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Brainstorming for Non-Combat PvP


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

In the RP Support thread I made a suggestion for:

Quote:

Maybe this kind of thing opens up non-combat PvP. What if PFO had mechanisms to wager or risk Reputation in taverns? Maybe you can try and heckle a bard, or insult someone, and then a skill check to see who wins? Or maybe a bard, as part of their performance, makes performance checks against the audience to gain Reputation?

I like the idea of a bard tooling on someone verbally until they choose to tuck tail and stomp away...or maybe plot their revenge?

Assuming there will be non-combat, social skills like bluff, intimidate, diplomacy, etc, what would a feasible mechanic for non-combat PvP look like?

  • It would have to have stakes, where something of value (like reputation) could be lost or gained.
  • Hark pointed out it shouldn't be a simple skill check (although I would hope character skills affected outcomes, cause that's why you trained them). He suggested: "Some kind of competitive mini-game with a back a forth flow and dynamic weighted by skills stands to give such conflict much more meaning to players and make its use much more likely."
  • Nihimon pointed out that such a mechanic should have some sort of player-output that was visible, which makes sense, so that it is social in the locale where such an interaction takes place.

There are a lot of smart folks here on the part--how about helping brainstorm a feasible, fun mechanic that GW could plausibly support in the game at some time?

Goblin Squad Member

I cannot remember what reputation does, but as a rule if you can excel at a form of gambling it is a bad idea.

Make it something like "Ego" or "Renown" etc. Allow it to be used for specific things, or maybe improve some aspect of things. The bars know who you are, you get fond greetings and free drinks, that sort of thing.

I would like to see things like being able to perform at a bar and earn some coin maybe. If they have openings.

Good ideas though! I like the idea of noncom PvP.

There are a lot of such things in other games. Mini games is how they usually come up, like guild wars snowball fight, barrel toss, etc.

EDIT: Oh! Things like Harrow! Allow some rankings from it or allow gambling like the game suggests!

Goblin Squad Member

Malarious, here's the lowdown on reputation:

I Don't Give A Damn 'Bout My Bad Reputation

There are other mechanics in Pathfinder Online that describe the relationship between characters. One of those is the reputation system. A "reputation economy" is a method of giving weight to people's actions. Earning a good reputation is valuable, and having a bad reputation can close a lot of doors. eBay's buyer and seller ratings are an example of a reputation economy.

Your character will have a reputation as well. As your character undertakes various actions for others, those others will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the results, and you will have the opportunity to do the same in reverse.

Reputation is a social construct, and your reputation will flow through your social contacts. If nobody I know knows you, I will not have access to any of your reputation information. If some of my social connections know you, I will know what they know about your reputation. Treat my friends well or you may find it hard to do business with me.

We've also considered the idea that one could buy and sell reputation information about other characters. This would allow a character's reputation to cross from one social sphere to another. Your reputation may, in fact, precede you.

Reputation extends to social organizations as well. Chartered companies, settlements and player nations also have reputations, and those reputations are affected by the actions of their components, be they social organizations or individual characters. So what you do reflects not only on yourself, but on your associates.

Goblin Squad Member

I would recommend a separate Fame/Notoriety/Renown stat, the more I think about it. Reputation really has to do with Trustworthiness, and I would hate to see a Comedian who just wasn't funny end up being considered untrustworthy.

I think it's also important that it be something that can happen unopposed, where there's just a Performer and the Audience. It doesn't always have to be a "rap battle".

It would be kind of neat if Perform got modified by how many Players in the audience actually "/applauded" or "/heckled", but with some automatic applauding and heckling based on Skill Checks. This would give a benefit to players who are able to actually effectively role-play a Performer.

I think there would need to be some kind of Morale/Spirit system similar to Battle Fatigue and Inspiration from SWG, so that really good Performances quickly raise even the lowest spirits, and provide longer-term buffs.

Goblin Squad Member

Some thoughts on how such a system might work:

  • Constraints on how much you can change in reputation in a given period, reflecting that social capital and prestige are dynamic, but emergent over time.

  • I would propose that challenges in social PvP should account for relative social capital. That is, it should be hard, perhaps impossible at some point for a person of low social standing to challenge a person of high social standing. If you're the powerful leader of a nation, you shouldn’t be ankle-bit by hordes of newbs trying to mess with you (although that does open the door to showing their asses the door).
    But also at the same time, that if people of relatively different social standing do compete, the higher one has more to lose, so the stakes are asymmetrical.

  • That reputation gain or loss through social PvP should be scaled to reflect your absolute social standing. A person in the gutter doesn't have far to fall. A socialite or powerful political leader has a lot to lose.

  • That social PvP should reflect both skill and existing social arrangements. So maybe a mechanic that reflects whatever social merit badges/abilities you have, but also your rank and status with alliances. Borrowing a page from Vanguard, maybe you have a social PvP card game, and both your merit badges in social skills, but also cards in your deck, determine your chances. You might gain access to certain cards based on the alliance, rank and status in the alliance, but also lose access to certain cards based on your opposed alliances. So if you have an alliance with the Knights of Iomedae, you lose access to any cards from the Hellknights, and vice versa. This plays along with the idea that "alliances are going to be a major system. Players will be able to join them, access special items, add special buildings to their settlements, etc., but these alliances are not going to be the core of the story…alliances will provide resources and goals for players to pursue, but they will not be shaping the overall environment outside of the NPC settlements they control. Alliances are for color and story, not to take the limelight away from the players."

Goblin Squad Member

I'm not really a big fan of diplomacy/bluff/intimidate minigames. The way I see it, I really think the players should instead roleplay it out (use that chat system!)

On a side note, I can easily see commerce as being non-combat PvP. Competition to make a profit, be able to undersell the competition. Of course, some aspects of it could lead to PvP ("I don't want them going to the mithril mines!")

Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:
  • Constraints on how much you can change in reputation in a given period, reflecting that social capital and prestige are dynamic, but emergent over time.

I would like to see real-time Skill Training for advancement, with Merit Badges required to gain new Abilities.

I'm torn about whether a Vanguard-style card game, or an actual Ability Bar set-up makes more sense. A part of me really wants there be Weapons Sets for this kind of thing, with lots of Abilities requiring the Performance keyword on the "weapon".

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:


I'm torn about whether a Vanguard-style card game, or an actual Ability Bar set-up makes more sense. A part of me really wants there be Weapons Sets for this kind of thing, with lots of Abilities requiring the Performance keyword on the "weapon".

That's a friggin' awesome idea. Just as there is a mechanical abstraction for combat, one for social competition. Brilliant.

I just saw your above post on fame/renown, and I see your point, although the mechanic of the system would be independent, I think, from that choice,

Goblin Squad Member

I can imagine it getting very interesting at influential levels of society xD

I don't think it would have to be card game, but something in the vanguard style vein... The spirit of the system could be fun.

Perhaps part of it could be getting npc factions to ally with player towns. Improving trade and having some resources only available through traveling merchants from those towns (a sort of walking resource vein) that sells to some npc merchants or sets up in the player town.

A sort of war of the diplomats over some different, very finite resources.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:


I'm torn about whether a Vanguard-style card game, or an actual Ability Bar set-up makes more sense. A part of me really wants there be Weapons Sets for this kind of thing, with lots of Abilities requiring the Performance keyword on the "weapon".

The differences between Ability Bar setup (PFO combat system as revealed so far) and Vanguard diplomacy are small in any case. Which to me says that technically implementing diplomacy/bluff/intimidate/entertaining/haggling will be simple.

The question is how to make the stakes and rewards meaningful for 'pvp diplomacy'.

I suggest having also cooperative efforts where mechanical bonuses/buffs are achieved by "cooperative diplomacy", for example
-multiple gatherers sharing the same resource
-agreements between settlements
-multiple entertainers working together

Without having thought about balance aspects, I like the idea of hiring a full crew of all-star bards for the pep rally before sending the kingdom to war...


Nihimon wrote:

I would recommend a separate Fame/Notoriety/Renown stat, the more I think about it. Reputation really has to do with Trustworthiness, and I would hate to see a Comedian who just wasn't funny end up being considered untrustworthy.

I think it's also important that it be something that can happen unopposed, where there's just a Performer and the Audience. It doesn't always have to be a "rap battle".

It would be kind of neat if Perform got modified by how many Players in the audience actually "/applauded" or "/heckled", but with some automatic applauding and heckling based on Skill Checks. This would give a benefit to players who are able to actually effectively role-play a Performer.

I think there would need to be some kind of Morale/Spirit system similar to Battle Fatigue and Inspiration from SWG, so that really good Performances quickly raise even the lowest spirits, and provide longer-term buffs.

great idea. make bards useful again lol!

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Darsch wrote:
great idea. make bards useful again lol!

*evil glare*

-- Alantia Nightfall, Lady Bard

Goblinworks Executive Founder

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Remember, Smaug was killed by a Bard...

Goblin Squad Member

I do love Bards. Who else will sing the stories of my victories and figure out new war chants for me to bellow?

-Dictated by Hroderich Gottfrei, Warden of Steel to Gromovoii Malchikh (Who, by the way, is getting tired of having to write down everything this barbarous creature bellows in his ear. Ugh.)


How about some Mivonese duels?

Andoran Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
Remember, Smaug was killed by a Bard...

Not "a" bard. His name was Bard.


Alantia Nightfall wrote:
Darsch wrote:
great idea. make bards useful again lol!

*evil glare*

-- Alantia Nightfall, Lady Bard

I meant useful in the sense of not being type casted.. yeah thats what i meant... *hides*

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

I would recommend a separate Fame/Notoriety/Renown stat, the more I think about it. Reputation really has to do with Trustworthiness, and I would hate to see a Comedian who just wasn't funny end up being considered untrustworthy.

I see what you're saying here Nihimon, but if we were to ask GW to consider adding another variable to reputation/alignment, how exactly would you conceive of it? I.e. what would it do?

Goblin Squad Member

Mbadno wrote:
... how exactly would you conceive of it? I.e. what would it do?

That's a very good question. I haven't really thought through it. It's just that putting your Reputation on the line doesn't seem appropriate.


Mbando wrote:
Nihimon wrote:

I would recommend a separate Fame/Notoriety/Renown stat, the more I think about it. Reputation really has to do with Trustworthiness, and I would hate to see a Comedian who just wasn't funny end up being considered untrustworthy.

I see what you're saying here Nihimon, but if we were to ask GW to consider adding another variable to reputation/alignment, how exactly would you conceive of it? I.e. what would it do?

fame/infamy/luck/prestige/renown? im kinda fonsd of prestige and renown. especialy for gambling or bardic type stuff like working the crowd for cheers and jeers. could also be great for politicians.

Goblin Squad Member

If "Reputation" is a specific abstraction of trustworthiness, then some sort of social PvP where you risk this, doesn't make sense. If instead "Reputation" is a more broad abstraction of social capital, then it makes more sense for it to be at risk in social PvP.

The mechanical function of reputation seems to have two valences: a way to alert people to a player's reliability when entering into contracts, and as an access restriction for locations/services. So having low prestige (relatively lower social capital) may not be the same as "bad person to engage in a contract with." But I can certainly see how it works for access--you might be a real tool, totally unreliable, but if you're a celebrity, you can still get in anywhere.

Regardless of what social PvP has at risk, I think you can still work out the mechanism.

-What you're adding there Nihimon is the idea that the social competition should not be limited to a two participants, but visible and influenced by the audience. I think that makes sense, although we'd have to think through the mechanics of this.

-Randomwalker's point raises the question of whether this is meant to be PvP, or a cooperative attempt to buff a larger social unit (like the settlement). The later is more like what Vanguard had, and seems to me to be more appropriate for PvE (i.e. against NPC interlocutors). How do you see it working if it is meant to be PvP?

Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:
The mechanical function of reputation seems to have two valences: a way to alert people to a player's reliability when entering into contracts, and as an access restriction for locations/services. So having low prestige (relatively lower social capital) may not be the same as "bad person to engage in a contract with." But I can certainly see how it works for access--you might be a real tool, totally unreliable, but if you're a celebrity, you can still get in anywhere.

Exactly.

Likewise, Renown/Fame/Whatever could have a dual function: 1) allow access to locations/services; and 2) as a bonus to Perform-based Abilities - either as a pool to power those abilities, or as a simple bonus, or as a bonus based on relative value. Obviously, there's still a lot to work out.

Goblin Squad Member

As far as social 'combat' or PvP is concerned, I think it's important to remember that those skills were designed in PnP games as an abstract and fair means for DM's to mediate decisions made between Players and NPC's. Even in those cases, I find it too hard to use to resolve disputes between players.

You also have to consider all of the implicit and explicit resources that effect regular combat - the 'skill of the player (reaction time, knowledge), their items, their character attributes and training, and all of the resources that supplied those.

I'm not sure what "arena" social PvP would occur in, and over what. Are they competing over resources - if someone lost a diplomatic combat to control a point, why not just kill the opposing force then? Maybe it would be useful in protected areas, but then what is to fight or compete over. As a system being borrowed from PnP, and mostly laid out above (not counting a rep system, which I like) social PvP seems like a solution in search of a problem for this type of game.

That being said, one avenue it COULD be useful is if their is an NPC audience to influence - depending on how much GW let's the NPC commonfolk population influence escalation or spawn rates or anything within an area, this may be a unique means to have social PvP: in this case, people are not competing with each other directly, but operate their social skills and rep to 'influence the masses'; either by honest appeal, deceit, or intimidation.

the social skills as we know them are really designed only for interaction with NPC forces, but if those forces could play a significant impact within a hex or kingdom, then it might be worth it. Anways, that's my $3.50

Goblin Squad Member

Zetesofos, you're raising some good points.

1) Social skills in DnD were designed to be used on/against NPCs, and I think there can be problems with using that mechanism between players. So straight up skill checks seem to be a bad solution, but I can see them having an influence. That is, using some other PvP mechanic, whithin which social skills add something. For example, imagine a social conflict ability bar, where you open up the full 6 slots at higher merit badge levels of skill. So if you have a low diplomacy or bluff score, maybe your repertoire is limited to "Crude Insult" and "Over the Top Flattery." But if you have two merit badges in a social skill, you open up another slot, and can add "Amused Sarcasm" to your possible moves.

2) Like you, I don't want to propose solutions to non existent problems--I can think of a lot of "cool" things that would be clutter in this game. But the idea of opening up non-lethal competition seems to be very much in line with solving the "meaningful interaction problem." PvP allows players to compete with each other, with meaningful stakes, in a way that reflects both the mechanics of the character and the players skill. If players want to, they can use lethal force to settle issues ranging from "We were here first" to "I want to take your stuff cause I can." The stakes are the loss of time and items in dying.

Having alternative, non-lethal ways of competing, with meaningful stakes (the loss or gain of something valuable), over a range of issues, seems to expand the mandate of meaningful player interaction. Specifically it means that players who don't like PvP combat can still compete, and players in areas/situations where lethal PvP is constrained can still compete.

3) What if renown could be spent on NPC interactions? What if you could gain or lose renown through social PvP, and then use renown to try and open negotiations with a bugbear tribe? Or gain access to an area controlled by a hostile alliance?


Mbando wrote:

Zetesofos, you're raising some good points.

1) Social skills in DnD were designed to be used on/against NPCs, and I think there can be problems with using that mechanism between players. So straight up skill checks seem to be a bad solution, but I can see them having an influence. That is, using some other PvP mechanic, whithin which social skills add something. For example, imagine a social conflict ability bar, where you open up the full 6 slots at higher merit badge levels of skill. So if you have a low diplomacy or bluff score, maybe your repertoire is limited to "Crude Insult" and "Over the Top Flattery." But if you have two merit badges in a social skill, you open up another slot, and can add "Amused Sarcasm" to your possible moves.

2) Like you, I don't want to propose solutions to non existent problems--I can think of a lot of "cool" things that would be clutter in this game. But the idea of opening up non-lethal competition seems to be very much in line with solving the "meaningful interaction problem." PvP allows players to compete with each other, with meaningful stakes, in a way that reflects both the mechanics of the character and the players skill. If players want to, they can use lethal force to settle issues ranging from "We were here first" to "I want to take your stuff cause I can." The stakes are the loss of time and items in dying.

Having alternative, non-lethal ways of competing, with meaningful stakes (the loss or gain of something valuable), over a range of issues, seems to expand the mandate of meaningful player interaction. Specifically it means that players who don't like PvP combat can still compete, and players in areas/situations where lethal PvP is constrained can still compete.

3) What if renown could be spent on NPC interactions? What if you could gain or lose renown through social PvP, and then use renown to try and open negotiations with a bugbear tribe? Or gain access to an area controlled by a hostile alliance?

you could wager your renown in gambling tables at taverns, you could use it to to manage a city or in a political system, it could be a measure of how respected or famous you are with npc faction or the common folk, craters and builders could have a special use for it to learn special appearance buildings or armor and weapons to make and can earn it by outselling their competition at the npc vendor level type stuff. there is a huge treasure trove of possibilities for it with out it being something mandatory you need to do or clunking of the system.

Goblin Squad Member

So, a very interesting idea is using social PvP as a proxy for propgaganda - I still think that a larger audience needs to be involved when you take communication skills and try to put computer mechanics on them.

The places I can most likely see people competing is over resource areas and personal reputation. At an individual level, social PvP would be about slow, methodical attacks against a players reputation or alliance levels - imagine spreading lies or terrifying people to avoid X player (changing their alignment, faction rank, or rep). In effect, you are inhibiting a dimension of their existance; converserly, you could have people support you as well.

As you get higher levels, you could attack camps, charters, settlements, or kingdoms - in these cases what you are attacking is the willingness or effectiveness of commonfolk to assist either parts of a camp or settlement, or an entire one; a sort of backdoor assault on a hex; perhaps a cold war type of attack as a precursor to total war.

Goblin Squad Member

I would think that any use of this kind of non-combat PvP to resolve access to resources, etc. would rely upon the honor of both sides involved. If you best me with your wits and I decide to ignore that and start swinging, I should lose extra Reputation. Likewise, it would be really neat if, after having bested someone, I were able to issue commands via emotes that cost you Reputation if you ignored them. Nothing serious, just something like /shoo (to get them to leave the immediate area).

Goblin Squad Member

Swinging back to an earlier comment about bards and fame and such, could 'fame' (reputation) impact the productiveness of certain buildings, for example if a high level/reputation bard happens to be plying his trade at the tavern, anyone who happens to visit has slightly increased stamina. (Do we know the function of inns/taverns yet outside of meeting places, and do we know if players can earn $$ through profession (bardic music, rogue SoH))

Furthermore, epic craftsman could provide 'fame' for the city, and it could be a requirement for settlement advancement.

Are there reputation caps at each level?

Goblin Squad Member

My idea for non combat PvP was detailed in my thread concerning smuggling contraband goods into a settlement in order to destabilize that settlement, either in preparation for war or during a siege.

The settlement could counter this by having "customs agents" actively searching for contraband, and using a similar system to the SAD system to confiscate it.

The settlement could also resupply itself with goods that improve or support the community morale during a siege.

The actual mechanics are nothing more than shifting the morale of the NPC population in positive (buff) or a negative (debuff) status, which is then applied to the siege being conducted.

The impact on alignment could be:

Smuggling = Shift to Chaotic Evil
Customs Agent = Shift to Lawful Good


Bluddwolf wrote:

The impact on alignment could be:

Smuggling = Shift to Chaotic Evil
Customs Agent = Shift to Lawful Good

Id only disagree with the morality shift. Smuggling is an illegal act, but not always an immoral act (such as smuggling in medical supplies, food, etc)

So Id amend it to:

Smuggling = Shift towards Chaotic
Customs Agent = Shift towards Lawful

As far as actual mechanics, how would this work with players logging on at different times? Does the smuggler begin something that would take X hours to complete and if a customs agent tries to inspect good during that time theres a contested roll to see if the operation succeeds or fails?

Goblin Squad Member

Oberyn Corvus wrote:
Bluddwolf wrote:

The impact on alignment could be:

Smuggling = Shift to Chaotic Evil
Customs Agent = Shift to Lawful Good

Id only disagree with the morality shift. Smuggling is an illegal act, but not always an immoral act (such as smuggling in medical supplies, food, etc)

So Id amend it to:

Smuggling = Shift towards Chaotic
Customs Agent = Shift towards Lawful

As far as actual mechanics, how would this work with players logging on at different times? Does the smuggler begin something that would take X hours to complete and if a customs agent tries to inspect good during that time theres a contested roll to see if the operation succeeds or fails?

In my example I was thinking of just smuggling during a siege, to destabilize the civilian population, which I felt may be evil. But, perhpas not, as you suggest.

As for the mechanics, I'm always in favor of active (present) player interaction. The delivery / search function of the smuggling interaction would be in real time.

Does this mean that smugglers might wait for a settlement's PC guards to log off, and then try to deliver their goods? Yes, and that would make the most sense.

Both have to deal with the same time zone issues. When smugglers log off, the settlement may counter the debuff caused, with its own efforts to rebuild civilian confidence.

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