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Old 02-11-2019, 10:48 AM   #51
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
In the scenario I mentioned, the character had a day to prepare. That is not a very harsh time preasure.

If the time gets much shorter, then that can become harder. On the other hand you might just have thought through the scenario sometime in the past. Either like I have done just now, or by hearing about how some criminal using their credit card got caught like that. I don't think that is at all unusual.
My point is that speculating about this, reading about real crime stories and consuming fiction all count as developing a default level of skill and, for those who do actual research on it, can absolutely justify Dabbler that raises the default. This is how Streetwise is learned, along with putting this in practice.

A Criminology or Streetwise default of skill 5 or below is someone like a sweet old lady who has her default from the occasional episode of Mrs. Marple, Mattlock or Derrick. Defaults of skill 6-8 are fairly typical for people who have ever bought drugs, hung around with people who live outside the mainstream or even just spent a lot of time watching more realistic crime fiction, reading true crime or researching RPG campaigns.

A lot of real people who aren't active criminals have Streetwise at skill 9-10, because they interact with a lot of people who use it daily and because they've thought about what they'd do in a variety of situations. Note that this also applies if your interaction is over the Internet. The basement-dwelling nerd who has online friends who sell drugs, stolen passports and all sorts of other things over the Internet might well have decent Streetwise, even if he'll lack some familiarities that he might need for active use in face-to-face meetings.

When your clientele tend to use Streetwise as their main social skill, it would be unrealistic not to improve your default over time, which means that a lot of social workers, lawyers, cops and other people who deal with 'street people' for a living will have decent Streetwise. Anyone who has to interact with homeless people a lot will often have a point or two in Streetwise, or least least some Dabbler.

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Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
Sure, that is not needed to be able to prepare for running away though. Having a small amount of cash and being able to withdraw some on short notice is not at all implausible.

Even much less than that can make it much easier than having nothing. If I had to run away right now, I would strongly prefer having $50 over $0.
It's not implausible, but having made realistic preparations toward going on the run would usually correlate with being the kind of person who has Streetwise.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:13 AM   #52
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I think mine and Polydamas' point is that it isn't, really. Unless you somehow have enough cash on hand to survive for as long as you need to hide, which might be years or the rest of your life, then you're going to need enough of a new identity to be able to get a job, a place to live, etc.

At our TL8, in the countries most of us reading are living, people don't just carry that much cash with them and society increasingly assumes that anyone without credit cards, picture ID, bank accounts and credit ratings are either criminals or at least enough of a bad risk so that no one wants them living on their property or working for them.

After all, if you can't charge their card for damages, what will you do if the reason they didn't want to show ID is that they planned to steal everything in the room that wasn't nailed down and trash most of the rest?
Its damned hard to live entirely off gird but the e US is a little different as there still are communities where cash is king. . In Europe, its all small and compact and baring exceptional skills and safe houses or in some countries probably the ability to operate in some no go zones can keep someone safe.

The US has a sizable homeless population at the minimum of half a million though and probably in the tens of millions of undocumented people. There are places to go though for a free meal and a sermon though the quality of life will be low. This can be done by anyone who has any skill even dabbler in streetwise , or urban survival or at least one point in area knowledge and with an easy fast talk/diplomacy roll in the right places

If you meet the criteria there are effective no go zones for the police as well though they are more likely minority

Its also possible to operate on mostly a cash basis as a fair number of people will rent you a room and a lot of them prefer cash as they won't report it to the tax authorities You'll need fast talk or diplomacy to pull it off in some cases

This will not stop an all out enemy of the state man hunt or really determined hunters but people can be hard to find for a while.

The rest of the developed world is not like this though.


The skills for this are
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:21 AM   #53
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Or you know, just getting one big cash withdrawl before you go on the run.
Most countries and banks limit how much you can withdrawl at once, and have a different limit for cash withdrawls at a branch which gets a manager called in to ask some questions and delay you (in the countries I have lived in, its on the order of a few weeks' to a few months' frugal expenses). Do you know what those limits are? Or whether your bank is set up to flag three withdrawals of $x900 in the same day from different branches? If the machine ate your card a few hours before your flight out of the country would you panic? Quick! The vampires/mobsters/outraged parents are coming.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:36 PM   #54
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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IIf you are withdrawing from an ATM from your own bank, you can get up to $1,000 for the basic cards that most everyone has and up to $7,000 for cards that are meant for travelers, if you are withdrawing from an ATM specifically targeted for the use of such cards. No idea how to find one of those and don't know anyone who has ever needed to withdraw that kind of money from an ATM.
Which is why you go in person and close out your account. you get all your money immediately and the bank doesn't even bat an eye (I mean they do, but that's because they are losing a customer, not because they suspect you're a criminal).



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Originally Posted by SimonAce View Post
The US has a sizable homeless population at the minimum of half a million though and probably in the tens of millions of undocumented people. There are places to go though for a free meal and a sermon though the quality of life will be low. This can be done by anyone who has any skill even dabbler in streetwise , or urban survival or at least one point in area knowledge and with an easy fast talk/diplomacy roll in the right places
The advantage to going the homeless route is in most major US metropoles that there are a lot of "soup kitchens" that don't care about your ID, and if you look like your living rough most people are happy to point you to the nearest shelter or soup kitchen, and other homeless will 'take you under their wing' and show you the good spots.

The disadvantage is that all the shelters that draw on public funds require a SSN (but not a picture ID, so not as hard to fake and you just need your number)... and those are the 'good' places for food and housing.

Alos, the food situation if you're homeless is pretty good. You'll be down to 1-2 meals a day if you can't swing a shelter (the only way for a free breakfast) and are living in alleys.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:07 PM   #55
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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The United States are, in my experience, a lot more open to cash-based transactions than the Northern European countries.
As far as I know Germany is also very open to cash transactions. At least I see mentioned in travel guides that you should ask before you pay with credit card if they accept a credit card. Incidentally, when I was last in Germany I bought a watch for approximately €1000 and the watchmaker didn't accept cards. And during the few days I was in Germany I don't think we ever paid for food with credit card.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:28 PM   #56
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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As far as I know Germany is also very open to cash transactions. At least I see mentioned in travel guides that you should ask before you pay with credit card if they accept a credit card. Incidentally, when I was last in Germany I bought a watch for approximately €1000 and the watchmaker didn't accept cards. And during the few days I was in Germany I don't think we ever paid for food with credit card.
Huh.

I've never specifically tried to notice, but at least the last two times I was in Germany, I could pay with either credit or debit card almost anywhere. Granted, I would often carry cash anyway, but that's because I tended to tip.

It would never occur to me to pay for something costing hundreds or thousands of Euros in cash, if only because I'm unlikely to ever carry that much cash. Well, any longer, I should say. I would do so when I was younger, I guess until I visited Romania and my wallet, containing maybe €2,000, got pick-pocketed before leaving the airport. I was going to put some of it into a sock or something and keep a smaller amount in my wallet, but it didn't occur to me that I needed to fly out like that.

Back in the 80s and 90s, my father taught me to always carry cash abroad and a variety of rules for foreign currency that applied then, but when I started travelling on my own in the early 2000s, it was more or less all outdated. Sure, there were some places where carrying significant reserves of cash made sense in the 2000s, but I can't remember any trip inside Europe in the 2010s where I had to worry that I couldn't pay with at least some card I had.

I guess maybe I might have unconsciously avoided places with a cash-only economy. I'm sure there were still some kebab places in shady neighborhoods in Berlin or Amsterdam that only accepted cash, for example, but the ones I have visited in recent years have all accepted my cards.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:10 AM   #57
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

Speaking of picking up some Streetwise via indirect contact - carry at least two wallets. One should have enough cash to pay for a days stay in your hotel, and some trivial cards that you can live without (fake ones, if you can manage it). The other has your ID, credit cards, travellers cheques, other cashmoney. This one should be quite inconvenient for you to get to when you need to pay for something (and also for pickpockets).

When you get mugged, you give the decoy wallet, which has enough cash in it that they go away happy.

It should be about enough for a days stay at your hotel, because if you look more wealthy, they expect to get more money from you. Hotel prices are a good way of scaling for your apparent status, unless you're deliberately dressing up or down.

I've rolled into a hotel in old T-shirt and tattered cargo pants dragging a hikers backpack in order to rent the Governors suite. This might make your Streetwise checks credible, but has got to be at least a -4 on your Savoire Faire rolls to convince the front desk that you've really got that reservation.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:44 AM   #58
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Huh.

I've never specifically tried to notice, but at least the last two times I was in Germany, I could pay with either credit or debit card almost anywhere. Granted, I would often carry cash anyway, but that's because I tended to tip.


I guess maybe I might have unconsciously avoided places with a cash-only economy. I'm sure there were still some kebab places in shady neighborhoods in Berlin or Amsterdam that only accepted cash, for example, but the ones I have visited in recent years have all accepted my cards.
Just for reference the watchmaker was in the center of Koblenz, which admittedly is not a major German city, but it is a German city. And I've heard stories (man!) about German quirkiness about money.

And just because you mention Amsterdam, my experience of The Netherlands is that they're similar to here regarding cash.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:55 AM   #59
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Speaking of picking up some Streetwise via indirect contact - carry at least two wallets. One should have enough cash to pay for a days stay in your hotel, and some trivial cards that you can live without (fake ones, if you can manage it). The other has your ID, credit cards, travellers cheques, other cashmoney. This one should be quite inconvenient for you to get to when you need to pay for something (and also for pickpockets).

When you get mugged, you give the decoy wallet, which has enough cash in it that they go away happy.
I also save my old (no longer useful) IDs. Demagnetize the strip, mar the numbers beyond recognition, and keep them in the dummy wallet, if when they flip it open in front of you to check it, they see an ID and a pair of credit/debit cards.

My real wallet stays in my backpack or tucked into my sock, it's slim enough for that.


I started doing this after a friend and I got mugged (I wasn't carrying my wallet, but the trouble he had to go through and the threat of "No wallet, I might just stab you for that" was enough to inspire me).
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:25 PM   #60
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Default Re: Skill for laying low in an urban area

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Speaking of picking up some Streetwise via indirect contact - carry at least two wallets. One should have enough cash to pay for a days stay in your hotel, and some trivial cards that you can live without (fake ones, if you can manage it). The other has your ID, credit cards, travellers cheques, other cashmoney. This one should be quite inconvenient for you to get to when you need to pay for something (and also for pickpockets).

When you get mugged, you give the decoy wallet, which has enough cash in it that they go away happy.

<snip>
I hadn't thought about doing that with the wallet, but I have started carrying around an old flip phone for muggers to have if needed.
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