Social Skills

From RFK Backup
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Social Maneuvers system, as written in Blood & Smoke, is an excellent system save for two factors: first, it's designed for NPCs rather than PCs, and second, it's designed for use in achieving specific goals. It doesn't cover things like:

"Tell me what I want to know!"
"No!"
INTIMIDATE!*
Bursts into tears and runs away to hide.*
ooc: "...No, you have to tell me. I beat you on the Intimidation roll."
ooc: "You mean I don't get a choice?!"
Well. You do get a choice. Blood & Smoke is all about choices. When you choose to go along with other people's badassery, you get a reward, but the only things that flat-out back you into a corner where you have no choices are hardcore supernatural disciplines. The incomparable NeoTiamat has come up with more specifics for mundane social skills that address these sorts of issues. They're not always necessary, but in instances when you're not sure what your social skills allow you to do, or how big an effect something should have, they're incredibly useful!

Offscreen

Extended rolls are both possible and appropriate for certain Off-Screen social actions, particularly Crafts/Expression. Each roll takes 4 hours of downtime. If any of the rolls are Exceptional, the action is considered to have an Exceptional Success.

To read an opponent, roll Wits + Empathy vs their Manipulation + Subterfuge and ask one question for each success you beat your opponent by. If they beat you, they may give you false answers; otherwise, the answers must be truthful to the best of their OOC knowledge.

- What is this person's mood?
- Is there something unusual about this person's actions or reactions?
- What would make this person more inclined toward me?
- What would make this person less inclined toward me?
- What known recent events caused this person to react positively?
- What known recent events caused this person to react negatively?
- Does this person seem to dislike anyone here?
- Does this person seem to favor anyone here?
To analyze an opponent, first state three pieces of information about the target, which you believe have something in common with one another. These things may be as simple as something the target said, or a facial expression they made at someone else's comment, but you must have three points of data in order to analyse. If these data points are fundamentally incorrect, even a successful analysis is likely to return incorrect information. Then roll Intelligence + Empathy vs their Manipulation + Subterfuge as an extended action, with the target number set as 5 times the target's Composure. Analysis can only be used to uncover motives, not more facts - empathy may recognize that a character is acting with extreme remorse, for example, but unless what prompted that remorse is also known it cannot tell why that character feels that way. Analysis may determine things such as (but not limited to):
- Whether the target was acting under his virtue/Mask or vice/Dirge;
- Whether the target has a specific condition;
- What the target's relationship with another person is;
- How the target feels about a certain topic.

The artist or performer uses their successes to "buy" effects from the list below, assigning successes to each effect until they are out, or no longer wish to purchase anything else. Once a success has been assigned, it cannot be used in purchasing another effect. Anyone who watches, reads, or is otherwise exposed to the artwork may elect to take all of the effects, or may decide the artwork did nothing for him and forgo all of the rewards. Multiple Expression performances do not stack. Base Effects: Normal success: Swelling Emotion. The artist chooses three conditions from the following: Inspired, Steadfast, Furious, Distracted, Inflamed, Shaken, Melancholy. Anyone exposed to the artwork may elect to choose one condition from these three and be affected by it, or may instead choose none of the conditions and remain unaffected. Exceptional success: Lingering Emotion. The artist chooses three conditions from the following: Inspired, Steadfast, Furious, Distracted, Inflamed, Shaken, Melancholy, Swooning, Paranoia, Informed, Depressed. Anyone exposed to the artwork may elect to choose one condition from those three and be affected by it, or may instead choose none of the conditions and remain unaffected. Rider Effects: 1 success - Clarity. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain a +1 to a single Resolve roll, or to raise their Resolve by 1 for the purposes of resistance. This benefit may be purchased twice, but multiple uses of Clarity do not stack with each other. 1 success - Focus. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain a +1 to a single Composure roll, or to raise their Composure by 1 for the purposes of resistance. This benefit may be purchased twice, but multiple uses of Focus do not stack with each other. 1 success - The Best Medicine. Anyone who has received a condition as a result of the artwork may heal 1B damage in health. This does not represent black eyes or bruising actually healing, so much as the character no longer paying as much attention to her injuries. This effect may be purchased twice. 1 success - Mood-Shift. Anyone who has received a condition as a result of the artwork may choose to resolve a non-persistent 'State of Mind' condition that they currently possess. Resolving a condition in this manner does not grant the character a Beat. 2 successes - Food for Thought. Anyone who is under a condition as a result of the artwork also gains a +1 a single mental skill roll. This effect may be purchased three times. 2 successes - Engaging Conversation. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain +1 to a single social skill roll. This effect may be purchased three times, but multiple uses of Engaging Conversation do not stack. 2 successes - Racing Blood. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain a +1 to a single physical skill roll. This effect may be purchased three times, but multiple uses of Racing Blood do not stack. 3 successes - Catharsis. Anyone who has received a condition from the artwork also regains a point of Willpower. This may only happen once per scene.

One-on-one: A variety of rolls can be used to browbeat or bully someone. Presence + Intimidate is the most common, but someone could toy with a knife for Dexterity + Intimidate, or start spouting big, threatening legalese for Intelligence + Intimidate. The roll is opposed by the target's Resolve + Composure. If the target wins, nothing happens and the bully takes a -1 to further Intimidation rolls against anyone for the rest of the scene. If the bully wins, one of two things can happen:

- The target immediately loses a point of willpower. If the target has no more willpower, they instead gain a temporary Depressed condition.
- The bully names an action aloud, something as simple as "I wouldn't do that if I were you" or something as complex as "you'll bring me one thousand dollars in unmarked bills to my townhouse tomorrow in a Mickey Mouse lunchbox." If the target disobeys, they lose a point of willpower; if the target has no more willpower, they instead gain a temporary Depressed condition.
You can only browbeat a specific person once per scene. Modifiers very much apply. One-on-many: Again, the roll for this action depends on how the character wishes to go about it. Looking frightening is Presence + Intimidate, a show of strength is Strength + Intimidate, a blackmailer whispering a hint about the secret you're hiding uses Manipulation + Intimidate. The intimidating character then spends 1 willpower, and any offensive action against them is penalized by the successes on their intimidate roll, be it Social or Physical: no one wants to be the first to throw a punch against them, or to be caught back-talking them! If the Intimidation roll involved a display, only the people who saw that display are penalized. This effect lasts either until the end of the scene, or until someone successfully manages to attack or otherwise foil them despite the penalty. If this occurs, the facade of invulnerability comes tumbling down, the penalty no longer applies to anyone, and the character may not attempt to use mundane Intimidation again for the rest of the scene.

Fast-Talking Roll Manipulation + Persuasion vs Wits + Composure. If the target wins, the attempt fails and the target is immune to further fast-talk attempts for the rest of the scene. If the fast-talker wins, the target gains the Distracted condition, with a penalty equal to the number of successes gained above their own. This penalty may not exceed the fast-talker's Manipulation score. The Distracted condition lasts only as long as the character keeps talking. Afterwards, they roll Intelligence + Wits with a penalty equal to the Distraction penalty. On a success, they realize what just happened. Deal-Making Roll Presence + Persuasion or Manipulation + Persuasion. The request must be something that costs the other party something in the way of effort, resources, time, or possibly dignity. On a Dramatic Failure, you offend the other person in your efforts to persuade them, and may not use Persuasion against them for the rest of the scene. On a Failure, the other person might agree on their own whims, but has no real incentive to help you. On a Success, you may purchase as many benefits as you can afford from the list below. If the other party accepts these benefits, they gain the Persuaded Condition. On an Exceptional Success, you may purchase as many benefits as you can afford from the list below. If the other party accepts these benefits, they gain the Committed Condition. Benefits: 1 success - Clarity. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain a +1 to a single Resolve roll, or to raise their Resolve by 1 for the purposes of resistance. This benefit may be purchased more than once, but multiple uses of Clarity do not stack with each other. 1 success - Focus. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain a +1 to a single Composure roll, or to raise their Composure by 1 for the purposes of resistance. This benefit may be purchased more than once, but multiple uses of Focus do not stack with each other. 2 successes - Food for Thought. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain +1 to a single mental skill roll. This benefit may be purchased more than once, but multiple uses of Food for Thought do not stack with each other. 2 successes - Engaging Conversation. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain +1 to a single social skill roll. This benefit may be purchased more than once, but multiple uses of Engaging Conversation do not stack with each other. 2 successes - Racing Blood. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain +1 to a single physical skill roll. This benefit may be purchased more than once, but multiple uses of Racing Blood do not stack with each other. 3 successes - Catharsis. A character with this benefit may spend it to regain a point of Willpower. A character may only regain willpower in this fashion once per scene. 3 successes - Inspired. A character with this benefit may resolve Inspired before rolling on an action pertaining to that inspiration. An exceptional success on that roll requires only three successes instead of five, and restores one point of Willpower. 3 successes - Steadfast. A character with this benefit may spent it to turn a rolled failure into a single success, or to upgrade a chance die to a regular die. 5 successes - Hold. The dealmaker gains a hold over the other character, which can be used to offer a Beat in exchange for cooperation. Unlike other benefits, the Beat is not granted upon the character's agreement to the deal. The dealmaker maintains the hold until one of the following conditions are met, at which point the persuaded character gains the Beat:

- The agreed-upon deal is completed;
- The character or a close ally takes more than 3B as a result of pursuing the deal, or is otherwise put in serious danger;
- The character encounters a Breaking Point while pursuing the deal.
The dealmaker may also choose to release their hold if they are satisfied with the character's efforts on their behalf, granting the Beat whether the conditions above are met or not. This benefit may be purchased more than once. As a special condition, this benefit can be applied even to people who do not agree to the deal's terms, although they have no means to gain the Beat beyond the whims of the dealmaker.
7 successes - Determination. A character with this benefit may spend it to reroll any mundane dice pool, taking the second result even if it is lower. This benefit may be purchased more than once, but may be used only once per scene. 10 successes - Adamant. A character with this benefit may spend it to gain the rote quality on a single mundane dice roll. This benefit may be purchased more than once, but may be used only once per scene.

Gather information Roll Wits + Socialize. For each success on the roll, you may ask one of the following questions:

- What are the local rumors?
- What is this group currently most focused on?
- Who among this group seems to have the most favor?
- Who among this group seems to have the least favor?
- Who among this group seems the most controversial?
Roll Intelligence + Socialize. For each success on the roll, you may ask one of the following questions:
- How can I make the best initial impression to <relevant group>?
- Are there any local venues that would suit <relevant person's> tastes?
- What is the proper etiquette when speaking to <relevant group>?
- Are there any known faux pas I should avoid committing with <relevant group>?
Work the Crowd Roll either Presence + Socialize or Manipulation + Socialize. Each roll takes at least half an hour, and each success may be 'spent' to perform one or more of the following actions: - Plant a rumor. The rumor strength is equal to the amount of successes placed in it, ranging from a one dot rumor (known only to two people and their cat) to a five or more dot rumor (everyone in the group has heard it, people who have no reason to think otherwise may consider it fact). Barring any further manipulation from outside sources, rumors fade in potency at the rate of one dot every week. - Erode a local rumor. Spend one success to remove a dot of potency from a rumor, possibly dispelling the rumor entirely. - Prime the Crowd. For each success spent, gain one extra die on an Expression roll used upon the same crowd within the same scene. You may only spend a number of successes on this action up to your Presence. - Champion a cause. Pick a specific person, group of people, or topic of conversation, and either champion for or against it. Successes spent on this effect are placed aside in a special pool. Whenever a non-perception social roll comes up involving the specified cause, successes are taken out of the pool to modify the applicable social roll (adding dice if championing for the cause, or subtracting dice if championing against it). An individual roll can only be modified by a number of successes equal to your Presence. Once a success is spent, it's gone. Multiple people championing the same cause is treated as a teamwork action. - Hide a Lie in the Crowd (only when using Manipulation + Socialize). Spend one extra success per action to disguise where the source of that action came from, so that (for example) you cannot be identified as the source of the rumor.

Roll Wits + Streetwise. For each success on the roll, you may ask one of the following questions:

- How can I avoid standing out in <location>?
- What can I currently see that might pose a threat to me?
- What areas are the police most active in?
- What areas are the police least active in?
- What are people in this location most likely to find acceptable?
- What are people in this location most likely to find unacceptable?
- What are people in this location most likely to value?
- Is this a fair deal or can I get better elsewhere?
Roll Intelligence + Streetwise. For each success on the roll, you may ask one of the following questions:
- Does <location> have any known subcultures associated with it?
- Does <location> have any known Black Market or other illegal connections to it?
- Does <location> have any known dangers that I should be aware of?
- Does <location> have any known authorities that I should be aware of?
- Does <location> have any known shortcuts or secret entrances?
- Does <location> have any known practices I should be aware of?
- Where can I find <relevant goods or services>?

Roll Manipulation + Subterfuge vs. Wits + Subterfuge or Wits + Empathy. For every success gained above your opponent's contesting roll, you may ask one of the following questions, which they must answer truthfully to the best of their OOC ability. If they rolled more successes than you, you may still ask questions as normal but they may instead choose to give you a corresponding number of misleading answers.

- What is this person's ulterior motive?
- What is this person attempting to accomplish right now?
- Can I spot a discrepancy in this person's story? (i.e., are they lying?)
- Is this person acting contrary to how I know them?
- Do I think this person is being coerced in some manner?
- Is this person trying to hide something from me?

Dynasty Membership: Exemplar (••)

You're afforded sway and respect within the dynasty. Against any who would respect or fear your dynasty, you gain a +2 bonus on mundane Social rolls.

Etiquette: Bless His Heart (•)

Your character's words are always well-considered. No matter how vile, the things she says come off as defensible and respectful. You may opt to use your Socialize score instead of the lower of your Resolve and Composure to resist another character's social influence.

Etiquette: Losing Your Religion (••)

When your character lets loose and insults someone, she leaves mouths agape. When tearing down a target verbally, use 8-again, and take a +2 dice bonus to the roll. Afterwards, give them the Leery Condition.

Etiquette: Grace Under Fire (•••••)

While your character may not always win, she never looks bad. Other characters take your dots in Socialize as a penalty when trying to affect you with any mundane social roll.

Fast-Talking: Salting (••••)

Your character can position herself so a mark pursues a non-issue or something unimportant to her. When your character rolls for conversational skills (Persuasion, Subterfuge, Empathy, etc.) you may spend a Willpower point to turn a failure into a success, or a success into an exceptional success.

Fast-Talking: Patron's Privilege (•••••)

Your character can take advantage of her mark's greed or zeal. When the mark does particularly well, it's because your character was there to set him up and to subsequently tear him down. If a target regains Willpower from their Vice while your character is present, you may immediately roll Manipulation + Subterfuge to apply the Leveraged condition to them.

Friends in High Places (•)

Each month you can call on the influence of your fellow Invictus, to a total value of favors equal to your Invictus Status. When you do this you must nominate the Invictus member whose influence you are drawing upon; you gain the TASKED Condition for this individual. This Merit costs five Beats.

Inspiring (•••)

Prerequisite: Presence 3 Make a Presence + Expression roll. If there are four or fewer listeners, roll with a -1 penalty; if there are ten or fewer listeners, roll with a -2 penalty; if there are more than ten listeners, roll with a -3 penalty. On a success, listeners gain one Condition from the list of Swelling Emotions. On an exceptional success, listeners gain one Condition from the list of Lingering Emotions. Unlike normal Social-fu, listeners do not choose between three presented options, nor do they have the option of declining the condition. You may not Inspire yourself. This Merit costs fifteen beats.

Pusher (•)

Your character tempts and bribes as second nature. Any time a mark in a social interaction accepts your character's soft leverage, such as a gift, bribe, assistance, or other temptation, you may apply the Leveraged condition to them.

Sympathetic (••)

Your character is very good at letting others get close. This gives him an edge in getting what he wants. At the beginning of a mundane social interaction, you may choose to accept a Condition such as Leveraged or Swooning in order to immediately apply a similar condition to your subject.