Author Topic: Queries on Negotiations  (Read 1111 times)

Aerospider

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Queries on Negotiations
« on: August 06, 2019, 11:36:44 PM »
Hi there! Not played RM yet but very excited to!

I love the concept for the negotiation mechanics, but some things are tripping me up in understanding how it all hangs together. Could someone please indulge the following queries at let me know -

A - how I've got it wrong
or
B - some homebrew tweaks that make it all work?

Many thanks!

1) What happens when the black die and the red die attempt to move into the same space on the sway tracker? The rules indicate that this is not allowed, but not what happens instead.
- Do they simply sit either side of the contested space?
- What if both are moving 2 sway to get to the same space? Do they both move 1 or both move 0?
- What if one is moving 2 sway and the other is only moving 1 sway to get to the same space - does this make a difference?

2) What is the mechanical gain in clients using character spots? If it's just missing 1 sway this round to get it back the next round, why bother?

3) Given that the client doesn't lose anything by being denied access to character spots (see 2) why bother using Intimidation to prevent it? (Especially since it costs a sway opportunity to do so.)

4) There's a lot of talk throughout this rules section about strategy and timing but I just don't see it. 1 sway from one thing is as good as 1 sway from another thing and 1 sway for the black die is no different to -1 sway for the red die. The negotiator could use Deception to negate the character spot used by the client, but he could just as well ignore it and stick with his trusty Persuasion skill like he did the last round and get exactly the same result.

5) Burning a scam opportunity to tag-team with the negotiator doesn't seem to have any advantage at all. Sure they can bring a different skill set, but what use is that when any skill is always as useful as any other (see 4)?

6) Isn't Intelligence Gathering always going to be the best option for scams? Success grants an extra sway which is more valuable than Price Manipulation (unless at the very bottom or very top of the track, which surely must be very rare) and two shots at 2 separate sways is always going to be better than the increased chances of 1 shot at 1 sway as per Negotiator Support. Discourage Competition also amounts to a 1-sway gain, but requires prep to identify them and seems to carry far heftier repercussions. Also, spots are absolutely the only way to gain ground against the client because they automatically get 1 sway per round and get a free bonus (the gift spot). Basically I'm concerned that my group will take one look at the scam options and go for 3x Intelligence Gathering every single time.

NB: My usual gaming taste is for story-centric narrative games so I totally get it if the answer to any of the above is "you're taking this too seriously", but so much effort has gone into these rules it seems the intent must have been to create something mechanically-sound.

LordSkys

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Re: Queries on Negotiations
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019, 03:25:45 AM »
Hi there! Not played RM yet but very excited to!

I love the concept for the negotiation mechanics, but some things are tripping me up in understanding how it all hangs together. Could someone please indulge the following queries at let me know -

A - how I've got it wrong
or
B - some homebrew tweaks that make it all work?

Many thanks!

1) What happens when the black die and the red die attempt to move into the same space on the sway tracker? The rules indicate that this is not allowed, but not what happens instead.
- Do they simply sit either side of the contested space?
- What if both are moving 2 sway to get to the same space? Do they both move 1 or both move 0?
- What if one is moving 2 sway and the other is only moving 1 sway to get to the same space - does this make a difference?

2) What is the mechanical gain in clients using character spots? If it's just missing 1 sway this round to get it back the next round, why bother?

3) Given that the client doesn't lose anything by being denied access to character spots (see 2) why bother using Intimidation to prevent it? (Especially since it costs a sway opportunity to do so.)

4) There's a lot of talk throughout this rules section about strategy and timing but I just don't see it. 1 sway from one thing is as good as 1 sway from another thing and 1 sway for the black die is no different to -1 sway for the red die. The negotiator could use Deception to negate the character spot used by the client, but he could just as well ignore it and stick with his trusty Persuasion skill like he did the last round and get exactly the same result.

5) Burning a scam opportunity to tag-team with the negotiator doesn't seem to have any advantage at all. Sure they can bring a different skill set, but what use is that when any skill is always as useful as any other (see 4)?

6) Isn't Intelligence Gathering always going to be the best option for scams? Success grants an extra sway which is more valuable than Price Manipulation (unless at the very bottom or very top of the track, which surely must be very rare) and two shots at 2 separate sways is always going to be better than the increased chances of 1 shot at 1 sway as per Negotiator Support. Discourage Competition also amounts to a 1-sway gain, but requires prep to identify them and seems to carry far heftier repercussions. Also, spots are absolutely the only way to gain ground against the client because they automatically get 1 sway per round and get a free bonus (the gift spot). Basically I'm concerned that my group will take one look at the scam options and go for 3x Intelligence Gathering every single time.

NB: My usual gaming taste is for story-centric narrative games so I totally get it if the answer to any of the above is "you're taking this too seriously", but so much effort has gone into these rules it seems the intent must have been to create something mechanically-sound.

 First off, welcome to RM and LifeLines. Remember that my answers are just a few of many. I will be saying my personal beliefs rather than book scanning, just a forewarning.

1) There are two ways to play it.

The book seems to support neither moving, since they are effectively heads up in this situation. One would have to have more sway than the other to get ahead/move; and the one with two sway would move for the dice meeting, while the one with one sway would not move.

Remember when dice are heads up, each sway one side has blocks a sway on the other side, until only one has sway left.

This being said, ties in general go to the market. It would make sense as a bust rule to have a tie in this particular situation go to the market.

2) A client ALWAYS gets one sway. They have actions to get additional sway. It balances out the sway mechanics of players, who may gain one sway, but have teammates to gain them extra sway without spending actual actions on the negotiator's part.

Also, if it becomes a jobline, a client retains the knowledge of that spot to use against the negotiator in the future. One crew ran double/different negotiators every time and it screwed my jobline client over since he didn't know any spots for the players, but the players paid for it by all devoting something to the CHA stats.

It is all about give and take. Honestly, the first few negotiations will often go in your players favor hard. I believe that is on purpose since most people don't enter the game and instantly want to go into debt.

3) Since there is always some sway, they are trying to negate the extra sway. This is important especially when the dice are heads up, since it is the extra sway that actually move the dice.

4) It's not about the type of sway, but the round it is used.

If I use a tough spot while the client is trying to find a spot and the heads are up, I am more likely to successfully move it than if the client has spots ready to pick.

On the other hand, pushing up early make the dice meet in a better place; and I can rely on holding up that spot to secure pay as well.

There are really only two (three if a jobline) smart ways to enter negotiations, but the choice (and following through) matters.

5) The reason for other scams are if you are pulling off specific techniques of gaining sway, or if you are following a jobline. There is only so much you can know about a client, especially since the tough spot is the only tactical thing that can change in actual negotiations.

Also, don't trash on price manipulation so hard. Across the board changing the price can be huge; especially since the negotiator actually has to use the spot you found, where as price manipulation happens instantly. This can be especially useful on very short negotiations as it can be make or break.

Don't get me wrong 2x Intelligence + Discourage is often the safest bet to gain bounty early on, but changing it up can lead to far better pay outs as the game progresses and both you and your players become used to the negotiations mechanic.


Hope that answered everything without being too antagonistic or something. I tried giving reasonable (if somewhat roundabout) answers. If they didn't help, let me know.
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Aerospider

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Re: Queries on Negotiations
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2019, 10:40:50 AM »
First off, welcome to RM and LifeLines. Remember that my answers are just a few of many. I will be saying my personal beliefs rather than book scanning, just a forewarning.

1) There are two ways to play it.

The book seems to support neither moving, since they are effectively heads up in this situation. One would have to have more sway than the other to get ahead/move; and the one with two sway would move for the dice meeting, while the one with one sway would not move.

Remember when dice are heads up, each sway one side has blocks a sway on the other side, until only one has sway left.

This being said, ties in general go to the market. It would make sense as a bust rule to have a tie in this particular situation go to the market.

2) A client ALWAYS gets one sway. They have actions to get additional sway. It balances out the sway mechanics of players, who may gain one sway, but have teammates to gain them extra sway without spending actual actions on the negotiator's part.

Also, if it becomes a jobline, a client retains the knowledge of that spot to use against the negotiator in the future. One crew ran double/different negotiators every time and it screwed my jobline client over since he didn't know any spots for the players, but the players paid for it by all devoting something to the CHA stats.

It is all about give and take. Honestly, the first few negotiations will often go in your players favor hard. I believe that is on purpose since most people don't enter the game and instantly want to go into debt.

3) Since there is always some sway, they are trying to negate the extra sway. This is important especially when the dice are heads up, since it is the extra sway that actually move the dice.

4) It's not about the type of sway, but the round it is used.

If I use a tough spot while the client is trying to find a spot and the heads are up, I am more likely to successfully move it than if the client has spots ready to pick.

On the other hand, pushing up early make the dice meet in a better place; and I can rely on holding up that spot to secure pay as well.

There are really only two (three if a jobline) smart ways to enter negotiations, but the choice (and following through) matters.

5) The reason for other scams are if you are pulling off specific techniques of gaining sway, or if you are following a jobline. There is only so much you can know about a client, especially since the tough spot is the only tactical thing that can change in actual negotiations.

Also, don't trash on price manipulation so hard. Across the board changing the price can be huge; especially since the negotiator actually has to use the spot you found, where as price manipulation happens instantly. This can be especially useful on very short negotiations as it can be make or break.

Don't get me wrong 2x Intelligence + Discourage is often the safest bet to gain bounty early on, but changing it up can lead to far better pay outs as the game progresses and both you and your players become used to the negotiations mechanic.


Hope that answered everything without being too antagonistic or something. I tried giving reasonable (if somewhat roundabout) answers. If they didn't help, let me know.

Thanks a lot, I very much appreciate you taking the time (and you didn't come off at all antagonistic).

1) So if black is on At Value and red is on 100% Mark-Up, and black gets 1 sway while red gets 2, then red would move down to Labor and black would stay on At Value, thus negating black's 1 sway, right?

2) Ohhhh, yeah that would make more sense. Where RAW says the client can "sacrifice a turn to learn one spot" I didn't see what could be sacrificed except the auto-sway. So a client can sacrifice the ability to play a spot he already has in order to learn an extra one, which doesn't help him out at all in the current negotiation (because you can only play one spot per round) but in the next negotiation, assuming there is one, he'll have a ready-to-use spot against the main negotiator. Right?

3) So the anti-spot Intimidation option is the equivalent for the Taker. It costs them a sway in the current negotiation but so long as there are at least two more rounds then it could prevent the client from gaining a bonus sway and also prevent the client from gaining an advantage in future negotiations. Yes?

I really don't get the notion of 'it is the extra sway that actually move the dice'. If you prevent an extra sway but it cost you a sway to do it, that's zero gain isn't it? Same result as gaining 1 sway and letting them have their extra sway.

4) Nope, sorry I still don't get it. It all seems like gain a sway now or gain it later with no ultimate difference unless the negotiations time out (so always go for the early sway) or the same-space rule (depending on the interpretation) cancels a sway one side but not the other.

5) There's no cost of opportunity in the negotiating taker using a spot. Without a spot he gets 0 or 1 sway and with a spot he gets 1 or 2. Time isn't an issue (if you're running a scam then there must be a next round) so the only difference is whether the bonus sway will be lost because of the same-space rule.

I might just have to hope my players don't analyse the crap out of it like I do with every system!

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Re: Queries on Negotiations
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2019, 07:26:45 PM »
1) So if black is on At Value and red is on 100% Mark-Up, and black gets 1 sway while red gets 2, then red would move down to Labor and black would stay on At Value, thus negating black's 1 sway, right?

2) Ohhhh, yeah that would make more sense. Where RAW says the client can "sacrifice a turn to learn one spot" I didn't see what could be sacrificed except the auto-sway. So a client can sacrifice the ability to play a spot he already has in order to learn an extra one, which doesn't help him out at all in the current negotiation (because you can only play one spot per round) but in the next negotiation, assuming there is one, he'll have a ready-to-use spot against the main negotiator. Right?

3) So the anti-spot Intimidation option is the equivalent for the Taker. It costs them a sway in the current negotiation but so long as there are at least two more rounds then it could prevent the client from gaining a bonus sway and also prevent the client from gaining an advantage in future negotiations. Yes?

I really don't get the notion of 'it is the extra sway that actually move the dice'. If you prevent an extra sway but it cost you a sway to do it, that's zero gain isn't it? Same result as gaining 1 sway and letting them have their extra sway.

4) Nope, sorry I still don't get it. It all seems like gain a sway now or gain it later with no ultimate difference unless the negotiations time out (so always go for the early sway) or the same-space rule (depending on the interpretation) cancels a sway one side but not the other.

5) There's no cost of opportunity in the negotiating taker using a spot. Without a spot he gets 0 or 1 sway and with a spot he gets 1 or 2. Time isn't an issue (if you're running a scam then there must be a next round) so the only difference is whether the bonus sway will be lost because of the same-space rule.

I might just have to hope my players don't analyse the crap out of it like I do with every system!

Good questions! I'll do my best to answer them, speking of my own experience with the game, not in any official capacity.

1. There are two spaces between them, and this situation is not explicitly described in the rules. The way I would do it: First the Red uses 1 Sway to move down to Hazard Pay, and then the remaining 1 Red Sway negates the 1 Black Sway. So Black would stay at At Value, and the Red would move down to Hazard Pay.

2. Yes, there are potentially long-term benefits to gaining Spots. It can be a little hard to keep track of these things, so I don't think we've ever really used that in my groups. Normally, the automatic 1 Sway is what the Client loses by choosing to gain a Spot on the Takers' negotiator. It's true that they could just push 1 every round and never change, but that would be a little boring. Having different choices available to the Client varies up the roleplaying, even if they're mechanically equivalent. And if the Taker fails some die rolls, dramatic swings in negotiation can be really exciting.

3. I think you might have misunderstood the rule here. The Taker doesn't give up their chance at gaining Sway by trying to negate the Client's use of a spot. So for example, if I'm the Taker and we're heads up, if the Client uses a spot on me, I make two rolls: a Self Control roll to try to negate their use of my spot, and then a CHA skill roll of my choice to try to gain my Sway for the round (which could be 1 or 2, if I'm also trying to use one of their spots in the same round). If I fail on both rolls, then they'll have 2 Sway and I'll have none. If I succeed on the first one and fail on the second, they'll still have 1 Sway to push me down.

It's "the extra sway that actually move the dice" in the sense that if both sides have the same amount of Sway, nobody moves from Heads Up. Both the Takers and the Client need to have more Sway than the other. If I fail my CHA check to gain my Sway, the Client will always push me downwith their automatic 1 (unless they're gaining a spot instead). I hope that makes sense.

4. It's true that it doesn't really matter when you get your Sway advantages, unless you're running out of rounds (or if you messed up your initial roll and don't know how many rounds you have!). It is in fact better to push as hard as you can as early as you can, instead of trying to save spots for later. Keep in mind that you don't have to choose between using a spot and protecting your own spots. You should always do both whenever you can.

5. As for other scams: it is possible to run out of spots before you run out of scams. If you have 5 rounds and 4 scammers, if everybody succeeds you will have more scams than spots. Generally speaking, it's true that gaining spots is the most valuable use of any scam, until you have them all.

Finally, I think the core thing to understand about Negotiations is that it's not meant to be a really deep, meticulously-designed strategy game. It's meant to prompt good roleplaying. Make sure your players understand this. That's why you can roll different CHA skills, even if there's no mechanical difference from doing so. It represents different types of approaches that you can roleplay differently. The same thing goes for different overall strategies that have basically the same mechanical outcome: you can use those choices to express your character's personality, not just to optimize the outcome.

I hope this helps!
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LordSkys

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Re: Queries on Negotiations
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2019, 09:18:09 PM »
+1 bounty to Freebird for explaining what I couldn't
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall" - Confucius

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