like a year since I played a pbta game. We barely games this last year), and total success has a floor of around 10.
But does what is attempted have an effect on what's needed? Presumably talking Sauron into surrendering by writing him a nice letter is different than trying to talk Faramir into letting you continue on to Mordor in spite of his instructions?
 


Grendel_Khan

Adventurer
Another thread has had me thinking about this topic. What sorts of things can be achieved via non-combat, social or near-social means?

In the film Battleship Potemkin (SPOILER ALERT for a nearly 100-year old film), at the climax the mutineers find themselves confronted by the Tsarist fleet. How do they survive this? They raise the red flag and sail between the lines of the other vessels - whose sailors refuse to fire, and who cheer in solidarity!

My impression is that this sort of thing is not all that common in RPGing. Am I correct?
The usual people are going to jump on me for this, but I think game systems can be a big part of combat as an expectation. If the only buttons a game gives you are for combat, you're incentivized to push those. If social is just one big vague button with no subsystems, it's not nearly as game-y and appealing (in general).
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I differ from some other DMs that I know in that I try to make the outcomes of social skills very transparent. So I'll say something like "if you succeed on this, the enemy will stop attacking but still won't let you through" or "if you succeed on this the enemy will still attack but won't try to kill you" and so on.

I agree that D&D doesn't have a structure for it, so I make a real effort to put one in, especially for this group!
Yeah I also add a little structure to social stuff, and make consequences clear as possible. I also often use the structure of the more dynamic downtime activities for skill challenges, including complications.
But does what is attempted have an effect on what's needed? Presumably talking Sauron into surrendering by writing him a nice letter is different than trying to talk Faramir into letting you continue on to Mordor in spite of his instructions?
Depends on the specific game, but there might be a penalty, or you may just not be able to do the thing if it’s outside the realm of possibility completely.
It mostly rings true to me due to how much of the D&D rules are (and have always been) about doing damage, and how little of them are about doing anything else in a predictable way.
This is a sentiment I see around here, and sometimes on Twitter, but rarely IRL. That may just be that I have curated my gaming network toward people who share my biases and preferences, but I don’t think I’ve exerted that much control outside of my immediate group.

For most of us, D&D has tighter rules for those things which benefit most from tight rules. I don’t want tight rules for social conflict unless I’m playing a game that really focuses on that as a primary play element, in which case I prefer an optional variant rule there.

Id prefer physical skill challenges be a little more crunchy than they are in 5e, but social challenges are mostly there, they just need maybe more skills, or some explicit “when you use this skill in a fight, XYZ” rules.

IOW, for a lot of gamers, the number of rules don’t tell them what the nature of the game is, they nature of the rules and what they can do with them does. D&D says, and I see new players clock this immediately all the time, “you can try anything, and the rules will get out of your way, but combat needs balance and resolution that isn’t a conversation, and so we have specified it in a fair amount of detail.”

The goal seems to be not to make a combat game, but to make a game where the rules only come up when they are helpful. Obviously this isn’t great for folks who get freeze from too openended a system, and so there should be optional skill rules that go into more detail, but “more rules text is about combat” doesn’t make the game “kill things take their stuff”.
 

cmad1977

Hero
Since I try hard to only roll initiative when blood is ANSOLUTELY going to be spilled my players find ways to resolve conflicts without violence.


And sometimes after they work through a few options and I ask what they want to do they say
“Roll initiative”.
 

Let’s see. Last 3 games:

WEDNESDAY (Blades in the Dark)

Social Score - Objective was to convince the Inkrakes (The Duskvol Times) to “correct” (in this case the Crew was fabricating a story…the Times had the correct story) the story they were about to run with in the morning about the Crew’s (a cabby front for the Smugglers they are) role in the ever-escalating Labor Union War in Coalridge and the recent calamity with one of the primary gangs.

This Social Conflict was resolved via Linked Clocks; “Establish Your Bonafides” (which involved parrying social charges that they weren’t in the Cabby Labor Union and lack of tax records and pulling out sworn affadavits against eyewitness testimony etc) and then “Write the Story” (weave a compelling yarn that fit with known facts).

This was successful but ended explosively after an Action Roll Complication yielded a sniper attack on the Editor in Chief (which was actually meant for the Crew…but she doesn’t need to know that).

THURSDAY (Dungeon World)

The week prior ended with a young girl being rescued from near death due to a prolonged exposure-based execution at the hands of her brutal badlands tribe (because she is barren).

1st conflict was to save her flagging body from its wounds handled via a Tug of War Clock (started at 3, 6 she survives and 0 she dies).

2nd conflict was to inspire her to live on and join the group (it turns out the girl is a Sprit-speaker) where I am playing the girl’s “despair/will to die.” This was another Tug of War 4 start, 8 Win, 0 Lose. You have to gain initiative to move the clock forward. You gain it on a 10+ move and lose it on a 6-. Think volleyball.

4th conflict was a Perilous Journey which yielded a Discovery; a tarpit where they would undergo a ritual to speak to the elemental spirits of the tarpit for a baptism to hide them from the divinations (and reprisals) of the Primordial they are journeying to confront. The Fighter’s Heirloom Weapon sucks the souls of the defeated. Among those souls was a former elemental of this very tarpit which was corrupted by the primordial and turned into a pyroclastic elemental which attacks the PC’s and their clan in their river delta home prior. The Fighter called it forth from his weapon to cleanse it with a successful move, thereby empowering the Druid’s Elemental Mastery move to call upon the elements of the tarpit to imbue them.

FRIDAY (Blades in the Dark)

Social Score - Objective is to get a moneyed investor for patronage of them securing a wing of the Charterhall University’s Museum of Antiquities. One of their contacts led them to The Veil; a high-society den of serious vice of a supernatural persuasion. Their mark was their with his mistress and it was sort of a 90s rave club vibe but everyone was possessed by spirits! Things went south when the mistress’s spirit was one of the PC’s prior kills (an accepted Devil’s Bargain).

Anyway, I’m running long here. There was a Racing Clock involving “Sprit Adjuring vs Security Alerted.” Tons of shenanigans happened here (spirit adjured and into the Whisper’s Spirit Bottle for later > security was indeed alerted as Clock filled at same time > the mistress had a heart attack and almost died - Fortune Roll > they were able to find an exit and beat feet with the possessed would-be-patron via the Hound’s mind link and working with her spirit dog outside the club > the patron was possessed by a laborer that offered to give up the Patron if they swore to avenge its death and take it to its family…the Wraiths killed him for seeing something he shouldn’t have seen).


None of this includes the micro-conflicts in Information Gathering phases of the two Blades in the Dark games.

The only actual physical conflict was getting the journalists out of the room as the ghost sniper shot up the conference room and then getting everyone to the Ghost-Proof Panic Room of the Duskvol Times. Then Dungeon World saw an actual combat with a giant “Ankhegopillar”; slain. And the adjuring of the spirit in the girl saw 1 Harm to the face of the hound (Resisted down to 1) as they dealt with the thrashing of the spirit within the mistress of the would-be-patron.
 
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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Let’s see. Last 3 games:

WEDNESDAY (Blades in the Dark)

Social Score - Objective was to convince the Inkrakes (The Duskvol Times) to “correct” (in this case the Crew was fabricating a story…the Times had the correct story) the story they were about to run with in the morning about the Crew’s (a cabby front for the Smugglers they are) role in the ever-escalating Labor Union War in Coalridge and the recent calamity with one of the primary gangs.

This Social Conflict was resolved via Linked Clocks; “Establish Your Bonafides” (which involved parrying social charges that they weren’t in the Cabby Labor Union and lack of tax records and pulling out sworn affadavits against eyewitness testimony etc) and then “Write the Story” (weave a compelling yarn that fit with known facts).

This was successful but ended explosively after an Action Roll Complication yielded a sniper attack on the Editor in Chief (which was actually meant for the Crew…but she doesn’t need to know that).

THURSDAY (Dungeon World)

The week prior ended with a young girl being rescued from near death due to a prolonged exposure-based execution at the hands of her brutal badlands tribe (because she is barren).

1st conflict was to save her flagging body from its wounds handled via a Tug of War Clock (started at 3, 6 she survives and 0 she dies).

2nd conflict was to inspire her to live on and join the group (it turns out the girl is a Sprit-speaker) where I am playing the girl’s “despair/will to die.” This was another Tug of War 4 start, 8 Win, 0 Lose. You have to gain initiative to move the clock forward. You gain it on a 10+ move and lose it on a 6-. Think volleyball.

4th conflict was a Perilous Journey which yielded a Discovery; a tarpit where they would undergo a ritual to speak to the elemental spirits of the tarpit for a baptism to hide them from the divinations (and reprisals) of the Primordial they are journeying to confront. The Fighter’s Heirloom Weapon sucks the souls of the defeated. Among those souls was a former elemental of this very tarpit which was corrupted by the primordial and turned into a pyroclastic elemental which attacks the PC’s and their clan in their river delta home prior. The Fighter called it forth from his weapon to cleanse it with a successful move, thereby empowering the Druid’s Elemental Mastery move to call upon the elements of the tarpit to imbue them.

FRIDAY (Blades in the Dark)

Social Score - Objective is to get a moneyed investor for patronage of them securing a wing of the Charterhall University’s Museum of Antiquities. One of their contacts led them to The Veil; a high-society den of serious vice of a supernatural persuasion. Their mark was their with his mistress and it was sort of a 90 rave club vibe but everyone was possessed by spirits! Things went south when the mistress’s spirit was one of the PC’s prior kills (an accepted Devil’s Bargain).

Anyway, I’m running long here. There was a Racing Clock involving “Sprit Adjuring vs Security Alerted.” Tons of shenanigans happened here (spirit adjusted and into the Whisper’s Spirit Bottle for later > security was indeed alerted as Clock filled at same time > the mistress had a heart attack and almost died - Fortune Roll > they were able to find an exit and beat feet with the possessed would-be-patron via the Hound’s mind link and working with her spirit dog outside the club > the patron was possessed by a laborer that offered to give up the Patron if they swore to avenge its death and take it to its family…the Wraiths killed him for seeing something he shouldn’t have seen).


None of this includes the micro-conflicts in Information Gathering phases of the two Blades in the Dark games.

The only actual physical conflict was getting the journalists out of the room as the ghost sniper shot up the conference room and then getting everyone to the Ghost-Proof Panic Room of the Duskvol Times. Then Dungeon World saw an actual combat with a giant “Ankhegopillar”; slain. And the adjuring of the spirit in the girl saw 1 Harm to the face of the hound (Resisted down to 1) as they dealt with the thrashing of the spirit within the mistress of the would-be-patron.
To reinforce the OP's point with the first game listed here (I'm a player), the first clock was dangerously close to failing, with the Editor continually slamming our very criminal enterprise with evidence of it's criminality while we tried to pretend to be legit and innocent "wrong place right time" good Samaritans. This further escalated when one of the characters tried to act offended about a slight, and failed, letting the Editor really get up on a strong horse to pretty much satisfy herself that we were what she thought and she could run the story. She was on a roll, things looked bad, and my character went all out with a hail mary pass, trying to head everything off by basically pounding the table ("If the law is on your side, pound the law, if the facts on on your side, pound the facts, if neither are on your side, pound the table"). I effectively initiated a walkout, stating that she's obvious more interested in proving her assumptions about honest working men so she could slander them than finding out what's actually happening in the labor conflict -- and how various upstanding members of Coalridge are involved in some very shady things. Our third player immediately jumped in with an assist, suggesting that, since the Editor already knows he's a member of an upstanding family in Duskvol, that running with her current story would mean he'd be very keen to follow up on the slander charges. The goal here was to play on her curiosity that we had some real dirt -- that there were serious targets for expose rather than just another small time gang trying to make a move, and assisted by the threat of legal action.

Okay, so, stepping back, here, NONE of this was established -- there was no stated curiosity by the Editor, nor was the threat of legal action understood to be actually threatening. The mechanics here would establish this. And, according to those mechanics, the results would have been catastrophic on a failure. Luckily, with the added die from the assist, this turned out to be a critical success (2 sixes rolled) and the Editor backed down and exposed a deep curiosity in our story, which lead to the closing of this clock (the 5 ticks from the critical did the trick) and the opening of the next.

So, what happened her is that a deeply suspicious NPC was converted to being interested and much less suspicious through an action. This is exactly what the OP is asking for -- how do these things work. What's notable in Blades is that this action is mediated by the current fiction and the mechanics of the game only -- the GM has no presumption of NPC beliefs, traits, or thinking other than what's been established in play. There are other systems that do this, but it's very much contrasted by the D&D-alike approach where the likelihood of this working is entirely up to the GM, and what they think is possible.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
To reinforce the OP's point with the first game listed here (I'm a player), the first clock was dangerously close to failing, with the Editor continually slamming our very criminal enterprise with evidence of it's criminality while we tried to pretend to be legit and innocent "wrong place right time" good Samaritans. This further escalated when one of the characters tried to act offended about a slight, and failed, letting the Editor really get up on a strong horse to pretty much satisfy herself that we were what she thought and she could run the story. She was on a roll, things looked bad, and my character went all out with a hail mary pass, trying to head everything off by basically pounding the table ("If the law is on your side, pound the law, if the facts on on your side, pound the facts, if neither are on your side, pound the table"). I effectively initiated a walkout, stating that she's obvious more interested in proving her assumptions about honest working men so she could slander them than finding out what's actually happening in the labor conflict -- and how various upstanding members of Coalridge are involved in some very shady things. Our third player immediately jumped in with an assist, suggesting that, since the Editor already knows he's a member of an upstanding family in Duskvol, that running with her current story would mean he'd be very keen to follow up on the slander charges. The goal here was to play on her curiosity that we had some real dirt -- that there were serious targets for expose rather than just another small time gang trying to make a move, and assisted by the threat of legal action.

Okay, so, stepping back, here, NONE of this was established -- there was no stated curiosity by the Editor, nor was the threat of legal action understood to be actually threatening. The mechanics here would establish this. And, according to those mechanics, the results would have been catastrophic on a failure. Luckily, with the added die from the assist, this turned out to be a critical success (2 sixes rolled) and the Editor backed down and exposed a deep curiosity in our story, which lead to the closing of this clock (the 5 ticks from the critical did the trick) and the opening of the next.

So, what happened her is that a deeply suspicious NPC was converted to being interested and much less suspicious through an action. This is exactly what the OP is asking for -- how do these things work. What's notable in Blades is that this action is mediated by the current fiction and the mechanics of the game only -- the GM has no presumption of NPC beliefs, traits, or thinking other than what's been established in play. There are other systems that do this, but it's very much contrasted by the D&D-alike approach where the likelihood of this working is entirely up to the GM, and what they think is possible.

I'm not familiar with the system. What determines what a critical success roll is (is it always two sizes?) and what the critical success roll accomplishes? How does it differ if I try to convince Sauron to do something vs trying to convince a lesser being?
 


I'm not familiar with the system. What determines what a critical success roll is (is it always two sizes?) and what the critical success roll accomplishes? How does it differ if I try to convince Sauron to do something vs trying to convince a lesser being?

Blades action resolution is as follows:

Position (Desperate > Risky > Controlled) governs threat level/consequences.

Effect (Limited > Standard > Great) governs what you can accomplish.

1-3 = Failure
4/5 = Success w/ Complication
6 = Success
6 * 2 = Critical Success

————-

If the players were to be in a social conflict with a Supernatural entity like Sauron, several things would intersect:

1) He would be Magnitude 6 (so tops). If your Crew Tier + other stuff that would amplify your relative Tier doesn’t equal 6, then you’re Position is going to be Desperate (meaning consequences on a 1-3 are going to be catastrophic and on a 4-5, they will be significant). Effect is Factored with several features (Scale, Potency, Quality) so you can uptier in more ways, but you’d still start as Limited Effect unless you can marshal Factors.

Players can make Setup moves and have abilities that allow them to increase Position or Effect. One can be negotiated/traded for the other as well (assuming you’re not sitting at Desperate/Limited).

2) Supernatural means that engaging him is going to create a Supernatural Complication right off the bat (think Ancient Dragon Fear Aura).

You can Resist Complications (which means throttling them back by 1 or 2 phases) via Prowess (if physical), Resolve (if mental/will), or Insight (if deception/understanding) at the risk of Stress (subtract 6 from your highest roll…Crit = clear 1 Stress or get a boon). Stress is the engine of amping stuff up/marshaling resources.

3) Sauron would be a Master level Threat. In D&D terms, this would mean he is like a 4e Solo. His action economy is amped up big time and I'm just straight inflicting Consequence, no action roll to deal with it. You can Resist the Complication though. And because the PCs are likely in a Desperate Position much/most of the time, these Consequences would be significant.

4) Tug of War Clocks or Linked Clocks are how you resolve complex social conflict. Or it might be both. It might be a Mission Clock to even open up the Tug of War Clock to convince Sauron of whatever.

The Clock setup really depends upon the context of the situation overall and the specifics of what you want and what Sauron doesn't want to give up.

In Blades, the only way a Crew would undergo something like this is if (a) they either (i) had means to shut down (2) entirely (this could be gear they acquired via spending Downtime Activities or it could be through PC Special Abilities) and (ii) if they were at least a Tier 4 Crew (MUCH MORE LIKELY a Tier 5 Crew...this is endgame).

The Stress going around to make Setup moves to amplify Effect and/or downthrottle Position and to Resist Complications would be huge. 9 Stress and you're out of a Score and you endure a Trauma (4 and your character is retired). PCs often go into Scores with 1-2 Stress. Getting improved Effect increases your Ticks of Clocks on successful moves. Having better Position decreases the Ticks of Clocks against you when you endure a Consequence. Inevitably, a PC would use a Flashback (which is 0-2 Stress and then an Action Roll to resolve) which opens up their move-space during a Score. A PC would likely accept a Devil's Bargain (which gives them +1d on a move for some sudden or looming thematic complication that they'll have to spend Downtime or a Score to resolve) at some point.

It is going to take significantly skilled play and marshalling everything you've got to win.

I've run 5 Social Scores against +1 or +2 Magnitude (above Crew Tier) Master Threat Demons (one was a Split Score w/ Occult to set up - summon - and Social to parley). Success rate has been 40 % thus far or 2/5. Even on the successes though, the downstream effects perturb play (both the Setting and the Crews + Allies + Enemies machinations) dramatically.

ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY PARLEY WITH DEMONS

One Does Not Simply Lord Of The Rings GIF
 

pemerton

Legend
GM: Okay, you're acting under fire - you realise that if this doesn't work you're surrounded by a hostile enemy fleet?

Player: Sure

Acting under fire roll: 11

GM: Okay, the Tsarist fleet refuses to fire at you and the sailors cheer as you pass by.

That's how it works in Apocalypse World, with absolutely no need for the GM to predetermine the whys or wherefores of any of the potential outcomes.
This is very interesting. Can you explain why you treat it just as acting under fire, and not as seduce/manipulate? Ie getting the other soldiers to do what you want?

EDIT: In The Green Knight - which emphasises romantic feudal tropes, rather than tropes of solidarity among ordinary people - this would be the space occupied by an Authority check. Which sits under Courage - which is actually not wildly different from an AW check based on Cool.

But I'm still curious about my question.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Blades action resolution is as follows:

Position (Desperate > Risky > Controlled) governs threat level/consequences.

Effect (Limited > Standard > Great) governs what you can accomplish.

1-3 = Failure
4/5 = Success w/ Complication
6 = Success
6 * 2 = Critical Success

————-

If the players were to be in a social conflict with a Supernatural entity like Sauron, several things would intersect:

1) He would be Magnitude 6 (so tops). If your Crew Tier + other stuff that would amplify your relative Tier doesn’t equal 6, then you’re Position is going to be Desperate (meaning consequences on a 1-3 are going to be catastrophic and on a 4-5, they will be significant). Effect is Factored with several features (Scale, Potency, Quality) so you can uptier in more ways, but you’d still start as Limited Effect unless you can marshal Factors.

Players can make Setup moves and have abilities that allow them to increase Position or Effect. One can be negotiated/traded for the other as well (assuming you’re not sitting at Desperate/Limited).

2) Supernatural means that engaging him is going to create a Supernatural Complication right off the bat (think Ancient Dragon Fear Aura).

You can Resist Complications (which means throttling them back by 1 or 2 phases) via Prowess (if physical), Resolve (if mental/will), or Insight (if deception/understanding) at the risk of Stress (subtract 6 from your highest roll…Crit = clear 1 Stress or get a boon). Stress is the engine of amping stuff up/marshaling resources.

3) Sauron would be a Master level Threat. In D&D terms, this would mean he is like a 4e Solo. His action economy is amped up big time and I'm just straight inflicting Consequence, no action roll to deal with it. You can Resist the Complication though. And because the PCs are likely in a Desperate Position much/most of the time, these Consequences would be significant.

4) Tug of War Clocks or Linked Clocks are how you resolve complex social conflict. Or it might be both. It might be a Mission Clock to even open up the Tug of War Clock to convince Sauron of whatever.

The Clock setup really depends upon the context of the situation overall and the specifics of what you want and what Sauron doesn't want to give up.

In Blades, the only way a Crew would undergo something like this is if (a) they either (i) had means to shut down (2) entirely (this could be gear they acquired via spending Downtime Activities or it could be through PC Special Abilities) and (ii) if they were at least a Tier 4 Crew (MUCH MORE LIKELY a Tier 5 Crew...this is endgame).

The Stress going around to make Setup moves to amplify Effect and/or downthrottle Position and to Resist Complications would be huge. 9 Stress and you're out of a Score and you endure a Trauma (4 and your character is retired). PCs often go into Scores with 1-2 Stress. Getting improved Effect increases your Ticks of Clocks on successful moves. Having better Position decreases the Ticks of Clocks against you when you endure a Consequence. Inevitably, a PC would use a Flashback (which is 0-2 Stress and then an Action Roll to resolve) which opens up their move-space during a Score. A PC would likely accept a Devil's Bargain (which gives them +1d on a move for some sudden or looming thematic complication that they'll have to spend Downtime or a Score to resolve) at some point.

It is going to take significantly skilled play and marshalling everything you've got to win.

I've run 5 Social Scores against +1 or +2 Magnitude (above Crew Tier) Master Threat Demons (one was a Split Score w/ Occult to set up - summon - and Social to parley). Success rate has been 40 % thus far or 2/5. Even on the successes though, the downstream effects perturb play (both the Setting and the Crews + Allies + Enemies machinations) dramatically.

ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY PARLEY WITH DEMONS

One Does Not Simply Lord Of The Rings GIF
Thank you very much!!
 

pemerton

Legend
My players in my 5e campaign often do everything they can to avoid fights, especially with humanoid opponents. It's charming!

The campaign is structured around a quest to kill the BBEG (based on Strahd), and so many of the players like to try to convert smaller villains to their cause. It means that many combats I plan for get resolved through negotiation rather than 0 hit points.

As a DM, I now plan out Plan B resolutions for combat. I think about what the enemy would want, and how to make that ask as challenging as combat would have been.
I differ from some other DMs that I know in that I try to make the outcomes of social skills very transparent. So I'll say something like "if you succeed on this, the enemy will stop attacking but still won't let you through" or "if you succeed on this the enemy will still attack but won't try to kill you" and so on.

I agree that D&D doesn't have a structure for it, so I make a real effort to put one in, especially for this group!
What about if the players make a decision about what they think the "opponent" might want, or about what value to try and appeal to? As I mentioned upthread, the instance of play that I posted in the other thread I linked to in my OP, and that triggered some scepticism from other posters, was that of persuading a huntsman to abandon the pursuit and eating of meat.

That didn't follow from any description in the scenario of what the huntsman might be inclined to want or do. It was an idea that came from a player.
 

pemerton

Legend
But does what is attempted have an effect on what's needed? Presumably talking Sauron into surrendering by writing him a nice letter is different than trying to talk Faramir into letting you continue on to Mordor in spite of his instructions?
Apocalypse World doesn't use "difficulties". It relies on fictional positioning. Typically there is no fictional positioning which will let someone persuade Sauron into surrendering just by writing a letter.
 

pemerton

Legend
The usual people are going to jump on me for this, but I think game systems can be a big part of combat as an expectation. If the only buttons a game gives you are for combat, you're incentivized to push those. If social is just one big vague button with no subsystems, it's not nearly as game-y and appealing (in general).
I tend to agree with this, but am interested in a slightly different (though probably closely related) thing - which is what sorts of outcomes for the resolution of conflict are within the scope of social-type action declarations? This is why I've provided examples of outcomes, from Battleship Potemkin and the hunger-to-vegetarian actual play episode.
 

pemerton

Legend
A question for @Manbearcat and @Ovinomancer - what establishes the scope of outcomes possible in your BitD game?

Having the editor pull or change the story seems clear enough - without knowing too much about the BitD setting, that seems like its well within what one might ask an editor to do. Otherwise there wouldn't be much scope for action declaration vis-a-vis the editor at all.

But what about outcomes that more radically impact the presumed interests of the editor (in publishing all the news that's fit to print, etc)? Manbearcat's post about Sauron sets out some of the basic mechanical elements that would apply, but also notes that "The Clock setup really depends upon the context of the situation overall and the specifics of what you want and what Sauron doesn't want to give up." In the context of this thread, this is what I was particularly hoping to discuss.
 

This is very interesting. Can you explain why you treat it just as acting under fire, and not as seduce/manipulate? Ie getting the other soldiers to do what you want?
Well, acting under fire is when you do something requiring unusual discipline, resolve, endurance or care. I think that perfectly encompasses the courage of sailing out under your flag in front of the enemy guns and seeing whether the other sailors respect it or reject it. And it's clear that the courage and dignity to do so is part of the reason other servicemen might respect it!

Equally, seduce / manipulate requires leverage - but you've not got leverage and you're not offering anything. So it's not a bargain, it's a show of conviction.
 


Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
A question for @Manbearcat and @Ovinomancer - what establishes the scope of outcomes possible in your BitD game?

Having the editor pull or change the story seems clear enough - without knowing too much about the BitD setting, that seems like its well within what one might ask an editor to do. Otherwise there wouldn't be much scope for action declaration vis-a-vis the editor at all.

But what about outcomes that more radically impact the presumed interests of the editor (in publishing all the news that's fit to print, etc)? Manbearcat's post about Sauron sets out some of the basic mechanical elements that would apply, but also notes that "The Clock setup really depends upon the context of the situation overall and the specifics of what you want and what Sauron doesn't want to give up." In the context of this thread, this is what I was particularly hoping to discuss.
Genre conventions and established fiction. Declaring an action to convert the editor to a loyal compatriot, for instance violates genre conventions -- such things are in the genre of romance, not the gritty scrabble of the criminal underworld. However, it still could be done, because it's possible, but that's going to be a process, not a single action.
 

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