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  • #16
    Mage society doesn't act differently than normal society, you pay for the services you want or build up relationships that allow for mutual benefit.

    If you want players to act on the favor system it's probably best to model the possibilities for them. They'll see that group X that doesn't normally have access to resource Y can get them because they're working with or for group Z. Then they'll start scheming how they can make that happen for themselves.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
      If you want players to act on the favor system it's probably best to model the possibilities for them. They'll see that group X that doesn't normally have access to resource Y can get them because they're working with or for group Z. Then they'll start scheming how they can make that happen for themselves.
      That's doable. But that only works for the kinds of favour that's important enough that they get focus and the group invests time in them without feeling repetitive.
      While these are good, they are both too rare and spotlight intensive. By themselves they don't give the feel I am going for.

      I want mechanics that help show the small interactions that 'grease wheels' of mage society. The favours that are not so important that your group would get together and scheme, yet that should be happening all the time among Mages.


      My custom legacy (2e)- The Disciples of Rathma - Life/Death focused Moros/Thyrsus Legacy, comments appreciated

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      • #18
        I've just been handling this via heavy use of the Leveraged Condition. I'll have to take a close look at this to see if it does things Leveraged doesn't, but in general I've found that the system as it exists is already built to handle favor-trading.

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        • #19
          This seems like an issue in motivations.

          What are your character's aspirations? their obsessions? Do they have any pet projects? hobbies? Examples could include: Mapping all the leylines in a given territory for the local Lorehouse. Providing and maintaining free power to the local Atheneum. Get a better understanding of the local spirit courts, try to create a self-actualizing psychological profile on each court-head. Learn where the local vampires feed, and which victims they prefer.

          All of those, come with complications, that lead to plots, and we haven't even gotten to the usual academic squabbles mages are capable of, like undercutting certain funds for each project, on petty excuses, such as jealousy for the possibility to garner accolades; or the kind of favors that you wouldn't catch a councilor discussing openly with his peers, such as a way to make sacrifices (human or otherwise) yield more mana, or things like imbuing or improving an object. Or outright stealing shit from another faction.

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          • #20
            The thing is that Western society, especially outside of rich-people circles, tend not to realize that they're doing a favor when they are. It's part of our construction of individualism and being self-made people that the idea that someone did us a favor feels a little icky, so we write it off as a nice gesture or unsolicited advice. That's not false, but it makes it hard to recognize that these things are favors being done. In a favor economy, people are more sensitive to this. They recognize that actions intended to benefit the recipient are favors and naturally start looking for ways to pay it back in kind.

            Mechanics aren't going to do this for you, because by their nature, CofD systems are fairly big. You don't burn Resources dots on a nice meal, after all; you just have one. The analogue for favors is Status and, well, 5 dots covers a very large range.

            Instead, when a player meets with an NPC, ask this: did one of them bring a gift? If it's a gift of information, make sure it's not part of some mission dossier; that's not a favor: that's an order. But is it their favorite wine? A book relevant to their interests? A juicy piece of gossip? A lead on the research the other person's doing? That's a favor. How is it reciprocated? Do they make a gift in return? Do they make a open-ended promise? They might not reciprocate immediately, but they'll think about how to do so. Rate the interaction subjectively. Did the gift impress? Did it make them feel that the other person is a great person? Or, on the flip side, did the gift fall flat badly? Was it insulting, or a demonstration of the gifter's ignorance?

            Social Manuevering actually quantifies this decently. A better Impressions rating is a good approximation for someone who you've interacted with quite a bit and have traded favors with substantially. The time between rolls helps establish how much work you have to do to prove yourself to someone who doesn't know you. Of course, Impressions can be keyed off other things, too, which makes it harder to use that as a representation.

            You'll get better verisimilitude if you look less towards system-based solutions and more towards lacing all of your actual interactions with NPCs with this stuff. Always, always be asking, "Is he doing me a favor? Am I doing him a favor?" Always, always be weighing the value of the favor and the value of the other person (both of which are highly subjective). Judge and judge often: and remember that in a functional Mage society, those judgements will generally be positive, even when it's blue and orange morality. An arrogant, stand-offish mage is still likely to be judged well if he demonstrates competence and knowledge. Don't worry about paying back a favor too much: the favor itself isn't important: what's important is the consequent impression made. Ask yourself: what does my character offer to Mage society? What makes me valuable to others, that they'd bother doing me a favor? Some groups are going to have a lot of trouble doing this, especially if NPC interaction is primarily referencing the chronicle's plot. It's easier to demonstrate a favor economy if you take breaks from the latest hijinks, get some downtime, and do a couple slice-of-life scenes where the characters are just going about their daily routines and visiting colleagues for no-particular-reason.

            Here are two posts I made a few months ago on guanxi, which might be helpful since they're in a similar vein:
            http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...824#post787824
            http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...173#post788173

            And just to reiterate because it's something to hammer home: favors are not about favors. Favors are about reputation and community.


            I call the Integrity-analogue the "subjective stat".
            An explanation how to use Social Manuevering.
            Guanxi Explanations: 1, 2, 3.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Joker View Post
              That's doable. But that only works for the kinds of favour that's important enough that they get focus and the group invests time in them without feeling repetitive.
              While these are good, they are both too rare and spotlight intensive. By themselves they don't give the feel I am going for.

              I want mechanics that help show the small interactions that 'grease wheels' of mage society. The favours that are not so important that your group would get together and scheme, yet that should be happening all the time among Mages.

              I'm just going to go with the Angry GM on this, if it's not important enough to deserve spotlight time then stop giving yourself a headache by creating pointless mechanics that the players will never see.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post


                I'm just going to go with the Angry GM on this, if it's not important enough to deserve spotlight time then stop giving yourself a headache by creating pointless mechanics that the players will never see.
                That's probably down to differing on what degree of importance spotlight implies. Would you say Stunts in Exalted are pointless mechanics?
                An individual Stunt in Exalted is roughly equal in time and narrative importance to what my goal was for individual 'small' favors in the two bits of rules I wrote up.


                Originally posted by Ephsy View Post
                This seems like an issue in motivations.
                at it's most basic, yes.
                Look at it like Exalted's stunts. Theoretically, you can describe your actions the way you do in Exalted in every game out there. Yet, as a look at any thread where people discuss what made them love Exalted, few ever bothered before Stunts came around.
                One effect Stunts had for me back then, that they made characters interacting with the world feel fundamentally different than any other game before. That's kind of what my aim is with the mechanics: short and sweet moments that don't disrupt the flow of play, but as a result of repeatedly being used emphasize for the players that in some ways Mage society works fundamentally different from the one we are used to.

                Theoretically, players could describe these exchanges of favors on their own without any mechanical incentive. Just like there were people that described their all of their characters' actions before stunts came around.
                I just think that isn't enough and my group isn't one of those that can. We have awesome 'big' favors that come up, encluding an entire storyarc that was the result of one, as well as a few sidequests that resulted from others. The thing is, without all those smaller favors the way I experience Mage society working in actual play doesn't feel quite right yet. But unless my ST sees some good feedback on the mechanics I gave or someone else has the right idea that is even better that probably won't change. Mage society to me should feel like Favor trading is pervasive and comes up all the time, not just when you need the kind of favor you can base an entire scene or chronicle on.


                My custom legacy (2e)- The Disciples of Rathma - Life/Death focused Moros/Thyrsus Legacy, comments appreciated

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                • #23
                  Have you tried having your players passing along their down actions, such as the requisition of said favors, between sessions?

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                  • #24
                    I don't know anything about Exalted.

                    I could back up what Ephsy said, our group has been pretty successful with simply stating a downtime goal or two, making a relevant skill check and being done with it.

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                    • #25
                      Go down the merits list on your player's sheet looking for dots in Allies, Contacts and Status, these dots then become a separate dice pool for that merit (there is always a dice pool of one for their order, concillium, family and friends). Roll the dice for each pool, successes represent being required to perform a favor for that group with more successes representing harder or personally costly favors and if the player decides not to perform the favor, reduce their pool temporarily by one until they make good on it. If the favor comes due for a merit where it makes sense (Order, concillium or someone who knows you can do things they don't understand) then that favor could require magic, especially if there was more than one success rolled. After listing any successes then you the ST come up with appropriate favors, given who it is for and how many successes were rolled, and start the next play session by telling that player that the favor has been called due. Yes you the ST have to come up with the story elements of the favor but the dice introduce a random element of for who and when, while the number of successes give how intensive or intrusive the favor will be. Imagine a three dot favor owed to a sister who needs a baby sitter, the kid could be a real hellion or the timing just really bad, especially if another group rolled a high number of successes.
                      ​You can count tens only or do the whole run from eight if you want to raise the chances.
                      ​I would recommend playing out these favors, even if it just means at some point the player's character stops to buy milk and drop it to their sister's house. Little favors like this can be used to fill in the white noise behind the main plot, while larger favors can start mini arcs of their own that aren't connected to the main plot. It just makes the game feel like more than the classic "you're in a dungeon, do you go right or left?" and more like a real life.
                      Last edited by 2ptTakrill; 02-22-2016, 02:04 AM.

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                      • #26
                        Give them two looped condition: Owing Favors and Having Favors.
                        When you have Owing Favors, you can resolve it while meeting NPC to declare that you were owing this NPC some kind of a favor. You need to narrate it shortly and describe how you dealt with it. Resolving Owing Favors gives you Having Favors, which can be resolved in order to narrate that NPC is owing *you* a small favor, and you narrate what is it. Then it becomes Owing Favors again.
                        This is meant to provide an excuse to talk about improvised small favors during gameplay and let it colour player interactions accordingly.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by WHW View Post
                          Give them two looped condition: Owing Favors and Having Favors.
                          When you have Owing Favors, you can resolve it while meeting NPC to declare that you were owing this NPC some kind of a favor. You need to narrate it shortly and describe how you dealt with it. Resolving Owing Favors gives you Having Favors, which can be resolved in order to narrate that NPC is owing *you* a small favor, and you narrate what is it. Then it becomes Owing Favors again.
                          This is meant to provide an excuse to talk about improvised small favors during gameplay and let it colour player interactions accordingly.
                          I really like this. It's simple and elegant.


                          My custom legacy (2e)- The Disciples of Rathma - Life/Death focused Moros/Thyrsus Legacy, comments appreciated

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Errol216 View Post
                            The thing is that Western society, especially outside of rich-people circles, tend not to realize that they're doing a favor when they are. It's part of our construction of individualism and being self-made people that the idea that someone did us a favor feels a little icky, so we write it off as a nice gesture or unsolicited advice. That's not false, but it makes it hard to recognize that these things are favors being done. In a favor economy, people are more sensitive to this. They recognize that actions intended to benefit the recipient are favors and naturally start looking for ways to pay it back in kind.

                            Mechanics aren't going to do this for you, because by their nature, CofD systems are fairly big. You don't burn Resources dots on a nice meal, after all; you just have one. The analogue for favors is Status and, well, 5 dots covers a very large range.

                            Instead, when a player meets with an NPC, ask this: did one of them bring a gift? If it's a gift of information, make sure it's not part of some mission dossier; that's not a favor: that's an order. But is it their favorite wine? A book relevant to their interests? A juicy piece of gossip? A lead on the research the other person's doing? That's a favor. How is it reciprocated? Do they make a gift in return? Do they make a open-ended promise? They might not reciprocate immediately, but they'll think about how to do so. Rate the interaction subjectively. Did the gift impress? Did it make them feel that the other person is a great person? Or, on the flip side, did the gift fall flat badly? Was it insulting, or a demonstration of the gifter's ignorance?

                            Social Manuevering actually quantifies this decently. A better Impressions rating is a good approximation for someone who you've interacted with quite a bit and have traded favors with substantially. The time between rolls helps establish how much work you have to do to prove yourself to someone who doesn't know you. Of course, Impressions can be keyed off other things, too, which makes it harder to use that as a representation.

                            You'll get better verisimilitude if you look less towards system-based solutions and more towards lacing all of your actual interactions with NPCs with this stuff. Always, always be asking, "Is he doing me a favor? Am I doing him a favor?" Always, always be weighing the value of the favor and the value of the other person (both of which are highly subjective). Judge and judge often: and remember that in a functional Mage society, those judgements will generally be positive, even when it's blue and orange morality. An arrogant, stand-offish mage is still likely to be judged well if he demonstrates competence and knowledge. Don't worry about paying back a favor too much: the favor itself isn't important: what's important is the consequent impression made. Ask yourself: what does my character offer to Mage society? What makes me valuable to others, that they'd bother doing me a favor? Some groups are going to have a lot of trouble doing this, especially if NPC interaction is primarily referencing the chronicle's plot. It's easier to demonstrate a favor economy if you take breaks from the latest hijinks, get some downtime, and do a couple slice-of-life scenes where the characters are just going about their daily routines and visiting colleagues for no-particular-reason.

                            Here are two posts I made a few months ago on guanxi, which might be helpful since they're in a similar vein:
                            http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...824#post787824
                            http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...173#post788173

                            And just to reiterate because it's something to hammer home: favors are not about favors. Favors are about reputation and community.

                            I have always understood social capital/currency, but I always struggled with Guanxi. Thank you for connecting the two.


                            Currently Running: The Shield Bearers - W:TF 2nd
                            Currently Planning: The Dead End Kids - CoD
                            Untilted Tenra Bansho Zero game
                            Currently Playing: The Unusual Suspects - D:td, I am playing The Naturalist

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                            • #29
                              What you want is the Connected condition I forget what page in the condition list. Anyone who joins an order or conillium (status dots) has it. That's the plot hook reward for the resources and training an order gives you. Other favors are a barter system. Consider the level of trust between two parties, the danger or expense involved in the request and how long it will take to carry out the request. Smart groups will build trust and favor credit with another group before asking for anything big themselves.

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