An idea for a mechanic for social interaction

Ever hated how one good/bad bluff roll can ruin what could have been a nice roleplaying scene? Tired of having your players always try violence first instead of diplomatics, or plain roll-playing for it? Were, here’s an idea for a mechanic to make social interaction more interesting. I’ll update it if I get to improve it further:

-use different dice  to represent the different mental stats of a character. Save d20 for Confidence and distribute the rest at will. Different PCs and NPCs will have these dice allocated differently. Numbers on those dice will change according to the situation and may not start at their highest number. Dice can remain hidden until they decrease to 1, which will mean the character changes their attitude in one way or the other. Player will have to roll his bluff skill in order to hide each one of these dice, while a roll for the empathy/spot skill may reveal one of these dice. Bluff and empathy/spot may be re-rolled once per turn to try and hide/reveal the dice again.

Also, a player may show one or more of them in purpose when trying to be openly honest or just say which value they “look like” on a successful bluff vs empathy roll. Either way, their opponent doesn’t have to believe them.

-Those stats would be:
1) Patience. Wisdom dependant, though starting number can be modified by situation. This will decrease as the conversation goes on, may be re-rolled to get a new random number if the situation changes or if the focus of the conversation/goal changes. When it reaches 1, character loses it’s temper, but their reaction will depend on the character, situation and other stats. However, the reaction will be related to either flee or fight, though not always in a physical sense.

2) Satisfaction. Increase if the character is well fed, had a good rest or has engaged in a satisfying leisure activity, etc. Otherwise, decrease it. When it reaches 1 character will be in a state of desperate need, though it can be either related or not to the matter discussed. Will react to that need inmediatly anyway, and definitely make an action, probably interrupting the conversation unless it’s about getting whatever they need. Also, recude it if character fails to resist temptation to fall pray of a specific need. If it’s at top value, the character will be happy, won’t feel like needing something at that moment and will be more inclined to share resources, concede a point, and be more considerate in general.

3) Confidence. Always use a d20 for this one, since it works both as bonus to hit and AC. This one will be situational-dependant and closely related to the character background. A Fighter would feel more confident on a battlefield and quite uncomfortable on the court, while for a Bard, it would be the opposite. Is also affected by group support or opposition, and a sudden turn of events may make the player re-roll it. When it reaches 1 the Player replaces it for a d6 to indicate fear (negative confidence). Fear can still remain hidden, though, with a good bluff roll. However, going into fear inhabilitates the use of the Intimidate skill, which will be replaced by Bluff rolls. (like the character is trying to act brave even when all her confidence is gone)

4) Trust. Dependant on the relationship between characters. Might get re-rolled if some information arises to put one of the characters in a different light. Decreases when the character realizes it’s being lied or manipulated into doing something, or there’s a chance that this will happen in the future. Increases with actions or other real proof of concern from the other person about their actual well being or of their beloved.

Each boon granted or concession given by a character will reduce one of these stats according to the situation. If I’m giving my +5 longsword to an adventurer I’ll probably loose a bit of confidence, satisfaction or trust, depending on who I’m giving it to and what I’m left with.

Other skills affect these dice. Intimidate may affect Confidence, as well as Manipulation or Persuasion. Rolls of these skills may reduce confidence by the difference in results when successful or increase it by one when failed. Each failed roll reduces the character patience by one.

Oh, also, never forget to add the character’s emotions over this, specially for NPCs, it will bring a lot of life to it and make avery social encounter quite different. Either use Tenra-Bansho’s emotional matrix or my deck if you don’t already have anything similar.

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