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Old 05-20-2014, 03:04 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

Impersonation, dissimulation, and long-term lying; Social Engineering adds more detail. It also gets used for faking accents (B24).

Honest Face (B101) gives +1 to Acting for the important purpose of "acting innocent." Smooth Operator boosts Acting, but Easy to Read gives other people +4 in contests against your Acting, Low Empathy gives -3 to Acting, Neurological Disorder often gives -2 and Shyness gives a variable penalty depending on its degree. Truthfulness gives -5 to deception.

Stage and screen acting is Performance, not Acting.

Acting can be used in some strange ways. Social Engineering p33 mentions it for text-only channels, which is clearly how you'd run a Funkspiel, such as the Double-Cross System of WWII. That suggests that a part of the skill is the ability to build a consistent story and keep it running; the physical activities of voice changing and other direct impersonation (which do have a lot in common with Performance, hence the default to Performance-2) are only a part of Acting.

What other uses have you made of Acting?
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:30 AM   #2
Mailanka
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

Acting is one of those work-horse skills. Even if it's only the "How good you are at lying/faking" skill, that's still more than useful enough.

Acting also covers impersonation, if you're successfully disguised and you've mimicked a voice well enough.

Also, it says that Acting is not the same as Fast-Talk, but to my mind they've always had some overlap. Fast-Talk can force a reaction while Acting cannot, but both cover lying, though I would say Fast-Talk lies don't hold up as long as Acting lies do (or rather, Acting can hold up a pretense more deeply than Fast-Talk does. Neither are necessarily well "backed up," as that sort of thing requires other skills to set up)
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

Acting is arguably Superman's most important skill, since he uses it to convince the world he's a completely different person when he combs his hair different and puts on glasses.

Likewise for realistic ninjas, spies, secret agents, and femmes fatale.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:48 AM   #4
Culture20
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

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Acting is arguably Superman's most important skill, since he uses it to convince the world he's a completely different person when he combs his hair different and puts on glasses.

Likewise for realistic ninjas, spies, secret agents, and femmes fatale.
Huh. I figured he just erased everyone's memories with a kiss a la Superman 2
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:55 AM   #5
Kromm
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

In my secret-agents campaign (see .sig), Acting is used rarely for genuine impersonation but often for a few related purposes:

1. Supporting a false identity. When the agent is operating with false documents that are checked, even challenged, the issue isn't merely, "Are the papers good enough?", but also, "Is the person's behavior consistent with the papers?" I require an Acting roll for that, so that the outcome of a tense moment doesn't boil down to the Forgery skill roll of some off-screen support NPC (yawn). This lets the PCs defeat attempts by border security and police officers to interrogate them in conversation.

2. Fitting in. When the agent isn't supposed to be anybody in particular but doesn't want to stand out as a trouble-maker lurking in the streets or the crowd, I require a generic Acting roll to fit into the environment, whether the locale is a dark sidewalk and the ruse is "lone woman pedestrian rushing home" or the backdrop is a concert and the desired image is "youthful partygoer." This lets the PCs avoid random spot checks by police, security, nosy neighbors, etc. In effect, success temporarily grants Honest Face.

3. Falsifying state of body/mind. When the agent wants to come across as drunk or asleep, feign combat surprise or death, and so on, that's an Acting roll.

I usually run the above as simple pass/fail if the likely NPC interactions are strictly passive or random spot checks, but as Quick Contests vs. Perception, Detect Lies, etc. if the NPCs are actively and specifically paying attention to the individual PCs.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:55 AM   #6
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

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Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
Also, it says that Acting is not the same as Fast-Talk, but to my mind they've always had some overlap. Fast-Talk can force a reaction while Acting cannot, but both cover lying, though I would say Fast-Talk lies don't hold up as long as Acting lies do (or rather, Acting can hold up a pretense more deeply than Fast-Talk does. Neither are necessarily well "backed up," as that sort of thing requires other skills to set up)
Note that there are actually three options. You use Fast-Talk to sell a claim that doesn't have to be plausible, by making the target confused or unsure. You use Acting to sustain a falsehood over time, building up a consistent deception. But if the falsehood is "a simple, clear, and plausible claim that affects a single decision" (SE, p. 36), you can just roll IQ—or get by with no roll at all.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

My personal favorite, playing dead when you think your GM is about to TPK.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:07 PM   #8
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

In SE, I allowed Acting to do several different things: impersonate a specific other person; pretend to be a fictional person; pretend to higher or lower Status, but as yourself; or cultivate a persona, that is, act as the self you wish to be, like a military officer not showing fear before his soldiers.

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Old 05-20-2014, 12:20 PM   #9
Rocket Man
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
In SE, I allowed Acting to do several different things: impersonate a specific other person; pretend to be a fictional person; pretend to higher or lower Status, but as yourself; or cultivate a persona, that is, act as the self you wish to be, like a military officer not showing fear before his soldiers.

Bill Stoddard
That last is seeing some use with my current PC in a play-by-post, a woman of Indian birth who was raised in England and cultivated an "English reserve." For her, Acting represents the ability to keep the socially acceptable mask up when necessary to conceal her true thoughts and attitudes.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:37 PM   #10
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Acting

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That last is seeing some use with my current PC in a play-by-post, a woman of Indian birth who was raised in England and cultivated an "English reserve." For her, Acting represents the ability to keep the socially acceptable mask up when necessary to conceal her true thoughts and attitudes.
I think that's slightly different, but I think it's certainly a plausible application of the skill.

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