I have been doing some thinking regarding the use of Charm or Leadership or relevant Social Skill when interacting with NPCs.
And, adjacent to those thoughts, is a general revisiting of how many and what kind of the difficulty / setback / challenge dice brought into play for these scenarios.
[If this scenario seems ridiculous and not worth the time and effort of reading…give me a chance. It will get interesting as new layers are added.]
Scenario 1: A child (we’ll go with a human child for this - easier to visualize) maybe 10 or 11 years of age walks up to a PC and asks for the current time. Nothing major - an easy check of the chrono worn by most galactic citizens. BUT, the PC is distracted by this annoying request from this kid as the party is setting up a “complicated escape and rescue op…” or some such, and this kid is hampering the execution of the plan. And for some reason, the PC’s Chrono (watch) isn’t readily available.
NPC child is persistent, so a dice check is called for. Kid has a Presence of 2 so a yellow (cuz he / she is kid, and dang if they can’t be charming / annoying sometimes) and a green. OK. Now the difficulty dice. PC has a Willpower of 2 and no ranks in Cool. So the Difficulty is two purple dice.
GM states that the kid seems alone and frightened, tugging at the heart strings of the PC. So a blue Boost die is added. PC argues that his character is focused on the complex operation that the party is setting up and a Setback dice should be added. OK, all agree that is fair.
Total pool: 1 Proficiency, 1 Ability and 1 Boost dice opposed by 2 Difficulty dice and 1 Setback dice. Roll is made. Let’s say for the sake of argument, that the NPC child prevails (with advantage even!) and the PC is forced to begrudgingly smile at the kid’s tenacity and the Chrono is produced from the depths of a combat pack and the time is given. Child walks away happy with the knowledge that it is 3:52 PM.
Scenario 2: Let’s do some substitutions of the actors involved. Switch out the NPC kid for a PC Rebel Pilot - currently on planet, but missing his trusty blaster. Maybe the PC was shot down and was stripped of gear, so wearing civilian clothes as to “blend in with the locals” in this remote village. Unfortunately for this PC Pilot, the Empire is hot on his trail and has dispatched a company of Imperial Stormtroopers to this part of the countryside specifically to hunt for this Rebel Pilot. PC Pilot was earlier informed that at EXACTLY 3:52 PM, he was to make a mad dash for the edge of town where a grav train would be departing from the station and Alliance friendlies aboard would hide him from the Imps before the train could be searched etc., etc. [I know…this is kinda weak, but stay with me.]
So, the PC Rebel Pilot dressed as a local walks up to a local to ask for the time - but realizes that this part of the Outer Rim, many folks are impoverished so Chronos are harder to come by. They are a luxury~
The only choice the PC Rebel Pilot has now is to walk up to one of the Stormtroopers and ask him for the time. [With their armor, the Stormtroopers undoubtedly have some kind of chrono display that they can easily access.]
PC Rebel Pilot has a 2 Presence and one rank in Charm. So, one yellow Proficiency and one green dice.
The Stormtrooper has a Presence of 1 and NO ranks in Cool. So one Difficulty die.
GM decides that this is a potentially risky situation for the PC to walk up to the very people hunting for him, so a Setback die is introduced. Also, this is NOT your average Galactic Citizen the PC is approaching. This is a highly trained, very disciplined shock trooper of the Emperor’s military. And, this Stormtrooper is NOT off-duty or lazing about the barracks; instead this particular trooper has a mission to hunt for a shot down Rebel pilot attempting to flee into the wilderness. So…this trooper is FOCUSED!! GM decides to add two more Setback dice for a total of 3 Setback dice. [Should these be Difficulty dice instead…? Challenge Dice…? … THIS alone could be good fodder for discussion! Should MORE dice be added IN ADDITION TO the sole Difficulty dice representing the Stormtrooper’s Presence of 1…???]
Pool is formed and dice are rolled!
PC prevails, with a Success!
The Stormtrooper pauses from his task, and gives the Rebel Pilot PC the current time of the day. It is 3:52 PM! Time to head to the edge of town and jump on that grav train before it swiftly departs!
OK, now let’s add to this scenario:
The PC Rebel Pilot is feeling a bit HUNGRY as well…
“Hey, Mister Trooper, sir…could I have your ration pack…?”
Assemble dice pool as depicted above.
The PC Rebel Pilot once again SUCCEEDS!!! Now he is happily munching on standard issue Imperial ration sticks!!
OK, now let’s add to this scenario:
The PC Rebel Pilot is well aware that he had to drop his blaster pistol in the forest outside of the village when he was first confronted by the angry father whose peasant daughter [endowed with huge tracts of land!] found the unconscious pilot when he parachuted from his damaged fighter…blah blah blah - he doesn’t have his pistol!
“Hey, Mister Trooper, CAN I HAVE YOUR GUN….?”
Assemble dice pool as depicted above. [Uh, are you sure about that GM…? Shouldn’t this be A LOT MORE DIFFICULT - I MEAN BY FACTORS OF “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!?!?!” You want the Stormtrooper to just HAND OVER his blaster rifle!?!?!”].
OK, so …two more Setback dice…? [WHAT!!!??? Shouldn’t this default to a Formidable or Impossible difficulty level with FIVE PURPLE or even SIX PURPLE difficulty dice…? And what about introducing the vaunted RED Challenge DICE!!!?? You might think so. But, it says in the core rule book that Charm checks are opposed by the target’s Cool - nothing more [outside of additional Boosts or Setbacks]
The PC Rebel Pilot SUCCEEDS once again! He now has the Stormtrooper’s blaster rifle!
“Thanks Mister Trooper, you have been really helpful today.”
So the crux of my “question” is this: Can situational circumstances OVERRIDE the rules for opposed Charm rolls…? OR, can the target’s Presence (or COOL if they have ranks in it) dice EVER BE ADDED IN ADDITION to the general difficulty of the check being made…? So, target has Presence of 1 BUT the request being made is [“give me your gun!”] unthinkable for the target to comply with normally so Formidable (1 + 5 Difficulty dice for a total of 6 PURPLES!!)…?
What do you all think??
As before, thanking everyone for their thoughtful and respectful responses ahead of time