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Revisiting Sway

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 8:52 pm
by Fetch
People very rarely resort to draws for social interaction so this isn't a big deal but when I first wrote up the social rules I didn't have a good way to quantify Sway. As a result it's been vague leaving people with a good impression of level one and level five but not the intermediate steps.

When I wrote up Sway I also wanted to make sure the compromises would be fair. My idea was that if you agree ahead of time what X successes means you'll get a more reasonable result than if you draw first then argue about it. However while the compromises have worked well the front loading has not.

So, a spark of inspiration has, I think, solved both problems:

Sway is the ability to put social pressure on an individual to direct their actions, ranging from simple requests ("share your lunch with me") to convoluted confidence games ("I'm a Nicaraguan prince and..."). Not all social manipulation is equal: asking greater favors takes more work than minor ones. The level of a Sway is defined by it's costs, both personal and material. Only the highest value in each category counts towards Sway level so if somebody wants $100 and your token you only count the permanent cost, not the money.

0 - All sway starts at zero points.
+1 - Temporary Cost. Sway that would incur a temporary and recoverable cost such as giving someone a ride to the airport or a bit of your disposable income.
+2 - Permanent Cost. Anything that would involve a cost that is non-recoverable, such as loss of Social Merits.
+1 - If the Sway would go against the subjects 2 or 3 point Passions/Irrationalities.
+2 - Any Sway that would contradict a 4 or 5 point Passion/Irrationality.
+1 - Any Sway that would violate an Ideal or morality sin.
+2 - Any Sway that would violate multiple Ideals/sins.

If the character making the Social test fails to get enough successes for the full Sway the defender gets to drop off aspects of the request down to a compromise that would be achievable with the number of successes rolled. For example if one is asked for $100 and their token and the aggressor only gets 2 successes one could simply give the $100, an appropriate level 2 Sway.

A character may attempt to add to an existing Sway. In this case they take the existing Sway as a penalty to their test pool and add their successes to the level of that Sway to increase it's effectiveness. The aggressor above could take a -2 to add to the money and magic Sway asking for the other's hollow instead of the token. Success would indicate victory in this bargaining.

Sway represents that the subject of a social test has been convinced but sometimes people are to stubborn to accept even the most convincing arguments. In this case a character can force themselves to ignore part or all of a Sway by buying it down with Willpower on a one-for-one basis. If this reduces the Sway below the level needed for the request the defender choses a compromise, as above. Note: When buying down Sway the full successes gained are it's level. A level 2 request for $100 is really hard to say no to if the aggressor got 6 successes.

Any aspect of Sway that would be an unacceptable order (suicide, violating an Irrationality or Ideal/Sin more than 5 levels below current Morality) can be automatically bought down. No matter how convincing you are you can't talk someone into killing themselves but they might slash their wrists just a bit if you present a compelling enough reason.

Sway exists on a character until fulfilled or reduced to 0 points. Cults, military training, and the like generally place their subjects in conditions where they have difficulty recovering Willpower to prevent them from buying down Sway, instead forcing them to fulfill it.