attempts, dialogue, and attitude

Often, a social interaction will require you to make an “attempt”. This occurs whenever your action has a meaningful chance of failure.

📖 The DM should allow players to complete tasks which are easy for them without rolling an attempt.

An attempt is made with the roll of dice.

Attempts come in three broad categories: Physique, Genius, and Dialogue.

To succeed on an attempt, usually you need a roll of 9 or higher. “Standard” attempts will normally require a roll of 9, whereas “Hard” ones will normally require a roll of 10.

Physique Attempts

Physique attempts involve physical challenges like climbing, swimming, or performing feats of strength.

To make a Physique attempt, roll dice equal to your Physique +1, and take the highest number.

You can’t make a Physique attempt if all your active Physique memories have been replaced by Fight or Flight.

Genius Attempts

Genius attempts involve mental challenges like solving puzzles, working out problems,

Genius attempts work the same way as Physique attempts, you just roll dice equal to your Genius instead of your Physique.

You can’t make a Genius attempt if all your active Genius memories have been replaced by Flight or Flight.

Dialogue Attempts

Dialogue attempts function differently than other kinds of attempts.

Anyone can make a dialogue attempt at any time, subject to the turn order in social encounters.

Succeeding in dialogue generally requires you to guess or understand another characters’ motivations. It may also require certain memories that help you connect with others around you.

Discerning another character’s motivations requires Insight. Other characters will also try to discern your motivations, also using Insight. This isn’t rolled — if you have high enough insight, you receive this information at any time.

  1. Find a shared motivation. For example, you may both have a deep love and care for the environment. This is represented by Universalism.
  2. Find a favoured motivation. This is a motivation or lack of motivation which you have, to which they are attracted in others. For example, they might like people who are very competitive, even if they’re not competitive themselves.

If your insight is equal or greater to than the difference between your motivation and the target’s motivation or favoured motivation, you detect it. The DM will inform you of that character’s motivations.

When you get the chance to use dialogue, illustrate the relevant motivation in words of your choice. When you do so, you influence the other character and increase their attitude by 1. However, they may have memories that make them more or less difficult to influence. You may need to attempt dialogue more than once in order to achieve your desired goal.

There are also two special types of dialogue – deceit and negotiation.

📖 Depending on how serious role-playing is to your group, you may decide that you want players to express motivations genuinely. Is your Respect-motivated character being polite and observing local customs when they speak?

📖 As a rule, Player Characters can’t be influenced through the Insight-motivation mechanic. Players should make their own decisions as to whether their character is influenced by another character’s dialogue.

Dialogue in Crowds

Sometimes you may need to influence more than one character, or an entire group of characters. When doing so, you don’t need to check against every motivation individually — if the group can be defined by a shared characteristic (such as living in the same small town), you can check your insight against the average motivations of the group. If you’re successful in your dialogue, you can affect that entire group.

Deceit

High-Insight characters, or characters which have been informed about another character’s motivations, may deceive them by emulating a motivation through pretense.

Or, you may lie about a simple fact you wish to conceal.

If you’re lying in any way, characters can detect this if their Insight is greater than your Passion roll minus their Passion roll. If they succeed, their attitude may get worse rather than better – even if you found a shared motivation or their favoured motivation.

Similarly, if a character is trying to lie to you, you detect this when your Insight is greater than their Passion roll minus your Passion roll.

📖 Accidental lies shouldn’t be considered an attempt at deceit.

Complex Attempts

Complex attempts require the roll of more than one attempt. They may require multiple successful attempts in succession, or different types of successful attempts at the same time.

📖 As a DM, you can use Complex attempts for attempts which blur the line between “physical” and “mental”. Many difficult checks should require both.

Influence and Attitude

Attitude is a measure of the regard an NPC has for you. Attitude is measured from 1 to 10, and generally moves in steps of 1. Whenever attitude changes, this is known as influence.

While the exact qualities of an attitude category may vary, the following can be used as a general guide to the behaviour of an NPC towards a PC (or group of PCs).

9-10. DevotedDevoted NPCs will do anything for you.
7-8. FriendlyNPCs with whom you are very familiar or whom you have impressed will generally be friendly. They will be generous in negotiations and try to meet your requests, as long as they aren’t too outrageous.
5-6. NeutralMost NPCs start here. They may distrust you somewhat, but hold no ill will.
3-4. UnfriendlyAn unfriendly NPC may come across as cold or mildly hostile. They generally won’t negotiate or try to help you, unless you have something they really want.
1-2. HostileA hostile NPC wants nothing to do with you. Some may flee or attack you on sight.

📖 Sometimes, influence and attitude can be used to describe changes at the level of a group, or even an entire city, nation, or culture.

Negotiation

Sometimes, you may wish to “get” something from an NPC, without necessarily changing their attitude. This may involve a trade or compromise of some kind. This is a special case of dialogue, called a negotiation.

In order for a negotiation to happen, both parties have to agree that they are negotiating. Normally, hostile NPCs won’t negotiate, but others may. NPCs will be much more willing to negotiate if you have an experience they want.

If groups are negotiating with one another, only one person from each group can negotiate in a single turn.

When you are negotiating, roll dice normally as if you were attempting any other kind of dialogue. If your best attempt die is higher than that of the other negotiating party, you gain advantage in your negotiation. That means that your request is treated (1) higher in terms of attitude than it would be otherwise. You don’t have to understand or appeal to the other party’s motivation.

Advantage in negotiation stacks over the course of an encounter, but it can also be reversed. And unlike influence, it isn’t permanent – when the encounter is complete, any advantage is lost.