Is SOC per society?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
legozhodani
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby legozhodani » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:02 pm

To be honest most RPGs don't survive close scrutiny. Traveller was written in the 70s by an American, who brought a lot of US culture and social thoughts to the game. So it's not surprising that some of it doesn't survive the bright light of the 21st C. It's still my fav' RPG so I just bend what I feel needs to be bent to fit the group I play with. As for social being diffenent on each planet, sod that, too much to keep track of. Is still find it hard to believe that every one in the Imperium speaks the same language! We have enough trouble from on side of the Atlantic to the other, let alone plants that are so far apart.

I see SOC as your world view as well as your actual status. Our group had a SOC3 guy who used to lounge around in his pants(underwear to those on the next planet) eating pot noodle and watching day time TV. His idea of a 'posh' night out was a few pints and a slap up meal down the Weatherspoons. The other end was our Doc who would be hailing a cab to take him to the opera for the night and then a posh club for port and then stay at the Ritz. Their R&R were poles apart and much fun was had because of it.
YUMV.
steve98052
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby steve98052 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:36 pm

Social characteristics are all potentially troublesome, particularly the way the game manages them. Consider Elvis Presley. He was born in a two room shotgun shack in a poor working class family. He grew up to be "the King". How many steps is it from a shotgun shack to rock and roll star? You're not going to roll that on any personal development table, even if "King of Rock and Roll" is regarded as a lower status than a senator from a wealthy family.

Consider also JK Rowling, who lived on public assistance and became the world's first billionaire author, with a literal knighthood. Likewise the Beatles, all from working class backgrounds but knighted.

Neither character generation nor in-play development offers a mechanism for leaps in Social Standing. It would be more true to the way the world works for a character to grow up at the bottom of society, do time in juvenile detention for stealing food, join the military to escape poverty, and leap to fairly high society on strength of a Starburst for Extreme Heroism. A character in play might also leap up the social ranks, either by great service to the Imperium or by spending lots of money to build up stayus.

Decline in Social Standing, although not impossible, is less likely. Martha Stewart did time in prison but she's still wealthy and still has a lot of fans. Politicians lose their political power when their terms of office end, but they typically retain the social courtesies due their former offices. Lower levels of status likewise retain their status in most cases; a retired professor, doctor, captain, or sergeant will still be addressed as "Professor", "Doctor", "Captain", or "Sergeant".
legozhodani
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby legozhodani » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:56 pm

Some of that is cultural popularity compared to Social Standing in the Traveller vision of SOC. Plenty of celebs and such like are popular but in Vilani society doesn't mean they have any real status . As you say it is a tricky one and to honest I still feel that every Traveller group is so diffenert it's not worth getting too het up over.
We are after all dealing with an alien culture (Vilani based) some thousands of years seperated from us.
Itharus
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Itharus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:55 pm

Sounds like everyone's a bit confused and it's handled on a referee by referee basis :-\
Sigtrygg
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:07 pm

There is no confusion if you apply the characteristic the way it states in CT:
Social Standing notes the social class and level of society from which the character (and his or her
family
) come.
People are social animals, we build societies. The Soc stat measures where you fit in.

Yup, the referee has to think about what Soc means in their own setting - in the Third Imperium we know it is tied to a pseudo-feudal model with noble titles but that is not the only way to build a society.
Last edited by Sigtrygg on Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:43 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:07 pm
There is no confusion if you apply the characteristic the way it sates in CT:
Social Standing notes the social class and level of society from which the character (and his or her
family
) come.
People are social animals, we build societies. The Soc stat measures where you fit in.

Yup, the referee has to think about what Soc means in their own setting - in the Third Imperium we know it is tied to a pseudo-feudal model with noble titles but that is not the only way to build a society.
You assume someone with high social standing is popular, never heard of an unpopular tyrannical king? Lets say this king is overthrown by revolutionaries, and those revolutionaries want to kill him to cement their power, so the king tries to escape, and finds an old peasants home, can the King use his high social standing to convince the peasant to hid him from the revolutionaries that want his head? If all feudal nobles were popular, we wouldn't need democracy!
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby NOLATrav » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:04 pm

Regarding other characteristics (Charisma, etc) the mechanic in T5 is that your score is halved when dealing with a characteristic you don’t normally use.

So my MgT Vargr engineer with CHA 9 gets DM+1 whenever dealing with other Vargr (or any species using CHA for that matter) but in human space he is SOC 4 and suffers DM-1 to interactions. I play it the same with other species so this Vargr suffers DM-1 when dealing with Aslan, Bwaps, etc if the situation calls for a roll.

Surprisingly clean and easy mechanic for T5. And one can track the alien characteristic score if one wants, allowing for special rewards like +1 CHA for good role play or significant actions on behalf of the alien (or penalties if that seems more appropriate).

As for use of SOC in-game, I have kept firmly to RAW, where it is a measure of class and upbringing. BUT I have extended the SOC scale out to 33 (Z), which only the Emperor can have. At the PC level I use this:

A - Gentry - Estate: 1 Terrain Hex (1 Terrain Hex = 1/10th of World Hex on a World map)
B - Knight - Estate: 1D Terrain Hexes
C - Lord/Lady - Estate: 2D Terrain Hexes
D - High Knight - Fief: 1D World Hexes
E - Baronet/-ette - Fief: 2D World Hexes
F - Grand Knight - Fief: 4D World Hexes
PEERAGE (1 Proxy vote per World)
G (16) - Baron/Baroness - Domain: 1 World - Fief: 4D+1 World hexes
Etc
MOOT (1 Moot vote per Subsector plus Proxies)
Q (24) - Duke/Duchess - Domain: 1 Subsector - Fief: as Baron on 1D different worlds
Etc

So you have to be SOC 16 before you’re granted a world to oversee on behalf of the Emperor. A high SOC PC might be a Knight with half a World hex as her Estate, which might provide KCr2-7 per year depending. Still cool and influential but not ridiculous. I have yet to see a PC get beyond SOC 12 but no one has played a Noble in a really long time.
Sigtrygg
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:37 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:43 pm
You assume someone with high social standing is popular, never heard of an unpopular tyrannical king? Lets say this king is overthrown by revolutionaries, and those revolutionaries want to kill him to cement their power, so the king tries to escape, and finds an old peasants home, can the King use his high social standing to convince the peasant to hid him from the revolutionaries that want his head? If all feudal nobles were popular, we wouldn't need democracy!
I am assuming nothing of the sort - popularity doesn't have anything to do with social status, your family's wealth and political power are much more important in determining your position in society.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:47 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:37 pm
Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:43 pm
You assume someone with high social standing is popular, never heard of an unpopular tyrannical king? Lets say this king is overthrown by revolutionaries, and those revolutionaries want to kill him to cement their power, so the king tries to escape, and finds an old peasants home, can the King use his high social standing to convince the peasant to hid him from the revolutionaries that want his head? If all feudal nobles were popular, we wouldn't need democracy!
I am assuming nothing of the sort - popularity doesn't have anything to do with social status, your family's wealth and political power are much more important in determining your position in society.
So what can a deposed king use his SOC score for?
Itharus
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Itharus » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:18 am

Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:07 pm
There is no confusion if you apply the characteristic the way it states in CT:
Social Standing notes the social class and level of society from which the character (and his or her
family
) come.
People are social animals, we build societies. The Soc stat measures where you fit in.

Yup, the referee has to think about what Soc means in their own setting - in the Third Imperium we know it is tied to a pseudo-feudal model with noble titles but that is not the only way to build a society.
That would imply that outside of ones base society -- you don't get to use SOC DM for anything at all; or rather, it would support multiple SOC skills based on the various societies you are known in at the time, with SOC shifting as you travel and with whom you communicate.

Man... I've spent 21 years GMing for various RPG systems and always lamented how nitpicky the dang rules got with binding the GM's hands... now I've finally found a system that's got more leeway and I am pining away for restrictions!
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:26 am

Few Referees know how to handle SOC, because few Referees know where the 3rd Imperium even comes from that uses it. The rest have to figure out where that puzzle piece goes, and how it fits in with the alien varieties of it. If players choose not to use the 3rd Imperium setting, then SOC will have to be defined first before any chargen.
Sigtrygg
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:08 am

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:47 pm
So what can a deposed king use his SOC score for?
The rules of society say that if he is the first born child of the previous king then he has the right to inherit the tit;e, lands and political position of king anf be anointed as such by god. Nothing whatsoever to do with his popullarity. If he is deposed he still has some friends, influence and wealth stashed away, and there may be foreign kingdoms that still recognise his legitimacy (note all of this has historical precedence). The pope may declare the new king illigitemate on religeous ground and the deposed king can maintain his Soc while he uses the kings abroud and religeous angle to build a counter-coup.
This will maintain his Soc as he still is recognised as a king by the other powers, if he goes home and fails in his atempt he will find he is no longer a king and his Soc will drop precipitously.

If he swans around foreign courts pretending to be organising a counter-revolution but just living it up eventually he will stop being invited to parties, creditors will demand money, his famil status will thus cause his Soc and his descendent#s Soc to be much lower.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:38 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:47 pm
Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:37 pm
Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:43 pm
You assume someone with high social standing is popular, never heard of an unpopular tyrannical king? Lets say this king is overthrown by revolutionaries, and those revolutionaries want to kill him to cement their power, so the king tries to escape, and finds an old peasants home, can the King use his high social standing to convince the peasant to hid him from the revolutionaries that want his head? If all feudal nobles were popular, we wouldn't need democracy!
I am assuming nothing of the sort - popularity doesn't have anything to do with social status, your family's wealth and political power are much more important in determining your position in society.
So what can a deposed king use his SOC score for?
How did Napoleon use his deposed status? He rose from minor nobility to Emperor of France - after he was deposed and exiled, he continued to gather followers and even took back the Empire for a short time.

As to your Peasant being confronted by the fleeing king: YES, his SOC would affect the roll to see if the peasant would help hide him - if he succeeds, the peasant fears him and helps because of the King's reputation (SOC).

Personally, I have always played/Refereed SOC as an indication of how you live. Someone comes into a restaurant in an Armani suit with a Rolex on their wrist and asks for a table without a reservation, they have a MUCH better chance of getting one than a person wearing torn jeans and a t-shirt - They may not always get that table, but they will always have a better CHANCE of getting it (a DM on the SOC roll).

BUT, I also use it as a downside. If you have a high SOC, you have to live the life, spend the money, etc. or you just don't have it anymore.
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Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:34 am

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:38 pm
Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:47 pm
Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:37 pm
I am assuming nothing of the sort - popularity doesn't have anything to do with social status, your family's wealth and political power are much more important in determining your position in society.
So what can a deposed king use his SOC score for?
How did Napoleon use his deposed status? He rose from minor nobility to Emperor of France - after he was deposed and exiled, he continued to gather followers and even took back the Empire for a short time.

As to your Peasant being confronted by the fleeing king: YES, his SOC would affect the roll to see if the peasant would help hide him - if he succeeds, the peasant fears him and helps because of the King's reputation (SOC).

Personally, I have always played/Refereed SOC as an indication of how you live. Someone comes into a restaurant in an Armani suit with a Rolex on their wrist and asks for a table without a reservation, they have a MUCH better chance of getting one than a person wearing torn jeans and a t-shirt - They may not always get that table, but they will always have a better CHANCE of getting it (a DM on the SOC roll).

BUT, I also use it as a downside. If you have a high SOC, you have to live the life, spend the money, etc. or you just don't have it anymore.
Okay, but here's another example of a rich person. What social class would Ebineezer Scrooge belong to? Among other things, Ebineezer is a hoarder, he is very reluctant to spend any money that he doesn't have to. Suppose there was a space age version os Ebineezer Scrooge, the unreformed version before he met those three ghosts.
1. He runs a business
2. He pays his employees as little as he can get away with
3. He is a hard bargainer, his main drive is to maximize his profits, but he doesn't like to live a high life, he always wears the cheapest suits that he can get away with, so long as they don't interfere with his profit making business deals.
4. When he makes a lot of money, he likes to keep a very large portion of it in cash, he is very paranoid of losing it all, so he makes conservative investments, he is not above using inside knowledge in his investment decisions, he likes to take advantage of other people whenever he can to make money whenever the chance presents itself.


So what is Edineezer's SOC score would you say? His father wasn't rich, so he inherited nothing, and had to claw his way to the top.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:11 am

He's part of the Victorian middle class. Due to his lack of spending Soc 6, but once he starts openly displaying his wealth by splashing the cash, dressing well, getting out and about his Soc may rise to the loft heights of 8. He doesn't make enough money to be upper middle class.
baithammer
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby baithammer » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:40 am

Soc is more a sort of classism, with your relations with other members of the class meaning more than your personal fortunes whether by wealth or power.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:29 am

Depends on the society.

In the good old US it is much easier to buy social position with wealth, in the UK you are still looked down upon by the nobility even if you have ten times their money - different societies different ways of recognising social status.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby JMISBEST » Sat Aug 25, 2018 1:02 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:11 am
He's part of the Victorian middle class. Due to his lack of spending Soc 6, but once he starts openly displaying his wealth by splashing the cash, dressing well, getting out and about his Soc may rise to the loft heights of 8. He doesn't make enough money to be upper middle class.
True but think about the fact that a grand in Victorian Days is about the same as no less then 600,000 today, so he may well only just scrape Social Scale 9 based on his wealth
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Aug 25, 2018 1:39 pm

To be Soc 9+ in today's money you would have to be a minimum of a millionaire...
Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:27 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:29 am
Depends on the society.

In the good old US it is much easier to buy social position with wealth, in the UK you are still looked down upon by the nobility even if you have ten times their money - different societies different ways of recognising social status.
Like when Donald Trump one time tried to date princess Diana after she divorced Prince Charles. Donald Trump was not a member of the Upper Class there, even though he had more money than a lot of them. Not sure that his lack of noble credentials was a factor in Princess Diana's decision not to date him however. I am using him as an example as a well known rich person by the way, not as a politician, and this occured before he was president.

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