Approximate time to read: 5 minutes.
Information can be everything and nothing, depending on how you look at it. Perhaps, in some unintentional way, the use of the word Cunning is a smart move in Symbaroum, to represent the grasp of lore and knowledge. Information is not knowledge, but it can inform or deceive, instruct or mislead – and, in turn, the recipient of that information may construct future decisions based on solid or shaky foundation.
As well as Cunning and those Abilities associated with it, Reputation (introduced in the Advanced Player’s Guide) has a fair amount to do with information. What people think about your character has a lot to do with what they hear secondhand, rather than what they witness firsthand. Reputation is one of the spoils the victor claims, because those who return from a battle have the opportunity to create their own take on events. That’s why the Reputation rules allow you to enhance your rating through heroic tales and songs, even if you’re the one performing them!
The following are a scattering of new materials you might want to use in your game, aligned to the business of information and Reputation. In the guild halls, government chambers and noble embassies of Yndaros, who you are and what you know may make all the difference!
Boons & Burdens
Local Hero [Boon]
The character has established a sound and well-supported reputation amongst a population of about 1,000 people. This might cover a region of many small settlements, a single large town, or a specific quarter or significant organisation within a city. In this environment, the character’s Reputation functions as one level higher than that which they have actually achieved and they never need to spend money on their own upkeep while amongst those who know of their reputation (in terms of meals, drink or a place to stay).
Easily Discounted [Burden]
The character doesn’t lack for presence or experience, but always seems to be the last one in the limelight in the company they keep. Whatever the cause of the affliction, it isn’t that they blend in or go unobserved, just that others around them get all the respect and kudos for a job well done. The character cannot boost their Reputation through Heroic Tales/Songs (see p109) and must roll with a second chance to fail when trying to earn social favor using Persuasive on the basis of their name and deeds accomplished.
Words can have as much impact as a strike upon the cheek or a whack upon the shield. Whether in the taverns of Blackmoor or the hallowed debating chambers of Yndaros, the techniques of the seasoned wordsmith can leave those unprepared faltering and in doubt.
Novice. Passive. The character has a second chance to succeed in social challenges and encounters; the character’s careful use of words leaves those listening doubting themselves rather than the words they’re hearing.
Adept. Reaction. In the situation of a normal social challenge, the character uses strong language, knowledge of an individual’s questionable proclivities, or similar words intended to shock and wrong foot. If the character succeeds with a [Persuasive<-Resolute] test, the target is unable to take an action, of any kind, in their following turn unless their life depends on it – in which case they can defend themselves.
Master. Active. In the realms of verbal pugilism, the character holds their own, pummelling their social opposition with relentless invective. If the character succeeds with a [Persuasive<-Resolute] test, the target loses a point of Resolute (similar to the damage inflicted by the Monstrous Trait Alternative Damage and healed in the same way).
Material: A smear of charred parchment
Thought and memory are delicate things, given to change and decay without notice and through minimal interaction. Spoken word, even when apparently unrelated and innocuous, allows the mystic to play with perception and recollection. The Lessons are interrupted if the mystic uses another mystical power or if concentration is lost.
Novice. Free. With a passed [Persuasive<-Resolute] test, the mystic targets an individual such that they have a second chance to fail all success tests while within hearing of the mystics spoken words.
Adept. Free. With a passed [Persuasive<-Resolute] test, the mystic’s target cannot remember something while remaining within earshot of the mystic’s spoken word. The thing forgotten must be summed up with specificity in a half a dozen words or so. “Forget you saw me today”, “Forget the last conversation you had”, or “Forget today’s password for the gate” have sufficient specificity to work.
Master. Free. With a passed [Persuasive<-Resolute] test, the target acts in a way that makes perfect sense to them and will argue the point against the better belief or knowledge of their colleagues, associates or other parties. A single action, summed up in a instruction of no more than a dozen words, becomes the overwhelming imperative of the target. The instruction may have nuance and complexity, but will remain operative only while within hearing distance and the mystical power persists. “Denounce the sovereignty of Queen Korinthea as an deceiver and a whore”, “Unlock the door to the treasury and command the guard to leave”, or “Command a day’s reprieve of the guards’ hunt for the duke’s murderers.”
Ring of Marks [Artifact]
A ring composed of three bands of dull silver metal, twisted together rather than fused. Each band catches light in a slightly different way, suggesting patterns, symbols or markings of some kind, regular as if a language, but too difficult to perceive long enough to translate. Doubtful in provenance, the family record of more than one noble house from Alberetor suggests one member or another possessed the ring at some point, though never for very long or with any hint of how they acquired or lost it.
Gauge Desires: When engaging in normal conversation with an individual or a group of people seeking to understand their purpose, the ring-bearer has an instinctive feeling for the wants and needs of everyone engaged. This sense means the character can use this to better guide and sweeten the course of the conversation. if the wearer succeeds in a Hard Persuasive test, they understand the individual needs and difference among those engaged, including factions and differences of opinion – which the GM should explain, briefly, and allow to positively benefit future engagements and negotiations.
A Deal’s a Deal: The silver tongue of the wearer induces a sense of purpose and connection sufficient to induce an individual, engaged in open conversation for a short time, to agree to a reasonable action or task, within their ability and station to fulfil. The wearer must first succeed with a [Persuasive<-Resolute] test to seal the deal. Thereafter, the target must do everything they can to fulfil their part of the deal. Should they falter or come under outward duress to stay their progress, a further [Persuasive<-Resolute] test will check their commitment – though the influence of the Ring means the character makes the additional test (or tests) with a second chance to succeed.
Flawless Argument: The master of the Ring can automatically win a discussion or argument against an individual by spending a point of Experience, even if the target would normally be hostile, providing they share a common language that would allow such discussion in the first instance. Keep a record of the Experience spent in this way. At the end of the scene where the power has been activated, roll a ten-sided die. If the result rolls equal or lower than the Experience spent to date, the character loses the ring, inexplicably, only realising the loss when they next come to make use of it.
Truer Words [Mystic Treasure]
A quill pen tipped with silver, the feather thick and pale grey in colour with a narrow crown of black. Anyone who uses the pen to write with cannot compel themselves to set down anything but the truth, usually without realising their honesty. They cannot forge a signature nor intentionally set down any deception or falsehood.