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How do good guys (rebels) interrogate?

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19 hours ago, whafrog said:

lol, was thinking the same thing, but it's the first scene, not very long (and not very effective)...

The ineffectual interrogation actually is very revealing of the tactics that the Rebellion used. It's very analogous to standard police interrogation. Remember, he didn't suspect that Iden was going to be going anywhere, and had no idea that she was badass and plot-protected. As far as he was concerned, he had time and was holding all the cards. 

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One way to handle it mechanically would be to have a Strain-off, with Coercion/other check opposed by Discipline, and defensively, Deception opposed by Cool/Discipline, with Success resulting in Strain damage, and Advantage/Threat/Triumph/Despair being used to glean/seed useful/false information (with, of course, Boost/Setback modifying the check based on what skill is used, what the characters' interactions have been like, etc., etc., etc.).

Once the Strain threshold of the interviewers or interviewee has been reached, they are removed from the encounter be that by frustration and giving up on the questioning (at least for now) (for the questioner) or, if physical torture is involved, possibly passing out in the case of the prisoner, or maybe refusing to answer any more questions. Running out of Strain shouldn't necessarily result in the character giving up whatever information is requested, though a Minion might, but could result in them breaking somewhat, possibly affecting future attempts to interrogate the prisoner.

I'm not so sure about the last paragraph, but since I'd like to make use of this, critiques would be helpful.

Edited by P-47 Thunderbolt

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On 11/22/2019 at 5:25 PM, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

I'm not so sure about the last paragraph, but since I'd like to make use of this, critiques would be helpful.

That's fair, let's look at a few ideas!
 

On 11/22/2019 at 5:25 PM, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

One way to handle it mechanically would be to have a Strain-off, with Coercion/other check opposed by Discipline, and defensively, Deception opposed by Cool/Discipline

I would say that the mechanics of the interrogation would always be a skill from the initiator - in most cases the Interrogator, but not always. In general, an interrogator will always go in to talk to a prisoner, so a check from the prisoner isn't required. Opposed rolls in the system are meant to cover an interaction by two characters over time, with skills accomplishing their intended successful outcomes. While usually this would be a Coercion check from the interrogator opposed the Discipline of the prisoner to avoid revealing valuable information in a classic sense, I can see other possibilities.

For instance, if the interrogator wished to befriend the target, and honestly try and help them in their predicament, avoiding lying or false promising, and appealing to the prisoner's sense of right and wrong would use Charm. In cases where the interrogator was pulling a "bluff" (such as the TNG episode with the final interrogation of Picard) the interrogator might use Deception. Likewise, while Discipline might be the "quintessential resist interrogation" skill, if the prisoner were specifically trying to deliver false information, then they may use Deception in place of Discipline. Likewise, should the prisoner attempt to threaten their way out (such as in the case of a captured Inquisitor relating the doom that awaits both themselves and their captors when Vader comes to "clean up this mess") then you might find the prisoner being the one using Coercion.
 

On 11/22/2019 at 5:25 PM, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

with Success resulting in Strain damage, and Advantage/Threat/Triumph/Despair being used to glean/seed useful/false information (with, of course, Boost/Setback modifying the check based on what skill is used, what the characters' interactions have been like, etc., etc., etc.).

In an opposed check situation, you could have each party tally their own advantages and threats, then for each advantage they have garner a boost for the next round of rolls (identifying tells or "buttons" to press in their opponent) and for each threat generated get to narrate a single "false narrative" their opponent believes, resulting in a Setback to their next round, with net successes for either side resulting in strain loss for their opponent, and failures resulting in strain loss for themselves. This would represent the prisoner being shaken and starting to crack, whereas in could also represent the interrogator losing their cool and "needing a break" from the interrogation. Remember, the end result of interrogation is merely playing for time - either for legal proceedings to free them or time to be rescued/escape.

 

On 11/22/2019 at 5:25 PM, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Running out of Strain shouldn't necessarily result in the character giving up whatever information is requested, though a Minion might, but could result in them breaking somewhat, possibly affecting future attempts to interrogate the prisoner.

I would say that a good judge of determining when an interrogation is "over" is to run it through Cool.

If the prisoner brings the interrogator to their strain threshold, then the interrogator needs to make a Cool check, the difficulty being how many times the prisoner has "won." Setbacks or Boosts can be added for factors like how secure the prisoner is, how time sensitive the interrogation is, and how valuable the information is. If the interrogator passes the check, then another round of interrogation can begin when they are ready for it, or another interrogator is sent in. Failure indicates that the interrogator is "beaten" and believes that no more information is available, the prisoner doesn't know what they are after, or they believe what the prisoner has told them (depending on how the prisoner chose to handle their end of things). This is accurate to how it really happens, as many rounds of interrogation happen, over a long period of time, often with multiple interrogators involved. The advantage here is that the strain recovered by the interrogator is always recovered faster than it is for the prisoner, whose conditions are designed to prevent the recovery of strain. This inherently gives the advantage further to the interrogator as time goes on.

If (when) the interrogator brings the prisoner to their strain threshold, the same Cool check is made, this time the difficulty being how many times the interrogator has "won." Again, Setbacks or Boosts can be added for the same factors as above, but as it is seen from the prisoner's perspective (how secure the prisoner is in this case is a Setback instead of a Boost, how time sensitive is a Boost instead of a Setback as they only need to hold out so long, etc). If the prisoner was Tortured, or if a "plea deal" or reward for information was made, then upgrade the difficulty of the check a number of times based off of the temptation of the deal or extremity of the torture. Failure indicates that the prisoner gives in, and spills the information they are looking for, a Despair on the roll can even indicate that they make false claims just to get out of the situation. This is where torture and deals come into play, upgrading the difficulty of this Cool check multiple times depending on the severity, and thus increasing the likelihood of a Despair resulting in false claims, but even normal interrogation in many cases result in false admissions. 

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On 11/19/2019 at 3:29 PM, ddbrown30 said:

My players are likely going to have an Imperial officer in their custody soon and I would like interrogation to potentially yield some information. Their prisoner is loyal and would not give up information easily.

How can good guys interrogate someone without resorting to torture? More importantly, how would you run this so that it was fun and interesting?

I have a feeling I'm just going to leave this as a problem for my players to solve, but I'd still like to see what others think. 

 

Well, you could look towars the real world and was is actually successfull.

So I am going to give you a bit of reading material, if you are interested in it at all.

First of - resulting to torture would probably not work out at all. Despite its succes being shown in movies and TV shows it doesn't work in the real world. This is an interesting read on the topic I would recommend: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/we-rsquo-ve-known-for-400-years-that-torture-doesn-rsquo-t-work/

I would also say that the Rebellion would not result to 'enhanced interrogation' tactics. Certain parts and members of the Rebellion might but this would be something command would not tolerate and discourage.

 

As weird as it sounds building a positive relationship with the captive Officer would probably yield the best and likely quickest results. 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262308376_The_Who_What_and_Why_of_Human_Intelligence_Gathering_Self-Reported_Measures_of_Interrogation_Methods

https://psmag.com/social-justice/nazi-interrogator-revealed-value-kindness-84747

 

In an RPG its really the question of what is fun.
What your players do can hardly be predicted. But I would ask myself the question: who is that officer, what information does he have, and what informations are the players looking for, if they are looking for any specific information. Why is he loyal, how far does that loyalty go, how smart is he, how determined?

Also: what informations do the players have about the guy. The more they know already or the more they can learn before interrogating the guy the easier it might be for them.

Honestly tricking the guy into giving something up might be a hundred times more satisfying than to just roll some checks.

In a different RPG I spent about an evening to plan my talk with a friend. Then during the session (It was just us two, the other players could not attend that day) we talked about three hours to a warlord to change his mind, one of the BEST RP moments I ever had. Prepping something and getting a pay-off might be more satisfying. But if you players want quick results. Just let them roll.


Don't be afaraid to let your players fail. If this guy is a tough nut he might just resist.

Edited by Doppelganger

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