Happy GLOGtober, which never ended in our hearts! Here's a social mechanic stolen in its entirety from Caves of Qud.
A ratman drinking tea, probably.
Rituals, Tea and Otherwise
So, you know the standard reaction table:
This, more or less. 2d6+CHA mod of most visible PC/whoever is attempting to lead the negotiation.
When faced with an encounter that is capable of communicating with the party and not immediately and violently hostile (i.e. had a reaction result higher than 2), any player can walk forward bearing a waterskin or other recognizable drink container and declare that they will attempt the drink-sharing ritual.
The drink-sharing ritual is universally understood, and has eight steps (an auspicious number):
- First, you drink.
- Then, you offer them the beverage and they drink. If you're attempting the ritual with something that can't drink, pouring the beverage over them is an acceptable substitute.
- If you've drugged the drink, that takes effect as normal. If they figure it out, expect combat and to be attacked on sight by any other members of the faction should one survive to speak of your crimes - the drink-sharing ritual is sacred.
- Then, you offer them something. This can be a material gift (everyone loves treasure and/or interesting tchotchkes) or a secret (everyone loves gossip and rumors).
- If you offer a secret then you are honor-bound to not give that same secret to anyone else in a drink-sharing ritual. Probably nothing is actually stopping you from doing so, but the idea is repellent.
- Then, you ask for something in return. Decide if you ask for a secret, a gift, or nothing.
- Then, reroll the reaction check (2d6+CHA mod of character performing the ritual) plus the following modifiers:
- +1 if you shared a drink more impressive to the other party than water. Beer, nice tea, liquor, etc. Different participants are impressed by different things.
- +1 if the gift you offered was especially appreciated. Different participants appreciate different things.
- +1 if you asked for nothing.
- If you asked for a secret or gift and rolled Friendly (9+) or higher, they give it to you. What they actually give you will depend on what they know/what they have as well as their initial reaction result.
- If you asked for nothing, the new reaction result replaces the initial one if it's higher.
- Then the ritual is complete and you're back to normal, non-structured social interaction.
There you go. Sort of a risk-mitigating mechanic for when you meet some Unfriendly ratmen and need to get past them or whatever, at the cost of some tea and maybe a secret. I hope this is useful to at least one person!