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Old 10-14-2016, 02:44 PM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

Sex Appeal is the HT/A skill of influencing those attracted to your sex. The only default is HT-3, meaning that everyone gets +2 to the normal default for an HT/A skill. It isn't "Seduction" skill, although that's certainly one thing you can do with it, but the art of motivating people via their sexual reactions to you. There's a thread that discusses that aspect in more detail here. The skill appeared at GURPS 1e.

As normal for an Influence skill, a success gets you a positive reaction -- Sex Appeal is unique in giving you a Very Good reaction -- and a failure gets you a Bad reaction. The skill takes cultural familiarity modifiers, and has a lot of other modifiers: it is boosted by Smooth Operator talent and Voice, and penalised by Clueless, Low Empathy, Neurological Disorder, Oblivious, Shyness and Stuttering. Appearance modifiers apply, and are doubled if they're negative.

As usual for Influence skills, Social Engineering has plenty of extra detail about what this skill can and can't do in a game, and who it does and doesn't work on. While almost anyone might cultivate it, it's rarely a primary skill on published templates, and it has distinct limitations as a primary social skill. Caravan to Ein Arris has someone who thinks she's a femme fatale to demonstrate that.

Action gives Sex Appeal to face-men and has guidelines on using it; AtE gives it to several types of trader. Banestorm students study it, and Bio-Tech has upgraded humans (and upgrades for baseline humans) that improve the skill. In DF, it's Bards who use Sex Appeal, with some competition from priests of life and tavern wenches; Fantasy applies it to bards, barmaids, courtesans, dancers, satyrs, selkies ... and Lilith herself. Aristocrats, charlatans, grifters, romantic vampires, and succubi use it in Horror, while Madness Dossier boosts it with Innate NLP talent, and Elvis loa get to enjoy it. Lands out of Time's Jungle Princesses use it, and Magic's Artemis elixir helps resist it. Dungeon Magic's Echoists and Mirror-Mages learn it as part of their styles, while Martial Arts: Gladiators use it, less formally, to appeal to the crowd. Monster Hunters use it for getting information, while fancy dames can use it for confusion in Mysteries. The Power-Ups series has perks, talents, wildcard skills and even an example impulse buy for Sex Appeal. Back to School has an example of using Sex Appeal to boost students' interest in a course, which is a great way to get into trouble in formal education systems, and Space reckons the skill is entirely species-specific.

That last point may make sense in an SF campaign where the aliens are very alien, but is less reasonable for "rubber forehead" aliens, and makes no sense in Tolkien-influenced fantasy. It comes down to who finds who attractive, and what attracts negative reputations for unorthodox practices. That really is setting-specific.

I've made very little use of this skill in games. One character who had it, because he was good-looking and Lecherous, discovered rapidly that a female PC in the party was also good-looking and Lecherous, so they were both quite happy.

What situations have you made worse -- or better -- with Sex Appeal in a game?

Last edited by johndallman; 10-14-2016 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Formatting
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Old 10-14-2016, 04:04 PM   #2
ericthered
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

Sex appeal is an influence skill that depends on HT.

Which really rubs me the wrong way. I get why its so, but I still disagree.
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Old 10-14-2016, 04:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

Sex Appeal and Diplomacy are two skills that show GURPS isn't messing around when it comes to social interaction. You can take the double-or-nothing play of using Sex Appeal, the cautious move of using Diplomacy, or use one of the others as appropriate and as fits the situation and character. Not as many options as you get with combat, but not bad at all!
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

Probably a third of all the social rolls made in my games are Sex Appeal. (well, maybe a bit less, but you get the idea - I use it a lot). The limiting factor tends to be whether or not your desired outcome is culturally appropriate; in modern western culture, many people find the idea of paying for sex distasteful, so using Sex Appeal to get people to give you money only works in a few fairly specific contexts. Getting a guard to unlock a door and let you in, though, tends to be appropriate; that would be a "normal" thing to do for a potential sexual partner. If Sex Appeal is valid, it gets used; if not, Diplomacy [cue 20-minute digression into the uses of Savoir-Faire until the matter is dropped. S-F is the social skill I need to get better at understanding and applying.]
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:42 PM   #5
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post

That last point may make sense in an SF campaign where the aliens are very alien, but is less reasonable for "rubber forehead" aliens, and makes no sense in Tolkien-influenced fantasy.
May I quote for you: "Tinuviel, Tinuviel!"
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

I don't think of the people I've played with as prudes, but it's not a skill that's I've seen used much. I can only recall one PC who was really designed around high Sex Appeal, a courtesan / assassin in a fantasy game. And that game was more focused around combat than interpersonal relations, so it didn't come up very much in play. Ended up being more of a background / job skill rather than something that got rolled against a lot.

I think of Sex Appeal as a skill that works better in private than public, so maybe better in a one-player campaign than in a game with a party that mostly stays together. Hard to seduce the guard with your five buddies standing a few hexes away, trying not to snicker.
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

Quote:
Originally Posted by patchwork View Post
Probably a third of all the social rolls made in my games are Sex Appeal. (well, maybe a bit less, but you get the idea - I use it a lot). The limiting factor tends to be whether or not your desired outcome is culturally appropriate; in modern western culture, many people find the idea of paying for sex distasteful, so using Sex Appeal to get people to give you money only works in a few fairly specific contexts.
Any job where you get tips or work on commission, succeeding in a job interview, getting guys or older women to give you presents, lowering people's perception in advance of picking their pockets or cheating at cards, complementary roll to Performance or Modelling,
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Any job where you get tips or work on commission, succeeding in a job interview, getting guys or older women to give you presents, lowering people's perception in advance of picking their pockets or cheating at cards, complementary roll to Performance or Modelling,
And dont forget getting out of tickets or getting into places, inculding nightclubs.
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:15 PM   #9
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
And dont forget getting out of tickets or getting into places, inculding nightclubs.
Well yeah that was only a list of ways to get actual liquidity out of Sex Appeal. There are a bunch of ways that you can get people to perform services for you you that you would otherwise have to pay for, and if you're a woman in modern first world societies you can fairly easily get free food and drink if you're good at sex appeal but with built-in risks.
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Sex Appeal

I think I saw an NPC use this on our IQ 8, Will 8 dwarf warrior PC when he was left to mind the store on his own. Player asked if he could just ignore how flirty she transparently was and not give her a better-than-usual deal on our wares, GM said no because he'd failed his Will to resist her.
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