Val's Social Positioning

TL;DR

Anyone who wants to partake in Social Standing must start tracking Social Standing and stats, which represents the set of people with whom you have connections. It represents your ability to “find a guy” or to “know a guy.”

Primarily, this takes the form of a new ability score, called Circles. Circles works like any other ability score (10 == 0 CIR mod, 12 == +1 CIR mod, etc), and is primarily used for macroscopic social interaction. This represents your aptitude in finding social connections.

Secondarily, this takes the form of a set of new skills. Unlike existing skills, which take an extremely long time to improve without spending feats, these new skills represent reputations, affiliations, and experiences that give you bonuses to finding related people. These skills work just like other skills: They have 4 levels of mastery that scale with you as you gain levels.

To make a Social Standing check, it’s like any other skill check: Add the relevant ability score (Circles in this case), pick an appropriate skill, and see if you succeed.

Reputations, Affiliations, and Experiences

All Reputations consist of 2 parts: A location and the reputation itself. The location determines where it can be applied, while Levels of Mastery for Reputations represent how widely spread from the location it is. Example: Cold Blooded Madame (Berdusk)

Mastery Novice Proficient Expert Master
Spread Local Regional National International

Reputations can be gained naturally through play (“Slayer of Balagos!” for slaying Balagos), or can be cultivated though careful image manipulation.

Affiliations

Affiliations represent memberships to organizations outside of the player’s control, with the affiliation’s mastery representing how much weight they can pull with that organization to find what they need and get what they want. Note that you can be a member of an organization and have no Affiliation: this just means you pull no weight. Consider a membership with no affiliation like being in the vanguard of a mercenary company.

Mastery Novice Proficient Expert Master
Weight A Little Weight Some Weight Meaningful Weight Mission Critical Weight

Experiences are backstory hooks. They generally consist of a Role and a Location, such as Madame (Berdusk) or whatever. Generally, players will not gain new Experiences after establishing them originally, but again, have 4 levels of Mastery.

Using Social Standing Checks

Social Standing checks can be used in a number of circumstances:

  • To “title drop”, which allows you to give yourself an advantage in social situations.
  • To “find a guy”, which allows you to find the necessary NPCs.

Title Drop

Title Dropping effectively means using your Reputations, Affiliations, and Experiences at your disposal to get your way. It’s basically namedropping your organization or reputation to make someone more pliable. To pull rank, there must be a reasonable chance that the other person actually cares about the reputation or affiliation. For example, namedropping the Harpers would do very little outside of Faerun.

The base DC of a Pull Rank check is Passive Insight of the person being targeted (10 + WIS + Insight mastery bonus). If you succeed, you gain Advantage on all social ability checks for interacting with that person for things that pertain to your reputation or affiliation for the next 24 hours. Example: Using a Harpers affiliation to convince someone to sell you a sandwich probably wouldn’t work. Using a Harpers affiliation to convince someone to repair your armor probably would work.

If you are attempting to pull rank on a group of people, the number of people coerced is determined by the margin of success. The lowest Passive Insight score in the group determines the base DC, with double the highest Passive Insight score determining the 100% threshold. Example: The idiot in the group has a passive insight of 9. The bright one has a passive insight of 15. If you manage to roll a 30, everyone is coerced. If you manage to roll a 14, then ((14 – 9) / (30 – 9))% of people are convinced, or roughly a quarter.

However, if you use the wrong affiliation or reputation, then you may gain Disadvantage on social ability checks with that person instead! Example: “I am the werebear that killed Greenest” would probably help with Intimidation, but hinder Persuasion, among the people of Greenest.

Find a Guy

Finding a Guy allows you to find an NPC to serve your purposes. To do so, you must choose an applicable Affiliation, Reputation, or Experience that would reasonable help you find the person or type of person in question. Example: The Madame (Greenest) Experience would not help find a blacksmith in Berdusk.

First, describe the NPC (by name, occupation, situation, or even one of their titles / reputations), then calculate the DC based on the person being sought.

Property Modifier
Base 5
Uncommon Occupation / Knowledge +5
Very Rare Occupation / Knowledge +10
Lower Lifestyle +1 per level
Higher Lifestyle +3 per level
Quickly +5
Immediately +10
Laying Low* +5
Your Enemy* +5
Their Reputation* -their mastery
Their Circles Score* - their CIR mod

If there’s a *, it applies if you are looking for someone specific.

Downtime: Improving Social Capital

You can spend your time building social capital during downtime. There are a number of ways to do so.

Improve Circles

To Improve your Circles ability score, you must meet a number of requirements.

  • You must have made a number of Social Standing checks equal to your current Circles score since your last improvement.
  • Subtract 10 from your Circles score. You must have that number of Affiliations and Reputations (when added together) at a Proficient or better level of mastery.
  • You must spend money:
To get to You spend
11 1000gp
12 3000gp
13 6000gp
14 10000gp
15 15000gp
16 21000gp
17 28000gp
18 36000gp
19 45000gp
20 55000gp

Alter Reputation

You can attempt to alter your reputations (removing ones you don’t like, adding ones you do) outside of normal play. Choose an appropriate skill check for the reputation you want. For example, a reputation of being a “Badass” might be based on Intimidation.

Altering your reputation takes time and resources. Each week of downtime allows players to make 1 step of progress towards altering their reputation.

If you want to strengthen a reputation, use the DC of the rank you are attempting to reach. If you want to weaken a reputation, use the DC if the rank you are currently at.

Mastery Steps Required DC / Step Cash / Step
Novice 3 10 200gp
Proficient 6 15 500gp
Expert 10 20 1000gp
Master 16 25 3000gp

You may pay money to lower the DC of the check as well. For every 1 point of DC reduction, pay the Cash / Step cost. Example: I want to have a DC 0 check for achieving a Master level reputation for 1 step. To do so, I need to reduce the DC by 25. Each reduction costs 3000 gp. So if I pay 75000gp in addition to the 3000gp cost, I can avoid having to make any checks. Yaaaay.

Create Affiliations

You can attempt to join groups. The exact cost depends on the group in question. A Merchant Guild has very different policies about joining and advancement in ranks than a Mercenary Company.

Val's Social Positioning

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