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Morpheus' Version

Listener Swaying Argument

Cost: 2 motes per die, 1 Willpower
Duration: Instant
Type: Simple
Min Presence: 4
Min Essence: 2

The Solar charges an argument with essence, thus making herself more convincing. For every 2 motes spent, the exalt gains a die on a presence roll to convince or persuade someone, but may not add more dice than the Attribute + Ability used in the argument. This charm relies on a careful attunement with the target and thus, bonuses granted through the use of this charm affect only a single individual.

For Example, Taina returns to her patron, the Despot of Gem, only to find that 2 of her old enemies, powerful dragonblooded dynasts, have travelled from afar and persuaded the Despot to lead Taina into a trap. The throne room is surrounded by elite guards, and the 2 dynasts are more than a match for the social zenith caste. Taina realizes that her only chance is to convince the Despot to turn against his new allies. She shouts out a reprimand for his lack of loyalty and short-sightedness, and reminds him that the Realm will turn against him long before she ever will. Her player spends 18 motes and 1 Willpower and rolls her Manipulation (3) + Presence (5) + Specialty (2) + 9 from the charm and gets 12 successes. The Despot orders his guards to take the dynasts into custody, and allows Taina to choose their fates.
Vote Tally

Original Version

  1. MetalFatigue
  2. DS
  3. CorlanDashiva
  4. BrokenShade
  5. Domon
  6. Braydz

Morpheus' Version

  1. Morpheus

I know that there is a lot of ST variation concerning what social rolls are capable of. But I play with a houserule that says that if you score more successes on a presence roll (after DC modifications) than a person's Willpower, they'll probably do what you tell them, no matter how silly it may be. And when a charm can let you up and get 5+ successes most of the time, and 10+ when you really want to, you can force a general to retreat, force a King to abdicate the throne, or force someone to seriously consider their religion. That's so worth 2/die and a willpower. Social rolls can do so much more than combat rolls. And, I think that anything that can do such horrid things should require at least 4 in the ability. But I want to hear what you guys think. - Morpheus

Yyyyyeah. If you make it that easy to completely change someone's mind, then the Charm is overpowered as written. If you use common sense, however.... --MetalFatigue

I'm with MetalFatigue here. You've made a houserule in isolation of the consequences, and are now inventing another rule to compensate. This is more like a personal game change rather than a general fix, which is what Fixing the Solar Charm Trees is about. DS

Well, I'm interested in what you guys would consider valid examples of what 5-10+ successes can do. I've heard quite a bit of variation on the subject, and one of my players insists that I'm underpowering social rolls. Actually, I think I'll start a discussion on the topic. I'm just gonna remind you guys that the core puts a legendary success for presence at intimidating the head of the guild to back off from his assassination attempts if he knows what's good for him, and even if that is an overestimation, I think that the Listener Swaying Argument range is pretty incredible. - Morpheus

Check out this page for DS's fantastic system of expanded difficulty - CorlanDashiva

Taking the difficulty guidelines in the Abilities section of the core rules seriously is just as bad a mistake as taking the guidelines in the Abilities section of any WoD game seriously, IMO. I've had serious trouble with my players complaining that rolling 5 successes on an Occult or Lore roll doesn't tell them anything they want to know. I'm going to have to check out DS's expanded difficulty scale and run it by my players. As far as "social combat" specifically, I think R. Sean Borgstrom has about the right idea. --MF

Morpheus's example aside, what he's doing here is making it harder to get and harder to combo.\\ The example is bad because it depicts a totally out-lier kind of circumstance anyway. That shitake mushroom doesn't happen every day.\\ I think the charm is fine the way it is in canon. I'm not sure I agree with the successes vs. willpower thing, even if you up the difficulty of getting charms like this one. I mean, that's just a bit much. Such things should be arbitrated case-by-case.\\ ~*~Braydz~*~

The problem you run into is really double-sided. On the one hand, if you let anyone with 13 successes on a persuasion roll just brainwash whoever the want to brainwash, all of a sudden the social characters are hideously powerful. However, if you say that people have these permanent defenses against persuasion, the social characters are useless. I'd try to figure out where I stand on the issue, but Miles Davis is forcibly persuading me to sit here entranced and... stop... ... ... - SilverMeerKat

Being a bit more specific, I think that, as a general rule, if a target is even remotely inclined to agree with what you're saying and the point of the interaction is to make a decision, willpower+ successes should do the trick.\\ Specifically taking the example of 'Taina that was given, I would've let her oration sway the Despot just enough that he'd do what he could to keep her safe for the moment, then help her escape later, requiring her to make only that one roll and telling her player that the Despot now wouldn't let her be taken like that.\\ Turning coat like that and handing over the fate of the Dragonbloods, while great and legendary a success as was rolled, would be possible only with specifically mind-controlling magic.\\ Sometimes, exceptional is something it's just nice to know you can do, and that's that.\\ ~*~Braydz~*~

Okay, I have to jump in here. Consider, if you will, our world, the real world, with real people who, if they were forced into Exalted's examples, would have a maximum of 5 Manipulation and 5 Presence (and probably almost never even that much). Real people, in our world, have committed "legendary persuasive acts". People like the subtle vizier who convinces the king to do things much against his better judgement. Or like the seductress who seduces the man who swore on his soul he'd never be seduced. These are people you don't hear about often, but occasionally they pop up in history books, especially around people who made decisions for reasons no one could figure out -- often, it is speculated, because of a "certain advisor" or whatever.\\ So, considering that there are examples in the real world of people doing ridiculous and unlikely things using Presence rolls, just imagine a being who had, not a maximum of 10 in their dice pool, but 20. They'd do things we thought were completely stupid and impossible.\\ We have a table in the core rulebook for Feats of Strength, right? The one for "20 dice" is "Kick down the iron-shod and barred gates of a mighty fortress". With that kind of example for Strength + Athletics, it seems reasonable to me to allow people to "Convince the Despot to stay on your side" or whatever using a similar number of dice in Manipulation + Presence.\\ In my opinion, telling Morpheus that he's houseruling it by making feats of Presence so amazing is missing the mark. Look at what they can do according to the core. If you don't like the fact that the act of persuasion is really powerful, you can houserule it all you want, but I don't think it's correct to say that he's the one who's making up houserules to justify this Charm -- the houserules he's made up have, canonically, made this Charm weaker. Yes, you can say that social rolls should be opposed, but canonically they're not. Yes, you can say that you can use "social health levels" or different difficulties for the various actions presented by the core, but canonically, 5 successes is a legendary success that's capable of just about anything. I think that the issue everyone has here is that Morpheus is houseruling Presence less than everyone else.\\ ~ Shataina

Shataina: The real-world examples to which you allude were probably extended rolls accumulating a boatload of successes. To be able to accomplish that in a single action, thanks to your astonishing dice pool, is amazing enough already, IMO. --MF

I'm with MF here (if you couldn't tell).\\ I totally believe that such things are possible, but they're extended actions even if they're not extended rolls, even if you only have to roll once and know OOC that you'll succeed in due time. Due time. Unless, like I say, you're pulling off an effect that is specifically instant.\\ Morpheus is making this Charm harder to use and combo, as it should be if he's going to use Presence that way in my humble opinion. I however would sooner "houserule" Presence than modify this Charm. As it stands, I wonder if this Charm revision shouldn't actually fall under a discussion on the effects of social rolls in-game and the subsequent impact on other mechanics dealing with social rolls such as social Charms, rather than a discussion of tweaking Charms to finagle them better into the rest of the game as-is.\\ ~*~Braydz~*~\\ p.s. I think the "Strength+Athletics" table is overly silly anyway.

MF, I'm a little confused about where we're disagreeing in this context.\\ You're saying that people should be able to apply Presence rolls to a single argument if they have a retardedly high dice pool (Listener-Swaying Argument sized), right?\\ So ... what's wrong with this Taina, in the above example, convincing the Despot to her side with a single Presence roll rather than an extended one?\\ If she has 3 Manipulation, 5 Presence and a +2 in Persuasion, then she almost certainly could have done it anyway with a series of extended rolls, right?\\ So, by your own logic, shouldn't she be able to do so with a single roll if she uses Listener-Swaying Argument?\\ I'm sorry if I'm misinterpreting your point.\\ Braydz, I can see your point about preferring to houserule Presence a significant amount rather than houseruling Listener-Swaying Argument. I'm curious, however, to know whether you think that it's an appropriate change to Listener-Swaying Argument if you assume that no changes (or very few) will be made to the canonical Presence rules.\\ ~ Shataina

I see three main problems with that:

  1. If social skills are that good and that powerful then it simply comes down to initiative. Suppose Taina were up against another Solar who also had the charm. Does whoever goes first win? Can one override the other?
  2. If they are that good at convincing people, why not use them in combat? I hate the idea of Solars being able to convince the well trained and disciplined troops they are facing that they should turn on their DB masters, just because the Solar has a big dice pool. If it is cool and well done, and they have done research to find out the grievances of the troops against the DBs then yes, but not against every bunch of troops they face, just because they can.
  3. The most important point. If these charms work like this it has to go both ways, and one thing I would hate to do in my games is tell my players that they have to change their minds because the horrible Anathema said so.

- CorlanDashiva

'Taina,\\ I shall read up on the canon social-skills rules and get back to you.\\ And don't got me wrong, that character totally made that roll and should've gotten off clean (which she did), I just wouldn't have given her the DBs' fates et. al.\\ Like I say, sometimes exceptional is nothing but nice to know that you can do. And when we get to that, we just have to agree to disagree because Morpheus and I are different STs.

Dream well,\\ ~*~Braydz~*~

Addendum:\\ I have gone over what I can find, contemplated, rolled some dice, considered more, done more research, and then more thinking.\\ And what I come to is that canon Listener Swaying Argument doesn't need tweaking. It's a dangerous charm in the hands of highly social characters, but so is Wise Arrow in the hands of a highly skilled archer.\\ I will add though that Morpheus's revision isn't bad. There's nothing wrong with it. I just don't think it's necessary.\\ ~*~Braydz~*~

Heh. CorlanDashiva, I think that (1) is a bit extreme -- since each combat round is 3 seconds or so, an argument doesn't come down to Initiative. You barely have enough time to shout "Argh!" and rush at your opponent. To use Listener-Swaying Argument, you have to have enough time to actually make an argument, and that will definitely take at least a minute or so, I'd say (which comes out to 20 combat rounds).\\ Theoretically, in the extreme case of having two people arguing, both of whom want to use Listener-Swaying Argument and both of whom are capable of getting the completely absurd number of successes to actually succeed in such an endeavour, I'd imagine that

  • if they were both arguing at once, then their voices drown each other out and the Charm fails, and
  • if they each get to argue, then whoever both meets the (high) DC and then gets more successes than the other person wins. So, if neither meets the DC then neither is convinced; if they both get the same number of successes, then neither is convinced.

As for your second instance, the whole problem of combat rounds still apply. Regardless, that would be a Performance roll and not a Presence roll. Note that Listener-Swaying Argument is specifically only useable on a one-on-one roll. Also note that Solars do have a Performance Charm they can use to annex command of another army -- it's in "CasteBook: Dawn", I believe.\\ Your third instance is really a matter of opinion. <shrug> All I can say is, if you don't want it to work that way because you don't want it to mess with your games, then don't let it work that way -- houserule it.\\ It's also useful to keep in mind that a "horrible Anathema" would be taking some disgusting social penalties (how about +5 DC?) simply because they know she's an Anathema, so on top of the DC to convince them (which is probably already really high), you'd get to add 5.\\ Braydz -- don't worry, I'm not offended.  ;) Morpheus is exaggerating a bit in this instance, anyway. It's not like Taina just said, "Give them to me, Despot!" It was a long scene in which the Dragon-Bloods and she argued back and forth before the throne at length, and then finally she turned to the Despot and gave him one long argument, on which she used the Charm. So I think Morpheus isn't making the Charm as silly as it might appear.\\ ~ Shataina

Then I can see it more, yeah.\\ I'm sure it was more poetic than this, but it just seemed like it was, "No, don't let them take me! Have you no sense of (listy list)? You SHOULDN'T let them take me!"\\ If there was an actual debate I can see it a lot more.\\ I'm not sure I wouldn't have made it a Performance roll, but I can absolutely seeing it be Presence too.\\

Checks change purse;; Yep, that's all the 2-penny pieces I have.\\


Odd... I always thought it was woefully overcosted, personally. Have you seen the abyssal Haunting Inflection Trick, 1 mote per 2 dice added to a Presence or Performance roll, no willpower? Limitation is you have to be using your voice and its beauty or scaryness or some other vocal quality... but I can easily see that applying to a presence-based persuasion roll. I never did comprehand why this charm took a willpower, much less an entire 2 motes for a single die... I mean, sure, you can add 10 dice to a social roll... but then you're out of personal essence, assuming you had 20 motes of personal in the first place. Non-combat charms are supposed to be (and in nearly every other ability are) more efficient than combat charms, but this one has always felt expensive. Have I missed something? Does the ability to use it with bureaucracy or through body-language alone make it that much more powerful?
-- Darloth wonders if his sense of balance has been on holiday all this time.

The Abyssal version does what its flavor text implies. Most people aren't gonna be cool with your Underworld-ly mojo, even if your seduction attempt is successful. This Solar Charm... hmm, I think it's about right in the original version, considering it applies to 4 different abilities. Abyssals and Sidereals don't even get a Socialize dice-adder, DBs have to buy seperate ones for different abilities, and the only other Exalted types who can add dice to Bureaucracy rolls are the Lunars and Sidereals (although technically the Lunars add dice to rolls involving social Attributes, which may involve the Bureaucracy ability) -TheMyriadOfShades