Is SOC per society?

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Itharus
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Is SOC per society?

Postby Itharus » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:28 pm

Some races seem to have other stats in lieu of SOC. Sometimes very similar ones.

Should SOC then be tracked per society? Ie: social level while in aslan territory, social status in the imperium, charisma when hangin' with the dogs, etc?
Epicenter
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Epicenter » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:53 am

It can go either way.

Social Standing a complex subject and I don't actually support it being in Traveller at all; its many interpretations tell me how bad that stat is*.

At the same time, I think it's more applicable to other societies than many people might think. Social Standing works and is applicable among other species as long as you're fine with being an outsider. If you want to be "one of them" Social Standing doesn't work well at all and you'd need whatever cultural stat is necessary. The materials point out that Aslan, for instance, will respect and honor a human who lives by Aslan social standards far more than a Aslan who has abandoned them ... but that might be argued it was rules written in a more optimistic time. Some would argue that's never truly possible for a human to be accepted as a Vargr or an Aslan (especially with the darkening of the human spirit due to current RL political climate).

As an outsider, Social Standing works fine. The Imperium is such a dominant power, it casts a very long shadow - in all of the places players are likely to be on the Traveller Map, SOC should work. People with high SOC will be treated with respect and a certain amount of deference by the powers-that-be simply because someone with a SOC of 12 or 13 - if something terrible happens, the Imperium is going to get obliged to respond in some way just to ensure that everyone respects (or at least fears) the Imperium. This kind of dominance behavior - 'don't mess with me or something bad will happen to you' operates at the most instinctual levels and likely works on all of the major sapient races, so Social Standing is going to work.


* Instead of going into this socioeconomic claptrap, they could have just made a simple check of "Noble or Commoner?" A 2d6 throw - 10+ you're a noble, anything else you're a commoner. This is a reflection of the wish-fulfillment nature of RPGs and "dark and gritty" GMs could just fiat declare if you don't get a knighthood award or you're playing a noble as a career, you can't be a noble. If you roll Noble, then you might roll a 2d6 to determine your rank, again with 1-9 being a Knight, 10-11 being a Baronet, 12 being a Baron. If you're in the noble career, you start as a Baron but can get various benefits that will raise your rank.
Itharus
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Itharus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:38 am

Also asking because I'm considering it in the light of non 3rd imperium settings, too.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Epicenter » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:25 am

Itharus wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:38 am
Also asking because I'm considering it in the light of non 3rd imperium settings, too.
I'd dump the SOC stat entirely if it were a non TI setting.

Beyond my biases, there's a mechanical reason why having different SOC standings is bad: It's creating more specialized skills that players cannot get in chargen. Traveller being on the end of "skills light RPG" (compared to something like GURPS) means players already can't get sufficient skills to describe a competent individual and it's even more stupid when supplements introduce new skills that many characters should have had, but don't. For instance, Charisma. What if had a human character who was raised in the Antares area of the Imperium. The community he was a part of did a lot of trading with and lived adjacent to a thriving Vargr and his family was a very successful merchant house. He has both a Charisma stat (from dealing with Vargr for so long) and a SOC? What about a Vargr who lives in a Vargr community in the Imperium, like Brzk? Wouldn't he have a Charisma stat and a SOC stat as an Archduke? Where do these points come from? Or is it that some characters just get to roll more stats than others?

If you're doing point-buy it's even worse. I'm dumber or weaker because I grew up with both a SOC and a Charisma? While I'm sure that'd vindicate the beliefs of the Solomani Movement, I personally find that pretty questionable as a GM and a player. The alternative, unhooking SOC for whatever from stat-buying means that such multi-cultural players have a small but distinct advantage over others that they're not paying anything for - this may bug some players and like the old "Influence Wars" and "Attractiveness Wars" in GURPS, players may gravitate towards "Oh I'm playing the child of Free Trader who roamed everywhere and traded with everyone in the Imperium so I have all the cultural social stats."
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:46 am

Itharus wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:28 pm
Some races seem to have other stats in lieu of SOC. Sometimes very similar ones.

Should SOC then be tracked per society? Ie: social level while in aslan territory, social status in the imperium, charisma when hangin' with the dogs, etc?
Makes a lot of sense to me. I wonder why they just don't use Charisma? I mean is someone supposed to tell, just by looking and talking to a person that he is a member of the upper classes? You see, I'm an American, and am not as class conscious as maybe some people in the UK. We don't have knights, barons, counts, and dukes in this country, the whole idea of our country is in the rejection of the whole notion of aristocracy. We don't believe some people are born better than others, so the notion of a SOC score makes no sense, but we do have people with high charisma, so that makes sense.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby paltrysum » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:46 am

Probably to differentiate it from D&D.
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Sigtrygg
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:10 am

Social Standing notes the social class and level of society from which the character (and his or her
family) come.
It does exactly what it says on the tin.

In some setting that means high Soc means a noble title, in others it means your family owns a megacorporation
baithammer
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby baithammer » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:25 am

Because the Imperium runs on Social standings, charisma and riches mean very little to the larger imperium as those in power grant favour to those lower than them.

Charisma works better in a society without such stratification and other places your / tribe / families territories mean even more.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:09 am

You are confusing social interaction with social status.

The soc stat represents your relative position in the hierarchy of the society you live in - be it family, clan, tribe, village, city, country etc.

Charisma represents how well you can interact with others. In CT this was skill based and required a bit of roleplaying, skills like liaison, streetwise, carousing, even steward all represent social interaction.

Ask yourself the answer to this simple test - how high would you rate Tonald Drump on the charisma scale? Soc wise he is a 12+, president of a nation and a billionaire, comes from money. Cha wise people who like him think he is highly charismatic, but then there are people who do not like him and think he has the charisma of a wet paper bag. Cha is often very subjective.

I think most rpgs do benefit from some sort of communication, personality, emotional intelligence stat; but again a desert dwelling religious fanatic psychopath may be very well received by his audience.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby baithammer » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:51 am

Not true with the release of Aslan creation rules in Pirates of Dranix Book 2.
Territory
The Territory (TER) characteristic is unique to the Aslan.
TER measures the amount of land owned by that Aslan
male. It is the foundation of Aslan SOC – for a landless
male or female, his or her SOC is derived from the TER
of his or her sire. A mated female’s SOC is based on her
mate’s TER.
Further
TER can be used in place of SOC. For example, instead
of rolling Diplomat using his SOC DM, an Aslan lord
could use roll Diplomat and add his TER DM instead.
Honestly, T5 outright characteristic replacement is easier to manage but this is interesting.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Old School » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:42 am

I agree with others that SOC works primarily becuase the 3I setting is a fuedal setting in which status, either earned or via birthright, matters immensely in Imperial society. The Argyr and Aslan have different stats because Charisma and Territory are what impact ones social interactions in their societies, respectively. If you are running your own setting, I can see going with SOC or CHA, or something of your own creation as the interpersonal trait.

I can also see that having both SOC and CHA stats would work, with the modifier coming from the trait that makes sense in the situation the traveller faces. Its not hard to think of people who are total boors but get their way with people through their position, as well as those with no position who can charm their way out of most situations. Obviously this changes the game and wrecks any current point buy system in place.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby TrippyHippy » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:42 pm

For the most part, we just use SOC like CHA, and be damned with any official interpretation.
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Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:38 pm

baithammer wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:25 am
Because the Imperium runs on Social standings, charisma and riches mean very little to the larger imperium as those in power grant favour to those lower than them.

Charisma works better in a society without such stratification and other places your / tribe / families territories mean even more.
Well that means that SOC is geared towards a specific society that includes the Imperium. D&D doesn't have such society specific attributes. Charisma works wherever you go, it is a matter of how you present yourself. A lot of Traveller is geared towards a specific setting and not towards a generic game with a GM made setting that does not necessarily include the Imperium.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby legozhodani » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:39 pm

Same here. We use the rolled SOC as a charisma/socialbility stat. The Social Standing we roll separate.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:41 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:09 am
You are confusing social interaction with social status.

The soc stat represents your relative position in the hierarchy of the society you live in - be it family, clan, tribe, village, city, country etc.

Charisma represents how well you can interact with others. In CT this was skill based and required a bit of roleplaying, skills like liaison, streetwise, carousing, even steward all represent social interaction.

Ask yourself the answer to this simple test - how high would you rate Tonald Drump on the charisma scale? Soc wise he is a 12+, president of a nation and a billionaire, comes from money. Cha wise people who like him think he is highly charismatic, but then there are people who do not like him and think he has the charisma of a wet paper bag. Cha is often very subjective.

I think most rpgs do benefit from some sort of communication, personality, emotional intelligence stat; but again a desert dwelling religious fanatic psychopath may be very well received by his audience.
So I imagine a character dealing with a bunch of thugs on the street using his streetwise skill, and suddenly the thugs realize that the person they are dealing with is wearing the royal robes so they all bow and curtsey to their betters. Seems a little hard to swallow to me. Most thugs if they see a noble may be more likely to rob that person than to give them any respect. I think the thugs would more likely be impressed with the armed guards the noble brings with him than with his SOC score. And of course money always speaks the loudest, assuming the thugs can't steal it. So a well armed noble with lots of retainers and plenty of money to spend is going to get their respect, not some high SOC score!
Last edited by Tom Kalbfus on Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:45 pm

Let me clarify.

In the Third Imperium setting Soc equates to social status in that at high levels you are part of the nobility

In a corporate wars based universe - not the third Imperium - Soc can still be used to measure social status, but the high levels now represent being a member of the elite - stakeholder, shareholder, director, board member, CEO etc as 'noble' titles instead of the knight, baron duke we get in the feudal Imperium...

Aslan can still have a Soc stat, but in their own society their Soc is based on Territory, hence that is a better tracker, but it still measures social status. Similarly a Vargr's 'charisma' isn't his or her ability to hold e rally in a german town, but represents how they are ranked within the pack. You could still use Soc but again pack Cha makes more sense as that is what their5 society values.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:46 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:41 pm
So I imagine a character dealing with a bunch of thugs on the street using his streetwise skill, and suddenly the thugs realize that the person they are dealing with is wearing the royal robes so they all bow and curtsey to their betters. Seems a little hard to swallow to me. Most thugs if they see a noble may be more likely to rob that person than to give them any respect.
Nope, that is not how it would play out at all. Why would royalty be out and about in royal regalia using streetwise? They would send minions to do stuff like that.
Last edited by Sigtrygg on Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:52 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:45 pm
Let me clarify.

In the Third Imperium setting Soc equates to social status in that at high levels you are part of the nobility

In a corporate wars based universe - not the third Imperium - Soc can still be used to measure social status, but the high levels now represent being a member of the elite - stakeholder, shareholder, director, board member, CEO etc as 'noble' titles instead of the knight, baron duke we get in the feudal Imperium...

Aslan can still have a Soc stat, but in their own society their Soc is based on Territory, hence that is a better tracker, but it still measures social status. Similarly a Vargr's 'charisma' isn't his or her ability to hold e rally in a german town, but represents how they are ranked within the pack. You could still use Soc but again pack Cha makes more sense as that is what their5 society values.
Then that leads to the question of why have a SOC score when you can use money instead. One's position in a corporation is a matter of employment, basically what job he holds, such a person could lose his job tomorrow, the corporation could go belly up, there could be a run on its stocks in the stock market. Corporations are often here today and gone tomorrow, so a SOC score does not seem to be a stable thing if it is based on what the character owns or what job he holds. Also if you explore new worlds that have never heard of the society you comefrom, your SOC score is basically 0, while if you are dealing with humans, your charaisma score doesn't change.
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:34 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:52 pm
Then that leads to the question of why have a SOC score when you can use money instead. One's position in a corporation is a matter of employment, basically what job he holds, such a person could lose his job tomorrow, the corporation could go belly up, there could be a run on its stocks in the stock market. Corporations are often here today and gone tomorrow, so a SOC score does not seem to be a stable thing if it is based on what the character owns or what job he holds. Also if you explore new worlds that have never heard of the society you comefrom, your SOC score is basically 0, while if you are dealing with humans, your charaisma score doesn't change.
Anyone who says you can't buy social position with money hasn't made enough money yet :)
Itharus
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Re: Is SOC per society?

Postby Itharus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:36 pm

The thought I was having:

During CharGen, your character's base culture generates a SOC score as normal.

Each culture hegemony outside of the base one you start in, receives a fraction (1/4, 1/3, 1/2, etc) of your original SOC (or CHA, TER, etc) score as your new base SOC for THAT hegemony based on how familiar with they are to your base society.

For instance, if you are a human in some standard 3Iesque system and visit some satellite nation that interacts with them a lot and are on good terms, you might get full or nearly full SOC benefit. Whereas if you go to some nation across the galaxy that's never heard of your home you might start right at the bottom. Scale in between as appropriate for awareness and relations -- bitter enemies for instance might not respect your standing anywhere near as much.

SOC skills can then be tracked independently, and go up or down with events as per referee, or even using something similar to the Vargr CHA process where you make rolls.

This would necessitate keeping track of multiple SOC scores, though.

Anyway... I was wondering if it would be best handled like that or something. Because as mentioned elsewhere in the thread, there are actually a lot of skills to handle all the social interaction stuff - and SOC is just a DM for it, or even INT or EDU some times. Or even raw STR if you're going for intimidation or something. Standard CHA from other RPGs seems to be covered by skill in this game. I do like the idea of SOC... it's just... I'm having trouble figuring out how to use it in a setting where there's more than one society. I don't see many options besides multiple SOC scores :(

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