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Old 07-21-2009, 08:08 AM   #1
JCD
 
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Default Redefining Role

My game recently brought up an important element in the nature of the Role. In the rules, a Role is based upon the depth of human interaction. A man who is known to all his co-workers, who helped Jim build his garage, who has attended a hundred birthday parties etc, is more 'accepted' by humanity and the Symphony. This is, of course, perfectly true.

However, what if the Role also embraced the vermissiltude of the person who as they impersonate a human being?

To whit: Bob the Djinn. Bob, when asked about his mother, shrugs. He cannot name any major sports teams, a single one of the Seven Dwarves, or any of the last three Presidents, despite supposedly being 30 years old. When he hears someone hum the "Oscar Meyer Weiner" jingle, he says "Nice tune. What is that?"

This would broadly expand the nature of the Role. It would involve defining it as specifically including cultural assimilation within it's provence. It also leads in some other interesting directions.

Cultural quizing: This is a skill taught to Inquisitors and Hunters on both sides to attempt to attempt to identify Celestials. It requires being able to ask questions of the target and being culturally familiar with the role. +Role of Questioner, -Role of the target and whatever applicable skills. -2 to difficulty if used in a casual setting (i.e. outside of an interrogation situation).


Plot Hook: A Malakim has identified a person whom he thinks is a Celestial. Is she? Is she a spy from a normal Earthly intelligence agency? If so, what flavor of Celestial. She isn't talking but she is in a position of great influence.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Redefining Role

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Originally Posted by JCD View Post
This would broadly expand the nature of the Role. It would involve defining it as specifically including cultural assimilation within it's provence. It also leads in some other interesting directions.
The description of what a Role includes, if you pay points for it, notes that you get the skill Being an X at a level equal to the Role level. That would probably cover cultural competence within the province of the Role. i would think that cultural competence outside the province of the role would be key. I'd expect Cultural quizzing within the Role to trap low-level Roles, but for higher level Roles, you'll want to look for broader integration. It's also a question of acting ability, of course. If Bob the Djinn just shrugs when you you ask about his mom, that pings as odd, but if he says something like "I don't want to talk about it," that's not too unusual for someone with an unpleasant history. You want to look for idiosyncrasies and quirks unrelated to the job. Hobbies, for example, are often unrelated to occupation; look at the variety of people on these boards for examples of that.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Redefining Role

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Originally Posted by DAlillama View Post
The description of what a Role includes, if you pay points for it, notes that you get the skill Being an X at a level equal to the Role level. That would probably cover cultural competence within the province of the Role. i would think that cultural competence outside the province of the role would be key. I'd expect Cultural quizzing within the Role to trap low-level Roles, but for higher level Roles, you'll want to look for broader integration. It's also a question of acting ability, of course. If Bob the Djinn just shrugs when you you ask about his mom, that pings as odd, but if he says something like "I don't want to talk about it," that's not too unusual for someone with an unpleasant history. You want to look for idiosyncrasies and quirks unrelated to the job. Hobbies, for example, are often unrelated to occupation; look at the variety of people on these boards for examples of that.

To a certain extent yes, that is true. I disagree on technical questioning. The person is after all, supposedly skilled in their job.

I am speaking about more then just revelations of family as well. There is this mass of knowledge that I could relate and instantly connect to people of a certain age and region. 'You deserve a break today..." "A horse is a horse, of course, of course, And no one can talk to a horse of course..." 'Hi ho who?"

One thing doesn't twig, which is why there are lots of questions. A man may not talk about his mother. He may not know the name of the Lone Ranger's horse. It possible he never heard the Big Mac jingle "I'm a Mormon..." Does he know the lyrics to "Amazing Grace"? At a certain point, the cultural ignorance is glaring enough to start a more serious observation
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Redefining Role

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One thing doesn't twig, which is why there are lots of questions. A man may not talk about his mother. He may not know the name of the Lone Ranger's horse. It possible he never heard the Big Mac jingle "I'm a Mormon..." Does he know the lyrics to "Amazing Grace"? At a certain point, the cultural ignorance is glaring enough to start a more serious observation
I think that we're actually saying the same thing, and I just found some of your phrasing a bit confusing in the original post. OTOH, I should point out that you'll still get false positives; Amazing Grace and the last three Presidents are the only things you've listed that I get, Although I could probably come up with a few names of Dwarves if pressed, and I've lived all of my 28 years in the U.S. Granted, I'm an unusual case, but I'm definitely not a Celestial. There is absolutely no chance of the whatsoever.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Redefining Role

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Originally Posted by DAlillama View Post
I think that we're actually saying the same thing, and I just found some of your phrasing a bit confusing in the original post. OTOH, I should point out that you'll still get false positives; Amazing Grace and the last three Presidents are the only things you've listed that I get, Although I could probably come up with a few names of Dwarves if pressed, and I've lived all of my 28 years in the U.S. Granted, I'm an unusual case, but I'm definitely not a Celestial. There is absolutely no chance of the whatsoever.
I think some of those references are from an older generation lol. That's why you have to tailor the probing to things somebody of the suspect's purported age (and sex) would probably have seen, or at least heard referenced.

Almost everybody that grew up during the mid/late 90's has probably watched Pokemon or played the Pokemon games at least once or twice, and even the ones that haven't have almost certainly heard of the Pokemon TV show and know about Ash and Pikachu at least in passing, or have played the Pokemon video games and know what they are about. It would be extremely unusual to find somebody in North America that grew up during that period that didn't know anything at all about Pokemon.

Or like Pogs, or Tamagotchi, or apparently (and this is before my time) pet rocks, or all those other things that were huge fads for a particular age group

Also, the cake being a lie, and The Game, which you just lost. Although the last one isn't quite as well known.

Last edited by Andygal; 07-22-2009 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 07-22-2009, 05:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Redefining Role

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Originally Posted by Andygal View Post
I think some of those references are from an older generation lol. That's why you have to tailor the probing to things somebody of the suspect's purported age (and sex) would probably have seen, or at least heard referenced.

Almost everybody that grew up during the mid/late 90's has probably watched Pokemon or played the Pokemon games at least once or twice, and even the ones that haven't have almost certainly heard of the Pokemon TV show and know about Ash and Pikachu at least in passing, or have played the Pokemon video games and know what they are about. It would be extremely unusual to find somebody in North America that grew up during that period that didn't know anything at all about Pokemon.

Or like Pogs, or Tamagotchi, or apparently (and this is before my time) pet rocks, or all those other things that were huge fads for a particular age group
Exactly. My generation, many of those references were ubiquitious.

The Questions can be refined for age, nation, region and even gender. Though Hello Kitty seems to cross almost all of those lines for some reason.

This suggests that newly fledged Celestials will be given outsider roles to help them assimilate. No one expects Zuzana to know any of those references..and unless the questioner is an expert on Russian questions, she's home free...for a while. This gives a GM an hand wave as to why agents in place are more likely to be left in place after a screw up then replaced due to the difficulty of explaining the difference between an Autobot and a Decepticon.

It also suggests that there are houses or even towns, ala "The Experts" simply for the training of Celestials, innoculating the values and cultural floatsom into their heads so they have a chance at blending in.

Of course, this suggests all kinds of interesting RP opportunities
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Old 07-22-2009, 05:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Redefining Role

Something which might help your thought processes: forks vs. chopsticks.

I've been living in Korea for nearly a year now and while I'd learned to use chopsticks--wooden, pointed, Chinese style--I'll never be able to pick up certain items with them with any kind of dexterity. The fact that Korean ones are steet and flat-tipped just complicates this!

However, I've spoken about this to Koreans. They are baffled, utterly, that someone can carve up a game hen with just a butter knife and fork. They've seen people do it, and can't wrap their brains or their fingers around it. They can eat a drumstick with chopsticks without getting their fingers dirty, and they can eat with a fork, but they're not proficient with them.

Such things come only with years of practice.
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