Saturday, 27 May 2017
The Embedded Social
Analogies can be dangerous.
But social currency isn't like money. The analogy doesn't work.
Gold pieces in D&D are desirable (above and beyond XP) because they allow you to do certain things - buy nicer armour, build a castle, whatever - that there would be no in-game mechanism for otherwise. It is necessary for gold pieces to exist as a semi-abstract concept to facilitate certain important in-game functions.
Social currency works in a different way. There is already an in-game mechanism of action and consequence. Get the NPC on side and he'll be your ally. Do something for another NPC and he'll scratch your back some day. Schmooze up the mad archmage and he won't fry you. The mechanism is embedded in the very stuff of the game itself. The addition of a formalised abstract process is unnecessary and distracting and breaks verissimilitude, and is to be discouraged.
Here endeth the lesson.