Convince is used to cause an NPC to act in a certain way or complete a certain task. Convince is only required when an NPC is opposed to a request or action. A simple request of little importance, or in line with the NPC's goals, is usually completed automatically (GM's discretion). Otherwise, it can take time and multiple successful Social Skill Checks before you can Convince your opponent and complete your objective.
Starting a Convince Encounter
A Convince encounter begins during roleplay when you make a request of an NPC. At this time the GM decides if the NPC is amenable to the request (i.e. does the request warrant a Convince encounter). If there is any doubt, then you must Convince the NPC to comply. The GM then decides the Importance Level (see sidebar) associated with the request.
The encounter then continues into standard roleplay, with you trying to argue points for your request based on a social skill of your choice (and appropriate to the roleplay). For example, you may attempt to reason with them (using Persuasion), or threaten bodily harm if they don’t comply (using Coercion). The length of your roleplay varies, depending on the amount of time required to argue your point. Each time you complete an argument, roleplay pauses and a Social Skill Check is made against the NPC. In addition to the normal Modifiers, this check is further modified by the Importance Level.
If you succeed the check, you deal 1d6 damage to the NPC's Composure. You gain a bonus to this damage equal to the difference in the two skill checks, divided by three. For example, if you rolled a 27 on your Persuasion versus an 17 on the NPC's Suspicion, you would deal 1d6+3 damage to your opponent's composure (27 - 17 = 10 ÷ 3 = 3, rounded down). If you fail the check, you instead lose one point of Patience. The result of this check can help to guide further roleplay and the NPC's responses.
Roleplay continues in this fashion with you arguing points and making associated skill checks. Each argument may use the same or different social skills depending on the tactic used in roleplay. For example, you may initially fail to use your Charm, and switch to using Manipulation against your opponent. Sometimes its easiest to think of Convince encounters in terms of turns, where each argument and check made represents a turn.
Ending the Encounter
If you reduce the NPC's composure to zero (or less) you win the encounter and the NPC (typically) performs your request as desired. For example, through a combination of Charm, Persuasion, and Manipulation you finally convince the town guard to let you visit your brother, and you are admitted into the prison to see him.
If you run out of patience while convincing the NPC, you lose the encounter and give up on your request. Depending on the request, and how much damage you’ve dealt to the NPC's composure, this may result in some sort of compromise (GM's discretion). For example, if bargaining with a merchant, he may give you a little discount, but not as much as you were hoping for.
At any point in the roleplay, you can stop convincing the NPC, effectively giving up. The GM can also decide during the encounter that the NPC gives up and concedes to your request. Additionally, sometimes an event can occur that interrupts the roleplay (such as a surprise attack from sewer goblins!), in which case the encounter can end with no result, or be paused until later (GM's discretion).
Consequences of the Convince Action
Convincing your opponent in a Social Encounter doesn’t always come without consequences. They will often blame you (good or bad) for the outcome of the request as it pertains to them. If the outcome is particularly impactful to the NPC it can cause a Social Event towards you. For example, if you convince the NPC to perform a crime and they are caught and punished, this can cause a Hate event toward you. Alternatively, if you convinced someone to help you fight off bandits, and they succeed, it may generate a Trust event towards you.
Teaming up on Convince Actions
It is possible for multiple characters to work together to Convince an NPC. In this situation, each character that actively participates in an argument makes an opposed skill check against the NPC (the NPC makes a single roll). If the number of successes is equal to or greater than the number failures (on the attacker’s side), the NPC loses composure as normal. The composure damage is adjusted by +1 for every success (beyond the first), and -1 for every failure. Just as with a single check, the amount a winning check succeeds by can be divided by 3 to add additional bonuses (i.e. a second winning check that succeeds by 10 would add +4, +1 from the success itself and an additional +3 from the extreme success). Likewise, the amount the second check fails by can add additional penalties (i.e. a check that fails by 10 causes an additional -3 penalty, for a -4 total).
If the number of failures is greater than the number of successes, the NPC wins the check and each attacker loses 1 point of patience.
If the NPC has allies that wish to actively participate in the encounter, each ally rolls their defense separately, with the NPC using the best result as his own. If the defense fails, the NPC and his allies all suffer composure damage.
Instead of actively participating in a social encounter, allies may choose to simply aid the skill check, supplying a bonus equal to ½ his skill rank to the attacker's or defender's check. Allies who aid in this way do not actively participate in the roleplay, but simply lend aid passively to the proceedings.
It is possible for an NPC (or PC) to try and convince a PC. This works the same way as convincing an NPC, with the PC making defensive checks and deciding the importance level. However, if the PC is successfully convinced, he can choose to ignore result of the Convince encounter (we never want to force a player to do something against their will), but the PC suffers morale damage equal to the importance level as a result. Additionally, depending on the importance of the objective to the NPC, it may cause a social event increasing an opposing Disposition (referred to as a Backlash event).
For example, suppose an NPC successfully uses the Convince action to request a favor of the PC. Even though the NPC wins the encounter, the PC decides to not complete the favor. If the request was important to the NPC, this may result in a Doubt or Hate event for the NPC. PC to PC interaction works in a similar way.