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

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-31-2015, 09:18 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

Holdout is the IQ/A skill of concealing objects about your person, or on other people. Their cooperation isn't absolutely required, but the objects would presumably have to be small enough not to be immediately noticed if the people weren't participating. The defaults are IQ-5 or Sleight of Hand-3. The main modifiers are the size and shape of the object, on a scale that isn't closely related to the Size and Speed/Range table, and provides the Bulk statistic for ranged weapons. Because, let's face it, weapons are what people who lead exciting and dangerous lives will most often want to get past guards. Objects that move or make noise give -1 to skill, or worse, and suitable or unsuitable clothing can give large modifiers. Clothing and equipment specifically designed for concealment can give bonuses up to +4. The opponent of a Holdout attempt uses his Search skill in a quick contest.

Search is the Per/A skill of finding concealed things. The defaults are Per-5 or Criminology-5. Things that have been concealed without use of a skill are found on a successful roll; things hidden on people require a quick contest against Holdout, or in baggage, rooms or vehicles, a quick contest against Smuggling. For obvious reasons, the GM normally rolls this skill, and there are guidelines on the type and timescale of searches needed to find small things, or the ease of finding large ones. Modifiers include type of search (pat-down, skin, or complete) and for equipment such as metal detectors, explosive "sniffers" and so on. Hyperspectral Vision, Sensitive Touch, and Ultravision can boost this skill, and extra time is very helpful, if available. Any professional guard or security person should have this skill since without it, you're just there for violence. Edit: Per the uFAQ and Word of Kromm, Search is not what you use for finding secret doors. That's actually Perception-based Traps.

Smuggling is the IQ/A skill of concealing things almost anywhere that isn't on a person. Designing hidden rooms, tunnels and the like is presumably a specialised form of Architecture. Smuggling takes bonuses for the difference in SM between the object being hidden and the place where it is concealed: an SM -15 jewel in an SM -3 suitcase would be at +12, which is why good border agents major in Body Language as well as Search, since nervousness is easier to spot. You also get bonuses for specialised smuggling equipment, probably on a similar scale to Holdout equipment.

Holdout dates from 3e, when searchers used their own Holdout skill; Search and Smuggling appeared at 4e. I've had a go at making the Bulk table into a function of SM, and it doesn't work. Bulk is affected by thickness and flexibility in ways that SM doesn't capture. The penalties for striking at weapons on B400 don't really help, since they seem to assume some movement as well as SM penalties, which is entirely reasonable.

These skills are available on lots of templates, although ones that are really good at them are much rarer; there's a common assumption that most guards are ineffective, which is certainly a fictional trope (TvTropes). Caravan to Ein Arris has a guard opposing Holdout with IQ; he should probably have Search. Action points out that Smuggling is also the skill for hiding bombs and bugs, and has equipment such as the Search Endoscope, metal detectors and special holsters. DF stresses Search, for loot, and Fantasy has assassin and thief templates with serious amounts of points in Holdout and Search. Gun-Fu and Tactical Shooting have ideas on Holdout, and High-Tech and Low-Tech have Holdout modifiers for many kinds of equipment. LTC2 has a rule on improving Holdout by removing a weapon's hilt, by which it seems to mean the part known to me as the guard. Martial Arts amplifies the Holdout rules and allows calculation of Holdout penalties for melee weapons. Mysteries applies Holdout to poisoning people. Power-Ups volumes 2, 3, 6 and 7 all have examples for these skills. Powers: Enhanced Senses has several abilities that boost Search, and Tales of the Solar Patrol has serious smuggling. Thaumatology has magic that boosts Holdout and Smuggling, and Ultra-Tech has amazing gear for Search and Smuggling.

I've found Search skill absolutely invaluable in police, security and espionage settings: it's one of the things that makes high Perception so useful. There's been far less need for Holdout or Smuggling.

What have you done with these skills?

Last edited by johndallman; 03-11-2016 at 10:40 AM.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 01:22 PM   #2
Rocket Man
Petitioner: Word of IN Filk
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Longmont, CO
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

A PC in one of my Hudson "gritty super" games found Holdout to be invaluable in smuggling a couple of invisibility pills into a mental hospital, when admitted as a patient.
__________________
“It's not railroading if you offer the PCs tickets and they stampede to the box office, waving their money. Metaphorically speaking”
--Elizabeth McCoy, In Nomine Line Editor

Author: "What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger"
Rocket Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 04:45 PM   #3
dripton
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Virginia, USA
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

3/4 of the PCs in the DF game I run have Search. In that setting, it's pretty much only useful for looting the bodies, so I'm surprised it's so popular. I guess the idea of missing hidden treasure really bothers people.
dripton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 06:29 PM   #4
Railstar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

The assassin in our maroon-pirates group uses Holdout as her party-piece in combat: Holdout + Fast-Draw + Thrown Knife = unseen dagger out of nowhere. We treated it as a Dirty Trick, giving her a free Ruse using her Holdout skill if she succeeded her Fast-Draw roll (with the Hidden Weapons Perk).

It had serious limitations such as low damage and the inability to Aim, but it helped mitigate her disadvantages from favouring lighter weapons than most of her opponents (having a good enough Thrown Weapon & Targeted Attack: Face to make that surprise dagger count helped a lot…).

Of course she also used Holdout to conceal her armour, to fool her opponents into not using anti-armour tactics against her. They usually figure it out after landing a hit on her, although it creates a window of opportunity for her to hit-trade so she can start a grapple, then shift grip for an unarmoured location on them, followed by Sharp Teeth…

It is very much a gimmick fighting-style, but an entertaining one. Of course, you need a fairly accommodating GM who is willing to have enemies act on the misleading visual clues a character presents, but deceptive combat can be great fun.
Railstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 07:00 PM   #5
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
We treated it as a Dirty Trick, giving her a free Ruse using her Holdout skill if she succeeded her Fast-Draw roll (with the Hidden Weapons Perk).
Is that a Dirty Fighting perk (DF11 p11) or something else? I can't find a Hidden Weapons perk, although several GURP books have a rule of that name.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 07:27 PM   #6
Railstar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Is that a Dirty Fighting perk (DF11 p11) or something else? I can't find a Hidden Weapons perk, although several GURP books have a rule of that name.
Hidden Weapons is from Pyramid 50, it removes Holdout Penalties for certain weapon types.

Although she does have the Dirty Fighting perk as well (from Power-Ups 2).
Railstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 08:43 PM   #7
Balor Patch
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

DF12 introduces the Ninja weapon modifier that makes Holdout easier.
Balor Patch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 08:44 PM   #8
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
Hidden Weapons is from Pyramid 50, it removes Holdout Penalties for certain weapon types.
Don't have that one: I'd better take a look.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2015, 03:45 AM   #9
acrosome
 
acrosome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Colorado Springs
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

Is the default use of Search skill a no-touch task? I ask because the example bonuses start at +1 for quick pat-down and improve for a skin search (+3) or full body search including cavities (+5). So can I assume that the "standard" task is some variant of spotting the bulge under the goon's arm that indicates a hidden handgun?

Are there RAW standard times of those tasks: visual search, pat-down, skin search, and body search? If there aren't does anyone have suggestions? Then, I presume, one could improve Search through time spent (B346)? Arguably, it might just be best to use time spent and say that when you reach +1 it's a pat down, when you reach +3 it's a skin search, etc.

Assuming that there are no RAW times, I'd suggest that the default no-touch visual search takes 1 minute. Thus a skin-search is 8 minutes (which I think is reasonable for something that involves loosening belts, removing footgear, and combing someone's hair ) for +3 and a body-cavity search is 30 minutes for +5. Reasonably, then, no-touch searches max at +2 for spending 4 minutes or greater observing your target.

Or should this be halved, making the default 30 seconds? Honestly, I'm not sure what is realistic and what is cinematic, here.

Also, I see no penalties listed. Instead Bulk is used as a penalty to Holdout skill. Thus the mention that any attempt of Search with a penalty of -2 or worse being futile seems pointless.

EDIT-- I don't have Pyramid #3/50 because I am so not into dungeon fantasy. Is the Hidden Weapons article only practically applicable to that and other cinematic settings? Or put another way, are the rules in Basic Set more realistic?

Last edited by acrosome; 11-01-2015 at 04:08 AM. Reason: add question
acrosome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2015, 04:29 AM   #10
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Holdout, Search and Smuggling

Quote:
Originally Posted by acrosome View Post
EDIT-- I don't have Pyramid #3/50 because I am so not into dungeon fantasy. Is the Hidden Weapons article only practically applicable to that and other cinematic settings? Or put another way, are the rules in Basic Set more realistic?
It isn't an article, it's a perk in an article on power-ups for assassins. The perk negates Bulk penalties to holdout for one kind of weapon, requiring specialisation. The valid weapons are daggers, large knives, shortswords and smallswords. So it's fairly cinematic.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
basic, holdout, search, skill of the week, smuggling

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 01:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.