Influence System

Narrative Influence Actions

Spying vs Counterspying

The bedrock of the Influence system is knowing what other characters (whether PC or NPC) are up to, and keeping them from finding out about your own machinations or movements. If you wish to have a basic idea of what another PC, NPC or even NPC Faction might be up to in either a major region or sub-region, you need to assign a Contact to it.


There are many Narrative Influence Actions you can take. I’m going to spend more time than usual on Tracing, to help convey some concepts.

  1. Begin with selecting a specific PC, NPC or NPC Faction whose generalized comings and goings you wish to track or basically know where to find them.
  2. Select a region where you wish to trace them. This will be either Central L.A., the Westside, Southlands or one of their sub-regions, like Hollywood, Santa Monica or South LA..
    • Your target must be in the chosen area to be traced. However, nothing is stopping you from using multiple Contacts to trace them across multiple regions. It might even paint a fuller picture of their activities.
  3. You must assign a relevant Contact to do the tracing. There is room for creativity here. If you have a Business Contact, you can write something about tracing credit card purchases. If you have a Security Contact, maybe traffic cam footage, or neighborhood watch lookouts. A reporter (Community) or informant (Crime) could be equally helpful.
    • Remember that the Fame, Rank and Resources Backgrounds can all acquire temporary Contacts, provided you meet their requirements.
    • Although the Influence Director is willing to read into the spirit of what each Contact might potentially take initiative for on their own…the nature of the information you glean will still be heavily inflected by their Influence sector. A homeless bagman and a corporate spy will likely notice very different activities.
  4. You have done all you need to do at this stage. You don’t actually need to know anymore about how the rest works. You can just sit back and await the result. However, in the interest of complete transparency, I’ll do a deep dive on what comes next:
    • Check to see if your target (whether PC or NPC) is assigning a Contact to Conceal their comings and goings that week, and what kind of Contact it is.
    • Check to see if your target has some kind of specified, ongoing supernatural power that would make your attempt to trace them hopeless. There is no chance that a corporate secretary is going to notice a Nosferatu who only moves around in the sewers while Obfuscated. Even if he might have used Obfuscate 3 to pretend, once, to be a CEO at a single event. A lot of this involves basic, tabletop-esque common sense.
    • If they happened to pick the exact right type of Contact to Conceal themselves from your exact nature of Trace, the target will receive a bonus.
    • Otherwise, The target will still get to add their Contact dots to the defending dice pool, but the resulting contested roll will take place using the Offensive and Defensive values of the Tracer’s chosen Influence type. This could give an immense advantage if you know someone’s weak spot.
  5. Example Contest:
    • Isaac Abrams is trying to trace the Setite infiltrator known as Dawn Cavanaugh whom he believes to be operating in Hollywood. Isaac is using his Resources to pay for a 5 dot Private Eye (Business). His Private Eye is Business, since his Resources is noted as Business related.
    • Dawn is trying to conceal her whereabouts with the aid of a follower, which amounts to a 3 dot Community Contact. Dawn would have gotten a bonus if she’d been using a Business Contact, but it won’t be relevant here.
    • The Influence Director determines their respective dicepools and difficulties like so:
      • A Business Influence action has Finance (Active Offensive), Law (Active Defensive), Networking (Passive Offensive) and Intrigue OR Media (Passive Defensive).
        • Isaac’s dicepool will be his Finance (4) + his 5 dot ‘Private Eye’ Business Contact, for 9 dice.
        • His difficulty will be decided by his Networking (3) vs Dawn Cavanaugh’s Intrigue (4). That means his Difficulty to roll against will be +1. As such, he’ll roll 9 dice vs Diff 7 instead of Diff 6.
          • If Isaac’s Networking had been 5, then he would have lowered his Difficulty from 6 to 5, instead, since his Networking would have been 1 higher than Dawn’s Intrigue.
        • The defender (in this case Dawn) always rolls at Diff 6, unless it is somehow modified by another power or special Influence Merit. In this case, she would roll her Law (2) + her Community Contact (3) vs 6.
        • How much Isaac learns about Dawn’s going about in Hollywood will depend on how many successes that his roll beats her own roll by – if he succeeds at all. 1 success over your target’s will give you a vague idea of whether that person was even in the region at all. 5+ successes will give as detailed an accounting as is realistically feasible, given the nature of your Contact and your target’s perambulations.
        • Either way, should Isaac succeed, it will help him along the way towards tracking down her exact location.