The Empress of India
GMing with Influence Checks
The influence check is about using a skill or an attribute to influence the narrative by manipulating others. An influence check is unique: its outcome shall be final for the duration of a scene.
Workflow (unassisted influence checks)
- The GM frames the scene: states the challenges and how it affects social interactions.
- The influencer states an outcome.
- The influencer describes how the outcome will be achieved and proposes a skill or attribute to be used.
- The GM determine a difficulty modifier (if applicable). Resolves all applicable disadvantages that can affect the contest.
- The GM determines the mean to resist the influence check, specify modifiers.
- The influencer may propose one supporting check to boost the influence check, or overcome one challenge.
- Supporting check is resolved: +1 for success, +0 for failure, + / – for critical outcomes.
- Resolve contest, GM and player narrate the outcome while taking into consideration all factors.
The outcomes of an influence check should be stated before any kind of role-playing begins. This is necessary in case that the role-playing in a scene isn’t really supporting the effect, then it would hinder the influence check rather than support it.
Typical examples of outcomes:
- Obtain a favour or a piece of information.
- Compel an action or a decision.
- Alter reaction by 1+ levels.
Let’s assume that we have and influencer and a resister.
You can run an Influence as a quick contest, or a full contest between the influencer and the resister. I propose to use a midpoint where the influencer must succeed the check and obtain a positive margin of success in the contest. There is no re-roll in case of failure: it just didnt’ work.
The difficulty of an outcome should be applied to the skill/attribute of the influencer, which modifiers to passive resistance to the resisting skill/attribute of the resister. The distinction must be made unless the resolution employs the quick contest rules.
Supporting Influence checks
A supporting check can leverage any skill or attribute that will add flavour to the encounter. It is a way to make a character’s strength in resolving a conflict or overcoming a challenge. It should be fun to include. There can only be one supporting check that has a significant impact on the outcome. Other skills can be invoked for flavour only.
Playing with Influence check
Maritje is looking for information on the place where her sister is detained during her trial. She approaches Leon, a clerk at the court, and tries to engage him into divulgating what he knows about the trial.
I want Leon to tell me where my sister is kept. , the player states the outcome of the influence check. The GM secretly determines that Leon has a good reaction to Maritje, largely because she is attractive (it would have been otherwise neutral). A good reaction isn’t good enough for him to divulge work details.
Maritje uses her Interrogation-11 skill to oppose Leon’s Will (It is a matter of work ethics). Maritje is pretty (+ 1), and Leon recognizes her as a known writer (+ 1). In TEoI, she can as a perk substitute Sex Appeal for any influence check (It is a campaign perk for all female characters), but she chooses not. Maritje invoke Current Affairs-12 as a supporting skill and pass (+ 1). Maritje rolls 13 vs Interrogation-14, a MoS 1. Leon is lonely, he resists his loneliness (rolls 8 vs Will-10). His effective Will is 10 and he rolls an 8 again ( MoS 2).
Although Maritje succeeds, Leon tries to be helpful but doesn’t spill the beans as his margin of success is larger. The GM narrates:
“_You spend a while talking to Leon, asking various questions about today’s big news. Leon figures out that you are after specific details amid your chit-chat. He looks at his pocketwatch often, and excuses himself as soon as he can. _”
This is it. Maritje cannot attempt to get this outcome anymore with Leon for the time being.
Alternatively, has Leon failed to resist his loneliness, the contest would have been won by Maritje with no margin. The GM could narrate:
“You spend a while talking to Leon, asking various questions about today’s big news. Leon is eager to talk to you and converse enthusiastically with you. He often slips in a few details about various court cases that are not published in the press. You find out that your sister isn’t kept in jail but rather in house arrest somewhere in a good English family. Be ready for Leon to ask you on a date…”