Merging networking and rep

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Decimator Decimator's picture
Merging networking and rep

I strongly disagree with merging networking and rep. The merge prevents Spy-type characters. It is now impossible to simulate a character who specializes in talking to the right people, without also making them highly visible. Skill in working social networks and possessing high social standing are not the same thing, and should not be be treated as such. I do not think streamlining is worth the loss of this entire character type, especially in a game that focuses on covert operations.

There may be a better way to simulate this sort of character than the former rules, but the current playtest can't do so at all. Even a skill like Interest: social networks at 80 only gets a character to +30 on such checks, which isn't nearly enough.

Grim G Grim G's picture
Decimator wrote:I strongly

Decimator wrote:
I strongly disagree with merging networking and rep. The merge prevents Spy-type characters. It is now impossible to simulate a character who specializes in talking to the right people, without also making them highly visible. Skill in working social networks and possessing high social standing are not the same thing, and should not be be treated as such. I do not think streamlining is worth the loss of this entire character type, especially in a game that focuses on covert operations.

There may be a better way to simulate this sort of character than the former rules, but the current playtest can't do so at all. Even a skill like Interest: social networks at 80 only gets a character to +30 on such checks, which isn't nearly enough.


You have a point, Rep on paper would be a currency rather than a skill, but I do see some use for it. I haven't done the play testing, so I don't necessarily understand the situation as much as you would.
bblonski bblonski's picture
i-rep

Decimator wrote:
The merge prevents Spy-type characters. It is now impossible to simulate a character who specializes in talking to the right people, without also making them highly visible.

Isn't that what i-rep is for? The right people would be people who are aware of i-rep and can check it, but it would be hidden from most others. You could create new rep networks for other spy networks, like the Jovians or OZMA.

Otherwise you could have a "first impression" check when not revealing your identity that could just be a SAVx3 check.

eaton eaton's picture
[quick]I strongly disagree

Quote:
I strongly disagree with merging networking and rep. The merge prevents Spy-type characters. It is now impossible to simulate a character who specializes in talking to the right people, without also making them highly visible.

I'd argue that research, persuasion, and deception are what's really going on when a "spy" character works their sources. This is one of the reasons that Research tests versus Networking tests were always a little bit of an odd mix in EP1. Research was what you used if you were relying on *information*, while Networking was what you used if you were relying on *personal connections and reputation*.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
eaton wrote:

eaton wrote:

I'd argue that research, persuasion, and deception are what's really going on when a "spy" character works their sources. This is one of the reasons that Research tests versus Networking tests were always a little bit of an odd mix in EP1. Research was what you used if you were relying on *information*, while Networking was what you used if you were relying on *personal connections and reputation*.

I was going to support OP in his doubts, but this^ seems to be a better option.

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TheGrue TheGrue's picture
eaton wrote:[quick]I strongly

eaton wrote:
[quick]I strongly disagree with merging networking and rep. The merge prevents Spy-type characters. It is now impossible to simulate a character who specializes in talking to the right people, without also making them highly visible.[/quick]

I'd argue that research, persuasion, and deception are what's really going on when a "spy" character works their sources. This is one of the reasons that Research tests versus Networking tests were always a little bit of an odd mix in EP1. Research was what you used if you were relying on *information*, while Networking was what you used if you were relying on *personal connections and reputation*.

I'd agree. Furthermore, as a GM I'd even let a 2E character use Research, or Interest, or Profession as a complimentary skill on Rep checks in such a case.

I don't see a problem here.

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Theliel Theliel's picture
Agree

Honestly I can't really see the point of Profession otherwise. It should include SOP's, contacts & general information about what you do and how you do it and who would know.

Example Profession: Flight Crew vs. @-rep -
You're on an Titianian hab, need to find a flightplan - @-rep means you throw up a Travelocity flag for "hey, I need to know x, how lookup?" while Profession: Flight Crew means you know to talk to the harbormaster & that records are technically open. You may need to do an actual favour, or barter in exchange of favours.

eaton eaton's picture
It's amazing the things a

It's amazing the things a creative player can figure out with Profession: Habitat Maintenance and Profession: Dockworker.

Decivre Decivre's picture
Decimator wrote:It is now

Decimator wrote:
It is now impossible to simulate a character who specializes in talking to the right people, without also making them highly visible.

If you have access to the right people, then you're also visible to them. That visibility is represented by your rep.

It's fine. Spies form networks with their cover, which would be represented by your False ID's rep scores.

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Theliel Theliel's picture
Decivre wrote:Decimator wrote

Decivre wrote:
Decimator wrote:
It is now impossible to simulate a character who specializes in talking to the right people, without also making them highly visible.

If you have access to the right people, then you're also visible to them. That visibility is represented by your rep.

It's fine. Spies form networks with their cover, which would be represented by your False ID's rep scores.

As a wise man once told me, "it's not who you know, it's who knows you" - Rep is all about "who knows you" - who's willing to pickup that phone call, answer that text, hook you up with the sweet W@|2z when you post at 2am in need of a crack for your favorite game.
Who you know is immaterial if you call them & get shunted to their muse's spam folder.

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
eaton wrote:It's amazing the

eaton wrote:
It's amazing the things a creative player can figure out with Profession: Habitat Maintenance and Profession: Dockworker.

No. What you're letting creative players figure out with Profession: Habitat Maintenance and Profession: Dockworker is amazing. There's a distinction. In terms of the actual rules, there's nothing about Profession: Habitat Maintenance or Dockworker that make them particularly useful. The only reason they're useful in your game is because you decide to let it be.

@-rep +2
C-rep +1

Theliel Theliel's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:eaton wrote:It

LatwPIAT wrote:
eaton wrote:
It's amazing the things a creative player can figure out with Profession: Habitat Maintenance and Profession: Dockworker.

No. What you're letting creative players figure out with Profession: Habitat Maintenance and Profession: Dockworker is amazing. There's a distinction. In terms of the actual rules, there's nothing about Profession: Habitat Maintenance or Dockworker that make them particularly useful. The only reason they're useful in your game is because you decide to let it be.

If a skill isn't useful, why is it in the game? Literally why is it taking up space in the rules, on that paper, that could be spent on something that is useful?

eaton eaton's picture
Quote: No. What you're

Quote:
No. What you're letting creative players figure out with Profession: Habitat Maintenance and Profession: Dockworker is amazing. There's a distinction.

That… is pretty much how all non-combat skills work in Eclipse Phase.

Quote:
In terms of the actual rules, there's nothing about Profession: Habitat Maintenance or Dockworker that make them particularly useful. The only reason they're useful in your game is because you decide to let it be.

It'd be a dick move as a GM if my player — who invested in Profession skills during chargen and has roleplayed them reasonably for a three year long campaign — wasn't allowed to use them because I arbitrarily discarded the core book's own instructions on how to use knowledge skills.

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
Theliel wrote:If a skill isn

Theliel wrote:
If a skill isn't useful, why is it in the game? Literally why is it taking up space in the rules, on that paper, that could be spent on something that is useful?

I often ask this myself!

eaton wrote:
It'd be a dick move as a GM if my player — who invested in Profession skills during chargen and has roleplayed them reasonably for a three year long campaign — wasn't allowed to use them because I arbitrarily discarded the core book's own instructions on how to use knowledge skills.

The core book's instructions on how to use Knowledge skills are ultimately just a very convoluted way of saying "eh just make something up I guess". I'm not saying you were wrong to let the player do amazing things with Profession: Dockworker, I'm saying that Profession: Dockworker only has the potential to be amazing because you, as the GM, let it have the potential to be amazing.

@-rep +2
C-rep +1

Theliel Theliel's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:

LatwPIAT wrote:

The core book's instructions on how to use Knowledge skills are ultimately just a very convoluted way of saying "eh just make something up I guess". I'm not saying you were wrong to let the player do amazing things with Profession: Dockworker, I'm saying that Profession: Dockworker only has the potential to be amazing because you, as the GM, let it have the potential to be amazing.

Ok. Different argument then. Totally in agreement. Profession needs to have a better description with concrete examples of use.

As a replacement for networking combined with knowledge on a topic it is approaching worth keeping in the game, or at least serves a specific purpose in play.

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
I'd be please to have just

I'd be please to have just one networking check in general. It says something different then have indivual networking checks.

In E1, Your Rep was your Standing and Visability. If you had high enough rep, you were a defacto celebrity in that circle. Which can be a fun hinderence. Simply having standing, doesn't give you stuff from it.

Thats what Networking for. You understood where the best place to ask, how to ask, and whom to ask. This ability and knowledge is indepndent to your standing.

With just a Social Rep score, then it changes the representation of it in character. Instead of you going after stuff you want, its now folks giving you stuff you want. Brown nosers trying to get rep tips for giving you the best Yes Man service.

Now when I have a low standing in E2, all that stuff is gated. When I have a 20 rep and I get something I want, its not from wheeling and dealing. Its from pity or charity.

And now there is no real clear adjuct of syngery from a knowledge skill to a social rep test. There no clear IC relationship now.

And the attempt at removing Networking, was to reduce skill bloat. Fine. But now you're just incentiving face characters to get, much more expensive Networking Skills. Except they arent called Networking. They're called; Interest: G Rep Social Test Buff ect ect. I get to spend way more points for way less of a utility.

With how CG works now, I can have 3 shitty reps, or two okay reps, or one good rep and worthless rep. I can buy in more Rep, or I can buy in more skills.

At this point, it seems to be more like a free stuff button, then interacting witht he world. And it should just be nother pool. Every session you get two favor points. And then you spend a moxie for nother favor point.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
MrWigggles wrote:I'd be

MrWigggles wrote:
I'd be please to have just one networking check in general. It says something different then have indivual networking checks.

In E1, Your Rep was your Standing and Visability. If you had high enough rep, you were a defacto celebrity in that circle. Which can be a fun hinderence. Simply having standing, doesn't give you stuff from it.

Thats what Networking for. You understood where the best place to ask, how to ask, and whom to ask. This ability and knowledge is indepndent to your standing.

With just a Social Rep score, then it changes the representation of it in character. Instead of you going after stuff you want, its now folks giving you stuff you want. Brown nosers trying to get rep tips for giving you the best Yes Man service.

Now when I have a low standing in E2, all that stuff is gated. When I have a 20 rep and I get something I want, its not from wheeling and dealing. Its from pity or charity.

And now there is no real clear adjuct of syngery from a knowledge skill to a social rep test. There no clear IC relationship now.

And the attempt at removing Networking, was to reduce skill bloat. Fine. But now you're just incentiving face characters to get, much more expensive Networking Skills. Except they arent called Networking. They're called; Interest: G Rep Social Test Buff ect ect. I get to spend way more points for way less of a utility.

With how CG works now, I can have 3 shitty reps, or two okay reps, or one good rep and worthless rep. I can buy in more Rep, or I can buy in more skills.

At this point, it seems to be more like a free stuff button, then interacting witht he world. And it should just be nother pool. Every session you get two favor points. And then you spend a moxie for nother favor point.

So if I read you right, you're suggesting having one Networking (SAV) skill, and then that one skill represents how good you are at extracting favors from your rep network without damaging it?

I can see the appeal of it, but do try to consider the In-play upshots of having a single score for each Rep. It means that with a single roll, you can quickly decide if you're able to get hold of a given item, and then the Complexity of that item defines how long you will need to wait before you're able to safely tap into that network again. One roll, and noting down how much in-game time needs to pass before the cooldown expires.

Compare this to the 1st edition structure of deciding what you need, checking a table to fetch the modifer, and then rolling the appropriate skill. 2nd edition has something of an "ease at the table" edge. granted, checking one table isn't gravely onerous, so you idea is interesting, though it seems like it's a bit of a "must have" skill for most characters.

A slight smell of ions....

eaton eaton's picture
MrWigggles wrote: In E1, Your

MrWigggles wrote:
In E1, Your Rep was your Standing and Visability. If you had high enough rep, you were a defacto celebrity in that circle. Which can be a fun hinderence. Simply having standing, doesn't give you stuff from it.

Now when I have a low standing in E2, all that stuff is gated. When I have a 20 rep and I get something I want, its not from wheeling and dealing. Its from pity or charity.

…Or research, persuasion, related knowledge skills that let you "work" a dealer more effectively, or the offer to perform you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours favors in exchange for what you want. YMMV, but my group found that stuff much more intuitive to figure out (and manageable from a character-concept perspective) than "Network-Specific Networking Skill + Network-Specific Rep Score".

MrWiggles wrote:
And now there is no real clear adjuct of syngery from a knowledge skill to a social rep test. There no clear IC relationship now.

Eh, I'd disagree. Weirdly, I think Networking was a really bad mechanism because it collapsed what IMO should be research + social persuasion + situational knowledge into a single stat that only applied when talking to people about getting stuff.

MrWiggles wrote:
And the attempt at removing Networking, was to reduce skill bloat. Fine. But now you're just incentiving face characters to get, much more expensive Networking Skills. Except they arent called Networking. They're called; Interest: G Rep Social Test Buff ect ect. I get to spend way more points for way less of a utility.

I get the "knowing how to work the network" versus "notoriety on the network" distinction, but I think you're also short-selling the nuance of the system quite a bit — "Interest: [Network]" isn't the only way to boost things.

About a year and a half ago I switched my gaming group over to a "No Networking skill, just rep" house rule that worked exactly like the EP2 rep/networking system. The players range from total tabletop newbs, to old RIFTS players comfortable with stupid-crunchy simulation, to experienced D&D folks who wanted to dive into EP's universe. Some hand-built characters with point buy, some used pregens, and a couple used Transhuman's Lifepath (a daring move, lemme tell you).

I explained that they could rely on straight rep-based networking tests when getting information, calling in favors, etc — but that they could also use related professions and interests, connections with particular NPCs, and social softening like Persuasion as complimentary skills or in longer extended RP attempts to secure what they wanted.

The reaction, both initially and over the following year or so of gameplay, was universally positive. The old system *very* frequently resulted in high rep/low networking, high networking/low rep scenarios for the players, and that made for deeply frustrating counter-intuitive results for many interactions. That may be exacerbated by early chargen choices in the group I was running, but I don't think it was that unique.

Decimator Decimator's picture
Here's the character I'm

Here's the character I'm currently playing in EP1 games. This specific character is what I'm personally concerned about. He has some sort of ego damage that would confine him to a wheelchair if he weren't running an eidolon. He may or may not have had his head cut off by a headhunter during the fall. That might just be an angry lie to get a former Jovian off his case.

"Walter" typically operates by distributing himself across local devices, compromising them as necessary. He steals the identities of low-rep nobodies, and uses his extreme networking skill to get what he wants despite the penalty, all on somebody else's reputation or literal dime.

How do I create my Faceless Face in EP2?



"Walter"
Background: Re-Instantiated
Faction: Criminal
Morph: Sage
Actual Age: 72
Motivations: -Authority, +Wealth, +Exploitation

Aptitudes: base and (modified)
COG: 30 (40)
COO: 5
INT: 5
REF: 5
SAV: 35 (40)
SOM: 1
WIL: 24

I-Rep: 50

Ego Traits:
Edited Memories
Exceptional Aptitude (SAV)
Right at Home (Sage)
Social Butterfly
Feeble (SOM)
Morphing Disorder 3

Academics: Computer Science: 61
Academics: Memetics: 52
Deception: 80
Impersonation: 80
Infosec: 80
Interest: Underworld Who's who: 61
Interest: Blackmail: 61
Interest: Exploits: 61
Interest: Hypercorp Politics: 61
Interest: Triad Economics: 61
Interest: Human Terrain: 61
Interfacing: 80
Intimidation: 80
Kinesics: 80
Language Mandarin: 75
Networking Autonomists: 80
Networking Criminals: 80
Networking Ecologists: 80
Networking Firewall: 40
Networking Hypercorps: 80
Networking Media: 80
Networking Scientists: 80
Networking Gatecrasheres: 40
Networking Ultimates: 40
Persuasion: 80
Profession: Con Schemes: 61
Profession: Identity Theft: 61
Profession: Social Engineering: 61
Profession: Police Procedures: 61
Profession: Banking: 61
Profession: Smuggling Tricks: 61
Programming: 70
Protocol: 40
Research: 40

Muse: Ruby the Redback
Knowledge skills:
Academics: Nanotechnology
Profession: Forensics
Academics: Economics

eaton eaton's picture
Interesting — I like that

Interesting — I like that character a lot, and it's a cool concept. I'm not sure Walter would suffer much, though, given the skills I'd rule were relevant if I were GMing.

- Deception with complimentary Profession: Identity Theft would give you an effective 100+ on posing as the person.
- Persuade or Provoke with Profession: Con Schemes or Profession: Social Engineering would give you an effective 100+ on convincing the targets in question that they should toooootally let you burn your rep/trade favors/etc. for a better deal than you'd normally get.
- Rep-based networking roll (let's say 20 for the stolen ID's passable rep) + bonuses from the deal-making (let's say 20) + bonuses from burning the stolen identity's rep (not sure how that'll work out until the rules drop, let's say +20) to seal the deal

The end result is a little more dependent on the rep of the individual whose identity was stolen than Walter's current setup, but it doesn't lean on any Network-specific interests or professions either, just the Con Schemes and Social Engineering experience. Having some faction-specific background knowledge skills that compliment this particular setup could stack a complimentary skill bonuses that would seem to match the effectiveness of Walter's current setup.

Again — I'm not sure you'd like the answer, but it's an interesting exercise for me to think through how I'd do it in my own current campaign, which uses the house-ruled "roll against rep" approach…

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Decimator wrote:

Decimator wrote:


"Walter"
Background: Re-Instantiated
Faction: Criminal
Morph: Sage
Actual Age: 72
Motivations: -Authority, +Wealth, +Exploitation

Aptitudes: base and (modified)
COG: 30 (40)
COO: 5
INT: 5
REF: 5
SAV: 35 (40)
SOM: 1
WIL: 24

I-Rep: 50

Ego Traits:
Edited Memories
Exceptional Aptitude (SAV)
Right at Home (Sage)
Social Butterfly
Feeble (SOM)
Morphing Disorder 3

WOW just wow. And I thought I was a power-gamer. I will show this to my GM and say: "You could have gotten this guy..."

EDIT:

Also do you realise that this guy destroys the security of social networks (or illusion thereof) painting big red target on his back, ready to be shot by anyone that is interested in public trust and stability? This charactrer is not a guy who robs banks. He is the man that threatens to bomb the stock exchange.

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Kojak Kojak's picture
Fuckin' genius, dude. I wish

Fuckin' genius, dude. I wish my players had come up with something like this, I'd totally let them run with it.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

Decimator Decimator's picture
CordialUltimate2 wrote:WOW

CordialUltimate2 wrote:
WOW just wow. And I thought I was a power-gamer. I will show this to my GM and say: "You could have gotten this guy..."

EDIT:

Also do you realise that this guy destroys the security of social networks (or illusion thereof) painting big red target on his back, ready to be shot by anyone that is interested in public trust and stability? This charactrer is not a guy who robs banks. He is the man that threatens to bomb the stock exchange.

Nah, there's no profit in bombing stock exchanges. He'd be skimming off the top.

Kojak wrote:
Fuckin' genius, dude. I wish my players had come up with something like this, I'd totally let them run with it.

He's a joy to play!