Determining Successes in Interrogations

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Wed May 08, 2019 3:26 pm

So another player will be bringing this up at a future OOC chat but I asked to start a discussion on the forums about it, too. The main question is: how do you determine success/failure in an interrogation scene?

As far as I know, there's no policy stating what is or isn't OOCly fair in RPed situations, where one party is attempting to extract information from another. Which means that the players involved are left to figure it out on their own. I imagine it has to be difficult because it's already a stressful setting, and it basically comes down to players debating what is reasonable for a character to withstand while under duress.

Should players be left to figure it out between themselves? Should there be an official procedure like there is for chase scenes, captivity, poisonings? And if a policy is put in place, what should it be?

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Wed May 08, 2019 4:42 pm

I've never figured this one out. Usually it relies on an unspoken pact to spill the guts, but interrogation is usually a matter of wills. A prisoner who wishes to stall will confound the inquisitor and lead them chasing the wrong lead or line of interrogation. It is not always a matter of rolls or code, but RP... though of course an OOCly intelligent prisoner will have the upper hand, as with other situations.

When it comes to basic answer denial: "tell me where you live", "no", well that should be a battle of wisdom/medicine vs wisdom/charisma, with inflict happening between rounds?

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Wed May 08, 2019 6:53 pm

For torture, I'd say leave it to the victim's player to determine whether they would break or not, since they should know best what their character can handle.
Some might withstand torture and not give anything, some might give in after being whipped a few times, and vinegar poured on the cuts, or some might confess to anything and everything whether true or not before a single knuckle is broken.

But if drugs are used, they can not ignore the effects (unless perhaps they have a high tolerance built up), and would be a case for policy if it's ignored.

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Wed May 08, 2019 7:18 pm

The difficulty is that when there are voids in expectations or policy, people are naturally inclined to take whatever action best suits their character. And hence why a lot of other things like ... arrests et al are coded. As code then acts as a neutral arbitrator. I'd argue a Guide/Helpfile with suggestions/expectations based on different ranks of stats. (Perhaps mostly Constitution and Charisma.)

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Wed May 08, 2019 7:43 pm

I don't think there's any need to enforce a policy on how characters react to torture. OOCly, torture should not be expected to be effective anyway. ... errogation
Let people play it out how they like. There's other ways to RP it if a character isn't ICly satisfied with the results.

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Thu May 09, 2019 7:28 am

As an Inquisitor, I always just decided if I stuck someone with a hot poker, and they just grinned at me, they were clearly a mage.

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Thu May 09, 2019 1:15 pm

I guess I'd also raise the question of effectiveness. How often, OOC, are we really expecting hardened criminals who've seen the worst of Southside or mages who do (insert nasty things you imagine mages doing here) on the regular to break with reliable information? How do you guarantee these guys aren't lying or making stuff up or just being unreliable narrators under adrendaline? What's going to stop a normie from blurting out 'fine, you win, i'm a mage, just cut it out!'?

Obviously, ICly, I'd assume most people think torture is cool and it just works, and I'm not here to knock the playstyle of anyone who uses torture.

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Fri May 10, 2019 12:50 am

As an Inquisitor I;

A) Did the same as Kinaed- any non-realistic reactions were looked on poorly
B) Tried to catch them in a lie between their words and my evidence. I typically wouldn't have an arrest warrant issued unless my evidence was pretty strong
C) If I had enough evidence already, it wasn't about proving guilt, but trying to get them to reveal their coconspirators

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Fri May 10, 2019 11:58 am

I don't think this should be enforced by policy or anything, but I think a good mix of truth and lies is a good practice to follow as a prisoner, leaving it to the skills of the interrogator to sort the two from each other.

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Fri May 10, 2019 1:53 pm

As somebody who has been in the interrogation room several times over the years, let me tell you that my characters broke almost immediately. And when they broke, they spilled a mixture of lies and truth, whatever they could think of that seemed to please the person torturing them without incriminating too many people. Realistically, the efficacy of torture is highly dubious, and the pain tolerance of a person is extremely variable, especially if we consider the numbing effect that regular drug use (like many Southsiders would be engaging in) could have. Who really knows how magery would impact it.

The point is that the success of an interrogation is going to be a complicated matter that is open to interpretation. Honestly, it'll probably leave everybody feeling a bit unsatisfied as far as one's definition of 'success' goes.

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