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Old 01-21-2010, 07:41 AM   #1
Sdrolion
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Default Influence Skills and Interrogation

Wonder if someone can help me out with this...

I'm relatively new to using actual systems for roleplay (my friends and I did more of a MUX-style "consent" system for years, though the GM had ultimate control, but we wanted to try something with an actual system). I get all the stuff in combat and such, and really most of the rest of the skill rolls, but I'm having a lot of trouble understanding reaction rolls, influence skills, and interrogation.

Here's my main questions:

1. How do you actually use them? I get that you roll a reaction roll to see how an NPC you haven't "preset" reacts to PCs, and that you can use an influence skill to replace that (using a quick contest and getting a "Good" or "Bad" reaction depending on results). But...do I roll for every question, request, transaction, etc, a PC does? Or do I just roll at the start of the conversation and use that result for all the various categories?

2. Are there any things that influence skills should be allowed to do that reaction rolls are not allowed to do? Or are influence skills just "trained" ways of doing reaction rolls (which can, therefore, be made more reliable easier since they can be trained up and reaction rolls can't)? If you have an NPC using "preset" reactions, should you allow influence skills (after all, you're disallowing a reaction roll).

3. I'm not clear at all on how interrogation works, and how it relates to the influence skills and reaction rolls. I get that you roll for each question and that it takes 5 minutes (presumably summarized) per question, but I can't figure out why I'd want to use Interrogation instead of Diplomacy, Intimidation, or Fast Talk. If you can use Diplomacy/Intimidation/Fast Talk for a reaction roll, and a reaction roll can give you a good result on "Requests for Information," what's the difference between that and Interrogation? And do reaction roll modifiers apply to interrogation, or does it assume the guy doesn't like you to begin with, so those don't matter?

Thanks very much if you can help clear this up for me.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:18 AM   #2
davidtmoore
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Default Re: Influence Skills and Interrogation

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Originally Posted by Sdrolion View Post
1. How do you actually use them? I get that you roll a reaction roll to see how an NPC you haven't "preset" reacts to PCs, and that you can use an influence skill to replace that (using a quick contest and getting a "Good" or "Bad" reaction depending on results). But...do I roll for every question, request, transaction, etc, a PC does? Or do I just roll at the start of the conversation and use that result for all the various categories?
IDHMBWM, and it's been a while since I read the reaction rules properly, but...

A Reaction roll is a randomised system for determining an NPC's general attitude to the PCs. The GM should use it at the start of the encounter - unless, as you observe, he has a plot-determined attitude for the characters to have as they go into the encounter - and use it to flavour their general responses to the PCs' words and actions.

An Influence skill serves in one (or both) of two functions:

First, it can alter the general Reaction (Diplomacy, in particular, is suited for this). So if the GM rolls a Hostile reaction upon meeting the PCs, they can bump that upwards with good roleplay and Diplomacy rolls.

Second, it attempts to achieve a specific reaction-based goal. So a Merchant roll can affect the price of a transaction (or convince the NPC to make the transaction), a Sex-Appeal roll can persuade the NPC to go home with the PC, an Intimidation roll can convince the NPC that the PC is willing and able to beat him in a fight, Fast-Talk can cause the NPC to overlook an inconsistency in the PC's explanation as to why he's in an office building at night, etc.

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Originally Posted by Sdrolion View Post
2. Are there any things that influence skills should be allowed to do that reaction rolls are not allowed to do? Or are influence skills just "trained" ways of doing reaction rolls (which can, therefore, be made more reliable easier since they can be trained up and reaction rolls can't)? If you have an NPC using "preset" reactions, should you allow influence skills (after all, you're disallowing a reaction roll).
As above, generally Influence skills allow you to aim for a specific effect, where Reaction rolls suggest a general outlook. You may be hella friendly to me, but if I want to convince you to sell me your truck for $300, I'm going to have to hit you with my Merchant skill.

The initial Reaction can make an Influence skill easier or harder to use, and advantages that affect Reaction can also (sometimes) affect Influence skills, but they work separately. An Influence skill isn't exactly a replacement Reaction roll.

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Originally Posted by Sdrolion View Post
3. I'm not clear at all on how interrogation works, and how it relates to the influence skills and reaction rolls. I get that you roll for each question and that it takes 5 minutes (presumably summarized) per question, but I can't figure out why I'd want to use Interrogation instead of Diplomacy, Intimidation, or Fast Talk. If you can use Diplomacy/Intimidation/Fast Talk for a reaction roll, and a reaction roll can give you a good result on "Requests for Information," what's the difference between that and Interrogation? And do reaction roll modifiers apply to interrogation, or does it assume the guy doesn't like you to begin with, so those don't matter?
Interrogation kind of assumes the "easy way" has failed. This is about forcing someone to give you information that they don't want to. It could be using threats and violence, or psychological tricks, but where most Influence skills - and all use of Reaction modifiers - are about making someone want to cooperate, Interrogation is automatically coercive.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:22 AM   #3
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Influence Skills and Interrogation

1. Start of the conversation and every time something happens that might cause a significant shift in attitudes. That is, if the character is asking for something above and beyond what the NPC in his current attitude would consider commonplace. This is a judgment call, I know, but a GM has to be able to make those in any system.*

2. Certainly. The GM is within his rights (and should, in my opinion) to state that given NPCs will never randomly roll better than a certain reaction and/or will not be prepared to do certain things regardless of how positively they react. Convincing them to do so might well be possible with an Influence roll, however, with them receiving hefty positive modifiers to their Will checks.**

3. Specific modifiers to the different Influence skills is an aspect that it touched upon rather nicely in GURPS Mysteries. Without specific supplements, more GM-discretion is called for, but let is suffice to say that the situational modifiers for Interrogation and for Fast-Talk, Carousing or Sex Appeal would be very different. What skill to use depends on the character's personality, the NPC's personality, the external circumstances and the goals being sought. A sternly authoritarian secret policeman might use the powers of his office to arrest many NPCs and place them in a position where he can use his Interrogation skill with hefty bonuses to obtain what knowledge they have. A more subtle character might prefer to use Carousing, Fast-Talk, Acting or Sex Appeal to steer the subject towards whatever he is interested in learning from the NPC. Some NPCs will be naturally resistant to one approach or another, some situations will lend themselves far better to either extreme and so on.

*Any students of jurisprudence will recall the practical impossibility of making rules that cover all aspects of human behaviour without allowing for some leeway in interpretation and application.
**Some NPCs, of course, will just be non-receptive to any form of persuasion, possibly because they are fanatics, robots or golems.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:34 AM   #4
Sdrolion
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Default Re: Influence Skills and Interrogation

So what I'm gathering here is the following--just to make sure I'm getting it pretty right:

1. A reaction roll is used mostly for the "general reaction" set on the Reaction Chart. It shouldn't in general be used for the other columns, such as getting a great deal on a transaction, getting information the person doesn't want to give, requesting aid, etc. For those, an appropriate influence skill should be used. Basically, as you said, a character may like a PC, but may not be willing to assist him in any major way, and may need to be convinced by more dedicated means. So, in order to get information a character regards as "secret" or aid the character regards as "unusual" or "risky," or get a better deal on equipment, or some such, the PC needs to use an influence skill.

2. Interrogation is and isn't an influence skill, and to some degree assumes you've tried and failed at influence skills and need to do something heavier.

I guess the main thing I'm not entirely clear on with Interrogation is how it really differs from Intimidation. Both of those seem to be all about getting what you want from someone who clearly doesn't want to give it to you. It's just that Interrogation takes longer and gets bonuses for torture and such...but then, Intimidation gets bonuses for feats of strength and such. And wouldn't using threats in Interrogation require Intimidation checks?
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:45 AM   #5
Refplace
 
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Default Re: Influence Skills and Interrogation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sdrolion View Post
Wonder if someone can help me out with this...

Here's my main questions:

1. How do you actually use them? I get that you roll a reaction roll to see how an NPC you haven't "preset" reacts to PCs, and that you can use an influence skill to replace that (using a quick contest and getting a "Good" or "Bad" reaction depending on results). But...do I roll for every question, request, transaction, etc, a PC does? Or do I just roll at the start of the conversation and use that result for all the various categories?
The rules are for use when its decicded. a lot of minor things we roll a quick one to get a general impression and wing it from there. However sometimes you want more details and specifics. Also its more important and maybe just for the feel. Some people like to roll and feel cheated if they dont roll on something, especially if they paid for it.
I will tend to roll once for a reaction and then reroll only if its pushng the nevolope or something changes not each question.

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Originally Posted by Sdrolion View Post

2. Are there any things that influence skills should be allowed to do that reaction rolls are not allowed to do? Or are influence skills just "trained" ways of doing reaction rolls (which can, therefore, be made more reliable easier since they can be trained up and reaction rolls can't)? If you have an NPC using "preset" reactions, should you allow influence skills (after all, you're disallowing a reaction roll).
Sometimes your going to modify even a preset with a reaction roll. But an influence represetns training at how better to influence people in particualr ways or settigns. Sometimes no matter waht you cant influence them enough to get waht you want.

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3. I'm not clear at all on how interrogation works, and how it relates to the influence skills and reaction rolls. I get that you roll for each question and that it takes 5 minutes (presumably summarized) per question, but I can't figure out why I'd want to use Interrogation instead of Diplomacy, Intimidation, or Fast Talk. If you can use Diplomacy/Intimidation/Fast Talk for a reaction roll, and a reaction roll can give you a good result on "Requests for Information," what's the difference between that and Interrogation? And do reaction roll modifiers apply to interrogation, or does it assume the guy doesn't like you to begin with, so those don't matter?
This last is the biggie.
Attempts to influence are based a lot on circumstances.
Diplomacy is a lot more civilized then interoogation and fast talk is more the quick overwhelm them with a hard sales pitch and get away befroe they realize what happened.
The roll you use and many modifers are situation specific.
An interrogation lets you be more aggressive then Diplomacy but since it is confrontational there is more bad reaction afterwards typically and epsecially if the interogation was unsuccessful.
Savoir faire and Streetwise are more an in your element kind of thing and subtle but overall influences.
Diplomacy is tailoring a friendly or appropriate approach to a specific situation and target and a failure rarely is very bad or worse then no attempt at all.
Sex Appeal is another that is very situational and though it can be light flirty that works anywhere most often it adds risk too.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:53 AM   #6
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Influence Skills and Interrogation

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Originally Posted by Sdrolion View Post
1. A reaction roll is used mostly for the "general reaction" set on the Reaction Chart. It shouldn't in general be used for the other columns, such as getting a great deal on a transaction, getting information the person doesn't want to give, requesting aid, etc. For those, an appropriate influence skill should be used. Basically, as you said, a character may like a PC, but may not be willing to assist him in any major way, and may need to be convinced by more dedicated means. So, in order to get information a character regards as "secret" or aid the character regards as "unusual" or "risky," or get a better deal on equipment, or some such, the PC needs to use an influence skill.
That's not true. I have discussed this with Kromm at some length. Reaction rolls and influence rolls are usually alternatives; one represents using your natural charm passively, the other represents your actual skill in inducing people to cooperate with you. You can use all the other reaction sets if you like; it means that you're relying on people telling you what you want to know because you have a nice face, personal charm, visible social prestige, and so on. If you were Beautiful, had Charisma +4, and had Voice and Fashion Sense, you might never both learning any influence skill, because you would get an Excellent reaction over half the time . . . and it would affect request for aid, requests for information, and so on.

Quote:
2. Interrogation is and isn't an influence skill, and to some degree assumes you've tried and failed at influence skills and need to do something heavier.

I guess the main thing I'm not entirely clear on with Interrogation is how it really differs from Intimidation. Both of those seem to be all about getting what you want from someone who clearly doesn't want to give it to you. It's just that Interrogation takes longer and gets bonuses for torture and such...but then, Intimidation gets bonuses for feats of strength and such. And wouldn't using threats in Interrogation require Intimidation checks?
It's a bit obscure, isn't it? The best I can suggest is that you use Fast-Talk, Intimidation, and so on in free floating social situations: You meet someone on the street and want to get them to cooperate, so you try to influence them. You use Interrogation once you've taken them into custody and have them restrained and/or confined. Note that the discussion of Interrogation refers to its being applied to a "prisoner." That's a different social situation, and one where the subject's choices are more restricted.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:57 AM   #7
davidtmoore
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Default Re: Influence Skills and Interrogation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sdrolion View Post
1. A reaction roll is used mostly for the "general reaction" set on the Reaction Chart. It shouldn't in general be used for the other columns, such as getting a great deal on a transaction, getting information the person doesn't want to give, requesting aid, etc. For those, an appropriate influence skill should be used. Basically, as you said, a character may like a PC, but may not be willing to assist him in any major way, and may need to be convinced by more dedicated means. So, in order to get information a character regards as "secret" or aid the character regards as "unusual" or "risky," or get a better deal on equipment, or some such, the PC needs to use an influence skill.
Sort of. If the PCs went to a farmer to buy a truck off him so they could renew pursuit of the serial killer, the GM should roll reaction and consult the reaction chart both to get an idea of how friendly he'll be, and how receptive he'd be to the transaction. The PC talking to him then uses any or all of Diplomacy to get the farmer more on side, Sex-Appeal (for a female PC) to appeal to "a big strong man to help", Fast-Talk to brush over why five city folk are on his land in the first place (if they can't or won't explain the "chasing a serial killer" thing) and Merchant to talk him into a good deal. The GM would bump the Reaction result up or down the table - on either column - based on the Influence checks, until eventually the PC has got his final price worked out.

You don't strictly need Influence; if you have really good Reaction modifiers, NPCs will usually be keen to help out most of the time based on the initial roll, but there'll always be those situations where you get a bad Reaction roll or where, for plot reasons, the NPCs' reactions are more or less scripted, and then Influence skills help.

Does that make sense?

Last edited by davidtmoore; 01-21-2010 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:11 AM   #8
Sdrolion
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Default Re: Influence Skills and Interrogation

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Originally Posted by davidtmoore View Post
Sort of. If the PCs went to a farmer to buy a truck off him so they could renew pursuit of the serial killer, the GM should roll reaction and consult the reaction chart both to get an idea of how friendly he'll be, and how receptive he'd be to the transaction. The PC talking to him then uses any or all of Diplomacy to get the farmer more on side, Sex-Appeal (for a female PC) to appeal to "a big strong man to help", Fast-Talk to brush over why five city folk are on his land in the first place (if they can't or won't explain the "chasing a serial killer" thing) and Merchant to talk him into a good deal. The GM would bump the Reaction result up or down the table - on either column - based on the Influence checks, until eventually the PC has got his final price worked out.

You don't strictly need Influence; if you have really good Reaction modifiers, NPCs will usually be keen to help out most of the time based on the initial roll, but there'll always be those situations where you get a bad Reaction roll or where, for plot reasons, the NPCs' reactions are more or less scripted, and then Influence skills help.

Does that make sense?
To an extent...basically, you're saying that if you've got a crazy-likable character with lots of charisma and other reaction-boosting advans, he can just naturally get good reactions and cooperation from anyone who isn't "preset." But, in cases where someone is preset, or in the rare event that his reaction goes bad, etc, an influence skill can still get the person to help out. So, basically, you could have a "nice guy" character who is completely untrained but gets a lot of help just because people like him, and might be able to just waltz into a room and get a good deal of information in many situations because people get along with him, but in order to convince a politician to give you secret information, you'd need to use influence because the GM would lock out that reaction from a reaction roll alone (since no matter how much this guy likes you, that's intensely dangerous to his position and he's not going to do it just for a buddy). Is that right?

I'm not clear, though, on what you mean by "bump the reaction result up or down." I thought influence skills just replaced reaction results--are you saying that you move the result more fluidly, for instance, adding margin of victory or subtracting margin of defeat in the quick contest to the initial roll?
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:28 AM   #9
davidtmoore
 
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Default Re: Influence Skills and Interrogation

Pretty much right, yep.

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Originally Posted by Sdrolion View Post
I'm not clear, though, on what you mean by "bump the reaction result up or down." I thought influence skills just replaced reaction results--are you saying that you move the result more fluidly, for instance, adding margin of victory or subtracting margin of defeat in the quick contest to the initial roll?
I mean, a successful influence roll improves the initial Reaction roll result one category (from Neutral to Good, for example), while a failed roll might not alter it all, a critical fail might drop it one category and a critical success might raise it two categories.

I think that's how it works; as I say, it's been a long while since I read the reaction rules, as I tend to play much faster and looser than that with NPC reactions.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:33 AM   #10
Sdrolion
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Default Re: Influence Skills and Interrogation

Hm...all right. That's an interesting way of doing things, whether it's straight rules or not, honestly. ^_^ Kind of nicer than a "straight replace" idea.

I think I'm generally clear on the reaction vs. influence question, then. I'm still kind of up in the air on Interrogation. It just seems like Interrogation is kind of just a combination in one roll of Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, and Intimidation that's only really usable if you've got the guy captive. Which is nice, on the one hand...but on the other, it seems like you could still use Intimidation, etc., even if you have a prisoner, right? And again, it kind of seems like you should still have to use Diplomacy to "buddy up" to the guy, Fast-Talk or Acting to "trick" him during interrogation, or Intimidation to make threats...so I'm not sure how kosher Interrogation is, given all that. Maybe I'm just totally misunderstanding that one?
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