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Old 10-28-2011, 12:25 AM   #41
Blind Mapmaker
 
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Default Re: Social Engineering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
The list of playtesters seems a bit wonky; I can't imagine what I said to merit inclusion on it. Other than that, it's really, really good.
I agree with the eclectic playtester selection. I would have never thought I'd be included. I didn't do much but argue about minor points. The book, however, (looks at e23 price tag) is well worth the money. Special kudos for the layout. This one needed that professional treatment even more than Low-Tech. Tables, modifiers and all nicely grouped and readable - so beautiful. Not to forget hyperlinks and bookmarks. Sometimes it's really hard to got back to old PDFs like Magic.
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:03 AM   #42
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: Social Engineering

Good book. Definitely worth the $13.99. But since someone asked for nitpicks:

The stuff on reaction and influence rolls, especially "Expanded Reaction Rolls" and "Expanded Influence Rolls," is really good to have. But seeing it all laid out highlights the oddness of having two parallel systems with mechanics that will often both be useable for the same task, but which differ in subtle but important ways. It seems social engineering was made to be scrupulously consistent with Basic on this, but I don't see why that had to be. Hmmm.

So for example: it's odd that Influence rolls get harder when the target has a higher Will, but nothing similar applies to Reaction Rolls. This could be really annoying when the GM decides some particular NPC should be difficult, though not impossible, to influence with either kind of roll. Something like a generalized version of the "ridiculous reactions" sidebar in Dungeon Fantasy 11 would have made sense here.

Also, the bibliography. It's nice to see Kevin Mitnick name-checked in the text, but why aren't any of his books in the bibliography? Machiavelli is great and all, but I suspect Mitnick would be more useful to most gaming groups. That and the obvious connection to the book's title. Was this a matter of not wanting to be perceived as promoting certain activities? Oh well, the bibliography still looks like it has things I'll want to check out, if I have the time.
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:18 AM   #43
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Default Re: Social Engineering

Curse you, gall bladder! Why must you vex me so sorely just as this...this... awesomeness is released upon the world! The $160 I spent dealing with the aftermath of your removal would have been spent much better in food and GURPS books than at Sun Chun University Hospital! Now, I must wait a whole week and 2 days! This is a travesty!
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:53 AM   #44
Pragmatic
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Default Re: Social Engineering

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
(long and involved explanation)
Or, to summarize:

Even the most popular GURPS softback will never come close to the profitability of even the worst Munchkin release. SJ Games can release card games knowing that it'll probably make a profit, easily.

Only a few GURPS releases are guaranteed to make a profit when put into dead-trees versions. SJ Games has probably seen way too many releases that didn't produce any profits, so they're being cautious.

Edit: And to summarize further, GURPS (and other RPGs) could be dropped by SJ Games with little effect on their profit margin. Most other companies, these high-risk/low-profit products would be dropped. I'm glad that SJ Games continues to feed my hobby, and completely understand their caution.

So very few of their products get put onto paper? Understandable. I'm glad that we have two new 4E products a month, plus Pyramid, plus the occasional Classic release. We could have much less.

Please, keep up the good work. :-)

Last edited by Pragmatic; 10-28-2011 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:11 AM   #45
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Default Re: Social Engineering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
The stuff on reaction and influence rolls, especially "Expanded Reaction Rolls" and "Expanded Influence Rolls," is really good to have. But seeing it all laid out highlights the oddness of having two parallel systems with mechanics that will often both be useable for the same task, but which differ in subtle but important ways. It seems social engineering was made to be scrupulously consistent with Basic on this, but I don't see why that had to be. Hmmm.

So for example: it's odd that Influence rolls get harder when the target has a higher Will, but nothing similar applies to Reaction Rolls. This could be really annoying when the GM decides some particular NPC should be difficult, though not impossible, to influence with either kind of roll. Something like a generalized version of the "ridiculous reactions" sidebar in Dungeon Fantasy 11 would have made sense here.
It wasn't the primary job of this supplement to radically change the Basic Set rules or create a new game that just happened to share a name. Like GURPS Powers, which generalized and expanded the treatment of psi powers in the Basic Set, GURPS Social Engineering generalized and expanded the mechanics in the Basic Set for social interactions, whenever possible. That is, most of it is effectively a new chapter for volume ii, not for volume i.

As to reaction rolls, the point is precisely that they are not a representation of the target being influenced. The reaction roll is how the target behaves if you don't influence them. A high Appearance or Charisma produces a favorable reaction roll because people do in fact react well to people with those qualities! (Real world application: My girlfriend went to see the film Black Power Mixtape a couple of days ago, and she came back impressed by how physically attractive all those young black leaders were.)

If you want a character who isn't affected by reaction roll modifiers, I suppose you could buy it as a resistance or immunity. Since Indomitable is effectively immunity to influence rolls, which are treated as Common, and influence rolls are a subset of reaction rolls mechanically, I would call immunity to reaction rolls Very Common, worth 30 points. You might want that, for example, for an AI. I'm not sure how it would apply to Resistance to reaction roll modifiers, since you don't normally resist them!

Bill Stoddard
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:21 AM   #46
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Default Re: Social Engineering

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Originally Posted by smurf View Post
Going to have to turn my PC upstairs to get this.

I'm intrigued by 'inciting a riot' from my research they more or less happen. They cannot be predicted to a time/place but a general trend of riotous situation. In June a gave a talk on the tendency towards riot and by August I was right. But I had no idea about what was to cause it, where it would happen and how it would unfold.

So I'm intrigued.
If it can be done in fiction, it should be possible in a game.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:46 AM   #47
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Default Re: Social Engineering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragmatic View Post

SJ Games can release card games knowing that it'll probably make a profit, easily.

SJ Games has probably seen way too many [RPG] releases that didn't produce any profits, so they're being cautious.

GURPS (and other RPGs) could be dropped by SJ Games with little effect on their profit margin.
All of the above statements are basically true. Until RPG fans are selling out 10,000-unit print runs in a quarter, it's hard to justify print runs in today's climate. The old days when it made sense to print 1,000-2,000 copies and let them sell out over years are gone. They were on their way out when I was hired in 1995, but the writing was on the wall even then.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:39 AM   #48
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Default Re: Social Engineering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
But seeing it all laid out highlights the oddness of having two parallel systems with mechanics that will often both be useable for the same task, but which differ in subtle but important ways. [...] So for example: it's odd that Influence rolls get harder when the target has a higher Will, but nothing similar applies to Reaction Rolls.
The split between reaction rolls and Influence is an intentional one. The former is a passive thing -- a reaction bonus means you're generally likable, but not necessarily that you're doing anything actively to earn it. The latter is a contest of skill vs. Will which represents you consciously using training to force a specific reaction from someone -- an Influence bonus is a skill bonus (or TDM).

It's like the difference between a dodge (not helped by training; everyone can do it; represents instinctive movement) and a parry or block (based on skill; easy to raise once you know it; represents a conscious attempt at defense). All are used for the same task (not getting hit!), but with different rules, because they all exist (and are used) in real life.

Quote:
This could be really annoying when the GM decides some particular NPC should be difficult, though not impossible, to influence with either kind of roll.
"Resistant to reaction rolls" is easy -- just give the person a reaction penalty or note that they ignore up to +X in reaction bonuses! Remember, the GM always has the right to simply predetermine an NPCs reactions, so doing anything less than that is always kosher. If Farmer Brown reacts Poorly to trespassers no matter what, then it doesn't matter if Mr. Face has +12 in reaction bonuses -- Farmer Brown reacts poorly. Period. So the GM who likes to roll dice is well within his rights to say that Farmer Brown instead reacts at -2 to trespassers and ignores up to +/-5 in reaction modifiers. That way, Mr. Face still has a chance, where the average person doesn't. None of this requires any special traits, any more than PCs require special traits to reflect their players deciding how they react to things.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:48 AM   #49
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Default Re: Social Engineering

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The old days when it made sense to print 1,000-2,000 copies and let them sell out over years are gone. They were on their way out when I was hired in 1995, but the writing was on the wall even then.
To expand a bit on what Kromm said here, this is largely because the U.S. changed the laws on warehoused resources sometime in the recent past (the late 1990s or early 2000s seems about right in my mind). It used to be that books gathering dust in a warehouse were considered a liability; you needed to pay for the warehousing of them, after all, and they weren't making you any money.

Nowadays, books in a warehouse are considered an asset; if you have 2,000 $20 books in a warehouse, that's considered $40,000 in assets, and you need to pay taxes on it accordingly.

This led to a huge incentive to try to print only as many as you could sell reasonably quickly... and to destroy/liquidate any copies you couldn't sell after a fairly short time frame.
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:35 PM   #50
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Default Re: Social Engineering

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Originally Posted by Steven Marsh View Post
This led to a huge incentive to try to print only as many as you could sell reasonably quickly... and to destroy/liquidate any copies you couldn't sell after a fairly short time frame.
Wow. That is stupid.

Okay, I can see the idea behind it, but still.
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