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Old 08-08-2013, 05:14 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default [Social Engineering] [Pyramid 3/54] The math and tactics of using Elicitation?

Greetings, all!

As the campaign goes by, I keep seeing situation where I Request Information. So I'm thinking of eventually buying up Elicitation. Not yet, as I only have [2] in Diplomacy, and Elicitation is a Hard Technique. Of course, if half the time you use Diplomacy you ask for information, it's actually long-term a good idea to get all five levels of Elicitation [6], and never stop using it, making it so that other people always roll Will-5 to resist your Requests for Information. As an added bonus, you have more of a chance of getting your info without the target figuring out that s/he/it gave it to you, which seems awesome in an intrigue-laden campaign like Clancy's.

Now, since I'm not ready to buy up the Technique yet, I'm actually more urgently interested in answering just how big a penalty I should try to take with the default level. Since Influence attempts are Quick Contests, the only thing one should be wary of is whether the modifier improves the chances of the diplomat or the target.

But I'm kinda confused. Unlike Deceptive Attack, Elicitation (a) reduces both values by an equal number and (b) seems to reduce the expected MoSes of both the diplomat and the target by the same value. Should that be taken to mean that the level of Elicitation picked doesn't matter at all as long as no points were spent on it, other than the fact that it reduces the chance of the target figuring what the question was about after answering it (which kinda means always taking -5 is incentivised)?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:06 AM   #2
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] [Pyramid 3/54] The math and tactics of using Elicitation?

Since elicitation is a Quick Contest, where what matters is the margin of victory (or defeat), I think it's correct that it doesn't matter how subtle you try to be. I don't think the odds change.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:28 AM   #3
thom
 
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] [Pyramid 3/54] The math and tactics of using Elicitation?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Since elicitation is a Quick Contest, where what matters is the margin of victory (or defeat), I think it's correct that it doesn't matter how subtle you try to be. I don't think the odds change.Bill Stoddard
Sorry for the necromancy, but I'm about to have an NPC group try to pull off a major use of Elicitation on my group of PCs.

The PCs have just upended a major plan the NPC group was working on, and the NPC group has no idea what happened or how their plan failed. So, naturally, the group wants to go to work on the PCs (without the PCs realizing it) to find out what exactly happened-enter Elicitation, stage right. Outright kidnapping & interrogating is not the best option for the NPC group.

But I can't quite figure out the game mechanics of making Elicitation work on PCs using the Influencing the PCs rules.

For example, the PCs have learned (the hard way) to be suspicious of questions from strangers; and they know their actions were a major blow against an enemy (they just don't know exactly which enemy it was).

So is it just a simple "a friendly merchant/waiter/warrior buys you a drink and asks how your journey was" and then roll the NPC's Elicitation vs. the PC?

Like Bill, I allow my PCs to make all their own 'secret' rolls and expect them to roleplay properly. It just seems a little raw to say later on you revealed what you did and why without realizing it; even though that is exactly what Elicitation seems to be about (unless I'm missing something).
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:55 AM   #4
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] [Pyramid 3/54] The math and tactics of using Elicitation?

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Originally Posted by thom View Post
So is it just a simple "a friendly merchant/waiter/warrior buys you a drink and asks how your journey was" and then roll the NPC's Elicitation vs. the PC?
The usual thing that happens is that the NPCs have a Quick Contest against the PCs, and their margin of victory is applied as a penalty to the PCs' skill rolls. In this case, those would be rolls to conceal what they were doing, in circumstances where it would naturally come up in conversation. If you let the players make their own rolls, you'd want to have them make IQ rolls (for a simple lie) or Acting rolls (for an elaborate coverup)—but not tell them about the penalty. If you want to roll for them, you'd just have the information get out without their realizing it—after all, their characters wouldn't realize it. Unless, of course, the NPCs failed to conceal the attempt (a failure of Elicitation).

I think the natural setup might be that people talk with them, or in their presence, about things related to their activities. You can disguise this best, perhaps, as "you've gained something of a Reputation"—showing them that there's public reaction to what they pulled off. Or if not public reaction, reaction in certain inner circles.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:39 AM   #5
thom
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Default Re: [Social Engineering] [Pyramid 3/54] The math and tactics of using Elicitation?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
In this case, those would be rolls to conceal what they were doing, in circumstances where it would naturally come up in conversation.

I think the natural setup might be that people talk with them, or in their presence, about things related to their activities. You can disguise this best, perhaps, as "you've gained something of a Reputation"—showing them that there's public reaction to what they pulled off. Or if not public reaction, reaction in certain inner circles.Bill Stoddard
Ahhh...so I could use the "reputation" ploy to get the PCs to talk, and then they will (naturally) try to conceal revealing anything (at which point they make their rolls) and I just nonchalantly go on as if nothing happened while secretly rolling the NPC Elicitation skill and applying modifiers (if any) to the PC's rolls. Nice!
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:55 PM   #6
thom
 
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] [Pyramid 3/54] The math and tactics of using Elicitation?

OK so for the mechanics of it all:

female NPC has
charisma 1, attractive, and voice
sex appeal (13) (15) from voice
sex appeal [elicitation] (14) (16) from voice?
carousing (12)

1) So we start with a carousing roll, and if she succeeds, she can add +2 to her sex appeal [elicitation roll]?

2) so from a basic sex appeal [elicitation]-16, add +2 for a total of 18, and then take a -3 penalty to her sex appeal [elicitation roll]. With a commensurate -3 penalty on the player characters roll vs. their Will score.

Which pretty much means the PCs are gonna spill their guts, since they only have Will scores of 10! Does this sound right?
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:43 PM   #7
Nosforontu
 
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] [Pyramid 3/54] The math and tactics of using Elicitation?

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Originally Posted by thom View Post
Which pretty much means the PCs are gonna spill their guts, since they only have Will scores of 10! Does this sound right?
Since the NPC probably dropped at least 24 points on being good at sex appeal rolls targeting will and the PCs have invested 0 points at being good at resisting will power attacks that seems fair to me.
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