Taunt-Should it really be a skill?

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Vinzent
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Taunt-Should it really be a skill?

#1 Postby Vinzent » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:51 pm

Follow me on this.

Persuasion and Intimidation I can understand. They both have uses outside of combat.

And considering that out of combat, you aren't rolling for every bit of dialogue in a conversation (at least I'm not).

So it seems that Taunt should be a Smarts trick instead of a skill.

What do you think?

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#2 Postby Dylan S » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:55 pm

Perhaps you should start using Taunt outside of combat, to even things out?

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#3 Postby Vinzent » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:23 pm

Have you or any of your players?

Can you give me an example when Taunt would be useful outside of combat?

I'm not trying to sound flippant, I'm seriously asking. :|

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#4 Postby Lord Lance » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:26 pm

Yeah, you can use it outside combat. I taunt a tavern-owner, so the other customers laugh at him, so he become embarrassed and must give me discount for the dinner and the room (or lose the face).
Of course, next time he sees me, he starts to hate me... (and this is in the rules: 1st time you got an immediate bonus, next times Reaction goes down 1 step)

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#5 Postby evilscience » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:38 pm

Its great for smart ass characters. Rougish types or jester characters.

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#6 Postby Vinzent » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:44 pm

I guess I was wondering who in their right mind would dump points into Taunt as a skill. But now that I think about it, a professional Jester that annoys everyone would have that in the same way as a Mafia thug would have Intimidate.

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#7 Postby islan » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:55 pm

I would imagine Taunt could be very useful in social combat, I'm sure some of the houseruled social combat systems use that.

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#8 Postby jpk » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:02 pm

I've used it frequently to get someone to come after me so they aren't where they were (which was inconvenient for us) or to keep someone's attention while the rest of the gang was up to no good.

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#9 Postby serene_muse » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:43 pm

Useful for non-combat (or weaker in combat) types who aren't as charming or sexy as they are mouthy or witty. Also for more average female characters in male-dominate societies. Handy for getting your way, putting down other people, distractions, parting shots, making a retreat and so forth. Some folks are going to excel at this, and they may not have much Smarts. So I'm ok with it as a skill. (mind I tend to play this sort of character :D)

Pretty much every Britcom and most anime/JDrama should have examples. Mind, most tsunderes would use intimidation as well as taunting. :1eek1: (random examples 1, 2, 3)

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#10 Postby Vinzent » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:27 pm

Yeah, now that I think about it, every character I've ever made for every system I've ever played has been a mouthy SOB.

(sigh)... I wish I could play this game instead of just running it.

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#11 Postby serene_muse » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:54 pm

Considered playing in an online game? Chat games can be pretty fun IMX.

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#12 Postby evilscience » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:45 pm

Run two games, thats what we do.

Were currently doing dead lands, and a home brew system

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#13 Postby The Angle » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:08 pm

While I tend to agree that Taunt is out of place in SvgW's skill list (it's too narrow in comparison to things like Shooting, Repair, or Streetwise), I don't buy the idea that it needs to have a use outside of combat. Quite a few of the skills have no noncombat application. This might just belong in that category.

Were I to change anything, it would be to roll Intimidation, Persuasion, and Taunt into a single skill. That would give it breadth comparable to most of the other skills (and plenty of noncombat usefulness).

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Re: Taunt-Should it really be a skill?

#14 Postby Clint » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:48 pm

Vinzent wrote:Persuasion and Intimidation I can understand. They both have uses outside of combat.


As a side note, I'd point out that Intimidation's Skill description is basically the same as Taunt's; there's no specific mention of an out of combat use, just it's use for a Test of Will.

Honestly, as with Tests of Will, I can see Taunt being used for the same effects as Intimidation out of combat. Same effect, different approach.

Intimidate someone into giving up information?
"Tell me where the meeting will occur!"
Taunt them into revealing it by mistake.
"This guy is useless; I bet he doesn't even know where the meeting is."

Intimidate someone into backing down from fear?
"Your friends may rush me, but not before I turn your head into a canoe."
Taunt them into backing down in embarassment.
"Oh, Johnny, I'm sorry; I forgot you were there. You may leave."
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#15 Postby JoeGun » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:56 pm

ahh I love the tombstone homage! very nice Clint, very nice indeed!

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#16 Postby Vinzent » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:56 pm

The Angle wrote:Were I to change anything, it would be to roll Intimidation, Persuasion, and Taunt into a single skill. That would give it breadth comparable to most of the other skills (and plenty of noncombat usefulness).

Steve


Yeah, I did that but now I'm leaning toward breaking them up again.

I guy can be Intimidating without being Persuasive and vice-versa. Sure you could argue that a guy could know how to uses pistols and not rifles so what's the difference?

The difference is in the character. What a man shoots is not as telling as how he approaches social issues, and having the skills broken up help to remind the player of the theme of his character.

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#17 Postby Clint » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:55 pm

Vinzent wrote:The difference is in the character. What a man shoots is not as telling as how he approaches social issues, and having the skills broken up help to remind the player of the theme of his character.


Bingo. Skills are not defined by a single dimension, so it isn't necessary for every skill to have the same breadth for instance. They are also defined by other dimensions like depth, weight, and some weird nearly intangible dimensions like flavor, style, and fit. Put together they create a kind of volume/mass that's greater than any single dimension.

That said, the ultimate dimension it has to fit is personal taste.
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#18 Postby The Angle » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:55 pm

I don't buy the "it's a matter of character style" argument. Shooting lets you be a showy two-gun pistoleer, a sly gambler with a holdout up his sleeve, a tommy gunner hanging onto the running board of a speeding Ford, or a mad scientist with a flamethrower and a mortar mounted on your Citroen. Those are all wildly different character styles, but you can bounce back and forth between them at no cost. Any limitation you adopt for style reasons is entirely self-imposed.

OTOH, If you want to interact with people by talking to them instead of shooting at them, you need to take three skills in order to get the same degree of flexibility that Shooting gives you. My character image might require only one of them if all I want to do is threaten people, but if I imagine a character who can speak both soothingly and threateningly, then I need to pay for two skills. Add the ability to toss insults and I'm up to three skills, or triple the cost of unlimited versatility with all things that have triggers. Rolling the three of them into a skill called "Making People Do What You Want Via Words" seems a logical and fair thing to do. It probably would improve roleplaying by expanding player options. In my experience, players tend to avoid all three of those skills because they're one-trick ponies surrounded by trained circus horses that can jump through fire, count, walk on their hind legs, and paint pictures. More people would put points into persuasion, intimidation, and taunting if they were a single, cost-effective skill, and then we'd see more use made of those options in games. (As it is, if I need information from someone, I'll put a gun to his head and make an untrained Intimidation roll. After all, the gun cancels the -2 untrained penalty -- it says so right on page 73.)

But, as Clint points out, there's a world of personal taste involved here. There's no objectively right or wrong answer. Some people will like the skills perfectly well as-is. Others will adhere to the rules as written, whatever they might be, for numerous valid reasons. I will tinker and tweak endlessly, because to me, experimenting with variations is half the fun.

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#19 Postby Dylan S » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:17 pm

You described shooting as having more character versatility, but you essentially described entirely different characters with their only commonality being that they have "something with a trigger" in their hands. I find that this same argument could be made in favour of the versatility of any one of the social skills.

Persuasion:
A legal attorney, quick to speak circles around your arguments.
A con-man, all compliments and flattery.
A heartfelt, inspirational leader.

Intimidation:
A cold hitman who disarms you with a steely gaze.
A shrieking madman, all doom and revelation.
A veteran soldier whose vocabulary of insults would make the Grim Reaper blush.

Taunt:
A sly court-jester with insults hidden in his buffoonery.
An arrogant cop whose cavalier style infuriates his co-workers.
A quiet observer of human nature whose quick wit cuts a person's ego to tatters.

So, anyway, each of these skills is pretty versatile character-wise. Then there's the fact that, in my experience, you don't have to "max out" a social skill in order to survive, the way you have to maximize your basic Fighting or Shooting dice. You could take two lower-level social skills for the price of one high-level combat skill, and do pretty darn well for yourself.

Edit: If you start to combine all social skills into one skill that Lets You Get What You Want By Talking To People, then why not combine Shooting, Throwing, and Fighting into one skill that Lets You Hurt People?

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#20 Postby 77IM » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:31 pm

Shooting doesn't let you stab people, throw pointed sticks at them, or cast fiery death spells at them. So "hurting people" is already broken up into multiple skills. I don't see why "talking to people" should be any more consolidated.

Combining the talky skills into a single Social skill would be like combining the attack skills into a single Combat skill. The only variation between characters would be better/worse. So one guy is better in combat situations, the other is better in social situations. That certainly works as an RPG skill system, but it seems a little too undifferentiated and it might lead to an unfortunate Combat vs. Social trade-off in which the player is basically deciding which sort of encounters to suck at.

However keeping the skills separate allows characters to be different, yet equally powerful. One guy is better at Fighting and the other is better at Shooting but they both have good options for hurting people. One guy is better at Persuasion and another is better at Taunt but they both have good options for manipulating people. To me this is much better because it makes it less likely for one character to dominate the entire scene. (Of course it's still possible to build a character with no combat or no social skills, but it's not a direct trade-off.)

Of course that's just my preference. I take a pretty liberal view of what Intimidate and Taunt are capable of outside of combat so these are useful alternatives to Persuasion. I've actually considered splitting Persuasion into multiple skills (for being Charming vs. Rational, for example) but it seems like overkill -- instead I interpret it like Dylan S above.

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