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Old 03-01-2015, 11:36 AM   #21
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Default Re: GURPS: Adapting the Duel of Wits

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Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
There's definitely a blog post or three in this, but the one that springs to mind is very much "let's walk through the possible mechanics that already exist in GURPS, and figure out how to use each one."

Doing it as attack/defense/damage is one way. Regular and Quick Contests another. Reaction rolls a fourth (and likely the strongest given the outcomes desired).
Yes but as posted above, sometimes a QC or reaction roll is too simplified for a major plot point. No real tension.
I like the Reaction roll mechancinc and ven the QC mechanic for many things.
But if I were playing or running a Social game (Mind Control is another) where I would prefer a more give and take method like TG has.
For social I have several ideas I would suggest in a playtest or private to someone wanting to write it. I don't think I could do it justice writing it myself though.
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:52 AM   #22
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Default Re: GURPS: Adapting the Duel of Wits

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That's over-broad. In collegiate wrestling, the goal is to put your foe's back to the mat, and so such wrestlers will do almost anything to avoid such. Including what's called "giving the foe your back," which is to basically turn face-down and "turtle up." In this sport, that's more-or-less fine (though disadvantaged) because the obvious move - a choke hold - is not allowed. In submission wrestling, going to your back is considered a neutral-to-good thing, depending on your style.
Well, sure, but we aren't talking about combat here. We're talking about sport. Of course sport is culturally conditioned; it's a series of contests for conventional goals by conventional means. You could "win" a chess match, or a mixed martial arts tournament, by shooting or poisoning your opponent, but it wouldn't count as victory in the game or sport.

But if you're actually trying to defeat a foe by force, cultural conventions of this sort play a much smaller role. If you were trying to incapacitate someone who'd threatened the life of your children, let's say, and you were able to get him in a choke hold, I doubt you'd be thinking about whether that was a legal move! (This shouldn't be exaggerated; there are wars where certain weapons are avoided because neither side wants to be the target for the other side using themópoison gas, for example. There's a conventional aspect in that. But the conventional aspect is much less.)
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:00 PM   #23
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Default Re: GURPS: Adapting the Duel of Wits

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Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
There's definitely a blog post or three in this, but the one that springs to mind is very much "let's walk through the possible mechanics that already exist in GURPS, and figure out how to use each one."

Doing it as attack/defense/damage is one way. Regular and Quick Contests another. Reaction rolls a fourth (and likely the strongest given the outcomes desired).
Yes, and Social Engineering provides options using regular contests, quick contests, and reaction rolls, and also using other abilities to aid themóby perceiving the other person's motives, by deceptive manipulation, by analogs of deceptive attack such as Irony, and by simple complementary skill rolls, for example. I'm just not convinced that you can run social interaction by an analog of combat mechanics without making it totally abstract and detached from the actual beliefs and motives of the people involved.

My working approach to mechanics, I should say, is to ask the player, "What are you doing?" or "What are you trying to accomplish?" and then look for a mechanic that fits their description. I don't usually give them a list of mechanical options and ask them to focus on that; that moves the game too far away from narrative for me. It rather makes me think of Hero Wars, which had a single mechanic for resolving everything and called for the players to first play out the abstract contest, determine who had won, and then go back and make up a narrative to fit. What I'd prefer, as far as possible, is to first do the narrative, figure out where to apply game mechanics for success or failure, victory or defeat, within the narrative, and thus have "who won" emerge from the storytelling (which emerges from the world description, but that's a different discussion).

I certainly won't say that other people shouldn't engage in abstract social combat if that entertains them. But to me it sounds about as exciting as eating unseasoned cheap tofu.
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:12 PM   #24
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Default Re: GURPS: Adapting the Duel of Wits

I think of key importance is to help the player guide what they are doing to what they want to be doing

I want X, and I will use Y, and thus I do Z

Not I do Z, to achieve X, using Y

The skill Y is on the character sheet and is the first thing needing to be figured out, since depending whether or not Y supports Z may need to choose a new Z or even a new X to match with your chosen Y when possible

Otherwise we may end up with social skill equivalent of 'I move into close combat and stab him with my crossbow'
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:26 PM   #25
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Default Re: GURPS: Adapting the Duel of Wits

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Yes, and Social Engineering provides options using regular contests, quick contests, and reaction rolls, and also using other abilities to aid themóby perceiving the other person's motives, by deceptive manipulation, by analogs of deceptive attack such as Irony, and by simple complementary skill rolls, for example. I'm just not convinced that you can run social interaction by an analog of combat mechanics without making it totally abstract and detached from the actual beliefs and motives of the people involved.

My working approach to mechanics, I should say, is to ask the player, "What are you doing?" or "What are you trying to accomplish?" and then look for a mechanic that fits their description. I don't usually give them a list of mechanical options and ask them to focus on that; that moves the game too far away from narrative for me. It rather makes me think of Hero Wars, which had a single mechanic for resolving everything and called for the players to first play out the abstract contest, determine who had won, and then go back and make up a narrative to fit. What I'd prefer, as far as possible, is to first do the narrative, figure out where to apply game mechanics for success or failure, victory or defeat, within the narrative, and thus have "who won" emerge from the storytelling (which emerges from the world description, but that's a different discussion).

I certainly won't say that other people shouldn't engage in abstract social combat if that entertains them. But to me it sounds about as exciting as eating unseasoned cheap tofu.
Actually a lot of us do narrative combat and then apply the mechanics so its not that different.
Most combat maneuvers are descriptive after all.
You may not be familiar with the TG mechanic or where some of us think its a good candidate for extended contests.
Socially I would have an attribute such as Will vs. Will. I engage in a contest by declaring what I want to do, the GM or I decide the most applicable skill and possibly complimentary skills. Also I may apply techniques such as irony, or argument by logic, emotion or ethics (using the Plato method).
I wear down my opponent with the strength of my arguments and as I do his become less and less effective until he concedes.
Certain advantages and disadvantages may affect the results of each of my rolls, stubbornness or broadminded for example.
If going against a disadvantage with a control roll my lowering of effective Will may require additional checks against the Control Number. Say trying to vamp a lecherous person for example or convince someone with honesty that this IS the honest and right thing to do.
I see this as a decent Pyramid article and possibly a small supplement.
The supplement would not only go over more Techniques and styles but could do a better job on modifications from mental advantages and disadvantages as well as provide more examples.
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:58 PM   #26
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Default Re: GURPS: Adapting the Duel of Wits

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
But if you're actually trying to defeat a foe by force, cultural conventions of this sort play a much smaller role. If you were trying to incapacitate someone who'd threatened the life of your children, let's say, and you were able to get him in a choke hold, I doubt you'd be thinking about whether that was a legal move! (This shouldn't be exaggerated; there are wars where certain weapons are avoided because neither side wants to be the target for the other side using themópoison gas, for example. There's a conventional aspect in that. But the conventional aspect is much less.)
There's a huge variety of physical conflict, from thumb wrestling to global thermonuclear war. There are also a variety of lethal combat situations where cultural conventions absolutely apply, such as lethal or injurious judicial duels, examples of which can be found in the Talhoffer Fechtbuch.

Likewise, there's a huge range of argument scenarios, from formal debate at schools, internet discussions like this one, political arguments where bring your own set of facts to the table, or distorting others' arguments is perfectly valid, or at least common.

Having some sort of victory point mechanic for intellectual pursuits enables those less skilled in actual rhetoric or debate (or arguments over the finer points of fictional skills like hyperdimensional space travel or the philosophy of necromantic magic) to participate fully and show incremental progress in the same way that a hit point or incremental damage mechanic allows it for physical combat. Or heck, one could adapt such to a footrace, and I've already adapted it to a contest of strength: the tug of war.

Personally, I'll go on record as noting that yes, it could be done, it will have some benefits relative to other methods, but those benefits will be more than offset by adjustments to Quick and Regular Contest Mechanics. But I think that there's utility there in a point-accounting method that can't be dismissed out of hand generally, though obviously specific preferences rule the day in specific games for specific tastes.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:01 AM   #27
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Default Re: GURPS: Adapting the Duel of Wits

I'm thrilled that there's been so much discussion about this! Reading through this, it seems pretty clear that there's a genuine interest for some sort of system to tactically approach social interaction.

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
In general - I don't like Burning Wheel (I'm not bashing, it's just preference), but I did like this. I think you could (as Refplace suggested) create some rules for rhetoric using TG, but modified. If there is enough interest for such thing, I might create it and put it on my blog. Let's say at least five "me too!" posts and I'll do it - if it's interesting to y'all that is. More will get it up sooner. :-)
I'll throw a hearty 'ME TOO' onto the pile.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:23 AM   #28
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Default Re: GURPS: Adapting the Duel of Wits

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Yes, and Social Engineering provides options using regular contests, quick contests, and reaction rolls, and also using other abilities to aid themóby perceiving the other person's motives, by deceptive manipulation, by analogs of deceptive attack such as Irony, and by simple complementary skill rolls, for example. I'm just not convinced that you can run social interaction by an analog of combat mechanics without making it totally abstract and detached from the actual beliefs and motives of the people involved.

My working approach to mechanics, I should say, is to ask the player, "What are you doing?" or "What are you trying to accomplish?" and then look for a mechanic that fits their description. I don't usually give them a list of mechanical options and ask them to focus on that; that moves the game too far away from narrative for me. It rather makes me think of Hero Wars, which had a single mechanic for resolving everything and called for the players to first play out the abstract contest, determine who had won, and then go back and make up a narrative to fit. What I'd prefer, as far as possible, is to first do the narrative, figure out where to apply game mechanics for success or failure, victory or defeat, within the narrative, and thus have "who won" emerge from the storytelling (which emerges from the world description, but that's a different discussion).

I certainly won't say that other people shouldn't engage in abstract social combat if that entertains them. But to me it sounds about as exciting as eating unseasoned cheap tofu.
I think I'm starting to understand your point a little better, you seem to be against taking agency away from the player by forcing them to abide by an arbitrary mechanic that doesn't really replicate anything concrete in the real world. I would argue that all a 'duel of wits' system would do is make the already existing level of abstraction (quick contests, reaction rolls, etc.) more tactically engaging. Instead of one diplomacy roll deciding the quality of argument placed in a crucial moment, the participant has to make a number of decisions to navigate a series of mini-battles with an ebb and flow, losing and gaining advantage as he or she struggles to enforce their will. In my experience of Burning Wheel, breaking down those kinds of rolls into combat-like rounds also brings out a lot of really great roleplaying.

That's not to say you're wrong to think that, and such a mechanic might even be against the overall 'philosophy' of GURPS; I haven't been playing all that long and I'm still getting a handle on the system.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:37 AM   #29
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Default Re: GURPS: Adapting the Duel of Wits

Some thought:
It is somewhat inconvenient to support a variety of approaches to influence in GURPS because GURPS' attributes are rather close. I.e. you have most Influence skills are IQ-based, Will is IQ-derived, and the occasionally-used Per is also IQ-derived. Characters tend to have those Attributes no more than two, and very rarely up to 4 levels apart. Charisma is not an Attribute and there's no such thing as a Manipulation Attribute in GURPS.
So you can't do stuff like pitting one's Charisma vs. the target's Will, Manipulation vs. Perception, Wits vs. Intelligence etc. when picking different approaches.

This means that the abstract number-crunching will indeed be largely an abstraction that does not add descriptive qualities to the social exchange.
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