I'm pretty sure Howard plays the XD20 system...
I was referring to Planet Mercenary
, the Schlock Mercenary RPG.
Ah, good point. Not published yet, but there's a good chance he'd be playing the RPG he's currently developing.
The kickstarter gave access to a rulebook preview on that, so I've got some insight which I'll share very
cautiously and circumspectly lest I draw the ire of the Malevolent God...
Character design in the PM RPG is similar to the XDM setup, very minimal. As far as numeric things go, you get a health stat, a defense stat, and a list of skills. Meat-hacking the desk clerk at Urtheep falls into the Social Skills category, and you'd be negotiating with your Game Chief whether "Deceive" (bluff/disguise/distract) or "Inspire" (oratory/persuade/seduce) is the right skill to be using - assuming that you even have both to begin with. Elf would get bonus skill ranks in Inspire due to being an Ops Commander, but gets no bonus from her background as an infantry grunt, nor from her racial status as a human. So, "Inspire", I guess?
In this game setting, "Intimidate" (detect lies/interrogate/torture) seems like a bad description for what Elf was doing at the front desk.
Of course, all of that depends on the Game Chief not saying that, due to circumstance, the task is trivially easy and doesn't need a skill roll. Like, because they're hacking the weakest meat, so it's funny. Or, giving you a change to fail at the front desk is nowhere near as fun as letting you try to fail back at the REMF offices, and failing at the front desk would derail the story. There are paragraphs in both PM and XDM about why spending time rules-lawyering over skill checks is bad gameplay; I'd argue that in any game Howard is playing personally it wouldn't be suffered.