Social Scene in Chimera D10 | World Anvil

Social Scene

Players negotiate the terms of an enemy’s surrender, they haggle with a merchant, gather information, build alliances, and unravel intrigue. When involved in a Social Scene, the goal of the scene for the players to get an NPC to cooperate by either give their help, their cooperation, information, or resource. In this scene, success is a scale rather than strictly pass or fail. It is very dependent on player action and interaction with the scene.  

Social Action Economy

In a Social Scene, There are no modification to the universal actions. Instead, two things happen:
  1. For the free action “speak”, no limit should be implemented. Instead, the players and GMs should each moderate one another to create the free flow of conversation. There should, however, be a clear indicator to determine whine a player is speaking as themselves or as their character to avoid confusion.
  2. For a reaction, a player can instead use their reaction to perform a skill check or to interrupt. Player may interrupt an NPC by saying “reaction: [action]”, or may interrupt another player at any time but with consent. In the latter case, the players come up with a silent signal to interrupt. When the interrupter wants to interrupt, the current speaker can then silently gesture whether they consent to being interrupted.
GMs, organic interruption can cause friction at the table. You may view an organic interruption without consent as cheating and penalize the player by having them sit out that turn of the social scene.
 

Rounds and Turns

A Social Scene does not use rounds or turns as they are used in other scenes. Instead, each turn is designated as a player phase and npc phase, and the completion of both phases designates a round. no one is prohibited from talking during either phase, but only the group whose phase it is may roll.  

Social Scenes: Convincing NPCs

Two things are needed in a social scene: an NPC who has something valuable to the players—information or resources, and Players who want to convince the NPC to cooperate with them. A social scene is only necessary should the players want or need something that only this NPC can provide and the NPC might resist them.   After these are established by the player party, the members must then ensure they and the NPC can communicate with one another, and be able to both ask something reasonably from the other. Reasonable here means that players can expect the NPC to help if: 1) the players compensate the NPC for their help; 2) the NPC incurs only a minor risk, asks a small sacrifice, or has an insignificant loss that is not life threatening, doesn't affect the NPC’s quality of life, or change their current lifestyle. With the must-haves in place, the social scene loosely follows the following structure:  
  1. Introductions - First, both parties designates a Spokesperson and optional Wingperson; These are the only two people who will be asked to speak in the social scene; A Spokesperson and Wingperson can also always nominate other consenting players to their role. Everyone else can interject--discussed later, assist by distracting, helping, etc, or rolling skill checks to gain more information to help during roleplay. —Next, what does the party want? What is the NPC’s currently willing to give or do given their current attitude toward the players? Do the players want to try to change the NPC’s attitude—if yes, move to the next step.
  2. Negotiations - If the players want to change the NPC’s attitude, they must roleplay and may be asked to roll skill checks to learn key information about the NPC. By using this information and through roleplay the player characters can temporarily alter the NPC’s attitude in one direction. The length of negotiations depends on the kind of negotiation “section” the GM uses—see below.
  3. Resolution - The GM now rolls with the NPC’s current attitude. A GM may assign advantage or disadvantage to the roll depending on player roleplay and behavior during negotiations. After the roll determines what the NPC will do, a reasonable deal is then offered by the NPC, which the players may decline or accept.
 
GMs, if the players did not convince the NPC to do what they wanted how can the players still accomplish their goal without the NPC? — Perhaps they are approached by another NPC who can guide them toward another resource, or perhaps this NPC has a different deal?
 

Different Types of Negotiations

Depending on whether the GM and Players decide they want to simply haggle with a town merchant, or try to form an alliance with selfish and ruthless faction—this determines the kinds of scenes that a GM might choose to use.    
set-piece social section
Set-piece social section is a low to mid-stakes conversation between two neutral and unopposed parties.A set-piece social section focuses on player and NPC interactions above all else. So, there is no limit of rounds or any time limit. This allows for more organic fun to occur, but also has a chance on going on for too long.   As such, a strike system can be used to keep players engaged. GMs and fellow players (with GM agreement) may give the player character party up to three strikes for straying off topic or being unreasonable. A GM can issue a strike to help keep players focused and engaged, and represents the NPC’s attention drifting. If at any time the party receives three strikes, the GM may discern whether the NPC attitude has changed, and then roll for the NPC to determine what kind of help they will give to the player characters.  
 
heart-attack social section
Heart-attack social sections is a high-stakes conversation between two parties that are either usually hostile toward one another, or have very little time to speak to one another. Here, the number of rounds is limited to three, and a timer is used: The GM may allot a number of minutes for players to prep, but always three minutes minimum are given to speak, which represent the NPC's attention span.   The heart-attack section juggles two seperate goals now: keeping the NPC's attention and convincing them of something. To keep the NPC’s attention, any one player may roll a skill check that is related to the conversation to learn attempt to bring the NPCs focus to them or learn something about the NPC that they can bring up during the player phase.
 

NPC Attitudes and Changing Them

NPC attitudes determine how they feel toward the players initially. There are five levels of attitudes an NPC can have toward a player character. The attitude from the most favorable to least favorable are as follows: Allied, Friendly, Neutral, Indifferent, Hostile.     Click to Expand
Allied
Success Variable Outcome
Pass NPC actively seeks the player character’s success through helping or contributing.
Half-Pass NPC wants player characters to succeed, and will help them if it only imposes a minor risk, asks a small sacrifice, or incurs a minor loss
Fail NPC hopes the player characters succeed, and is willing to help if compensated.
Friendly
Success Variable Outcome
Pass NPC wants player characters to succeed, and will help them if it only imposes a minor risk, asks a small sacrifice, or incurs a minor loss.
Half-Pass NPC hopes the player characters succeed, and is willing to help if compensated.
Fail NPC doesn't care about the player characters, nor if they succeed or fail.
 
Nuetral
Success Variable Outcome
Pass NPC hopes the player characters succeed, and is willing to help if compensated any amount.
Half-Pass NPC doesn't care about the player characters, nor if they succeed or fail. They will neither help nor harm.
Fail NPC hopes the player characters fail, but could be persuaded to help if compensated more than their help may be worth.
Indifferent
Success Variable Outcome
Pass NPC doesn't care about the player characters, nor if they succeed or fail. They will neither help nor harm.
Half-Pass NPC hopes the player characters fail, but could be persuaded to help if compensated more than their help may be worth.
Fail NPC wants he player characters to fail, and will hinder them if it only imposes a minor risk, asks a small sacrifice, or incurs a minor loss.
Hostile
Success Variable Outcome
Pass NPC hopes the player characters fail, but could be persuaded to help if compensated more than their help may be worth.
Half-Pass NPC wants he player characters to fail, and will hinder them if it only imposes a minor risk, asks a small sacrifice, or incurs a minor loss.
Fail NPC actively seeks the player character’s failure through hindrance or harm.
 
With crit rolls, it has a change to boost the attitude in one additional positive or negative direction and give the best (or worst outcome). A Crit Pass boost an NPC’s attitude in one positive direction and passes the roll. A Crit Fail boosts an NPC’s attitude in a negative direction and fails the roll.
  In brief, each of these attitudes represents how much an NPC is willing to help the player character or how much the NPC will oppose them and make their life difficult. An NPC starts as Neutral in any given social scene. Then, with the player’s bonds or the party’s connection to this NPC--if the NPC is a friend or enemy or if the NPC is a part of their guild or on the side of a rival guild--the NPC’s attitude can be altered in one and only one positive or negative direction; if the NPC shares no significant connection to the players, there is no shift. And finally, the GM determines the NPC’s archetype and compares it to the designated spokesperson’s archetype. If there is no effect, NPC remains neutral; if there is the Spokesperson is an archetype the NPC favors or dislikes, the NPC’s attitude shifts in either one positive or negative direction. The result acts as the base attitude of the NPC. The base attitude can then be affected by player roleplay and behavior in the negotiations.  

Player Roleplay and Acquiring (Dis)Advantage

Depending on what the player characters say or how the players contribute to the Social Scene, they might offend the NPC or make the NPC rally to their cause. For a GM to determine this, they must first look over the players actions and dialogue so far. Each player's roleplay contribution is assigned a a value: +1, 0, and -1.   If the player did something that aligns or agrees with an NPC's traits or promised to compensate and showed proof of their ability to compensate the NPC, this gives the player's contributions a positive value-- +1. If the player did not participate in the Social Scenario or did nothing to agree or disagree with the NPC's traits, the player's contributions are given a neutral value--0. If the player did something that disagreed the NPC's traits, or if the player committed a faux pas (by taking a massive dump right outside, not bowing or demonstrating respect, interrupting, etc), the player's contributions earn a negative value-- -1.   At the end of determining how each player contributed, the values are totaled for the party: if the value is positive, the party have advantage on the final roll; if the value is 0, the players roll flat--gaining neither advantage or disadvantage; if the value is negative, the players have disadvantage on their final roll.  

Advanced Social Guides

 

Optional Rule: Wrinkles

At any point during a the negotiation phase of a social scene, the player or NPC party may want to address any wrinkles that might have happened over the NPC’s relationship with them over time. For example, if the party has gone out of their way to wrong the NPC, if the players are directly opposed to the NPC’s goals as displayed by past player party actions that the NPC knows about or was affected by, etc.—these are all grounds for the NPC to bring this up during negotiations. The point to bring up a Wrinkle for the players is to address it and make amends, and thereby earn more favor from the NPC. If the NPC brings this up, it is because they want the party to owe them something in return. To quickly resolve a wrinkle, a table social save is made by the GM. Please consult the chart below for outcomes:  
Die Roll Outcome
Crit Pass, Pass +1 NPC attitude shift or the NPC will not have to be compensated for their help.
Half-Pass Either +1 NPC attitude shift but they now want compensation, or -1 NPC attitude and they do not have to be compensated; both of these regardless if they actually help.
Crit Fail, Fail -1 NPC attitude shift and they demand to be compensated for a perceived sleight.
 

GM's Corner: Building the NPC

GMs, the first thing you must do to have an engaging NPC is to build one. In Chimera, an engaging NPC can be made up of three parts:
  1. An Archetype. Choose one and only one from the list of Archetypes. If it helps, write down which archetype the NPC favors and which archetype the NPC dislikes.
  2. A Player Bond or Party Connection. Not all NPCs will be connected to the player through the player character’s Bonds. But it is good to talk with your players when coming up with NPCs to see if the player would like their backstory incorporated at all during play. If not, the connection to the party of player characters can be summarized in a few words, for example: merchant, bandit, distant uncle, reliable friend, old goat, shaman, con-artist, etc. The point of the bond or connection is also to determine what the NPC values or fears losing the most.
  3. Three Traits. Refer to the Bonds and Traits players use for character creation. Choose three traits. These will give you something to base the NPCs. This is especially good for GMs who would rather use exaggerated personality traits instead of accents.
With these three components, an NPC will be created to the fullest capacity to allow a GM to roleplay them with ease. From here GMs, choose a starting attitude that the NPC has toward the player characters.


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