Interaction tests too difficult?

Discussion of Living Earthdawn. Adventures, game mastering, and comments. Caution, there may be spoilers!
Post Reply
The Dread Polack
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:59 am

Interaction tests too difficult?

Post by The Dread Polack » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:47 am

I was running my group through the adventure "Lip Service" and in the section "Welcome to the Poor House", the PCs need to convince the patrons of the almshouse to speak to them. This seems harder than I think I should be.

First off, they all start off Unfriendly and must be made friendly before they'll talk. That's 2 attitude levels. According to the rules for Interactions in the GM's guide, you can normally only raise an attitude one level (by Making an Impression, at least). The First Impression talent (or skill, for that matter) says it can raise an attitude 2 levels with 3 success. Since this isn't a default skill, you shouldn't be able to raise an attitude level more than 1 level unless you have at least 1 rank in either the skill or talent.

Secondly, the lowest social defense in the almshouse is an 8. That means that these unfortunate, down-on-their luck non-adepts have charismas of at least 13+. The blind child who does nothing but stare at her feet somehow has a a charisma of at least 15. That is, unless they're somehow getting bonuses from somewhere else.

What all of this means for the players is that anyone without the First Impression skill or talent can't get anyone in the almshouse to talk without rolling at least an 18. At least not by "making an impression". Maybe this is supposed to be difficult, but even second circle adepts (this adventure is for 1st to 2nd circle adepts) with 3 or 4 ranks in First Impression, spending karma, will struggle with this roll. It will be impossible for most PCs, I think.

Obviously you can simply roleplay your way through this, but the adventure lists the GMPCs' social defenses, and references the Interaction rules from the GM's guide, so I assume the rules are meant to be used. Also, the information they need is not easily gotten any other way. It doesn't make a lot of sense to set players up to perform a specific action, using the RAW, that they will mostly likely fail. This is a sure-fire way to frustrate everyone and make the game less fun.

Am I missing something? I lowered most GMPCs' social defenses by 2, making the almshouse patrons equal to an average person. I also only required they raise attitudes one level and roleplay their questions. So far, they've succeeded in 1/4 of their attempts.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 754
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Interaction tests too difficult?

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:55 pm

I don’t know this adventure, but I did just post a cheatsheet for the social system here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1209

There is also bribery, intimidation, and trading favors. Or you can fail forward. Miss the test, but they’ll talk if you meet some other requirement (drive off a malignant haunt, throw a massive kegger for the almshouse, etc)

The Dread Polack
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:59 am

Re: Interaction tests too difficult?

Post by The Dread Polack » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:45 am

If I was simply running an adventure I wrote myself, it wouldn't be a problem. However, this is mainly a critique of the adventure as it's written. Hopefully, a new GM will read this and adjust as necessary, if no errata comes out of it.
Slimcreeper wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:55 pm
I don’t know this adventure, but I did just post a cheatsheet for the social system here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1209
Nice! Thanks.
Slimcreeper wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:55 pm
There is also bribery, intimidation, and trading favors. Or you can fail forward. Miss the test, but they’ll talk if you meet some other requirement (drive off a malignant haunt, throw a massive kegger for the almshouse, etc)
Using bribery against any of the GMPCs in this section would require rolling a 9 and offering some money. So far this is maybe the best bet, but still an uphill climb for any first circle PC who isn't likely to make this roll, and can't spend karma on it.

Intimidation: You could force the patrons to tell you into telling you what you want to know, but 1) you'd still need to roll a 13 on a charisma roll, which most 1st circle PCs will be at step 5, and 2) it's not very heroic.

Getting a small favor from them when they're unfriendly will require rolling a 23! If you can make them neutral, it's still an 18. Offering a large favor could cut this down to a 13 or 8, but that's a lot for a pre-written adventure to expect of a PC who is just asking if anyone has seen a person.

The PCs are on a timer for this adventure, so any side-quests would have to be quick, but I guess possible. However, if that is what is expected of the PCs to succeed in this section of the adventure, then it should say that somewhere in the text. Instead, it just tells you their social defenses and refers you to Interaction tests in the GM's guide.

So, instead of just complaining, here's my solution:

1) Lower the almshouse patrons' social defense to 5 or 6. This is average for an npc, and I believe that living as rough as these people have been might justify lowing it below average.

2) Either: start the NPCs at neutral, requiring them to be friendly, or require them to be neutral to talk. You can allow the PCS to offer a small bribe (without a roll) to get them the rest of the way if they don't make it.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 754
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Interaction tests too difficult?

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:06 am

All fair. Shouldn’t take much of a bribe, if they’re in the almshouse. How many gmc’s do you have to manage?

The Dread Polack
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:59 am

Re: Interaction tests too difficult?

Post by The Dread Polack » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:39 am

Slimcreeper wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:06 am
How many gmc’s do you have to manage?
In this section, there are 5. There are more later in the adventure, but I think there's only 1 more social encounter, the rest is investigation and/or combat.

Post Reply