Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-19-2016, 02:14 PM   #1
Gigermann
 
Gigermann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oklahoma City
Default [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

…or selling ice to an Inuit, talking the headsman into letting you off the block, etc.

Social Engineering talks about throwing away the book for some situations, but as a GM, I usually dislike arbitrarily deciding things are impossible just because I think they should be. I suppose you could just assign a -10, but sometimes there's a Face Man that can absorb that kind of penalty—and you don't necessarily want to take that ability away from him, but you don't want to be too ridiculous either. Anybody have some tips or past experiences with the "impossible Influence situation" they can share?
Gigermann is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 04:54 PM   #2
Bruno
 
Bruno's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Canada
Default Re: [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

Real-life: Australian entrepreneurs sell sand to the Saudis, because the Australian sand is better for desired purposes (construction, and IIRC fake beaches).

Life lesson: it's about matching wants with needs. That's not a Merchant 35 spin-master, and it's not a critical success either - but it's a lot of Research to find your market and advertising so prospective customers can find you.

I'm pretty sure you can sell perfectly clear bubble-less ice to folks inside the arctic circle for ice sculpture. Or sitting on a glacier, or whatever. I don't know how big that market is, but the proverbial large quantities of ice lying around are not artistic grade.
__________________
All about Size Modifier; Unified Hit Location Table
A Wiki for my F2F Group
A GURPS blog
Bruno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 05:07 PM   #3
Not
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Default Re: [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

To be fair, the Saudis are (or were) wealthier than any reasonable game world would allow.
__________________
Leave this space blank.
Not is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 05:20 PM   #4
Gigermann
 
Gigermann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oklahoma City
Default Re: [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Real-life:
Interesting, but not really the point :)
Gigermann is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 05:29 PM   #5
dcarson
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Default Re: [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

You have people like Colonel Thomas Blood who was caught stealing the Crown Jewels and talked the King into not just pardoning him but also giving land in Ireland worth £500 a year. That's a lot in 1671. What penalty would that be on a social roll.
dcarson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2016, 07:24 PM   #6
Flyndaran
Untagged
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Forest Grove, Beaverton, Oregon
Default Re: [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

My brother was/is a master manipulator. As a teen, he broke into our mom's car to get her credit card for some frivolous purpose. While I watched them talk, he got her to apologise for not giving it to him before leading to him "having" to break in.
I butted in to make her realize what was going on.
__________________
Beware, poor communication skills. No offense intended. If offended, it just means that I failed my writing skill check.
Flyndaran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 06:05 AM   #7
Not
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Default Re: [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

Fast-talk skill.
__________________
Leave this space blank.
Not is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 08:53 AM   #8
Bruno
 
Bruno's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Canada
Default Re: [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigermann View Post
Interesting, but not really the point :)
I thought it rather was the point: you defeat an "Impossible" situation by using complimentary skills to change the situation. Otherwise, trying to sell sand to a random Saudi billionaire isn't going to go anywhere, and I think calling it "Impossible" is fair.

It's just like "I jump to the moon!" is something that you can flat out tell players "You fail" on. But, "I build a sealed life support mech suit with rocket boots so I can "jump" to the moon, like Space Iron Man!" or "I brew up a colossal vat of Potions of the Grasshopper and bathe in it, then I jump to the moon!" or whatever - you're changing the situation from a ridiculous, impossible one to a possible, if hard, one. It involves preparation and work and successful application of other skills or advantages.

How do you talk the headsman into not beheading you? You need to know who he is, and know things about him. Then you can talk to him rather than at him.

Unless the idea is that the player has Mind Control levels of Fast Talk.

I frankly don't think -10 is the "cap" for "impossible-ness", particularly in a game where characters might actually have Transcendent appearance, Charisma 5, Smooth Talker 4, and a net Fast Talk skill of 35.

-10 is an arbitrary number; it works just as well as -50 in lower skill level games. If skill levels are in the 10-12 range, it's immaterial if the penalty is -10 or -50, and -10 is a nice number. But there are things which really are different kinds of impossible, and cranking the penalty up from -10 is relevant in games with higher skill levels floating around.
__________________
All about Size Modifier; Unified Hit Location Table
A Wiki for my F2F Group
A GURPS blog
Bruno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 11:40 AM   #9
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
I thought it rather was the point: you defeat an "Impossible" situation by using complimentary skills to change the situation. Otherwise, trying to sell sand to a random Saudi billionaire isn't going to go anywhere, and I think calling it "Impossible" is fair.

. . .

I frankly don't think -10 is the "cap" for "impossible-ness", particularly in a game where characters might actually have Transcendent appearance, Charisma 5, Smooth Talker 4, and a net Fast Talk skill of 35.

-10 is an arbitrary number; it works just as well as -50 in lower skill level games. If skill levels are in the 10-12 range, it's immaterial if the penalty is -10 or -50, and -10 is a nice number. But there are things which really are different kinds of impossible, and cranking the penalty up from -10 is relevant in games with higher skill levels floating around.
In actually impossible situations, I wouldn't apply penalties; any finite penalty suggests that you could do it if you were just good enough. I would just say, "you fail," or, "you can't do that." I suppose you could call that a penalty of aleph sub null if you wanted to be cute.

In social interaction situations, the GM has the right to say, "The guards don't respond to your attempt to talk them into letting you go," or even, "The guards beat you to a pulp and throw you back into your cell." It's just not a given that social skills or ordinary social advantages such as appearance can always work.
__________________
Bill Stoddard

A human being should know how to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Specialization is for insects.
whswhs is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2016, 11:50 AM   #10
Gigermann
 
Gigermann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oklahoma City
Default Re: [SE] Selling fish to a fisherman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
I thought it rather was the point:
I don't disagree on any of the particulars. I should probably refer to the situation as "improbable" rather than "impossible." The "headsman" is probably the best example here.

If a PC plays a skilled Face Man type, he's going to expect to be able to talk his way out of pretty much anything. As a GM, I don't want to arbitrarily take that away from him, but I don't want to be unrealistic either. Talking the headsman into letting him go should be highly "improbable" (but not "impossible" as has been anecdotally demonstrated)—I can think of a few scenarios that might be a tough sell, but feasible. On the other hand, if it were easy (or in this case, not hard enough), everyone would do it. So my original point was, "how hard is hard enough?"

-10 is certainly arbitrary, but it's treated in a number of cases within RAW as a benchmark for "impossible," and that's really my only reason for mentioning it. But a Very Beautiful woman with Sex-Appeal 16 has a better-than-zero chance of convincing a non-neutered male headsman with Will 10 to let her go, even at -10. So I guess what I'm really asking is whether or not the general GURPS community thinks that's okay, or it should be harder than that? Or should it actually be easier?

Is one-in-a-billion chance "no roll at all" or "-20?"
Gigermann is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
social engineering

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.