A character’s resistance is not a one-off thing. If it remains at the same level, the personae have to persuade her to get involved every time the issue comes up, and that is a long-term problem for the jinja. If the resistance represents a bad relationship with another character, then the removal of that resistance represents repairing the relationship, and may be one of the persona goals.
How, then, do personae go about doing that? I do not want to introduce another set of mechanics at this point; I think we already have plenty. That means reusing a set that already exists, and the best candidate seems to be the mechanics for creating a relationship. Those are mechanics for doing something to change a character’s long-term attitudes, and that is exactly what the personae want to do in this case.
Most of the steps also make sense. The personae need to work out what to do in order to reduce the character’s resistance, and then do it. This will involve talking to the character, or her friends, and then putting together whatever is necessary. Elements can be used to further develop the character, and the reasons for the resistance, as this is being done.
The problem is setting the difficulty for reducing the resistance. There are two obvious possibilities: one is to use the resistance itself, and the other is to have a fixed difficulty for reducing the resistance by a certain number of points.
Intuitively, it should be harder to remove a stronger resistance. Both approaches meet this requirement. If the resistance itself is the difficulty, then the requirement is obviously met. On the other hand, if there is a fixed difficulty for a certain number of points, the personae will need to choose a higher difficulty, or go through the process several times, if the resistance is higher.
Bearing that in mind, I will go for a fixed difficulty. For now, I will use the same number as used when building relationships: 8. The difficulty to remove a number of points of resistance is 8 times the number of points. This will make it impossible for most personae to remove even a moderate resistance all at once, as a resistance could easily be around 20. However, they could cut it down a bit at a time.
The smallest possible cut is one point, which has a difficulty of 8. That’s easy; almost any persona will be up to that challenge. The question, then, is how to make it a good idea to go for a difficulty that’s a bit higher. One possibility is to allow only one attempt to reduce the resistance in the course of one story, or have some other way to measure the time limit. That makes it sensible to try to reduce the resistance as much as you can in the attempts that you have available. Another possibility is not to worry about it, and to let the time required to make multiple attempts serve as the limiting factor.
One advantage of using a fixed difficulty is that the same mechanics can be used to persuade a character not to intervene in the personae’s project. Normally, a character intervenes when the personae have accumulated a certain number of points towards their goal. By using these rules, the personae can add to the threshold at which the character takes action, and if they raise it high enough, the project will succeed before the character does anything to interfere.
At this point, I think I have, finally, described all the core dice mechanics for the game. I still don’t have a role for harae, however, and that is what I would like to discuss next. It is, as I have mentioned before, a central part of Shinto. The purpose of harae is to remove kegare, so the first step in incorporating harae is to decide what kegare is in the game. That will be the topic of the next couple of posts.
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