Social Skills

SOCIAL SKILLS

Social Skills are abilities that interact directly with other characters to accomplish social goals and exert some level of control over others, either subtly or forcefully.  While simple social interaction can sometimes accomplish one’s social goals, these abilities add additional effectiveness to otherwise straightforward attempts to convince, menace, lie to or goad others into action.  

Many Social Skills make use of the Obey call, which is resisted with Discipline.  These Obey calls frequently have requirements that the target must have certain existing states of their Psyche, such as a specific Belief.  If an Obey call includes “If you have ,” the target may call “No Effect” if they do not have the required psyche state.

Unless otherwise stated, all Social Skills uses to call Obey can only be used once per target, per scene or conversation in the context that they’re used.  For instance, if an Obey call is resisted with Discipline, the speaker cannot simply repeat the same exact call until their target runs out of Discipline. 

  • Persuasion
  • Provocation
  • Intimidate
  • Sincerity
  • Performance
  • Etiquette

(Read more about Psyche in the Core Rules)

Persuasion

Persuasive characters have expertise at framing convincing arguments and, whether passionately or logically, convincing others of their way of thinking.  The Persuade Skill allows its user to add, remove, or change Bonds, Beliefs, and other factors of another character.  The Persuade Skill cannot directly force anyone to act, but it does slowly mold their basic motivations – their Psyche and these changes will naturally influence the other character over time.
 

Rank 1: Inquiry

In order to learn the motives and internal world of their associate, the speaker may use a series of Obey calls to gain information in context:

  • Obey: “Why are you doing ?”
  • Obey: “What will you do about ?”
  • Obey: “What Bond or Belief is driving you here?”

These calls may be used once per conversation, per action inquired about.

Rank 2: 

The speaker can convince others of their point of view or inspire others to change their feelings about someone or something.  After making their points about a subject, the speaker may cause their associate to gain or lose a Bond around the subject.

After at least 5 minutes of roleplay on a specific topic, or by gaining verbal agreement with their associate, the speaker may call “Obey: Gain/Lose a Bond with

.” 

While the speaker determines the emotion of the new Bond, the associate determines the vector, as always.

Rank 3: Principles

The speaker can create more powerful and persistent results from their arguments. After at least 30 minutes of roleplay focused around the topic, or after gaining at least 3 verbal agreements during that time, the speaker may leverage an existing Bond into a new Belief by calling Obey: “If you have with , gain the Belief: .”

This requires that the Bond already have existed for at least one Scene prior to the use of this ability.  If the Bond in question does not exist, the target may call “No Effect.

Rank 4: Rationalize

The speaker is suitably persuasive to work with hypotheticals and facts that don’t hold up with reality.  After speaking at length with their companion, they may add or remove Insanity from their world view. 

The intimacy of this interaction requires that the two speakers be alone for the entire conversation with no other participants, converse on the topic for at least 30 minutes, and be in relation to an existing Belief that was present at least before the current Scene. 

At the end of the conversation, the speaker may call Obey: “If you have , gain/lose .”

This may only be used once per Event, per person.  Only one level of Insanity may be adjusted at a time, such as from Mild to Severe or Severe to Mild.

(Read more about Insanities)

Rank 5:

The speaker may encode the behaviors and principles that exist in others to be part of their core philosophy and critical to their self-identity.  After 30 minutes of roleplay on a topic, or after obtaining 3 different verbal agreements around the topic, the speaker may call

  • Obey: “If you have , take Honor Code.”
  • Obey: “If you have , take Sick in the Head.”

Additionally, well-versed in dialectic and argument, the speaker may call Discipline against any Obey call, once per Rest.

PROVOCATION

Characters skilled in provocation are able to goad, inspire, pressure or spur other characters into actions based on their existing Psyche.  While they don’t make any changes to the psychological state of those around them, they are able to push for action based on the deeper desires of those they speak with.

Provocation often draws a path from the target’s existing disposition toward some course of action, and by the nature of the interaction, probably is not the path that the target would otherwise take.  The skill of the speaker is enough to make the path seem right and prudent to the person receiving the provocation, at least in the moment.

Rank 1: Intrigue

The speaker knows how to get and keep attention so that they can make their case.  They may call Obey: “Hear me out” once per conversation to a given person.

Rank 2:

By complimenting and justifying, or instead insulting or castigating their listener about a specific Depravity they have, the speaker may goad them to either act in that way again, or resist doing so for the topic at hand. 

Examples:

This isn’t the first time you’ve dealt death when someone’s threatened your family.  Death is the least they deserve – Obey: If you have Mortal Wrath, kill this person.”

“You told me about what you did to those people and I know the guilt still haunts you – you can choose a better way – Obey: If you have Mortal Wrath, spare this person.”

Rank 3:

The speaker may exploit a person’s existing Bonds, Beliefs or Devotion in order to push them to some action that the speaker desires. The speaker may call Obey for the subject to take any action that could plausibly support those Psyche factors. 

Examples:

“I know you Respect Sir Gavin for his swordsmanship – Obey:  If you Respect Sir Gavin, Fight along side us tonight so he can see how far you’ve come in your own skill.”

“You Hate the Count just like I do – Obey: put this poison in his drink tonight, and let’s be finally rid of him.”

Obey: If you’ll Always defend the Priesthood, help me make these Shariqyn pay for performing Aa’boran in the Church.”

The course of action the speaker suggests does not need to directly follow the path the character would have taken to address their Bond, Belief or Devotion, it just needs to follow logically as a way to adhere to it.  As always, the subject of these Obey calls may declare any other Bonds or Beliefs they have that conflict with the suggest course of action in order to resist.

Rank 4:

The speaker may exploit heightened emotional states in others to provoke action to find relief from them.  If their listener has Despair, the speaker may provoke some course of action that would ordinarily cause characters to lose Despair. 

Examples:

What you need is to blow off some steam in the tavern – Obey: If you have Despair, come drinking with me.”

“This is all the Knight Commander’s fault for ordering you to do such horrible things – Obey: If you have Despair, beat the Commander down.”

Alternatively, the speaker may direct the momentum of Inspiration to some course of action that is both exciting and framed as righteous. 

Examples:

“Citizens of Überhof, with me!  Let us take the fight to the enemy and defend our homes!  Obey:  If you are Inspired, join me in this attack!”

“Templars, I know you are eager to set out, but before we begin this excursion into enemy territory, we must begin by cleansing the impurity from our midst.  Obey: If you are Inspired, slay Livia, for she is a spy for our foe.”

Rank 5:

When the speaker knows the most important driving principle behind a person, they may use it to the greatest effect.  If the speaker knows their associate’s Devotion, they may use Obey with that person as often as they wish, so long as they are driving that person to what appears to be the fulfillment of a Personal Victory or the avoidance of a Personal Failure related to their Devotion.

Example:

Obey: If your Devotion is Hatred of Heretics, we have to be sure that no heretics can survive this fire.”

Once the Devotion has been established, simple Obey calls without the conditional statement may be used for brevity.  The target may call “No Effect” as normal if their Devotion does change to make the Obey irrelevant.

INTIMIDATION

Intimidating characters are expert at using fear to get their way.  Intimidation uses threats, subtle or overt, to induce their subjects to give way and obey, if grudgingly.  Few people enjoy being intimidated, but characters skilled in intimidation leverage their own willingness to do harm to surprise and cow those around them into behaving.

Uses of Intimidation always require some kind of credible threat to work.  It is usually enough to look dangerous, brandish a weapon and threaten violence, but more subtle forms of threats can also be effective, so long as they are believable by the target (which could be helped by Sincerity).

Rank 1:

The speaker may menace someone into allowing them to pass, enter an area, or otherwise proceed with what they were doing without interference.  They may call “Obey: Stand Aside.”

Rank 2:

If the speaker is given an order to Obey, in lieu of obeying they may  immediately assault their target, dealing a within one Beat in order to call Discipline.  They may continue to respond to Obey calls with violence for as long as they are able to land a Hit.

Rank 3:

The speaker can push their victim into specific courses of action and expect them to do it.  While issuing a threat, the speaker may call Obey, with any command.  If the target resists, the speaker may in turn threaten a target’s Bond, Belief or Devotion, such as “Obey: If you Love Christabel, then ” to perform a new Obey call so long as you can believably threaten that thing. 

Rank 4:

The speaker knows how to use violence to great effect and drive a spike of fear into the hearts of those they wish.  Whenever they perform an act of direct violence – a successful Injury or Downing a foe – the speaker may call Fear on any witnesses that they choose.  They may repeat this for each new act that Scene.

Rank 5: Terrorize

The speaker can exploit a moment of weakness to gain long-term control over their victim.  When they successfully inflict Fear, the speaker may call Obey: Take the Belief Always/Never do .” 

SINCERITY

Sincere characters convince others of their forthright nature and earnest claims by projecting confidence.  While such people may be conmen, liars or charlatans, they could also be credible professionals, convincing demagogues, or trustworthy counselors.  Their true nature is second to their ability to induce trust and belief from those who speak with them.

Rank 1:

The speaker can put people at ease and get them to open up about their thoughts and inner world.  When someone they are speaking to expresses any kind of feeling or opinion the speaker may call “Obey: tell me all about that.”


Rank 2:

The speaker can inhabit their own circumstances to project confidence and belonging, especially when relying on the expectations of others.  The speaker may call “Obey: I am who I appear to be” to cause their listener to take them at face value, such as their mode of dress or other appearance.

Rank 3:

The speaker can get people to believe just about anything is true.  They may simply call “Obey: Believe me – ” so long as proof to the contrary isn’t immediately available.  This ability can be used as often as the speaker wishes, though they may still not repeat the same belief to the same person that Scene.

Obey commands that cause their target to believe something as true last indefinitely until they encounter direct proof to the contrary.

This ability can be helpful in the context of other Social Skills, such as Provoke drawing a connection between a Bond and a course of action as plausible, making cogent arguments to gain agreement for Persuade, or reinforcing the credibility of a more subtle threat with Intimidation.  Use of this ability should be sufficient to eradicate any lingering doubts.

Rank 4: Doubts

The Speaker can induce confusion into the feelings and arguments that are made against their claims.  Whenever someone uses a Bond or Belief about the speaker to resist one of their Sincerity abilities, the resistance counts, but then the Speaker may call “Obey: lose that Bond/Belief.”

Rank 5:

The speaker is an expert at explaining a way inconvenient presentations of counterfactuals.  When presented with proof that would otherwise prevent them from calling Obey, they may call “Obey: Disbelieve that proof.”

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: Dramatics

The performer knows how to put their all into whatever they are saying, swaying their audience with pure passion. When acting dramatic and over the top to influence the performer may Exert in order to add Power to any Obey call.

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. By encouraging their audience to participate by singing or dancing along, the performer may cause everyone who participated to become Inspired at the end of their performance.

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

Once per Event the artist may create a masterful performance piece that stirs the heart to action. This piece, be it a play, a song, a speech, or a physical art piece, is designed to light a fire for a specific Devotion, chosen at its creation. Anyone viewing the inspirational art or performance may take on that Devotion as a secondary Devotion for the rest of the Event. They may also become Devoted for this secondary Devotion once per game without expending their normal use of Devoted. 

An artistic masterpiece must at minimum have some kind of in-game representation, even if the item is not physical in nature, like a play or music piece.  These can be the script of the play, the illuminated sheet music for the piece, the preface or prologue of a book, and so on.  If the piece is performative in nature, like a play, it should be performed in total and take at least as long or longer as a normal piece of its type, such as at least an hour for a play, or five minutes for a song.  Each piece must be unique and distinct from all others.

(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.

 

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.

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.

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 the function Inspired.

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.

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.