Few skills matter more to courtiers and their ilk than the ability to flatter, deceive, plot, and scheme. They say that in the imperial court in Byzantium they have raised this art to new heights, but even in the oft-underestimated courts of barbarian kings fortunes shift every day because of plots and schemes that succeed or fail. Mostly, this skill measures your ability to lie convincingly, and juggle your lies so that you do not find yourself trapped in their complexity.
- Overcome: Some schemes are simple enough to put into motion with a single action — like tricking a guard into letting you past, or lying to someone’s face. Often, though, this will initiate a contest, which the other person might oppose with Scheme or Understand.
- Create an Advantage: Fast talking or deception can often provide you with an advantage, creating a cover story, a false pretense, or mistaken expectations. You can also use Scheme to trick others into revealing existing aspects, giving you a free invocation on them.
While even the most honest courtier should have some familiarity with scheming, even if only to catch others in the act, stunts in scheming will raise you above the crowd, and put you into the true corridors of power.
Feint: You rely on your ability to deceive your opponents quickly in combat, relying just on body language. You can use Scheme to create advantages in a physical conflict.
Cunning Stratagems: Before a battle, you can roll Scheme against a Fair (+2) opposition to place a boost on a warband describing the stratagem you have prepared for them. When the warband uses this boost to attack an enemy warband, they inflict the Afraid condition in addition to whatever other effects the attack might have.
Devastating Stratagems: Requires Cunning Stratagems. When you roll Scheme to place a boost on a warband before a battle, note the number of shifts from your roll next to the boost. Add these shifts as a bonus to the warband’s attack when they use the boost.
Hidden Agenda: When you roll Scheme to keep someone from learning one of your aspects, take the higher of your roll or your skill in Scheme as your result.
Spymaster: You must have an aspect describing your position at the top of a clandestine network in order to take this stunt. Once per session you can make a special Scheme roll against Fair (+2) opposition to declare that your organization has infiltrated an organization, population, or government. Each shift you gain on the roll gives you one more agent who has infiltrated your target. Keep a list of your agents and what organizations they have infiltrated. Name them when you refer to them. When you make a Scheme roll to place an aspect on any group you have infiltrated you gain a +1 bonus for each agent you have among them.
Courtly Intrigues: Requires Spymaster. Aspects you place on a court that you have infiltrated face active opposition from you using Scheme to remove.
Frumentarius: Requires Spymaster. If you have infiltrated an organization, population, or government, you can learn any one aspect (including strategy or instinct aspects) of one member, and gain a free invocation on it. Then roll Scheme, opposed by the target’s Understand. On a tie or failure, your agent’s cover is blown in the process. They return to you for reassignment.
Bait: You can give an NPC a boost against you in order to learn his tactic aspect.