The Etiquette of Social Interaction
Proper player etiquette is important in any game, specially in one that depends so much in interaction like Legend of the Five Rings. The following rules should be kept in mind:
No Mind Control
Contested social skill rolls aren’t mind control. Courtier techniques aren’t mind control. Even shugenja prayers and blood magic that tamper with minds aren’t absolute mind control – except for the very rare, very blasphemous, very powerful exception.
To sum it up: you can’t dictate the actions of another character. You might turn someone into an Ally, seduce someone, bend him to become a stereotype of his Clan’s tropes or Blackmail him; but what exactly this means is decided by mutual agreement and consent.
Social Skills And Roleplaying
The system has abstraction to handle social interaction: we don’t even speak Rokugani, the language has different intent, and all the hints and quirks of the culture can be assumed; “lost in translation”, one might say. That is what the naked Contested Social Skill dice pool means.
Still, if a player shows proper On, understanding of etiquette, has a very persuasive argument or intimidating, uses facts and lore, is creative, he will have a positive impact on his social interactions; this is represented by free raises.
This will be very subjective, but this rule is just to point out that roleplaying WILL not be ignored, and quality and proper roleplaying will be rewarded.
Consequences of Social Conflict
Albeit it is true that no party can mind-control another, losing a social confrontation has consequences.
A player/character can subvert or delay within the limits of reasonable, twist and squirm around: that is part of the “big game”, after all. Social repercussions, honor loss and alienation by allies and clan might be some of the effects.
If a player blatantly ignores or acts in a way contrary against the result of a social contest, he is subjected to a Fear effect with strength equal to the highest of Honor/Glory rank of the wronged party for the duration of his uncooperative actions. Example: an Otomo successful instigate a Lion character many times to start a war with the Crane. Such character not only has a history of conflict with the Crane, lacks Allies with them and no Crane tried to sway his favor. The character isn’t willing to attack, but instead of escaping the situation by delaying his preparations, passing the decision to a superior or even declaring he is “waiting for Summer”, he outright allies with enemy Crane and attack the Otomo and his holdings.
(My suggestion: in the above situation, raid the Otomo holdings “in order to get supplies for invading the Crane”)
Taking a Third Option
Every dichotomy is false, but sometimes one is constrained by Bushido. Ideally one can bend or only partially fulfill the result of losses, but sometimes one can’t avoid. Courtiers and/or characters with duties to their clans and that speak for their superiors might have to compromise on other way. They might have been personally “defeated”, but they might continue to try to defend their Clan view. This comes at an expense – Inner Conflict. The TN of all Social Rolls made to publicly defend a position of his Clan with which the character disagrees increases by +5. This penalty increases again every time you are confronted about this point and you are unable to reconcile with it. You can accumulate a number of penalties equal to your Awareness. After that you are replaced in court and assigned other duties.