Influence is a custom merit specific to Fate's Harvest which represents a character's standing and responsibilities within an open, player-guided group, such as a family, court or freehold. Given that a character's role within any of these groups may change multiple times over a lifetime, this merit costs no XP to purchase. However, all prerequisites must be met before advancing through the ranks. A specific group (e.g. Fry Family, Sun Court, Fate's Harvest Freehold) must be specified when purchasing this merit. A single character can have multiple Influence merits for the different groups in which they are involved.
A character with Influence 2 or higher in a particular group receives +2 to relevant social rolls when interacting with members of that group with less Influence. The roll must pertain to the group's business or well-being to apply, allowing those with higher Influence to have a little more pull in determining the direction and function of the group.
- Example: Lily Miller has Influence 4 with the Miller Family. She can add +2 to her roll to persuade John Miller, who has Influence 2 with the Miller Family, to go check on Grandma Miller instead of hanging out with his friends tonight because helping out Grandma Miller is of benefit to the whole family. However, she can't apply that +2 to her roll to persuade him to loan her some cash, no matter how much she might think keeping her happy is of benefit to everyone.
Universal Rules for Influence
- Advancement Is Not Automatic - Meeting the prerequisites for any given influence rank does not mean you are automatically considered to be of that influence rank. You must still request the merit from staff as you would any other purchase, even if we won't charge you any XP for it. Influence 1 is the exception as it's generally automatically granted by membership and should be set by staff at the time of joining. If we've missed it, put in a +req!
- Advancement Is Sequential - You can't skip ranks. To get to Influence 3 with a group, you must first be Influence 2 with that group. While exceptions may apply, we'll typically only approve one Influence advancement for your character per month for any given group.
- One vote per month. If you fail an Influence vote, you may not try again to gain that dot of Influence until a month has passed.
- Influence Is Voluntary - Just because you've achieved a higher degree of influence in a group doesn't mean you need to keep it. If you ever want to reduce your Influence, all you have to do is ask! We'll drop you down to a lower rank without questions any time you'd like. Maybe your character's story is leading him away from the group. Maybe you just don't have the time to be involved anymore. Whatever the reason, we can accommodate the request.
- Influence Is Tiered - Ideally, the lower ranks should always be more populated than the higher ranks. If advancement would upset that balance, you'll need to wait. A good way to fill up lower ranks is to recruit new members, and a good way to thin out middle ranks is to promote deserving members. Freeholds are the exception to this rule as governing a freehold requires active leadership and representation.
- Example: Floyd Lefevre currently has Influence 2 with the Lefevre Family. He's been around and active for ages and thinks he ought to be Influence 3. He meets all the requirements, but he's currently one of only three Lefevres at Influence 2 since a couple of relatives recently ran off to Tahiti. There are already two Lefevres at Influence 3. Floyd can't advance because doing so would leave two characters at Influence 2 while making him the third character at Influence 3. Floyd will have to wait until the numbers work out in his favor, maybe by helping one of those Influence 3 folks to move up to Influence 4.
- Votes Are OOC - In many cases, Influence 4 and 5 require votes. These votes are strictly considered to be out of character. You, as a player, are voting on whether you feel that both the character and its player are a good fit for a leadership position. Your character might hate their character, but if you find the player to be responsible and the direction they'd lead the group in to be interesting, we hope you'd vote yes. Just like we'd hope you'd vote no if you believe a player would not be responsible, active or a good fit for leadership, no matter how much your character might like theirs.
- Note: This is especially important to keep in mind for positions like Freehold Crown and the Winter Court's Unbidden Lord. The Crown is chosen by the Wyrd, not the freehold. And Unbidden Lords are super-secret, revealing themselves only when they see fit. Please respect the OOC nature of the vote!
Leadership: Influence 4 & 5
Influence 4 & 5 represents the leadership of our open, player-guided groups. It's expected that those holding these positions will do their best to support their fellow players in the continued functioning of those groups. Leadership can be very rewarding, but also very demanding. Please be aware of these expectations before requesting Influence 4 or 5 in any group.
- Activity Expectations - Leadership characters are expected to be active. If you are unable to be online for an extended period of time (a week or more), please delegate your responsibilities and let people know. At the very least, you are expected to send a +req to staff so that we can field questions when people wonder where their leader has gone; we do not need specifics, and we will not tell anyone anything more than that you notified us and we expect you back. As long as you keep us informed, we'll gladly work with you to keep everything running smoothly.
- Influence 4 - If you are inactive for four weeks without notification, you will be demoted to Influence 3. A replacement may be sought, as appropriate for the position.
- Influence 5 - If you are inactive for two weeks without notification, you will be demoted to Influence 3. A replacement may be sought, as appropriate for the position.
- Responsibility Expectations - Leadership characters are expected to be involved in their group in an appropriate manner. Each group's wiki page will list specific leadership responsibilities. If someone within the group feels a leader (someone of Influence 4 or 5) is not serving the group well, they may a call a vote to remove the leader from power. A vote may be called anonymously. A vote may only be called against any individual within any given group once per season. As the Freehold Crown (Influence 5 with the freehold) is a seasonal position, no vote may be called to oust the crown.
- Influence 4 - If you are voted out of your position, you will be demoted to Influence 3.
- Influence 5 - If you are voted out of your position, you will be demoted to Influence 4.
- Theme Expectations - Leadership characters are expected to understand and encourage the theme of the groups they lead. It's very unlikely that a pacifist will rise to lead the Summer Court or anyone who's not a devout skeptic will take the helm of the Alexander family. However, should such a mismatch occur, expect staff to check in. We'll work with the group's leadership to find a story that brings the group back to their core theme.
- Influence 1 requires only that the character be a member of the family. Usually set at character creation or when married in.
- Influence 2 requires that the character be involved in at least three Family scenes with the RP logs posted to the wiki.
- Influence 3 requires that the character donate three dots total to shared Family resources.
- Influence 4 requires a vote by the family. Must be acknowledged as a long-term, proven leader.
- Influence 5 requires a vote by the family. In practice, PCs will never hold this rank. NPCs control the families.
Each court will have different expectations for their members. Guidelines for appropriate court involvement can be found on the court pages.
- Influence 1 requires Mantle 1. Usually set at character creation or initial Mantle purchase.
- Influence 2 requires Mantle 2 and a willingness to be involved in the court's activities.
- Influence 3 requires Mantle 3 and consistent long-term effort to spread the court's message/increase its power/help other members.
- Influence 4 requires a vote by the court. Must be acknowledged as a long-term, proven leader.
- Influence 5 requires a vote by the court. In practice, the Councilor automatically gains Influence 5.
- Influence 1 requires only that the character be pledged to the freehold. Usually set when you join, but send in a +req if we've missed it!
- Influence 2 requires membership in a Freehold subgroup.
- Influence 3 requires holding a court position within the Freehold, such as Ranger of the Thorns.
- Influence 4 requires leadership of a Freehold subgroup or council membership. Council positions are filled by previous crowns or, if abdicated, by vote.
- Influence 5 requires that the character be the current crown, generally determined by vote by the freehold.