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Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture
New villain stories and villain system
villains, hero points, mechanics, influence

Hello, 

I just read the __Heroes and Villains__ rules for schemes of Villains. One thing I got into my mind, which has nagged to my mind: If villain is increasing his Influence, foiling that plot instantly drops his Influence to 0. This is due the fact he has to invest his full Influence for the scheme. I figured out that the Influence points is not good idea for mechanics. Here is my suggestion: 

Make system based on Danger Pool. This requires just one tweak, which I like: Do not reset hero points or danger pool, but at start of session, heroes gain hero points,and storyguide gets danger points. The points of previous session are spared. This way it does not matter when in session hero gets the points as he would not lose them. 

The mechanics would be following: At start of session, Storyguide can do following for each of his important vilalisn:

  • Advance story by 1 step
    • If story is completed, Influence cost of story is added to the Danger Pool. 
  • Create new story and spend as much from danger pool sa the Influence cost of scheme is. 
    • All stories foiled by Heroes fails, and no Influence is gained. 
  • Assist another villain in scheme
    • Basic use is to take over starting scheme of boss villain. 
    • This action can be used to take over scheme of another villain.  
    • This action can be used to delegate existing story to another villain. (Both use this action in passing story)
  • Avoid story foiling after Heroes have prevented advancement.
    • First time costs 1 danger point, second 2 and so forth.
    • Villain cannot use more danger points than he has Influence Rank. 
    • If Danger pool is too small, story is foiled, and Villain loses Influence rank. 
    • The failed scheme step is replaced with new story step. 
  • Plot increasing Influence and Strength increase Influence and Strength Rank, and players reducing villain Strength and Influence reduce it usually by 1. 

I would remove in this case all danger pool use to advance stories, but allow several villains to work on same story allowing faster advancement. 

I would like to get your comments. 

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Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

Why not return the amount of steps completed as influence?

I mean, the book says you can use Danger Points to advance the scheme by one step. A Rank 10 Influence Villain would require 11 steps in order to get Rank 11 if I'm not mistaken. If the Villain was able to advance... say, 5 steps and then the Heroes foil their plan, instead of losing all of the Influence, the Villain could get 5 back perhaps.

With your mechanics, what I would do is use Danger Points non stop to bother Heroes to no end and Heroes would simply store their Hero Points until they face the Big Bad and burn them at that very moment.

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Oooh!  Excellent catch Anniti!  I can't believe you are the first person to point this out.  I sent a suggestion to JWP during the proofiing process along those lines, but didn't follow the breadcrumbs to their conclusion.  Apparently, no one else did either.  Makes me think we are missing something.

My suggestion was actually right along Carlo's recommendation.  It makes no sense for the Heroes to have multiple stabs at collapsing a Villain's entire Infuence investment.  That leaves Villains waaay too vulnerable from my POV, and encourages GMs to play it safe with little schemes here and there.  Villains need some security to play the long game, and brutes and henchmen just don't really cover it.  Yes, I realize players have to discover the scheme and the GM can always dump a bucket of Danger Points at the end of the game to push the results in the villain's favor, but that just doesn't sit well with me.  So returning the villain's influence investment 1 point per story step makes sense to me.

Then again, looking at both systems, I don't see why they should be mutually exclusive.  Other than that pesky Influence increase cost, they work nicely together.  The new system just adds a nice progress clock for the completion of the scheme.

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Assist another villain in scheme

  • Basic use is to take over starting scheme of boss villain. 
  • This action can be used to take over scheme of another villain.  
  • This action can be used to delegate existing story to another villain. (Both use this action in passing story)

This is a fantastic idea that really should go into the core schemes list.  It really suits the concept of "wheels within wheels".  Let's take Star Wars, for example.  Just with the original film, you have Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, and the Emperor (off screen and pulling the strings).  All three of these characters could be considered MAJOR villains (with Strength and Influence) but in 7th Sea terms, who is the one investing Influence?

Allowing other (minor?) villains invest their own influence into another villain's schemes really gives teeth to the Mastermind concept.  Suddenly, Giovanni Villanova doesn't just have a score of henchmen at his disposal, he sits at the center of a web of villainy, always invested but never really getting his hands dirty.

So consider this add to the traditional scheme investment...scheme.  A mastermind can activate a scheme and must invest at least one point of influence, plus one point for each associated villain.  These associated villains may then invest in the same scheme.  Each point they invest counts as one against the total scheme.  The investments do not have to be the same.  One villain can invest 3 points while another invests 5 points.  If the heroes foil one villain, THAT villain loses its influence investment.  The mastermind his initial investment plus 2 for the associate villain who failed (1 for the investment, 1 to cover his tracks).

Thoughts?

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

Maybe I'm missing something, but having a Villain's scheme foiled by the PC's doesn't drop the VIllain's total Influence to 0. What it does is cause the loss of any invested Influence in that particular Scheme.

So a Villain with Influence 10 may invest 3 Influence in a Scheme. If the Scheme is successful, the VIllain gains 6 Influence. IF the Scheme is unsuccessful, he just loses those 3 Influence. 

A Villain's Influence is not a 'fixed value' but changes. If a Influence 15 Villain invests 5 Influence into a Brute Squad, he's down those 5 Influence to 10 Influence now. If he completes a 2 Influence scheme, he gains 4 Influence to his total. There is no '11 step process to go from 10 Influence to 11 Influence' from anything I read in the main book.

John

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

In the new system proposed by Heroes and Villains, a villain who wants to increase his influence by 1 point must invest his current influence rank (all of it). This creates a multi-step plot wherein if the heroes foil it, the villain loses his influence investment (as in all of it). You can spend Danger Points at the end of the game session to speed up the scheme.

So let's say you have a villain with 6 influence who wants to increase his influence to 7. That requires the villain to invest all 6 points of influence he has to create a six step story to boost his influence. Each game session, the unresolved scheme ticks one step closer to completion. So the players have (in theory) 6 sessions to foil the villain's plot and, in so doing, reduce his influence to 0. The GM could spend danger points to move things along, but it would cost 10 danger points to close the gap four steps in one session.

Or at least, that's how Anniti is reading it.

 

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

You are missing one basic math principle: The invested influence is not available, and is refund at SUCCESSFUL scheme. Thus Villain invest his whole Influence, and then he has Influence 0 until scheme is completed - according to basic and heroes & villain rules. If Heroes makes this scheme unsuccessful, he will not get that investment back thus he loses it. Simple math. 

My suggestion to use danger pool is to simplify mechanics, remove one unnecessary pool, and describes better how schemes work.And the fact is that villain schemes are making life of players harder, thus it should come from Danger Pool. 

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

I'm hoping that it is an incorrect reading...I don't see anything in the Villains book about resetting Influence to 0. I would say the Villain gets their "influence back" but they don't get whatever they attempted to do. Or it seems within the story structure to have the Villain change a story step if one is thwarted...

 

John

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

If you invest it and cannot get it back, your influence stays 0. Actually it ismore accurately that influence of villain is 0 while  he has invested all of his influence. That is silly to me. 

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Here's the quote from the book:

Once a Scheme has gone through the number of steps equal to its cost, the Scheme is completed and the Villain gains the Scheme’s benefit. Successfully completing any Scheme results in the Influence invested being returned to the Villain, in addition to the Scheme benefit listed. For example, if your Villain successfully completes a Scheme with three steps to increase their Influence, she regains the 3 Influence she spent to create the Scheme and 3 Influence for the Scheme benefit.

There's no specific guidance as to what happens when a villain's scheme is thwarted.  And these rules are meant to supercede those in the core book.  So the result is anyone's guess, I suppose.

Tom

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

Yes, there is. If he gets the investment back only if the scheme is succeeded, he won't get it back. And the invested influence is not usable by villain, thus his dice pools are reduced until he gets it back. This is simple logic. 

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

Rules on page 194.

"If the Heroes foil a Villain’s Scheme, the Influence
that were invested in the Scheme are simply lost. The
Villain’s gamble hasn’t paid off; he spent Influence
and gained nothing. Other effects within the Scheme
may cause the Villain to lose additional Influence"

Thus the paid influence is officially lost with potential additional influence drop.

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

I should point out that if you combine the schemes tables and remove the entry on increasing influence, everything works fine. Influence should be fluid.  So invest 1 point of influence, get one in return.

Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture

What happens to Villains whose influence is exhausted on grand schemes that thwarted by heroes? 
Does such an unlucky villain spend time as another villain's lackey building up influence through relatively minor but successful schemes like extorting some "protection" money from neighborhood taverns or brothels when heroes are out of town?

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Joachim Deneuve...
Joachim Deneuve du Surlign's picture

That was exactly what I thought happened.

Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

I have a hard time picturing a high influence Villain who has lost it all being a lackey or doing "petty" schemes like that... That would totally destroy the image of the Villain and I think not all of them fit into doing those things.

I would say that depending on the personality of the Villain, a Villain whose influence has been reduced to 0 could just go confront the Heroes directly, out of desperation or revenge or perhaps will simply be defeated forever (dies or becomes harmless). I could agree that some may try to rise from the ashes but I guess it all depends on what motivates the Villain.

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

Official rules at Heroes and villains say that he is Influence 0 Villain until he can raise his Strength greater than his boss.

I do not like this. Easier would allow him to have 1 step story to increase his influience from 0 to 1. It costs 0 as his influence is 0.

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

I'm fine with high influence villains being knocked down to petty crimes bit by bit. It's the "all in" nature of raising influence in the new system that troubles me. You shouldn't be able to reduce the villain to half strength in one stroke.

In that aspect, I prefer the original system. There you really do need to take out the villain step by step. But like I said, if you remove that one tier from the new system, it bolts onto the old just fine.

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

But the system does not remove that, as the rules how much influence Villain loses when heroes undermine their organization has been given. If theymake vital blow to VIllain, he can lose more. In myopinion losing 3 Influence is LOTS. And even easiests schemes are 3 Influence. 

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

My personal thought is that most Villains really shouldn't be investing huge amounts of their Influence into a single scheme unless said scheme is their "master plan."

While in a great many films, we generally only see the Villain's "major scheme," there's often behind-the-scenes schemes that the Villain as accomplished in preparation for the "big job" that the movie centers around.  Consider the film Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and ther various machinations that Moriarty took in fulfilling his scheme.  It undoubtedly took a lot of work on the Professor's part to bring things to the point where Holmes gets involved, by which point Moriarty has made a couple of big Influence investments that wind up backfiring badly upon him (having his finances seized and the assassination plot foiled).

So for a long-running smart Villain in a 7th Sea game, they probably shouldn't be continuely risking huge amounts of Influence in grand gambits, but instead investing it in 2 or 3 point schemes, allowing them to build their power base.  Once an intelligent Villain's pushed their Influence above 10, then they might gamble on a single 5+ point scheme, but never should never risk so much Infuence as to nearly wipe them out.  I'd say Giovanni Villanova and Alvira Arciniega are of the sort of Villain that probably has a number of a half dozen (or more!) lesser schemes running at any given time, so that if a group of Heroes puts a stop to one or two them, their overall Influence isn't negatively impacted, and in fact may yet still grow their Influence in the long run.  Another example might be Count Rugen, who may not have had a lot of Influence, but likely used what he had with precision, and only met his end when facing off against a superior swordsman that was extremely motivated to end the Count's life.  Or to stick with the same film, Prince Humperdink; yes his grand scheme to declare war on Guilder pretty much failed, but I doubt he committed every last point of Influence he had to the scheme, which accounts for the fact that he's still the crown prince and still pretty much running Florent by the movie's end.

As for lower-Influence Villains (those starting out in the 1 to 4 point range), they're generally limited to petty schemes, at least if they want to have any hopes of moving on up in the world of dastardly deed doing.  And if they get too greedy and scheme too big, then yes they're gonig to suffer badly if the Heroes apply liberal quantities of monkey wrenches to their scheme.  How often in films do we see lower-end crooks find themselves in a very bad position simply because they invested all of their Influence into a scheme that later blew up in their face because some noble-minded do-gooder stepped into the equation at the worst possible moment?

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog
http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

But even minor plans consume at least 1/3rd of the influence of strong villain with focus on Influence, not strength. That is my whole point. 

Strong villain has strenght + inlfuence of 15. That mean he quite likely has at most 10 influence. 3 Influence points are used quite petty schemes. There is not many schemes with lower influence cost. This is my whole point. IT is not reasonable that villains would do schemes at all with present system and infleunce costs. 

I myself see the powerful villains having web of schemes going on, but the mechanics prevent this. You cannot make new scheme before first one is fulfitted, as you do not have Influence to start new one. If some reserving of Influence woudl be wanted, 1 point of influence reduciton per scheme would be suitable. It allows high influence Villains to have lots of schemes going on as they should. 

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

I'm starting to feel this Villain Schemes / Influence was a good idae but not very well thought out in practice. I'm likely going to just have Villains that get thwarted as plot dictates :) If I want my Villain to have 3 Brute Squads, he'll have it. If I want him to have something stolen, I'll have him steal it. When it's appropriate that the characters/players have disrupted him enough, his ability to do that will decrease at the speed of story :)

Trying to codify this to such an extent seems forced.

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

I understand your thinking codifying is not that big deal I agree with you. 

On the other hand, my suggestion would give me as storyguide something to use for Danger Points except activation of villain abilities. And I love the idea those advancements needs time (the story model). It is good guideline for less skilled and self-confident storyguides. 

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

I reposted this to house rules forum part too as it is both house rule related, and current officila rule related. 

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

I just feel it makes no sense that if a Villain wants to advance his Influence, that he 'spends' his Influence and if the player's thwart any step, he's lost all those Influence permanently. Villain's are not 'one trick ponies'. It isn't 'all or nothing'. The villain would fail at what they tried to do, but that doesn't mean they are any less powerful unless the players do something else to undermine his influence. The original rules made more sense that Influence was a fluctuating number, and could change in small ways based upon success of failure of smaller schemes.

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

These rules are based on Heroes and Villains, and old rules had same problem, as schemes had quite large costs. How did you like my suggestion to use Influence and Strenght ranks and use of danger pool to fuel the start fo stories. 

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

What I don't want to use is that your system relies on carrying over the number of Hero Points and Danger Pools from session to session. I prefer the clean slate approach to each session. That said, the overall idea of it seems like a nice compromise; I'd just have to see how to best do it when DP's and HP's reset each session.

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

I dislike the reset of every session as it makes hero points acquried near end of session less usable. After decades of running games, I see no problem players hoard the hero points, if there has not been opportunities to use knacks. The present system makes people to waste or burn hero points near end of session, as they know they would be lost. Not very good for roleplaying. 

And official Heroes and Villain scheme rules did make this system even more unfair to players, as Storyguide can use his unused Danger Pool to fuel Villain stories. Thus in the last scene the Storygiuide would buy as many dice he can, as heroes lose the HPs they get at end of session. This is main reason I disliked the "danger pool to advance stories" part. It is free for Storyguide. 

 

Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

While I agree with some things you and Harliquinn said, after reading what you guys said I have a few questions/statements.

First: If Hero and Danger Points are not reset each session, this makes the Advantage Valiant Spirit useless. Why would  you want to pay 2 points for and Advantage that gives you a second Hero Point each session if it would only affect you the first game you play? Furthermore, what would you do if a GM/player decides to save Danger/Hero Points and then burn them all when needed? In the case of a GM there is a limit you may use at the same time but still... it troubles me.

 

Second: I believe there are times where a Villain may be "one trick pony". Not always and not definitely often but this reminds me of some books where the Villain tries a risky scheme to increase his economical/influencial power where, in the end, the Heroes foil and that said Villain is exiled. That would be, in my mind, right within the "invest all influence but if you fail, you lose it all". As it does not happen always, I wonder if some other kind of "scheme system" to increase influence would work better.

Off the top of my head, I thought that perhaps... let's say a Villain with 10 Influence wants to increase it to 11. If the Villain is desperate or too greedy or whatever reason that fits, they may try to do it in one go.. but, what if that 11 steps story COULD be split in chapters? 3 chapters of 4, 4 and 3 steps for instance, every chapter is some kind of CheckPoint which guarantees said Villain a resting spot betwen schemes. That way it may take longer for said Villain to end their scheme but they would only lose as many Influence points as steps that concrete chapter had. It would depend on the GM to decide how long it takes between chapters so this system could not be overused against Heroes but it would make the Villain's Influence more of a steady number instead of something that might blow in unexpected ways.

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

It needs simple fix to keep Valint spirit working: Change reset to increase. Thus at start of every session heroes gets 1 HP or 2 HP of they have Valiant Spirit. The wording of Valiant Spirit was made with assumption of Hero Point reseting at start of session. The effect of advantage is that hero get an additonal Hero Point at start of session.

When you make house rules, you can never take the existing advantages as "holy text written as it is", but try to figure out what the advantage did and if the basis changes, change the advantage accordingly.

Chapter system might help to fix it, but it still does not touch the problem that influence tied to stories is vast amount of the villain pool. Only thing with cost so low it does not matter is recruiting brute squads. Corrupting player allies is quite cheap comptared to its effectiveness as it is cheaper than normal villain henchman.

 

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Ok, so here's something I was playing around with prior to H&V, but this thread seems like a good opportunity to flesh it out a bit.

I'm definitely of the mind that any good villain will have multiple schemes floating around in different stages of development at any time.  I actually built this into my Villain sheet.  But I agree the way Influence works in the game doesn't really support that well.  So what I've been toying with is taking a page from economics and accounting and creating two Influence scores out of 1: Hard (Tangible) Influence and Soft (Fluid) Influence.

Hard Influence reflects actual assets, notoriety, and capability of the villain.  This is the score you see when you see the villain's stats.  But Soft Influence is a floating pool of influence that the villain is constantly rolling over into new schemes.  A Mastermind might have 8 (Hard) Influence, but 20 (soft) influence.  Soft influence isn't fully realized and can't be leveraged the same way Hard Influence.  To leverage it, a villain actually has to take influence out of rotation.  Think of soft influence like Favor with secret societies.

Your villain begins play with the same amount of hard and soft influence.  So a villain with 3 Influence has 3 hard and 3 soft influence.  And ALL of that soft influence is invested.  Soft influence is ALWAYS invested unless purposely converted to hard influence.  Soft influence does NOT give villains more dice to roll.  So basically, the villain is always at the center of a web of schemes until the heroes force him to hunker down.  Plus, masterminds now have the influence to spend on grand schemes without worrying about gutting themselves.

I'm of the mind that soft influence converts to hard influence at a 2:1 rate.  So a villain can always convert 2 points of soft influence to 1 point of hard influence, but only when a scheme has "matured" (yes, like a CD).  However, hard influence converts to soft on a 1:1 basis.  Or not.  I'm kinda making this up as I go along.

Otherwise, the scheme system remains as presented in the books.  You invest soft influence in a scheme, the amount you invest defines the number of steps (your progress clock) required for it to mature, each clock progresses 1 step each game session it remains active (unfoiled).  I might suggest, per Anniti's comments, that danger points may only be spent towards ONE active scheme, but I'm sort of ambivient about that.  Unfair to the heroes?  Sure, why not.  These are villains we are talking about.  And the GM always has the option of NOT being a jerk.

Thoughts?

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Starting schemes with this revision:

The villain starts out with ALL of his soft influence invested.  But these schemes are not all at stage/step 1.  Instead, at this point, the villain can invest influence to create a scheme and may spend additional points to move the progress, one step per additional point.

So lets say you have a Villain with 6 Influence.  This means he is introduced with 6 soft influence invested.  You decide he has two 1 step schemes going on (4 points).  You also invest him in a 3 step scheme, leaving you with 1 influence left.  You invest that 1 point towards the 3 point scheme, so it STARTS at Step 2.  A villain cannot invest enough soft influence to complete any schemes this way; schemes must always be at least 1 step from completion.  This may ONLY be done when the GM introduces the villain.

Too much?

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

I like the Hard and Soft influence idea...will need to play with that some more!

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

 

Thinking on it some more. Hard Influence would be used to buy hard assets (lackies, lair, etc). As these get depleted (by the heroes), the villain has to spend hard influence to replace them (brute squads too). This requires the villain to convert soft influence and keeps the cycle going as the game intended.

Example: our villain with 6 influence has the following hard assets:

A minor villain henchman (Str 5, so 2 points)

Three Str 10 brute squads (3 points)

And a frigate (1 point – let's say)

The players take out two squads and wreck the frigate, so the villain needs to spend hard influence to replace them. This would reduce him by 3 influence, unless he converts up to 6 (2:1) soft influence to blunt the loss.

This might be veering into the too much bookkeeping territory. Maybe just keep the replace instead of using influence for inventory.

Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

So... in short, you use soft influence to set goals (schemes) and when you reach your goals it counts as hard influence? As you do not need a scheme to hire Brutes, hard influence is used. Your post before, 1 point invested in a scheme that is not finished meant soft influence, am I right?

 

Actually... I've read your two posts again and wanted to ask a few things (I already like this system of yours)

You say a Villain with 3 influence begins with 3 hard influence points and 3 soft influence points. Soft points already invested at any scheme or schemes that were currently underway. You also explain that you can convert soft influence to hard influence at 2:1 ratio but only when the scheme has matured. My question is: Do you keep a track of schemes that have "matured"? or they have to decide at that very moment if they want to convert points? My point is... if a Villain succeeds at a scheme with an odd number of steps and converts from soft influence to hard then 1 will always be left. But if you keep track of the matured schemes and the number of steps, what happens if your Villain of 8 hard influence and 20 soft influence which... let's say, has 12 matured soft influence points out of those 20, decides to suddenly increase from 8 to 14 (12/2 + 8) hard influence?

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

So... in short, you use soft influence to set goals (schemes) and when you reach your goals it counts as hard influence? As you do not need a scheme to hire Brutes, hard influence is used. Your post before, 1 point invested in a scheme that is not finished meant soft influence, am I right?

Kind of.  Think of Hard Influence as Assets and Soft Influence as Currency.  I sort of imagine soft influence constantly rolling over until you need them, at which point the villain converts a few points and adds them to his (Hard) Influence score.

You say a Villain with 3 influence begins with 3 hard influence points and 3 soft influence points. Soft points already invested at any scheme or schemes that were currently underway. You also explain that you can convert soft influence to hard influence at 2:1 ratio but only when the scheme has matured. My question is: Do you keep a track of schemes that have "matured"? or they have to decide at that very moment if they want to convert points? My point is... if a Villain succeeds at a scheme with an odd number of steps and converts from soft influence to hard then 1 will always be left.

I think the misconception here is that villains are constantly converting soft influence to hard influence.  They aren't.  Soft influence is like the stock market.  You sell high, buy low, and keep all that money invested so you don't have to pay the tax on it.  Same with soft influence.  You are building your pool that you can tap into when you need to.  So yes, a 3 point scheme returns a 1 in Hard Influence, but why wouldn't you just reinvest that?  

This does two things in game terms: it keeps villains relatively consistent in power (their influence isn't constantly bouncing around) and gives them more currency to make grand schemes with less risk.

But if you keep track of the matured schemes and the number of steps, what happens if your Villain of 8 hard influence and 20 soft influence which... let's say, has 12 matured soft influence points out of those 20, decides to suddenly increase from 8 to 14 (12/2 + 8) hard influence?

Well, as I said, I'm kinda riffing right now.  None of this is all planned out.  So suddenly your villain is going to cash in 12 soft influence to boost his influence to 14, reflecting a big influx of assets?  I don't really see the problem here.  But I suppose you could always put a cap on how many points a villain could "cash in" each session.  Or maybe assets need to cost more.  Or maybe the idea needs something extra so it doesn't read like a book keeping nightmare.  ;)

Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

I think the misconception here is that villains are constantly converting soft influence to hard influence.  They aren't.  Soft influence is like the stock market.  You sell high, buy low, and keep all that money invested so you don't have to pay the tax on it.  Same with soft influence.  You are building your pool that you can tap into when you need to.  So yes, a 3 point scheme returns a 1 in Hard Influence, but why wouldn't you just reinvest that?  

Because I didn't think a Villain wouln't be willing to increase his "hard" influence. If you only play with "soft" influence, a Villain can reach whatever level the GM wants. Totally fine but I guess one of the main motivations of an influece Villain is to increase and "soft" influence is not going to do that. If you buy assets with "hard" influence, it is going to be reduced but when a Villain wins at a scheme, they only get "soft" points. That's why I ask. Unless they convert every now and then, they will end up with Influence 0.

Sorry for the maths regarding that 12 matured influence. Just wanted to know what you thought about it. I don't really see a problem because it will totally depend on the GMs side if they want to abuse it or not.

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Hmmm...what if you cap soft influence at hard influence x2. That would give any villain plenty of scheming without risking huge jumps in hard influence.

Also, to take a page from Anniti's idea, I'm warming to the idea of incorporating danger points into the mix. You can spend them to move schemes along. Maybe require them to convert soft to hard influence as well?

As for the villain ultimately ending up with 0 influence, that's the goal. The players should eventually be able to cut their way through the villain's network. My objective here has more to do with making the current rules more flexible so villains can take greater risks with their schemes.

Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

Indeed, that is the goal of the game and the goal of the players... but what about the goal of the Villain? regardless of what happens in the end? As we give lives and stories to npcs, I thought this part was interesting too. A cap could work though...

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

Okay, so looked at the new rules in the final release copy of H&V regarding Influence and a Villain increasing their capabilities via Schemes.

So here's a question: Why couldn't a Villain use a bunch of minor schemes (as per the core rulebook) to build up a surplus of "unspent" Influence, and then dedicate that to the Scheme while leaving their core influence largely untouched?

Then again, it sounds like the H&V rules were set in place so that Villains who are already have a high Strength and/or Influence can't easily push either score into the stratosphere, and was really meant for Villains that PCs are meant to eventually defeat after a certain number of appearances (they even called it out as "rule of three" with a structure not unlike Luke and Vader's 'confrontations' in the Original Trilogy), and that it's not really meant to handle a Villain that goes from a Nobody (Villain Rank 5) to a Nightmare (Villain Rank 15+).

I might also add that there's nothing stopping the GM from having their Villain adapt their Schemes so as to put things back on track once the Heroes manage to interfere.  After all, there's a reason the trope is called a Xanatos Gambit, and heck maybe have the Villain occastionally (but not too frequently) arrange Schemes that actually require the Heroes to get involved and act a certain way.  David Xanatos frequently operated that way, often having one scheme that was his intended goal, and a flashier scheme that if successful would be nice, but if the flashier scheme was thwarted then it wasn't a major problem; heck, there were probably instances that he outright planned on the flashier scheme being thwarted, and in so doing allow his intended goal to be accomplished.  Zemo in Captain America: Civil War did this, setting up his particular scheme to account for how various Avengers would react (though said scheme can come across as more a case of Xanatos Roulette).

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http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/

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