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So, the party is in a fight with one of the Knights of the Faerie Courts (Winter, in this case) and a couple of wildfae mercenaries. During the fight, the Knight

Harry Dresden

started casting some unseelie tinged evocations, and a good time was had by all, the party wizard trying to counterspell the Knight, and the rest of the party trying to fight their way past the nasties to get to him and overwhelm him. Halfway through the fight, the Knight wound up missing the control roll by one on a spell. "Eh, it's cool" I though. "He's using sponsored magic. He'll take a point of sponsor debt to cover it." As the battle progressed, I found I was using more and more of the sponsored mojo to pin the party down. When I counted it up afterwards, I noticed he owed the Court seven points worth of service.

My question is- For a PC, I would know exactly how to deal with this. Heck, I have a hard time getting the changeling (with seelie magic) to accept any sponsored help, as PCs are rightly distrustful of being too far in debt to their sponsors. How does this fit with an NPC who was going to do what the courts asked him too anyway?

Yeah, I'm aware Harry would probably fight it, but in our campaign most of the named characters from the books have given into the darkness. If it's hard for you to imagine, just picture the battle with Lloyd Slate instead of Harry.

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The NPC is in debt to their sponsor. This is something that can be used against them by clever characters. There are examples in the novels of Harry using his knowledge of the Courts to his advantage by pitching one member against another. Besides, your NPC may have goals that are contrary to their sponsors one. This is another avenue where clever characters may turn into their own. The more a character is in debt, the less their actions are their own. Thus, gaining a boon on their patron is a clever path to power over them. Or maybe finding that the one thing that drove them into their parton's arms was caused by said patron...

From a rules point of view you could roll dices for the NPCs but really, you should try to write the whole mechanics within your story so that the players can use that to build a more thrilling tale.

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Exactly this. If the NPC was never going to be seen again, I wouldn't let them take this much sponsored power. If they are seen again... then the next time the Knight should be labouring under an extra compulsion aspect or with extra goals to achieve, paying off the debt. Players should be able to assess those to generate advantages. –  Tynam Oct 14 '12 at 17:28
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In the end? You are the control. If the Sponsored party starts to get in deep (which I would limit to about three, maybe four FP), then perhaps it's time for a well laid plan (cough cough GM Magic cough cough) from before the fight to come into effect, or that Fae who was watching the whole time to chime in and start their own debt. Thing is, I find that as the GM you can stack 20 FP if you wanted and just wash it away behind the scenes without consequences (to you). That's the delicate balance when you've got the godlike power in your hands. Of course, we can't forget what happened to Lea in/before Changes. In the end, it's all about how far you yourself are willing to go to make a scene result a certain way.

To paraphrase aardvark: "When all you've got is a shovel, do you keep digging?"

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This may fit in many ways.

First, think about this from Sponsor point of view.

You (Mab) sponsor someone/thing that will give you:

  • power in long run
  • power in short run
  • metaphysical giggles

So how much your power you a willing to lend to this Emissary? Do he really need 7FP of your power to do the job done? If yes, then this is political stuff. If no, then this is political stuff. :)

Second, think about this from sponsored point of view.

7FP is a very good and strong leash for anyone. This is your firstborn on a plate with garlic and some tomato sauce and you bring a wine. Why someone need to be this desperate? Why just not use concession and come back another time with more power and brain? So there must be something very very big to lose in this conflict.

And now when you got this two points of view you can create something new and interesting for players to dive in.

Alternatively this can be a very tricky power play from Sponsored side as Sardathrion suggested.

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