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Interesting Conflict for Min-Maxed Social Character?

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  • Interesting Conflict for Min-Maxed Social Character?

    Exactly what it says on the tin.

    One of my players min-maxed her Daeva so it's got 1 dot in Composure and 5 in Manipulation. That combined with Majesty 1-3, she's able to basically roll through any direct conflict.

    What I've done is to play with unintended consequences, and have things start to break "off screen". But it starts to feel like "gotcha" situations when that's the only tool you have, and I don't want my player to feel like she's being punished for playing her character the way she wants to.

    The only other thing I've been able to do is to have kindred NPCs be really aggressive, which is lame.

    How would you run it?




  • Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
    replied
    I would note that conditions on players is the easiest way to show them being swayed without taking away player agency, if you want to give conditions as a result of losing social doors.

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  • Unahim
    replied
    Also, if it ever becomes about swaying a mob, that might touch more on Presence than Manipulation. It could be hard to reach the ringleader in order to Manipulate him, and if her presence isn't really high as well, she may not win tug-o-war contests with crowd opinion, Majesty or not.

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  • Live Bait
    replied
    Chase rules is probably fairer than exploiting the fact that they only have one door in social manoeuvring since those rules are not intended for use on PCs. Still if the player was ok with it I might be tempted to exploit it if it was what my character would do. Maybe the power players of the city assume the rest of the party are doing just that, gives you an excuse to have other vampires work on false assumptions for better or worse.
    Not to mention she has next to no defence against majesty and the other Daeva probably know it, have fun with that one.
    Last edited by Live Bait; 01-02-2020, 08:31 PM.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Honestly.. it's Vampire. The local major NPCs need to be assertive and ambitious. There's no reason to shy away from that. They're not being aggressive, they're being cutthroat like the books portray them as.

    There's a point where going too soft is going to hurt the game; especially if you're concerned about someone that's gone for a heavy investment in one direction like this.

    If you're looking for some extra complications, remember that plenty of NPCs don't do things on their own. Send agents to deliver messages. She can roll Manipulation at them all she wants, but she's not getting to the real power player like that.

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  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Originally posted by Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll View Post
    1 dot composure makes the character highly impressionable. Hit on that. Give them social conditions from being swooned, leveraged, all sorts of stuff. Have someone fast talk THEM and they have to roll composure to avoid snapping at them in the middle of Elysium.
    I think this is probably a good strategy. The game does have built in tracks for this kind of thing. Might as well take advantage of the tools we're given.



    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    One of the cops is a Ghoul of a major NPC who wants a favor in return for the Ghoul's help covering things up (whether she needed the help or not).
    I think something along these lines is a good idea, but my big worry is that I don't want to have my npcs on the aggressive immediately. Say the PC wants to roll to get the regnant to go easy on her, how would you go about complicating things?



    Originally posted by Live Bait View Post
    Manipulate is good for convincing the cops there’s another explanation (and later the jury) but when you’re being asked about the order of events you need to keep your nerves and that’s a composure role. Offer a beat to make it a dramatic fail and she can scream out “I can’t come by in the morning, I’m a vampire!” Even with majesty that’s going to require some fixing.
    Love it.

    Now that I think about it, I could probably run the investigation using the chase rules, which would make for more diverse rolling.



    Originally posted by Draconis View Post
    In other words, they're the social equivalent of a glass cannon: the combat character with lots of Vigor who hits hard but goes down in one hit. They're all offense, no defense. Which means they're not prepared for someone else to strike first.

    Anyone with good Empathy (or basic Auspex) will eventually figure this out about them, and in vampire society, will probably exploit it.
    Yeah, reusing NPCs regularly is good practice. Our playing schedule is pretty irregular, which can make it difficult to create that sense of continuity with social repercussions. But putting a bit more emphasis on that would probably help as well. But I guess I'm not sure how to have it avoid feeling like a "gotcha" moment where I'm like "Nope, they're not going to let you do the thing, because you were thoughtlessly a dick to the NPC last time.", which then becomes "Ok, you can roll to change their impression of you.... Ok I guess they like you now, nevermind."

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  • Draconis
    replied
    In other words, they're the social equivalent of a glass cannon: the combat character with lots of Vigor who hits hard but goes down in one hit. They're all offense, no defense. Which means they're not prepared for someone else to strike first.

    Anyone with good Empathy (or basic Auspex) will eventually figure this out about them, and in vampire society, will probably exploit it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Live Bait
    replied
    Manipulate is good for convincing the cops there’s another explanation (and later the jury) but when you’re being asked about the order of events you need to keep your nerves and that’s a composure role. Offer a beat to make it a dramatic fail and she can scream out “I can’t come by in the morning, I’m a vampire!” Even with majesty that’s going to require some fixing.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
    For example, she crit-failed a perception roll and thought her uber driver was going to try to kill her, while she was low on blood. So she called thr cops, then frenzied and ate the driver. Now the cops are looking for both of them. I'm trying to think of ways to make the plot more complex than "I find the cops, manipulate them into thinking I'm innocent, and walk away fine." There's nothing wrong with that being the outcome, but I feel like it's be more fun to make it a bigger thing.
    One of the cops is a Ghoul of a major NPC who wants a favor in return for the Ghoul's help covering things up (whether she needed the help or not).

    Leave a comment:


  • Graylion
    replied
    Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
    Exactly what it says on the tin.

    One of my players min-maxed her Daeva so it's got 1 dot in Composure and 5 in Manipulation. That combined with Majesty 1-3, she's able to basically roll through any direct conflict.

    What I've done is to play with unintended consequences, and have things start to break "off screen". But it starts to feel like "gotcha" situations when that's the only tool you have, and I don't want my player to feel like she's being punished for playing her character the way she wants to.

    The only other thing I've been able to do is to have kindred NPCs be really aggressive, which is lame.

    How would you run it?


    Also if memory serves me right resisting Frenzy is Res + Com so a few frenzy trigger to enrich the vampire experience. Oh wait you don't have extra WP to hold the Beast off, no, say it isn't so....

    Composure is keeping your calm under fire/stress and the little things tend to aggravate those without that balance of calm. He may have the resolve to quietly hold it in, but when he breaks, oh ya.

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  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    No, you're right. The pc is being played as being really borderline and avoidant, and she is easily manipulated. Like, the way we rationalized the statting was that she grew up in an emotionally hostile environment where her emotional stability was beaten down, but she had a natural ability for manipulation that she cultivated in order to take control of her life.

    She did not max her resolve, and running out of composure has been a problem/good source of drama.

    But I (as the GM) just feel kind of coersive by having the npcs start off so aggressive. Other vampires, it makes sense that they would get twigged immediately to attempts to manipulate, but humans are really where I'm struggling.

    For example, she crit-failed a perception roll and thought her uber driver was going to try to kill her, while she was low on blood. So she called thr cops, then frenzied and ate the driver. Now the cops are looking for both of them. I'm trying to think of ways to make the plot more complex than "I find the cops, manipulate them into thinking I'm innocent, and walk away fine." There's nothing wrong with that being the outcome, but I feel like it's be more fun to make it a bigger thing.
    Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 12-31-2019, 04:17 PM.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    That's my thought as well. That's not really "min maxed" for social conflicts, because they can't take social stuff aimed at them for shit.

    It's like building a combat character with Strength 5 and Stamina 1. Can they hit, and hit hard? Sure. But one big hit could easily end their chances of winning a fight.

    Unless this character max Resolve as well, their Willpower is also going to be extremely low, which is a huge disadvantage in general (having a crappy Resolve + Composure roll is also just a massively bad place to be).

    Any character that can get their social roll in first, or at least social roll just as well but can actually resist social attempts can take them head on without any complicated tactics. Beyond that, anyone that can needle them and retreat repeatedly is also going to run them down really fast even if not in one scene.

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  • Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
    replied
    1 dot composure makes the character highly impressionable. Hit on that. Give them social conditions from being swooned, leveraged, all sorts of stuff. Have someone fast talk THEM and they have to roll composure to avoid snapping at them in the middle of Elysium.

    Leave a comment:

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