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Old 11-01-2011, 04:16 PM   #21
PK
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

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Originally Posted by NineDaysDead View Post
In which case shouldn't the sequence of rolls go something like:

1. Roll Acting, Savoir-Faire or Streetwise to blend in.
2. Roll Observation to not break cover when gathering intelligence, while blending in.
3. Roll Per-based roll against a relevant skill to gather intelligence.
NDD, you seem to still be misunderstanding this key fact: Observation is the "Per-based roll against a skill to gather intelligence." That's what Observation does. The fact that it lets you do so without being obvious is an incidental benefit.

So the sequence is, assuming that you're casing a place (not trying to emotionally size up a person):

1. Roll Acting, Savoir-Faire, or Sreetwise to blend in.
2. Roll Observation to gather intelligence, and to do so in a way that will not break cover.
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:20 PM   #22
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

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Originally Posted by Rev. Pee Kitty View Post
NDD, you seem to still be misunderstanding this key fact: Observation is the "Per-based roll against a skill to gather intelligence." That's what Observation does. The fact that it lets you do so without being obvious is an incidental benefit.

So the sequence is, assuming that you're casing a place (not trying to emotionally size up a person):

1. Roll Acting, Savoir-Faire, or Sreetwise to blend in.
2. Roll Observation to gather intelligence, and to do so in a way that will not break cover.
Okay, so if you're in a situation where no special skill/effort is needed to blend in, then is is correct to say that step 1 can be dispensed with?

Also, I suggest that in many instances there is a step 3 -- use relevant skills to glean knowledge from the information obtained. (The text refers specifically to Intel Analysis, but in appropriate cases would not others be applicable (e.g. Anthropology or Psychology)?
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:22 PM   #23
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

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Originally Posted by Rev. Pee Kitty View Post
NDD, you seem to still be misunderstanding this key fact: Observation is the "Per-based roll against a skill to gather intelligence." That's what Observation does. The fact that it lets you do so without being obvious is an incidental benefit.

So the sequence is, assuming that you're casing a place (not trying to emotionally size up a person):

1. Roll Acting, Savoir-Faire, or Sreetwise to blend in.
2. Roll Observation to gather intelligence, and to do so in a way that will not break cover.
So to spot hidden stuff, I don't roll Observation again, I only roll the other skill in the Quick Contest?
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:26 PM   #24
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

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So the sequence is, assuming that you're casing a place (not trying to emotionally size up a person):
I'm not assuming you aren't trying to emotionally size up a person. Since this thread has social Engineering in the title lets assume you are trying to emotionally size up a person. I'm only assuming that you want to do so without breaking cover, for which Observation is the skill?
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:31 PM   #25
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

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I'm not assuming you aren't trying to emotionally size up a person. Since this thread has social Engineering in the title lets assume you are trying to emotionally size up a person. I'm only assuming that you want to do so without breaking cover, for which Observation is the skill?
No.

Observation is not "the skill of not breaking cover." It will not cover up your other actions in any way.

If you're (e.g.) making a social approachability roll, Observation will not help you in any way, shape, or form.
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:42 PM   #26
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

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Originally Posted by NineDaysDead View Post
I'm not assuming you aren't trying to emotionally size up a person. Since this thread has social Engineering in the title lets assume you are trying to emotionally size up a person. I'm only assuming that you want to do so without breaking cover, for which Observation is the skill?
No. The skill is usually Acting. Observation is not the skill of "not breaking cover"; it's the skill of "gathering useful (often tactical) intelligence (while not breaking cover)."

The skill you use to gather social intelligence is more or less any Per-based Influence skill, or other social skill that can act as an Influence skill. The skill you use to conceal doing so is Acting; that's generally the skill you use to pretend not to be doing what you're doing in a social milieu. The Per-based Influence skill takes the place of Observation when what you want is not to gather tactical intelligence, but to spot a mark.

So you have one skill roll to gather social information, and one skill to avoid being noticed. In wanting an Observation roll, you seem also to want a third skill roll to avoid being noticed while gathering social information. And really, that's making things overcomplicated. Two rolls are enough. You can put the ability to hide the attention you're paying under either Acting, or the Per-based skill, but asking for a separate Observation roll for it is just too much dice rolling for a single task.

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Old 11-01-2011, 06:42 PM   #27
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

I'm going to have to say, this is the first time I've read a thread where I completely and utterly disagree with everything that Kromm and RPK (and Bill) are saying. Observation has, since I've played GURPS, always been the skill to gather information while not breaking cover. Now you're saying that other skills, including ones that have nothing to do with either gathering information or breaking cover, can do the exact same thing.

If the 'not breaking cover' part of Observation doesn't matter at all, why can't I just roll against straight Per (assuming I only want the 'don't break cover' part and not the other Observation-specific bits)?

Further, you're saying that, while Observation is the skill for gathering intelligence while not breaking cover, you can't use it to gather social intelligence while not breaking cover. Why not? Where in the rules does it say that Observation suddenly doesn't work when you're trying to analyze that information with Psychology or some other social-based skill? That makes no sense.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:51 PM   #28
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

So am I the only one who reads "while not breaking cover" as meaning physical cover and not identity cover?

To me that reads as observing from a covered/concealed location and not pretending to be someone I'm not (cover identity).

Edit: I'm using the crowd as cover to hide among many while I observe. As opposed to: I'm pretending to be a Major in the Fnordian Army to gather information at a military party. In the first I'm using the crowd as physical cover so as to be less likely to be noticed looking, in the second I'm Acting a part to gather information.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:57 PM   #29
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

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So am I the only one who reads "while not breaking cover" as meaning physical cover and not identity cover?

To me that reads as observing from a covered/concealed location and not pretending to be someone I'm not (cover identity).

Edit: I'm using the crowd as cover to hide among many while I observe. As opposed to: I'm pretending to be a Major in the Fnordian Army to gather information at a military party. In the first I'm using the crowd as physical cover so as to be less likely to be noticed looking, in the second I'm Acting a part to gather information.
Ah. That could be a major difference. It would mean that you can't use Observation to scope out a bank while pretending to be a normal customer, though.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:08 PM   #30
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Default Re: [Social Engineering] Why can't Observation be used to covertly judge approachabil

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Originally Posted by sjard View Post
So am I the only one who reads "while not breaking cover" as meaning physical cover and not identity cover?

To me that reads as observing from a covered/concealed location and not pretending to be someone I'm not (cover identity).

Edit: I'm using the crowd as cover to hide among many while I observe. As opposed to: I'm pretending to be a Major in the Fnordian Army to gather information at a military party. In the first I'm using the crowd as physical cover so as to be less likely to be noticed looking, in the second I'm Acting a part to gather information.
Not sure I am following correctly all the arguments in this thread but I would say..
Acting to blend in since your trying to pretend to be something.
Observation lets you look without being obvious about it and also helps you know what to look for. But the skill is aimed at a certain thing not focused on social stuff so will be less help figuring out who to approach and pump for information then it would be to note where all the exits and cameras are.
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