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Toxxus

Determining whether or not an NPC is lying

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7 hours ago, unclevlad said:

The notion of what does, or does not, constitute a lie is separate from the method, be it sense/power or skill.  IMO, they have no connection whatsoever. 

Yes, from a certain point of view. :)

 

In all seriousness, usually you can get around any such issues by saying "willfull lie". That excludes the cases where a person has fallen for a lie themself.
A lot of our laws actually focus on what the intent was.

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I just use an INT skill. I call it Awareness (having ripped that name off from Legend of the Five Rings.)

 

The skill is all about being "aware" (see what they did there?) of the social situation in which one finds oneself. It can detect lies, emotional states, can read the room for a general sense of a crowd, read facial and body language.

 

 

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Ultimately, our group settled on a variation Analyze for this purpose.  Analyze Motive (a bit of a pathfinder rip of sense motive).

 

I'll allow players to use persuasion as well, but unskilled INT rolls would be at a -3 as I want points spent on skills to be of substantial value.

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4 hours ago, Toxxus said:

Ultimately, our group settled on a variation Analyze for this purpose.  Analyze Motive (a bit of a pathfinder rip of sense motive). 

  

I'll allow players to use persuasion as well, but unskilled INT rolls would be at a -3 as I want points spent on skills to be of substantial value. 

It works what works.

 

As for untrained skills: Persuasion does belong to the "Everyman Skills" list. And it is on just about any Everyman Skill list for every campaign. So everyone should get 8- at least. ee 6E1 60.

Of course you can buff that to INT Roll -3. But I thought I mention it in case you just missed that part. It happens with a 2 book base ruleset :)

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On 12/15/2018 at 3:59 AM, Toxxus said:

I've recently returned to Fantasy Hero after a couple of decades away.

 

Which skill helps a hero sense the motivation of an NPC or determine if that NPC might be lying to them?  I'm looking for the equivalent to D&D's Insight or Pathfinder's Sense Motive.

 

Thanks!

 

Hello Toxxus.  I'd probably start by overhauling the HERO system social interaction skill system...

 

I'm half serious: there are some real gaps and a decent social interaction system should be central to any decent RPG and HERO is definitely a decent RPG.  This being HERO there is no one way or best way to flense the feline, but I would hesitate before going to power builds.  You can, for example, buy PS: Empathy.  I mean, that would do it, but that just seems lame.  

 

Professional Skill: This Background Skill gives a character the ability to perform certain professions, crafts, tasks, and the like.

 

Arguably being empathic (in the sense of understanding the emotions and motivations of others) could fall under this catch-all category.

 

I don't like using Persuasion because, well, Characters with this Interaction Skill can convince, persuade, or influence individuals, or tell believable lies: is that really what is happening here?

 

I thought of Analyze  (sic) but then I checked what it actually did: This Intellect Skill allows a character to analyze (sic) another character’s abilities or skills to determine the other character’s level of power or degree of competence. 

 

Is that really what is happening either?

 

I tell you what, give me half an hour...

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2 hours ago, IndianaJoe3 said:

Interrogation should cover whether the subject is answering truthfully, so using it to detect lies in more general cases makes sense. (It would also give the skill a more heroic use than perp sweating.)

 

 

The problem with Interrogation is that it, well: 

A character with this Interaction Skill can extract information from people, either forcibly or through psychological manipulation.

 ...so I've always thought of it as a skill you can not really use in polite company, especially as it goes on to say the character knows how to avoid leaving marks.  interrogation, as written, is not a very heroic skill and may well be counter-productive.

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OK, took more than half an hour, but....

 

 

 

Right, tear out all the bits about existing social interaction skills and replace with the following:

 

Skill name: Feel free to change this to better reflect your character, but changing the name does not change what the skill does, just the flavour of the skill.

Definition: What the skill allows you to do.

Characteristic base: the characteristic that the skill roll is based on.

Resistance: what the subject of the skill attempt can use to try and reduce or remove the effect of the skill in a skill v skill contest.  In addition to whatever is listed, the subject can always use a characteristic roll at -2 (usually the same as the characteristic base for the skill to resist the effect of the skill use).

 

Skill name: Argument

Definition: The ability to make someone accept information (and act on that information) using logic.

Characteristic base: INT

Resistance: Argument, Cross Examination and any relevant Psychological Complication.

 

Skill name: Cross Examination

Definition: Finding any inconsistencies or errors in a statement.

Characteristic base: INT

Resistance: Lying. 

 

Skill name: Lying

Definition: The ability to tell a consistent lie or avoid providing certain information.

Characteristic base: INT

Resistance: Cross Examination

 

Skill name: Persuasion

Definition: The ability to make someone accept information (and act on that information) based on emotion.

Characteristic base: PRE

Resistance: Persuasion, Insight or any relevant Psychological Complication

 

Skill name: Insight

Definition: The ability to determine someone’s true emotional state and whether they are trying to emotionally influence you.

Characteristic base: PRE

Resistance: Persuasion or Dissembling.

 

Skill name: Dissembling

Definition: The ability to conceal your true feelings or intentions.

Characteristic base: PRE

Resistance: Insight

 

Skill name: Charm

Definition: the ability to make someone feel positive toward you.  Generally people that you charm will feel well disposed toward you and be willing to see the best in you.  This can act as a Complimentary Skill for many other Social interaction Skills.

Characteristic base: PRE

Resistance: Insight, or Psychological Complications

 

Skill name: Intimidate

Definition: the ability to make someone feel negative toward you.  Generally people that you intimidate become fearful of you.  This can act as a Complimentary Skill for many other Social interaction Skills.

Characteristic base: PRE

Resistance: Insight, or Psychological Complications

 

Skill name: Imitation/Mimicry

Definition: the ability to observe and copy the physical mannerisms of another person or thing.

Characteristic base: INT

Resistance: Insight or Cross Examination

 

Skill name: Oppress

Definition: the ability to make someone feel a negative emotion about themselves

Characteristic base:

Resistance: Psychological Limitations

 

Skill name: Inspire

Definition: the ability to make someone feel a positive emotion about themselves

Characteristic base:

Resistance: Psychological Limitations

 

Skill name: Engage

Definition: The ability to draw and hold someone’s attention, which can be useful for distracting them and may act as a complimentary skill in some social situations.

Characteristic base: PRE

Resistance: Psychological Limitations

 

Skill name: Animal Training

Definition: The ability to condition an animal to do what you want it to.

Characteristic base: INT

Resistance: Pychological Complications

 

Skill name: Animal Empathy

Definition: The ability to understand the emotions of an animal and react appropriately.

Characteristic base: PRE

Resistance: Psychological Complications

 

 

So, to determine someone’s motivations you’ll want the Cross Examination and/or Insight Skills, possibly backed up with Charm and Engage.

 

Cross Examination will not help much with the motivation but can detect lies (assuming you can get the subject to talk to you) and may give some pointers to the truth (as they understand it) if they are, indeed, lying.

 

Insight will not help you get at the truth as such but will detect lies and may get you some idea as to why the subject is lying.

 

OK, let us assume that there is an NPC who is lying to the PC.  The NPC is lying because he has been told to because a member of his family is being threatened.

 

Have the NPC roll Lying and Dissembling, and make a note of how well they do.  The PC has to roll at least that well on Cross Examination or Insight to get any information.  So if the NPC had an 12- roll with Lying and actually rolled 8, the PC has to succeed by 4 or more to get any useful information with their Cross Examination roll.  Even if the NPC fails their roll (say they rolled a 13), the PC still has to make a roll, but, effectively, gets a +1 on their roll to succeed and get some useful information.

 

If the Cross Examination roll succeeds then the PC is confident that the NPC is lying.  In addition the PC finds out either that the NPC does not know the truth (if they do not) or some or all of the truth (if the NPC knows it), depending on how well they roll.

 

If the Insight roll succeeds then the PC is confident that the NPC is lying.  In addition the PC finds out some or all of the truth about why the NPC is lying and may then be able to use that knowledge to succeed in an Argument or Persuade roll to find out more.

 

Something like that.  You can use other skills (like Charm or Intimidate) as complimentary skills or simply to get the NPC talking in the first place - one very effective way to stymie information extraction is to say nothing at all.

 

This is not that well thought through and not at all play tested but it seems to have the potential to give more nuance to social interaction.  Maybe give it a go and let me know?

 

 

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19 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

 

 

The problem with Interrogation is that it, well: 

A character with this Interaction Skill can extract information from people, either forcibly or through psychological manipulation.

 ...so I've always thought of it as a skill you can not really use in polite company, especially as it goes on to say the character knows how to avoid leaving marks.  interrogation, as written, is not a very heroic skill and may well be counter-productive.

 

What makes you think psychological manipulation is incompatible with polite company?

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Politely manipulating a palindromedary into participating in this tagline

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25 minutes ago, Lucius said:

What makes you think psychological manipulation is incompatible with polite company? 

Because Conversation and Persuasion already cover the "Polite Company" part?

 

I once did a breakdown using real-life iterrogation techniques. Including stuff like God-Cop/Bad-Cop. The end result was that kinda off Interrogation was only left to deal with outright Torture. Everything else was covered by other skills, assisting roles, complimentary rolls or bonuses.

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59 minutes ago, Lucius said:

 

What makes you think psychological manipulation is incompatible with polite company?

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Politely manipulating a palindromedary into participating in this tagline

 

What Christopher said.  The rest of the entry makes it clear that what we are talking about is the ability to physically and mentally torture someone.  Sure you can apply psychological manipulation in polite company but it is going to be far less effective if you are unable to really make overt threats.  It is clearly not what Interrogation was built for.  In fact I'd be happier if they did just call it torture because interrogation really is a separate skill, more akin to a good cross examination in Court.  It is all about approaching the same subject from different angles and comparing answers for consistency to determine if someone is telling the truth.

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3 hours ago, Christopher said:

Because Conversation and Persuasion already cover the "Polite Company" part?

 

 

Which would cover telling if someone is lying?

 

Between those two I'd go for Conversation, personally.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says with some people you can tell they're lying because they're lips are moving, but that belongs in the politics thread....

 

 

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18 hours ago, Lucius said:

Which would cover telling if someone is lying? 

Interrogation also does not tell you if the target is lying.

Wich is a much bigger concern for Interrogation, due to the "make something up so the other guy stops" phenomenon.

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9 minutes ago, Christopher said:

Interrogation also does not tell you if the target is lying.

 

Well if it's going to count as a Skill it darn tootin' ought to.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

This palindromedary tagline is lying to you

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On 1/21/2019 at 10:44 AM, Sean Waters said:

OK, took more than half an hour, but....

 

Right, tear out all the bits about existing social interaction skills and replace with the following:

 

 

Lots of good stuff up there.  Some thoughts as I read it:

 

Big picture, could we get by with fewer skills?  11 is a lot (I am leaving out Imitation and the two Animal skills in that count).

 

Should we have some INT and some PRE interaction skills?

 

The two have a bit of overlap, in my view.

 

Argument, Cross-examination and Lying parallel Persuasion, Insight and Dissembling.  If we eliminated the INT-based versions, we would have more consistency that PRE is the Interaction Stat.  In some instances, an INT roll, or an appropriate Knowledge, could be a complementary skill roll.  In others, just having the right facts, knowledge or evidence could modify the roll, but the ability to present the evidence, or apply it to the discussion at hand, would still be driven by PRE.

 

Imitation seems like it replaces Acting.  I could see it being a PRE skill as well, as it is a form of interaction skill.

 

I assume Oppress and Inspire are intended as PRE skills.

 

The two Animal skills could be merged similar to the above – basically, one Interaction skill for animals.

 

I like the concept of replacing PRE attacks with Interaction skills.  I think "PRE Attacks" becomes an "Interaction skills in combat" rule set.  We could build on that with a model which has real "social combat" for campaigns where that may be the focus as much as, or more than, physical combat.  An appropriate Engage skill, for example, causing the attacker to pause.  The PRE attack system has had some "inspire" type suggestions in the past, but always seems focused on "shock and awe".  This model seems better suited to simulate the con man who is so good he can talk that angry husband down in combat.

 

I've said in the past that I could envision games where a much more robust social interaction model is adopted, and physical combat is reduced to a few skill rolls.  But first, modifying the current standard Interaction Skills in line with the above makes a ton of sense, even before building on it for a "social combat" system.

 

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Quote

Interrogation also does not tell you if the target is lying.

 

That is an interesting point, but ultimately there's no point in interrogating someone if all you're doing is getting random bits of information out of them as a collection.  Interrogation has a goal, to get accurate information.  If you're unable to judge the validity of that information, it can't achieve that goal, and what's more you can't even move toward that goal.  Each step along the way as you direct the interrogation, you have to make decisions how you're going to proceed based on whether you think what they are saying is true or not. At some level, it only works as a skill -- it only achieves anything at all -- if you can tell if what they are saying is valid or not, at least to some degree.

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Knowing the truth is the best way to tell a lie if the liar is telling lies in regards to a particular subject; so, in some instances, background skills like Professional Skills, Science Skills or Knowledge Skills could be substituted.  As someone who would have PS: Computer Technician in real life, I can often tell if someone claiming to be a technician is really a technician or just reading scripts and tossing out technical terms just to sound smart.

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8 hours ago, Lucius said:

Well if it's going to count as a Skill it darn tootin' ought to. 

 

3 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

That is an interesting point, but ultimately there's no point in interrogating someone if all you're doing is getting random bits of information out of them as a collection.  Interrogation has a goal, to get accurate information.  If you're unable to judge the validity of that information, it can't achieve that goal, and what's more you can't even move toward that goal.

In many situations the GM will make the roll (or at least the counter roll) hidden, so you do not even know if you succeeded.

This same property is shared by Conversation and Persuasion. Unless the GM wants you do know if you succeeded or failed, you do not know if you did. Wich skill you use to get the information does not mater.

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7 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

 

Lots of good stuff up there.  Some thoughts as I read it:

 

Big picture...

 

Thank you for reading it and your helpful comments and observations.

 

So currently we have (ignoring Mimicry and Animal Training) 5 'base' interactions skills (Acting, Charm, Conversation, Interrogation, and Persuasion) and 6 'specialist situation' interactions kills (Bribery, Bureaucratics, High Society, Oratory, Streetwise and Trading).  I might add Gambling to that, even though Hero treats it as an INT skill: lots of gamblers would agree you need to know the odds, but would suggest that what will determine the real winners is psychology.  

 

So, HERO has about half the skills I'm suggesting - in what I'm suggesting, things like Bribery, Streetwise and such would be covered by appropriate Knowledge or Professional Skills.

 

First let me say that the large number of skills was deliberate as I think they all do different things - in some cases only slightly - or at least do similar things in different ways.  HERO is all about building the character you want and more general skill descriptions mean that you could have two characters with quite different rationales and concepts built in very similar ways.

 

Still, I take the point.

 

If I were going to chop some out, I might start with the idea that influencing/manipulating someone is all about PRE, but reading/understaning someone is all about INT (which, of course, controls Perception - which should be a skill - but this is neither the time nor the place).  That would actually fit in well with how HERO treats Gambling.

 

The problem with this is that you have to be smart to be good at understanding people.  Hmm.  You can buy limited INT, or skill levels.  I digress.  Obviously.  I'm digression in human form.  Um...

 

Working with that starting point, we could reduce the list to this:

 

Persuasion (PRE) - the ability to make someone do something - often give you information.  Resisted by Persuasion or Social Observation or PRE or INT -2.

 

Dissembling (PRE) - the ability to make someone believe you - often, but not always, an untruth.  Resisted by Social Observation or INT -2

 

Social Observation (aka: Cross Examination/Lying) (INT) - the ability to assess whether someone believes what they are saying is true or not and to gain insight into there emotional drives.  Usually a reaction but resisted by Dissembling, Influence or Impress or PRE -2.

 

Influence (aka Inspire/Oppress) (PRE) - the ability to make someone feel something about themselves.  Resisted by Confidence or EGO-2

 

Impress (aka Charm/Intimidate/Engage) (PRE) - the ability to make someone feel something about you.  Resisted by Confidence EGO-2.

 

Confidence (aka Cynicism/Social Resilience/Emotional Toughness) (EGO) - the ability to spot and resist attempts at changing your emotional state.  Usually a reaction but resisted by Dissembling, Influence or Impress or EGO -2

 

So that is, in effect, four PRE skills governing influencing others, an observation (INT) skill and an EGO skill, because that's something new.  I took several away but did sneak another one in.

 

So, and I may have gone too far the other way here, we now have Persuasion (making someone do something), Dissembling (seeming believable), Influence (making someone feel something about themselves) and Impress (making someone feel something about you) PLUS Social Observation and Confidence: four PRE skills and an INT skill and an EGO skill.  I could go further and make Influence and Impress a single skill (Influence), but that seems a bridge too far.  I think they are sufficiently distinct.  You have several things you can do with the force of your personality which are then resisted by your intellect or self confidence.

 

What I would suggest then is to buy these skills at the normal cost (3 points for the skill, 2 points for +1) but allow another buy option for skill levels: +1 CP = +1 for a particular situation.  So you could buy Impress 3 points +5 (Fear only) for 5 points total.  That way you are impressive when you want to be, at least as far as your PRE allows, but you are really good at making people afraid afraid of you.  This may help you (as a complimentary skill in the right situation) with Persuasion, or to disperse a crowd with a straight roll by making them so afraid of you they run way.

 

On the subject of crowds, I would suggest penalties as follows: 2 targets = -1; 4 targets =-2; 8 targets =-3; 16 targets =-4 and so on (so up to 1024 targets would be -10).  You can buy skill levels at the 1 point level (see above) with the 'situation' being 'to offset multiple opponent penalties.  That is how you would build PRE attacks - PRE, by itself, is only really good for individuals or, at most, small groups.

 

You would then have situational skills that act as complimentary skills to those base skills: 

 

KS: Streetwise would mean that you know who is who in the underworld, where to find certain things and certain people - the sort of information you could get from reading a report.

 

PS: Streetwise would mean that you are actually familiar with the street, how to read whether the bar is about to explode into violence or song, how to approach someone so that they respect you - be it threats or deference.

 

The difference, to my mind, is that the KS is knowing the chemical formula for alcohol, how it is made, sterilisation techniques and so on and the PS is knowing how to actually cope with drinking.

 

Although PS, in HERO, means 'Professional Skill', I would change that (I really am having a go at the skill system, aren't I?) to Practical Skill.

 

Maybe that is going too far, too.  Perhaps a PS in the relevant background should be enough.  That would mean that someone might be of mediocre social skill but have a decent PS: Streetwise skill, so consistently get a +1 to +3 bonus to the roll in that situation, probably outdoing (on average) someone who is a bit better at social skills generally but does not have that background.

 

Social Skill use is always a Skill Versus Skill Contest.  This would mean (for example) that two characters who are equally 'Street' would (on average) cancel each others bonuses from PS: Streetwise out.  It also means that, even if the Player would rather allow an attempt at inspiring him to succeed, he still has to run it past his character's EGO.

 

All the above are always Everyman Skills, and most NPCs will, at least, buy one or two Interaction Skills at the 3 point level.

 

Complications can have a profound effect on Interaction Skills.  Every 5 points in a relevant Complication (in most cases Psychological Complications, but sometimes DNPC and technically any relevant Complication) should translate to at least a + or - 2 to the appropriate Interaction Skill Roll, although GMs will have to monitor that to make sure it is not abused.  You get points for Complications - generally the trade off should be that it makes things more complicated for you.

 

Hmm.  I'll stop there.  What do you think?

 

 

Edited by Sean Waters
I thought of something else and believed it would make more sense as part of the OP than as a separate footnote and no one had commented on it yet anyway. Gosh, I've edited this several times now because I've spot(OK, there is a limit to the characters y

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1 hour ago, Christopher said:

 

In many situations the GM will make the roll (or at least the counter roll) hidden, so you do not even know if you succeeded.

This same property is shared by Conversation and Persuasion. Unless the GM wants you do know if you succeeded or failed, you do not know if you did. Wich skill you use to get the information does not mater.

 

One way to achieve this would be to make Interaction Skills always be Skill Versus Skill, even if the 'Skill' they are against is a characteristic roll.  That way the player never has all the information - they know how well they did but not how well the other party played their hand.  This would maintain the mystery and suspense of not knowing until you actually know.

 

Of course if a lie gets past someone who has a 90% chance of detecting it they may be more convinced of its truth than someone with only a 40% chance of detecting it; I think that is actually pretty realistic.

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For social interaction I prefer to keep things simple.

 

I use 3 skills that can influence targets:

 

Charm. This skill is the art of flattery, bribery, and seduction. It is used to get favours  out of the target in return for something. What is gotten in return may be money, sex, or even just a feeling of having done good. It is (usually) obvious to the target when it is being used. It is opposed by Awareness or EGO -3.    (I admit that Charm could be split into 2 skills. I think there's a case to be made that two situations: charming someone without their being aware of what's going on, and charming someone with their knowledge of what's going, on are quite different. But for me the similarity of using charm, wit, and flattery to make an offer seem to good to pass up, suffices to make both fall under one skill.)

 

Conversation. As well as for being interesting in a social situation it is used to get favours, or to get information from, or convey information to others. This skill is subtle, the target must make a successful Awareness roll or an INT roll at -3 to be aware of the attempt. A character who is aware of the attempt can resist it and even try to use their own Conversation skill to turn the tables.

 

Interrogation is used to get information from a target. It is always obvious to the target and makes the target dislike the interrogator. It is resisted by EGO -3.

 

I have one skill to act as a defense against social "attacks."

 

Awareness is the skill used to resist Charm and Conversation. It is also used to read body language and get the sense of how a crowd of people (be it a mob or a gathering at a party or whatever) is feeling.

 

In all cases of these skills being used the GM should apply difficulty and time modifiers. Using  psych. lims. and complementary skills is also encouraged.

 

 

 

To make it more of a social "combat" simulator we would first need to work out a basic mechanic for determining success. Combat has systems for determining if a hit has landed, how much damage it does, how much the target reduces that damage by, and a measure of how much damage the target can take.

 

The last seems easiest. Combat has BOD, I'll suggest social combat has EGO. When EGO is reduced to 0 (or some fraction of itself like half, quarter, etc.) the  target succumbs to the attack.

 

Determining "hitting" can simply be opposed skill checks.

 

Damage can be determined by how much a skill check is won by. (For example: do 1 point of social damage per 2 points by which the check is won by.) This has the advantage of not needing separate social damage and armour ratings for characters.

 

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

So, HERO has about half the skills I'm suggesting - in what I'm suggesting, things like Bribery, Streetwise and such would be covered by appropriate Knowledge or Professional Skills.

 

First let me say that the large number of skills was deliberate as I think they all do different things - in some cases only slightly - or at least do similar things in different ways.  HERO is all about building the character you want and more general skill descriptions mean that you could have two characters with quite different rationales and concepts built in very similar ways.

 

Still, I take the point.

 

If I were going to chop some out, I might start with the idea that influencing/manipulating someone is all about PRE, but reading/understaning someone is all about INT (which, of course, controls Perception - which should be a skill - but this is neither the time nor the place).  That would actually fit in well with how HERO treats Gambling.

 

 

I like the idea of specialist situations being KS, PS and/or limited skill levels.  These are something like Striking Appearance, but more limited.

 

I agree with the demarcation between influencing and observing.  I may be biased in that I think INT (also PRE and DEX) provides two distinct benefits, and should cost 2 points. The "two benefits"of INT are perception and INT skills, each accounting for half of the value of the stat (so +1 with all PER rolls should be 50% of the cost of INT, and +1 with all other INT rolls is the other 50%).

 

15 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Working with that starting point, we could reduce the list to this:

 

Persuasion (PRE) - the ability to make someone do something - often give you information.  Resisted by Persuasion or Social Observation or PRE or INT -2.

 

Dissembling (PRE) - the ability to make someone believe you - often, but not always, an untruth.  Resisted by Social Observation or INT -2

 

Social Observation (aka: Cross Examination/Lying) (INT) - the ability to assess whether someone believes what they are saying is true or not and to gain insight into there emotional drives.  Usually a reaction but resisted by Dissembling, Influence or Impress or PRE -2.

 

Influence (aka Inspire/Oppress) (PRE) - the ability to make someone feel something about themselves.  Resisted by Confidence or EGO-2

 

Impress (aka Charm/Intimidate/Engage) (PRE) - the ability to make someone feel something about you.  Resisted by Confidence EGO-2.

 

Confidence (aka Cynicism/Social Resilience/Emotional Toughness) (EGO) - the ability to spot and resist attempts at changing your emotional state.  Usually a reaction but resisted by Dissembling, Influence or Impress or EGO -2

 

So that is, in effect, four PRE skills governing influencing others, an observation (INT) skill and an EGO skill, because that's something new.  I took several away but did sneak another one in.

 

So, and I may have gone too far the other way here, we now have Persuasion (making someone do something), Dissembling (seeming believable), Influence (making someone feel something about themselves) and Impress (making someone feel something about you) PLUS Social Observation and Confidence: four PRE skills and an INT skill and an EGO skill.  I could go further and make Influence and Impress a single skill (Influence), but that seems a bridge too far.  I think they are sufficiently distinct.  You have several things you can do with the force of your personality which are then resisted by your intellect or self confidence.

 

 

This is a good framework, I think.  I'd remove the "CHAR-2" to resist and make several of these Everyman Skills, so everyone has at least some limited ability to resist.  That would cover Persuasion, Social Observation, Dissembling and Confidence.

 

I agree with the split between Influence and Impress.  This is replacing all PRE attacks - two skills does not seem unreasonable.  I also like EGO to resist, but again I may be biased as I think EGO should govern PRE defense under the current model - being impressive and being hard to impress are very different things.

 

15 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

What I would suggest then is to buy these skills at the normal cost (3 points for the skill, 2 points for +1) but allow another buy option for skill levels: +1 CP = +1 for a particular situation.  So you could buy Impress 3 points +5 (Fear only) for 5 points total.  That way you are impressive when you want to be, at least as far as your PRE allows, but you are really good at making people afraid afraid of you.  This may help you (as a complimentary skill in the right situation) with Persuasion, or to disperse a crowd with a straight roll by making them so afraid of you they run way.

 

On the subject of crowds, I would suggest penalties as follows: 2 targets = -1; 4 targets =-2; 8 targets =-3; 16 targets =-4 and so on (so up to 1024 targets would be -10).  You can buy skill levels at the 1 point level (see above) with the 'situation' being 'to offset multiple opponent penalties.  That is how you would build PRE attacks - PRE, by itself, is only really good for individuals or, at most, small groups.

 

You would then have situational skills that act as complimentary skills to those base skills: 

 

KS: Streetwise would mean that you know who is who in the underworld, where to find certain things and certain people - the sort of information you could get from reading a report.

 

PS: Streetwise would mean that you are actually familiar with the street, how to read whether the bar is about to explode into violence or song, how to approach someone so that they respect you - be it threats or deference.

 

 

I like a lot of the modifier issues.  I think skill pricing needs its own review in part drawing on my view that this is half of DEX, INT and PRE, so a 5 point "skill level" should be +1 to all of these rolls at the same time for 5 points, and decline from there.  That's a different topic, and I think your approach meshes well with the current system.  We could also add, or replace with, 3 point skill levels that provide +1 to all rolls related to a particular situation (so +1 to all PRE skills when used for fear only).  This could replace Striking Appearance.

 

Not so sure about crowds - great orators and great entertainers become very expensive, relative to great con men.

 

15 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Social Skill use is always a Skill Versus Skill Contest.  This would mean (for example) that two characters who are equally 'Street' would (on average) cancel each others bonuses from PS: Streetwise out.  It also means that, even if the Player would rather allow an attempt at inspiring him to succeed, he still has to run it past his character's EGO.

 

All the above are always Everyman Skills, and most NPCs will, at least, buy one or two Interaction Skills at the 3 point level.

 

Complications can have a profound effect on Interaction Skills.  Every 5 points in a relevant Complication (in most cases Psychological Complications, but sometimes DNPC and technically any relevant Complication) should translate to at least a + or - 2 to the appropriate Interaction Skill Roll, although GMs will have to monitor that to make sure it is not abused.  You get points for Complications - generally the trade off should be that it makes things more complicated for you.

 

Hmm.  I'll stop there.  What do you think?

 

 

 

I agree with Everyman skills. Not sure everyone should buy a couple up rather than have a couple of relevant PS/KS for complimentary bonuses.  Complications seem like they should be a two edged sword - you can get a bonus, but also a penalty (e.g. leveraging that DNPC can make you less resistant if done right).

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7 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I'd remove the "CHAR-2" to resist and make several of these Everyman Skills, so everyone has at least some limited ability to resist.  That would cover Persuasion, Social Observation, Dissembling and Confidence.

...

I agree with Everyman skills. Not sure everyone should buy a couple up rather than have a couple of relevant PS/KS for complimentary bonuses.  Complications seem like they should be a two edged sword - you can get a bonus, but also a penalty (e.g. leveraging that DNPC can make you less resistant if done right).

 

 

Hello Hugh – again useful stuff.  The CHAR-2 was probably unnecessary as you point out as all social interactions kills would normally be Everyman Skills and so everyone would a have at least Familiarity and that is a level of defence.  That made me look up Familiarity and, well, this bit:

 

A Familiarity can serve as a Complementary Skill, but other Skills can’t be Complementary to a Familiarity unless the GM allows it.

 

As a GM I’m pretty sure I would allow other skills to be complimentary to social interaction familiarities as a matter of course.  I can not see how that would be easily abused, although I’m sure someone will manage it 😊

 

It also reminded me of this, which I had completely forgotten:

 

With the GM’s permission, characters may also buy Proficiency with a Characteristic-Based Skill. A Proficiency functions just like Familiarity, but provides a 10- roll for 2 Character Points.

 

(Background skills that you spend 2 points on you get an 11- (non CHAR based) roll and it is considered a ‘full blown’ skill anyway)

 

That could be useful for building NPCs that are a bit more switched on than average but still not fully ‘trained/experienced’ in social manipulation.  I’m not sure though how much the level of distinction will necessarily be appreciated by players, but it will make me feel better as a GM 😊

 

Yep, that is definitely the way forward.

 

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Not so sure about crowds - great orators and great entertainers become very expensive, relative to great con men.

 

The cost of affecting crowds, I think we need to discuss more.  One option would be to have PS: Orator and have that cover addressing crowds, much like PS: Streetwise covers dealing with ‘street’ people.  That would mean that you could use your interaction skills on, well, many people, without penalty, and the size of the crowd wouldn’t matter, unless you accounted for it in some other way, with a different modifier.

 

The thing about great oratory though is that it probably already has a lot of bonuses built in – most speeches will be prepared in advance, giving a time bonus, there will probably be scriptwriters, giving bonuses akin to Complimentary skills and there will be lots of other preparations, like PA systems, seating arrangements, publicity and so on that all provide considerable bonuses, not to mention that it will quite often be that the crowd you are addressing came to see you so is already willing to take on what you have to say.

 

I think being able to extend your social interaction skills to large groups of people so as to sway them to your intent without any preparation or back-up probably should cost quite a bit, as a barrier to entry.

 

Add to that the fact that 10 points to address a crowd of 1000 without penalty is a reasonable investment, meaning most people probably won’t spend the points on it, but I don’t have a problem with most characters, even high PRE characters not being able to affect large groups easily – they can still try and, with the right modifiers, may well succeed, but only a few are really good at it. 

 

Of course you don’t have to spend 10 points.  20 points allows you to avoid the penalties on addressing 1 million  people (if you could reach them), 5 points negates the penalties for 32 people (and halves the penalty for 1000).  It feels more granular than simply making it a separate situational skill.

 

Then, of course, you’d have the problem of HOW to apply the modifier: do you apply it to the initial interaction skill roll, meaning that roll is less likely to succeed, or do you apply it to the reaction roll (probably Confidence) meaning that a crowd is more resistant to attempt to sway them than individuals?  Probably the first one, to be fair.

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