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Author Topic: [Föld] Social Links system  (Read 1850 times)

Posts: 28

« on: October 17, 2011, 05:36:12 AM »

Hi Forgies,

This post is about creating relationships.

The motivation is the following:
- In Föld, player characters are 'mere' humans and cannot level-up much. A very powerful guy will lead an army or a church, but won't be able to kill 50 people single-handedly.
- As such, character evolution is invested into building-up relationships.

As per the current rules (cf. here), this aspect has been kinda overlooked. I realize this now that I'm trying to motivate the existence of three types of conflicts resolution: Physical Conflict, Social Conflict and Emotional Conflict.

The idea of these 3 types of conflict is to allow for the players to overcome their concerns by motivating the masses to do their bidding rather than trying to solve everything with strength. Physical Conflict is, well, what you do expect. Social Conflict is used for winning arguments with intellect, for example for convincing others that you should be the boss. Emotional Conflict is for conflicts you win with feelings, for example for making someone fall for you.
The same rules apply for all three types of Conflict: you 'fight' with your Health Points (HP) and with appropriate Skills for bonuses, and you win when reducing the opponent's HP to zero. The trick here is that you can use your relationships as support. Each supporter will provide you with 1 Armour / Argument / Amour Points (AP) that will sustain 1 point of damage in your stead (thus saving as many HP).

So, since the Relationships are used for these 3 types of conflict, I came-up with 3 types of relations: Social, Emotional and Physical. Each Relationship can be at level 1 (simple) or level 2 (advanced).

Simple Relationships:
There exists 3 types of Simple Relationships. Here below is described what they bring and the prerequisite for unlocking them.

- Simple Social Relationship: the NPC sympathetizes with your ideas. It offers 1 PA during Social Conflicts. Prerequisite: having completed a request for it.
- Simple Emotional Relationship: the NPC likes to hang around with you. It offers 1 PA during Emotional Conflicts. Prerequisite: having shared an activity together.
- Simple Physical Relationship: the NPC respects you. It offers 1 PA during Physical Conflicts. Prerequisite: having fought together.

All 3 types can be bound to one single person.
But not everyone will accept becoming a relationship. If the NPC refuses, it is possible to make it change its mind after having fought it (and won) once. For example, you are trying to build a Simple Physical Relationship. The NPC refuses. Later on, you fight about politics, and you win the argument (Social Conflict). The NPC will now be impressed by your intellect and be ready to accept the Simple Physical Relationship. ('defeat means friendship', in other words. It might sound cheap, but I don't know how to avoid this without making the rules heavier. In the end, the GM decides !)

Advanced Relationships
Only an NPC which was once defeated in a direct conflict (any conflict) can level-up to Advanced Relationship. The idea is that true links cannot be forged without conflict. (here again, this sounds oversimplified, but maybe it's not necessary to go deeper?)
Advantages and prerequisites:

- Advanced Social Relationship: the NPC will militate for you. The Player Character can 'borrow' the Skills of the NPC for Social rolls. Prerequisite: Simple Social Relation, having accomplished a BIG request for the NPC (saved the kidnapped daughter)
- Advanced Emotional Relationship: the NPC will speak highly about you. The PC can 'borrow' the Skills of the NPC for Ego rolls. Prereq: Simple Emo Relation, having helped the NPC to overcome a personal problem (repaired damaged relationship with old father)
- Advanced Physical Relationship: the NPC will recruit for you. The PC can 'borrow' the Skills of the NPC for Body rolls. Prereq: Simple Phy Relation, having saved the NPC's live (thrown the blackmailer to jail).

An Advanced Emotional Relationship can be promoted for free into a 'Loving' relationship instead of 'Friendship', which is the standard. This does not bring any side effects (bonus) besides altering roleplay.

- Is 'defeat means friendship' too cheap?
- Where do you see shortcomings / balance issues?
- Is there any 'Social Links' / 'Relationship building' system you would know of?
- Emotional Conflict needs a better name. The associated characteristic is called 'Ego', this might as well deserve some renaming. 'Physical Relationship' sounds off, too !

In parallel to this post, I'm working on a rules playtest scenario hopefully leveraging this mechanism. Hope I'll come-up with something worth the effort :)


Posts: 28

« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 07:33:13 AM »

After a good night of sleep, I thought about extra details (and questions).

First, to avoid 'relationship creep', where the Players would but build-up their network, the extra rule is the following: Your relationships are valid for the current scenario only. Once the scenario is over, you lose sight of people, and forget about shared experiences. Then, you can make persistent a Relationship if you pay 3 XP for it, in the exact same way Relationship are acquired in the current rule set as provided by the 1st post link.
- This hopefully avoids relationship creep
- While allowing building relations which are important to the character

Second, I'm not sure how natural it is to say that an Advanced Emotional Relationship will only let you 'use' its skills when these are bound to an Ego roll. I would tend to think that once you made up a friend, if this friend is a warrior, then he will volunteer to protect you from physical threats. So I propose to simplify this to:
- Simple relationship will provide 1 AP, based on what the NPC skills are (a warrior will give 1 AP for physical conflicts while a diplomat will give 1 AP for social conflicts)
- Advanced relationship will let the PC 'use' The One Skill the NPC has
- And so, each NPC is categorized as either 'Physical', 'Social' or 'Emotional' type, based on its (one) Skill. You can 'win' it over any type of conflict and he will serve you based on its profile.
Oh, by the way, when I speak about 'using' a skill from an NPC, I actually mean using the +2 / +3 Skill bonus if the NPC is actively involved in the action...

Third, about death. In Föld, lots of deaths have to be expected.
- Death of the Player Character will lead to losing all relationships where XP was not spent. The ones which were secured with XP will be forgotten, and 'retrievable' thanks to Mind Walk. (this is not detailed much but in essence I stick to the current ruleset)
- But I'm not sure what to do with death of Relationships which were secured with XP. If I kill the NPC, I punish the Player who invested XP in the Relationship. If I don't kill the NPC, then automagically I have given a kind of contractual immortality to anyone linked to the Player Characters, which is quite absurd. One option would be to give back the associated XP to the Player, who would get 'empowered' by the loss of a friend? (and possibly go over the 3 XP limit, in a kind of 'heroic power surge'?) That's the best I could think off as of now.

That's it for my ponderings, so, to sum it up:

- Previous questions remain
- Comments about the XP-bought NPC versus 'free' Relationships?
- Is the simplified approach better for Simple vs Advanced relationships?
- Any other idea besides giving XP back upon death of a 'paid' relationship?

Thanks for your thoughts :)


Posts: 657

« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 03:18:23 PM »

As you can guess from my own proposed system which you gave feedback on, my number one comment would be to clearly show where the the players and GM have authority to make decisions about how their characters act and react in social situations.

Social situations are so complex and nuanced, it is very hard/impossible to capture them with explicit rules.   Thats why my system focuses on the 'means' through which characters may effect social situations, but doesnt say much about the 'ends'. 


Posts: 68

« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 11:25:40 PM »

Hey Cédric,

Glad Föld is still around.

It’s great to see an emphasis on relationships (important in Föld, so I’m told).

To the heart: I think you’ve made this more complicated than necessary.


1.)   Grant any number of relationships at any time over any number of sessions.
2.)   All relationships must be forged with RP; none can be “bought” with XP.
3.)   Relationships are not classified as Physical/Social/Emotional or Simple/Advanced.
4.)   If a character uses a relationship then that relationship adds 1 or 2 AP—situation dependant. [This numbers can be increased to 2/4 or 1/3/5 or to whatever min/max and number of degrees you need.]
5.)   A relationship may sometimes be used for brains, sometimes for brawn. Do not over-simplify characters as either physical/emotional/social. They are (hopefully) dynamic characters with their own (potentially) varied strengths and weaknesses, let players draw upon the character—not their skills—in times of need.
6.)   Do not create even more (!) types of conflict. There is no reason to have physical/social/emotional conflict because the context will clearly dictate which skills, RP, or relationships apply.

I’ll make up examples if you’re at all interested.

Why the changes?

Well the system you proposed was complicated. There would have been 3 more types of conflict, 2 degrees of relationships (of 3 different types no less), and varying rules for how to apply them (do I use their skill, or simply boost my own?), maintain them (keep track of who was bought off with XP this session—which, yes, does feel cheap in an RP game), and how to contrive a conflict to get into before I can even earn the relationship (seems nice in principle, but not every relationship must start off as a conflict of some sort).

Now: Have I maintained a working relationship with this person? If so, would they be willing to do this for me? If so, how much will their unique skill-set do to help me? Done.

Notice this solves some of the periphery problems you were concerning yourself with.

Such as:

1.)   “defeat means friendship” too cheap? You don’t have to defeat your soon-to-be friends, you only have to RP a reason for them to (at least pretend to) be your friend.
2.)   Balance issues? None that I see, the RP and context are the great equalizers here.
3.)   Having to name different conflict and relationship (as much as I love the AAA alliteration…)
4.)   Don’t have to keep track of which NPCs were bought with XP. None are “free”, they were all earned (and lost) due to RP.
5.)   Having to worry about reimbursing XP at death of a PC (which would be an absolute nightmare).


1.)   Do I want to grant 2, 3, 4, (6?) different degrees of AP for a relationship (and in what denominations)?
2.)   … That’s all I can think of.

Again, hope this helps. Sorry if it felt rushed. Sincerely wish you all the best.

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