Spheres of Influence

Not only does your character have a friend at court played by another player, everyone has a certain amount of external influence they can bring to bear in negotiations. As we're unable to provide physreps for this cast of thousands, the system of influence is abstracted and represented by a personalised deck of twenty cards for your character.

If you are negotiating for a specific resource (or proof for a dirty secret), and you are unable to come to an agreement through other means, you can call upon your outside spheres of influence to put pressure on your opponent to hand it over. Your opponent then uses their own spheres of influence to defend themselves.

Charm

Charm (hearts) is your sway in fashionable circles, using your good looks, dress sense and social skills.

Capital

Capital (diamonds) is all about using your assets, cash or otherwise, to make an offer they can’t refuse.

Cunning

Cunning (spades) might be using your influence by threats, extortion, thievery or deception.

Catholicism

Catholicism (clubs) uses your piety (or perceived piety) to bring the external influences to bear.

Using Influence

If you want to use your influence to insist that a resource is handed over:

  1. Initiate the negotiation by stating clearly which resource you are negotiating for and state specifically if you are using your Charm, Capital, Cunning, or Catholicism.
  2. Both you and your opponent should shuffle your influence decks, then players should select at random one card from their opponent's deck and show it.
  3. If any card is of the appropriate suit for the method used, it counts as double its face value.
  4. If the card from the initiating player is higher than the defending player, the defending player must hand over the resource. If the cards are even, or the defending player has a higher card, the resource is not handed over.
  5. Regardless of the draw, the initiator must hand over their card to a referee at the earliest opportunity and this may not be re-used. The defender does not hand over any cards.

These steps may be repeated as many times as the initiator has cards remaining. The defender may, for example, initiate a new negotiation for the resource they just had taken. They then become the initiator and repeat from step 1. The original initiator, if unsuccessful, may start a new negotiation immediately if they wish. It is down to you to decide how much influence you're willing to burn for one resource.

Regaining Influence

It is possible to regain influence that has been lost by roleplaying appropriately for at least 30 minutes then informing a referee so they can return your card to you. You may not gain more influence than you originally had (your influence score for that sphere).

Charm

To regain charm, do any of the following: Paint, embroider, play or listen to music, stroll in the gardens, read a book, etc.

Capital

To regain capital: Play vingt-et-un, place and win a wager, pose for a portrait, play croquet, play petanque, etc.

Cunning

To regain cunning: Play chess, play backgammon, do a puzzle, study maps or charts, etc.

Catholicism

To regain catholicism: Read a bible, give or take confession, pray, sing hymns, etc.