Influence System

Who You Know

IMPORTANT! Liberation MUSH has a very important House Rule where Allies, Contacts and Retainers are concerned: Every Ally, Contact or Retainer is given their own dot rating and rated from 1-5, which determines their relative power to each other. As such, your actual Ally, Contact and Retainer ratings can far exceed 1-5 on your sheet.

Allies: Allies are mortals who support and help you — family, friends, trusted business associates, or even a group of mortals (such as a gang) that owes you some informal loyalty. Unlike Retainers, they have their own concerns and agendas, and can’t always prioritize doing you one favor after another. Allies are rarely aware of your character’s supernatural affiliations, if any. Allies that are considered meaningful enough to mechanically represent with a dot rating are typically persons of influence and power in your home city.

Set your ally using ‘+note/Background me/Ally <rating> – <name>=<description>’. Describe your relationship to them, and then define these two things:

  • Is your Ally (or their interests) primarily located in the Westside or Central Los Angeles?
  • Is your Ally primarily relevant to the Academia, Business, Community, Crime, Government or Security influence sector? A Professor or Occult Researcher might be Academia. A Detective or Private Security Company would be Security. A City Rep would be Government. A street gang would be Crime, and so forth.

Contacts: You know people all over the city. When you start making phone calls around your network, the amount of information you can dig up is impressive. Rather than friends you can rely on to help you, like Allies, Contacts are largely people whom you can bribe, manipulate, or coerce into offering information. A particularly high level Contact (with a rating of 3+) is likely an associate who can give you useful and accurate information in their field of expertise. A 4-5 dot Contact rating might represent an important city official such as the District Attorney (or someone in their office!), whereas a 1-2 dot Contact rating might be a bouncer, DMV clerk, beat cop or homeless weirdo.

The greatest help that a high level Contact provides is allowing you to pierce cover-ups that would otherwise be beyond your means. If the information isn’t particularly sensitive, or no one has taken the effort to occlude it, then even a 1 dot Contact might perfectly suffice. With a Director’s permission, the Backgrounds of Herd, Kinfolk and Cult can also substitute for individual Contacts.

+note/background me/Con 2 – Westside Security= <Name> has blackmailed a Beverly Hills PD desk clerk to pass along information, such as about break-ins or domestic disturbances, that would usually be kept under wraps.

Retainers: Not precisely Allies or Contacts, your Retainers are servants, assistants, or other people who are your loyal and steadfast companions. Many vampires’ servants are ghouls whose supernatural powers and blood bond-enforced loyalty make them the archetypal examples of this Background. You must maintain some control over your retainers, whether through outstanding personal charisma, salary, the gift of your vitae, or supernatural means such as Dominate or Presence.

Retainers essentially fall into one of two narrative roles (whether or not it is acknowledged ICly): A bodyguard or an agent of influence. Not every ‘bodyguard’ Retainer is necessarily intended to protect you in combat. It could be a driver or a butler, for example. However, it is only agent Retainers that factor into the Influence system, and they typically do not follow you around like a ‘bodyguard’ type Retainer does. In both cases the dot rating of your Retainer plays a huge role in determining their competence.

Set your agent Retainer using ‘+note/Background me/Ret <rating> – <name>=<description>’. Please include the following:

  • If the Retainer has a Bodyguard or an Agent template.
  • The nature of your relationship and the primary means of ‘control’ you exercise over your Retainer.
  • If your Retainer is an agent, whether they’re primarily located in the Westside or Central Los Angeles.
  • If your Retainer is an agent, whether they’re primarily relevant to the (broadly speaking) Academia, Business, Community, Crime, Government or Security influence sector.