Question about the social combat system

So I was talk to a guy I know online and he has a question about the psychological aspect of Social Conflict in STA. Here is what he posted.

" Unlike Infinity where Psywar is almost equal to Infowar and Physical conflict in having rules support, Star Trek has just physical conflict being supported with rules.

Which when you look at the classic Star Trek episode Day of the Dove leads to the conclusion that something is missing. I mean I can see where the Dove is spending Threat to increase Chekov’s Intransigence to prevent him following Kirk’s orders in that one. Or where he uses Intimidate(by knocking Checkov out) to gain access to Mara’s dyadic link to Kang. But that’s the Infinity version of 2d20. STA doesn’t have Intransigence values or dyadic links or examples of how to set social difficulties or the One Metanoia Conversation or Social maps.

That is beyond the Psywar chapter being easier to actually read even if it isn’t particularly easy to understand.

In Infinity the rules tell me which skills to use when a Courtesan of the Vermilion Bird attempts to seduce Team Leader Church to decoy him away from his investigation (Its a Seduce Technique so she roles Persuade with an Intransigence of 3 or 4 depending on her importance to the plot, it isn’t sincere so he gets Psychology as a defense and has an Intransigence of 4 since he’s a PC/elite)

STA is rather less helpful for when a Green Orion tries to seduce Kirk. Whom Gods Destroy is also a very social combat heavy episode."

So what is the answer to this?

I have never dealt with the Infinity system, so most of that question looks like gibberish to me. However, using the example of the Orion seducing Kirk, that would be a Persuade task in STA Social Conflict.

Here is how I would work that: I would base a female Orion’s pheromones off of the Deltan Pheromones talent, DELTAN PHEROMONES
The character excretes a natural aphrodisiac pheromone. Whenever they attempt a Task using Presence to influence an attracted creature, they gain one bonus d20. However, they also increase their Complication Range by 2, as the effect can be distracting or lead to unwanted consequences. This talent can be switched off, losing both the bonus and the drawback, by applying chemical suppressants.

The Orion would roll a Presence + Command task, and the target would attempt to resist with a Control or Presence + Command or Security task. Set the difficulty of the task for each based off of the situation, although most likely 1 or 2. Whichever one of them scores the most successes wins.

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If she’s just trying to seduce him, I agree with Command and presence.

If she’s trying to convince him of the rightness of her analysis over someone else’s, probably the relevant discipline for the evidence, rather than command.

If she’s trying to claim credit for someone else’s work, I’ve no bloody clue…

The decision to use disciplines instead of more discrete and clearer skills really muddles the issue of social conflict. I would say that I have been considering mental/social stress on Command+Presence.

I’ll note that TNG adventure Fading Sun has a different trait for the orion woman. One that explicitly says 1d20, more with extended exposure (maximum 3d20), and a Complication Range +1 for females of other affected species on tasks due to a headache.
(yeah, I just ran it again 2 nights ago.) It provides no better guidance on which atts/disciplines to use, tho’.

Another case of “rewriting the already published”… tho’ that adventure was during playtest.

I disagree with that comment. True, having skills like Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate would be clear for those specific situations, you’d end up with a bunch of skills that you may or may not ever use and not enough points to spread between them. Using fewer skills with a narrative of how you are trying to accomplish something as the main focus is an interesting and somewhat different approach to take, and most actions are fairly straight-forward on which discipline to use.

As for the Orion trait, I forgot about that one, and that could also work. It depends on which way the gamemaster wanted to take it for the Orion pheromones. After being reminded of that, I would actually combine the two. (Give the Orion the increased complication as well. +2 for 1 bonus D20, +3 for 2 bonus D20, +4 for 3 bonus D20.)

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For many social interactions, I usually have it be a simple contest using some combination of Presence+ vs Reason/Control + Command/Security, Whoever scores earns the most successes/momentum wins.

For matters which fall into simple negotiations - getting permission to enter an area normally restricted as an example, then I handle similar to a physical conflict, Reason+Command representing each participants Resolve - social stress.

Long term negotiations usually fall into the realm of being Extended Tasks for me. These don’t happen often, but can be very entertaining, as negotiations stop when break throughs or set backs occur.

Much of how I handle social conflicts is guided by the Intrigue Rules created for the Song of Fire and Ice RPG (Game of Thrones) released by Green Ronin. A very well thought out and presented system as clearly explained as their combat rules.