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Old 03-28-2015, 06:34 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

Enthrallment is a family of Will/H skills allowing a practitioner to influence others through voice and storytelling. All of them require Charisma 1 or better, and Public Speaking skill at 12 or better, and have no defaults. To use one, start by rolling Public Speaking (critical success gives +1 to the Enthrallment skill you use when it's time to roll that, failure gives a penalty of the margin of failure, and critical failure wrecks the whole project) and then spend the time required. Having done that, spend the required fatigue (2 to 8 points, depending on the skill) and use a quick contest of the appropriate Enthrallment skill against the Will of each audience member individually to see if it works. The maximum number you can affect is Charisma squared, and you seem to be able to select them out of a larger audience.

The actual Enthrallment skills are Persuade, which improves an audience's reaction to you; Sway Emotions, which lets you instil the audience with one emotion; Suggest, which suggests on idea to the audience, and Captivate, which makes the audience very loyal to you. Using the skills in combination is mostly limited by the fatigue cost, since letting off all four skills once each costs 20FP.

Low Empathy penalises Enthrallment skills, and the only other listed modifier is +1 to +3 for the player telling a good story. They're a bit like cinematic martial arts skills, in that they provide a way to do things beyond normal human capability with skills, rather than magic or powers. Turning them into spells looks easy, although powers might be more challenging and also expensive. The description notes that they might be magical, psionic, or a cinematic form of hypnotism. They seem to have originated in GURPS Bunnies & Burrows (1992), and were a way to represent the great importance of stories and storytelling in that book's rabbit culture. G:B&B has no magic as such, although it does offer psionics, herbalism and martial arts as well as Enthrallment.

Musical Influence is an IQ/VH skill, with prerequisites of Musical Ability I and a musical instrument skill or Singing at 12 or better, and no default. If you make your performance roll and your Musical Influence roll, you can adjust the reaction of your audience towards you, or anyone else present, up or down, by the same amount as Persuade. If you only have a few seconds, or the audience isn't paying full attention, you're limited to +/- 1. Listeners can resist with Will if they want to, when Hard of Hearing provides +4, and Deafness provides immunity. Depending on the setting, this might be a magical or psionic ability, ultra-tech, or advanced hypnotism: in some settings, only a specific kind of instrument can do this, and the skill appears to have been created for the Neurophon, from GURPS Humanx (1987), and significantly revised for 4e.

Enthrallment is used in the Banestorm setting, Dragons, and by DF bards, as part of the Bard-Song power. Fantasy suggests that Dancing and Erotic Art can be alternate prerequisites in place of Public Speaking, while Horror suggests Enthrallment for vampires and unseelie fairie. Madness Dossier has many, many uses for Enthrallment, as an effective way of hacking minds. Quite unusually, there are no Talents or Wildcard Skills in PU3 and PU7 that include Enthrallment, although the skills are used in examples of building abilities, and either a Talent or a Wildcard for all the Enthrallment skills and Musical Influence could make sense in the right campaign. Supers suggests Hypnotism as an alternate prerequisite.

Musical Influence is also used in Banestorm, and in DF Bard-Song, which does work on animals, a setting-dependent feature of the skill. Magic offers Musical Influence as a core skill for ritual magic, and Thaumatology and Ritual Path Magic expand on this. PU3 has several examples that include the skill. Ultra-Tech has a generic science-fictional TL11^ instrument for Musical Influence.

I've never run or played a campaign that actually used these skills, although I just noticed my TORG character has Musical Influence, at too low a level to be very useful yet. It looks as if they get used in DF. What have you done with them?
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Old 03-28-2015, 11:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I've never run or played a campaign that actually used these skills, although I just noticed my TORG character has Musical Influence, at too low a level to be very useful yet. It looks as if they get used in DF. What have you done with them?
I likewise never saw them in action. Between those of them that I looked at seeming underwhelming at first and hard to pull off at last, and them being very cinematic/supernatural, they just never came up.
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Old 03-28-2015, 03:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

I realise the goal of 4e Basic was to include all skills that weren't utterly setting-specific (and there are sockets like Hobby/Professional/Expert skills to plug in extras), but the Enthrallment series did strike me as a bit lacking in genericity and universality.

The only setting I've used in which they were available was Madness Dossier, where they're on several of the templates.

(edited: I meant 4e's skill list in the Basic Set, not 4e generally.)

Last edited by RogerBW; 03-28-2015 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 03-28-2015, 04:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

Musical Influence seems somewhat less cinematic than Enthrallment, especially if you limit it to increasing the emotional effect of the performance. This can still have quite varied effects: imagine an opera where the principal characters are using this to improve the audience's reactions towards the hero and worsen them towards the villain.

Doing that might be a Hard technique of a performance skill, defaulting to something like skill-8, and requiring an appropriate Talent to let the Technique be improved: it's something that only the best performers will be able to do reasonably reliably.

Given that, you might start using the idea for other artistic skills, and even non-artistic skills that can be used expressively. Michaelangelo might have had this for his Artist! wildcard.
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Old 07-27-2016, 12:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Enthrallment is a family of Will/H skills allowing a practitioner to influence others through voice and storytelling. All of them require Charisma 1 or better, and Public Speaking skill at 12 or better, and have no defaults. To use one, start by rolling Public Speaking (critical success gives +1 to the Enthrallment skill you use when it's time to roll that, failure gives a penalty of the margin of failure, and critical failure wrecks the whole project) and then spend the time required. Having done that, spend the required fatigue (2 to 8 points, depending on the skill) and use a quick contest of the appropriate Enthrallment skill against the Will of each audience member individually to see if it works. The maximum number you can affect is Charisma squared, and you seem to be able to select them out of a larger audience.

The actual Enthrallment skills are Persuade, which improves an audience's reaction to you; Sway Emotions, which lets you instil the audience with one emotion; Suggest, which suggests on idea to the audience, and Captivate, which makes the audience very loyal to you. Using the skills in combination is mostly limited by the fatigue cost, since letting off all four skills once each costs 20FP.
So, using Enthrallment takes (amoung other things) two rolls: first Public Speaking, and then one of Persuade, Sway Emotions, Suggest, or Captivate.j

Is your base skill level in Persuade, Sway Emotions, Suggest, and Captivate equal to your Enthrallment skill level? I.e. do I just have the Enthrallment skill on my character sheet and I just declair which of the four options I'm using at the time?

Or, is there no "Enthrallment" skill? I.e. do I have Persuade, Sway Emotions, Suggest, and/or Captivate skills on my character sheet, each of which with it's own skill level based on how many character points I've put into them?
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Old 07-27-2016, 12:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

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Or, is there no "Enthrallment" skill? I.e. do I have Persuade, Sway Emotions, Suggest, and/or Captivate skills on my character sheet, each of which with it's own skill level based on how many character points I've put into them?
This is how it works. It isn't totally obvious, because of the way Enthrallment looks like a skill write-up in the book, but examining the prerequisite and default chains for the four skills makes it clear.
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Old 07-27-2016, 04:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
This is how it works. It isn't totally obvious, because of the way Enthrallment looks like a skill write-up in the book, but examining the prerequisite and default chains for the four skills makes it clear.
This.

"Enthrallment" isn't a skill of its own, same with "Crewman", "Environment Suit", and "Melee Weapons". Those are just headings for groups of skills that use the same rules.

Clear as mud?
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Old 07-27-2016, 04:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

I had a player use Musical Influence (Neurophon) in a Humanx game. Guy liked to play bards and was the team Faceman, well one of them.
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Old 07-27-2016, 06:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

In my current fantasy campaign one of the characters has fairly high musical influence and has found it very useful many times as it stacks with other bonuses, notably with Musical Ability granted bonus that you get when you use musical influence!

Thus someone with 4 levels of Musical Ability gets +4 to the musical influence skill and +4 reaction bonus, making a +7 total fairly likely with modest investment in musical influence skill itself and you really need only one point in the singing or musical instrument to get to the in 12 Singing/Musical Instrument needed.
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Old 07-27-2016, 11:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skills of the week: Enthrallment and Musical Influence

In my new campaign project I'm putting together a Bardic Power (distinct from the DF one) and templates that use the Enthrallment skills (and others) in connection with music. It's a very handy skillset to have when most of the other characters around you are brute force fiends.
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