Friday, September 18, 2009

Revisting Social Conflict mechanics

One of the features of piecemeal that seems to get a lot of interest, is the social conflict mechanics. The system allows the same level of tension and tactics as combat (which it mirrors). That and as Piecemeal is being designed to work with virtual tabletops (as how I often play games of it with old friends) it means I get a lot of PC actions (especially refute actions) given to me in link form.

Here is one such example:

I decided to revist this topic because of a comment JoyWriter from the forge sent me in regards to some of the issues with the current method of tracking "required influence " (ie hitpoints for debate)

Currently required influence is based off of how important the issue is to you. This is obviously subjective (there are guidelines and examples...but not as rigid as I might like). I must agree, this is the best current "working method" I have, and it works "alright", but it is definately the weak point in a fast and fun system. I couldn't imagine making luckpoints (hitpoints) based off of how important the battle is to you afterall.

So, any suggestions for how you might improve the system?


  1. First question:
    What happens when a PC runs out of influence?
    Does he automatically have to do what the social winner wanted? What incentives/disincentives does the game offer to make the PC's actually do what the resolution has determined?

  2. "Running out of influence" sounds odd to me. I'd go with gain "stress" points instead of losing "influence". Once a player's stress reaches a certain threshold, they lose it (it being their nerve, their patience, their resolve, their morale, their mental stamina, their sanity, or simply their ability to continue participating in the conflict)

  3. @ Helmsman:

    The current solution is that when the opponent has scored enough "influence" (ie caused enough damage)

    The loser can either go along with the plan or claim "stubborn refusal", Stubborn refusal causes the loss of "luck related abilities"

    ie.) No spending of fate or destiny points (re-rolls and guaranteed rolls), luck points (hit points) heal at the worst possible rate and no experience is earned when acting contrary to what the player has been convinced (in their heart) is correct.

    The idea being that convincing the villain (or the villain convincing the hero) of the error of their ways/truth of the mission gains a mechanical benefit without being a version of "mind control".

    this post has more information:

    @Davir: better verbage is always useful, nothing is set in stone