Friday, September 28, 2018

Discussion: Favorite Social System

While most RPGs focus on combat and the physical, more and more of late seem to have systems in place to also track social encounters and social strain. The idea seems to be spreading that just as we have mechanics to replicate how resilient our characters are physically, we should also have mechanics for them socially. After all, your character is not you in either case, and the detachment present just from knowing you're sitting at a table with friends can greatly reduce strain.

With that in mind, what system is your favorite? Do you even have one? I find myself intrigued by several, and I figure I may as well talk about them.

FATE Core - FATE was probably the first system I played with a "social stress" track or that acknowledged that could happen. Social Strain could cause consequences just as much as physical. The classic example being (at least for Mental) batman taking down groups by inflicting mental strain through his terror tactics. FATE treats all combat, be it an argument or a gunfight, very similarly and it works well.

7th Sea - 7th Sea 2nd Edition doesn't have a social system per se, but the Dramatic Sequences rules works well for larger scale social encounters. You can cover how successful, or unsuccessful, a group is at navigating a party with a single Sequence and treat the political maneuverings like a duel.

Powered By The Apocalypse - PBTA seems to be behind more and more games, and the whole system - for good or ill - is focused on social interactions and mental stresses. PBTA games - in my experience - don't care how many punches you can take, they care how those punches make you feel.

L5R 5e - New to the 5th Edition of L5R that Fantasy Flight Games puts out is a social aspect to go along with physical wounds. Keeping face is important in Rokugan, and 5e finally has a mechanic to determine how well your character can keep their face and how quickly a heated scene can get to them.

It goes without saying that none of these systems are perfect, but they do each cover a different aspect of social interaction well. I want to play around with all of them more and more to see what I can do with them. What about you? Which one stands out?

No comments:

Post a Comment