Happy 2010 and Diaspora

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devlin1
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Happy 2010 and Diaspora

Post by devlin1 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:21 pm

Happy New Year, RPG-SanDiego!

Okay, now that that's out of the way, I have a question about Diaspora's social combat. It's the same question I've always had about it, and that question is "What the fuck is happening here?" My eyes glaze over reading these rules.

I get the idea of needing to get close to someone before you can, say, seduce them, or subtly weasel some secret info out of them, and that that's represented by zones. What doesn't make sense to me is how movement works. Like, how does movement work?
  • If I'm five zones away from someone, I understand taking a -4 penalty to use a social skill with no effective range, like Charm. But if I'm moving toward him, can he not move away from me? Or is it just inevitable that I'll get closer to him?
  • Even when we're in the same zone, is the assumption that he'll just stay there and listen to my line of bull? If not, it seems like this could take for-fucking-ever as we chase each other around the social-zone map.
  • It bothers me that both movement and "attack" seem to use the same skill, but that's not so much a question as a peeve. And I can't use the same skill twice in a row, so... how do those two things jibe?
  • So Charm takes a penalty for "range." What about Intimidate? Does that bypass the zones-thing altogether? Do I need to get close to someone to threaten them, too? If not, then is it just a straight composure attack without any of the mechanical or tactical heft of bribing a guard?
  • "Di Gregario's player suggests that sitting at the table should be marked as a pass value between zones 1 and 2: if both characters are sitting together at the table, it will be harder for one to escape. The referee accepts this, but adds an aspect to zone 1, 'talking about some local sports team', to reflect that other customs agents at the table will not want to reveal pass codes in this area." WTF does any of this mean? Why is there a barrier around the table, and why would either party want to "escape" in the first place, and why would merely sitting at a table make it more difficult? What difference does it make how the other customs agents feel if the PC is going after a specific customs agent? Is it just that if he tries to bribe him in that particular zone, he'll probably need two shifts more than he would if they were sitting at the table? If so... kinda... big deal.
  • "A seduction might be well modeled with a deep set of concentric circles — say five or six — with the objective of getting both characters in the bullseye." "Usually the objective will be to get a certain person or persons into a specific zone before the timer runs out." If it's just you moving toward someone else, I can grok that, but having to get you and someone else into a foreign zone... what's the point? Why isn't it good enough to just get into their zone?
I have this book on order from Lulu, but I'm in the process of figuring out how to make social conflict fun and fruitful -- I seem to have a hard time making non-physical conflicts as interesting as physical ones -- and I thought I'd turn to you guys first.
Mike Olson
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Count Zero
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Post by Count Zero » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:22 pm

It sounds like they took a decidedly simple system and made it insanely complex.

I haven't had the chance to read the book yet. So, I can't really make any statements about the designer's intent.
Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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