Into the Smog
Game Mechanics - Charm
Charm gauges the character’s poise and the force of his personality. It is a measure of the character’s ability to manipulate social situations and draw favourable attention towards himself.
• Charm determines a character’s ability to make a good impression.
• Charm helps the character talk his way out of dangerous situations.
• Charm determines how intimidating a character can be.
• Charm determines how well a character can convince people to believe him, especially while lying.
Charm – Credibility
Occasionally even those with impeccable credentials and letters of introduction will have to rely upon their natural grace and bearing to leave a favourable impression. A character may need to succeed in a Charm roll to join an exclusive club, successfully propose marriage, secure gainful employment, or borrow money. A talented swindler can certainly put on at least as good a show as a rude lord. The Narrator determines the DR for the Charm roll.
When determining the difficulty, the Narrator should consider the character’s appearance, his known history and reputation, his social class, and the likelihood that he has the proper credentials to actually support his claim.
If the character succeeds, he leaves a favourable impression. If the roll fails, the impression left was either weak or unfavourable. Depending upon how graciously a character accepts such failure, his reaction may become a cautionary tale for others.
Charm – Guile
Whether a clever deception to save face or a confidence man’s rap, eventually, everyone needs to distort the truth. A character’s Charm Attribute determines his ability to say the things that will get him what he wants.
When a character attempts a deception, he makes a contested Charm roll versus the Intellect of all those within earshot. The roll is based on the character’s ability to use charisma and persuasion to make others believe the conviction they hear in his voice. The Narrator may give a bonus to either the deceiver or his pigeons based on their knowledge of the subject at hand, the details of a given situation, and the deceiver’s appearance.
Any characters with a total lower than the deceiver’s will believe the story. Those who roll equal to or higher than the deceiver will suspect he is lying but may or may not act on their inclinations.
If the character rolls a critical success, his stories are believed no matter how ludicrous. If he rolls a critical failure, it is impossible to take him seriously; not only does no one believe his stories but someone is certain to burst out in laughter.
In the case where a character wishes to sway the opinions of a particularly large group of NPCs, the Narrator may choose to have the character roll once versus the group. The result of the die roll determines the general effect of the character’s words, though individual opinion may vary. The deceiver may still have to roll versus important characters in the crowd individually, especially against those who can have a direct effect on his well being.
Charm – Intimidation
Intimidation is a direct means of manipulation, the bending of another’s will through the sheer force of personality coupled with the threat of imminent violence or retaliation. A character using intimidation threatens another’s health, livelihood, social status, or loved one as leverage to get what he wants. While not a way to make friends, intimidation can certainly be effective. Most people cannot be intimidated into doing something that violates their most sacred principles, but then again, most people’s principles are not as pristine as they would like to think. The Narrator is the arbiter of what a non-player character’s emotional breaking points are and what actions they simply cannot be induced to perform. When one character attempts to intimidate another, he makes a contested Charm roll versus his subject’s Will. If two characters attempt to intimidate each other, each makes a contested roll, adding his Charm and Will.
The Narrator may give a bonus to either the intimidator or the subject based on the intimidator’s reputation, the details of his threat, his appearance, the willingness of the subject to believe the intimidator can and will carry out his threats, or whether the subject has suffered at the hands of the intimidator before. A character with an obvious advantage over his subject should receive a corresponding bonus to his Charm roll. Aiming a gun at an unarmed man will generally go a long way toward inducing compliance. If the intimidator rolls higher than the subject, he coerces the subject into giving him what he asked for. If he rolls equal to or lower than the subject, the subject refuses to give him what he wants, no matter what he threatens.