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Re: Keeping mental stress from being TOO easy to inflict

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  • xmbk
    Strands of Fate uses Mental and Social weapon and armor ratings. I think Create Advantage works better, but take a look at both and compare. Strands definitely
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 18, 2013
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      Strands of Fate uses Mental and Social weapon and armor ratings. I think Create Advantage works better, but take a look at both and compare. Strands definitely has some great ideas.

      As for the relative power of Mental vs Physical, that's a dial for different genres and groups. My feeling is that classic roleplaying errors on the side of Physical, and many are attracted to Fate partly because it so smoothly shifts the balance.

      --- In FateRPG@yahoogroups.com, PK Levine <pkitty@...> wrote:
      >
      > The current thread on transitioning got me thinking. Speaking as the GM, in a
      > conflict I'm okay with characters who prioritized Deceive and Provoke using
      > those to try to out-intimidate or out-talk to the bad guys. But at the same
      > time, it seems kind of ridiculous to assume that the mental stress a fast-
      > talker can inflict is comparable to the kind of physical stress a gunman can
      > inflict. I don't want someone with Deceive +4 being able to walk up to the big
      > bad villain and just easily take him out with a few hurtful lies.
      >
      > Now, I realize that the GM is not supposed to allow mental attacks unless
      > there's something to justify it. Intimidation skill (now Provoke) implied that
      > you need control over the victim to inflict mental stress -- specifically,
      > suggesting that it was more something that happened via torture. So
      > realistically, *most* uses of Deceive and Provoke in combat are going to be
      > CAA actions. I'm fine with that.
      >
      > But I think I'd like a little less granularity -- a rule or ruling to let the
      > social monsters inflict stress in a conflict situation, so they can contribute
      > directly to the takeout instead of having to be indirect. I think the
      > following rule would be simple enough, but does it seem reasonable? I chose
      > Armor: 2 so that, without some sort of edge, you'd need to Succeed with Style
      > to inflict actual stress (3 shifts - 2 armor = 1 stress) instead of just
      > getting a boost. I like how that works out.
      >
      > ---begin---
      >
      > MENTAL ATTACKS
      >
      > You can use skills like Deceive, Provoke, etc., to inflict mental stress on a
      > target. However, by default, everyone has Armor: 2 against mental attacks,
      > which means the most you're likely to get is a boost. To get around this, you
      > need an "edge" or an "in," such as a hostage, proof that you control your
      > opponent's environment, knowledge of a crippling phobia, etc. The GM will
      > assign such things a mental Weapon rating, from +1 (you know some of his hopes
      > or fears) to +4 (you have his daughter hostage).
      >
      > PK
      >
    • Christopher Bartlett
      If this is way off base let me know, but it occurs to me that the concept of a social conflict doesn’t map exactly to a physical one. Usually in a social
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 18, 2013
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        If this is way off base let me know, but it occurs to me that the concept of a social conflict doesn’t map exactly to a physical one.  Usually in a social combat, you are trying to get your opponent, or a third party, to do something, decide something in your favor or other wise act to benefit you.  One might choose to think about being “taken out” or conceding as something more subtle than being browbeaten into submission.  I would think of using stinging insult or inside knowledge as create advantage actions.

         

        For instance, a big bad is trying to deceive our heroes into thinking that if only they will kill the treacherous Captain of the Guard, they will foil a plot to kill the king.  Of course the captain is a. totally loyal and b. known to the PCs, so I engage them in a social combat where the consequences of being taken out would be that the heroes are fully deceived and motivated to go kill the loyal captain, whereas at least one player has the goal of trying to convince the rest that the captain is loyal and obviously my NPC is the traitor.  In this light, consequences likely reflect growing doubts, or holes in my villain’s story that could help the PCs find his treachery later in the story.  The villain might use his deceit to create advantages as well as to “attack” the characters’ belief in the captain’s loyalty.

         

        To me social combat has to have a lot more flavor than an emotional beat down, except when this is necessary.  It seems to me the subtler usage brings the awesome for all concerned.  Flip the scenario; the PCs are trying to convince the Big Bad that they have defected to his side.  In this instance, their victory equals his believing them; his concession might mean that he provisionally believes them and is willing to give them the keys to his own destruction but he is slightly more wary.  Obviously failure to win for the PCs is either outright discovery in the case of “taken out” or perhaps a dangerous delay in his decision to trust them as a particularly liberal concession agreement.

         

        So, does this fly?  It seems to fit the spirit of what social combat should be about more than the simple bludgeoning someone into incoherence.

         

                        Chris Bartlett

         

      • Brett Ritter
        On Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM, Christopher Bartlett
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 18, 2013
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          On Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM, Christopher Bartlett <themusicalbrewer@...> wrote:
          To me social combat has to have a lot more flavor than an emotional beat down, except when this is necessary.


          To me, all Fate combat has a lot more flavor than beatdowns in other games.  As a result, Fate social combat is just combat with a particular style of flavor, rather than being a different beast than physical combat.  Indeed, as mentioned in the thread above, "combat" usually involves all forms of skill flying around.
          --
          Brett Ritter / SwiftOne
          swiftone@...
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