Recovering Spent Influence

There are three ways to recover spent Influence - recovery checks at the end of a gaming session, downtime and extraordinary deeds.

Recovery checks are Influence checks taken against the Influence TN at the end of the session. All used Influences are checked separately. The character recovers one token per die rolled, if the check is succesful. A miss by three recovers one token, while a critical success recovers all Influence. A critical failure wastes one token per die rolled. The player can choose the amount of dice rolled. All rules applying to skill rolls apply, including spending an AP for auto-success. A maximum number of dice allowed is 10D while the minimum is 1D.

If the characters have a chance to spend several weeks having downtime between sessions, all spent Influence is recovered.

Extraordinary deeds are a wide category of heroic or otherwise noteworthy actions taken during game. They can immediately recover some Influence. For example, finding blackmail material on corrupt constabulary could recover spent Government Influence.

If Influence has been used for constant benefit such as assistants, equipment or monetary loan, the tokens assigned are only returned once the loan is repaid. If the equipment is lost, assistants killed or the money used, the tokens stay locked until they can be somehow reimbursed. This can mean tasks, favors or something else entirely.

(Change Intelligence -> Spycraft, Civilian -> Popular/Populist?)

The Influence system describes the character’s ability to make others do their bidding. It is an abstraction of power and connections. It serves as an excellent tool to define what patrons and enemies are capable through their lackeys and resources.

Influence does not remove the need for skills such as Streetwise. Using Criminal Influence to obtain illegal weapons, for example, means the character gets other people obtain them for him. This is the base of Influence - getting other people do things for you. They don’t necessarily do it better or faster than the character would. The same illegal weapons could still be obtained through Streetwise; using Influence just leaves the same time for other pursuits.

Influence works through Influence Pool best abstracted with differently colored tokens. The tokens are spent in instant actions or locked into maintaining constant effects. When interests collide and Influence is spent against other Influence, the difference is solved with opposed checks. This is the only time any rolls are made. When tokens are used unopposed, the actions taken always succeed.

Types of Influence

There are two kinds of Influence – Overt and Covert. Overt Influence is used and displayed openly. Everybody knows, for example, that a colonel in the Imperial Army has certain Military Influence. Actions taken through Overt Influence can be traced back to the character. They always leave a paper trail or a chain of witnesses. High Overt Influence equals high official position and public profile. Most people possess only Overt Influence.

Covert Influence means hidden, secret Influence on the world. It is possessed by those who are part of conspiracies and secret organizations. Actions taken through Covert Influence can’t be traced. For example, a sergeant in the local garrison might be part of a conspiracy and possess more military Influence than his commanders. He might give orders to his whole unit through his Covert Influence. His superior officers would think their orders come from the HQ.

Influences work as skills. Overt Influence is based on Charm, Covert Influence on Intuition. Influence Checks follow all the same rules as skills (pg XX), but they are rolled rarely. Influence Pool is equal to the Influence ranks the character has. Every Influence type grants different tokens. This is best represented by maintaining stacks of colorful tokens or dice. When Influence is spent, remove the fitting symbol or, in the case of a constant effect, move it to mark the maintenance of the effect.

Influence spheres blah blah

Influence is further divided into different Spheres, according to different organizations, assets and expertise. One character can have Influence in multiple Spheres and organizations. The Spheres are Military, Techmancery, Government, Criminal, Religious, Mercantile, Intelligence and Civilian Influence.

Government Sphere of Influence gives access to official information and resources. They range from a low bureaucratic position in a local government to a friendly ear at the royal court. Overt Government Influence is possessed by law enforcement, bureaucrats, nobles and rulers.

Uses of Government Influence vary from obtaining official permits to gaining access to secret archives, stopping a criminal investigation and changing laws. Government Sphere of Influence requires a formal, organized state with established rules and bureaucracy. Thus it is strongest in states with centralized government.

Intelligence Sphere of Influence provides access to counter-espionage services, professional spies and top secret information. Overt Intelligence Influence is possessed by people working for various agencies. Even Overt intelligence Influence is rather secretive due to the nature of resources involved.

Uses of Intelligence Influence are wide from accessing surveillance reports to arranging someone to be shadowed, receiving top secret information and arranging apparently natural death of a visible public figure. Intelligence Sphere of Influence is present in almost all cultures. The more Byzantine the internal politics of a polity are the more powerful Intelligence Influence is.

Military Sphere of Influence portrays access to military resources, personnel and information. Officers have varying amount of Military Influence on their respective services. Overt Military Influence means holding a rank in the armed service, owning military resources or connections to mercenary groups.

Uses vary from gaining access to a military base to obtaining “lost” weapons, influencing fleet movements and ordering an actual military strike. Military Sphere of Influence is present in all cultures with organized armed forces.

Techmancery Sphere of Influence means direct and indirect access to Techmancer services and equipment. Overt Techmancery Influence is wielded by Techmancers and people closely connected with their Order. Some Techdabblers are organized enough to have a few points of the same Influence.

Techmancery Influence can be used to obtain rare equipment, gain access to Order services, obtain information from the Forbidden Archives, receive discount in hiring Techmancers and be given favors by the Order.

Mercantile Sphere of Influence is the most powerful Sphere when it comes to economics and money. Mercantile Influence comes naturally to economic leaders, investors, brokers and guildsman officials. The most powerful users of Mercantile Influence are the three major trade alliances. Other institutions include merchant houses of Lunarus and Golden Dome, various smaller merchant groups and nobles with direct interest in trade.

Mercantile Sphere of Influence is intimately connected to the financial markets. It is used to acquire financial information, arranging cheap loans, buying Omnium and gaining passage on Gloomships.

Criminal Sphere of Influence describes eyes and hands inside the illegal underground. Overt Criminal Influence is possessed by criminal bosses, pirate lords and smugglers. On institutional level, Criminal Influence is possessed by crime syndicates, pirate gangs and shady merchant houses.

Criminal Sphere of Influence is very varied, unreliable and dangerous. Uses vary from buying and selling illegal goods to arranging cargoes to be smuggled, people kidnapped and murders arranged. Criminal Sphere of Influence is present in practically all societies – even in the repressed totalitarianism of Pacificus. In some societies Criminal Influence is intimately connected to the workings of the government. Such is certainly the case in Segmentum Minorus, where pirate bands rival clans in power.

Civilian Sphere of Influence contains all social and institutional forces which don’t fit under the other Spheres. It is the most limited in its power and the most common type of Influence. It describes social networks, entertainment and culture. Civilian Influence is possessed by famous artists, village elders, preachers and demagogues. On institutional level, Civilian Influence is possessed by charity organizations, popular movements and newspapers.

Civilian Influence can be used from obtaining commonly available products for discount to locating people through social networks and arranging a riot. Civilian Sphere of Influence is present in all societies, where individuality is allowed. In a totalitarian state it is limited.

Religious Sphere of Influence is a special case, in many ways. It includes the Church and hidden heretical movements. The secular authorities have trouble bending it to their wishes.

Religious Influence is possessed by priests, cult leaders, established preachers and heretics. On institutional level it means the Church, forbidden cults and other religious organizations. Uses of Religious Influence range from receiving information to arranging armed support from fanatics, receiving special services and obtaining mystical training or use of specialists.

Using Influence

There are two ways to use Influence – burning tokens for immediate effects or locking them for constant benefit. Arranging immediate effects takes six hours on the average. The desired effect happens after this period or later, if desired. Arranging constant effects takes one week on the average. The waiting times portrays locating necessary minions, obtaining equipment and so forth. This assumes the power base of the character is readily available. Using Influence on distant organization adds in communication time and possible travel time. If no communications can be established with the associated organization, it is not possible to use Influence at all.

Immediate effects

Almost immediate effects require burning Influence tokens. Burned tokens are moved aside temporarily. The more tokens are used at the same time, the stronger the effect. Alternatively, more tokens can be spent to receive multiple instances of a lower benefit. Extra tokens spent get two benefits per token. For example, spending two tokens on 4D checks gets three 4D checks, while spending three tokens gets five 4D checks.

1 token4DFolklore & Urban legendsUncommon
2 tokens5DSuppressed newsRare
3 tokens6DPersonal secretsVery Rare
4 tokens7DHidden organizationsUnique
5 tokens8DMajor conspiraciesMasterwork, mundane
6 tokens9DAncient secretsMasterwork, Techmantic

Auto-success portrays favors repaid and professionals hired for specific tasks. Each benefit is an automatic success in a check of a specific skill. What checks can be acquired depends on the Influence used. For example, Criminal Influences might acquire the services of a street alchemist, but not a true Voluptas chemist.

Information is the trickling of hidden knowledge to the avid questioners. Information thus acquired is only available to areas relative to the used Influence. Criminal Influence is good for digging up old crimes, clandestine syndicates and proof of vices, for example. Please note that many secrets might be protected by constant effects of Influence. See constant effects and opposed checks for details.

Equipment lists the use of Influence to acquire various items. The use of tokens simply means the character can purchase the item he seeks. Money is still needed. In the case of unique items the price is often something else than money.

As an example, Drego wants to arranges a break-in to a merchant's office. He spends three Criminal Influence tokens for this purpose, acquiring five 4D checks. First is Investigation 4D to case the place, second 4D Intrusion for entry, third 4D Investigation to find things of interest, fourth 4D Stealth to leave the without problems and the fifth 4D Fast Talk to bribe the investigating watchmen.

If the players don't see it as breaking immersion, you can do such arrangements as "cutscenes". In that case, Drego had simply bought five 4D checks for the break-in. Then the group would - quickly - play through the event, with Drego using the checks to overcome the challenges (and coming up with what skills they use on the spot). If the tokens ran out, the feist wouldn't succeed 100%. If there were still tokens left after the heist, they'd be wasted.

Constant effects

Constant effects require locking Influence tokens into certain tasks. After the initiation period is over, the benefit stays in effect until dispelled or deactivated. Spending extra tokens works as with immediate effects; extra tokens produce stronger effects or numerous weaker effects.

TokensAuto-successAccomplicesMoney/propertySocial/political effects
1 token4DAlly I100 omnsArresting a few nobodies
2 tokens5DAlly II300 omnsInciting a riot
3 tokens6DAlly II900 omnsCourt-martialing nobles
4 tokens7DSkilled team2700 omnsBlockading a city
5 tokens8DSkilled company8100 omnsManipulating markets
6 tokens9DSkilled army24300 omnsProvoking a war

Auto-success is the same as with instant token usage, except the checks happen up to once per week. This can include reactive actions such as defensive action by bodyguards.

Accomplices are assistants provided by the organization. It is important to note they are primarily loyal to the power providing their services. First three levels provide individuals of varying talent, while the last three levels provide whole groups. The actual number and quality of the groups depends heavily on the Influence used. An army of spies would actually be a couple of dozen highly dangerous operatives, while an army of civilians would mean thousands of ordinary people.

Money/property portrays physical assets acquired with Influence. It can mean equipment, transportation, services or actual cash, up to the sum mentioned in the column. Assets thus acquired are not gifts. They are borrowed and the loaning faction expects to get them back once they are no longer needed.

Social/political effects are examples of social events Influence usage can engineer. Such events are always mainly narrative and no list can be comprehensive. Rather, the examples are meant to give a hint of the scale involved.

As an example, Hernando is a Sergeant in the Imperial Army, who uses two tokens of Military Influence to acquire better armor. This gets him equipment worth 300 omns, enough to get a steel cuirass, a steel helmet and steel greaves. The equipment belongs to the army, thus locking down two Military Influence tokens until Hernando returns them to the armory.

As an another example, Miriam needs assistants for her new engineering project. She spends two Techmancery tokens to acquire three assistants equal to Ally I's. As long as she requires the assistants in her work, the two tokens are locked.

Opposite Influence checks

Influence checks are only rolled when two factions use tokens for opposite ends. This can happen in two ways; by having an instant effect collide with a constant effect (or rarely with another instant effect happening at the very same time) or by having an actor try to remove a constant effect.

In the case of instant checks being resisted, compare the tokens between them. If the number of tokens is equal, both sides make 3D Influence checks. Every token more than the opponent's adds one extra die in his hand. The side that succeeds in the check wins the contest. If both fail, the result is a confused conflict where both only waste their resources. If both succeed, both sides get a minor success. For example, burglars manage to rob the place, but lose some loot when pursued and leave behind condemning evidence.

When an attempt is made to resist a constant effect, a bidding war ensues. As the process for arranging constant effect takes time, it allows both sides to add more on the table. The checks are made once both sides stop putting in more Influence. This simulates the escalation of conflict in matters of importance. All tokens in the conflict are added together to find out how long the wrangling lasts before a resolution.

For example, Prosecutor Ivanovitz has found an illegal gambling ring. He wants to infiltrate the racket, identify the bosses and confiscate their profits. Ivanovitz locks six Government tokens into the investigation, activating various law enforcement contacts. The crime lord running the racket becomes aware of the investigation, responding with eight tokens of Criminal Influence. This portrays silencing witnesses, bribing officials and roughing up witnesses. Ivanovitz responds by forming a special squad to break up organized crime, upping the ante with four tokens. The crime lord gives up at this point, choosing to save Influence for other actions. Thus Ivanovitz rolls 3D against his Government Influence, while the crime lord rolls 5D against his Criminal Influence, as the total number of tokens on the table is two to his disadvantage.

Failing in the Influence check usually results in nothing happening, though at GM’s discretion, it might lead into problems for the character. This is especially likely when using Overt Influence for illegal, immoral or other personally compromising deeds. Failing in Covert Influence check should cause no problems for the character. Even if the attempted action is revealed, it is not known that the character is behind it. The evidence disappears or there is a convenient scapegoat to blame. People on the opposing side are not aware on who exactly is working against them.

Critical failure in an Overt Influence check burns all Influence tokens or the character loses one point of Influence permanently, as the player chooses. Critical failure in a Covert Influence check reveals the identity of the character or the character loses one point of Influence permanently. Critical success in an Overt Influence check recovers all used tokens or makes the opponent lose a point of Influence permanently. Critical success in a Covert Influence check takes one token from the opponent and gives it to the character or makes the opponent lose a point of Influence permanently.


Influence can be used to support another Influence, if a narrative reason can be given. The diagram below shows the distance between each Influence type. This is the cost of assistance. Influences next to each other can use tokens for support without a malus. Distance of one step requires the use of two tokens to assist with one, distance of two steps aids three to one and so forth. Characters can assist each other regarding Influence, but their numbers are limited like when assisting skill checks.

D – I – A – G – R – A – M

Recovering Influence

There are three ways to recover burnt Influence tokens – time, Advantage Points and extraordinary deeds. Spent tokens recover at the rate of one per week, as long as no tokens are spent during the period. Using an AP immediately recovers up to five Influence tokens. Finally, extraordinary actions and plots taken by the characters can return burned tokens.

If Influence has been used for constant benefit such as assistants, equipment or monetary loan, the tokens assigned are only returned once the loan is repaid. If the equipment is lost, assistants killed or the money used, the tokens stay locked until they can be somehow reimbursed. This can mean tasks, favors or something else entirely.

Gaining Influence

In a point-buy character creation, Influence ranks can be bought with skill points. (See page XY) In lifepath Influence comes along with the careers, should the rolls so decide. During actual play, Influence can be granted for substantial favors or heroism. Likewise, it can be lost for destroying social connections or losing the trust of the organization the power comes from.

Blessings & Curses

Strange Allies (4 APs) corruption Strange people appear without a warning, just at the nick of time, to help the character when needed. Circumstances and events change suddenly for his advantage. Surely this is a divine blessing? In practice, burning tokens for instant effects makes them happen literally instantly, instead of the usual waiting.

Money Is Power (1 APs) The character knows how to exchange money for power. He can recover Influence tokens by using wealth for bribes, gifts, parties and so forth. Buying back used tokens costs equal to the sum the amount of tokens would acquire. This takes one day and can only be done once per week.

Bumbling Schemer (2 APs) When opposition rises against the character's plots, they tend to fall apart. This can be due to incompetent minions, flamboyant plots or constant bad luck. As a result, two sixes are enough for a critical failure in Influence checks.

Manipulative I-II (3-6 APs) Some people are born manipulative, others learn it the hard way. Whatever the reason, the character knows how to make friends and use them. First level gives one point of Influence per five points in Charm, rounded up, in any Influence of his choosing. Second level gives -1D to all Influence checks.

Puppet Master I-II (4-8 APs) Puppet Masters are clandestine manipulators who control people instinctively. Blackmail, conspiracies and outright brainwashing are natural things to them. First level grants one level of Covert Influence per five points in Intuition, rounded up. Second level gives -1D to all Covert Influence checks.

Mekanismin wiki pyörii PmWikin päällä ulkoasunaan UnStrapped