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Old 05-30-2015, 04:55 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

Fast-Talk is the IQ/A skill of quickly persuading people to do things that they wouldn't normally consider. It takes penalties for lack of Cultural Familiarity or limited command of the language being used, and if you are Easy to Read, others get +4 to resist your Fast-Talk. Fast-Talk is penalised by Low Empathy, Oblivious, Shyness, Stuttering and Truthfulness, and boosted by Voice. It defaults to IQ-5 or Acting-5, and Fortune-Telling defaults to Fast-Talk-3, and Panhandling to Fast Talk-2. Fast-Talk at 20 or more gives +2 to all reactions in situations where you can talk.

Fast-Talk is generally the skill to use for getting quick decisions made in your favour, while Acting is the skill for long-term schemes where the target makes their own decision, based on wrong information. It's also the skill used to tell lies believably. Like any Influence skill, it's worth having Fast-Talk at a fairly high level if you plan to rely on it, since you need to win contests against the target's IQ or Will. A special use of Fast-Talk goes with Intimidation: if you want to appear more intimidating, to have backup that you actually lack, and so on, winning a contest of Fast-Talk with your target's IQ gives you +3 to Intimidation, as Specious Intimidation. People who have succumbed to Fast-Talk will normally realise it when they have time to think about the event, and will usually be indignant about it. They might let it slide if they're particularly fatalistic, or if they gained something, but habitual Fast-Talk is not the way to build a good reputation.

There are at least two reasons why the GM may be interested in the line of argument of a Fast-Talk attempt. The first is that it's likely to affect NPC actions, both while they still believe it, and in what they conclude about your intentions once they realise they've been fooled. Another is to assess penalties or bonuses for a particularly (un)convincing argument. The latter is a lot more subjective, and some groups dislike it, since it makes the character's abilities more dependent on those of the player.

Social Engineering provides more detail for Fast-Talk: how it interacts with other skills, how it works when communication isn't face-to face, how to use it for mockery, romance, distraction, lies, manipulation, confidence tricks, and many other purposes. Influence Without Words, p30, can be extremely valuable.

The example GURPS adventure, Caravan to Ein Arris, makes a lot of use of Fast-Talk, and GURPS in general seems to assume its use is common on the seamier sides of society, where lots of adventures take place (only three of the 17 Dungeon Fantasy PDFs don't mention Fast-Talk). Fast-Talk is standard on templates for face characters, salesmen, propagandists and dragons, and common for characters who may have to impersonate someone, or explain away something embarrassing, such as a spy or Cleaner. Action has lots of applications for Fast-Talk, including such tricks as a HT-based roll for passing a polygraph test. Madness Dossier has an important place for Fast-Talk in its mind-control games, and Infinite Worlds characters need it for covering up inconsistencies. Monster Hunters makes similar use of Fast-Talk to Action and Mysteries has a lot about Fast-Talk in interactions with witnesses and suspects. Power-Ups 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 have examples that involve Fast-Talk. as do Psis, Psionic Powers and Psionic Campaigns. Space has corruption rules where Fast-Talk can be important, and you can Fast-Talk some Zombies.

There's a error in several GURPS books, in writing "Fast Talk" without the hyphen. The Basic Set does it in a few places, as do others from Caravan to Ein Arris to Monster Hunters 5: Applied Xenology. It doesn't really matter in print, but it does for PDF searching. I've reported errata.

Personally, I've often been willing to pay the extra points for Diplomacy, because of its safety, but Diplomacy will only work when your cause is something that the subject could agree with. This is pretty common when PCs are saving the world or otherwise clearly being heroic. It's a lot rarer when your objectives are simply mercenary or criminal.

What bridges have you sold with Fast-Talk?
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Old 05-31-2015, 04:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

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What bridges have you sold with Fast-Talk?
How about epic failures of Fast-Talk?
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

Had an Epic success with fast talk to handle. Player was requesting reinforcements to support the defense of his island holding. The Player got the entire navy to help him stop the raid and his lords city was sacked while the navy was away. (the Navy was 4 ships)
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Old 06-01-2015, 05:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

I once played a "mage" named Anton Bright-Eyes. He had no magery, just a lot of Fast-Talk and Sleight of Hand. Was a surprisingly effective "mage," all things considered.
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

I frequently have fast talk on characters of all sorts, seamier or not. I use it as the skill of 'convincing via being a good talker'. Anyone good at talking in a general situation ought to have it.

A recent example involved one PC trying to track down another PC in a MH campaign. The hunting PC found the boss of the target PC, and needed the boss, who was in on the secret, to give directions. The Boss balked at revealing his employee's location, to which the hunting PC replied that he was obviously no threat to the other PC, so why was the boss balking.

The PC hunting the other was worried that fast-talk wouldn't apply here, because the statement was pretty true. But it was pointed out that fast talk isn't just about pulling off lies, its about convincing people via throwing lots of arguments at them.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

I find it useful to contrast this to other Influence skills. My thinking is that you don't really need any of the others.
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

I don't think I've known any Fast-Talk specialists as PCs; I tend to see it on characters who have all the influence skills. There's lots of synergy with advantages that boost them all, and they're all useful in different situations.

Characters with a single influence skill seem to make it Diplomacy (especially if they're IQ-focussed). Next time I play a combat-specialist character I might try Fast-Talk as a sole influence skill.
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Old 06-01-2015, 02:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

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I find it useful to contrast this to other Influence skills. My thinking is that you don't really need any of the others.
I don't think it should work easily if at all when the target isn't under any time pressure. I've got no place to be, so flim-flamming me isn't likely to work. Not to mention the fact that I have a hint of experience, because my brother used it FAR too often growing up.
He once broke into our mom's car for her credit card. Within a minute he had her apologizing for not having given it to him earlier. I jumped into the conversation in to make her realize what just happened.
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Old 06-01-2015, 03:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

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I find it useful to contrast this to other Influence skills. My thinking is that you don't really need any of the others.
That works, if you never have to deal again with people you fast-talked. If you do, there will sometimes be blowback from pervious meetings.
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Old 06-01-2015, 03:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Fast-Talk

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I find it useful to contrast this to other Influence skills. My thinking is that you don't really need any of the others.
Maybe not if you are a typical murder hobo, but if you are expecting to deal with these people again tomorrow it has weaknesses. Though certainly most influence skills have a lot of overlap of applications.

The major problem with Fast-Talk is that it is fundamentally short term - if they think about it long enough that it is no longer a [snap] decision, they can change their minds. It's best use is to convince people to do things they are never going to think about again and thus will never reconsider - they give you a trivial refund, or waive you through the checkpoint, or sign your petition to get you to go away and forget you. If it's not the sort of encounter people forget about in a few minutes, Fast-Talk may not be the best choice. Despite what it says in Basic it's actually rather marginal for confidence artists (a good con is more involved, and takes more time, than Fast-Talk will readily support).

Although it is true that you if you make a point of only convincing people of things that are reasonable in themselves, they are likely to go along with them even after they reconsider, and may only slightly resent you, and sometimes they'll stick to even a bad deal out of embarrassment and just hate you for it, so it's not impossible to reach lasting agreements with Fast-Talk, just less that ideal.
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