[RPG] Looking for Role playing games with interesting social mechanics


Hopefully this produces some interesting sources for inspiration for my own designs: does anyone know of a system with an interesting take on handling social and similar situations, such as a debate or an attempt to seduce a foe to the dark side[1]? A few specifications to help narrow this down:

  1. Rolling a die and mind control (D&D 3.5 I'm looking at you) isn't interesting.
  2. It cannot be simply "Social Combat", and especially not social combat you can arbitrarily op out of to completely ignore (Exalted…)
  3. Rules that essentially are "DM makes things up" are not interesting.

[1] – I suppose this could be redeeming a fallen foe. I guess. Doesn't seem like typical player behaviour.

Thanks for the help!

Best Answer

Song of Ice and Fire RPG have a curious intrigue system, that covers from simple social interactions (seduction attempt, for instance) to complex conspirations, following ten steps:

  1. Type: determine if the intrigue is simple, standard or complex and assign a number of victory points needed.
  2. Scene: describe the location and the participants.
  3. Objective: determine the intrigue objective (friendship, information, deceit,...). Each side can have its own objective (character A is trying to convince character B about a plan, while character B try to obtain as much information about character A as he can).
  4. Disposition: assign each NPC an adjective describing the disposition toward the intriguer (friendly, indifferent, dislike,...). Each one modifies the intrigue general difficulty and the difficulties or persuasion and deceit.
  5. Initiative: determine who rolls first.
  6. Technique: determine which approach would take the involved characters (bargain, charm, intimidate). Each technique uses a different skill and has different modifiers depending on the target disposition.
  7. Roleplay: (at last). Good roleplay can modify the chances.
  8. Action and tests: characters perform a series of actions (fast talk, manipulate, read target,...)
  9. Repeat: If there is still no winner, go to step 2.
  10. Resolution: Determine the winner and the consequences.