Social mechanics have always been an odd duck. Specifically, people have differing opinions on the use of Social Mechanics on PCs. I figure it would be interesting to take a look at the pros and cons of allowing such a rule and how it might apply during play.
First of all, I think it might be best to explain that social mechanics are not a method of mind control. In the same way that the players can’t just roll a Critical Success and charm someone to jump off a building, such things are also off limits when the situation is reversed. Even the smoothest talking NPC shouldn’t be able to get a character to do something suicidal unless it was utilizing non-standard social mechanics like hypnosis or actual mind control.
In any case, having an NPC apply social mechanics against PCs can end up with the following:
- Players attempting to subvert the “command” deliberately twisting it around to avoid some unforseen consequence that the GM has planned.
- Players feeling that control of their character is being seized and getting grumpy about it.
- Players doing the whole “careful what you wish for” and overreacting.
As we can see, it’s actually not an issue of rules, but the attitude of players towards these rules being used on their characters. I suppose the best, most mature response to the situation if you were on the receiving end is to have a little faith in the GM.
Perhaps this is where a little role-playing really comes into play. Set aside the metagaming angle, stop thinking that the GM has some terrible fate planned for you, and respond in a fashion consistent with your character. If your character has a good reason to be suspicious, then do so. If he’s a party animal with a weakness for women in miniskirts, then play like one.
Player characters do their fair share of social manipulation to many a hapless npc who doesn’t know any better (or at least as far as my group is concerned. You grifters know who you are!) Turnabout is fair play, so learn to play fair and accept it as part of the game, so relax, and have fun.