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Old 10-13-2017, 11:20 PM   #1
oneofmanynameless
 
Join Date: May 2012
Default Psychological Profiling

Is psychological profiling covered anywhere in any supplements? Like... cinematic psychological profiling and non-cinematic psychological profiling.
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:27 PM   #2
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Psychological Profiling

Mentioned briefly in Transhuman Mysteries. Surprisingly, there's not much about it in GURPS Mysteries, either.
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:53 AM   #3
JoelSammallahti
 
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Default Re: Psychological Profiling

Want a quick sketch of rules for this?

Cinematic (but not ridiculous) psychological profiling:

The investigator team rolls Intelligence Analysis and Psychology. These rolls can be performed by two separate team members, or by one; in the former case, they must be able to fully communicate. If either roll fails, the profile is too vague to provide valuable information; a critical failure produces a misleading profile. The GM assigns modifiers to the rolls reflecting the breadth of the available evidence, and the distinctiveness of the target.

If both rolls succeed, the team identifies a number of clues: significant facts about the target that are not readily apparent from the evidence alone. These can be character trait, such as a Delusion, Obsession, or other mental disadvantage, demographic categories, aspects of the target's motivation, etc.

The number of clues depends on the combined Margin of Success of the Intelligence Analysis and Psychology rolls: the investigators get one clue, plus 1/5 of the total MoS, rounded down. A critical success on either roll produces a particularly pertinent clue, such as the identity of the next victim, the location of the target's hideout, the target's computer password, etc.

If the GM does not wish to go into too much detail, he/she can replace specific clues with a generic bonus to condequent Criminology or other investigative rolls: +1 for each clue thus converted. In an Action game, this bonus can be applied to reduce BAD when infiltrating the target's organization, hacking into their computers, etc.


Realistic psychological profiling:

The profiler rolls Fortune-Telling to produce a reading, and either Fast-Talk or Writing to sell it to the lead investigator. There are no other effects.

A more scrupulous profiler Mathematics (Statistics) and either Psychology-2 or Sociology-2. If all rolls succeed, the profile provides one clue, or +1 to the lead investigator's Criminology or Intelligence Analysis roll.


(I'm not a psychological profiler, but I am a psychologist, and I've read a little bit of the literature on profiling. If anyone here knows more about realistic psychological profiling and wants to contradict my interpretation, I'm fully willing to concede their point.)

Last edited by JoelSammallahti; 10-16-2017 at 09:56 AM. Reason: slight expansion of proposed house rule
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:15 AM   #4
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Psychological Profiling

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelSammallahti View Post
Realistic psychological profiling:

The profiler rolls Fortune-Telling to produce a reading, and either Fast-Talk or Writing to sell it to the lead investigator. There are no other effects.)
Looking purely at the GURPS mechanics, if you make the Fortune-Telling roll, the Fast-Talk roll isn't needed; Fortune-Telling includes selling the mark on your conclusions.
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Old 10-16-2017, 12:01 PM   #5
JoelSammallahti
 
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Default Re: Psychological Profiling

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Looking purely at the GURPS mechanics, if you make the Fortune-Telling roll, the Fast-Talk roll isn't needed; Fortune-Telling includes selling the mark on your conclusions.
You're right, of course! Fast-Talk would make for a good complementary skill.
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Old 10-16-2017, 12:31 PM   #6
TGLS
 
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Default Re: Psychological Profiling

And now I'm thinking of a campaign where players have actual paranormal powers competing with psychological profilers.
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Old 10-16-2017, 12:58 PM   #7
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Psychological Profiling

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelSammallahti View Post
Want a quick sketch of rules for this?

[Realistic psychological profiling:

The profiler rolls Fortune-Telling to produce a reading, and either Fast-Talk or Writing to sell it to the lead investigator. There are no other effects.

A more scrupulous profiler Mathematics (Statistics) and either Psychology-2 or Sociology-2. If all rolls succeed, the profile provides one clue, or +1 to the lead investigator's Criminology or Intelligence Analysis roll.


(I'm not a psychological profiler, but I am a psychologist, and I've read a little bit of the literature on profiling. If anyone here knows more about realistic psychological profiling and wants to contradict my interpretation, I'm fully willing to concede their point.)
I might add a little caveat about _who_ is being profiled.

Some of what are loosely and luridly described as "serial killers" would be more accurately described as something like "compulsive pattern killers" in a tighter technical nomenclature. They really do have patterns that can be discerned.

Sometimes though what you're looking for is a "spree killer". An honest analysis of one of those would go something like "Well he was sort of wandering around at random and then he got drunk and started shooting people. My recommendation is that you stake out every honky-tonk in Texas. Or possibly Oklahoma.".

You can't find patterns that aren't there.
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Old 10-16-2017, 01:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Psychological Profiling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post

You can't find patterns that aren't there.
People absolutely find patterns that aren't there all the time. Just look at any gambler who thinks that black is due to come up. Apophenia's a thing.
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Old 10-16-2017, 01:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: Psychological Profiling

Even pattern killers, while having an ideal type, will over time and from desperation or opportunity, "make-do".
Pretend your dating history is a list of your victims. What could someone only studying them determine about you and who your most recent date was with? Probably not much other than vague preferences.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:35 AM   #10
oneofmanynameless
 
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Default Re: Psychological Profiling

Quote:
Originally Posted by talonthehand View Post
People absolutely find patterns that aren't there all the time. Just look at any gambler who thinks that black is due to come up. Apophenia's a thing.
Conspiracy Theories, myths, esoteric medicine, etc etc... Human beings are Masters at finding patterns that... may or may not be there.
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