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Old 05-14-2015, 04:32 PM   #1
Gigermann
 
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Default [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

I have a character who has found the need to learn some "hostage negotiation" skills, for the usual reasons. Pyramid 3/54, "The Civil Arts in GURPS" introduced the concept of "Social Engineering" styles. I could probably work something up for myself, but hey—why not let the community benefit from the resulting discussion? :P

So, what would your Hostage Negotiator style look like?

Side note: I think a Hostage Negotiation Technique would probably not be out-of-the-question here, but to make it a "buy off the penalty" type, there would need to be a penalty to begin with.
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

The most important skill is going to be Diplomacy. Anything that risks making the hostage taker's reaction worse is a really bad idea.

Psychology (Applied) is also going to be important; you may want to use it to perceive the hostage taker's motives. Perhaps Criminology might substitute in some cases.

Administration will be relevant, not to deal with the hostage taker, but to deal with the law enforcement.
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

Leadership is a must in my opinion. You need to get everyone around you to do what you want when you need it when they're willing to listen and directing things.
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigermann View Post
I have a character who has found the need to learn some "hostage negotiation" skills, for the usual reasons. Pyramid 3/54, "The Civil Arts in GURPS" introduced the concept of "Social Engineering" styles. I could probably work something up for myself, but heywhy not let the community benefit from the resulting discussion? :P

So, what would your Hostage Negotiator style look like?

Side note: I think a Hostage Negotiation Technique would probably not be out-of-the-question here, but to make it a "buy off the penalty" type, there would need to be a penalty to begin with.
It would at the least have to take into account the fact that the rationality of the other party cannot be assumed. Of course that would be the case in normal negotiations but by definition someone who is taking such an erratic course as hostage taking cannot be assumed to have in mind a calculable risk/reward matrix seeing as there are so many safer and more profitable forms of villainy.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

It would include:

Skills: Acting, Detect Lies, Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, Leadership, Psychology (Applied), and Public Speaking.
Techniques: Elicitation, Play for Time.

Play for Time [H] (Default: Diplomacy, cannot exceed Diplomacy +4)
When you really need to stall the hostage takers, this allows you to convince them it will take longer to achieve some of their more immediate short term goals than it really will. Quick Contest of Play for Time vs Will (they may use Diplomacy, Expert Skill (Hostage Negotiation), or Professional Skill (Police Procedures) if better). Your roll is penalized by every doubling of the actual base time you are trying for.

Cinematic Skills: Persuade.
Perks: Trivial Reputation (Honest Dealings in Hostage Situations)



Useful advantages: Reputation (Honest/Truthful).
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Old 05-15-2015, 01:05 AM   #6
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

First, I must say that Covert Ops p. 119 has a Negotiator template just for your job!

Secondly, I will point out some of the things about the template traits. Leadership is a two-edged sword: it's nice to get people to do what you ask, but a negotiator must not have actual authority - this is important and intentional! - and when given unacceptable demands, s/he has the option of not personally saying 'No' while still being unable to meet the demands.
Another important thing is that Acting and Fast-Talk are generally risky things to ever use. Lying is risky. Each time a negotiator lies in order to catch/shoot the hostage-takers, this drops down the trustworthiness of said negotiator personally and negotiators in general, making further jobs harder. In fact, a CoH is an offered option in the template!

Primary skills tend to be Diplomacy, Law Enforcement, and one of Criminology, Detect Lies or Psychology.
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Old 05-15-2015, 02:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

Acting can be dangerous but it might depend how dangerous exactly. Telling a lie that would clearly result in the hostage-takers being captured/killed is very dangerous. Feigning sympathy for the criminal, OTOH, is pretty standard, and if the negotiator gets caught at being insincere in that, it might irk hot-tempered criminals but not colder types.

I would add Body Language. Often, negotiators have to rely on spoken input only, but if they have visuals that may be of great help.
Savoir-Faire (criminal, maybe with an optional specialization in, say Somali pirates or something) may be useful if this is not an individual taking hostages in an impromptu situation. If these are professionals, there may be conventions about the dealings with them.
Again thinking about them Somali pirates, negotiators who are experienced with ransom kidnappers also have high scores in Merchant; it's part of the reason why the insurance companies go through them.
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Old 05-15-2015, 06:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Another important thing is that Acting and Fast-Talk are generally risky things to ever use. Lying is risky.
Yes, however it's a staple of the fiction genre that the Negotiator will always lie about there being no plan to trap the hostage takers once the hostages are freed, or not planing to somehow free the hostages as part of the "getting them on the plane/bus/choppers".

I was tempted to include Intimidation based on a few 'negotiator' movies, but skipped it, going for the 'more realistic' approach.
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

I'm going to say again that the negotiator should also have Administration. They aren't just dealing with the hostage taker; they're dealing with the law enforcement organization that's waiting to take action.

As for Acting, two things: (a) Acting is the primary skill for cultivating a persona, which is surely in a hostage negotiator's professional repertoire; (b) a negotiator might want to have a cultivated ability not to react, which is kind of a narrow subset of Acting.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:05 PM   #10
Gigermann
 
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Hostage Negotiator Style

Apparently I should rename this to "Crisis Negotiation"
  • I did some Googling—probably should have led with that. Courses aren't hard to find, as it turns out. This one describes the major points of its course(s), and it features a lot of "psychology," to no one's surprise I'm sure. I am wondering, though, if as a GURPS skill, it should be Psychology (Applied) or Criminology—maybe a specialty of Criminology? I can't think of a situation where crisis-negotiation would not be, on some level, a "criminal" matter
  • As far as the SE Style goes, we have to separate Traits that a good negotiator would have, and Traits that a negotiation course would teach. Primary Skills would definitely be Diplomacy, and Psychology/Criminology, and that's probably all; I think most of the others would be Optional, but included.
  • If Crisis Negotiation is a Technique, I suppose it would be a buy-off for penalties for "hostility"
  • I like the "Stalling" Technique—I'd probably rip off Elicitation/Hinting for effects
  • I'm thinking of a "Risk Assessment" action/Technique—from Per-based Diplomacy, maybe?
  • Honest Face, and Empathy/Sensitive are going to be go-to Traits
I'd forgotten about Covert Ops—one of those I always meant to pick up (and now I have). Pretty sure Cops also has a Negotiator template, but I only have a physical copy of that, and it's not currently within reach.
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