Age of Orion
Social Encounters based on “The Red Markets” play test rules, modified for the D20 System.
A rework to social encounters to raise stakes and simplify hard bargains. These are more formalized interactions, and not meant to replace role-playing conversations or simple one roll actions.
Rounds and Turns
A negotiation usually boils down to two people, unlike role-playing games which focus on a group of players. Social Encounters have a set number of rounds for both sides to push the negotiation towards their goal, before both sides dig in and further negotiation is pointless. Each round, both sides of the encounter is able to push once, and can otherwise gather resources for the negotiation. Instead of heavily planning before a negotiation, the Social Encounter system allows for retroactive actions to be taken during the negotiation to allow other players to remain active while the primary negotiator does the talking.
Number of rounds: The start of a Social Encounter, the Primary Negotiator rolls a Persuasion Check DC 8, Success determines the number of rounds before both sides concrete their opinions. Every 4 points over 8 results in another round of negotiation. Failure results in the Social Encounter lasting a single round, with the scale starting one point lower than expected, if it was going to start at 1, the Social Encounter fails before it starts.
When a Social Encounter starts, a primary negotiator is selected for each side, these people are responsible for the push, other negotiators provide assistance and help, but an unorganized front is a weak front, and the opposition will not be swayed by a group of people yelling at them attempting to convince them of their way.
The art of negotiation is all about pushing your side of the negotiation. It’s a seven point scale, from completely in their favor at 1, to neutral at 4, and completely in your favor at 7.
Starting: The scale tends to start in the oppositions favor (1-3), they have something to gain, or at least seek to get a better deal for themselves, fully expecting to barter and bargain.
Action: Either side can only push once per round, but that push can be modified with information, favors, and other means. Make a Persuasion, Intimidate, or Deception check, success results in a +1 to the scale. You can push an Exploit during a push, to increase success from a +1 to a +2 on the scale.
Defense: When used against you, the DM will provide how the other side pushes and you determine what skill to defend with as long as it makes sense. Failure results in a -1 to the scale. They can use an exploit against the primary negotiator to push if they know one of that person’s exploit. An exploit can be defended against with a Charisma Save.
Exploits are weaknesses, soft spots, preferences, vices, and binds a person may have associated with them. These are means of pushing the opposition in a social encounter to gain an advantage for you. Exploits can only be used once per encounter.
Action: A player can spend their turn gaining an Exploit, each player can only collect one Exploit per Social Encounter, as the collection of that Exploit happened in preparation to this encounter. When attempting to collect an Exploit, success depends on succeeding two of three skill checks, a small vignette explaining how they collected the Exploit should be told.
Soft Spot: Everyone has something they care about, something important to them, that’s a Soft Spot. These are usually Virtues.
Weak Spot: A weakness that can be exploited, a promise to fulfill a vice, a threat to expose it, or bribing them with at the moment. These are usually Vices.
Tough Spot: An unchangeable thing from the persons past, an event they’d wish would just be forgotten. They tend to have both positives and negative effects.