Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to Bribe, a real world skill games can teach

Its really just meant for games, but in some countries corruption is a way of life.

GM's usually quickly factor in:
  • Risk of getting into trouble vs Severity of Penalty,
  • Opportunity Cost vs Target's Wealth,
  • How wealthy the PC appears,
  • and Relationship with the Target (Contacts Advantage).

In GURPS:
Step 1: assess the situation
Step 2: A Psychology Role: (see skill description)
"Will this character take a bribe of X?"
Step 3: Merchant, Diplomacy or Streetwise roll to communicate the intent via innuendo.
Step 4: Then a Body Language Roll to see the character's response. Make sure a deal or agreement is struck so that you can use Detect lies roll or Body Language roll to detect sincerity.

Shades of Gray.
Over here in the Philippines bribing police and government bureaucrats is part of the culture. This is caused by the great social inequities and corruption that rob the lower level public servants of their income and the capital to do their work. Unfair circumstances create more unfair circumstances.

Police in the Philippines usually supplement their income with bribes, and its called "Kotong".

The police are pulling people over for frivolous and sometimes imaginary faults they can still charge people with "reckless" driving which is a completely arbitrary infraction. Typically one can bribe them as much as $1 to $10 (that is why it is important to always have change ready when driving) depending on how hard you put up a fight and negotiate.

My brother in law plays "nice" guy and sometimes succeeds in a guilt effect, my other friend gets more harassed cause he looks like the "rich Chinese-Filipino" so he has to really negotiate with innuendo. He is able to get off with $1, and I usually end up having to cough up $2 because I'm struggling to hold my temper. Back when I was a total newb I had to cough up $10.

It is easy to lose your temper when these guys pull you over when you didn't break any law and they throw in "reckless" driving crap. Complications like unfairness and the predatory nature can be a Influence Roll penalty as the PCs can be insulted when they are being violated.

Our police earned $12 a day, so they really have to earn roughly $6 a day to keep their heads at Struggling CoL in GURPS terms.

Contacts is very important when bribing a bureaucrat, as it is a means of communication and one can avoid dangerous "middle men" who can be found government offices offering services to "speed" up papers. Investing on a Contacts allows you to cut through all the middle men and bribe the least amount of people.

Sufficient contacts that take advantage of the status quo, a character can pretty much be very successful even with mediocre competence in countries/places where there is insufficient social and legal equalities.
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