Rules | GM Screen

<- Return to All Rules (Group by Source)
<- Return to Individual Influence

All Rules in Individual Influence

+ An entry marked with this has additional sections within it.

Social Stat Block

Source Ultimate Intrigue pg. 107
For social encounters, GMs should build social stat blocks for important NPCs. Social stat blocks are very flexible, and can include any information relevant to the encounter, though most include the information below. Examples are listed here.

Name: The NPCs’ name, alignment, and established class.

Affiliation: This notes the NPC’s loyalties.

Secret Identity: Some NPCs have secret identities. There may not be any skill checks that would allow the PCs to detect such a secret identity (in which case no checks are listed), but if the NPC is disguised or the PCs have met this NPC before under another name, the skill check necessary to uncover the truth is listed here.

Background: This is a brief description of this NPC’s history and how she is relevant to the PCs.

Recognize: This is the check required to recognize the NPC by reputation or fame.

Appearance: This is a description of the NPC, including any characteristic features.

Introduction: This section describes how the NPC introduces herself to the PCs (or perhaps, how a herald or mutual acquaintance introduces them). The introduction should generally include hints about which skills are used for influence checks against this NPC, and may include an in-character quote, if that is helpful.

Personality: This is a short description of the NPC’s personality and demeanor or a list of adjectives that describe the NPC’s behavior. The more NPCs are present in a social encounter, the more important it is to make them distinctive so that the players can keep them straight.

Goals: This is a list of the NPC’s public goals.

Hidden Agenda: If your game utilizes intrigue, it’s unlikely that all NPCs are entirely up front about their goals. Any particularly secret objectives are found in this section, rather than in the goals entry.

Biases: Some NPCs have biases—subtle attitudes that influence an encounter. For example, an NPC may think favorably of half-orcs and be suspicious of elves. If the NPC’s biases affect a PC, apply a +2 or –2 circumstance modifier on that PC’s influence checks, depending on whether the bias is in the PC’s favor or not. If an NPC is strongly biased for or against a PC, the modifier may be even greater, but such strong biases are readily apparent. PCs can detect a bias with a successful DC 20 Sense Motive check.

Skills and Saves: Only a few of the NPC’s skills are likely to be relevant. Sense Motive and Perception are almost always necessary. If the NPC is hiding something major from the PCs, Bluff and Disguise are also important. This section should also include Spellcraft and likely saving throw modifiers if the spellcasting might occur during the event; Will saving throws are the most common for intrigue-related spells such as charm person or detect thoughts.

Analyze: A PC who succeeds at the listed check learns details about what skills or checks can influence the NPC. Each sentence should contain the information a single successful discovery check reveals.

Strengths: An NPC may be particularly resistant to certain tactics; such tactics are referred to as that NPC’s strengths. For example, a person with little patience for flattery may think less favorably of someone who showers her with compliments. The skills and DCs required to discover these strengths are listed here. A PC who incorporates an NPC’s strength into an influence check takes a –4 penalty on the check. Knowledge of an NPC’s strengths can be a powerful tool for sabotaging someone else’s attempt to gain influence over her—see the <%Countering Influence&Category=Individual Influence">Countering Influence section for more information.

Weaknesses: Most NPCs have at least one weakness. A weakness could be a deep-seated secret or insecurity, or a hobby that the NPC can talk about for days on end. The skills and DCs needed to discover these weaknesses are listed here. For each weakness a PC incorporates into her influence check, she gains a cumulative +2 bonus.

Influence Skills: The skills and DCs for each influence check are listed here. If a skill isn’t listed, it normally doesn’t work at all, but if a player presents a strong narrative reason why a skill should work, his GM can add it to the list. Diplomacy and Bluff are usually on the list of possible skills. If Diplomacy isn’t on the list of skills, there should be a reason in the NPC’s personality. For example, an NPC who intensely dislikes small talk and only wishes to converse only about arcane theory may not respond to Diplomacy. However, Diplomacy is rarely the best skill with which to influence someone; the DC of Diplomacy checks to influence an NPC is typically higher than the DC when using skills tailored to the NPC’s personality or interests. GMs should keep the PCs’ skills in mind when designing a social encounter so each PC has a way to contribute. Not every NPC can necessarily be influenced, in which case discovery checks reveal that the NPC is a lost cause.

Successes Needed: This lists the number of successful skill checks the PCs need to sway an NPC’s opinion.

Favor: The NPC might ask a favor of those he trusts. If so, a short description of the favor and what the PCs must do to accomplish it is listed here, as well as the benefit the PCs gain from successfully performing the favor.

Events: This is the place to describe external events that affect the PCs’ ability to influence this NPC, anything from the NPC leaving an event early to the NPC becoming suspicious of the PCs after someone robs her manor.

Benefit: This section details what the PCs gain if they sway this NPC.

Penalty: This section details what the PCs lose if they antagonize this NPC (if antagonizing her is possible).