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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2018

    Default Some Game design help: Diplomats

    Okay, so... a few months I posted here about a hypothetical game where the players play as a "Council of regents", as opposed to a band of adventurers.

    I've got most things somewhat pinned down, and am ready for Alpha testing....

    Except for diplmomacy.
    I can't figure out how to get international dimplomancy to work, so I've come here, with a summary of the general shape of the system, to ask for suggestions, or even just descriptions of what people think diplomacy SHOULD do. Maybe from there I can work it out.

    So, without further Ado, the current rules (reduced to about one page)

    Spoiler: Story (optional)
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    The Queen is dead. King Roland has been missing these past five years, and the royal twins, Lillian and Danial are not yet of age to take the crown, a scant eight summers old.
    The Noble houses via for influence.
    Neighboring kingdoms are eyeing up your borders.
    There are shortages in the markets, and unrest in the streets, and You have been charged with keeping the city together.

    You are the Council of Cavan.
    Regents of the Realm, named by Queen Johanna in her will to guide and shape the city until Lillian and Danial come of age in seven years time.

    There are many threats, and the success of the city will depend on cunning and teamwork.

    So gather what wisdom you can find,
    and those friends who are loyal to you,
    and rule.


    Spoiler: Roles
    Show

    Each member of the council plays a particular ROLE in the kingdom. Each role has access to two types of STAFF, and (potentially) access to certain types of ASSETS (other useful things).

    The General: You control the nations armies, commanders, and adventures. You protect the nations borders, send heroes on quests for rare artifacts, and command the city watch.
    The Courtier: You must wrangle the cities noble houses, and the royal twins. You manage Both aristocrats and bodyguards, and deal with the internal politics of the kingdom.
    The Dean: You manage the Wizards and Scholars of the tower, lending out arcane knowledge, sorcery and powerful artifacts.
    The Architect: Build the cities infrastructure, and ensure the proper flow of commerce. You command merchants and engineers and are also in charge of cathedrals, aquaducts, ports, city walls, etc.
    The Minister: Master of Magistrates and Orators. You manage the justice system, along with public proclemations. It is your job to carefully balance and shepared the beliefs of the people.

    And finally...
    The Ambassador:
    The Ambassador controls spies and diplomats. Spies I pretty much know how they work (roll some dice, get some intel. Roll scarier dice in order to commit sabotage or assasinations).

    How diplomats work... heck, I don't know.



    Spoiler: Basic mechanics
    Show

    Each players has a bunch of STAFF and ASSETS on cue cards.
    To do a thing, pick a staff member, and tell the GM they are doing the thing.
    After they have agreed to your thing, roll 2d6 (with appropritate bonuses and penalties).

    Each "Profession" will have a collection of "default" actions they can do... although if you want to do something not on the list, the GM can make it up.

    For example, a magistrate might pass a decree.
    Decree:
    Pass a new law, for example conscripting an army, imposing curfew or banning a belief, technology or substance.
    0-3: Form or reinforce a negative public belief, and you law fails to hold.
    4-6: Negative public sentiment, and a complication to resolve before law holds (often difficulties in enforcement)
    7-10: Mixed public sentiment, law holds.
    11+: Positive public sentiment (Some belief related Opportunity arises), and populous accept decree willingly.


    A few common terms in action rolls are
    Consequences: a bad things happens, GM choice, possible with some guidelines.
    Complications: You encounter and obstacle that must be overcome before your task is complete. Often relies on input from other players.
    Success: You do the thing.
    Opportunity: You can access to a particular nice thing... if you can jump through some minor hoop.


    Another example of an action roll template.
    Major Magic:
    Create a Magical trinket, divine opportunity in a given area, grant a +1 bonus to an army, or some other significant effect (teleport).
    0-3: Death, and Moderate consequences
    4-6: Moderate consequences
    7-10: Partial Success and minor consequences.
    11+: Success



    So...
    I want to make the mechanics for the diplomat in such a game.
    I want them to be as simple as possible, while still catching the right feel.
    The diplomat is allowed to have a small minigame attached to them (many of the other classes do), but if so it needs to be SMALL (so as not to set the GMs brain on fire).

    The main resource limitations on this design is limited word space, and limited GM focus.
    Also, so far the majority of the game contains LOW levels of hidden information (but not none).

    I think my main issue right now is that diplomacy wants to be a game of trust... but the Game so far is built on the assumption that players roll dice and see the results.
    Trying to figure that one out.


    EDIT: Oh- also, if anyone has any questions, needs any additional info about the system, please feel free to ask.
    Last edited by nineGardens; 2019-05-18 at 04:01 PM.
    It started in the first world, long ago.
    We solved the the first of riddles, the code of life.
    On the backs of slaves, we traveled out into the great dark void between worlds.

    And then... we created the gods.

    Nine Gardens.
    Insane "Benevolent" AI. Genetically engineered witch queens. Strange robots.
    Faulty Terraforming. A Space Opera RPG.

    Seeking feedback on:
    Character building rules(page 4). Lore (page 6). What classes catch peoples eye? (page 5).
    Oots thread here.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Mesquite, TX

    Default Re: Some Game design help: Diplomats

    One thing the Ambassador could do is help other players exchange assets via brokering trade deals with outside nations.

    For example if the general has a surpluss of horses and the archetect needs grain to offset a poor harvest then the Ambassador would send a diplomatic envoy to broker a deal.

    The die roll will determine if the offer is accepted and how favorable the terms are, with 11+ granting the asset for free as a gesture of goodwill.

    Diplomats also gather intel regarding the assets and needs of other countries, though in a less risky way than spies. You can assume that any country in which you have an established embassy you have knowlege of what assets they hold and a relative qty for each.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    May 2019

    Default Re: Some Game design help: Diplomats

    Bards are diplomats. Right...? Right. I think that this would be a fun idea. I am more of a hands on tester though... I might have to have a mock-session to see what's lacking.

    I'll look into it...

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    PairO'Dice Lost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Malsheem, Nessus
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    Default Re: Some Game design help: Diplomats

    Quote Originally Posted by nineGardens View Post
    I want to make the mechanics for the diplomat in such a game.
    I want them to be as simple as possible, while still catching the right feel.
    The diplomat is allowed to have a small minigame attached to them (many of the other classes do), but if so it needs to be SMALL (so as not to set the GMs brain on fire).

    The main resource limitations on this design is limited word space, and limited GM focus.
    Also, so far the majority of the game contains LOW levels of hidden information (but not none).

    I think my main issue right now is that diplomacy wants to be a game of trust... but the Game so far is built on the assumption that players roll dice and see the results.
    Trying to figure that one out.
    The last time I ran a similar "council of regents" campaign, I handled negotiations as a sort of extended test meets guessing game meets Prisoner's Dilemma. Each negotiation consists of three checks: one when both parties first meet, to cover first impressions and opening statements and such; one midway through the negotiations, to gauge the opponent's receptiveness to one's overtures and try to get a competitive advantage; and one at the end, to finalize the negotiations. Each side is trying to make progress toward a stated goal; getting all the way there means you get exactly what you wanted, getting partway there means making compromises and concessions, and failure can still provide some amount of progress so if your goals are modest you could still entirely meet them with multiple failures.

    For each check, each diplomat chooses an approach to take, and the check has various modifiers and consequences based on which approach was chosen by each side. The approaches are as follows:
    • Cultural: try to find common ground with the opposition.
    • Perceptive: try to figure out the opposition's motivations/resources/etc.
    • Deceptive: misrepresent your position/resources/etc.
    • Political: appeal to the opposition's self-interest.
    • Emotional: make a persuasive argument.
    • Analytical: make a reasoned argument.

    Success and failure have different outcomes based on your own approach and the opposition's approach. For instance, a Cultural approach makes less progress toward your goal on a success but makes later attempts easier, while a Political approach makes more progress but requires you to give more concessions to get there; an Emotional approach is particularly effective against Cultural and Political approaches, very ineffective against Deceptive approaches, and varies against the others depending on whether you succeeded on previous Perceptive approaches.


    This seems to match up fairly well with your setup, where you could have three different negotiation-themed actions, different Staff representing different approaches (say, Envoy/Diviner/Spymaster/Noble/Orator/Sage for Cultural/Perceptive/Deceptive/Political/Emotional/Analytical), and modifiers for those actions depending on which Staff and Assets each side uses. I had a specific matrix of outcomes set up for all the combinations, but if you want to keep things easy for the DM they can ad hoc consequences and complications; for instance, a Diviner having partial success against a Sage could represent not finding out enough information about the opponent's arguments to counter them, but digging up some dirt to be able to blackmail someone in the opposing staff into supporting you before the next round of negotiations.

    So that hits all your main points: it's simple, just being a series of checks with different Staff instead of an entirely separate minigame; it's got minor hidden information, in that you don't know what the opponent will do each round but the modifiers for different approaches are known and there are ways to find out what the opponent will do next; it's somewhat based on trust, in that the best outcomes would depend on both sides being honest and above-board but it's tempting to get sneaky for an advantage, so you have a minor Prisoner's Dilemma situation.
    Better to DM in Baator than play in Celestia
    You can just call me Dice; that's how I roll.


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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2018

    Default Re: Some Game design help: Diplomats

    @ PairO'Dice Lost

    That system is really pretty damn cool.

    Hmmm... in the intervening days I build a system... gonna have to see if they compatible, or if I'm drawn more to one or the other. Thanks for the suggestions, very cool.


    @Luin Dezlat

    Yes. Diplomats are totally bards.


    @SkipSandwich
    Trade is definitely a thing!
    Information grabbing... should probably be a thing. Will look into this, given my limited rules space. Hmm...
    It started in the first world, long ago.
    We solved the the first of riddles, the code of life.
    On the backs of slaves, we traveled out into the great dark void between worlds.

    And then... we created the gods.

    Nine Gardens.
    Insane "Benevolent" AI. Genetically engineered witch queens. Strange robots.
    Faulty Terraforming. A Space Opera RPG.

    Seeking feedback on:
    Character building rules(page 4). Lore (page 6). What classes catch peoples eye? (page 5).
    Oots thread here.

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