Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Putting A Good Face On Things

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This week's entry is another re-posting. Regretfully I don't remember where it was that I found this, but given that I couldn't find it again, I suspect I picked it up in Brave Halfling Publishing's old forums formerly located at Nor have I been able to track down the author based on the name given is said forums, namely: Stibbons. If you see this and would like a proper author's credit please let me know in the comments.

Every mission team needs a "face-man," the smooth-talking front on the socially disagreeable or hard-bitten membership composing most mission teams. This front-man or woman should be charming and social adept to keep the clientele happy and out of the more serious and determined members of the team's way.  Here's my take based on the idea originally presented by Stibbons.

Frequently the best mission teams have a member whose primary purpose is to interact with and deal with the prospective patrons of that mission team while shielding those potential employers from the "rougher" edges of the team, you know, the big-mouthed braggarts, seeming psychopaths, distracted academics and social miscreants who job it is the get the actual mission work done. This is not to say that these 'front-persons' aren't sometimes just as knowledgeable or dangerous as the rest of the mission team, just that they are better at concealing it from prospective clientele.


Image credit: lian-blackdream via deviantart

A good negotiator should be polite, well-mannered and comfortable in formal clothing. A good appearance is important to a good first impression and missions team have been known to either sink or swim based on only their front-person's abilities. A high Charisma (CHR) is a plus!

A Negotiator's skills consist of the following:

  • Etiquette (BRN): This is the same as the Robot Program ‘Etiquette’ found in the X-PLORERS rule book, page 14.
  • Lie (CHR): The ability to lie convincingly. The more outrageous the lie more difficult it is to believe, the referee can apply a suitable penalty, but conversely some props or forged proof can improve a lie's chance at succeeding, start waving those important looking (but fake) papers around. This skill is also used when trying to detect when someone is lying to you. Obviously you need to be able to speak the local language in order to be able to lie in it.
  • Persuade (CHR): One of the primary arts of the Negotiator is to talk his target around to his way of thinking. Persuade is the skill the negotiator uses to get an alien to sign on the dotted line, to put down that nasty looking ray gun or to give them a lift to the nearest starport. It can be used to talk someone out of a fear-striken panic or a beserker rage or to extract useful information from them. Obviously if an alien is hostile there will be a penalty, but a befriended alien might be more ameanable. Again you have to speak an alien's language (or it yours) before you can persade them of anything.
    In space combat the crew can choose to negotiate each round. Before initiative is thrown the Negotiator can contact their attackers and use his Lie or Persuade skill to prevent conflict. The skill roll must be made for each hostile ship. The Negotiator can add bonuses to his skill roll (up to +4), but they are deducted from the players' initiative roll for that combat round, so he'd better have a pretty convincing story, argument or threat ready. Of course if the players decide to blow the opposition into small pieces of green goo from the start then all the Negotiator can do during a battle is hang on and hope for the best.
  • An elective skill selected from any of the other classes available in the game.

Of course, if a Negotiator has an elective skill that is applicable in space combat he or she could fill that role.

Next up, a new alien creature - unless you spend a lot of time in dungeons, in which case you will no doubt recognize our creepy-crawler.

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