|Influence = Skill Level + Charismatic Trait|
|7||30||Etiquette: +1/day -or- Grand Conspiracy||115|
|8||35||Specialty 4 -or- Perfect Decorum||150|
|9||40||Etiquette: +1/day -or- Grand Conspiracy||190|
|10||45||Specialty 5 -or- Eyes of the Court||235|
|11||50||Etiquette: +1/day -or- Grand Conspiracy||285|
|12||55||Specialty 6 -or- Master of Shadows||340|
*this is the total amount of cp spent on the skill at the corresponding level
By spending downtime actions, a character can attempt to influence various factions and groups, so as to manipulate political and social situations. Characters with the Charismatic Trait add 1 to their influence actions for each level of Charismatic they possess. The success or failure of influence is based upon the situation in question, the person making the action, and, of course, the character’s level of influence. Note that attempting to influence groups with which the character has had little or no contact is not likely to be successful. Finally, Influence is not used in a vacuum, and meddling in political or economic affairs will frequently entangle the character in intrigue.
Every even level of Diplomacy grants a specialty, which allows a character to exert greater influence over a specific group or faction. Whenever the character makes an Influence action involving the specified group of people, the character adds 2 to their Influence. Common Diplomacy specialties are the nobility or peasantry of a particular world, the culture surrounding a specific profession, a political faction, a specific tribe, or an academic society. As with all skill specialties, Diplomatic specialties may be taken up to 3 times in the same area.
Etiquette allows characters to retroactively edit the last few seconds of their speech, up to once per day for each time it is gained. If a character accidentally says something offensive, or something they say gets a reaction they don’t want, they can call “Etiquette!” to cover themselves, which instantly negates anything said in their last statement. Instead of what was originally said (which becomes out of play, effectively), other characters present hear meaningless pleasantries or simple silence, neither of which can be interpreted as offensive nor significant. Note that actual yelling, screaming, crying, or other intense emotional outbursts cannot be removed by uses of this ability; only relatively normal speech is affected.
Alternately, characters can use Etiquette when they encounter a social situation that is unfamiliar to them, including first meetings with strange beings or participation in unfamiliar rituals. The character calls “Etiquette?”, and a marshal or qualified player explains to the character what the proper or expected action would be in that situation. Both the tagline and the response are out of game.
Once per season (game year) for every time it is chosen, characters with this ability are able to formulate and carry out a plan of diplomatic legerdemain so audacious that it seems impossible. Without using this ability, such a plan would no doubt collapse into absurdity. With it, however, a cunning diplomat can quickly realize a lifetime of manipulation in only a few weeks.
Functionally, a player declares that they are using Grand Conspiracy for a particular downtime session. Assuming all of their Diplomatic actions that session are valid lines of influence and directly related to one another, the conspirator will almost certainly be successful in all of them, no matter how difficult. Note that the fallout from such sweeping manipulations will likely be profound.
Characters with this ability are unflappable under any circumstance and always seem to know just what to say in any situation. Perfect Decorum simply allows a character to use their Feats of Charisma, Empathy, Learning, or Perception as extra uses of Etiquette (called as “<feat name> Etiquette”).
Eyes of the Court
This ability marks a Diplomat who always has the channels of information open. During the single downtime period available at events, a character with Eyes of the Court will receive up-to-date information covering all the areas of their diplomatic specialties. This will allow them to act—during the game or in downtimes—with swift precision. A use of Eyes of the Court will almost always generate an in-game result during the same event.
Master of Shadows
A diplomat with this ability has become so subtle and secretive that they are able to lead a hidden, shadowy organization whose members work in total isolation, to what end only the Master of Shadows ultimately knows. A character with Master of Shadows, even if they make a miscalculation with their influence actions, will never be implicated or singled out; they have willing and unwilling scapegoats for that. Functionally, a character with this ability has a network of agents throughout all the relevant factions governed by their specialties; they may declare actions among these disparate groups as working in unison to a single end, with no restrictions and little chance of discovery. A Master of Shadows can rule a nation without anyone knowing that they are the true power behind the throne.