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Game Nerd: Amber and the Social Stat

There was recently a discussion on the Amber Mailing List which dissolved into a Flame War, triggered by some musings about the possibility of adding a Social Stat to Amber as a house rule.

If I recall properly, it arose from a common problem; what does one do with Flora's points? None of the stats and powers quite seem to build a Flora that matches Zelazny's character, the Flora in the ADRPG book, or Flora as generally played.

The idea then was that if there were a stat to represent social abilities (I believe a reference was made to the Storyteller system as well), then Flora could be done up believably with a point value near that of the other elders.

I'll leave off the stuff that the Flame War circled around, and get to what I think is interesting, which is the benefit of throwing this up own my own journal.

What would I do with a "social" stat? I'd use it as a superior version of "Allies", for one; the higher the social stat rank, the more likely the character is to have an ally in the right place at the right time. Additionally, it affects reputation. If Flora uses her Socialise stat to attack Benedict, her player has to describe what she's doing (start a rumour that he was the one who swiped Random's favourite drums), and how (have it whispered in court, and in taverns). If Benedict has a high enough social stat, he can find out about the attack in time to do something about it (his spy network might be sensitive to this kind of thing; he might send soldiers to intimidate the people telling these rumours or seed dozens of conflicting rumours to defuse the whole thing). If Flora outranks Benedict, his defence fails. If she outranks him by a lot, he doesn't even realise its going on until it has become "common knowledge".

It would certainly shift the nature of character concepts if there was a stat like this in place.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 11th, 2004 12:12 am (UTC)
I like this idea, it may actually be an interesting stat to add into my Dude! game for ACUS. But it does overlap with several other game mechanics. Not just Allies, but Stuff as well. Although it would be interesting to see how Social would mix with the other stats. Mix it with Warfare and you have subtlety, mix it with Strength and you get good looks, mix it with Psyche and you have an automatic 'connection, and make good first impressions. Hrm...interesting. Damn you for making me think at 3 am!
Dec. 11th, 2004 08:33 am (UTC)
Aha! That's even better! It takes over for the part of Stuff I've always thought was kind of Stupid. Luck and reactions shouldn't be tied together.
Dec. 12th, 2004 09:13 am (UTC)
I mean, it works for random encounters, whether you arrive with a big thundercloud and lightning in your eyes, or on a ray of golden sunlight.

Really, the social stat adds no flavour -- so keep the Stuff. Whether a character gets what she wants from respect, adoration or fear, the end result (based on your Social stat) would be the same.
Dec. 11th, 2004 06:17 am (UTC)
Mind control! Mind control!

Oh wait, it's not even close.

I think your implementation sounds like a good one, and is, imo, exactly the way a Social stat should work in the ADRPG. It doesn't trump roleplay at all, it isn't especially useful for making another PC do something directly, and it gives characters like Florimel a way to shine within the system (rather than just outside it).
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 11th, 2004 08:34 am (UTC)
After I get a chance to play test it, I might start slipping it into a ACN/ACUS/TBR game at some point...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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