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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 189 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [ BD&D ] Half done Social System  (Read 2281 times)
Daniel B

Posts: 171

Co-inventor of the Normal Engine

« on: March 23, 2010, 09:20:38 PM »

The BD&D stands for "Bastardized D&D" because I'm changing the base system of D&D v3.5 to experiment with some ideas. In this version, I want a much deeper Social system. The following skills don't exist: Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Gather Information, and Sense Motive.

I'm running out of time for the Social System since I plan to use it in a game I've got coming up, the first weekend of April. I think what I've got so far could be turned into a workable system but at the moment it's just a set of ideas. I'm posting it's half-done version for more thoughts. The system stems from a topic from way back when: The Social Domain - why's it so tough to design?

Mechanically it's extremely simple when compared to combat, but as a designer, it's rather counter-intuitive because I'm trying to make the system lie "on top" of real play, instead of the other way. By this, I mean that players ought to be able to just talk as normal with the system simply nudging them, instead of the system defining any and every possible action the players can take.

PLEASE NOTE: It's a half-formed system. I threw a couple of different chunks together to post it online, but I'm not sure if they are consistent. (I'm hoping y'all will get the idea though.)

System Elements -avoid<

The General Idea -
  • First Impression - this check can be made well before conversation even begins, to see what a character thinks of another. This check has a significant effect on all future Evaluation checks
  • Evaluation - to consider what the other character has said so far
  • Sense Motive - to see if there's something more in another character's words than what he's saying
  • A successful roll means another character has made a good impression on you or, in the context of "Sense Motive", you detect the weight in his words.

    The First Impression check sets the initial Reaction DC, which is used for all future Evaluation Checks for that conversation. It is not rerolled unless something very significant changes in the Context or Circumstances; e.g. "Wait a minute .. Bob? Is that you under that garbage heap?"

    Between Evaluation Checks in a conversation, the players chat with each other in character and toss around tokens representing swaying attempts in an amount up to their character's natural sway (defined below) as well as social Strengths.

    The players are trying to reach a careful balance: that the other player has no more than (First Impression success/failure) tokens. If that player does, they may opt-out during the next Reaction Check due to appropriate reasons. For example, a beautiful woman trying to get assistance from a shy geek may fail if she lays it on too thick, and scares the fellow. Luckily, a player isn't required to pass over tokens for every comment they make. Conversely, by not passing over tokens, the other player may turn it around and start getting their own way.

    The margin of success, namely (First Impression success/failure), can be expanded by Vulnerabilities if a player brings up a Vulnerability and makes it applicable during their last comment. (The GM may veto this if it was a stretch. "I think it would be in your best interests to withdraw your armies from the Benzark borders .. OOOH SNAKES!!")

    Both players can also opt-out of a Reaction Check if they reach a compromise.


    Arthur: "It's times like these that make me wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was little."
    Ford: "Why? What did she tell you?"
    Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."

    Posts: 85

    « Reply #1 on: March 24, 2010, 01:17:43 PM »

    You might not get a lot of feedback as there have been a lot of DnD stuff done here and or suggested.  Not to mention much more DnD stuff done outside this forum from 1st edition to 3.5.

    I would suggest reducing everything where you can.  Splitting attributes in a DnD style system might be better done through a feat that gives a mod to something else.  Also I would make this a mod to DnD 3.5 instead of trying to make a new game as it seems that you are focusing on just a few aspects of the game from what i read.

    Hope this helps!

    Check out my game Age Past, unique rolling system, in Beta now.  Tell me what you think!

    Jeff Mechlinski

    Posts: 34

    « Reply #2 on: March 24, 2010, 04:48:36 PM »

    Seems like a good start.
    Seems fairly involved though, Have you explained the idea to your playing group and gotten feedback from them?
    I am new to game design and someone here suggested that and I felt a fool for not having thought of the benefits of a full on
    conversation about my ideas and theirs  instead of "hey, I am working on a new system, its like this." and recieving a "sounds cool" and moving on.
    My players were very helpful.

    I think at the very least you should Make sure that everyone understands the social system before actual gameplay.
    Maybe some test runs during the night everyone rolls their characters? this is the extent of my helpfulness - obvious things. haha.

    As for mechanics I am no help as I am wedged deeply in noobie designerland.. Others on here are great though.

    Good luck .

    Daniel B

    Posts: 171

    Co-inventor of the Normal Engine

    « Reply #3 on: March 25, 2010, 10:11:04 PM »

    @ Locke
    Yes actually, I can see how this wouldn't be a great place for D&D changes X-)  Ah well. The reason it's a D&Dv3.5 mod instead of an outright new game is that I don't have that system fully designed yet, but it's gotten close enough to turn into a mod. (Except that damned social system!) That, and, my buddies really wanted to "just play", and 3.5 is the only thing we all know strongly enough to do that.

    @ Necro
    Unfortunately I don't have time for testing. I'll have to just throw it in there and hope it doesn't crash and burn. Also, I think being "wedged deeply in noobie designerland" can be as much a benefit at this stage of the industry's life. As old as it is, I believe there's still a lot of room expanding the boundaries.

    Arthur: "It's times like these that make me wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was little."
    Ford: "Why? What did she tell you?"
    Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."

    Posts: 83

    « Reply #4 on: March 27, 2010, 11:37:49 AM »

    I think that this seems to be a system with some wonderful ideas, but probably not a good fit for the game you suggest.

    General thoughts:

    1. This sounds more like the basis of its own game rather than an appendage stapled to another game system.

    2. I think that it would require an extensive playtest in order to see how it works for sure, but it does seem quite involved and complex in its own right. You have a couple of issues to overcome here: can you explain it to your players, and can someone who doesn't know you explain it to their players. The problem with many intricate game systems is that if you play it it's fine, but it's hell to explain and so anyone trying to learn it on its own really has a tough time making it make sense. I had to re-read your post a couple of times before I had some general comfort, and even then I can't be certain that what you describe is what I see in my mind.

    3. As Vladius suggested, D&D might not be the best fit for this.

    Marv (Finarvyn)
    Sorcerer * DFRPG * ADRP
    I'm mosty responsible for S&W WhiteBox
    OD&D Player since 1975

    Posts: 43

    Master of mayhem...

    « Reply #5 on: March 28, 2010, 09:03:08 PM »

    You should research the Diplomacy system used by the Vanguard: Saga of Heroes mmo.  It was really well done and something I wouldn't mind seeing imitated in other mmo's and rpg systems.  Part of what you have here already reminds me of that system.
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