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  • Influence System and Kinfolk: Questions

    So, on our board we've been told to use the Influence system with the Kinfolk characters we play, to start currying influence in our fields of interest. We were referred to a description of the Influence system written for vampires, which is fine, but as a new player I am very confused. I asked our STs for clarification and got an answer that was somewhat helpful (a couple examples), but I am still really confused. Can anyone please explain to me how the Influence system works in regards to Kinfolk? I play a Bone Gnawer Kin who already has allies and contacts among the homeless and helps them out, but I have no idea what kind of action he could take to curry influence with them. He already does stuff for them, so what would be different? Can anyone give more examples of what Influence looks like on the ground?

  • #2
    wondered about this for a while.

    If my kinfolk has influence with a local newspaper, hows he Squelch or ensure a particular story.


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    • #3
      So do you have access to the influence rules from vampire? Also which rules exactly? The live action ones (I think werewolf has it to?) are a lot clearer in what you can do at each level in that sphere of influence.

      In your persons case it would be "street" influence, since you help out the homeless and the downtrodden. It would be easy to arrange a protest, or find information on people or events or even find a cheap source of labor.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Prince of the Night View Post
        If my kinfolk has influence with a local newspaper, hows he Squelch or ensure a particular story.
        This depends on how they have influence with said paper or what level of the background they took if you want to make it mechanic-wise. Do they have editorial control by being an editor? Can they dictate the "lean" of the paper by controlling the board?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BurritoMage View Post
          So do you have access to the influence rules from vampire? Also which rules exactly? The live action ones (I think werewolf has it to?) are a lot clearer in what you can do at each level in that sphere of influence.

          In your persons case it would be "street" influence, since you help out the homeless and the downtrodden. It would be easy to arrange a protest, or find information on people or events or even find a cheap source of labor.

          This is what we were referred to and this is the only information we have about it.
          Influence System

          Influence is sway in the mortal world. At most levels, it consists of nudges, greased palms, and a word in the right ear at the right time. In rare cases, exceptionally influential characters may control the levers of power in mortal society. Such masters of manipulation are not to be underestimated. They, in turn, should not underestimate the amount of dedication they must exhibit to maintain their puppet strings.

          The influence system in New Leicester by Night is outwardly simple, and is treated as a background. Beginning after the first month of play, characters may begin to seek influence in mortal society. Influence is gained through use of your relevant attributes, abilities, and (especially) backgrounds. It has no XP cost.

          Levels of influence are roughly:
          • Influence 1: This level tends to be limited to information gathering in your chosen field of influence. You have the ability to hear gossip and rumor, and sort out the probable fact from the probable fiction, most of the time. You can identify the obvious major players in your field of influence. You are beginning to have more knowledge than the general public about how your area of influence really works.
          • Influence 2: You begin to be able to pull strings in your area of influence. Public information flows to you freely and you are hearing things that are restricted to insiders. You take advantage of loop holes easily and are able to trade favors on a quid pro quo basis without much trouble. You have limited access to the movers and shakers of the world of your influence.
          • Influence 3: You are recognized as a player in your sphere of influence. You can easily get small favors and draw on the lower and mid-level benefits of your influence. You can start or stop projects depending on their scope. You probably interact with other noted men and women who control your area of interest and they know you as a potential ally or enemy - or perhaps more than potential.
          • Influence 4: You have major control in your field of influence. You are probably entangled in webs of bribes, supernatural abilities (if possessed), favors, and various other methods of coercion. You know almost everything there is to know in your area, or how to find it out. You can implement major displays of your influence. Few rival you for influence, but many want what you have.
          • Influence 5: You're the boss, or one of them, with all the power and dangers that brings. Passively you are connected to information about your area of influence more than anyone, and actively you can call on impressive and ostentatious displays of authority, such as halting a major project that has had years of effort sunk into it, or starting a major gang war on just your say-so. You know dangerous things and other people know dangerous things about you - no one who has acquired this level of influence in the World of Darkness is anything but morally bankrupt and direly ruthless. Enjoy the fruits of success, but mind the Sword of Damocles hanging over you.
          There will be a single influence system for all genres of New Leicester by Night. Thus, influence over bureaucracy gained in Whiting Cross is not restricted to Whiting Cross, but may be applied to other areas of play, such as New Leicester City or Edmunds. Keep in mind that depending on how your influence is realized, it may be far more difficult to exert influence over territories outside of your primary location.

          Influence is a flexible and intentionally lightly-defined system. STs will exercise judgment over the players’ accumulation of influence and rule on actions. It is not as simple as saying that your allies 2 and academics 3 merits you sway with Port Sound University’s vice provost. Rather, roleplaying, pacing, and logical discretion will carry the day. This does not diminish the importance of your character sheet, however – roleplay is dictated by what you can do, and what you can do is dictated by your sheet!

          The following are stereotypes:

          The Camarilla, that vampiric sect of paranoid, humanity prizing, social graces loving hypocrites, prizes influence perhaps most of all, and is exceptionally well equipped to gain it. The kinfolk of the bestial Garou, by necessity and loyal fervor, also strive to do the will of Gaia by going where a 9 foot tall mass of claws and rage cannot, and keeping involved in mortal society. Mages, ever independent, mercurial, and narcissistic, have potentially powerful resources available to them, but also stalwart enemies entwined with the masses, and often aloof temperaments that may question the utility of influence among mere sleepers. Savage Garou, many of whom were abruptly cut off from human society at a young age, or were never involved in it at all, find it very difficult on the average to interact with humans enough to accumulate influence, nor do they see any value – let their kin put in the hours, and the Garou handle the real threats. Those Sabbat who have cut themselves off from humanity entirely, of course, have similar concerns, and even those still hanging on to the shreds of their humanity likely find the idea of lowering themselves to manipulate their food contemptuous. Mortals, plain, simple, ordinary mortals, well, they enjoy freedom from all of this to do as much or as little as they can, or want.

          There are thirteen areas of influence available in New Leicester by Night. A list of them follows, along with a description of the area:

          Bureaucracy

          You can manage various government agencies and bureaus. By dealing with social programs and public servants you can spend red tape bypass rules and regulations or twist bureaucratic regimentation to your advantage. Bureaucracy is useful in operating or shutting down businesses, faking or acquiring permits and identification papers, and manipulating public utilities and facilities. Government clerks at the city and county level, utility workers, road crews, surveyors, and other civil servants are potential contacts or allies. Carefully drawn lines exist between Bureaucracy and Legal, Police, Finance, and University.

          Church

          Though the modern church has arguably less control over temporal society than it did in the Middle Ages, its policies still exert considerable influence over the direction of politics and communities. The Church in the World of Darkness also enjoys a stronger base of influence, resources, and sway over its faithful than in the real world. Knowing the appropriate people allows insight into many main stream religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Shinto, Or Buddhism (fringe or alternative groups such as scientology and cults are considered occult influence). When you exercise church influence you can change religious policy affect the assignment of clergy and access a variety of lore and resources. Contacts and allies affected by Church influence would include Ministers, Priests, Bishops, Church sponsored witch hunters, holy orders, and various attendees and assistants, and their rough equivalents in other faiths.

          Finance

          Manipulating markets, stock reports and investments is a hobby of many World of Darkness protagonists, especially those who use their knowledge to keep hidden wealth. Though your actual available money is a function of your resources, you can use finance influence to start or smother businesses, crush or support banking institutions, and alter credit records. Clearly, such power over money is not to be trifled with - fortunes are made and destroyed with this sort of pull. CEO’s, bankers, stockbrokers, bank tellers, yes men, financiers, and loan agents are found among such work. All loans are amortized over one year to be paid back incrementally every month.

          Health

          Some vampires rely on connections in the medical community to acquire blood. Necromancers and practitioners of arcane arts may also require body parts or medical data for their studies. Furthermore, maintaining the masquerade often calls for alteration of medical records or faking of particular diseases: some cainites even specialize in the study of blood borne ailments. All of these sorts of research and development fall under the purview of health influence. Coroners, doctors, lab workers, therapists, pharmacists and specialists are just a few of the folks in this field. No bioweapons without the OK from all STs.

          High Society

          The glitterati at the top of society move in circles of wealth and elegance. Many find such positions alluring, and they indulge in the passions of the famous and wealthy. Access to famous actors, celebrities and the idle rich grants a certain sway over fashion trends. Combined with Fame, a modicum of high society influence turns a character into a debonair darling of the most exclusive circles. Among these circles, one finds dilettantes, artists of almost any stripe, old money families, models, rock stars, sports figures and jetsetters.

          Industry

          The grinding wheels of labor fuel the economies and markets of the world. Machines, factories and blue collar workers line up in endless drudgery, churning out the staples of everyday living. Control over industry sways the formation of unions, the movements of work projects, locations for factories and the product of manufacturing concerns. Union workers, foremen, engineers, construction workers, manual laborers and all manner of blue-collar workers exist among these ranks.

          Legal

          Since many of the operations that World of Darkness protagonists undertake are at least marginally illegal, a good amount of sway over judges and lawyers are indispensable. Those who dabble in law often pull strings in the courts to make sure that the questionable practices of their society go unnoticed and unpunished. Of course, a little legal influence is also excellent for harassing an enemy’s assets, too. Such influence ranges from law schools and firms, to lawyers, judges, DA’s, clerks and public defenders.

          Media

          Directing media attention away from supernatural activities is a key component of almost every sect in the World of Darkness. Putting specific emphasis on certain events can place an enemy in an uncomfortable spotlight or discredit a rival. With media, you can crush or alter news stories, control the operations of news stations and reporters and sway public opinion, with DJ’s, editors of all varieties, reporters, cameramen, photographers and broadcasters at your disposal. At the Storyteller’s discretion, media influence may also allow access to the more technical areas of television, radio or movies.

          Occult

          The hidden world of the supernatural teems with secrets, conspiracies and unusual factions. Obviously, a supernatural being is aware that there are strange things out there by dint of his very existence (after all, if vampires exist…), but hard knowledge of such things is a function of abilities. By using occult influence, you can dig up information to improve your knowledge, get inside the occult community and find rare components for magical rituals. Even parts of the elusive Book of Nod are available to those with the right connections. Cult leaders, alternative religious groups, charlatans, occultists, New Agers and a few more dangerous elements can be found here.

          Police

          “To protect and serve” is the motto of the police, but these days, Kindred and Kine alike may have cause to wonder who is being protected and served. That said, police influence can be very handy to assist with the masquerade, to protect one’s holdings or to raid the assets of another. After all, attitude won’t save the Anarchs whose haven is the target of a daylight raid. Police of all ranks, detectives, clerical staff, dispatchers, prison guards, special divisions (such as SWAT or homicide) and local highway patrol makes up these ranks.

          Political

          Deal making is second nature to most vampires, so they can get along very well with other bloodsuckers- that is, politicians. Other genres may also find success, despite their less familial association. Altering party platforms, controlling local elections, changing appointed offices and calling in favors all falls under the purview of political influence. Well-timed blackmail, bribery, spin doctoring or any sundry tricks are stock and trade on both sides of this fence. Some of the likely contacts and allies include pollsters, lobbyists, activists, party members, spin-doctors and politicians from rural zoning committees to the mayors of major cities or Congressional representatives.

          Street

          Ignored and often spat on by their “betters,” those in the dark alleys and slums have created their own culture to deal with life and any outsiders who might come calling. When calling on Street Influence, you use your connections on the underside of the city to find the homeless, gang members of all sorts, street bikers, petty criminals, prostitutes, residents of the slums or barrios, and fringe elements of so-called “deviant” cultures.

          Transportation

          Transportation has special interest for vampires, but is useful for all sects. Most vampires make their havens in defensible parts of cities. Traveling across the wilderness is difficult, with the problems of daylight and marauding lupines. Without this influence, the vampiric world shrinks into islands of “civilization” with dangerous wasteland in-between. Getting access to special supplies and services can also take a measure of transportation. All of these things can be controlled with a bit of sway over truckers, harbors, railroads, airports, taxis, border guards, pilots, and untold hundreds, as well as more mundane aspects like shipping and travel arrangements.

          Underworld

          The world of crime offers lucrative possibilities to strong willed or subtle leaders. Guns, money, drugs, and vice - such delicious pastimes can be lead by anyone talented or simple vicious enough to take them. Underworld influence lets you call upon such favors for all manner of illegal dealings and its ranks are filled by the Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, drug dealers, bookies, Yakuza, tongs, hit men, fences, and criminal gangs.

          Note: Does not include smuggling or street gangs (Transportation and Street respectively).

          University

          Institutions of learning and research are the purview of university influence. Access to the halls of learning can help you with any number or resources, from ancient languages to research assistants to many impressionable young minds. School boards, students from kindergarten through college, graduate students, professors, teachers, deans, Greek orders, and a variety of staff fill the ivory covered halls.



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          • #6
            Ruadhan Well looks like a lot of St caveat and hand waving is involved, I would say your guy has street influence though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BurritoMage View Post
              Ruadhan Well looks like a lot of St caveat and hand waving is involved, I would say your guy has street influence though.

              I understand the Street influence part being what he has, but not the things that he can do in that area. You mentioned organizing a protest or finding a cheap source of labor or finding information on people or events. So does this all mean he does something to "scratch the back" of the homeless, like bring them food and blankets (he does that already), and in return they help him out with stuff, like Sherlock Holmes' Baker Street Irregulars?

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              • #8
                Yeah I guess, but since the system the game is using is so vague you should work out with your St what level of influence the PC has and what you can do with it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BurritoMage View Post
                  Yeah I guess, but since the system the game is using is so vague you should work out with your St what level of influence the PC has and what you can do with it.
                  I'll try. Thank you!

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                  • #10
                    All Influence means is that the person is mover and shaker in that community - somebody with the power and clout to get things done. The kind of role and leader to accomplish that in each influence sphere is going to be different. Vampires have all kinds of crazy powers to help them accomplish this - Presence, Dominate, and the Blood Bond can build secret followers. However, for the non-supernatural this means being an actual leader within the community (or some kind of official management within the organization). Either someone has to obey you because you are their superior in a formal organization, or you are owed favors/respect/deferance from someone in that organization who does have that formal power.

                    So if you want Influence in Street, then your character has to become a leader in the Street. This means a lot more than "scratching someone's back" or doing the occasional favor. It means becoming some sort of force or presence on the Street. There are multiple ways of doing this. You could become some sort of gang leader (or other criminal faction who is local to the Street). Or a popular and beloved local of the homeless community whose other members acknowledge as being wise and helpful so that they'd do what he would ask of them. Or someone who runs an important homeless shelter or provides some other aide. It might even be a popular kid of street youths and runaways who provides help and direction to the other kids. Or the leader of a local chapter of a motorcycle club which has various licit and illicit dealings in the local community. There are of course other kinds if you can imagine something else that would fit.

                    So figure out what precisely is your involvement in the Street. That will show you your path of increasing your influence on it. Let's say you pick motorcycle club. Initially you begin to hang around the club and befriend one of its members and become a guest and eventual prospect. At that level, you will probably only get to learn about things which puts you at Influence 1. Eventually you become a patch holder and get some authority and trust of other members who will help you, and if you can spin things, you may be able to get the local club to help you out in something around an Influence 2 level. Influence levels 3 through 5 are achieved as you become a respected member of the club, continue to pay your dues, and become a leader as members rely on you for your wisdom, advice, and help. Eventually you are trusted with more and more club responsibilities, and you become some kind of elected officer.

                    Needless to say, in real life increasing Influence would take years, even decades. But the first two level of Influence are probably attainable realistically in a short amount of time. And because online games have their own dynamics, the STs may expedite things so that your character can rise up.

                    In less formal organizations than a MC, there is a less clear cut way to increase Influence. But in all cases, it is providing leadership and help to your community so that its members follow your lead.
                    Last edited by Black Fox; 03-12-2017, 04:56 PM. Reason: fixed typos

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                      All Influence means is that the person is mover and shaker in that community - somebody with the power and clout to get things done. The kind of role and leader to accomplish that in each influence sphere is going to be different. Vampires have all kinds of crazy powers to help them accomplish this - Presence, Dominate, and the Blood Bone can build secret followers. However, for the non-supernatural this means being an actual leader within the community (or some kind of official management within the organization). Either someone has to obey you because you are their superior in a formal organization, or you are owed favors/respect/deferance from someone in that organization who does have that formal power.

                      So if you want Influence in Street, then your character has to become a leader in the Street. This means a lot more than "scratching someone's back" or doing the occasional favor. It means becoming some sort of force or presence on the Street. There are multiple ways of doing this. You could become some sort of gang leader (or other criminal faction who is local to the Street). Or a popular and beloved local of the homeless community whose other members acknowledge as being wise and helpful so that they'd do what he would ask of them. Or someone who runs an important homeless shelter or provides some other aide. It might even be a popular kid of street youths and runaways who provides help and direction to the other kids. Or the leader of a local chapter of a motorcycle club which has various licit and illicit dealings in the local community. There are of course other kinds if you can imagine something else that would fit.

                      So figure out what precisely is your involvement in the Street. That will show you your path of increasing your influence on it. Let's say you pick motorcycle club. Initially you begin to hang around the club and befriend one of its members and become a guest and eventual prospect. At that level, you will probably only get to learn about things which puts you at Influence 1. Eventually you become a patch holder and get some authority and trust of other members who will help you, and if you can spin things, you may be able to get the local club to help you out in something around an Influence 2 level. Influence levels 3 through 5 are achieved as you become a respected member of the club, continue to pay your dues, and become a leader as members rely on you for your wisdom, advice, and help. Eventually you are trusted with more and more club responsibilities, and you become some kind of elected officer.

                      Needless to say, in real life increasing Influence would take years, even decades. But the first two level of Influence are probably attainable realistically in a short amount of time. And because online games have their own dynamics, the STs may expedite things so that your character can rise up.

                      In less formal organizations than a MC, there is a less clear cut way to increase Influence. But in all cases, it is providing leadership and help to your community so that its members follow your lead.
                      That is the best, most helpful answer I have seen for my questions about Kinfolk and Influence!!!! Thank you so, so, so much!!!!

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                      • #12
                        If you want more specific rules for what can be done with Influences I would point you towards Laws of the Night Revised and Dark Epics. They're Vampire LARP books but they have probably the most robust Influence mechanics. You might want to ignore any money amounts they list though, as both were written almost twenty years ago.

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