Bribery Etiquette

Bribery is a way of life on Athas and knowing when to offer a bribe is an important skill. Equally important, however, is the timing of the offer, the amount that will most likely garner the reaction that is wanted, and the best way to disguise the bribe so that it doesn’t draw attention from unwanted witnesses. Bribery etiquette covers these essential, though usually overlooked parts to bribery. Use of the skill alone gives a character a 75% chance of estimating how big a bribe is necessary to get what he wants, whether the one receiving the bribe will keep his side of the bargain, and how to offer the bribe without insulting the target. If used in conjunction with a thief’s natural ability to bribe officials, the chance rises to 90%.

For example, the character wishes to pass through the gates of a city without being searched. He is leaving rather than entering. The guard who would normally search the character looks tired and hungry. He’d rather just finish his gate duties and go eat. Usually, the guards can be bribed for about four ceramic pieces. Because the guard is irritable, the character decides to raise that to five. As he’s leaving the city, the guard should care less about letting him through. It isn’t nearly as important to the guards what people take out of the city as what they bring in. The guard is pleased by the five ceramic pieces and waves the character on through. Bribes are quite circumstantial. Had there been an alert out to capture a notorious preserver, the guard might not have been so easy to get past.

In addition to getting around inconvenient rules and regulations and dodging unwanted attention, bribes are often good for loosening tongues and gaining information. The Bribery Etiquette skill allows the character to judge (75% chance) how much of a bribe will be needed to get the information he wants and to ascertain when the talker actually has no more useful information to impart. The bribery skill may only be used on those who are willing to be bribed. With bribery etiquette, it is easier to figure out whom to target with bribery attempts.

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