“Unlike the pathetically meager stat systems of most modern mainstream RPGs, Age of Decadence has almost as many base metrics relating to conversational abilities as combat abilities. There is “persuasiveness,” “etiquette,” “streetwise,” “trading,” “lore,” and “impersonate,” all of which are amplified or diminished by “charisma” and potentially “intelligence.” I had no idea which of these attributes would be more useful than the other for my Petyr Baelish character so I evenly distributed my available “civil points” between them.
I actually think this variety of speech techniques is really damn cool. After all, there are many ways to be a persuasive person. Individuals can be naturally authoritative, friendly, empathetic, alluring, or any combination of the above and can use their own manner of speech to convince others to see the world in their way. No one actually operates like a Fallout 3 character with Level 10 charisma and 100 Speech points, being able to magically change anyone’s mind about absolutely anything with a handful of words. Not only does AoD recognize this reality, but it even gives you the ability to construct your own specialized Petyr Baelish asshole to manipulate everyone around you. Maybe you’d rather be a down-to-earth cynic who uses street smarts, or a refined gentlemen with a strong grasp of the in-game universe’s history and cultural norms, or even a con man (one of the starting classes is “grifter”) who Frank Abagnales his way through the story on a train of lies.
Even better, speech checks are often predicated upon two stats, thereby adding a realistic and dynamic flare to conversations. For instance, if my “streetwise” is high, I can often convince other characters to listen to my advice with my “tell-it-as-it-is” attitude, but if a speech check pairs “streetwise” with “lore,” I may fail the check because my character comes off as an uncultured manipulator. With reverse stats, I would appear to be an aloof, Ivory Tower intellectual detached from the real world, and thereby be equally non-persuasive…”
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