In Social Interaction, players use language, costuming, and human interaction skills to network or even convince NPCs to go along with an agenda. This involves both talking and a willingness to understand and research communication styles and accepted in-game cultural norms. This is done during a social encounter, in which the player delivers a series of social statements in order to impact the NPC.
Before a social encounter, a player must have an agenda,( i.e. the request or objective they are trying to accomplish in the social encounter). The difficulty of the encounter is based upon the agenda, so the marshal must know ahead of time what agenda is being attempted.
Social Statements are sentences used in normal conversation, and require the player to roleplay and speak appropriately in a convincing manner. They can be flubbed if a marshal feels the statement was not roleplayed properly. Social statements must be roleplayed in one of four social styles (see below).
Social statements increase investment points, a sort of ‘social energy’. They are called investment points because they represent the time, effort and attention that the player is effectively socially investing in the NPC. At the beginning of each social encounter, each player starts with a base of four investment points. The number of investment points can be greater when increased by social skills, vestments or items.
The Agenda Pool
The entire purpose of a social statement is to add investment points to the agenda pool. When making the statement, the player puts any number of investment points into the statement, up to a maximum of their allowed total. This is done secretly, so the NPC does not know how much is being invested. The NPC then has an opportunity to make a reaction statement (see below). The reaction statement may stop some of the investment points from entering the investment pool if the NPC has an unfavorable reaction.
Ex 1: The player might say something like, “My, you are looking good today” and spend 2 investment points on the statement. The NPC might react with, “why thank you!” offering no negative reaction. Thus 2 points would go into the Agenda Pool.
Ex 2: The player might say something like, “My, you are looking good today” and spend 2 investment points on the statement. The NPC might react with, “Flattery will get you nowhere” offering a resistance of 2. Thus 0 points would go into the Agenda Pool.
Agenda Statement: At some point during the social encounter, the player will attempt to persuade or convince the NPC to go along with their agenda, in a specific type of social statement called the Agenda Statement. Where social statements increase the Agenda Pool, agenda statements cost points from the pool.
Whenever a player makes an agenda statement they spend points from their agenda pool into a social statement in an attempt to overcome the reaction threshold of the NPC. If the resistance value is exceeded, the agenda is successfully pushed and the NPC will acquiesce. If the reaction threshold is not exceeded, the agenda is not met and the player can try again with another agenda statement if they have any more investment points left in the agenda pool.
Once all influence points have been spent, the player is socially exhausted, or literally “spent” and simply has no more willingness to put energy into the NPC. The social encounter ends.
NPC Reaction Statements
Each time a social statement is made, the NPC will have a reaction. This will come in the form of some kind of statement or dialogue. Reactions act like a threshold which stops some or all of the investment points. Some reaction statements raise the threshold of the NPC for one statement only.
- If the statement was successful (higher than the reaction threshold), then the number of points backing up the social statement remaining is added to the investment pool.
NPC Reaction statements may not be used against Agenda statements. Only a special type of statement, called the Power Statement, can be used against an agenda statement. This type of statement is very rare and will only be used by the most powerful social NPCs.