Social Rules in RPGs

Role playing games (especially these days) tout 3 main ideas: Social encounters, exploration, and combat. Large sections of game books are devoted to combat rules, and what makes combat in this game better and/or easier. Key locations are fleshed out for player characters to explore: dungeons, towns, and wilderness. That leaves the final idea, the one I hear the most people complain about: social rules and a frequent lack thereof.

The reason there aren't as many social rules for D&D (an other similar RPGs) is that most players just ignore the rules in favor of their own social skills. Your character has a Charisma, Fellowship, or Leadership score? Who cares?! Players just sit down and act however they want instead of playing to their characters social abilities and social skills.  They play as smart as they want to be, as wise as they want to be, and as smooth tongued as they want to be.

And most GMs allow this.


Phil Dutré said…
I once had an opposite discussion (about 20 years ago), about rules in LARP games. Combat is using your real pysical skills, but intelligence-based activities (such as casting spells) were per the rulebook. I argued that you should give more spells to players depending on an IQ test, or math puzzles they could solve, or even real-life education. The funny response was "But then a dumb person can never play a high-level wizard!"

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