Social Maneuvering Cheat Sheet

Step 1: Declare Intent.

Decide in a single sentence what your character intends to do.

  • “My character wants the security guard to let him into the building.”
  • “My character wants the Cop to drop the speeding ticket.”
  • “My character wants the store clerk to give him a discount.”

These goals should be reasonable. Expecting a police officer to murder a complete stranger without use of a supernatural power is more likely to get you arrested than anything.

Step 2: Determine Doors.

Doors represent a target’s skepticism or innate resistance to manipulation.

Targets get a base number of Doors equal to the lower of Resistance or Composure. So if a target has Resolve 2 and Composure 4, he will have two Doors.

Additional factors can increase the number of Doors, such as…

  • Requests that would also be a Breaking Point gain another two Doors.
  • Requests that prevent a target from achieving an Aspiration gain an additional Door.
  • Requests that go against a target’s Virtue gain an additional Door.

Each door must be opened one at a time with successful rolls. Additional successes on a roll do not open multiple Doors. However, an Exceptional Success DOES open an additional door, two in total.

Doors that have been opened remain open until circumstances change. This can represent additional knowledge gained by the target, higher stakes added before the Doors have all been opened, or simply too much time passing between checks.

Step 3: Determine Impression.

The target’s impression of you ranges from Hostile to Perfect, and affects how long your character must wait between attempts to unlock doors. The impression can change from meeting to meeting, becoming better if your character impresses the target, or lowering if your character earns the target’s hostility.

Impression Level Time between Attempts
Perfect Once per Turn
Excellent Once per Scene/Hour
Good Once per Day
Average Once per Week
Hostile Cannot be persuaded

Using a target’s Vice against them increases the Impression level by one. Inviting an addict to indulge his vice while making an offer.

Soft Leverage, a gift or service, can also increase the first impression. This is either done as a result of offering the use of appropriate merit dots (resources, retainer, etc) or by offering some favor you’re in a position to perform. You offer, if the target bites, the impression improves.

Step 4: Open Doors.

This represents the ‘courtship’ period. Each roll is made at the end of a social engagement with the target, and must be spaced apart according to the Impression Level.

Rolls depend entirely on what type of situation the characters are in; inviting the target to a swanky, formal party to impress him would be Presence + Socialize, while bonding with an anarchist might involve gun talk (Intelligence + Firearms) or political sympathizing (Manipulation + Politics). A successful roll removes one Door from the target, while an Exceptional Success removes two doors.

Tapping into a target’s Aspirations removes a door automatically without a roll, but still counts as an engagement according to the Impression Level. For example, if one of the Target’s Aspirations is to become an Actress, getting her an audition or two will automatically unlock a door.

Failing a roll during this period results in no Doors changing, and also imposes a -1 modifier on any future rolls to open the target’s Doors. A Dramatic Failure closes all previously opened doors and may result in the target being insulted, with an appropriate lowering of the Impression Level.

Aside from Dramatic Failures, the Social Maneuver can also fail if the target becomes aware of lies and manipulation in their relationship. If a character has been woo-ing a girl by acting like a Millionaire, and she finds out he’s unemployed and lives with Mom, she’s probably going to break the whole thing off. Similarly, if a character is honest about his intentions to purchase a book, but hides the fact he intends to use the book to summon a demon, the target may shut down the deal if he finds out.

Step 5: Resolution

Once all Doors are opened, the character is compelled to genuinely go through with the plan until something changes. Being compelled by another Social Maneuver, being pressured by authorities or being diagnosed with a terminal illness can all change how a character feels about the world, and re-examine his involvement with a plan.

Optional Step 1: Forcing Doors.

If the Intent must be achieved immediately, characters can attempt to use more direct means to achieve their goal. This is an all or nothing roll that represents approaching the problem directly, laying all your cards on the table without prolonged manipulation.

Roll to Open Doors as usual, ignoring the Target’s Impression. An impassioned plea might be Presence + Expression, while a brass tacks business proposal might be Intelligence + Academics. This roll is penalized by the amount of Doors the target currently has.

If the roll succeeds, the target sees the logic in the proposal and all doors open. If the roll fails, all doors close and the target becomes immune to any further Maneuvering attempts by the character.

Optional Step : Hard Leverage

At any step, your character can use dubious means to remove doors in your way. Blackmail, extreme intimidation, torture, kidnapping, drugging.

If an action taken during Maneuvering triggers a Breaking Point for your character it immediately opens one or two doors, based on the severity of Environmental Modifiers levied on the Integrity check (not considering your character’s personal modifications to it).

If the Integrity Roll is modified by -1 or -2, one Door is automatically removed from the target.

If the Integrity Roll is modified by -3 or more, two Doors are automatically removed from the target.

Social Maneuvering Cheat Sheet

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