Rage against the God-Machine
Example of Social Maneuvering
Stacy wants Professor Erikson to loan her a book from his private library (she intends to use the book’s contents to summon a demon, but Erickson doesn’t know that). Erickson is protective of his books but he’d be willing to loan one out under the right circumstances. Erickson has Resolve 3, Composure 4, so the base number of Doors Stacy needs to open is 3 (the lower of the two). Loaning out a book wouldn’t be a breaking point, nor does it prevent him from achieving an Aspiration, but it does work against his Virtue (Cautious), so the total number of Doors Stacy needs to open to get the book is 4.
The Storyteller decides that the first impression is average; the two know one another (Stacy is a former student of Erickson’s), but they aren’t close. Stacy arranges to find Erickson at a conference and impresses him with her knowledge of esoteric funerary rites (this requires an Intelligence + Occult roll, plus whatever effort Stacy had to put forth to get into the conference), and this changes the impression level to “good.” Now, Stacy can make one attempt to open Doors per day. At the conference, Stacy’s player rolls Manipulation + Persuasion and succeeds; one Door opens.
Stacy mentions the book to Erickson and lets him know she’d like to borrow it. He’s not immediately receptive to that idea, but Stacy’s in a good place to continue. The next day, Stacy emails the professor about a related work (Manipulation + Academics), but fails. Future rolls will have a –1 penalty. The Storyteller decides that the impression level slips to average. Stacy still has to overcome three Doors. She spends the next week doing research into Erickson and discovers that he wants to become a respected academic.
She tells Erickson that she has a colleague who can help break the cipher in which the book is written. This removes one Door without a roll. Now she must overcome two more before he’ll agree. (Note that even if Stacy has no intention of helping Erickson in his quest toward academic glory, as long as he reasonably believes that lending her the book will help him achieve his Aspiration, it opens the Door.) During her research into the professor’s personality, she also learns that his Vice is Vanity; he likes to see himself as the hero.
Stacy goes to his office in tears, saying that she is in danger of being accused of plagiarism for copying a paper, and asks if he can help authenticate her work. Doing this allows him to come to her rescue, which in turn lets him soak up some praise; this would allow him to regain Willpower through his Vice and as such is enough of a temptation to raise the impression level back to good. Stacy’s player rolls Manipulation + Expression for Stacy to compose a letter of thanks to him and achieves an exceptional success.
The last two Doors open, and Erickson offers to let Stacy borrow the book for a weekend. He probably even thinks it was his idea. On the other hand, if Erickson is a player-controlled character, his player might decide he really doesn’t want to let that book out of his sight. He might offer an alternative — he’ll bring the book to Stacy and let her use it for an afternoon. That, of course, might complicate her intended demon summoning, but she does get to put the Flattered Condition on Erickson.