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Re: [FateRPG] Running Social Conficts

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  • Ryan Macklin
    Here are some thoughts, having played a bunch of all those games and thinking about this aspect of Fate for years. This may get long. First of all, you have to
    Message 1 of 19 , May 6, 2012
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      Here are some thoughts, having played a bunch of all those games and thinking about this aspect of Fate for years. This may get long.

      First of all, you have to throw out the PTA comparison. It's a great game, and I got to work with Matt on making PTA3 (don't ask, can't answer), but it's a different paradigm. It's about scenes and drama resolution, not about what characters want as much as what will happen next. Partly because this is not about character skill at all in PTA, and I could go on, but that comparison doesn't give us much to work with.

      Now Smallville, there's a brilliant social resolution system, and I love it. It's very naturally beat-based, where you're just doing or saying something and declaring what you want. The other person gets their action, and if they succeed, they push a statement forward about what they want instead. Since these aren't opposed rolls, you have a good, fluid sense of motion, and they tend to feel more like arguments or firefights. However, keep in mind that Smallville is an engine designed (intentionally) to be about superpowered teens arguing and getting nowhere. When you lose, you don't do what they other person said, you take some stress instead. The only way you get what you want is for the other guy to give in instead of rolling against.

      You may also want to look at Dogs in the Vineyard for similar resolution. Apocalypse World has a neat bit of tech: when two PCs have a social conflict and one wins, the winner gets to offer a carrot or stick: either get XP for doing what I ask or roll Acting Under Fire if you don't. I've incorporated that idea into Fate loosely, where the winner puts an aspect for just a moment on the loser, one that doesn't give a free compel. But they can pay the Fate point to compel. The other guy can take the Fate point or counter with one, as normal. It's worked out well in games I've played, but I haven't used it too much yet.

      Where Fate shines here is as a way to do the Spidey vs The Rhino fight, social track & defenses on the Rhino are far weaker than his physical, so it gives the place where the Rhino is trying to win physically & Spidey intellectually. It also shines as a sense of attacking the mind, like someone stalking someone else in a forest and driving them to fear & making a mistake. However, these aren't arguments of social manipulation but beats of personal manipulation.

      That's because Fate's conflict system, like many games, is one that models and pushes inflictions & impositions more strongly than character turnarounts, and it models action beats more than debates. Even if you toss out stress tracks and just go to consequences, which would make it faster, the same underlying assumptions the engine makes will color the output.

      Not that you can't do it, but for best success the assumptions of the system should be kept in mind.

      - Ryan

      --
      Ryan Macklin
      Game Designer, Writer, Editor
      blog: http://RyanMacklin.com | @RyanMacklin


      On Sat, May 5, 2012 at 1:28 AM, ian_orourke <fandomlife@...> wrote:

      In our limited experience of Fate it would seem that social-style conflicts (i.e about something non-physical) seem to work better in PTA and Smallville than they do in Fate.

      The way Fate tends to run for us is action is fine but it tends to be action scenes, and attacking the social track is never really used. There is less of a blend between the two and the social one isn't used.

      I'm not 100% sure why. I think part of it is the seperation and the other part is PTA / Smallville seems to resolve them quicker - while in Fate you seem to have to erode the 'hit points' to win?

      So, I'm just wondering how people have used more social conflicts in the game and how they've paced them to get a mix of longer ones when it is worth it and ones with pace as well?

      I was going to give an Avengers example, but it occurs to me it was only released in the US this weekend so I stopped myself :)



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    • ian_orourke
      Hi Fred, I think yourself and Ryan (this can be considered a reply to his post as well) have it. It s about using the system in the right way and then using
      Message 2 of 19 , May 11, 2012
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        Hi Fred,


        I think yourself and Ryan (this can be considered a reply to his post as well) have it. It's about using the system in the right way and then using the right tool. I'm just not sure I've found the right fit yet. This is also complicated by the tools often being spread across multiple games.
        So, I have a conflict of the social kind coming up. I could just role-play it and that's fine, but let's say there is an outcome that is worthy of a role or we want to story to shoot of in a direction based on the result.

        The tools seem to be:-

        • Role-play it
        • Aspect mechanics (what specifically is this?)
        • Consequential Contest (Dresden; Single Roll)
        • Extended Contest (Race, Cat & Mouse)
        • Full Social Conflict

        Using these as tools in the box is fine.

        I suppose what I'd like some discussion on is the intent behind the social conflict – whatever the method – is the intent. I can think of numerous examples:

        `Persuade the King not to invade'?

        Have an femme fatale beguile a player character (the reverse of James Bond)?

        The players get into a physical conflict but one player is trying to persuade the enemy he's on the wrong cause (I think of lightsaber duels being part social conflict)?

        A 'hero' confronts a captured villain she wants his 'plan' he wants to 'mire her in self doubt' (holy avengers allusion)?

        I assume the above are potential social conflicts for which one of the tools can be applied?

        It may not be `deciding story direction' like in PTA but by defining the above the result does set the story in a different direction.
        This the right idea?
      • Jon Lang
        I wonder if something like the Milestones system would be worth looking at here: if a given social conflict has less story impact than a Minor Milestone, just
        Message 3 of 19 , May 11, 2012
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          I wonder if something like the Milestones system would be worth looking at here: if a given social conflict has less story impact than a Minor Milestone, just role-play it; if it's comparable to a Minor Milestone, go with a "roll for Consequence" approach; if you're trying to make a drastic change to the setting (such as turning a big-name enemy into an ally), go with a full-on "Social Combat" — or something along those lines.  The basic principle I'm thinking of is that the more drastic the stakes are, the more involved the mechanics should be.  

          --
          Jonathan "Dataweaver" Lang
        • Brett Ritter
          ... Where might I learn more of this Milestones system? -- Brett Ritter / SwiftOne swiftone@swiftone.org
          Message 4 of 19 , May 11, 2012
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            On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM, Jon Lang <dataweaver@...> wrote:
            > I wonder if something like the Milestones system would be worth looking at here

            Where might I learn more of this "Milestones" system?
            --
            Brett Ritter / SwiftOne
            swiftone@...
          • Ryan Macklin
            I m always meh on just roleplay it solutions. Not that I think everything needs dice, but there needs to be some decent guidance, and there isn t one in
            Message 5 of 19 , May 11, 2012
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              I'm always meh on "just roleplay it" solutions. Not that I think everything needs dice, but there needs to be some decent guidance, and there isn't one in that, and that has far less to do with the character/world dynamic than the player/table dynamic.

              Now, if you're going to judge everything based on what impact it'll have, expect a game to get at times sidetracked be that discussion rather than playing the game -- same sort of problem you get with stake-setting games, where the stakes are hammered out in detail before the moment's actually played it.

              Another paradigm to look at would be The Shadow of Yesterday/The Solar System's "Bringing Down the Pain," where (if memory serves) for the most part a quick resolution, but serious moments get more details. Though I haven't read that in a long time, and I really should revisit it again.
              http://files.crngames.com/cc/tsoy/book1--rulebook.html#bringing-down-the-pain

              - Ryan

              --
              Ryan Macklin
              Game Designer, Writer, Editor
              blog: http://RyanMacklin.com | @RyanMacklin


              On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM, Jon Lang <dataweaver@...> wrote:


              I wonder if something like the Milestones system would be worth looking at here: if a given social conflict has less story impact than a Minor Milestone, just role-play it; if it's comparable to a Minor Milestone, go with a "roll for Consequence" approach; if you're trying to make a drastic change to the setting (such as turning a big-name enemy into an ally), go with a full-on "Social Combat" — or something along those lines.  The basic principle I'm thinking of is that the more drastic the stakes are, the more involved the mechanics should be.  

              --
              Jonathan "Dataweaver" Lang



            • Jon Lang
              ... at here ... It s the Dresdon Files character advancement system; it s available for free on the Fate website. -- Jonathan Dataweaver Lang
              Message 6 of 19 , May 11, 2012
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                On Friday, May 11, 2012, Brett Ritter <swiftone@...> wrote:
                >
                > On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM, Jon Lang <dataweaver@...> wrote:
                > > I wonder if something like the Milestones system would be worth looking at here
                >
                > Where might I learn more of this "Milestones" system?

                It's the Dresdon Files character advancement system; it's available for free on the Fate website.  

                --
                Jonathan "Dataweaver" Lang
              • Ryan Macklin
                It s from Dresden Files RPG. - Ryan -- Ryan Macklin Game Designer, Writer, Editor blog: http://RyanMacklin.com | @RyanMacklin
                Message 7 of 19 , May 11, 2012
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                  It's from Dresden Files RPG.

                  - Ryan

                  --
                  Ryan Macklin
                  Game Designer, Writer, Editor
                  blog: http://RyanMacklin.com | @RyanMacklin


                  On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 4:23 PM, Brett Ritter <swiftone@...> wrote:
                  > On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM, Jon Lang <dataweaver@...> wrote:
                  >> I wonder if something like the Milestones system would be worth looking at here
                  >
                  > Where might I learn more of this "Milestones" system?
                  > --
                  > Brett Ritter / SwiftOne
                  > swiftone@...
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > | Fate * http://www.faterpg.com/
                  > | SOTC * http://www.evilhat.com/?spirit
                  > | DFRPG * http://www.dresdenfilesrpg.com/Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Ryan Macklin
                  Incidentally, Milestones will be part of Fate Core as well. - Ryan -- Ryan Macklin Game Designer, Writer, Editor blog: http://RyanMacklin.com | @RyanMacklin
                  Message 8 of 19 , May 11, 2012
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                    Incidentally, Milestones will be part of Fate Core as well.

                    - Ryan

                    --
                    Ryan Macklin
                    Game Designer, Writer, Editor
                    blog: http://RyanMacklin.com | @RyanMacklin


                    On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM, Jon Lang <dataweaver@...> wrote:




                    On Friday, May 11, 2012, Brett Ritter <swiftone@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM, Jon Lang <dataweaver@...> wrote:
                    > > I wonder if something like the Milestones system would be worth looking at here
                    >
                    > Where might I learn more of this "Milestones" system?

                    It's the Dresdon Files character advancement system; it's available for free on the Fate website.  


                    --
                    Jonathan "Dataweaver" Lang



                  • David Dunham
                    Ian ... One of the reasons I used social conflict rules in my Diaspora game was that it s fairly easy to get all the players involved (at the very least with
                    Message 9 of 19 , May 11, 2012
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                      Ian

                      > So, I have a conflict of the social kind coming up. I could just role-play it and that's fine, but let's say there is an outcome that is worthy of a role or we want to story to shoot of in a direction based on the result.

                      One of the reasons I used social conflict rules in my Diaspora game was that it's fairly easy to get all the players involved (at the very least with maneuvers). Obviously everyone would be free to role-play too, but when you go around the table and have everyone contribute, it feels a bit different.

                      David Dunham
                      Glorantha/HQ/RQ page: www.pensee.com/dunham/glorantha.html
                    • afategm
                      I read through the various responses ion this subject, & something that really helped me out with these was mentioned in one of the posts. Specifically
                      Message 10 of 19 , Jun 7, 2012
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                        I read through the various responses ion this subject, & something that really helped me out with these was mentioned in one of the posts. Specifically "That's a great way of phrasing that kind of thing, roll me a social skill & lets see if your character is as good at phrasing it". It turned out to be a nice way of phrasing it without a hintr of the "no badwrongfun" I had been worried about. after saying it a few times & quit having to do so & they would just finish up with a skill roll :)

                        --- In FateRPG@yahoogroups.com, "ian_orourke" <fandomlife@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > In our limited experience of Fate it would seem that social-style conflicts (i.e about something non-physical) seem to work better in PTA and Smallville than they do in Fate.
                        >
                        > The way Fate tends to run for us is action is fine but it tends to be action scenes, and attacking the social track is never really used. There is less of a blend between the two and the social one isn't used.
                        >
                        > I'm not 100% sure why. I think part of it is the seperation and the other part is PTA / Smallville seems to resolve them quicker - while in Fate you seem to have to erode the 'hit points' to win?
                        >
                        > So, I'm just wondering how people have used more social conflicts in the game and how they've paced them to get a mix of longer ones when it is worth it and ones with pace as well?
                        >
                        > I was going to give an Avengers example, but it occurs to me it was only released in the US this weekend so I stopped myself :)
                        >
                      • Travis Casey
                        ... Glad it helped! -- Travis Casey efindel@gmail.com Reality is vastly overrated.
                        Message 11 of 19 , Jun 7, 2012
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                          On Jun 7, 2012, at 7:13 PM, afategm wrote:

                           

                          I read through the various responses ion this subject, & something that really helped me out with these was mentioned in one of the posts. Specifically "That's a great way of phrasing that kind of thing, roll me a social skill & lets see if your character is as good at phrasing it". It turned out to be a nice way of phrasing it without a hintr of the "no badwrongfun" I had been worried about. after saying it a few times & quit having to do so & they would just finish up with a skill roll :)

                          Glad it helped!

                          --
                          Travis Casey
                          Reality is vastly overrated.



                        • Bill Burdick
                          Here s the way we generally do an action in a social conflict: 1) attacker states their goal (what they re trying to achieve with this particular
                          Message 12 of 19 , Jun 8, 2012
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                            Here's the way we generally do an action in a social conflict:

                            1) attacker states their goal (what they're trying to achieve with this particular statement/action -- undercut confidence, make the opponent angry, ...)
                            2) roll the attack and see how much stress, if any resulted
                            3) role play that statement/action based on the result

                            We role play it piece by piece, but we roll the attack BEFORE the characters open their mouths or do anything about that action.  Both the attacking player and the defending player take the result into account when they role play, for example, the attacker's statement and the defender's response to it.


                            Bill


                            On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 6:17 AM, ian_orourke <fandomlife@...> wrote:
                             

                            Hi Fred,

                            I think yourself and Ryan (this can be considered a reply to his post as well) have it. It's about using the system in the right way and then using the right tool. I'm just not sure I've found the right fit yet. This is also complicated by the tools often being spread across multiple games.
                            So, I have a conflict of the social kind coming up. I could just role-play it and that's fine, but let's say there is an outcome that is worthy of a role or we want to story to shoot of in a direction based on the result.

                            The tools seem to be:-

                            • Role-play it
                            • Aspect mechanics (what specifically is this?)
                            • Consequential Contest (Dresden; Single Roll)
                            • Extended Contest (Race, Cat & Mouse)
                            • Full Social Conflict

                            Using these as tools in the box is fine.

                            I suppose what I'd like some discussion on is the intent behind the social conflict – whatever the method – is the intent. I can think of numerous examples:

                            `Persuade the King not to invade'?

                            Have an femme fatale beguile a player character (the reverse of James Bond)?

                            The players get into a physical conflict but one player is trying to persuade the enemy he's on the wrong cause (I think of lightsaber duels being part social conflict)?

                            A 'hero' confronts a captured villain she wants his 'plan' he wants to 'mire her in self doubt' (holy avengers allusion)?

                            I assume the above are potential social conflicts for which one of the tools can be applied?

                            It may not be `deciding story direction' like in PTA but by defining the above the result does set the story in a different direction.
                            This the right idea?


                          • Bill Burdick
                            By the way, this is pretty much the same way we do physical combat :). Bill ... By the way, this is pretty much the same way we do physical combat :). Bill On
                            Message 13 of 19 , Jun 8, 2012
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                              By the way, this is pretty much the same way we do physical combat :).


                              Bill


                              On Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 9:14 AM, Bill Burdick <bill.burdick@...> wrote:
                              Here's the way we generally do an action in a social conflict:

                              1) attacker states their goal (what they're trying to achieve with this particular statement/action -- undercut confidence, make the opponent angry, ...)
                              2) roll the attack and see how much stress, if any resulted
                              3) role play that statement/action based on the result

                              We role play it piece by piece, but we roll the attack BEFORE the characters open their mouths or do anything about that action.  Both the attacking player and the defending player take the result into account when they role play, for example, the attacker's statement and the defender's response to it.


                              Bill


                              On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 6:17 AM, ian_orourke <fandomlife@...> wrote:
                               

                              Hi Fred,

                              I think yourself and Ryan (this can be considered a reply to his post as well) have it. It's about using the system in the right way and then using the right tool. I'm just not sure I've found the right fit yet. This is also complicated by the tools often being spread across multiple games.
                              So, I have a conflict of the social kind coming up. I could just role-play it and that's fine, but let's say there is an outcome that is worthy of a role or we want to story to shoot of in a direction based on the result.

                              The tools seem to be:-

                              • Role-play it
                              • Aspect mechanics (what specifically is this?)
                              • Consequential Contest (Dresden; Single Roll)
                              • Extended Contest (Race, Cat & Mouse)
                              • Full Social Conflict

                              Using these as tools in the box is fine.

                              I suppose what I'd like some discussion on is the intent behind the social conflict – whatever the method – is the intent. I can think of numerous examples:

                              `Persuade the King not to invade'?

                              Have an femme fatale beguile a player character (the reverse of James Bond)?

                              The players get into a physical conflict but one player is trying to persuade the enemy he's on the wrong cause (I think of lightsaber duels being part social conflict)?

                              A 'hero' confronts a captured villain she wants his 'plan' he wants to 'mire her in self doubt' (holy avengers allusion)?

                              I assume the above are potential social conflicts for which one of the tools can be applied?

                              It may not be `deciding story direction' like in PTA but by defining the above the result does set the story in a different direction.
                              This the right idea?



                            • Sean D
                              I like that approach as it makes all conflicts easier to get a handle on. It can also be used for social conflict over time like spreading a rumour or shaking
                              Message 14 of 19 , Jun 8, 2012
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                                I like that approach as it makes all conflicts easier to get a handle on. It can also be used for social conflict over time like spreading a rumour or shaking up an opponent.

                                Thanks!

                                On 8 June 2012 10:15, Bill Burdick <bill.burdick@...> wrote:
                                 

                                By the way, this is pretty much the same way we do physical combat :).



                                Bill


                                On Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 9:14 AM, Bill Burdick <bill.burdick@...> wrote:
                                Here's the way we generally do an action in a social conflict:

                                1) attacker states their goal (what they're trying to achieve with this particular statement/action -- undercut confidence, make the opponent angry, ...)
                                2) roll the attack and see how much stress, if any resulted
                                3) role play that statement/action based on the result

                                We role play it piece by piece, but we roll the attack BEFORE the characters open their mouths or do anything about that action.  Both the attacking player and the defending player take the result into account when they role play, for example, the attacker's statement and the defender's response to it.


                                Bill


                                On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 6:17 AM, ian_orourke <fandomlife@...> wrote:
                                 

                                Hi Fred,

                                I think yourself and Ryan (this can be considered a reply to his post as well) have it. It's about using the system in the right way and then using the right tool. I'm just not sure I've found the right fit yet. This is also complicated by the tools often being spread across multiple games.
                                So, I have a conflict of the social kind coming up. I could just role-play it and that's fine, but let's say there is an outcome that is worthy of a role or we want to story to shoot of in a direction based on the result.

                                The tools seem to be:-

                                • Role-play it
                                • Aspect mechanics (what specifically is this?)
                                • Consequential Contest (Dresden; Single Roll)
                                • Extended Contest (Race, Cat & Mouse)
                                • Full Social Conflict

                                Using these as tools in the box is fine.

                                I suppose what I'd like some discussion on is the intent behind the social conflict – whatever the method – is the intent. I can think of numerous examples:

                                `Persuade the King not to invade'?

                                Have an femme fatale beguile a player character (the reverse of James Bond)?

                                The players get into a physical conflict but one player is trying to persuade the enemy he's on the wrong cause (I think of lightsaber duels being part social conflict)?

                                A 'hero' confronts a captured villain she wants his 'plan' he wants to 'mire her in self doubt' (holy avengers allusion)?

                                I assume the above are potential social conflicts for which one of the tools can be applied?

                                It may not be `deciding story direction' like in PTA but by defining the above the result does set the story in a different direction.
                                This the right idea?






                                --
                                110.  Labour to keep alive in your breast that little celestial fire called conscience.
                                --George Washington
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