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Old 12-09-2021, 06:37 AM   #21
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Basic] What skills for a long con or ...

I thought of Strategy, too, but I have doubts about it. It seems not to fit closely, in more than one way: standard strategy is used to make decisions for large forces and for campaigns that last through multiple engagements, and also standard strategy is used for two forces that are each actively seeking to defeat the other. The last seems especially relevant: If the mark thinks that you're trying to con them, and tries to oppose you, you've already failed. So I don't think there's the oppositional element.
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Old 12-09-2021, 09:51 AM   #22
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Default Re: [Basic]What skills for a long con or ...

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
Yes. Strategy.

In my mind, anyway. It's a topic I have scribbled notes on, thinking I'd write up a blog article some day. (I haven't done so.) Briefly, here:

The existing Strategy skill could be seen as a specific variety of the skill: namely, Strategy (Military). There should be other Strategy specialties out there.
...
I have long used compulsory specializations of Strategy as a house rule, (Business) in particular. I agree with you about the need this fills in the skill panoply. I also use specializations in Tactics (e.g. Naval, Aerial) and I also treat TL as a familiarity within these two skills.

Still, I am not sure about Strategy for this function, because this seems more pure creativity and less resource allocation-y.

Last edited by Donny Brook; 12-09-2021 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:43 AM   #23
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Default Re: [Basic] What skills for a long con or ...

Some kinds of cons (those depicted in THE STING for instance) require somebody to act as a director and/or designer of the temporarary reality you are setting up.

I think that for something like LEVERAGE you could use GURPS Bang Skills (Hitter! Thief! Hacker! Face! Honest Man!) to keep things simple but this has the disadvantage of making GURPS too much like FATE for some people.
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Old 12-09-2021, 04:27 PM   #24
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Default Re: [Basic] What skills for a long con or ...

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Some kinds of cons (those depicted in THE STING for instance) require somebody to act as a director and/or designer of the temporary reality you are setting up.
That suggests Group Performance (Con Games) as a new specialisation.
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Old 12-09-2021, 04:40 PM   #25
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Default Re: [Basic] What skills for a long con or ...

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That suggests Group Performance (Con Games) as a new specialisation.
I discussed this with Kromm when I was writing GURPS Social Engineering, and he told me that Group Performance worked for artistic presentations, but that for con games you would use Leadership.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:13 PM   #26
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Default Re: [Basic]What skills for a long con or ...

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I thought of Strategy, too, but I have doubts about it. It seems not to fit closely, in more than one way: standard strategy is used to make decisions for large forces and for campaigns that last through multiple engagements, and also standard strategy is used for two forces that are each actively seeking to defeat the other. The last seems especially relevant: If the mark thinks that you're trying to con them, and tries to oppose you, you've already failed. So I don't think there's the oppositional element.
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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I have long used compulsory specializations of Strategy as a house rule, (Business) in particular. I agree with you about the need this fills in the skill panoply... Still, I am not sure about Strategy for this function, because this seems more pure creativity and less resource allocation-y.
Thanks for the thoughts. In proposing Strategy (Criminal, until a better name presents itself) as a counterpart to Strategy (Military), I may be a little off the mark for the thread. I'm thinking complex and/or large-scale criminal operations in general, from meticulously planned movie-style heists to whatever it is that the Joker and Lex Luthor spend their days doing, masterminding new schemes for their crews to carry out. Setting the goals, planning the timetable, allocating the resources... it's Strategy all the way, IMO.

But if the thread is focusing purely on cons – well, whether or not Strategy (Criminal) is relevant is going to depend on what we mean by a con. Looking up some info on long cons, at least some descriptions sound like targets for Strategy (Criminal) to me. Even when viewed as a counterpart to Strategy (Military); the latter definitely includes attempts to "con" a "mark" (see: D-Day and other surprise invasions), and other deceptions to achieve a goal without being opposed.

But then there are smaller scams and schemes, all the way down to back-alley Three-card Monte; I can understand that the smaller you go, the less that Strategy feels like the right skill. What's the skill covering small "short con" hustles and scams and stings, or even schemes that are "long cons" but are less about strategic planning and more about play-it-by-ear manipulation? The former suggests a skill that covers the "rules" for numerous short cons (in the way that Gambling covers a wide range of games). The latter suggests... well, maybe something different. (Hence the thread.)

I'll stop rambling here. In short, if anyone's looking for a "criminal mastermind" skill to handle big-picture scheming, I suggest Strategy (Criminal). I like it for complex, long-running cons as well. But for cons that don't seem to fit that mold... I don't know. If a given con doesn't call for a strategic planning element, then maybe there is no overarching "how to devise" skill, and the execution skills (Acting, Streetwise, Fast-Talk, etc. as appropriate) are all that are called for?
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Old 12-10-2021, 12:47 AM   #27
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Default Re: [Basic] What skills for a long con or ...

I think the "how to devise" skill is Propaganda, for things like phony advertising campaigns, but Psychology (Applied) for things that target particular psychological weaknesses.
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Old 12-10-2021, 06:50 AM   #28
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Default Re: [Basic] What skills for a long con or ...

Probably not what the OP wants, but I could envision a campaign where Hidden Lore (Con Jobs), which includes esoteric knowledge of many different kind of long and short Cons, is available.
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Old 12-10-2021, 07:07 AM   #29
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Default Re: [Basic] What skills for a long con or ...

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Probably not what the OP wants, but I could envision a campaign where Hidden Lore (Con Jobs), which includes esoteric knowledge of many different kind of long and short Cons, is available.
Maybe, but it seems more likely to me that such knowledge would fall under Criminology, perhaps as an optional specialty.
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Old 12-10-2021, 07:43 AM   #30
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Default Re: [Basic] What skills for a long con or ...

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Maybe, but it seems more likely to me that such knowledge would fall under Criminology, perhaps as an optional specialty.
I always thought of Criminology as a detective's or policeman's skill. Is it appropriate for high-end crooks themselves? The action templates certainly aren't written that way.
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