Of Monsters and Men
Contacting is the ability to find things out from people. A character may know a guy who knows a guy, or maybe he just knows the right questions to ask. Characters with high Contacting range from guildmasters and courtiers to pirates and spies.
Characters with high Contacting know a wide variety of people and have at least a slight connection with virtually any organization (within reason).
- Social Networks
Contacting doesn’t work in a vacuum – the character needs to get out and talk to people, and if that isn’t possible, neither is Contacting. It’s also limited by familiarity – difficulties may be up to +4 higher in an unfamiliar environment. Contacting also covers building new social networks, so a character may reduce unfamiliarity penalties by -1 per week spent establishing new contacts in a new area.
- Gather Information
Gathering information begins with a question – say, “Who’s trying to kill me?” The player describes where his character is going to talk to folks (usually “the street” “the local tavern”) and rolls against a difficulty set by the Story Teller, who then passes on whatever the player has discovered (if anything). A player can retroactively improve a failed Contacting roll by taking more time (see the Time Increments Table, page 178). Gathering information takes an afternoon by default, with a +1 bonus for every additional step spent up to a maximum +4.
Successfully gathering information should always result in a clear course of action. If the character is being “shut out” for whatever reason, no amount of extra time will help; it usually means there’s another problem the character needs to solve first.
Knowing the word on the street isn’t necessarily the same thing as being the best informed; Contacting finds out what people know, and people are often wrong. Contacting rarely tests the veracity of its findings, except perhaps by finding contradictory answers from different sources. Determining the truthfulness of information is a more in-depth conversation, and may involve Empathy,
Story Teller, who then passes on whatever the player has Rapport, Deceit or other skills.
- Getting the Tip Off
Contacting keeps a character apprised of the general state of things, a sort of social Alertness. It’s far from foolproof, and like Alertness the Story Teller usually calls for the roll. A player can’t generally go out looking for a tip off, though he can tell the Story Teller he’s talking to his contacts “just to check” what’s up, which is a good hint he’d like a tip off.
Contacting can plant rumours as well as root them out. The player tells the Story Teller the rumour he wants to plant and rolls Contacting: if the rumour’s subject is a person, it’s an opposed Contacting roll between the two of them. The Story Teller assigns bonuses and penalties depending on how preposterous or reasonable the rumour is (use the Rumour Planting Table as a guide). If the subject is more general, like “I hear the well’s been poisoned”, use the normal declaration rules.
The Contacting effort determines the result, and is also the difficulty for someone else’s Contacting roll to discover who’s been spreading rumours. A successfully planted rumour should resurface later in the game; the form it takes depends on the effort of the roll.
Rumour Planting Table
|Contacting Effort (shifts)||Result|
|Mediocre (+0)||The rumour earns passing mention.|
|Good (+3)||Other people are spreading the rumour, maybe even back to the originator.|
|Great (4)||The rumour has spread far enough that someone (presumably the target) will do something in response.|
|Superb (+5 or more)||The rumour has spawned a number of alternate or embellished versions. Additional shifts speed up the spread of the rumour or conceal its originator.|
- Contact (Contacting)
The character knows someone important. Define a specific contact, with a name, brief personality note, and relationship to your character. The contact is a companion (see page 165), able to accompany you on your adventures, with the Independent advance and three additional advances. For maximum effect, allocate one of your aspects to this contact. You can take the stunt multiple times, defining a different contact each time.
- Close Contacts (Contacting)
Requires at least one Contact
The character’s contacts are more valuable than most; you may distribute three additional advances among your existing contacts. You can take this stunt multiple times, but can’t apply more than six additional advances (nine advances total) to any one contact.
- Network of Contacts (Contacting)
The character can choose from a large number of contacts, and can define a contact in the middle of an adventure rather than beforehand. When introducing the contact, all you need is a name and a few brief cues for the Story Teller to base a personality on. The contact starts out at Average (+1) quality with the Summonable and Variable Summons advances, and up to two additional advances.
Each time you take the stunt you receive another two advances to reveal an additional contact per session, or create a more capable contact on the fly.
You can only do one “reveal” of this kind per scene: once revealed, the contact will be involved and reasonably available at least until the end of the adventure. No contact created with this stunt can have more than six advances in total, but there’s no limit to the number of contacts you can create.
Optionally, you can make the contact available to you for only one scene before she’s “written out” of the story, starting the contact with three advances instead of two. Once the scene ends, the contact is removed from the adventure, one way or another; you can’t create a new contact until the next adventure.
- I Know a Guy Who Knows a Guy (Contacting)
Sometimes it’s not who you know, but who those people know – and your contacts are well-connected. All Contacting rolls take one step less time, and you receive +2 to any “second rolls” to corroborate information from a second source. Consequently, this bonus is useful on a follow-up, not the initial roll.
- Insider (Contacting)
The character can navigate bureaucracies and organizations easily, not because he understands them, but because he knows people inside who can provide shortcuts. Normally, Leadership is used to deal with bureaucratic entanglements (see page 93); with this stunt, you may roll Contacting instead.
- Walk the Walk (Contacting)
The character’s familiarity with foreign lands and peoples allows him to function as easily abroad as he does at home. You ignore any additional difficulty from unfamiliar circumstances when using Contacting.
- Famed (Contacting)
The character is not just well-connected in his community, but a person of great importance. Choose a specific field (Criminal, Business, Politics, Espionage, or a foreign culture are the most common) for the stunt, ie “Big Man in Politics”, “Notorious Criminal”, “Famous Noble”. For maximum benefit, pair the stunt with a matching aspect.
The character may also use Contacting instead of Resources for things relating to members of his field. You can take the stunt multiple times, each time for a different field.
- Talk the Talk (Contacting)
When dealing with members of his field, the character puts out the right signals and says the right things. You can either take a +2 Rapport bonus or use Contacting instead of Rapport.
- Renowned (Contacting)
The character’s reputation makes him well-known even outside his field. The first time you deal with someone who’s heard of you (spending a Fate point can ensure they have) and you’re using your name, you get a +2 bonus to Rapport and Intimidation rolls.