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sozin
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Player Wrecking NPCs with Sharp Tongue in Combat

Sun 19 Sep 2021, 17:05

I have a player with a Minstrel that has been using Sharp Tongue (RANK 3) as social combat during actual combat. He’s been wreaking people with it. The book says that allowing this sort of thing during combat is at GM discretion (page 99: "This might even be possible in the midst of combat").

I am torn — on one hand my player is a great role player, and his player isn’t much of a fighter, so it’s nice that he can be involved. On the other hand it doesn’t feel super realistic, and he is one shotting my NPCs (and last week, my mini-boss). I would love some advice/thoughts/shared experiences on this.

I asked over on the Free League discord and this were some of their suggestions:

* You could make them get mad at him and target him as a risk vs reward thing
* You could add disadvantage based on how noisy the fight is
* Fight fire with fire. Use monsters and opponents that deal Empathy damage.
* Also not everyone will be smart or dumb enough to get an insult, so you can have some stuff go right over their head
* Give the opponent bonuses to resist Manipulation while in combat, in order to have a 50% chance of success for the minstrel. And if he fails, he becomes a prime target. This way he should in the end think twice about using it, and he will be thrilled when succeeding.

Thank you in advance!
Last edited by sozin on Sun 19 Sep 2021, 19:25, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Fenhorn
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Re: Player Wrecking NPCs with Sharp Tongue in Combat

Sun 19 Sep 2021, 17:38

This might even be possible in the midst of combat, if the GM judges it plausible.

This means that it might be possible, but most often is not. Someone that is fighting in melee is most likely to busy to listen to whatever someone nearby is saying. Also remember that you can't use manipulation to just hurt someone, the skill is used to make a proposal, to make a deal. Whatever the manipulator wants must also be reasonable (and whatever that the target is allowed to demand must also be reasonable).

If there is a momentum (a small pause when people are re-grouping instead of attack for example) in the battle when it is possible to use manipulation and you as a GM thinks that the argument the manipulator have is reasonable, the target might have good Insight and there are usually a some penalties to the manipulation roll, -1 if he asks for something valuable or dangerous (giving up will most likely be valuable), -1 if he has nothing to gain and -1 there is trouble understanding each other (since it is in combat, not around a table in the inn), short range.
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sozin
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Re: Player Wrecking NPCs with Sharp Tongue in Combat

Sun 19 Sep 2021, 18:46

Also remember that you can't use manipulation to just hurt someone, the skill is used to make a proposal, to make a deal.
Yes, but Sharp Tongue deals empathy damage, so, in the process if Manipulating them, can't you break them by reducing their empathy to zero? Which effectively removes them from the combat.
 
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Fenhorn
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Re: Player Wrecking NPCs with Sharp Tongue in Combat

Sun 19 Sep 2021, 19:04

Also remember that you can't use manipulation to just hurt someone, the skill is used to make a proposal, to make a deal.
Yes, but Sharp Tongue deals empathy damage, so, in the process if Manipulating them, can't you break them by reducing their empathy to zero? Which effectively removes them from the combat.
The idea with manipulation is to persuade your opponent to do something that you want him to do and the target of this is allowed to demand something in return. This means that these two people must be able to talk to each other. So going with that:

* The two must be able to talk. If someone fights someone else, he doesn't listen to someone talking. He might be annoyed by someone who is taunting but that is another skill (Performance). So unless you got your intended targets attention, there is no manipulation in the first place. In combat there might be situations where you can get yourself heard. If there is no fight, just movement for a round or things like that.

* Whatever the manipulator wants must be reasonable (and yes, so of course must whatever the target demands also be). The idea with the manipulation isn't to hurt (because of Sharp Tongue), it is to get the other to do what you want. A player can't you say "give up or die" (or whatever he say), because that is not reasonable. He can say it, but when the GM say that that is not reasonable, he has just wasted is action. So what is it that this great manipulator usually say in combat, is it reasonable?

Then sure, a side effect of a very successful sharp tongue manipulation can be that he becomes broken, if he gets two or more (depending on how much Empathy he has) successes than the target, But again, this is not the main intent of the skill roll, the main intent of the skill roll is to get the target to do what you want and that something must be reasonable for the situation.
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sozin
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Re: Player Wrecking NPCs with Sharp Tongue in Combat

Sun 19 Sep 2021, 19:45

That all makes sense, thanks for the thoughtful reply. I'll have a discussion with my player and see what he thinks. Thank you!
 
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Konungr
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Re: Player Wrecking NPCs with Sharp Tongue in Combat

Mon 20 Sep 2021, 02:42

Breaking Empathy doesn't necessarily remove you from the combat either.

Specifically the book says when being broken by Empathy that you either break down or start lashing out at everyone and everything around you (pg 107 GMG). Someone broken by Empathy can just as easily go on a rampage. The point of being broken via empathy is they become unreachable until they recover. No words can take them off the course they are on.

So sure.. Use your silver tongue on that bandit or whatever. Then watch him fly into a rage with you as their primary target.

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