I am designing a game whose premise is about important religious authorities going on a Sacred Pilgrimage on their gods' commands. So they are supposed to be influential and morally unquestionable individuals. So I decided to design this social influences Resolution Mechanic...
Here's the deal. When the players want their characters to persuade other people to act in certain way, being as influential and important as they are, they should be able to do so to some degree.Phase One: Exposition
The player exposes his intent regarding someone else (it can be a NPC or even a group of them). What do I want them to do.
The player defines his Base Argument. What does he tells people, based on his character's own beliefs and ideals, to convince them they should act the way he wants them to.
If no other player disagrees, then that is what happens. (It is assumed the character was so inspiring and determining that people automatically took his word as the indisputable truth.) If another player isn't happy with that outcome (perhaps it is against his own character's beliefs and ideals), then we have a conflict, and we proceed to Phase Two.
Note that the GM, on the affected NPC's regard, can only disagree if the Argument strongly goes against the NPC's nature or beliefs. Or is described as a very stubborn or eloquent person himself.Phase Two: Confrontation
The players have three different "Influence Scores": Ethos
(appeals to the character's reputation, leadership or authority), Logos
(appeals to common sense and logic) and Pathos
(appeals to people's feelings).
Each involved player determines which one he'll be using to debate with. He then defines as many Discourses as he has in his pertinent Influence Score. A Discourse is one simple issue that would mean his argument is the best one. (i.e. if you do X, Y will happen because of Z)
The player who first stated his Base Argument (lets call him Player A) has the initiative and states his Base Argument out loud (perhaps elaborating more this time). The conflicting player (Player
then states his own Base Argument debating or contradicting the one of Player A. (Think of this as an Opening Statement.)
Then each player states consequently his Arguments. An Argument must contain at least one of the determined Discourses, must be shaped in the Rhetorical Form chosen (appealing authority, feelings or logic), and must be based on the character's beliefs and ideals.
After each player has exposed at least one Argument relating each one of his Discourses, the debate is over, and we proceed to the next and last Phase.Phase Three: Effect
Every other player not in the conflict (including the GM) votes on whom did he think gave the best arguments. Then the one with the greatest score wins.
If there is a draw, then each player gets to expose one last (and hopefully intense and definitive) Argument. If people remain undecided afterwards, it is considered a Non-win situation.
If one player won, then he gets to narrate how people act. Note that he affected people's actions, but not necessarily their intentions and/or way of thinking. They just thought that what he said is indisputable correct, from a moral and ethical perspective.
If no one won, then people just remained undecided, and could not relate to what both parties debated. ("Oh, cool... They are both wise and powerful... Who do I follow then? Oh, my...")Disclaimer:
It is a very subjective and personal resolution mechanic. That is on purpose. ¿Or isn't it how it actually works in Real Life? Debates (political or religious ones at least) are won by the most popular argument, not (necessarily) by the most logical or adequate one. Besides, I do not want those influences to be solved based on how high my Influences Score is, or how good my luck was with the dice tonight.
Now, the thing is that this mechanic sounds cool and functional on paper... But how would it work for real?
I intend to playtest it to see it for myself, but I'm interested in hearing what other people think (or how have similar mechanics worked for them).