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Saturday, March 29, 2014

GURPS House Rules: Influence Skills Examined

Okay, so let's take a look at these influence skills and what I've done with them.

Here's the list we're starting with, from the rules as written:

Public Speaking
Sex Appeal

And now what I've shortened this down to:

Sex Appeal

What I've tried to do here is separate these into the means you're employing to influence the person. There was a lot of overlap on these before.

The means are:

Deceit. (Deception)
Appeal to mutual benefit. (Diplomacy)
Threats. (Intimidation)
Bamboozlement, eloquence, stirring of the emotions through powerful language, whatever you want to call it. (Oratory)
Appeal for in-group favoritism. (Savoir-Faire)
Sex appeal. (Sex Appeal)

Each of these skills employs a different means of achieving the desired end. This isn't the case with the RAW skills, which are often about the desired ends rather than the employed means.

Look at the Politics skill for example. It doesn't tell you what sort of means you're employing, only the ends you're acting toward. I think it makes more sense to have politicians engage in Diplomacy and Oratory--the means--than to give them a skill designed specifically for their ends. It's the same with skills like Leadership and Panhandling. Now, of course those uses will take familiarity penalties. Alexander won't be as good a panhandler as Diogenes, even if they both have the same skill levels, but I think that should be because Alexander is unfamiliar with the task and not because he's employing a different skill entirely.

I find the Acting and Fast-Talk skills particularly confusing. They both employ deception as their means, but you sometimes use one and you sometimes use the other. It's not at all clear what the difference is between the two, and I've seen this cause considerable confusion in the game. A character with a high skill level in one skill and a low level in the other will do something expecting to use their high skill level only to be told to use their lower one. These two skills are intended to be very dissimilar, judging by their lack of default, but they're nearly indistinguishable.

1 comment:

  1. The difference between Acting and Fast-Talk is that Acting is used for elaborate long-cons that involve staying in-character, whereas Fast-Talk is used in short one-off encounters to temporarily fool someone just long enough for you to get in and get out.