...or Dark Heresy, or any other form of 40k roleplaying.
I've always thought that Inquisitor should include a lot of politics and double dealing, as, really, that is probably 99% of the Inquisitor's job. Only a very brief amount of time, by comparison, would actually be spent on the battlefield. However, since Inquisitor is a wild-west style shoot-em-up game, it seems that political intrigue should probably be generated BY combat scenarios. This, BTW, tends to be true to the literature, as fiction involving the Inquisition often seems to have odd occurrences and strange items turning up as a result of battlefield encounters.
For this reason, I offer the following rules. Assume, maybe, a 15% chance, generally speaking, that any opposing warband's (dead or captured) leader might have a token, or a 5% chance that any other character in the warband might.
Form of Token (1D20)
1 Jewel or helmet
2 Ring or hat
4 Pistol (random type)
5 Dagger or dice
7 Mirror or vial of fluid
8 Deck of cards
9 Cuddlebug (innocuous pet)
10 Glove or gauntlet
11 Locket or sealed envelope
13 Goblet or scroll
14 Wine bottle
15 Pocket watch
16 Seed pod / egg
19 Data Crystal
20 Exotic: proto- or anti- matter, partially in warp space, tesseract, wraithbone, etc. Roll
again for general appearance.
Features (1D20: Roll for 1D6-3 features)
1 Covered with blood
3 Contains a map to a horde of exotic or legendary items
4 Contains blueprints
5 Property of Cardinal/Inquisitor/High Lord of Terra
6 Journal of a lost expedition or important personage.
7 Made of gold/platinum/iridium: worth 1D20 Imperial denarii.
8 Jewel encrusted: worth 2D20 Imperial denarii.
9 Noble family crest
10 Chaos rune
11 Property of a powerful Eldar or other alien
12 Contains map to a secret military or scientific installation
13 Lost technology: not a weapon, may be communications, agricultural, data storage, etc.
14 Either already broken or virtually unbreakable
15 Disguised as something worthless (has at least one other feature)
16 Hand computer
17 Homing device
18 Cunningly devised internal bomb if proper opening sequence is not used
19 Key or clue to something else
20 Roll twice more
The Effects of Tokens: These are meant to be adventure triggers. The Narrator and players should work together to determine what effects they have. Note that the effects of a particularly important token could be star-shaking to say the least. For example, a ring with a noble family crest (say of the local Navigator's Household) that contains lost technology, a chaos rune, or a map to a secret imperial installation, could go a long way toward destroying that house if it found its way to the house's enemies, and they were exposed in some way. This, in turn, could cause the whole balance of power in the sector to shift. It could easily start wars or trigger the assassination of lofty personages. Even an Inquisitor should approach such an item with care...
Unlocking Tokens: Tokens represent puzzles that must be solved, usually leading to increased power, often over those who are themselves powerful. If a player character manages to solve (unlock) the puzzle of a token that he still possesses in a manner that the players and GM (by majority vote) believe is clever within the context of the ongoing campaign, he gains an Influence Level, which remains a permanent part of his character.
A player character can attempt to influence powerful NPCs (Navigator household patriarchs, inquisitors, planetary governors, cult leaders, ork warbosses, etc.) by rolling 20+ on 2d6, +1/10 Nerve (round mathematically), +total Influence Level, -0 if the effect will be planet-wide or less, -5 if the effect will be system-wide, -10 if the effect will be subsector-wide, -15 if the effect will be sector-wide, -20 if the effect will be segmentum-wide, and -25 if the effect will be galaxy-wide, though a lot of this will rely on the PC getting in to see the right people (this should never be impossible, but may be difficult, and possibly require an adventure).
Success means the PC manages to accomplish something substantial along the lines of what he was seeking. It will generally not solve all of his problems, but can offer critical aid that just might suffice. For example, a player character wants aid in stopping a mutant uprising on his home world. The effect will be planet-wide (-0), and letís say that he possessed three tokens that he managed to unlock, and a Nerve statistic of 84. -0+3+8=11. Since the minimum score to successfully influence is 20, the character would have to roll 9+ on 2d6 to successfully influence the space marine chapter commander, eldar mercenaries, lord inquisitor, or whoever the GM determines he could reasonably reach for this purpose.
What level of help he will get or what form it will take will depend upon the GM, but it should always be something that will give him a measurably greater chance of accomplishing his goal. Perhaps his Inquisitor warband will be augmented by an elder pirate or two veteran Imperial Guardsmen until the quest is completed, or perhaps the enemy will lose some forces from his warband, based on having to fight disguised mercenaries, or maybe the PCs warband will obtain a critical piece of knowledge that will aid them towards their goal. The PC can request the form actually taken by successful influence, but the GM ultimately has the final say.
Scoring a total of 11-19 indicates failing the influence roll. The PC gets nothing. His influence simply was not sufficiently persuasive in this case.
Scoring a total of 10 or less indicates critically failing the influence roll. The PC not only gets nothing, he has managed to irritate the powers that be (or a significant faction among them) in the process. When this happens, roll on the table below:
Critical Influence Failure Table (1d6):
1. The PC is subject to minor, vindictive interference during his next scenario, as the VIP he has annoyed lets him know that he doesnít appreciate being bothered over trivialities. This could take many forms, such as all ammunition of a single type used by his warband being faulty, spies granting some bonus to the opposing warband, such as helping them to set up an ambush, a random item being stolen by thieves from each member of the warband prior to the battle, etc.
2. The PC permanently loses 1 Influence Level.
3. The PC is targeted for assassination by a random warband. These will attack him once, attempting to destroy him and his followers. Regardless of the effects of the attack, it will not be repeated once the encounter is complete. The attempt has a 1-2 on 1d6 chance of taking place during each scenario following the critically failed influence attempt, until it finally takes place.
4. The PC permanently loses 1d3 Influence Levels.
5. The PC is targeted for total annihilation by a random warband. These will relentlessly keep attacking him, attempting to destroy him and his followers. If the warband is destroyed, another one will take its place. Each attempt has a 1-2 on 1d6 chance of taking place during each scenario following that critically failed influence attempt. This can only be permanently stopped by a successful planet-wide influence attempt made for this purpose.
6. The PC is killed in a very permanent manner, such as by being poisoned and then his body thrown into deep space, and vortex torpedoed just for good measure. Thus, be really careful who you attempt to influence and when, and make sure it is worth the risk.
Influence rolls can be made at any time the GM determines is reasonable, but each Influence Level can only be used once per game session. Thus, if a PC with 5 Influence Levels wants aid in both stopping the mutant uprising AND locating an destroying the smugglers who are arming the mutants, he would have to make two rolls and divide up his Influence Points as he sees fit between them.