"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
Elue'adril, Eldar Runeseer
Bold deeds and heroic acts of courageous men and women adorned in glittering armour and wielding shining weapons in the defense of their realm and in the name of their leaders live large in the minds of the young and naive. But behind the endless ranks of warriors and faithful are the true movers and shakers of the sector. Swords and energy weapons, to them, are just tools all the same, to be used and discarded as need be. The ones who guide these weapons are those versed in the game of power, the political machinations that can ignite a war or bring peace to a ravaged land. Intrigue and its masters hold true power, and their cunning is just as deadly as the greatest holy warrior in all the Imperial regions.
The Art of Intrigue is a dance as much as it is also a battle. Its two essential components are the exchange, the framework of an Intrigue, and the objective, the true aim of the participants, aside of perceived intentions. The structure of an Intrigue always follows the same rules: an exchange comprises of six steps (from the setting up of an exchange to the resolution of the winning party and a conclusion after one party fully loses its Composure), a complex intrigue unfolds over several exchanges and even Intrigues after the accumulation of enough Influence Points.
This system represents the expertise of professional politicians and diplomats while their players aren't supposed to duplicate their character's eloquence. It is simply put a simulation of a war of words and for hearts and simplifies political exchange by laying down a loose framework to work with.
The Structure of an Intrigue Edit
Whenever a social situation arises that cannot or is not wished be resolved through roleplaying alone, an Intrigue occurs. Such encounters can include negotiations and interrogations but can also represent seduction, forging alliances, provoking attacks, and a variety of other actions. All Intrigues follow the same steps as layed out below.
The Steps Edit
- Step 1 | Type of Intrigue
- Step 2 | Setting of Intrigue
- Step 3 | Objective of Exchange
- Step 4 | Disposition of Participants
- Step 5 | Tests and Resolution
Step 1 | Considering the Type of Intrigue Edit
An intrigue is a conflict of words, a careful exchange of negotiations, persuasion, and subterfudge. You might cultivate an alliance, seduce a withdrawn noblewoman, smear a rival's name, or intimidate a dire enemy. It may not seem important at first blush, but a critical negotiation can be every bit as deadly as the sword.
All intrigues fall into one of three types: simple, standard and complex. Each type reflects the nature of the challenge, the number and types of participants involved, and finally, the intended outcome.
- Simple Intrigue: 2 participants, single exchange, single test, short-term consequences (e.g.: bluffing your way past a guard), like a skirmish
- Standard Intrigue: 2+ participants, several exchanges, several tests, long-term consequences (seducing a nobles wife), like a battle
- Complex Intrigue: several participants, several standard intrigues (lots of exchanges), numerous tests, number of Intrigue Victories to be generated, far-reaching consequences (building alliances against a senior Inquisitor), like a war
Step 2 | Considering the Setting of an Intrigue Edit
Location as well as participants in an exchange can be a critical factor in deciding the outcome. Certain environments are more conducive to an intrigue than others. The appropriateness of the venue may bestow a bonus to the defending participants Intrigue Defense. These bonuses are shown below:
- +3 awkward setting (inciting mutiny under a statue of the God Emperor)
- +6 inappropriate setting (bribing a departmento clerk next to his superior)
- +12 wildly inappropriate (seducing a Sister of Battle/ Space Marine on the battlefield)
Besides locations, intrigues involve a number of participants. But whatever the number of participants, normally there will be only 2 leaders in an exchange and lots of supporters in an argument who bolster the resolve of the opinion leaders. Such supporting participants can modify the intrigue's outcome by encouraging or mollifying the primary negotiator.
- Participants decide on Negotiation Leaders and which side they support.
Step 3 | Choosing an Objective of Intrigue Edit
The core of every intrigue is your objective - what you hope to achieve by engaging in the intrigue in the first place. It's what you want your opponent to do, say or think. Or into whatever you want a situation evolving. Objectives tend to live in the background, unrevealed until you or your opponent are defeated. An objective defines the colour of a debate and can be anything from gaining friendship, creating sympathies for a cause, gathering information or subtly misinforming communities, to outright deceit or akquiring the service of someone on something.
- Decide on your Objective: What is your ultimate goal? What do you want?
On deciding on your objective, you also must decide on the Intrigue Skill, you will use in the forthcoming exchange. The skill dictates your style of negotiation as well as the colour of your discourse (will you intimidate or will you charm your opponent, for instance). When you are reacting party, you will decide on your defending Intrigue Skill which will grant you a bonus in defending against insinuating arguments and keeping a clear line of countering arguments through negotiations.
Intrigue Skills for Offense Edit
- Blather (Fel): stalling for time, baffling someone, distracting
- Barter (Fel): negotiating, contracting, bribing
- Charm (Fel): compelling, convincing, impressing
- Command (Fel): compelling, pulling rank, instilling loyalty or honor
- Deceive (Fel): acting, compelling, misleading, outright lying
- Disguise (Fel): impersonation, mimicry, playing his part
- Inquiry (Fel): rumour mongering, gossiping
- Intimidate (Str): making obey, instilling dread, scaring off
Intrigue Skills for Defense Edit
- Awareness (Per): attentive to details
- Evaluate (Int): countering barter attempts with facts
- Logic (Int): concluding, deducting, cool headedness
- Scrutiny (Per): uncover lies, discern hidden motives
Step 4 Defining the Disposition of the Participants Edit
A disposition describes a particular outlook as it relates to a character's opponent, describing whether the character sees you in a good light or bad. They also act as a form of armour, protecting you from your opponent's influence. It's far easier to convince a person who likes you than a person who resents you. Thus whenever a person is about to influence you in an Intrigue exchange, first you subtract your Disposition Rating from his Influence Score before the result is applied to your Composure.
- Affectionate (Dispo Rating 1, Deception Mod -2, Persuasion Mod +5)
- Friendly (DR 2, DeceptMod -1, PersMod +3)
- Amiable (DR 3, DecMod +0, PersMod +1)
- Indifferent (DR 4, DecMod +0, PersMod +0)
- Dislike (DR 5, DecMod +1, PersMod -2)
- Unfriendly (DR 6, DecMod +2, PersMod -4)
- Malicious (DR 7, DecMod +3, PersMod -6)
Dispositions can also be defined or altered by circumstances.
- Opponent is attractive +1 step
- Opponent is known for honour +1 step
- Opponent is deeply religious +1/-1 step
- Opponent is hideous -1 step
- Opponent is infamous for his treacherousness -1 step
- Opponent is a known heretic -2 steps