Social Combat? An Easy Stat Set For a Non-Combat Game

Most everyone (at least anyone who’d be reading this) is familiar with a basic stat set, as seen in games. I think the idea might have been initially popularized with D&D, but it has spread out to lots of other forms of games, even besides RPG’s. It’s just a convenient and concise way to describe a thing in comparison with others of a similar nature. They’re especially useful when the things in question are combat units, for combat games.

But what about non-combat situations that you still want gamified? That’s easy with a stat set, too. Many games (like the afore-mentioned D&D) use the same stat set for all sorts of situations. Many gamers are familiar with the basic setup here, even if it does differ from game to game. Even the abbreviations will be familiar to many: STR, AGL, PER, DEX, INT, and so on. Many of those can conceivably be used in non-combat, or social, situations. You just have to make up a system to deal with them.

I’m not going to be doing anything original here. I just want a simple stat set that can be used just for social situations. Like, say, a high school setting. You don’t need a Strength stat, or perhaps Endurance stat, in that sort of thing (keeping it realistic, I mean; if you’re going to do a combat high school, you might want those things!). Like I said, simple. And familiar, so folks don’t need a big explanation on what everything is.

Your “social combat” in such settings would, I think, be mostly concerned with persuasion: convincing someone to do something, helping them feel better, convincing them of your position, and so on. So, what sort of stats might we use? Seems like Charisma (CHA) is obvious to start; let’s say it’s a combination of looks, the air about you, how you carry yourself, and so on, that make people like (or dislike) you before interacting, and basically how likable they are in general. Perception (PER) to notice things that are going on. Intelligence (INT) to have knowledge and figure out solutions. Wisdom (WIS) to know what to say, and how to best say it. Stuff like that.

So, how can we apply these? Let’s give an example. Say your character wants to go to the beach this weekend, and is trying to convince their friends. Most people want to go, so that’s easy, but there is one friend that’s quite resistant. A high CHA difference might make this friend more desirous to please the PC. A PER check might spot a shaky hand, or a specific change in tone. INT might remind that there’s a test on Monday, and the friend is not doing so hot in this subject. Success with WIS might use that friend’s specific history to bring up something or another. (I think WIS is probably the best stat in this situation, so something must be done about that.)

My system would, again, be simple. Just a 1-5 scale, with 3 being “normal”. Since all the stats are pretty close to each other, something must be done. So, I’ll have another stat, perhaps a multiplier. We’ll call that Will (WIL). This is the sheer force of personality, stubbornness, leadership skill, etc, that represents how much a character can really get something done. I’m even considering this a multiplier stat, compared to an additive stat for the rest. This can let otherwise low-stat characters actually succeed in many scenarios. (I basically have the genki idiot/airhead from a lot of anime in mind with this., who tend to drive the action over their smarter, wiser peers.)

Of course all this could be ironed out, added to, modified, and completely blown up. It’s just an idea I had, because I like simple things like this. Makes life easier for me.

(This is born from an idea I had for describing the various girls of Bang Dream. I thought this was an easy way of describing their base personalities while simultaneously explaining why things turn out the way they do in those stories. Then I figured one could make an actual game out of just that, and here we are. Might actually use the stats in those blogs about the characters, but might not. We’ll see.)

One thought on “Social Combat? An Easy Stat Set For a Non-Combat Game

  1. At the risk of falling into the my system is better trap, it s interesting to note how non-D D systems, including those created in reaction to original D D, handle combat. Tunnels Trolls literally rolls damage for each side in each round and inflicts the difference on the losing side. (Its non-combat task-resolution method is the saving throw , which is a little clumsy for combat.) RuneQuest and its successors treated combat as opposed skill rolls with a more deterministic sequence and spot rules , as do most modern systems. Indie games frequently advise GMs and players not to bother rolling dice unless the outcome matters , however that s defined, and usually a few dice rolls end the scene one way or the other.

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