Romance and Seduction

Discussion on playing Earthdawn. Experiences, stories, and questions related to being a player.
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Slimcreeper
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Romance and Seduction

Post by Slimcreeper » Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:54 pm

Following a (quite good) discussion on the Discord server about this topic, I am posing the following options:

Romance and Social Skills (in Progress)

Romance - (New Skill replacing Seduction). This skill is meant to be an option for players and GMs who wish to incorporate romantic storylines but don’t feel comfortable role playing a romance for whatever reason. This skill is unusual in that it is cooperative between both parties. A romance has 4 stages, each requiring at least 10 minutes. Both parties roll against each other’s SD and their successes are added together. Either party can decide that their interest has faded and is opting out at any stage. Continuing to pursue a disinterested party may result in a steadily worsening Attitude.

For each extra success a party earns on a Romance test, the party can add +1 to the next stage’s Romance test. Also, if the other person has a Loyal Attitude towards the romancer, he or she gets +1. For an Awestruck Attitude, +2.

- First Move: The first stage is to let the other partner know there is an interest. The parties must be at least Neutral to each other. Only one party needs to roll and only one success is needed, but both parties can roll.

- Connection: The parties engage in personal conversation, trying to connect to each other. The parties must be at least Friendly to each other. This stage requires a total of 3 successes.

- Intimacy: The parties try to move to a deeper, more personal level, trying to become more than just friends. They must be at least Friendly to each other. This stage requires a total of 3 successes.

- The Question: At this point the parties are trying to define their relationship, be it a one-night stand or serious romance. Both parties must be at least Friendly to each other. This Stage requires a total of 4 successes. If they do not score at least 4 successes, they cannot try again until at least one of the characters has improved their Romance skill rank. Intercourse of any kind is not automatically assumed as a result of success on The Question.
On a satisfactory resolution of The Question, both parties’ Attitudes towards each other is improved by 2 degrees for a full day, and is permanently increased by 1 degree. Of course, future actions can increase or decrease either party’s Attitude at a later time.

Seduction, meaning trying to extract sexual favors by manipulating someone, may be handled through other social skills and Interaction tests, but is problematic and should be discussed OOC with the whole table first.

Using sexual attraction to distract or manipulate someone (such as flirting with a guard) can be handled easily with the other social skills in the book and does not need to be problematic.

Flirting - the Flirting skill doesn’t seem to add much and is not used.
Last edited by Slimcreeper on Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bonhumm
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Re: Romance and Seduction

Post by Bonhumm » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:09 pm

There should be a 'Wingman' knack with this Talent for whenever another character wants to help another using that talent. :D

Tattered Rags
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Re: Romance and Seduction

Post by Tattered Rags » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:24 pm

Bonhumm wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:09 pm
There should be a 'Wingman' knack with this Talent for whenever another character wants to help another using that talent. :D
Honestly, I'm still not thrilled with the lack of structure around helping others or group tests, but that's a digression and already covered in another thread...which I might go dig up to see if anyone has more thoughts or experimentation.
Adventure I'm running:
Under the Stars

Adventure GM post-mortem:
Under the Stars Postmortem

Slimcreeper
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Romance and Seduction

Post by Slimcreeper » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:16 pm

Updated to reflect the benefit of extra successes and also improved attitude. If your wingman has Diplomacy, he or she can increase the Attitude of your would-be paramour and so increase your chance of success.

lanir
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Re: Romance and Seduction

Post by lanir » Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:56 am

Don't have anything to add directly to this. But before I read it I thought it would be about modeling a longer term relationship rather than one event and I started thinking about how to do that.

If you end up wanting to model such a thing at any point, especially with levels or something I might suggest using something similar to the knowledges for thread items. A few details, a trigger to sum up a shared memory. The whole memory needn't be sketched out, you just need something that prompts the right feelings.

It may sound odd to handle a whole relationship this way but it would let you get some of the benefits of RPing it out but in a shorter form you could handle even with a lot of players at the table. I'd suggest having the player and GM (or other player) talk out of character and agree on what the memory trigger should be.

Sorry if this doesn't fit with what you're doing.

Slimcreeper
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Romance and Seduction

Post by Slimcreeper » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:58 pm

A welcome comment!

I don't know that I will right anything like that out. It would be cool to see it fleshed out more if you have anymore thoughts. Would there be mechanical advantages? Could it be expanded to cover non-romantic relationships? (I'm thinking of the contacts mechanics in Shadowrun)

I don't know that I would get this mechanical with an ongoing personal relationship at my table, but for a large group or one that doesn't meet very often, or for one that is more focused on combat encounters.

There is this idea circulating in the back of my head for Morale. A character would take on habits or triggers that cost something. Maybe the character has a weakness for beautiful poetry. Investing in a large library or sponsoring a poet would count as investing in Morale. A relationship that requires ongoing maintenance would count. The classic behavioral flaws you see in other games, such as Addiction When the character indulged those habits regularly, the character accumulates Morale. What that would mean, I don't know. A pool of use any time karma? Plot points? Rerolls? I don't want to see a list of detailed habits or limitations, just a basic silver or time cost.

Anyway, I haven't written it out, it's just something I'm thinking of.

lanir
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Re: Romance and Seduction

Post by lanir » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:28 am

I don't really have a lot to add to the idea. It's pretty straightforward.

For each attitude above Neutral, add a tag line or phrase that helps everyone remember why that person thinks that way. Friendly or Unfriendly probably aren't too demanding but there's usually a good reason for someone to be Loyal, Hostile, or have more extreme attitudes. Sum them up in a phrase and write them down. Note that you won't have anything initially as these are to recall experiences. The first time you meet someone your attitude is based on your circumstances or rumors, not so much them.

The Fate RPG uses something similar to this with it's Aspect system but those are much more complex because they tie into the core mechanic. These are just mnemonic devices mostly.

If you wanted a mechanical effect based on these, I'd probably suggest looking at adapting some of the optional combat maneuvers to social interaction tests. Particularly Defensive Stance and Aggressive Attack. I haven't done this yet so I'm not sure off the top of my head whether they'd need rebalancing. Combat maneuvers are balanced based on each side making multiple rolls to resolve an encounter and social interactions may not always have that.

Example: Skunk Stew

The group is travelling with some NPCs across Barsaive. They need to supplement their rations with what they can scrounge up and eventually everyone tries to help even if they're not very good at it. Until one of the NPCs corners a skunk and thinks to make it the main ingredient in that night's stew. It's a small furry animal like last night's rabbit, right?

Obviously this does not work out well and the whole group will end up dealing with the consequences, possibly for days.

Coming together and dealing with this could well explain why the NPC is Loyal to the group after that experience and if you ever reference "skunk stew" later, the players will know what you mean. You can write down "Loyal: skunk stew" on your write-up for the NPC.

Slimcreeper
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Romance and Seduction

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:52 am

I like the mnemonic idea. I’m not sure about adding social combat options – there’s already quite a lot and I don’t trust myself to balance all that out.

I keep coming back to lursi’s idea of buying contact status once things are resolved using LP like thread weaving.

lanir
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:23 am

Re: Romance and Seduction

Post by lanir » Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:40 pm

I agree, the social combat options are not really needed. It was an afterthought because it seemed like something that was expected. Usually the benefit of a social connection is... you have a connection. Generally that means you have someone who can help you, provide you with work, get you information, or add backgroun to the story/legend of your character.

I see two potential issues with a legend point cost for social connections. First, you run the risk of your points walking off. Perhaps literally. A magic hammer will not get annoyed with you and stop whacking people. I realize Earthdawn isn't a game where your points are guaranteed (you don't get points back if you spend them on a thread item that you later part with). But this has extra ways your points could get zeroed out and bad communication between GM and player will compound this greatly. Second, it's a bad habit but some players will think that if they've "bought" someone, they're owed something. This is another area where any communication issues within the group can be exaggerated. I guess I'm just a little wary of a roleplaying social system that can stress test your real social interactions with other gamers. A lot of gamers don't have such great social skills. :)

If it were another kind of point that you earned in a different way some of this wouldn't be as much of a problem but as legend points you can spend on useful things like advancement, I think you might have issues. Mostly I guess I wouldn't recommend points of any sort unless the group has pretty good communication.

Tattered Rags
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Re: Romance and Seduction

Post by Tattered Rags » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:25 pm

lanir wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:40 pm
I see two potential issues with a legend point cost for social connections. First, you run the risk of your points walking off. Perhaps literally. A magic hammer will not get annoyed with you and stop whacking people. I realize Earthdawn isn't a game where your points are guaranteed (you don't get points back if you spend them on a thread item that you later part with). But this has extra ways your points could get zeroed out and bad communication between GM and player will compound this greatly.
You could have the LP spent on connections that represent roles instead of specific people. Then someone could leave, temporarily vacating the connection, but at a later point someone would eventually fill it.

Kinda dull for a romantic partner, but it would work for other kinds of connections.
Adventure I'm running:
Under the Stars

Adventure GM post-mortem:
Under the Stars Postmortem

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