Social Skills

SOCIAL SKILLS

Social skills may be used to add additional effectiveness to otherwise straightforward attempts to convince, cow, lie to and bargain with other characters. Some characters are more skilled at this than their players might be, and these skills can help those characters accomplish their social objectives.

For more information on Social Conditions, see the Core Rules.

  • Persuasion
  • Intimidation
  • Temptation
  • Sincerity
  • Performance
  • Etiquette

PERSUASION

Persuasive characters have expertise at framing convincing arguments and, whether passionately or logically, convincing others of their way of thinking.   Persuasion uses various tactics in order to make other characters Reasonable.  Reasonable characters will question earlier assumptions and are ready to have their minds changed.  

Rank 1: Turnabout

After quoting someone’s own previous words against them, the speaker may call Reason.  

Rank 2: Debate

If the speaker can say with a logical counter-argument to someone’s use of Reason, they may use the Discipline gesture and call Reason on them in return.  This may continue until someone cannot form a new argument that is not a repeat or rephrasing of a previous one this conversation.  The loser becomes Reasonable.

The speaker gains the ability to call Heed me: “Explain your reasoning to me” after their target expresses some opinion or course of action.

Rank 3: Logos

The speaker may call Reason any time they make a logical argument that reasonably follows.  Arguments cannot be nonsense or be flat commands with no reasoning behind them, but so long as they have some consistent basis, they qualify to attempt compliance.

If the speaker uses their subject’s own words against them as per Turnabout, they may add Power to their call of Reason.

Characters who have been made malleable through seeing Reason can be asked via the Heed command to take further actions or accept further truths to change their mind.  

Examples of reasonable Heed commands are:

“This won’t gain you or her anything.  Heed me – Let’s not attend.”

“That person was so rude to you, a nobleman.  Heed my words, don’t let him speak to you that way.”

“She’s lied to us every time we’ve asked about this.  Heed me, she cannot be trusted.”

Rank 4: Ethos

The speaker may guide others into seeing things their way on more fundamental levels, over time steering their views and foundational beliefs.  After 30 minutes of additional roleplay with a character after you have made them Reasonable centering on a certain persuasive goal or point, you may add or remove one Belief permanently.

Beliefs that are imprinted from Honor Code cannot be removed until the Flaw is removed.

Rank 5: Pathos

Others look to the speaker as a guiding light, learning over time to take their words with the serious consideration that they have come to expect.  The speaker may immediately call Reason on a character that they have made Reasonable in the past by reminding them of the event.

 

INTIMIDATION

Intimidating characters are expert at using fear to get their way.  Intimidation uses threats, subtle or overt, to induce their subjects to become Cowed. Cowed characters give up their resistance and try to de-escalate or leave the situation.

Rank 1: Blunt Instrument

The speaker may induce another character to Cower by shouting at them.

Rank 2: Backbone

If the speaker is being threatened in someone else’s attempt to Cow them, they may return a threat of their own or scream back at the person threatening them in order to call Discipline so long as they escalate the threat, attempting to Cow them in turn.  This may continue until someone refuses to escalate the threat further, and the loser becomes Cowed.

The speaker gains the ability to call Heed me: “That is an order” to anyone who is their direct subordinate, such as a Follower, an employee, or someone sworn to service.  That person can quit on the spot to avoid following the command.

(Read more about Morale)  

Rank 3: Threat

The speaker may call Cower any time they make a credible threat to someone.  The threat can be subtle, such as “The Bishop would be very interested to hear about what I read in your letter home,” or as overt as “You’ll do as I say, or she dies.”  

If the speaker threatens their subject while shouting like in Blunt Instrument, they may add Power to their call of Cower.

Characters who have been brought to heel through being Cowed can be asked via the Heed command to obey speaker lest they make good on their threat.  These commands can be nearly anything, so long as the speaker’s threat remains credible, which often means the speaker may not leave the area.  Afterall, he cannot stab someone he cannot find, unless the threat is of a more subtle nature that they could fulfill anywhere.  

Examples of reasonable Heed commands are:

“Heed me: Get out of my way.”

“Heed me: Go to Sir Robert and tell him you quit his service.”

“Heed my words, cur – shut your fool mouth.”

Rank 4: Terror

When brandishing a weapon, the speaker may call Fear once per opponent.

Rank 5: Menace

Once the speaker has left their mark on someone, those scarred by it learn their place and learn it well. The speaker may immediately call Cowed on a character that they have made Cower in the past by reminding them of the event.

 

TEMPTATION

Tempting characters are able to deal, bargain, bribe and seduce in order to control the actions of others by making them Intrigued.  Intrigued characters want to learn more and try not to jeopardize access to what is on offer.  Temptation always involves an offer of exchange of some kind, this for that, even if the terms are sometimes ambiguous.

Rank 1: Entice

Be it a bag of coins, a shining blade or swinging hips, the speaker may induce another character to Intrigue by visually showing them what it is they are offering to them.

Rank 2: Counter-Offer

If the speaker is being offered some other temptation by another, they may point out some flaw in the thing being offered in order to call Discipline, and then make a counter-offer in return, attempting to Intrigue them instead.  This may continue until someone cannot find some new complaint to make about the other’s offer that is not a repeat or rephrasing of a previous one this conversation.  The loser becomes Intrigued.

The speaker gains the ability to call Heed me: “Hear me out”, and can then speak uninterrupted until they come to a natural pause or space for interjection.

Rank 3: Tantalize

The speaker may call Intrigue any time they are making an offer to someone that they would at least consider, for instance, something approaching a fair price for something they might need, or an offer to do something they said they wanted done, at a price.  So long as the offer is in any way considerable and not an insultingly weak offer, the Speaker can Intrigue their subject.

If the speaker also physically shows off what they are offering at this time, as per Entice, they may add Power to their call of Intrigue.

Characters whose hearts have been tempted through being Intrigued can be asked via the Heed command to accept their offer. The speaker’s part of the deal doesn’t strictly speaking have to be given in exchange, instead leading them on over time, but if they don’t believe they will get it, it may be difficult to Intrigue them further later with an unbelievable offer.

Examples of reasonable Heed commands are:

“Heed my offer – if you pay for this now, you’ll get a discount in the future.”

“Heed me, give me ten silver and the sword shall be yours.”

“Heed me, kill the Count, and then we will be free to be together forever.”

Rank 4: Fantasy

After you have successfully had someone accept your offer and given them what you promised, you may give that person a Mild Obsession with the thing you offered, the idea of it lingering on their mind long after.

(Read more about Insanities)

Rank 5: Indulge

Like pets, those the speaker has Intrigued before can’t help themselves but to come for what master will give them next.  The speaker may immediately call Intrigued on any character they have Intrigued before by reminding them of the incident.

SINCERITY

Sincere characters convince others of their forthright nature and earnest claims by projecting confidence.  Whether their claims are objectively true or not is another matter, but they are able to incite Trust in those around them.  Trusting characters lower their guard and relax suspicion, unable to figure out why the speaker would be speaking false.

Rank 1: Innocuous

So long as they can visibly demonstrate that they are no threat at all – not holding a weapon, a relaxed posture, perhaps behind bars, the speaker may call Trust on their subject.


Rank 2: Suspicion

If the speaker is being asked to Trust another, if they ask some probing question of them that remains unexplained about the situation, they may call Discipline.

The speaker gains the ability to call Heed me: “I’m who I appear to be”.  This can be combined with convincing personal effects, house seals, or other likely accessories to prove one’s actual or assumed identity.

Rank 3: Credibility

The speaker may call Trust any time they are making a claim that can’t be immediately disproven.

If the speaker can do so while demonstrating that they are no threat at all, their attempt to make their subject Trusting gains Power.

Characters who have relaxed into Trust can be made to believe further claims by the speaker with the Heed command.  The speaker may use Heed statements to indicate certain things as the reasonable truth, as the speaker sees it, and the Trusting character they are speaking to will believe them until they get proof otherwise.

Examples of reasonable Heed commands are:

“Heed me, I was asked to give something to the Graf personally.”

“Heed me, I’m a Templar Knight, and you should treat me with respect.”

“Heed my words, traveler, you have nothing to fear from me.”

Rank 4: Interrogation

As an expert in honesty, the speaker may interrogate others and watch them carefully for tells.  Using this skill requires that the interrogator be in a closed, private environment with no distractions, and more or less in control of the situation.   The interrogator must have the undivided attention of their subject.

During such a scene, and while in extremely close range, no more than one two feet away, the speaker may hold up the gesture for Sincerity, (crossed fingers) to indicate the use of this ability.  After future statements by the subject after the sign has been raised, the interrogator may ask as an OOC question whether the last statement made was an attempt to deceive, which must be answered truthfully but with no elaboration.  

A character who also has this ability may answer the OOC question in any way they wish.

Rank 5: Trustworthy

Once the speaker has established their credentials, others take to them easily and have no more cause for suspicion.  The speaker may call Trust on any character that they have made Trusting before by reminding them of the incident.

PERFORMANCE

Performers are well loved throughout the world for their ability to bring joy and comfort to those around them and entertain assembled crowds, bringing a touch of beauty and light to a bleak and oppressive world.  The best performers can cut through the mundane and touch the truths of meaning that inspire others to uplift and carry on, even able to touch the soul with the profundity of their artistic expression.

Performance can take many forms, and the Skill isn’t limited to one form.  Any deliberate act in a performative nature can be considered valid for the Performance Skill, including singing, dancing, playing all manner of musical instruments, inspirational oration, even sexual intimacy.

Rank 1: Comforts

The performer may do some simple task that is expressly for the comfort of others for a few minutes, such as strum and hum, give a backrub, sketch a drawing, or cook a meal.  At the end of a few minutes, the beneficiary may remove the Traumatized Condition.

(Read more about Game Effects)

Rank 2: Artistry

The performer may use Professional Tools:  Artist to add their artistry to any other item they make, be it the product of another Skill such as jewelry, a book of poetry, an outfit, or an item that is not otherwise represented that is a phys-rep alone, such as a painting or a sculpture.   

Artistry makes other kinds of performances permanent, storing the effects of things like Comforts or Entertainment indefinitely so they may be enjoyed again and again.  Any character can benefit from an artistic piece once per day by interacting with it in some significant way, such as viewing it and appreciating it, for a several long moments.  Art can be appreciated in this way only once per Scene.

Art must be a minimum size in order to be worth a given value of Hope, regardless of the Skill of the artist.

1:  Small enough to fit into a pocket, such as a brooch or piece of jewelry
2:  Large wearable, too large to fit into a pocket or pouch, such as a cloak or knife.
3:  Must be carried in two hands, can’t be easily “put away” such as a greatsword or painting
4:  Can be carried by one person with effort, such a large canvas painting or a heavy bust
5:  Too large to move for one person, such as a full-sized statue or very large painting

Items that are constructed using Silver are effective at +1 category, and items made from Gold are +2.

Rank 3: Entertainment

The performer may perform a several minute long activity such as singing, dancing or playing an instrument for an audience with their primary attention on you.  At the end of the spectacle, all of your audience gains your Performance Skill in Hope.

Rank 4: Dedication

The performer may announce a dedication to a specific character in their performance at the beginning, the nature of which must be about or inspired by that character.  The subject of the dedication loses one Despair the first time that they experience that work.

(Read more about Hope and Despair)

Rank 5: Masterpiece

The performer may take the Masterwork Downtime Action to create a new performance piece.  This piece, be it a play, a song, a speech, or a physical art piece, is designed to touch the hearts of those with one specific Devotion, such as Love: Family, or Order: the Church.  The first time anyone with the matching Devotion experiences the piece, they immediately experience a Personal Victory.

(Read more about the Human Spirit)

ETIQUETTE

Etiquette is the art of using poise, presence, propriety and social standing as leverage in a social situation.  Characters skilled in Etiquette create spaces where the presence of powerful social rules are felt and enforced by the crowd – and know how to tactically break the same rules to great effect.

Rank 1:  Functions

The courtier may create several specific social atmospheres, called a Function, and act as the host within those spaces.  So long as included individuals do not leave the Function early and participate in the activities, they may receive the closing benefit.

Feast
Length: 1 Hour +
With the right food (the Feast item), you may create the environment for a Feast.  The Feast is usually dedicated in celebration of one topic or in honor of one person.  Up to 10 people may participate in a Feast.
Benefit:  Those who ate the feast meal receive 1 Experience Point from better overall nutrition.

Party
Length:  2 Hours +
A party atmosphere puts everyone at ease and helps lift spirits.  At the start of the event, the Host may designate a specific Reveler’s Trait, and any who become intoxicated during the party use that Reveler’s Trait instead of their usual.
Benefit:  At the end of the party, all of the participants lose 1 Despair.

Founding
Length:
30 Minutes+
A ceremony to formally create a new Organization.  The founding members gather, affirm their rules, promise their loyalty, acknowledge a leader, and select a group name and symbol to represent them, which they all then take up ceremonially.
Benefit:  A new Tier 1 Organization is created with the founding characters as members.  

Rank 2: Double-talk

The courtier may say something vaguely related, then, using the Language gesture, say a concise message that is something entirely different, privately to one character.  This may be accompanied by the use of a Social Skill if they choose to so long as it meets the requirements for that Skill. The first message is the only thing actively heard by any listener, but the effect of your subtext works as normal.

Rank 3: Posturing

The courtier may enter Posture whenever someone performs an act of deference or subservience to them.  This can be very direct, such as a subordinate accepting an order, a verbal act of groveling or adulation, someone accepting an insult by the courtier without rebuke, someone refilling their glass, or being loudly announced as arriving to a formal event by another.  Any act that someone undertakes that demonstrates the importance or primacy of the courtier puts them into Posture.

Posture must be maintained by keeping good physical posture, (eyes up, shoulders back, no leaning or stooping), or when sitting, being seated in a seat of physical prominence like the head of the table or a throne.  Additionally, the courtier not may ask any question that ends in a question mark, such as “Where is the Bishop now?” or “Would you get me that?”.  They may instead say “Tell me where the Bishop is.” or “I’d like you to hand me that.”

During Posture, the courtier may use the Authority gesture at will, even interrupting others in mid-sentence to control the conversation.  Any other character in posture may do the same to speak normally.  As well, Posture may be spent (and needs to be re-established) to call Discipline, or to call any Social Condition (Tempt, Cower, Intrigue, or Reason) on someone they are speaking with.

POSTURE

The courtier uses posture, formality and social standing as a weapon to comport themselves with their allies even while they strike out at their rival

  • In Posture, the courtier may use the Authority gesture at will.
  • Posture may be expended to call Discipline.
  • Posture may be expended to call any Social Condition, Tempt, Cower, Intrigue, or Reason.

Resolution: The courtier drops good posture, asks any question, enters any Social Condition, or expends Posture for one of its benefits.

Rank 4: Elite Functions

The courtier may officiate more specialized and elite functions by maintaining the highest of exacting standards for such affair

Court
The Host may impress upon the audience the gravity and formality of the affair, directing attention and authority to the region’s Ruler.
Benefit: During Court, the Ruler may use the benefits of Posture at all times.

Convocation
Length: 1 Hour +
Religious services fill the attendees with a sense of rightness and solemn purpose.
Benefit: The attendees leave with 5 Hope.

Judgement
The solemn gravity of justice weighs heavily on the proceedings.
Benefit: At the start of proceedings, the Host calls Cowed on the judged.  During proceedings, those administering judgment gain one Discipline.

Cultural Feast
Length: 1 Hour +
Cultural Feasts are identical to Feasts, however, they are in the cuisine and decor of a specific culture.  
Benefit: In addition to the benefits of Feast, when members of that culture partake of the Feast, they gain the effects of Feast and also lose 1 Despair.

War Council
Length: 30 Minutes +
The Host may foster an air of calm and sober cooperation in the room.
Benefit: All Commanders gain +1 Morale (to a maximum of 5) when giving Orders.

(Read more about Warfare)

Alliance Wedding
Length:
2 Hours
A gala affair to celebrate the marriage of two great powers to cement an alliance.  The ceremony has introductions, a wedding ceremony, and a reception.
Benefit: The two Organizations represented may make a Formal Tie with no Influence expenditure.

Rank 5: Sovereignty

The courtier’s command over others is unmistakable and the natural desire to obey the great is strong.  When in Posture, the courtier may expend it to call Obey against any other character with whatever command they wish.  If the character does not resist the command with Discipline, the courtier remains in Posture.