Influence in Second Edition

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scottmage
Mongoose
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 8:17 am

Influence in Second Edition

Postby scottmage » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:00 am

The search engine is wonderful on these types of forums....grrrr I was hoping that they would break the forums out into First and Second Edition (like another game company I have been spending my time at). I finally decided to give B5 another try with the Second Edition.

Influence seems to be a thorn that I am not entirely sure that I can dig out.

Using an example from Season 1 I will attempt to illustrate.

Zento was embaresed by Commander Sinclair's end of the Dock worker's strike. He used his influence to get Colonel Ari Ben Zayn and Harriman Gray onto B5 to do some snooping around. Zento being a Diplomat Level 5 has Influence Earth +14, Earth Force Military +5, Psi Corps +5, and Earth Economic +5.

Normally when you use your Influence under "Pressuring Another Group" pg. 108 Second Edition you take a "-5 penalty to the original check result is simply applied at every step." However a Diplomat character if I understand this correctly has 3 additional groups that they receive +1 per level to. So in the above example, Zento goes to Colonel Ari Ben Zayn and maps out what he thinks is a way for the Colonel to gain command of B5 and Zento gets even with Sinclair. Colonel Ari Ben Zayn is also friends with Bester and since he has a bone to pick with Sinclair, he gets pulled into the affair.

This would be an example of showing how the Diplomat character would get something he normally could not ask for since taking -10 to his original check only get him records or maybe a Commercial Telepath, not a Psi Corps Military Specialist (missing from Second Edition so far).

Now I do have a hard time with the whole "Pressures: Any Earth, Any Political" I can understand the Political, but I really doubt that someone is going to get Psi Corps Secret Research or use their influence on the Vorlons (unless they are a Nexus character - should be a Feat).

I also notice that Modifiers are missing. "Mr. Bester, I understand that you lost your partner on B5. Interested in a little pay back?" etc.
Gabriel_Luna
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:09 am

Postby Gabriel_Luna » Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:20 am

I can see a few ways that this might work.

First: He might have role played the scenarios out instead of using influence at all. If he'd met Bester and the Col. before, he could schedule an appointment and, instead of using influence, say "I have a proposition for you." If he pitched it well enough (as you said "How'd you like to run B5?") he might not even need influence. I prefer making my players play out as much as possible, only using influence to supplement their plans, not to solve them completely.

Second: you could be missing Contacts and Devoted Friends. These offer bonuses to influence in certain areas.

Third: He could have burned his influence. Based on his expression at the end of that episode, I think he'd have been perfectly willing to call in all his markers to get back at Sinclair. If you have, say, +10 in an influence and roll well (say another 10), and THEN burn those 10 points...well you could get just about anything done, even with the penalties for pressuring another group.

Fourth: he might have pulled a combination of the above. Say he burned some influence, had his Contact in Bester's office drop his name to set up a meeting, applied blackmail to a senator through the Intrigue skill, Bluffed his way into the Col.'s office and used Computer Use and Subterfuge to plant evidence to spark the investigation.

As far as I can tell though, influence should be one tool the players have, but it shouldn't be the only thing the character is doing.

I have no idea if that helped, but I hope it did.

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