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A social system about relationships, duties, and more: Strings. Feedback needed!

Fenris-77

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If you want an easy way to track it, just give each faction three (or however many) boxes. You do the dirt, you fill in a box and a strand of the string frays. You do what you should and you erase a filled in box, or even add a box if that's where you want to go with strengthening obligation. If all the boxes get filled in the proverbial feces hits the fan and you're getting arrested by the watch for jaywalking every other day until you sort it out. Something like that should work fine and won't be a headache to track.
 

KorbohneD

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We obviously fundamentally disagree social rules in the first place. Warlock talk good? He talk good, and for you, that's all that's needed. I disagree. Relationships should matter more. Contexts should matter more. And the way you give weight to that is emphasizing them in mechanics.
Mate, it seems you have a bit of a problem with reading things correctly.

Also, that was only regarding to actuall rolling of dice. Which I would not use in most times. Social Encounters are still in need of arguments. Just talking good of course doesn't help you, if you got nothing based on an actual reason.
So yeah, the warlock might talk good, but the reason would have the actual reason that would convince the woodsman to do something. If that is a very good / good reason, then I wouldn't roll on that. If its a okayish reason, I would. Then the ranger would roll on that.
Thats what I wrote. And I give you some leniency there because its not very good english. But it was late and I was tired.
Gonna try again for you.

I would not just roll dice every time you want to convince somebody of something. In every social encounter you still need arguments. Just talking good of course doesn't help you, if you got don't have an actual reason that another person should do something.
So yeah, the warlock might talk good, but he would still need an actual reason to convince the woodsman to do something. If that is a very good / good reason, then I wouldn't even roll on that. I would progress the encounter tho. Which doesn't mean that it ends right here and the woodsman is convinced. Just like in a combat encounter, the woodsman just lost a bit of hp or resilience against convincing.
But, if it is just an okayish reason, I would let a player roll. Probably Charisma, or the social related skill, if the system has it. Also, the one to roll for that would be the one to who argued.
No, I don't think we have a fundamentally different opinion on social encounters. I just try to keep the gameplay based on light rules, why you try to cram more names and skills and unecessary words into it.
The interesting thing of a social encounter is not the rolling of a dice. It is the talking, right?
So if the actual base of the encounter does not lie on dice, why make it so that you have more rules related to dice?

And I use "strings" in my gameplay too. I hope almost everyone does. Again, they are called reasons. I really don't know why you would have to call them strings.
You just can't concince somebody to do something without a reason (string).

And of course you pic the only thing where an actual one-dice roll would be sufficient. Seducing somebody is not always just based on words, but on body too. So in that case at the beginning a roll for body might be okayish. Of course followed then by more words and reasons (strings) and dice rolls, if that alone isn't enough.
 

SignoreDellaGuerra

Audii alteram partem
Validated User
I have to admit, not being a native English speaker myself, that the prose of the rules is quite difficult to follow.

I've read the original rules two times, and the revised papers once, but I get lost in the writing style and layout.
Some sentences really makes little sense to me.
 

Fenris-77

Registered User
Validated User
The rules need some significant technical writing attention. The prose is fine at the sentence level, but it doesn't explain things as well as it could. It's a draft though, and cleaning up the technical side is probably one of the reasons the OP made the thread in the first place.
 

-orestes

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Validated User
Mate, it seems you have a bit of a problem with reading things correctly.
I've had my say. Your criticism is something very subjective, and, at the end of the day, is "scrap the whole thing". I'm grateful that you've taken the time to reply, and many people have agreed that the presentation of the system needs improvement, but I've had enough of a positive response elsewhere that I'm not going to scrap the system. For example, when I first fielded the concept on Reddit, the most popular response was "cut the flowery language", but "the mechanic itself seems sensible enough". Then there were comments like "you have created the first mechanized social system I actually like".

That might sound defensive of me, but I love constructive feedback that builds the system - not "scrap the whole thing, because 1 roll Charisma is good enough". I don't think it's good enough. I think that's self evident by virtue of there being a post in /r/rpg asking for a recommendation for a game with good social mechanics, by games like A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying going out of their way to try to fill that gap, and people liking my rough mechanical spitball. You hope that almost everybody uses something like strings, but the fact is that people don't. I seduce the barmaid. I seduce the dragon. I rolled a 20, so the King has to let me take the princess, or whatever. Because the style of play you're talking about has no actual mechanical basis, it can be safely ignored. I mean, the AngryGM literally says it himself:

TECHNICALLY, D&D includes infinite modes of play. You can do stealth, survival, social interaction, exploration, mass combat, anything. IN THEORY. And that IN THEORY part is what is suddenly getting to me. See, I’ve never had trouble coming up with ways to run stealth scenes or survival scenes or social interaction scenes or travel or exploration or whatever. And I’ve always done it using the tools in the system. OR SO I THOUGHT. Because, when I went back and looked at the way I’ve answered people’s questions in the past about things like survival or exploration OR the way I’ve written about topics like social interaction, I’ve realized that I develop other tools on the fly. But I also realized I’ve been filling in some of the blanks in D&D.
It's not the game. It's not the core D&D rulebook, it's whatever the GM has made up - and at that point, any randomisation is enough. You could play it with a Twister mat. The fact that you can take D&D and make a new game on top of it is functionally irrelevant to the actual contents of the book. It can be ignored. It's not encouraged. It's barely supported by the contents of the rulebook, you're developing and applying other tools. I want to structure things and actually, functionally encourage the style of play that you just take for granted. I mean, I could also trump you. Yes, the point of a social encounter is the talking, so why have Charisma at all? Just let it all be narrative roleplay! Plenty of tables do that, so why not go that light? Why do you feel that your light system needs this superfluous statistic?

You can keep playing D&D, I'll keep designing this.
 
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-orestes

Registered User
Validated User
I have to admit, not being a native English speaker myself, that the prose of the rules is quite difficult to follow.

I've read the original rules two times, and the revised papers once, but I get lost in the writing style and layout.
Some sentences really makes little sense to me.
The rules need some significant technical writing attention. The prose is fine at the sentence level, but it doesn't explain things as well as it could. It's a draft though, and cleaning up the technical side is probably one of the reasons the OP made the thread in the first place.
Yes, the original purpose of this thread was to get some actual proofreading, redrafting, and getting something more coherent - not a frankly pointless quibble about whether One Roll Charisma is the master race and there's no point iterating any more. What needs rewriting, how and why, what are the gaps that need to be filled in? What are specific bits of vocab that are challenging (that aren't the word "strings")? I admit that the writing is purple, dense, and needs improvement, and I want constructive feedback to that end. I don't want to endlessly discuss whether D&D does everything already.
 

KorbohneD

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Validated User
🔴 Threadban + Warning
Mate, I tend to repeat myself, but you seem to have a serious issue with understanding/reading criticism.
But fine, you do you.
Keep improving your system. The base is good, tweak the structure and prose and your good to go.
 

Fenris-77

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Validated User
A lot of my messing about with reputation started after reading this article from AngryGM. It's great, you should read it if you haven't.

A tracking method I'm thinking about is making up a factions and NPCs sheet, factions on one side, NPCs on the other. From a real world standpoint it's hard to keep a large network of social relationships in your head from week to week as a player, so some note taking is essential. The system I'm working on is more of a debts and obligation style system where payers build relationships a pip at a time and those pips can either work as Reputation buffs with that NPC or a faction, or can be burned to ask for medium and higher level favours. You could track your strings in a similar fashion if they worked ina simialr fashion. The key though is that whatever book keeping does exist needs to be organized and the information in it actuall needs to be leveraged by the PCs on some kind of regular basis, otherwise why bother. That's where my earlier comment about recurring NPCs comes in. I'll reuse whatever I can to keep the overall numbers down, and also give players that feeling that "they know a guy" which, if we were being honest, is about the highest success you can can aim for with a social capital tracking system.
 

-orestes

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Validated User
Do you have a defined setting that calls for specific factions, or are you building it to be more generic?
 

Fenris-77

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Validated User
I have a couple of settings in mind, but yeah, in each case I'd outline a set of factions and relationships to give a solid foundation for understanding the political currents in the city. Generically speaking, you throw in two court factions, maybe three, and then add things like the army, religious orgs, guilds (incl Theives), and whatever. I start by aligning the rest of the factions with the courtly factions (for/against/neutral) and then draw some other lines of alliance and opposition. I don't bother with every temple and every guild either, just the most powerful ones. I like to have some medium and small factions start unaligned so I can fill in where necessary to suit what the players are trying to accomplish. It's all purposefully a sketch, not a portrait, and I fill in details as the campaign progresses. I don't go crazy with NPCs either - I'll usually come up with one or two named NPCs for each faction and that's about it.

The system is designed, or will be designed when it's done, to be generic. It needs factions to work, but not in a specific mechanical way other than to identify groups with like interest. It'll support a ton of detail if that's what someone wants, but it will also work with just the rough sketch and some NPC templates. I'm more interested in trying to help define success and failure when it comes to influence and obligation. The point of that is to give characters better concrete handholds for measuring success and failure in 3rd pillar play. A reputation mechanic is also a really effective to help gate an urban game - for example, you need reputation X and contacts Y and Z to get access to high level court politics to accomplish major goal A (stop a war, find a cult or impostor, whatever). So players have concrete goals about needing to build contacts in specific organizations and with specific people which in turn builds their reputation. - measurable steps and a much less nebulous map of how to get from here to there. The actual plot of the campaign is what's going to drive PCs to pick which organizations and NPCs they need to build relationships with.

Let me try an example, because I know the above still seems a little fuzzy. The PCs have found out that an abyssal cult has infiltrated the highest levels of the court, and a major public figure either has been or will be replaced by an impostor. The cult assassinates the king and the impostor takes over the realm. Pretty standard save the kingdom stuff. The second part I'd probably hold back and reveal in media res. To start, the PCs know about a cult and some hinky sacrifices in the warehouse district, with some kind of hook to directly connect things to the PCs.

At this point the players have a bunch of options. The factions that are connected to the initial story could be the City Watch, a couple of Merchant houses, and maybe a temple or university that most obviously has the resources to research the cult. Obviously the PCs will investigate on their own, but they can also start making contacts in the Watch, which could be useful for information or backup, or even as a cats paw. The merchant houses own the warehouses, so making contacts and digging out information there is obviously useful as it seems likely that the cult has infiltrated at least one merchant house. The PCs also need info about the Cult itself, and might thus start building contacts with the temple or university to gain access to information, advice, and possibly allies. The Thieve's Guild would also be a strong choice as an avenue of investigation and contact building.

The system is really just a way to track those contacts and to keep score of the players growing reputation and influence, plus give the game some parameters about how that reputation and influence can be leveraged to move the narrative forward. On the contacts side its really just some rules for making contacts and some guidelines about what kind of leverage a PC has with a given NPC (or vice versa).
 
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