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Old 01-10-2018, 11:04 AM   #11
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Napoleon didn't ask Lucien to use the Law skill before he used his troops to give rioters a whiff of grapeshot and later to implicitly threaten the deputies, he relied on him for political support. And, in fact, Napoleon acted illegaly, if anyone would have cared. But under the sort of circumstances where coups and counter-coups usually take place, the legitimacy of the existing laws is generally in question, anyway. And what is legal is ultimately determined by which side wins.
Yes, but that's not putting down a potential coup; it's suppressing public demonstrations or riots. Not the same animal at all.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:05 AM   #12
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

I suppose I was asking for the skill of timing the actual captures without alerting any of the targets. We're playing out the other parts of the coup. Right now this thread has me thinking that administration is the correct skill.

Multiple rolls that all matter and have consequences if they fail does sound like the best way to do things.

So I'm hearing:

A roll to identify your targets. (Intelligence Analysis, Current Affairs)
A roll to collect your team without traitors. (Leadership, Psychology, and possibly politics)
A roll to synchronize your actions (Administration, Strategy)
A roll to convince your targets to give up (Intimidation, Tactics, could devolve into combat)
A roll in the morning to convince the populace you're legitimate (Politics, Propaganda, possibly Law)

Most of the rolls suggested were made in the "complementary rolls" part of the roll, except for the critically failed psychology roll. Of course, they have one key conspirator they've missed and who is on the inside, so I'm counting him as that result.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Yes, but that's not putting down a potential coup; it's suppressing public demonstrations or riots. Not the same animal at all.
Eh, essentially, until the First Consulate, politics in France boiled down to coups, counter-revolutions and attempted coups. Who ended up winning determined which was which.

In any event, Napoleon was clearly defending the Convention against a counter-revolution on 13 Vendémiaire. It's true that he didn't arrest anyone, but that is because others had that responsibility.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:13 AM   #14
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
A roll to identify your targets. (Intelligence Analysis, Current Affairs)
I'd say this is more Politics (to determine which political bodies need to be targeted) and Strategy (to determine which physical locations need to have military forces on them).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered
A roll to synchronize your actions (Administration, Strategy)
Leadership is helpful here too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered
A roll to convince your targets to give up (Intimidation, Tactics, could devolve into combat)
Several Influence skills can be useful here. If you're trying to negotiate ("Listen, give up peacefully and sign over power to us, and we'll set you up with a very pleasant villa out in the countryside and make sure you'll live out your days in luxury"), that's Diplomacy. Making it all happen so fast that they don't have a chance to see through you is Fast-Talk. And others could apply too, depending on approach.

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Originally Posted by ericthered
A roll in the morning to convince the populace you're legitimate (Politics, Propaganda, possibly Law)
Personally, I think Law would be a complementary roll here (Administration would work too, for finding proper bureaucratic regulations, rather than legal), but I probably wouldn't allow it as the primary roll. Barring, I suppose, rather unusual government types where coups actually are legal.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:40 AM   #15
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
Personally, I think Law would be a complementary roll here (Administration would work too, for finding proper bureaucratic regulations, rather than legal), but I probably wouldn't allow it as the primary roll. Barring, I suppose, rather unusual government types where coups actually are legal.
Well, it's not a coup if it's actually legal, but law is the skill to convince the legal system that what you've done is legitimate, not the skill to convince the general population that what you've done is legitimate.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:56 AM   #16
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Well, it's not a coup if it's actually legal, but law is the skill to convince the legal system that what you've done is legitimate, not the skill to convince the general population that what you've done is legitimate.
I don't agree. One of the whole points of law is precisely to convince the general population that what you've done is just and right. That's why it has those elaborate ceremonies. Without that, what you have is not arrest, but captivity; not execution, but a murder in a little room. As Kipling puts it,

Fear, or foolishness, impel him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe. . . .

If the legal system is working, then Law substitutes for Propaganda in producing that conviction. Or it doesn't, and then you have trial by mob.
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

I think that something this complicated (and very likely plot central) should involve more roleplaying than an individual skill - rather, it should involve a raft of them...

However, to those who are dismissing Law as an appropriate skill, consider what is going on in the US currently. One side is trying to use an investigation to find grounds for impeachment. The other side is trying to expose said investigation as illegal (both in terms of bias involved, and possibly un-constitutional search and seizure by abuse of intelligence agency powers...). (Further, if you go back 1.5 years, the election was being impinged by a significant criminal investigation.) These are basically legal questions, and thus the law skill is quite relevant - especially the bit where it includes the performance before a court...
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:08 PM   #18
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I don't agree. One of the whole points of law is precisely to convince the general population that what you've done is just and right. That's why it has those elaborate ceremonies. Without that, what you have is not arrest, but captivity; not execution, but a murder in a little room. As Kipling puts it,

Fear, or foolishness, impel him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe. . . .

If the legal system is working, then Law substitutes for Propaganda in producing that conviction. Or it doesn't, and then you have trial by mob.
Both in terms of realism and GURPS rules, I don't see any support for this position. Law, by definition, works only within the legal system and can only be used as an Influence skill in very special circumstances, i.e. on a judge, magistrate or possibly a prosecutor charged with making a decision on whether to move forward with a case.

Convincing society in general of the legitimacy of some position is the province of skills like Politics, Propaganda, Public Speaking and Writing. Arguments can be based on appeals to points of Law, Philosophy or Theology, but whether they sway the populace has little or nothing to do with whether they are technically correct according to the arcane rules of the academic discipline.
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:20 PM   #19
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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I don't agree. One of the whole points of law is precisely to convince the general population that what you've done is just and right.
That's the point of the law. That's not the point of the Law skill. The Law skill is the technical skill of understanding the minutia of the law.
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Old 01-10-2018, 01:50 PM   #20
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Convincing society in general of the legitimacy of some position is the province of skills like Politics, Propaganda, Public Speaking and Writing. Arguments can be based on appeals to points of Law, Philosophy or Theology, but whether they sway the populace has little or nothing to do with whether they are technically correct according to the arcane rules of the academic discipline.
And yet, for the most part, society at large is convinced that if a court rules that X has committed a crime, or owes damages for breach of contract, that it's just to punish X, or make them pay damages. Courts do not engage in propaganda campaigns to get these rulings accepted—and neither does anyone else. But if you get the court to rule in your favor, with statistically rare exceptions, the general public will take the matter as settled. You may not have carried on a publicity campaign to gain public support, and the court almost certainly has not; but public acceptance is there.

Note that I'm not arguing that this method applies in the generality of coups and countercoups. Certainly, a coup as such is an extra-legal action, and a countercoup may use extra-legal methods. But if people are preparing to engage in a coup, and you catch them before they make the overt attempt, they may already have done things that are extra-legal, and thus be subject to trial—in the United States, for example, on charges of conspiracy, among other things. That trial would be decided by Law rolls. And that sounds like at least one aspect of the initially described scenario, though not necessarily the decisive one.
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