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Using Social Skills instead of Influence


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#1 pathstrider

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 07:01 PM

Brought over from another thread, I'm of the opinion that influence doesn't need to be a separate stat (whether it be a single stat for the whole group or a stat each) and should be folded into the social system.

 

Important note straight away: I'm not opposed to the influence system - just the stat itself.

 

My main rationale is that at the moment, especially in the Beta, that influence and social stuff are working completely different systems. For example, someone could have the peer talent and be best buds with the mechanicus, but when it comes to requisitioning a bionic arm he's no better off.

 

My other rationale is that I see the social system as doing much the same thing as influence does; it's what you use to get your own way - and getting equipment and and assistance is a subset of that.

 

The influence system does reflect doing favours for people etc, so to cover I'd propose letting the players buy (or just give them) the peer talent for an organisation if they've done them a good turn.

 

I should also note that I envisage this as working in the context of a more expanded peer system - I dislike the idea that a generalised social character is much better at interacting with an organisation than a member of that organisation. So I'd also probably dish out peer as part of the backgrounds, and introduce further grades of peer for bigger bonuses.

 

I will finally note that I realise this is all just an extremely draft idea with a lot of holes in it - but I think it has the advantage of simplifying the system by removing the stat. 



#2 Adeptus Ineptus

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 07:04 PM

So queston 1 must be why not give +10 to influence when you have peer?



#3 pathstrider

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 07:40 PM

It's certainly an option - but I'm thinking there are already other social modifiers in the game which are established, unlike the influence modifiers which are few and oddly spaced (Like the noble homeworld, or the ministorum background and almost nothing in terms of talents).

 

You have two options - you build up the influence system/modifiers, or streamline. The latter seems easier.



#4 Radwraith

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 03:49 AM

The problem with this is that Influence also represents "buying power" (For want of a better term). In the fluff (Necromunda in this case) Gangers are always presented as scrounging and salvaging for their basic needs. Therefore a charming Ganger will never be able to afford a Starship or even a shuttlecraft whereas a Noble potentially could. Further, (As I pointed out in the other thread) the Noble could be a complete ass and STILL be easily able to procure a luxury vehicle! This is something our charismatic (but poor) Rogue will never be able to do. The more I think about this the more I'm inclined to view Influence as something entirely separate from a social stat or skill. Unless you want to go back to hoarding gold pieces (Thrones) I think influence is a good way to handle it.



#5 MaliciousOnion

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 07:10 AM

Social skills can always be used to give bonuses to subsequent Influence tests, particularly for large things. Think of it as the haggling before the transaction.

#6 Elior

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 10:51 AM

I think the influence system represents many things. A Noble might be an ass but he could probably back up any threat, promise of a terrible existence, or be able to trade just about anything to a someone that has what he needs. 

 

Influence can be:

 

  1. Persuasiveness in a charming way, intimidating way, or even in a manipulative way
  2. Use of power to create fear and get leverage
  3. Knowledge of the "system" or black market and loopholes in the law that enable someone to get what they want
  4. The ability to leverage favors by strategically helping select people that could help him later.
  5. Simple acts of kindness that generate loyalty
  6. Countless amounts of money that could practically buy anything

The Influence stat is a mishmash of all kinds of factors. Fellowship should provide a modifier, reputation (for good or ill) should provide a modifier (example: Is the character known for their ruthlessness or acts of kindness in the area?), Peer or other social skills/talents should also provide a modifier when interacting with certain groups of people.



#7 Adeptus Ineptus

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 11:04 AM

I think the influence system represents many things. A Noble might be an ass but he could probably back up any threat, promise of a terrible existence, or be able to trade just about anything to a someone that has what he needs. 

 

Influence can be:

 

  1. Persuasiveness in a charming way, intimidating way, or even in a manipulative way
  2. Use of power to create fear and get leverage
  3. Knowledge of the "system" or black market and loopholes in the law that enable someone to get what they want
  4. The ability to leverage favors by strategically helping select people that could help him later.
  5. Simple acts of kindness that generate loyalty
  6. Countless amounts of money that could practically buy anything

The Influence stat is a mishmash of all kinds of factors. Fellowship should provide a modifier, reputation (for good or ill) should provide a modifier (example: Is the character known for their ruthlessness or acts of kindness in the area?), Peer or other social skills/talents should also provide a modifier when interacting with certain groups of people.

So the queston is how do we want to reprisent this? I like the thought that you might need to choose between growing Influence and getting work done (showing the =][= is really no better that anyone else) :P



#8 Tom Cruise

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 11:26 AM

I think refocusing Influence to focus only on your renown within the Inquisition would be a good move. Keep it as the thing that tracks your resources and reputation within the Inquisition, but not a sector wide reputation stat. At the moment it tries to be both which.... really doesn't work at all for groups who care about maintaining cover, considering it's entirely possible (and very likely) that you could be a borderline celebrity amongst the Inquisition without the wider public knowing you exist.

 

Fellowship can handle your social standing in the Imperium, along with the usual Peer talents and the like. I'd definitely axe Brag.



#9 Elior

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 12:18 PM

I think instead of the Influence being merely a reputation within the Inquisition, it's a measure of how well connected you are. It's a measure of the usefulness of contacts and their loyalty toward you. In an organization where secrecy and anonymity are paramount, it pays to have certain people that will do favors or secure items for you without alerting others that they are providing services for an agent of the Inquisition. I would say that an agent would be truly desperate to openly demand a person perform a service by breaking out the badge. That would be a last resort. Instead, they would have "their man" do the work for them. The higher the influence, the more reliable and more types of "men" that they have as resources.


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#10 Adeptus Ineptus

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 12:35 PM

Thats sort of what I was going for with what I posted on the last thread (post 6) and something I would love to see with influence coming into play at the low to mid point and high level play alowing you to send in your one agents (not as reliable as doing it yourself of course) to get the job done.


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#11 Morangias

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 02:34 PM

I think refocusing Influence to focus only on your renown within the Inquisition would be a good move. Keep it as the thing that tracks your resources and reputation within the Inquisition, but not a sector wide reputation stat. At the moment it tries to be both which.... really doesn't work at all for groups who care about maintaining cover, considering it's entirely possible (and very likely) that you could be a borderline celebrity amongst the Inquisition without the wider public knowing you exist.

 

Fellowship can handle your social standing in the Imperium, along with the usual Peer talents and the like. I'd definitely axe Brag.

Standing in the Inquisition is quite narrow in it's application, and thus usefulness as a characteristic. Doubly so in Askellon, where the Inquisition is supposed to be much more secretive, scattered, and generally less numerous than in Calixis.


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#12 Elior

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 03:33 PM

I always just used Rank to represent the character's standing within the Inquisition. The only way to move up within the Inquisition is through reputation and achievement. 



#13 Lynata

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 04:40 PM

The current application of Influence doesn't mesh too well with my understanding of how the Inquisition operates. An Inquisitor already has "ultimate authority", and all that Influence within the Inquisition would accomplish would be to increase or decrease the likelihood of another Inquisitor trying to undermine one's efforts to exert it. It would have very little effect on how this "ultimate authority" is actually applied to the Adeptus one is dealing with, however.

 

I think it would thus be more interesting to go back to a focus on the individual organisations like it was with the Peer talents. Technically, every single organisation should have its own Influence scale for a character - perhaps with "influence groups" that reflect one organisation being able to influence another. For example, a good standing with the Ecclesiarchy automatically increasing your chances of getting support from the Sororitas - you'd just have to take a detour via some Cardinal (possibly costing precious time and alerting hostile factions) to make full use of your Ecclesiarchy influence, but at the same time this influence would apply to multiple sub-orgs, so it's kind of an efficiency vs intimacy deal on what is more useful at any given moment.


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#14 Morangias

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 05:09 PM

I think it would thus be more interesting to go back to a focus on the individual organisations like it was with the Peer talents. Technically, every single organisation should have its own Influence scale for a character - perhaps with "influence groups" that reflect one organisation being able to influence another. For example, a good standing with the Ecclesiarchy automatically increasing your chances of getting support from the Sororitas - you'd just have to take a detour via some Cardinal (possibly costing precious time and alerting hostile factions) to make full use of your Ecclesiarchy influence, but at the same time this influence would apply to multiple sub-orgs, so it's kind of an efficiency vs intimacy deal on what is more useful at any given moment.

That sounds like one of those "cool on paper, absolute nightmare at the gaming table" ideas.


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#15 Lynata

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 06:37 PM

Yes, maybe.  :lol:

 

Then again, depends how you represent this mechanically. In theory, it would already be enough to go back to the original Peer Talents, adding a line about the Imperial hierarchy and who can influence what organisation (meaning, the ability to circumvent missing Peer Talents by simply talking to the next-higher authority you do have more influence with), and finishing with a line about how the more people you involve, the higher the risk for "intervention".

 

If one really needs a rule for this, make it so that such "indirect" Influence tests may trigger negative repercussions if you fail by X Degrees of Success, whereas X gets smaller the more "steps" you take on the hierarchy ladder (in addition to an increase in response time because of bureaucracy).

 

The rest is up to the GM (plot potential for rival Inquisitors, infiltrators from heretic cults, intercepted communiques, blown cover, etc).

 

Although there is one thing I'd add - a "custom" Peer Talent for a specific department or unit, that stacks with the Adeptus Peer, representing personal contacts and connections where you'd have a good chance of getting support, at the downside of them being locally limited and not applicable elsewhere.

 

For example, "Peer (8th Xenonian Free Companies)" would be a +20, cumulative with Peer (Imperial Guard), representing that it's easier for your local contact to help you out if you arrange for them to not get into any trouble. Obviously, though, this talent would require specific events in-game or at least in a character's background (e.g. an Arbitrator having "Peer (Scintilla Underhive Precinct 9)" because that's where they worked before being recruited) and would have to be sanctioned by the GM on a case-by-case basis.


Edited by Lynata, 17 November 2013 - 06:49 PM.

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#16 Radwraith

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:02 AM

I think the influence system represents many things. A Noble might be an ass but he could probably back up any threat, promise of a terrible existence, or be able to trade just about anything to a someone that has what he needs. 

 

Influence can be:

 

  1. Persuasiveness in a charming way, intimidating way, or even in a manipulative way
  2. Use of power to create fear and get leverage
  3. Knowledge of the "system" or black market and loopholes in the law that enable someone to get what they want
  4. The ability to leverage favors by strategically helping select people that could help him later.
  5. Simple acts of kindness that generate loyalty
  6. Countless amounts of money that could practically buy anything

The Influence stat is a mishmash of all kinds of factors. Fellowship should provide a modifier, reputation (for good or ill) should provide a modifier (example: Is the character known for their ruthlessness or acts of kindness in the area?), Peer or other social skills/talents should also provide a modifier when interacting with certain groups of people.

Exactly! Trying to shoehorn fellowship into all of these things is IMO unworkable. This and Lynata's "Social factors" make influence into an entirely separate thing than fellowship (Which represents personal charisma). Also keep in mind that subtlety directly balances influence. Thus, If a group operates with a high subtlety value the general public will not even know about the 75+ influence Inquisitor in their midst! They may have HEARD of him but they wouldn't realize that He's standing right in front of them! (These mechanics were some of the best to come out of DH2 beta IMO!)  :D


Edited by Radwraith, 18 November 2013 - 02:02 AM.


#17 Adeptus Ineptus

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 03:16 AM

The custom peer talent is less work than my way of doing things but I would rename it, maybe good reputaion. That said I will keep trying to make mine work.



#18 Simsum

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:43 AM

I'd like to have both Influence and Subtlety be Party Stats. But I'd like the Party as a proper game entity, much like one of the PCs.

Influence, to me, is probably best used as a measure of the authority the entire party can bring to bear. If treated like that, it makes perfect sense that using it during missions is detrimental to the group's subtlety.

Back to being off-topic, though... The first thing my PCs do when they're given a mission by their Inquisitor, is to figure out which factions are in play. The next thing they do is establishing covers for themselves in as many of those factions as they can manage. Step three is establishing a plausible explanation for why they might be in contact.

Unless I force the issue, they don't deploy until they've covered those three steps. And I rarely force the issue, because it's very conductive to them playing Agents of His Most Holy Inquisition.

It's also very much in keeping with the fluff and the logic of the setting. If Inquisitors don't want their activities to remain covert, they don't send in six disposable agents. They throw a parade. Because if they don't, they undermine the extent of their own authority.

Anyway, having a bunch of players who embrace the idea of acting like a covert cell of diverse specialists, infiltrating diverse organisations (that often have nothing to do with anything), establishing covert lines of communication and whatnot, it's great of course. But it would be really great to have a mechanical framework for their Cell.

For example, what kind of MO does the Inquisitor expect of the Cell? Near-zero communication through message ciphers at dead drops? A command centre in direct microbead contact with all Cell members at all times?

How about the cover identities the members of a Cell use? Are they made by the the users & likely to give them away at the vaguest kind of scruitiny? Issued by the Inquisition, who has moved in fake family members and whatnot from several planets away?

There's a metric ton of this stuff that could really add to the game, and which is begging for a proper mechanical framework.

Don't get me wrong, it's obviously nothing GM's can't pull out of a hat as required. But then, RPG systems are nothing GMs can't write as required. Most of us just lack time and/or inclination to do these things, and a ready and willing to pay professionals to do them for us.
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#19 Radwraith

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 07:57 PM


There's a metric ton of this stuff that could really add to the game, and which is begging for a proper mechanical framework.

Don't get me wrong, it's obviously nothing GM's can't pull out of a hat as required. But then, RPG systems are nothing GMs can't write as required. Most of us just lack time and/or inclination to do these things, and a ready and willing to pay professionals to do them for us.

But it's already been done in the DH2 beta! The confluence of influence vs. subtlety is referring to exactly what you are talking about! I personally like the Idea of Influence being personal in DH. EVERY other 40k setting save Black crusade deals with some sort of team influence/requisition type system. This is because at their hearts these systems are dealing with an organization of some sort working towards it's goals. In Dark Heresy I see the Acolytes as a group of separate entities working towards a common goal and then ultimately seeking to return to their "Normal lives" In DH1 this was represented with characters having and maintaining a "Rank" within their parent organizations. These individuals were essentially "On loan" either short or long term to the Inquisition. They were not members unless they became Interrogators or Inquisitors themselves. It's not quite the same as being members of a Dynasty, the IG or even a Kill team of the Deathwatch. It's more "Individual based" and I think I prefer it that way.



#20 Lynata

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:29 PM

[...] and then ultimately seeking to return to their "Normal lives" In DH1 this was represented with characters having and maintaining a "Rank" within their parent organizations. These individuals were essentially "On loan" either short or long term to the Inquisition.

 

Something I'd prefer to never see again, if I'm brutally honest. Given the uncertainties of Warp Travel and interstellar communication, it always felt a bit odd how characters were supposed to move around all the time as if starship passages were an everyday thing like we're playing Star Wars or Star Trek, and how ludicrous the idea is that a character constantly being absent from their assigned station for months on end (especially funny for Imperial Guardsmen), yet always returning without reprimand, would not attract unnecessary attention. Certainly it's a bit safer to just rip a character out of their former life than being forced to use and thus reveal Inquisitorial connections to arrange for (a) them keeping their post and (b) organising free starship rides?

 

All these vestiges of a former life were good for in DH1 was the salary they got to save up to buy new gear.

 

... something which I'd also like to see gone. The characters are supposed to work for the Inquisition, for the Emperor's sake, not looting slain enemies and begging for coin in the streets to afford their next clip and a hot meal. The Scum is literally supposed to go stealing in-between playing Acolyte. It boggles the mind. :P


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