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Old 09-04-2016, 12:54 PM   #11
Polydamas
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
However, Social Engineering provides a lot of uses for it.
I will keep that in mind if I ever have the income and mind-space to run a GURPS game again :( These days I can just afford the odd issue of Pyramid or short supplement to show my support.
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Old 09-04-2016, 02:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

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I've only ever had Sociology on characters for completeness, since I've never done large-scale social operations. I've used Psychology as a supporting skill a fair bit, and seen a player with good Psychology skill herself frighten a dangerous NPC into willingly going back to jail and giving up trying to escape.
Same general emphasis for me - I've never seen Sociology used actively in-game that I can remember, whereas Psychology gets a fair bit of use as a general "how might this guy be thinking?" skill.
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Old 09-04-2016, 04:49 PM   #13
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

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Same general emphasis for me - I've never seen Sociology used actively in-game that I can remember, whereas Psychology gets a fair bit of use as a general "how might this guy be thinking?" skill.
My experience as well. Which means I need to go reread Sociology and so I can create a scenario that requires its use somehow. :-)
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:08 PM   #14
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

In the same game I referenced earlier in this thread, I've been using Sociology in almost the same fashion as Psychology, but instead of determining the motivations of and relationships between individuals, it's been those of and between city-states and nations; figuring out the best way to spin an invitation for this series of villages to join our alliance, trying to determine how that pocket fiefdom will react when the war reaches them, and so on. We've done it both as a standalone skill, and complementary to skills like Propaganda and Intelligence Analysis.
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

It would be a good skill for a Special Forces operative to have, to give an understanding of relations with irregulars, though that may be Diplomacy or Savoire-Faire.
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:41 PM   #16
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

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It would be a good skill for a Special Forces operative to have, to give an understanding of relations with irregulars, though that may be Diplomacy or Savoire-Faire.
Diplomacy and the local Cultural Familiarity would usually probably be the keys for talking to the people. I don't necessarily agree with it, but there's not a Savoire-Faire variant for the 'common people' in a culture. If you have to deal with local elites Savoire-Faire (High Society) might come up, but I wouldn't think Special Forces would tend to be handling those meetings.

Sociology would be useful for understanding the people as a group, beyond what they'll tell you (whether because they won't say it, or you won't ask). It'd probably be most useful applied to the people who aren't already carrying guns for a side.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:03 AM   #17
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

Psychology has always struck me as a schizophrenic sort of skill, because the skill name tends to to suggest the academic field of rats-in-mazes study, whereas the definition, and actual uses in play, make it much more of a semi-cinematic "being really good at understanding people" skill. (As with other GURPS people skills, I suspect that this sort of ability to get inside other people's heads is much rarer and less reliable in reality than it is in fiction.) Which is why I tend to favour full enforcement of the optional Theoretical/Applied division, if only as a point of style.

Which is a divide that also perhaps ought to apply to Sociology, which I've always taken to mean the academic sort of study; a pragmatic applied understanding of groups is rarer in fiction than an understanding of individuals, after all. However, my latest character may make me change my approach here. She's in the same game as John's applied psychologist, and she's a rather nerdy (i.e. Oblivious) academic type with a very solid grounding in the humanities. I gave her a point or two in Sociology as a bit of an afterthought, but then I realised during the first session of play that it might be the key to the character.

She found herself in a rough East End pub for the first time in her life, and it occurred to me that she'd say to herself "Hold on - this is exactly the sort of social group that those books I've read talk about. So can I understand and appraise these people as a group? Can I try to understand the sub-groups and their interactions?" And, she being IQ 14, Will 14, Per 14, the answer ought to be Yes, I hope.

So, as the campaign bounces around 1930s British society, she'll be trying to work out what's going on at the social level. I don't know how much use this will be, but at least it's a handle on the character.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:33 AM   #18
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

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Psychology has always struck me as a schizophrenic sort of skill, because the skill name tends to to suggest the academic field of rats-in-mazes study, whereas the definition, and actual uses in play, make it much more of a semi-cinematic "being really good at understanding people" skill. (As with other GURPS people skills, I suspect that this sort of ability to get inside other people's heads is much rarer and less reliable in reality than it is in fiction.) Which is why I tend to favour full enforcement of the optional Theoretical/Applied division, if only as a point of style.

Which is a divide that also perhaps ought to apply to Sociology, which I've always taken to mean the academic sort of study; a pragmatic applied understanding of groups is rarer in fiction than an understanding of individuals, after all. However, my latest character may make me change my approach here. She's in the same game as John's applied psychologist, and she's a rather nerdy (i.e. Oblivious) academic type with a very solid grounding in the humanities. I gave her a point or two in Sociology as a bit of an afterthought, but then I realised during the first session of play that it might be the key to the character.

She found herself in a rough East End pub for the first time in her life, and it occurred to me that she'd say to herself "Hold on - this is exactly the sort of social group that those books I've read talk about. So can I understand and appraise these people as a group? Can I try to understand the sub-groups and their interactions?" And, she being IQ 14, Will 14, Per 14, the answer ought to be Yes, I hope.

So, as the campaign bounces around 1930s British society, she'll be trying to work out what's going on at the social level. I don't know how much use this will be, but at least it's a handle on the character.
I think that the lack of interest by many GURPS authors in this skill probably reflects its academic-sounding name.

Not having been around when 4e was written (or being in the same country as my 3e books), I wonder if this is an example of a skill whose writeup was changed to give it a clear use in adventures. And I can't think of a better name for being good at modelling minds!

It does have the disadvantage that people who are good at reading other people are good at avoiding adventures. Adventures often begin when someone catastrophically misjudges how someone will respond when they do something.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:04 AM   #19
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

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It does have the disadvantage that people who are good at reading other people are good at avoiding adventures. Adventures often begin when someone catastrophically misjudges how someone will respond when they do something.
Adventures can also start by being good at reading people. For examples, see Lie to Me (although that one is more about Body Language than Psychology).
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:12 AM   #20
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Psychology and Sociology

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PShe found herself in a rough East End pub for the first time in her life, and it occurred to me that she'd say to herself "Hold on - this is exactly the sort of social group that those books I've read talk about. So can I understand and appraise these people as a group? Can I try to understand the sub-groups and their interactions?" And, she being IQ 14, Will 14, Per 14, the answer ought to be Yes, I hope.

So, as the campaign bounces around 1930s British society, she'll be trying to work out what's going on at the social level. I don't know how much use this will be, but at least it's a handle on the character.
That strikes me as really clever roleplaying and as a scene that would be fun to play out.
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