Just so you know, this will be yet another missive on the subject of Persuasion skills (YAMotSoPS). This is my fourth such YMH on the subject. …But wait!
I’m working through something here.
Listening to Happy Jacks Bar and Grill this week, I was surprised to find they revisited the subject. One of their hosts, Tappy, was not present for the first conversation. As he had a much different opinion than those of his co-hosts, he and moderating host, Stu, poked the coals of this subject’s dwindling fire, stoking it to a crackling roar.
Before we get too far into the meat of things, I’d like to clarify something Stu said in this episode. He stated that I wrote a letter to his show addressing the issue as well sending same to the folks at Bear Swarm and Kicked in the Dicebags suggesting that I was stirring the shit all across the pod-o-sphere. While it is true that I sent an email to Happy Jacks Bar and Grill asking for their feedback, I did so because their show features a regular listener mail segment. I did not; however, send a note to KiDB or Bear Swarm asking them to comment on the situation. In fact, Bear Swarm has not recorded a show on the subject, though the show’s moderating host has commented on the subject here on the blog.
It is true I sent a note to Ross Payton giving him a heads-up at the time I posted my original article. That was a courtesy. I also took the opportunity to thank him for a fun game.
So, I guess an argument could be made that I prompted the guys at RPPR to record their episode. But I prefer to think that the reason why RPPR, KiDB, The Podge Cast and Happy Jacks Bar and Grill all recorded episodes on the subject (and in the case of Happy Jacks, 2 episodes) is that this is an interesting subject that fuels a lot of passion on either side of the fence.
All that aside, I rather enjoyed the conversation on this week’s Happy Jacks. Tappy and Stu had a terrific, polite discussion in which two guys with very different opinions on the topic expressed their positions. Tappy made a great point.
“It is very difficult to actually persuade somebody,” He said, “It’s easier for me to break this bottle and stab Stu in the neck than it is to make him change his mind about communism.”
Tappy is absolutely right.
Persuading someone is hard. But that’s no reason not to have a system mechanic to address it. Tappy agreed.
He described a social combat hack he designed for his Exalted game. I have no experience with Exalted, but I was rather inspired by what Tappy described.
He came up with a system that uses things the character cares about to help resist persuasion. If one feels strongly about their dog, for instance, one is going to be disinclined to get rid of the dog in favor of the new baby. But these passions can be used against the character as well. For instance, a character trying to persuade another might leverage that character’s love of the dog by arguing that the dog is at risk with the introduction of the new baby. Baby’s pull ears, pinch… the dog could get hurt! Worse, the dog might bite the baby and then Child Protective Services gets involved and the next thing you know the Court is making you put the dog down. Isn’t it just better to give the dog to another loving home?
Of course, this line of argument can backfire, too. Could just get rid of the baby, y’know? All depends on how the dice roll.
The point is, values would be applied to the passions providing a metric by which disagreements can be managed via the system. The dice mechanic would have modifiers based on the presence or absence of a passion. I’m sure there are games that have something like this (e.g. Burning Wheel), but I’ve neither read nor played them.
I have to say, I rather like the idea.
Earlier, I shared my thoughts on how I will manage persuasion skills in my current Savage Worlds game. If a player chooses to roll Persuade against a fellow player character and a SUCCESS is rolled, I will offer the Persuadee a Bennie.
“You are persuaded,” I will say setting the Bennie down before him.
Now, the persuadee can accept the Bennie and be persuaded – or he may choose not to be Persuaded, but he doesn’t get the Bennie AND it will cost him one out of his own stash.
Two of my players have expressed some abstract concern about attempts to spend them out of Bennies. What if some cheese head just keeps pressing? It’s not a situation that’s come up in our game, but I can certainly see how it could be abused. “In a game where Bennies are freely awarded,” One said, “That’s not a problem. If not? It could be.”
I appreciate Tappy’s idea. I think there’s a way to make these things work together. In a game like Savage Worlds (fast, furious), I wonder how it might operate to establish passions for such a dice mechanic? This may be something we explore at my table and work on a little homebrew hack action.
I’m mulling this.
Thanks, Happy Jacks, for an excellent episode presenting thoughtful discussion on a topic that still has a lot of meat to it.