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20

D&D 4e has Skill Challenges whereby the group has to succeed at multiple skill checks (the number depending on the difficulty) before accumulating 3 failures. The choice of skills boils down to whatever the players can justify. The Essentials red box (spoilers ahead!) has a nice example in the prewritten adventure "Talking to the Dragon" which gives ...


14

Various systems have extended rules for social conflicts. For example: The Dying Earth RPG has a back-and-forth dice-rolling mechanic. I say something, I roll to see whether I convince you; you reply, you roll to see whether you convince me. Skulduggery uses the same mechanics. Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits mechanics frames social conflict similarly to ...


14

There is nothing explicit within 4e's rules against using powers out of combat.. Some powers, such as the Executioner (Assassin)'s class dailies, have out of combat uses for the power written on the card. Further more, 4e allows you to choose whether you are dealing lethal or non-lethal damage if you damage an enemy to 0 hp without any penalties to you as a ...


11

Remember that in D&D, damage is very nebulous - and in 4E particularly so: You reduce it not to kill but to defeat - whether through imprisonment, eternal slumber, knocking them unconscious or, ok, murder. Additionally, your damage reflects your skill - it increases as your experience increases. As such, you can decide to deal less damage than your ...


10

Actually, there are non-combat techniques, and in GURPS 4th edition they are covered together with combat ones (starting on page 229 of "Characters" volume). In the basic set there are just some examples, such as Lifesaving (a Swimming technique), which has a starting score of Swimming-5, and a few more. These techniques have a default value given by a ...


10

My group, at least does not handle social interactions this way. Instead of what you listed above, we usually do: PC: I want to parley with the ambassador of the neighboring kingdom, about sending troops to help against the invasion. GM: You go to the ambassador and he looks unconvinced. After all, there is [situation] in their country that is ...


9

Stalker0 developed the Obsidian skill challenge to address what he saw as faults with the D&D 4E skill challenge system. Here you have the thread and PDF at enworld (registration required). Quoting from the first page: Consider using the Obsidian System if you believe in the following: Players should always be included in skill challenges, ...


7

The thing to realize about 4e is, it's a combat system. 90% of it is to do with fighting, which is why the aren't any rules for integrating powers into other parts of the game. This is not to say you can't use them outside of combat at all, but that you'd have to rely on your own (and GM's) judgement. So there's nothing wrong with discarding damage in ...


7

There are a lot of games that treat non-combat actions with complexity and sophistication. As mentioned by others, some games have specific subsystems for noncombat conflicts, like Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits: A set of options like Point, Rebuttal, and Obfuscate, with the position you're arguing assigned a hitpoint total. Other games employ a universal ...


7

Do you know systems where non-combat parts of the game are covered more deeply by the rules, and are more sophisticated than only requiring one skill check? How are these situations handled? There are many games that do this; some are mentioned above. I'd also add to that list games where violent combat isn't even an option. Black and Green ...


7

One of my favourite mechanics is Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits - see a pdf that Luke makes available (direct link here). It's something like a reflavoured and tweaked version of its combat system, and the "social combat" aspect is interesting in and of itself, but there also are interesting differences. For instance, it's aimed at convincing everyone around ...


7

Also you can check out A Song of Ice and Fire RPG as well as John Wick's Houses of the Blooded. Since I am a big fan of Wick's work, I advise the latter. It IS awesome. They are both beautiful about that kind of thing. The social combat system in SIFRP is equivalent to the physical combat system - in recognition of the fact that the books it's modeling have ...


5

How about just using the same combat rules? F'r'ex, let's say that you're...oh, I don't know, trying to charm the merchant's wife so that you'll get a good deal on...I dunno, grain. MAGIC grain. If you're playing D&D, you might roll 1d20 + CHA mod, against 10 + her INT mod. A success lets you roll 1d6 (maybe 1d8 if you're a thief or bard) plus CHA or ...


4

Burning Wheel and Burning Empires: Duel of Wits is a separate combat system focused on narrative handling of convincing a third party by the two opposed sides. It's fun, but very stylized. Mechanically, it's a redress of the combat system. Damage isnt wounds, but to a stat (disposition) generated by skill roll at start of conflict. Mouse Guard: One Conflict ...


3

At Will published a series called Serious Skills that discusses each 4E skill in depth, including many ways each can be used, strengths, weaknesses, related backgrounds, and so on. It should be essential reading for almost anybody, but is especially useful in the context of low-combat play.


3

It depends whether you are just talking about D&D or not. In most variants of D&D, combat is what most of the rules revolve around, with only complex skill checks or skill challenges providing more in depth meat to other activities (social, investigation, etc.) Some people prefer this and like handling those other things via player-GM interaction ...


2

Apocalypse World has to be one of my favorite games for mechanizing social situations (and rewarding/incentivizing in-character social machinations that are fully role-played out). All character classes can roll for a basic set of social conflicts--and different kinds of social interaction are broken into separate kinds of rolls. For example, attempting to ...


2

SpyCraft 2nd Ed. has the notion of Dramatic Conflicts - story-critical non-combat situations that you don't want to risk on just one roll of the dice. They work through the concepts of Lead, Predator and Prey - for every round of the conflict, the Predator tries to reduce the Lead to 0, while the Prey tries to increase it to 10. Each round, both participants ...


2

Several systems can handle this. One example is PDQ, which takes damage from your abilities, so you could apply the same to anything. This only really works for conflict, and could handle intimidation, but not necessarily cooperation. FATE can set up stress tracks for anything, and Legends of Anglerre's plot stress could be particularly appropriate for ...


2

I suspect that it's not just combat, but any physical action that needs to be systematised. So combat, jumping, climbing, craft skills, stuff like that; it's stuff the player can't do but the player can. Any time there's a mismatch, you have to create a system. Social and intellectual rolls can be mostly handled by players -- deduction, politics, argument, ...


2

4e's focus on combat is also its strength outside of combat. You have a great deal of freedom to handle things however you like outside of a set encounter. A number of powers that are intended for combat applications can also be used in a non-combat fashion - and you can feel free to ignore the restrictions that are in place for game balance purposes. You ...


2

GURPS Martial Arts (for GURPS 3R) introduced maneuvers to me; it only exemplified them for combat, but noted they could be used for any skills at the GM's option. IIRC, Compedium or Compendium 2 included several non-combat maneuvers, as well, but I don't have them to hand to check.


1

This is a great question, and seems to me that many non-combat activities could be more fleshed out into more detailed game-able events. Usually things are left up to the GM, who sometimes might not be up to the task and think of everything as a flat skill roll. However there are some rules for various activities, or at least some guideline difficulty ...


1

Excellent summary from Baelnom - here are a few scenarios off the top of my head: Murder mystery: the characters are going to need to find things out, so getting into fights and killing possible sources is going to be counterproductive. They'll also be working sort-of against the City Guard, since they'll be considered "amateurs" or interfering ...



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