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Old 02-10-2019, 11:30 AM   #11
Andreas
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
It's something most real people fail, so not rolling seems pretty unrealisitc.

It's easy to say that you won't use your credit cards and you'll avoid everyone you know. But do you know how to obtain sufficient money to travel and live without access to electronic banking, how to obtain shelter without money, ID (many hotels require credit cards these days) or friends to allow you to stay?

How do you keep your gear and clothing, as well as your body, clean and presentable, so that you aren't interfered with or even stopped as a thief or vagrant? Or at minumum noticed and remembered? Actual homeless people might be anynomous, but PCs without the right skills won't be able to survive as they do and will probably stick out like sore thumbs, as people with relatively expensive stuff who for some reason are living like homeless people.

And if you avoid all areas you are known to frequent, you avoid every place you actually know, as in, have some idea about the places where you can stay without a credit card, how to act, dress and behave like a local, how to travel and eat on a budget, etc.

Blending into a population of strangers is absolutely a skilled activity, though smart people with Dabbler from books, TV and RPGs might feel they could do it from default.

And maybe they could, but they'd need to have decent defaults in skills like Area Knowledge, Streetwise and Urban Survival, depending on their chosen methods, and possibly even Acting, Administration (knowing how to circumvent bureaucratic requirements for ID for various things), Disguse (looking more like the person whose ID you stole), Fast Talk, Filch, Forgery (to fake valid tickets using expired ones found, etc., and various simple documents or signatures, not actual passports or other ID), Merchant, Observation, Shadowing and the like.

If the police are after you, Criminology is useful for knowing what kind of indicators they can track and Intelligence Analysis does the same if you will be tracked by professionals with acess to information sources beyond what the police can legally get in a useful time frame.

Streetwise will almost always be required to evade official notice while still moving around and obtaining shelter and supplies, with anything that requires crossing borders often sharply raising the difficulty. In the EU, you might be able to buy train tickets with cash and there would be no border ID checks, but finding a place to stay in a foreign country that doesn't require a credit card and sometimes a passport as well, that is pretty much the province of Area Knowledge, which is unlikely in a fofeign country that you do not frequent, or Streetwise.

All of this is made a lot simpler if you have a lot of cash, but in a TL8 world, getting a lot of cash without coming to official notice might require a Streetwise roll on its own, even if you technically own the money or assets worth it. And, obviously, realistic people rarely do any of this succesfully without Allies, Claim to Hospitality, Contacts and the Friend Perk.
Most real people in such situations might very well either lack Common Sense, or have applicable disadvantages, so I don't see how you can draw that conclusion from the fact that many fail.

Regarding needing to use a credit card because you have no other way to obtain money, that is a different matter from carelessly using it. You can take a calculated risk and for example withdraw a large amount of cash early on in the chase in a location you plan on leaving immediately afterwards. Such things do carry risk, and some skills might help with mitigating them, but just not doing it unless you have to doesn't really require skill.

It happens that people get homeless on short notice. I have seen presumably homeless people begging for money in clothes that wouldn't look out of place on non-homeless people. I also very much doubt that all of them have died unless they had special training beforehand (also even a small amount of cash at hand could make being homeless much easier for some time).

Most people have a good idea about how to travel and eat on a budget in a far wider area than the locations which they can reasonably be said to frequent.

Blending into a population of strangers might be a skilled activity in a small town, but there are plenty of places where you would have to act or dress very spectacularly to stand out.

Last edited by Andreas; 02-10-2019 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:43 AM   #12
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

Streetwise is perfectly adequate for most urban hiding because it tells you what places are policed and how much and where they ask for ID (and how to find a guy who can get you forged ID if it comes to that.) Hiding in an urban environment isn't difficult unless your face is plastered all over the media and as long as you remember to actually hide...meaning stop going to your habitual hangouts, don't call your girlfriend and don't use your credit card.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:58 AM   #13
Polydamas
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Streetwise is perfectly adequate for most urban hiding because it tells you what places are policed and how much and where they ask for ID (and how to find a guy who can get you forged ID if it comes to that.) Hiding in an urban environment isn't difficult unless your face is plastered all over the media and as long as you remember to actually hide...meaning stop going to your habitual hangouts, don't call your girlfriend and don't use your credit card.
These days it is harder to hide if anyone competent is searching for you: no cell phones, no checking your social media without a good VPN, some places have mandatory registrations for employees and/or taxpayers which will make getting a job difficult ... things were easier 20 years ago. That is before we get into facial-recognition systems, tracking the bills which get put into ATMs and taken back at large chain stores, and other things which major governments deploy or might be deploying against persons of interest at a high enough level.

Before 1914 it was easier to disappear than be found again, but a hundred years later most people who try to disappear in a rich country can be found by a private investigator in a few hours' to a few days' work in a quiet office.

Eleanor Saitta has a good site which talks about the kind of issues that say people helping a battered spouse flee their partner have to worry about.

Edit: And here is one of the articles on the investigators and bounty hunters who had real-time location data on most cell phones in the USA https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...ion-data-years Yeah, you can live just fine without a cell phone or smartphone, but most people who are used to one will not want to give it up, especially if they are moving around frequently.
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Last edited by Polydamas; 02-10-2019 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:10 PM   #14
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
Most real people in such situations might very well either lack Common Sense, or have applicable disadvantages, so I don't see how you can draw that conclusion from the fact that many fail.
If anyone cares enough to look, anyone without skills or connections will eventually be found.

Even with no one actively looking, most people who do not turn up for court dates sre 'found' extremely easily, because it's rare for anyone to have the skills and resources to survive without using electronic banking, IDs and help from a lot of people they know.

From what I can tell, surviving without papers is somewhat easier in the US than in Northern Europe. Here, at least, the immigrants and refugees I deal with have essentially zero chance to do anything without having the basics of what everyone has in modern society, i.e, ID and bank account.

There are places that pay their workers illegally in cash and I suspect that some of those could arrange for housing, but these are vanishingly rare. Most of the ones that cheat on taxes just report fewer hours and pay the difference in cash. Everybody still needs ID and bank accounts to be employed or stay anywhere, unless they actually have a fairly good Streetwise skill or Contacts in organized crime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
Regarding needing to use a credit card because you have no other way to obtain money, that is a different matter from carelessly using it. You can take a calculated risk and for example withdraw a large amount of cash early on in the chase in a location you plan on leaving immediately afterwards. Such things do carry risk, and some skills might help with mitigating them, but just not doing it unless you have to doesn't really require skill.
You have to. Most people don't have enough cash to survive for the rest of their lives stashed somewhere. Those who do are generally professional criminals or have the skills rewuired for other reasons.
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Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
It happens that people get homeless on short notice. I have seen presumably homeless people begging for money in clothes that wouldn't look out of place on non-homeless people. I also very much doubt that all of them have died unless they had special training beforehand (also even a small amount of cash at hand could make being homeless much easier for some time).
Failing a roll against default Urban Survival doesn't mean instant death. It means lacking a few FPs from lack of sleep, lack of shelter or lack of food. Failng consitently will make you sick. OTOH, a lot of places will have government assistence, charities or, if death is near, staggering into an ER. For a fugitive, it's not that easy.
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Most people have a good idea about how to travel and eat on a budget in a far wider area than the locations which they can reasonably be said to frequent.
I don't know how to find a place to stay in Denmark, Finland, Norway or Sweden that doesn't require a credit card or some other form of ID. Do you know how to do that in Iceland?
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Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
Blending into a population of strangers might be a skilled activity in a small town, but there are plenty of places where you would have to act or dress very spectacularly to stand out.
From working as a conscierge for a season, in Iceland, one of the things that will get you noticed is not having a credit card or passport while trying to find a place to stay. That gets you classed as 'probably trying to rob the place and/or a drug addict'.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:29 PM   #15
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
These days it is harder to hide if anyone competent is searching for you: no cell phones, no checking your social media without a good VPN, some places have mandatory registrations for employees and/or taxpayers which will make getting a job difficult ... things were easier 20 years ago. That is before we get into facial-recognition systems, tracking the bills which get put into ATMs and taken back at large chain stores, and other things which major governments deploy or might be deploying against persons of interest at a high enough level.

Before 1914 it was easier to disappear than be found again, but a hundred years later most people who try to disappear in a rich country can be found by a private investigator in a few hours' to a few days' work in a quiet office.

Eleanor Saitta has a good site which talks about the kind of issues that say people helping a battered spouse flee their partner have to worry about.

Edit: And here is one of the articles on the investigators and bounty hunters who had real-time location data on most cell phones in the USA https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...ion-data-years Yeah, you can live just fine without a cell phone or smartphone, but most people who are used to one will not want to give it up, especially if they are moving around frequently.
Losing your cellphone and refraining from keeping up with your social media is more a matter of a willpower roll to resist addiction than a skill roll.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:29 PM   #16
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
I like Streetwise and Urban Survival as primaries but would allow Area Knowledge (City) as well.
I dont see Urban Survival as just how to live like a homeless person, but as a skill to know where to find day jobs to earn under the table cash (typically low skill labor), what motels might let you stay without a credit card and which are cheapest, how to find thrift stores, etc,
Going by the skill writeup, that is definitely not the case. You use Streetwise for all that. Urban Survival is knowing how to survive physically, find your way around a city, and so on; that is, it's an almost exact analog of wilderness Survival skills.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:38 PM   #17
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
Most real people in such situations might very well either lack Common Sense, or have applicable disadvantages, so I don't see how you can draw that conclusion from the fact that many fail.
Common Sense isn't that kind of trait. It basically covers not doing the things that ordinary people are prudent enough not to do in the first place. It's a metagaming advantage that can be recommended to a player who makes ill-advised decisions about what their character will try to do; it lets the GM say, "Okay, roll your IQ" and, if they succeed, warn them not to do something that could get them in real trouble. Most people don't do those things.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:53 PM   #18
Andreas
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
If anyone cares enough to look, anyone without skills or connections will eventually be found.

Even with no one actively looking, most people who do not turn up for court dates sre 'found' extremely easily, because it's rare for anyone to have the skills and resources to survive without using electronic banking, IDs and help from a lot of people they know.

From what I can tell, surviving without papers is somewhat easier in the US than in Northern Europe. Here, at least, the immigrants and refugees I deal with have essentially zero chance to do anything without having the basics of what everyone has in modern society, i.e, ID and bank account.

There are places that pay their workers illegally in cash and I suspect that some of those could arrange for housing, but these are vanishingly rare. Most of the ones that cheat on taxes just report fewer hours and pay the difference in cash. Everybody still needs ID and bank accounts to be employed or stay anywhere, unless they actually have a fairly good Streetwise skill or Contacts in organized crime.
Sure, if people are actively searching forever, then you will most likely be found eventually unless you aquire such connections or skills (and very possibly even if you do), but it is possible to stay hidden for a significant amount of time before then.

The set of people who are missing court dates like that seem especially likely to have disadvantages or a lack of Common Sense. It is also questionable how many of those are seriously attempting to stay hidden forever.

If you want to stay hidden in the very long term, and have the standard of living which a somewhat decent job would give you, then yes it certainly becomes much harder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
You have to. Most people don't have enough cash to survive for the rest of their lives stashed somewhere. Those who do are generally professional criminals or have the skills rewuired for other reasons..
The rest of your life is a very high bar. Just having a small amount would be very helpful for the initial period and if you have some time to prepare, many could get a large amount of cash.

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I don't know how to find a place to stay in Denmark, Finland, Norway or Sweden that doesn't require a credit card or some other form of ID. Do you know how to do that in Iceland?
Knowing how to do it in specific other countries is very different from just knowing how to do it in places besides those you are known to frequent. I meant things like not going to specific establishments, rather than leaving the country.

Quote:
From working as a conscierge for a season, in Iceland, one of the things that will get you noticed is not having a credit card or passport while trying to find a place to stay. That gets you classed as 'probably trying to rob the place and/or a drug addict'.
And I have gotten an apartment without using either of those (and I didn't have to look for long or even pay a deposit). I could just as easily have signed the contract with some other name. Not at all a good appartment, but definitely sufficient if you are on the run. Still, depending on where you are and how respectable you look, I agree that finding decent living arrangements could be difficult and not something you can just automatically do without skill or contacts.

Last edited by Andreas; 02-10-2019 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:58 PM   #19
Andreas
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Common Sense isn't that kind of trait. It basically covers not doing the things that ordinary people are prudent enough not to do in the first place. It's a metagaming advantage that can be recommended to a player who makes ill-advised decisions about what their character will try to do; it lets the GM say, "Okay, roll your IQ" and, if they succeed, warn them not to do something that could get them in real trouble. Most people don't do those things.
Sure, not most people. However, for the subset of people which are in such situations, either lacking common sense or having an applicable disadvantage being common does not seem at all implausible to me (with those having disadvantages probably making up the greater part).
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:00 PM   #20
Polydamas
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

Icelander is right that in many places, to stay in a hotel or rent an apartment you are legally required to provide some form of photo ID. Yes, there are ways around that, and places which will just stick the info you give in a file cabinet somewhere, but you only have to slip once and I would be happy to roll against Streetwise to find a place like that without making the landlord nervous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Losing your cellphone and refraining from keeping up with your social media is more a matter of a willpower roll to resist addiction than a skill roll.
What if your new social circle/employer wants you to communicate by phone? Its pretty common for people offering irregular work to have a list of people's phone numbers, and if one does not answer they call the next one. In many cities the "used stuff for sale" and "job postings" have moved to FB, someone without an account has a disadvantage finding work and setting up their cheap apartment. (And yes, you can create new accounts, but FB is very very good at figuring out that two accounts belong to the same person, and you only have to slip once).

What if your new city has taken down the public transit maps/schedules and replaced them with a number you can call to see when the next bus will arrive because 'everyone has a cell phone' (and can use it in their gloves when the temperature is 40 below, sigh)?

You can still get by just fine without a cellphone or a smartphone, but it makes many aspects of life harder, slower, and more expensive, especially when you are setting up housing, work, and social life in a new place. There are REASONS why so many refugees have a smartphone.

In a world where plenty of middle-aged professionals with training in OPSEC do things like sharing nudes on their smartphone or using a shared Gmail account as a secret messaging service with their lovers ("we will each log in and edit a draft, see, that way everything stays on Google's servers ...") I don't think that stigmatizing these kinds of mistakes as "addiction" is very helpful.
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