Intrigue

Talk about Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire RPG, based on George R.R. Martin's best-selling fantasy series. Winter is here!

Intrigue

Postby Skyman » Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:17 pm

I have to say this aspect of the quickstart has blown me away. I've never seen interaction rules that made me want to do anything other than drop them and have ruleless rping. But intrigues look very elegantly fitted into the system - you don't use them for common roleplaying, but if you have an 'objective' you can use them.

For the most part the actions and mechanics seem very good too, and they really give some benefit to creating a character who's strong on the social side rather than just combat. They will require utilizing common sense (Tyrion shouldn't try to seduce Catelyn), but that shouldn't be hard.

Will people be using these mechanics a lot do you think? Most games I've played barely bother with diplomacy rolls, since they're so binary, unlike this.

PS I am saddened that I won't be getting this until October... might have to do some prerelease playing with GoO or freeform, or maybe the quickstart adventure which is pretty cool (and I like the characters).
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Re: Intrigue

Postby sinisterthings » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:34 pm

Skyman wrote:I've never seen interaction rules that made me want to do anything other than drop them and have ruleless rping.

I hear you. Every time I hear or read the words, "social combat," I want to strangle someone.

In contrast to Combat, I wonder how well my players will take to having their PCs influenced or defeated via Intrigue.
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Postby Skyman » Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:10 pm

That's true. You'd have to use it carefully - but as a player I know it would make me care more about the social interactions to know I could end up like Ned if I fail...

Also going into an Intrigue would let the players know that the NPC's trying to get something from them, which could be problematic if they're trying to use Deception.
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Postby Zapp » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:18 am

From my first reading through the QS, the intent is impressive. However, I came away with an unfortunate sense of complexity.

If the rules were exactly like combat (only with different "armor" and "hit points") all would be well. It's the "weapons" part and how they all do different and special attacks I couldn't wrap my head around. Perhaps I will upon my next reading, but still the fact remains: it's more complex than actual combat! :o

My immediate thought was: why not have a single "attack form" and when you defeat your opponent, you get to choose his or her fate? This is very neat for normal combat, and I miss its elegant simplicity for social clashes.

Any playtester who would like to share any thoughts on this?
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Postby Skyman » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:38 am

It does have the benefit though that a social character needs a variety of skills in order to use the different techniques and therefore achieve the different results, so you can't be a social monster just by taking persuasion.

Also choosing the techniques will pretty much be where the strategy is, while in real combat you have things like moving, choosing who to attack and with what weapon, etc.

Although it's definitely a bit more tactical than some people might like, I can see.
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Postby RJS » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:09 pm

I respect the concerns about the complexity, but I think it's fairly important to remember that most full-blown intrigues will occur between PCs and major Narrator characters, and it's in these conflicts that the layers of crunch are most important. Dealing with lesser foes needs fewer mechanics and there are shorthands for such encounters in the full rulebook.
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Postby fairwater » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:13 am

Ok so i have one problem that keeps nagging me. Ok so lets say that we are using the influence rules to get some information out of a cagey Minor lord. As i see it, there is only one group pressing for information so only one group making rolls during the exchange. As it stands it appears that, there can be multiple exchanges, thus allowing the group to "mechanically" take as many exchanges as they need to wear down their opponents composure, with no fear of anything negative happening to them, as their opponent is not trying to get anything out of them.

This poses a problem, when the adversary has nothing to gain from a situation.
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Postby Skyman » Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:10 pm

The lord can always take the quit action, which I think anyone should probably do if they have nothing to gain from the intrigue and it's been a few minutes of uninteresting talk for them (and I wouldn't say there'd be repercussions for their 'weakness' in quitting if the PCs have been belligerent and pushy). Give the PCs a couple rounds and if they don't make enough progress, quit. Or, alternatively, have the NPC see that they might be able to extract something from the PCs for the info, even if they didn't go into the conversation that way. "Hmm, if I give them this info, they might deal with the bandit problem..." After that if the PCs win they get the info for free, if not they have to perform the service.
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Postby Zapp » Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:32 pm

You can always switch to the combat system...

"Guards, take them! Throw them into the dungeons! Their talk wearies me..."

>:)
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Postby fairwater » Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:46 pm

So then we can assume that the intrigue sequences should only be applied when both parties are attempting to get something out of the deal.....

so lets set up the same secenario, where the cagey lord is trying to get the PC's to do that favor and go out to rid the country side of bandits. Now we have what would be a "Bargining" type intrigue, but statistically speaking the pc's - 3-6 of them have to only convince one lord only one "opponent" to face, while the lord must face off against all 3-6 pcs.

Now i know roleplaying through it should work, but it is moments like that i wonder about the effectiveness of such rules.
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Postby Patchface » Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:42 pm

fairwater wrote:So then we can assume that the intrigue sequences should only be applied when both parties are attempting to get something out of the deal.....

From what we know so far, I'd tend to agree with you here. There may be additional intrigue options and mechanics in the corebook, of course, but it seems to me that situations in which only one party is actually trying to achieve something in a social or political situation, roleplaying and a single persuasion/deception test (or an extended test, perhaps) should be sufficient.

fairwater wrote:so lets set up the same secenario, where the cagey lord is trying to get the PC's to do that favor and go out to rid the country side of bandits. Now we have what would be a "Bargining" type intrigue, but statistically speaking the pc's - 3-6 of them have to only convince one lord only one "opponent" to face, while the lord must face off against all 3-6 pcs.

That's a good point. However, I think it will be up to the GM to balance things out, e. g. by giving the cagey lord some help (such as his heir, his lady wife, his steward, his bannermen, etc.) against the PC's in situations like the one you describe.
In that respect, it's similar to a combat situation in which the PC's only have to fight one opponent. Without additional challenges, they will win easily, of course, but where's the fun in that? A good GM will find ways to make things interesting.
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Postby Pencil Pusher » Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:37 pm

There is also the old stand by of, "His lordship will see you now. Alone."

What I find most fascinating about this is the possibility of the players actively avoiding characters who can "force" them into situations where they will get trounced. I can see someone saying, "Here comes the Queen" and everyone but the Kettlebacks heading for the hills. It actually makes it somewhat dangerous to find yourself mingling with the upper crust unless you know your way about court. It is not like one can excuse ones self from the presence of *Cersi until she has given her leave...

*Or Lord Tywin and a host of other powerful figures at times.

The old minor lord isn't that dangerous because you can disengage without too much risk but disengaging from the powerful nobles at a court event is liable to lead to some nasty consequences.

It is a whole new layer to the battlefield.
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Postby Zapp » Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:37 am

What I often forget as a GM (or player) is that if you have a meeting with a Lord, you would normally only speak through your leader.

Conversely, if the PCs the Lord is trying to influence are his equals (or nearly so), he wouldn't want to face them all at once. Then he would probably try to speak to each of them individually (possibly playing them against each other).

The scenario you're discussing is only going to happen if the GM forgets this.

Yes, the "fun factor" demands that all players are always active. And as part of a modern society, we almost expect to be allowed to have our say, especially in a friendly game among your buddies.

But to preserve a modicum of the advantage that the Lord would surely have, the GM needs to be strong and "be difficult".
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