For my one-shot of the Noir Hack, I created a new house rule called the Straight Dope. It’s based on the Flashlight/Smokes idea from the Cthulhu Hack.
The idea is to model the social connections a character might have for particular institutions, that they could use to get information or make things happen.
Each community a character is connected to will be given a usage die. Every time the connection is used the usage die will be rolled normally.
For example – a player is searching for “Geronimo” Johnson, a notorious bootlegger, who is hiding out somewhere in the city. The player has D8 Straight Dope connection with the underworld. They can use that information to get a clue or at least some information. They will roll that usage die normally to see if their connection is downgraded.
Once a Straight Dope connection is used up, the player has run out of favors and influence in that community (i.e. The cops won’t talk to you, the gangsters don’t trust you etc.)
Possible Communities: Underworld, City Hall, The Press, Unions, Police, High Society
To get back influence in a community, the player will need to accomplish something to reestablish trust. For example, provide the press with a juicy story, give useful tips to the police etc. The die value recovered will be up to the GM.
Initial Straight Dope
The GM can decide what Straight Dope connections the players start out with. It should match the class. A Con Artist might start out with an Underworld D6 die, while an Investigator might have a Police D8 die.
The Big Ask (optional rule)
If a player makes an extreme demand (asks the cops to overlook a crime, asks a reporter to sit on a juicy story, etc.), the GM may rule that the roll to downgrade the Straight Dope usage die is 1-3 (or even higher in even more extreme cases)
Character Sheet (Straight Dope Version)
I’ve made a revised version of the Noir Hack character sheet I made in a previous post. It includes space to put up to three Straight Dope connections.