Author Topic: When to use Manipulate  (Read 7105 times)

bankuei

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2011, 04:35:06 AM »
With PCs, I don't need leverage so it doesn't come up, right? I make my roll, they get the carrot or the stick, and any leverage I have is just gravy, so it never really needs to be decided "officially" whether something is leverage or not.

I mean, when it's PC vs. PC and you're trying to figure out when to make it a Move or not.

Chris

ctrail

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2011, 04:51:49 AM »
I mean, when it's PC vs. PC and you're trying to figure out when to make it a Move or not.

Chris
Yeah, I was under the impression that you didn't need leverage when it's PC vs PC, so you don't need that to figure out whether to make a move or not. You use leverage to decide whether to make it a move or not when it's an NPC, I'm not sure what not requiring leverage for PCs would mean other than that you don't need leverage to make the roll.

In the example of two PCs on pg. 198 of the rules, Keeler just wants Bran to like her, and hits a 7 so she can offer him an experience. No mention of any kind of leverage. Maybe it just got left out of the example, but there is a thread somewhere where Vincent clarifies, maybe I can dig that up.

Edit: Found it!
For PCs, you don't need leverage. You get the carrot & stick instead.
This gave me the impression that manipulation with PCs is a whole different beast.

bankuei

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2011, 05:06:52 AM »
That's what I mean- if the players aren't sure if it's manipulation, you're looking to see if one of them pauses and is considering it, even for a half-beat- if so, call it as time to roll.

Chris

noclue

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2011, 05:14:54 AM »
Would you say "I'll let you drive my car if you fix it up for free" could ever count as manipulation?
Here's how that could be a manipulation. You need the car, bad. I want the car fixed, but fixing it is going to be a bitch. You wouldn't take this trade, but I've got you by the short and curlies. "I'll let you drive my car, if you fix it up for free" just became social violence.

If it's just a barter of car for service, it's just a negotiation. It's not manipulative.

In the example of two PCs on pg. 198 of the rules, Keeler just wants Bran to like her, and hits a 7 so she can offer him an experience.

In the fiction, the character is not doing it for the experience point. The character is being manipulated. The player is getting the XP for going along with it.





« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 05:19:25 AM by noclue »
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

ctrail

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2011, 05:31:22 AM »
Here's how that could be a manipulation. You need the car, bad. I want the car fixed, but fixing it is going to be a bitch. You wouldn't take this trade, but I've got you by the short and curlies. "I'll let you drive my car, if you fix it up for free" just became social violence.

If it's just a barter of car for service, it's just a negotiation. It's not manipulative.
I'm not sure why negotiation can't be a form of manipulation, if it's not clear whether the barter is sufficient or not. I want my car fixed, I know you've always wanted to drive it, so that's leverage. Why do you need to be really desperate? Can't you tempt someone with something they want without doing violence to them?
Is seduction also a form of social violence?

In the example of two PCs on pg. 198 of the rules, Keeler just wants Bran to like her, and hits a 7 so she can offer him an experience.

In the fiction, the character is not doing it for the experience point. The character is being manipulated. The player is getting the XP for going along with it.
Oh yeah, of course the character in the fiction doesn't get experience, experience doesn't exist in the fiction. I was being a little sloppy with my language. But maybe it's worth clarifying what is happening in the fiction. My impression was that Hot characters are persuasive and they can make it appealing to do what they want, you aren't necessarily holding anything over them. Otherwise what does it mean for leverage not to be necessary, right?


That's what I mean- if the players aren't sure if it's manipulation, you're looking to see if one of them pauses and is considering it, even for a half-beat- if so, call it as time to roll.

Chris
Oh, I think I gotcha now. Two PCs are just talking, one mentions something that might be leverage, the other pauses for a moment, so as MC you call for a manipulation roll. But they could also call for the roll, with or without manipulation, right?

ctrail

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2011, 06:08:42 AM »
The more I think about it, the less well the idea that manipulation is always "social violence" sits with me. Violence entails harm, and the violation of rights. Using leverage can be violent when the leverage is a threat. But offering someone something they want is also leverage. Even when there is a real conflict of interest, such as when you bribe or seduce someone into doing something they wouldn't or shouldn't do otherwise, I wouldn't say you've harmed them. It seems entirely possible that the manipulated party is even better off than they otherwise would have been.

And I'd certainly say negotiation can be a form of manipulation. In most cases it doesn't involve a roll, but that's not because it isn't manipulation, it's because it's completely obvious that the use of leverage is successful. It's like how sometimes you roll for going aggro and sometimes you just inflict harm, or how you need to read a person sometimes but other times it's just obvious what they are thinking. Sometimes you say of course your barter is sufficient leverage to buy this pistol, that's clearly an acceptable deal to both sides so no need to roll. That doesn't mean that situation is fundamentally different from bribing someone to keep silent, it's just that in the latter situation it's much less clear whether the leverage is sufficient, and it needs to be applied with much more finesse.

noclue

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2011, 07:02:59 AM »
I would say that if you propose something we both agree is in both our interests, that's not manipulation. If you propose something that you feel is obviously in my best interest, but I resist doing it. If you coerce me into doing it, whether through preying on my greed, libido or fear, that's manipulative. Even if you tell yourself we're both clearly better off. Even if we're objectively better off by any metrics that make sense.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

ctrail

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2011, 07:19:04 AM »
I would say that if you propose something we both agree is in both our interests, that's not manipulation. If you propose something that you feel is obviously in my best interest, but I resist doing it. If you coerce me into doing it, whether through preying on my greed, libido or fear, that's manipulative. Even if you tell yourself we're both clearly better off. Even if we're objectively better off by any metrics that make sense.
How can you coerce someone with greed or libido? Isn't coercion by definition the use of force or threats? Imagine someone tells you they were coerced into giving up a secret. When you ask how they were coerced, they say they were bribed, they were coerced through their greed. Wouldn't you say them accepting a bribe was totally voluntary, and calling it coercion would be inappropriate?

I think you are referring to the proposal at a different stage of the negotiation here than I was a moment ago. Let's consider the example with fixing the car from earlier.
Offer A: Fix my car for nothing.
As you say, if this offer is acceptable to both parties, there is no need for manipulation. Let's assume it isn't acceptable. I can use the fact that you want to drive my car as leverage, and use that to manipulate you into fixing my car. We can sum this up as a second offer.
Offer B: Fix my car, and I'll let you drive it.
Now, that offer might be so clearly acceptable to both parties that a roll seems unnecessary, if it's just completely obvious that you'd accept that. That doesn't mean manipulation hasn't occurred, it just means we didn't need a roll to resolve it. Suppose it's unclear whether it would work or not, and it would depend upon the finesse with which I made the offer, or brought to the surface your desire for the car. Then it might require a roll. Either way, if I successfully manipulate you into accepting the second offer, that must mean you believe you were better off accepting the offer than not. In other words, I'm not arguing that we were both better off with the first offer, clearly you didn't think so or manipulation would not have been necessary. But we could very well both agree that we are better off with the second offer. On the other hand, I could have taken a totally different approach.
Offer C: Fix my car, and I won't burn your house down.
You'd only take that offer if you thought it was better than not accepting it, but you certainly wouldn't say we both came away ahead on that deal.
I'd describe threats as social violence, but I wouldn't describe rewards that way. Manipulation includes both cases. 

It might be useful to differentiate between the Manipulation move here, and the broader colloquial sense of the word manipulation. It seems like you reject that anything which doesn't isn't manipulation in the colloquial sense could fall under the Manipulation move. Now, we might have a hard time agreeing to the meaning of the word manipulation, but the Manipulation move seems to be defined reasonably clearly in the game text as the use of leverage to get someone to do what you want. I think there are cases where we can use leverage to get someone to do what we want, and thus the Manipulation move applies, but it could be debatable whether it's really manipulation in the usual sense of the word. Just like the Seizing by Force move doesn't always involve seizing anything, and acting under fire is very broadly interpreted and covers cases that you wouldn't call acting under fire outside the game.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 08:29:50 AM by ctrail »

Allison

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2011, 12:59:06 PM »
I would say that if you propose something we both agree is in both our interests, that's not manipulation. If you propose something that you feel is obviously in my best interest, but I resist doing it. If you coerce me into doing it, whether through preying on my greed, libido or fear, that's manipulative. Even if you tell yourself we're both clearly better off. Even if we're objectively better off by any metrics that make sense.
How can you coerce someone with greed or libido? Isn't coercion by definition the use of force or threats? Imagine someone tells you they were coerced into giving up a secret. When you ask how they were coerced, they say they were bribed, they were coerced through their greed. Wouldn't you say them accepting a bribe was totally voluntary, and calling it coercion would be inappropriate?

Oh, I agree that "coercion" would be a funny word to use in such a case. But "manipulation" still works fine. In fact, here we have a fine textbook example of when to roll to manipulate, or to seduce for that matter. You're offering them something they want but still know they shouldn't take, and they're trying to do the thing that's "right" (relative to why they think they shouldn't take the offer) while you're trying to get them to do the thing that feels good.

Now, I don't know about "social violence"--I suppose it depends upon how exactly you define "violence." I might draw the line between social violence and social not-violence based upon, say, whether the two parties involved could still go out for pizza together afterwards, and that standard would suggest that not every usage of seduce or manipulate is social violence. But I suppose it's really up to you.

lumpley

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2011, 01:50:57 PM »
The wholly nonviolent, noncoercive social move is read a person. "How could I get you to fix up my car?" Then you get to just decide whether you want it enough to do what they want in exchange. No imposition of anybody's will on anybody.

ctrail

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2011, 05:49:19 PM »
What I'm finding a little confusing here is that from reading the book, and from Chris and Allison's answers, I get the impression that all I have to decide to know whether Manipulation is being used is whether the PC has and is using leverage to get something they wouldn't otherwise. That's a judgement call I feel comfortable making.
That would sometimes include negotiation. It's necessarily a conflict of interest over the original issue, but the manipulated party could walk away feeling they were better off if the leverage was a reward rather than a threat.
Noclue seems to be saying that there is more to it than that. But the only difference I can see between my version of the car negotiation and his(hers?) is that his feels... slimier. Now, I can see why you wouldn't want a move called Manipulation to be used in a way that isn't manipulative. But I'd bet if we asked six different people on this forum what the difference between just talking, persuasion, negotiation, and manipulation is, we'd get twelve different answers. Vincent and I may not agree, and I may not agree with the other players. "Does this feel manipulative enough?" isn't a judgement call I want to have to make every time someone wants to use the move.
So does manipulation require something more than leverage? Is it something with a clear dividing line, like leverage, or do I have to gauge whether something feels/seems like manipulation to me?

noclue

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2011, 12:40:58 AM »
It's his. I've been searching for a succinct way to state my position and I think it's this. If you're discussing something rationally and appealing to them on the basis of logic and reason, that's a discussion. Maybe it's a move, like Barter. A trade of the use of a car for mechanical service. No manipulation involved. But if you're trying to close a deal by avoiding or overriding their rational faculties and instead appealing to their subconscious, where primal urges like fear and sex and greed reside, that's manipulation.

Is it slimy? I don't know. Is TV advertising slimy?

Do you really need a clear dividing line? I don't think so. If the MC is unsure of their intent they can just ask "are you trying to manipulate her?" and if it still doesn't seem like manipulation, just ask them how.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

ctrail

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2011, 01:01:25 AM »
Do you really need a clear dividing line? I don't think so.
It needs to be pretty clear. If I'm going to make judgements about what does or does not count as manipulation, I at least need a clear definition or test in my head.
But you do actually offer a pretty clear line, which is whether or not emotion and drives are brought into play, instead of just appealing to reason. So I do think one could play it that way and it would work. I'm not totally sure yet that the Manipulation move is meant to be that narrow, I'm not seeing support for this in the rules, but the name of the move somewhat supports that interpretation. It depends on how tight you think the connection is between the names of the moves and what they correspond to in the fiction. I'll mull it over some more.

lumpley

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Re: When to use Manipulate
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2011, 01:54:56 AM »
Look at all the move's possible outcomes. If they're all possible outcomes in the fiction, the move's a fit, and you should feel comfortable using it then. The name of the move is just a reminder.

(Whether you must use the move then is a different calculation, so don't jump to the conclusion that you must.)