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Old 07-24-2015, 09:47 AM   #11
weby
 
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

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Originally Posted by GM Joe View Post
Ah! Apologies. My Google-fu failed me.

I will assume based on the responses that Social Engineering is something popular as reading material, rather than as gaming material.
For me it was more like "Taking bits and pieces to expand my own system"
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:36 AM   #12
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

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Originally Posted by GM Joe View Post
Ah! Apologies. My Google-fu failed me.

I will assume based on the responses that Social Engineering is something popular as reading material, rather than as gaming material.
I don't really agree, but I suppose that depends on what you mean by gaming material.

To my mind, reading material might be something like GURPS Alpha Centauri, Transhuman Space or Reign of Steel: I enjoy reading them, but I almost never actually use them directly in games.

Good books with "gaming material" would be GURPS Spaceships, GURPS Martial Artsand GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks. These are books that I'll either use directly in a game, or I'll use elements from it as a major element within a game.

Social Engineering definitely falls into the latter category.

Let me give you an example. Let's say we want to play GURPS Cabal specifically, and we have an idea: we want the players, as a major element of gameplay, to subvert groups, people and organizations. In other words, when a werewolf murders a lot of people, part of the game will be convincing the press not to report it, getting the cops to let you see the dead bodies, and calling SWAT to hit the werewolf hunter before he can go after the werewolf, while you deal with him yourself. You're the cool "puppet-masters" of the world.

So... uh, what does that look like? What skills are important? What do we roll? How does that work?

Well, flipping through the book, we find "Continuing Relationships and Careers" underneath which we find "A Private Understanding." The idea here is that instead of joining an organization, you find someone within an organization you can talk to, or who can do favors for you. A contact, in other words: A cop on the force, a journalist hungry for a story, an up-and-coming politician. That makes sense, but it doesn't really discuss how we go about forming that, though it does have some rules for making use of reaction rolls over the long term. We have to initiate it to begin with!

So if we flip back to Continuing Relationships in the Face to Face section (for individuals), we see that personal loyalty is established when the relationship is established and is a reaction roll. Thus, Charismatic, Beautiful, well-spoken characters get a bonus here. We also get bonuses if the relationship looks particularly attractive, if we have the ability to judge our mark's character/personality/emotions (so Empathy, or skill in Body Language or Psychology), and we get penalties if the relationship runs counter to his morals (thus, we might consider looking at the section on deception). We also see that we can replace this roll with an Influence roll. The most pertinent are probably Diplomacy, Savoir-Faire or Streetwise.

If we look further, we can see what Loyalty looks like: You can roll against the loyalty of an NPC to see if he'll do something for you. There are also rules for it going up and down: Exposing him to danger lowers it, rescuing him helps it, and the longer the relationship lasts, the better it gets.

So, we want a dirty cop. How do we do it? We use the rules for finding good people to hunt someone up. Perhaps we just attend the annual police ball, and look around. With our Empathy and decent listening skills, we find a cop who looks susceptible. You strike up a conversation. You smile. He enjoys the chat. Some further investigation shows you that he's a good kid, but he's got serious money troubles. You arrange a meeting, you talk some more. You raise the topic, discretely, of a mutually beneficial relationship: The considerable pay makes the offer very attractive, and you are certainly charismatic enough... but he's uncertain about the morality of the situation... So we use the deception rules (likely some Acting rolls) to assure him that you want nothing untoward. You're just a concerned citizen with deep pockets who wants to help a cop in need and, in return, you just want to be appraised of any emergencies "I have an interest in keeping the city clean." You smile. Reaction rolls are made and made well. He agrees (if it hadn't worked, you might try again in a week with Diplomacy or, perhaps, Savoir-Faire (Police)).

Later, when you need the werewolf hunter SWATed, you call up your cop buddy, you inform him that you know of a potential threat: an armed man who is almost certainly attached to a series of unsolved murders. He's skeptical. You remind him of your relationship and how you've been there for him. The loyalty roll is made, and he agrees. Facing a skilled werewolf hunter puts him in harms way, and he cusses you out when he (narrowly) survives the event, and you lose some Loyalty, but you know what necessary steps you'll have to take to fix it.

But what about when you can't finesse your way into these things. What about when you need to force that stubborn reporter to spike a story? We have a blackmail section. First, it requires that we know a secret. How we get that is up to us: Old-fashioned investigation, asking another contact for info, or via our spooky, occult resources. Then we can broach the topic (this is evidently a Diplomacy roll. I would personally allow IQ-based Intimidation as well). We get bonuses based on how nasty the secret is, and how good our potential Propaganda campaign would be. There are also rules for manufacturing secrets that we can use the leverage an action. There are also rules on forming involuntary relationships.

There are also rules on joining organizations, gaining advancement, and hiding your real agenda, for when you want to join a board of directors and then take over the organization from within. There is extensive discussion on deception, or manipulating large scale masses, all excellent for our conspirators.

But another game might focus on other things. A swashbuckling game might be about wooing beautiful women and mocking our foes as we fence with them. Well, we have detailed rules on romance and rivalry, and how we might engage in witty reparte duels over our blades, and even how we can use that to trigger overreactions from Bad Tempered foes.

So you can see, it's gaming material. It is to social stuff what martial arts is to fighting: Piles and piles of detailed rules that you may or may not want to include, more detail than you can really use, frankly, and so you hunt through it for what you want, and discard the rest.
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Old 07-24-2015, 12:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

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I don't really agree, but I suppose that depends on what you mean by gaming material.
Maybe I'm being simplistic, but the few responses to weby's question -- 11 days in -- means that few people use GURPS Social Engineering at all, in any way.
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Old 07-24-2015, 12:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

My experience with SE has been somewhat limited, as the majority of my GMs haven't paid it a great deal of attention. However, the last time I ran GURPS, just after the book was out, I did get to use it a fair amount, and I did find it useful. The most interesting use was a "mob trial" situation where a PC was attempting to sway the crowd, and the tribunal members, opposed by another speaker—which would have included a lot of improvisational-adjudication before SE.
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Old 07-24-2015, 01:39 PM   #15
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

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Maybe I'm being simplistic, but the few responses to weby's question -- 11 days in -- means that few people use GURPS Social Engineering at all, in any way.
I don't use it in any especially interesting ways, so I didn't feel it worth commenting. But if you're trying to be comprehensive...

Its biggest influence was simply improving my understanding of how social and influence skills are meant to work in GURPS. I suspect many people have used it at that level: not as specific rules but for better general play of social interactions. I've also used it for assessing costs for Rank, but that hasn't been very significant.
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Old 07-24-2015, 01:51 PM   #16
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

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I don't use it in any especially interesting ways, so I didn't feel it worth commenting. But if you're trying to be comprehensive...
Thank you. Everyone, please do comment no matter how not particularly interesting you may consider your experiences. I'm trying to get some perspective on the forum community as a whole, rather than just the people who post in Social Engineering rules related threads.
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Old 07-24-2015, 02:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

Sorry for the misattribution, Sindri. Of course it was you, not weby, who started this thread. :)
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Old 07-24-2015, 02:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

Excellent post, Mailanka--that's exactly the kind of example that makes it really clear to other people how to use SE. Love it.
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Old 07-24-2015, 02:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

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Sorry for the misattribution, Sindri. Of course it was you, not weby, who started this thread. :)
Don't worry about it. It's nice to see my thread given new life.
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Old 07-24-2015, 03:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Experiences with Social Engineering

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Thank you. Everyone, please do comment no matter how not particularly interesting you may consider your experiences. I'm trying to get some perspective on the forum community as a whole, rather than just the people who post in Social Engineering rules related threads.
Probably my own most frequent use of Social Engineering is as a checklist for character creation; I look at the new perks and techniques, especially, and ask which of them a character might have. It's also useful as a guide to playing scenes of characters visiting unfamiliar places. I have a lot of those in my current GURPS campaign, which is a bronze age fantasy world where a group of merchant adventurers are seeking new markets.
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