Chapter 22: Negotiation

Negotiation is the only game system which appears to be replacing role-playing. Negotiation should not be used to replace interactions between personas and referee personas. The negotiation system should be used by the referee to assist making a decision for a referee persona where one hasn’t already been predetermined. The referee cannot think like all beings at all times, and negotiation rolls replace such thought processes. The negotiation tables give results for conversations between the expedition and intelligent aliens, civilians, or mad robots. Negotiation rolls bring some essential randomness into scenarios. If refs are forced to continually improvise, their own personality will invade all the personas that they play, and their actions will become predictable. Negotiation does not apply to detailed scenarios where reactions are predetermined like: ambushes, pirate raids, muggings, or starving aliens.

Like dude. It's totally cool. Yah.
Like dude. It’s totally cool. Yah.

Pre-Negotiations

An initial percentile roll (d100) can be made on the negotiation table when the referee personas are sizing up the expedition. This pre-greeting roll consists of judging the smell of the expedition, the numbers of the expedition, and the body language of the expedition members. This roll could set up the mood of the greetings, and may affect subsequent negotiation rolls. The pre-greeting decisions are made as the two expeditions approach each other. There may be actual air sniffing and staring going on, but most of the preliminary actions are entirely unconscious. The pre-greeting roll is determined almost entirely on first impression.

Once conversation begins the referee may make another negotiation roll to determine how the RPs will respond or act. The result of the d100 roll may lead to a reaction that varies from openly helpful, to lethally violent. The higher the d100 roll the better the negotiation result is for the expedition. The referee should moderate these reactions with her common sense: no random die roll system can accurately replace role-playing parley, but it can help. Do not use the negotiation tables too literally. The referee should adjust the reactions with what little common sense she has left.

Social Negotiations

Not all failed negotiation results in violence. Obviously a merchant isn’t going to attack a persona that walks into her shop. A shopkeeper’s tone may vary from openly helpful to belligerent, but combat with a customer would be an impossibility. When combat should not be a possible outcome of negotiation, use Table 22.1, Administrative Negotiation.

Typical situations requiring a roll on the Social Negotiations Table would be: dealing with a receptionist; getting a traffic ticket; or enquiring with a shopping store clerk. The results may have varying degrees of bureaucratic annoyance, but no violence. If the referee is trying to pull a fast one on the expedition, and is attempting to turn a seemingly harmless situation into a violent one, a properly prepared scenario should be used.

Let’s consider a persona who goes to buy a loaf of krenoj at the local krenojeri. This is not a potentially lethal encounter, so Table 22.1: Social Negotiations is used. The cashier at the krenojeri is a quiet, conservative avarian woman. The persona buying the krenoj is a flamboyant, exotically dressed feline fellow (11 CHA). The unadjusted pre-greeting roll is 42. Looking directly on the table would indicate that the cashier is going to treat the customer in a perfectly functional manner, however there are adjustments. The feline’s CHA is added to the roll, making it 53. This is still functional. The two personas obviously have conflicting personalities, so a penalty of -5 reduces the roll to 48. In the pre-greeting roll the primal instincts of the avarian take over, and the anthro type penalty (avarians hate felines) of -20 reduces the roll further, to 28. The final result of the pre-greeting roll is ‘bad vibes’. The cashier expresses this feeling by serving someone else, out of queue, and ahead of the feline.

When the feline speaks up, expecting to be served, the second  negotiation roll, the action roll is made. The ref rolls an 18 (ooh that’s bad) for her avarian persona. The total penalty of -14 still applies, but an additional penalty of -15 for `bad vibes’ on last roll increases the penalties to a total of-29. The final adjusted negotiation roll is -11. This indicates ‘look out’ for trouble on the Social Negotiations Table.

The worst possible course of action will usually be taken by the RP at this time. The avarian clerk then plunks a sign under the nose of the feline stating ‘gone for lunch’, and she strides to the back of the krenojeri. This is infuriating, but not violent, and the same system can apply to traffic cops, holo-movie ushers, pets, salespeople, etc.

Table 22.1 Social Negotiations

This roll impacts the nature of random social encounters.
Die Roll (1d100)Social Result
Die Roll (1d100)Social Result
< 9Trouble!; Cheat, steal
10-29Bad Vibes; belligerant
30-39Below Functional; slooow
40-59Functional
60-79Above Functional
80-94Good Vibes
> 95Openly Helpful

Example Adjustments for Social Negotiations

A non-exhaustive list of what can make a negotiation go better or worse.
Table EffectDie Roll Adjustment
Table EffectDie Roll Adjustment
Anthro Type, Animosity-10
Anthro Type, Hated-20
Anthro Type, Preferred+10
Bribery+1 per 100 eps (max +10)
Charisma < 0Add double CHA
Charisma 0-16Add CHA
Charisma > 16Add double CHA
Matching Pesonalities+5
Matching Fashion Sense+5
Pre Neg Roll, >80+10
Pre Neg Roll, <20-10
studiostoks stock illustration. modified HM
Negotiation failure.

Combat Negotiation

The Combative Negotiation Table is used for encounters which could result in combat. Examples would include when the expedition meets a herd of intelligent animals in the wilderness; when the expedition collides with a group of drunken revellers: or when the expedition comes across another foraging expedition. Any of these situations could require the referee, or player designate, to roll a d100 against the Combative Negotiation Table. If the referee has an encounter properly prepared the negotiation tables should not be used. 

Two human expeditions come across each other while looting an ancient ruin for high technology. The persona expedition was trying to open a jammed door, and didn’t notice the approaching expedition. The referee expedition didn’t try to ambush the personas, so the personas send their eloquent spokeswoman out to meet the group. Her CHA is 17, and she steps towards the apparent leader of the other group. The pre-greeting die roll is adjusted by +10% for a preferred anthro type (humanoid to humanoid), and +34% for CHA (CHA > 16 is added twice). The pre-greeting die roll of 55 is adjusted to 99, which indicates ‘give full assistance’. The new found referee personas may help open the jammed door. 

Table 22.2 Combat Negotiations

High stakes dangerous negotiations between armed and dangerous personas.
Die Roll (1d100)Combat Result
Die Roll (1d100)Combat Result
< 9Attack Immediately
10-29Bad Intentions Harbored
30-39Impolite; Openly Cautious
40-59Cautious
60-79Polite; Cautious
80-94Good Intentions
> 95Offer Assistance

Example Adjustments for Combat Negotiation

Elements that can avoid or incite a combat encounter.
Table EffectDie Roll Adjustment
Table EffectDie Roll Adjustment
Anthro Type, Animosity-5
Anthro Type, Hated-10
Anthro Type, Preferred+5
Bribery+1 per 200 eps (max +5)
Charisma < 0Add CHA
Charisma 0-16No effect
Charisma > 16Add CHA
Matching Pesonalities+5
Matching Fashion Sense+5
Pre Neg Roll, >80+10
Pre Neg Roll, <20-5