I'm tinkering with a character that has piercing gaze (giving a bonus to intimidation) and is a family person (true love, dependents). Not sure which abilities represent her social skills best (and buying them all seems rather expensive to me).
Which attribute is used to tell my children not to go into the fairie forest: Charm? Guile? Etiquette (='how to behave')? Leadership?
Or does it depend on the exact wording?
Charm: Mum loves you so much. Don't stray onto the forest, my little ducklings!
Guile: "There are ogres in that forest that rip off your ears and make you eat them!
Leadership: "You! Stay! Here!" Kids: "Ma'm, yes, m'am!"
Etiquette: "Remember that you are part of an elite. Only swineherds dirten their naked feet in that forest!"
Which one is used to intimidate a hedge wizard while staring at him? Guile? Charm? Leadership?
Charm: "Look into my eyes, boy. Before I rip out yours!"
Guile: "I'm a big bad wizard from the order of Hermes, the biggest and baddest collection of big bad bloodthirsty badasses around and I can steal your soul with nothing but a glance!"
Leadership: "That's not a yes, but a yes m'am. Do you understand me?"
There's a furry rpg, Ironclaw, with some interesting mechanics and ideas worth pilfering, even for the non-furry. There's an 8+ series of panels in which a character demonstrates the use of various social skills to get someone to light a candle.
It isn't only about wording, but context.
Charm: . o O (You're my evil stepmom. You don't love anyone. I should go to the faerie forest when she isn't looking to find out what she's hiding from us.)
Guile: ... Well, your guile example might really be Intimidate, because you're trying to scare the kids. Substitute Guile: You're welcome to go into the faerie forest (points to a different and utterly safe copse). But for some kids that might not work. . o O(I have good connections, and Bobby's dad says there's no such thing as an ogre.)
Leadership: . o O(I'll ask Dad later; what he says goes.)
Etiquette: . o O(But we are swineherds.)
Intimidating someone who doesn't scare doesn't work. Charming someone who is oblivious doesn't work, but Intimidation might. Leadership works well when you're around. Etiquette helps only among people who care. Etc. You can intimidate a demon, or trick him (guile), but charm and etiquette don't work well.
Back to your mom character. If she's intimidating and uses that to raise her kids, we get a Robert Jordan woman (he himself pointed out that there's only one.) Lots of tough love, and the kids will learn to intimidate and bully others for their own good. They are likely to disobey if they think they won't be caught, or are more afraid of something else, or be in a situation where they know they have the upper hand. Coming of age might involve a big confrontation, after which they might not speak for years, maybe even find themselves in opposition. Or, it might all work out. If she uses a different ability there are different consequences. If she doesn't have a different ability, she is limited.
A smattering of social abilities gives a character more choice, similar to the way a Tytalus can shift gears in a debate.
I would probably go with Com/Prs + Folk Ken (aka psychology, the Art of using the right words for the right person) as a generic social skill.
Leadership will be more suitable to organise a group, give pep talk and pass order in the heat of the battle. I could see some occassion where it could apply on raising kids, but not on a regular basis (to boost their confidence before an exam = pep talk, or to have them act quickly without challenging or asking why why why). Regular use of leadership will probably results in strong personality traits, or appropriate flaw/virtues.
Guile might work, but with a strong side effect: lying is ok as long as it is for the greater good. So you can expect the kids to have Puissant: guile, or Folk Ken (to spot lies), or on contrary have the Character Flaw: Naive (use to believe anything).
The group I play with has always used Leadership for intimidation. We've even had intimidation as a valid specialisation for Leadership.
We went with leadership because intimidation is typically a tactic used to gain compliance / obedience. It is certainly not the only aspect of Leadership, and a good leader knows which techniques to use on which people; they should not require a score in a dozen different abilities in order to exercise their leadership ability.
You can use any Ability, based on how you want to play it. You can use Leadership, you can use Charm, you can use Guile. I'd even argue you can use Brawl. Intimidation is basically the social version of physical injury, and no-one is saying "Hey, you must always use sword for physical injuries."