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grontha

Old GM and his 2 cents on Influence

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Greetings.

I've been a GM for 20+ years now, and I've played mostly Ad&d, Warhammer fantasy and lately some Dark Heresy/Only war. So far Dark Heresy is my favorite. I've done all the mistakes that can be done as GM, but now that I'm 40, I've finally learned my lesson;-)

    The golden rule of any form of RPG is to have fun! For me it's all about telling a good story and see how the players react to problems and issues that crop up in a campaign. I always plan on playing the same campaign for a long time. I measure my own success by looking at the group. Success is when players can't sit because of excitement. Failure is when most of them browses facebook on their phones.

    I've encountered all types of players; the drama queens, max/min, rules lawyers, xp-freaks and whatnot. I used to strike down anyone that didn't suit my type of play, but that is obviously silly. A few max/min players, rules lawyers and story driven players are all needed to get a divers mix of the group. All the different players have different motivation to play the game. Some like a good story, some like to evolve their character, some enjoy the puzzle solving and some just wants to "kill stuff". This brings me to my problem with 2ed.

     Players are driven by different things, but a few things seems to be the same for most of them. Story and character development. I would like to talk about character development.

   For my group, development is divided between story, xp and gear. Story I can handle. Xp-flow is also easy to handle and it allows me to guide the pace of development in skill and talents. It's the "Gear" part I struggle with. I've already observed the max/miners calculating how to get bolt pistols, chainswords and power armor. I found it ALOT easier when I could handle the currency flow(as it was in 1ed). I need some motivation to use the influence/subtlety system (planning on house ruling currency). What I'm asking is if some experienced GM/Players could give me some guiding into Influence/Subtlety because I spend more time trying to explain to my players why I don't want them fully decked out on the first night of play than actually trying the new system. The rules lawyers with the max/min players quickly found out %-chance of this item and that item and I find it silly. I know Inf-stat represents their currency, but WHY did they have to go that route? I could live with it in Only War as the setting was different.

    Seems like i wrote a book.... Could have just done a "hate Influence, it sucks!";-)

 

Cheers

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In other systems you may have the money to buy stuff but cannot get hold of it. The chance of any PC in Dark Heresy getting hold of a Bolt Gun, even with Influence 7 should be about nil, even if they have the money. This is what we say in Rogue Trader. What you need to do is massively increase the influence needed to buy much of the more esoteric stuff.

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The move away from accounting to an abstracted money system happened all the way back in RT. They're not going back to it. It's a better system than bean-counting.

 

As to your problems (the ones with your players, not the influence system), ultimately it's up to the GM to tell players when to roll - including for gear. Maybe there are no bolt pistols for sale, maybe it would arouse too much attention to go and look for one, maybe any of a dozen reasons a character can't find a bolt pistol. Maybe they do find one, but ammo is nigh-impossible to find, or prohibitively expensive (-5-10 Inf per clip). Another thing to keep in mind is that DH2's power level is higher than DH1. RAW, characters can start with chainswords.

 

I see a player being able to work out their % chance of success as a plus. Do you want players trying things with no idea of their chances of success?

 

Also, "a lot" is two words. 

Edited by cps

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I tend to use a mix. I let them use the requisitions/influence before a missing when they technically have access to anything, then I give them a cash stipend for the mission (bribes, disguises, travel) but make what they might be able to buy very prohibitive unless they are prepared to do an entire side quest to find out who has a bolt pistol and then do something for him to get it.

My thinking is that acolytes would have access to request whatever they wanted on a mission by mission basis based on the near infinite resources of the big I, and a huge advantage is that is really seems to move the players away from the old staple of 'loot everything that isn't nailed down'. That's fine for a load of wandering mercs, but the players in DH are on a mission from the God Emperor!

Edited by Cail

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Ok, I'll chime in. As one of the resident grognards on the site I know how you feel about that (I started playing with Gygax's original Greyhawk and Blackmoor pamphlets if that gives you any idea!). First of all, Your Powered armor and Bolter's are all very rare availability (That's -30 on the roll). That gives a max chance of 15% (With a 45 influence) of getting either one in it's most common form. Secondly, The mere presence of a Bolter or Light powered armor would lower your subtlety value by 1d5 each! They are hardly a common sight among your common civilian! So if your game is an investigation based one you will have a hard time acting in an undercover fashion.

        Player's "gear mining" at early levels is just another kind of min/maxing. If your players are like you they probably don't like being called munchkins so call them out on it! The other way to "punish" them for this is to make your game more investigative in nature. This is not really a punishment but it will negate any advantage from said items if they have them. Further, the reduction in subtlety will make it harder for them to mak enderworld contacts or investigate while at the same time ensuring that their investigation will be known to the "bad guys" earlier (And likely acted upon). Good gear is not a substitute for higher awareness nor will it grant you initiative in an ambush! Enemy Snipers can pick out your powered armored monstrosity pretty easily and an Unaware character does not get a dodge! A man stopper round from a Sniper rifle on a rooftop will definitely render your powered armor character somewhat less scary! Likewise. Having their hideout get bombed with the Pc's in it will also educate them in the value of Subtlety! I guess the point is...If you're players wish to escalate before they're ready..well, They should suffer accordingly! 

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While I'd propose a slightly less antagonistic worldview (don't design encounters deliberately to punish players for playing the "wrong" way. ) the above post does make a lot of good points. Powerful weapons attract attention. A heavy bolter is not an everyday weapon.

 

That said, there's no shame in wanting an ace in the hole for when things go wrong, and if your players want to try to acquire something big that they've got a low probability of getting, let them spend their rolls on it. Maybe they fail and get nothing, maybe life becomes more interesting now that they have to choose when to break out the big things. 

Edited by susanbrindle

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I find Nimsim's version of the system to be pretty agreeable compared to the standard. It eliminates a lot of the chance involved in item acquisitions while still keeping in the spirit of an Influence statistic, which I like a lot. Also puts a lot more emphasis on pre-mission planning, which I feel should be important for Dark Heresy.

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I think the whole 'attack them head on' thing is the wrong way to deal with subtlety. If my Acolytes turn up for an Investigation armed with bolt guns and power armour somebody's getting a poisoned drink or some horrible death world scorpion shoved under their door while they sleep.

Attacks in the night are good for these kinds of players, if only to watch them desperately explain their rational for apparently sleeping in their power armour...

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Greetings.

I've been a GM for 20+ years now, and I've played mostly Ad&d, Warhammer fantasy and lately some Dark Heresy/Only war. So far Dark Heresy is my favorite. I've done all the mistakes that can be done as GM, but now that I'm 40, I've finally learned my lesson;-)

    The golden rule of any form of RPG is to have fun! For me it's all about telling a good story and see how the players react to problems and issues that crop up in a campaign. I always plan on playing the same campaign for a long time. I measure my own success by looking at the group. Success is when players can't sit because of excitement. Failure is when most of them browses facebook on their phones.

    I've encountered all types of players; the drama queens, max/min, rules lawyers, xp-freaks and whatnot. I used to strike down anyone that didn't suit my type of play, but that is obviously silly. A few max/min players, rules lawyers and story driven players are all needed to get a divers mix of the group. All the different players have different motivation to play the game. Some like a good story, some like to evolve their character, some enjoy the puzzle solving and some just wants to "kill stuff". This brings me to my problem with 2ed.

     Players are driven by different things, but a few things seems to be the same for most of them. Story and character development. I would like to talk about character development.

   For my group, development is divided between story, xp and gear. Story I can handle. Xp-flow is also easy to handle and it allows me to guide the pace of development in skill and talents. It's the "Gear" part I struggle with. I've already observed the max/miners calculating how to get bolt pistols, chainswords and power armor. I found it ALOT easier when I could handle the currency flow(as it was in 1ed). I need some motivation to use the influence/subtlety system (planning on house ruling currency). What I'm asking is if some experienced GM/Players could give me some guiding into Influence/Subtlety because I spend more time trying to explain to my players why I don't want them fully decked out on the first night of play than actually trying the new system. The rules lawyers with the max/min players quickly found out %-chance of this item and that item and I find it silly. I know Inf-stat represents their currency, but WHY did they have to go that route? I could live with it in Only War as the setting was different.

    Seems like i wrote a book.... Could have just done a "hate Influence, it sucks!";-)

 

Cheers

 

HEED THE WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS

 

I agree with everything you've said. I'd also like to add that I like a good story, seeing characters develop and solving problems. Though my male desire for annihilation is still strong too.

 

Influence seems appropriate for the 40K setting as it is often a case of "it's not what you know but who you know" that counts. But I never minded a bit of mathematics to count the groups earnings. Made the fiction that bit more...realistic. Personally I'd like both: Money for when you're covert, Influence for when you want to throw around the weight of the Inquisition.

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Influence is not "influence of the Inquisition." It's the summation of a character's contacts, resources (money, credit), favors, and so forth. Having two separate currency systems came up in the first beta and I said then it was a bad idea. Most of the criticisms of the system from that thread came from people who didn't really understand what an abstracted currency meant. It adds nothing to have separate currency systems (bean counting vs abstract) because the abstract system already covers everything the bean counting one does.

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Influence is not "influence of the Inquisition." It's the summation of a character's contacts, resources (money, credit), favors, and so forth. Having two separate currency systems came up in the first beta and I said then it was a bad idea. Most of the criticisms of the system from that thread came from people who didn't really understand what an abstracted currency meant. It adds nothing to have separate currency systems (bean counting vs abstract) because the abstract system already covers everything the bean counting one does.

And here in a strange world of alternate probabilities, CPS and I agree! (Sorry, couldn't resist  :P ). I think the influence system could be helped by applying the modifiers chart that came with it in the old ascension supplement (Don't flame me! It's just ONE set of charts! :o  ;) ) When you apply those modifiers it gives you a pretty good feel for what the acolyte can and can't do and just how easy or not it is. It also gives some context as to where Influence differs from say "Profit factor". I read Nimsim's alternate aquisition system and while it is certainly well thought out it also departs pretty radically from the current system. 

        As to my prior post: I don't generally try to make unwinnable scenarios' but players who deliberately try to break the game often suffer for it. I was simply putting forth some ideas that sprang to mind immediately. I have no problem with players wasting their rolls or trying to get an "ace in the hole". It's when it becomes abusive that I tend to take steps. I think that's what Grontha was talking about originally. It is true that multiple failed rolls will lower the character's influence and this in and of itself is a good argument for individual influence scores. I wouldn't want the entire party to suffer for one player's min/maxing.

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Honestly, if you wanted to keep my system closer to the current game, the biggest change would be giving a number value 1-10 to the rarities. After that, the key things are getting acquisitions adding up to your Inf bonus at the start of each mission, limiting number of acquisitions to your Inf bonus, and being given temporary bonuses to Inf to be used on acquisitions and other uses of inquisitorial authority. Really the shift to values for Rarity is just so that can be brought in line with the use of characteristics bonuses. I'm also a fan of allowing players to acquire something by increasing the time it takes to receive it based on their roll, even if its a failure.

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Honestly, if you wanted to keep my system closer to the current game, the biggest change would be giving a number value 1-10 to the rarities. After that, the key things are getting acquisitions adding up to your Inf bonus at the start of each mission, limiting number of acquisitions to your Inf bonus, and being given temporary bonuses to Inf to be used on acquisitions and other uses of inquisitorial authority. Really the shift to values for Rarity is just so that can be brought in line with the use of characteristics bonuses. I'm also a fan of allowing players to acquire something by increasing the time it takes to receive it based on their roll, even if its a failure.

I've embraced your Influence rules wholeheartedly. Love 'em.

 

 

Edited by Brother Orpheo

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Influence is not "influence of the Inquisition." It's the summation of a character's contacts, resources (money, credit), favors, and so forth. Having two separate currency systems came up in the first beta and I said then it was a bad idea. Most of the criticisms of the system from that thread came from people who didn't really understand what an abstracted currency meant. It adds nothing to have separate currency systems (bean counting vs abstract) because the abstract system already covers everything the bean counting one does.

Well, except that Influence adds an element of randomness that bean counting doesn't. "You rolled a 97? Sorry Steve, it turns out you actually can't buy bullets from the bullet store. You've failed at making a routine transaction, somehow. The storekeeper throws your money in your face and closes early out of spite."

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This is why providing options for automatic acquisition of trivial items is a good idea. You should only be rolling for things where there is a real, likely chance of you getting turned away. The current system doesn't do this, but it easily could.

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Influence is not "influence of the Inquisition." It's the summation of a character's contacts, resources (money, credit), favors, and so forth. Having two separate currency systems came up in the first beta and I said then it was a bad idea. Most of the criticisms of the system from that thread came from people who didn't really understand what an abstracted currency meant. It adds nothing to have separate currency systems (bean counting vs abstract) because the abstract system already covers everything the bean counting one does.

Well, except that Influence adds an element of randomness that bean counting doesn't. "You rolled a 97? Sorry Steve, it turns out you actually can't buy bullets from the bullet store. You've failed at making a routine transaction, somehow. The storekeeper throws your money in your face and closes early out of spite."

I work in retail, and I can't begin to tell you how many people fail at making routine transactions as regularly as every day. Watching some people fail at buying a candy bar hurts my head. It happens because they try to buy something that costs more than they thought it did, or because they try to buy something without having enough money/credit. And I don't do anyone any favors. You can't pay, get out and stop wasting my time. So you see, not enough money/credit and a resolutely uncharitable retailer are as good as penalties to an Inf Test, and a failed Inf Test is all it takes to fail what would otherwise be a routine transaction. Edited by Brother Orpheo

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Influence is not "influence of the Inquisition." It's the summation of a character's contacts, resources (money, credit), favors, and so forth. Having two separate currency systems came up in the first beta and I said then it was a bad idea. Most of the criticisms of the system from that thread came from people who didn't really understand what an abstracted currency meant. It adds nothing to have separate currency systems (bean counting vs abstract) because the abstract system already covers everything the bean counting one does.

Well, except that Influence adds an element of randomness that bean counting doesn't. "You rolled a 97? Sorry Steve, it turns out you actually can't buy bullets from the bullet store. You've failed at making a routine transaction, somehow. The storekeeper throws your money in your face and closes early out of spite."
I work in retail, and I can't begin to tell you how many people fail at making routine transactions as regularly as every day. Watching some people fail at buying a candy bar hurts my head. It happens because they try to buy something that costs more than they thought it did, or because they try to buy something without having enough money/credit. And I don't do anyone any favors. You can't pay, get out and stop wasting my time. So you see, not enough money/credit and a resolutely uncharitable retailer are as good as penalties to an Inf Test, and a failed Inf Test is all it takes to fail what would otherwise be a routine transaction.

 

As hilarious as this is,  I think the first answer should be, "If it was such a routine, run-of-the-mill check, why did you roll for it?" Don't roll unless the outcome is uncertain and interesting. If you're playing a game where it makes sense that buying regular bullets should just happen, don't roll.

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Influence is not "influence of the Inquisition." It's the summation of a character's contacts, resources (money, credit), favors, and so forth. Having two separate currency systems came up in the first beta and I said then it was a bad idea. Most of the criticisms of the system from that thread came from people who didn't really understand what an abstracted currency meant. It adds nothing to have separate currency systems (bean counting vs abstract) because the abstract system already covers everything the bean counting one does.

Well, except that Influence adds an element of randomness that bean counting doesn't. "You rolled a 97? Sorry Steve, it turns out you actually can't buy bullets from the bullet store. You've failed at making a routine transaction, somehow. The storekeeper throws your money in your face and closes early out of spite."
I work in retail, and I can't begin to tell you how many people fail at making routine transactions as regularly as every day. Watching some people fail at buying a candy bar hurts my head. It happens because they try to buy something that costs more than they thought it did, or because they try to buy something without having enough money/credit. And I don't do anyone any favors. You can't pay, get out and stop wasting my time. So you see, not enough money/credit and a resolutely uncharitable retailer are as good as penalties to an Inf Test, and a failed Inf Test is all it takes to fail what would otherwise be a routine transaction.

 

As hilarious as this is,  I think the first answer should be, "If it was such a routine, run-of-the-mill check, why did you roll for it?" Don't roll unless the outcome is uncertain and interesting. If you're playing a game where it makes sense that buying regular bullets should just happen, don't roll.

 

True! However, You could have a power mad despot buying up all the ammo in the gun stores in order to advance a radical anti-imperial gun control agenda under the Tzeench inspired mantra of "hope and change" :rolleyes:  (The previous example was of course, purely fictional, Any resemblance to current political events is purely coincidental. :lol: )

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Influence is not "influence of the Inquisition." It's the summation of a character's contacts, resources (money, credit), favors, and so forth. Having two separate currency systems came up in the first beta and I said then it was a bad idea. Most of the criticisms of the system from that thread came from people who didn't really understand what an abstracted currency meant. It adds nothing to have separate currency systems (bean counting vs abstract) because the abstract system already covers everything the bean counting one does.

Well, except that Influence adds an element of randomness that bean counting doesn't. "You rolled a 97? Sorry Steve, it turns out you actually can't buy bullets from the bullet store. You've failed at making a routine transaction, somehow. The storekeeper throws your money in your face and closes early out of spite."
I work in retail, and I can't begin to tell you how many people fail at making routine transactions as regularly as every day. Watching some people fail at buying a candy bar hurts my head. It happens because they try to buy something that costs more than they thought it did, or because they try to buy something without having enough money/credit. And I don't do anyone any favors. You can't pay, get out and stop wasting my time. So you see, not enough money/credit and a resolutely uncharitable retailer are as good as penalties to an Inf Test, and a failed Inf Test is all it takes to fail what would otherwise be a routine transaction.

As hilarious as this is,  I think the first answer should be, "If it was such a routine, run-of-the-mill check, why did you roll for it?" Don't roll unless the outcome is uncertain and interesting. If you're playing a game where it makes sense that buying regular bullets should just happen, don't roll.

True! However, You could have a power mad despot buying up all the ammo in the gun stores in order to advance a radical anti-imperial gun control agenda under the Tzeench inspired mantra of "hope and change" :rolleyes:  (The previous example was of course, purely fictional, Any resemblance to current political events is purely coincidental. :lol: )

I feel like this is the least surprising comment you could make, although I suppose you'd say the same about me making my own version of that joke.

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Influence is not "influence of the Inquisition." It's the summation of a character's contacts, resources (money, credit), favors, and so forth. Having two separate currency systems came up in the first beta and I said then it was a bad idea. Most of the criticisms of the system from that thread came from people who didn't really understand what an abstracted currency meant. It adds nothing to have separate currency systems (bean counting vs abstract) because the abstract system already covers everything the bean counting one does.

 

Its whatever your GM chooses it to represent. In my case I use it similarly to renown from DW (which is probably because I have been using DW 's renown system in DH since it appeared) It's not a matter of 'not understanding' it's choosing to use it differently to how it is presented in the book, and suggesting that the book might handle it differently.

This approach solves two problems. 1) It rains in the power gamers. The abstract currency system is wide open to abuse from this type of player which I've witnessed first hand in a game of RT where even the poorest RT group had nearly limitless resources.

2) A lot of players just really dislike abstract currency systems because they find it breaks their immersion in the game. Some of these same players don't like the idea that the Inquisition would expect them to buy their gear out of their own pockets (again, this leads to 'loot everything that isn't nailed down syndrome'). You have every right to be 'against' it, but from playtesting over the last 3 years its worked pretty well.

Edited by Cail

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I feel like this is the least surprising comment you could make, although I suppose you'd say the same about me making my own version of that joke.

 

??? I don't think you are the person that joke referenced. Are you quoting the right thread or another one? Either way, Ok, I guess! (?)

Edited by Radwraith

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I personally love having a hard currency, and certainly miss it. I suppose me and my players just like having a currency to tally and count. Just making rolls for everything is boring, and leads to a little less variety. And influence counting as bribes, favours and so on has always rankled me, since it implies that every new character is someone with wealth and sector spanning reputation. You've just rolled up a new feral world guardsman, and it just so happens that this influence roll mean that he is well connected on Forge World XXI, and can pick that new gun right up. 

For my games, I plan on using both influence and currency.  Macharian Handbook as a baseline for all prices, since it covers Heresy 1.0 and Rogue Trader, and since they are similar power levels, the prices carry over with no problem. And when it's prudent for a player to acquire an without currency (like actually having a contact on the world, or openly displaying their power) then Influence comes into play.

I also don't like how a lot of people have this mindset of "Oh, just make the game more investigatey and less combaty, that'll make them stop wanting good things and easily rolling for them!". Thats not what the Inquisition is ALL about. Sure a lot of them skulk in the dark, but others openly take to the battlefield in all out war, and others are often involved in brutal fighting. I just happen to like running action packed games. 

 

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I personally love having a hard currency, and certainly miss it. I suppose me and my players just like having a currency to tally and count. Just making rolls for everything is boring, and leads to a little less variety. And influence counting as bribes, favours and so on has always rankled me, since it implies that every new character is someone with wealth and sector spanning reputation. You've just rolled up a new feral world guardsman, and it just so happens that this influence roll mean that he is well connected on Forge World XXI, and can pick that new gun right up. 

For my games, I plan on using both influence and currency.  Macharian Handbook as a baseline for all prices, since it covers Heresy 1.0 and Rogue Trader, and since they are similar power levels, the prices carry over with no problem. And when it's prudent for a player to acquire an without currency (like actually having a contact on the world, or openly displaying their power) then Influence comes into play.

I also don't like how a lot of people have this mindset of "Oh, just make the game more investigatey and less combaty, that'll make them stop wanting good things and easily rolling for them!". Thats not what the Inquisition is ALL about. Sure a lot of them skulk in the dark, but others openly take to the battlefield in all out war, and others are often involved in brutal fighting. I just happen to like running action packed games. 

 

And there's nothing wrong with that if that's the way you and your players want to run your game. I got the impression that the OP wanted a more story driven game and thus offered my thoughts accordingly. If you want your crew do be a door kicking swat team then have at! For players who want a more Noir feel than investigative is the way to go!

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I personally love having a hard currency, and certainly miss it. I suppose me and my players just like having a currency to tally and count. Just making rolls for everything is boring, and leads to a little less variety. And influence counting as bribes, favours and so on has always rankled me, since it implies that every new character is someone with wealth and sector spanning reputation. You've just rolled up a new feral world guardsman, and it just so happens that this influence roll mean that he is well connected on Forge World XXI, and can pick that new gun right up. 

For my games, I plan on using both influence and currency.  Macharian Handbook as a baseline for all prices, since it covers Heresy 1.0 and Rogue Trader, and since they are similar power levels, the prices carry over with no problem. And when it's prudent for a player to acquire an without currency (like actually having a contact on the world, or openly displaying their power) then Influence comes into play.

I also don't like how a lot of people have this mindset of "Oh, just make the game more investigatey and less combaty, that'll make them stop wanting good things and easily rolling for them!". Thats not what the Inquisition is ALL about. Sure a lot of them skulk in the dark, but others openly take to the battlefield in all out war, and others are often involved in brutal fighting. I just happen to like running action packed games. 

 

And there's nothing wrong with that if that's the way you and your players want to run your game. I got the impression that the OP wanted a more story driven game and thus offered my thoughts accordingly. If you want your crew do be a door kicking swat team then have at! For players who want a more Noir feel than investigative is the way to go!

 

I dunno, to me it really looks like he likes an even mix of all the different play styles, and is looking for a better solution to just Influence

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