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There are three normal ways to use existing Influence over someone,

  • +1 ongoing for all moves targeting them
  • "Telling them who they are or how the world works" to shift their Labels
  • "Taking advantage of your influence," which expends the Influence, but gives you either another +1 after your roll, them a -2 after their roll, or gives them a Condition.

In the book (p80 (original edition?)) it says that you can Reject Someone's Influence either "on your own, unprompted, or you might do it in response to a move of theirs."

If that were all it said anywhere, I'd assume one could risk a Reject Someone's Influence roll against any of those three—after all, it's an option both "unprompted" or after "a move of theirs." But the (p78 & Basic Moves sheet) description of "When someone with Influence over you tells you who you are or how the world works" says, (emphasis mine):

accept what they say or reject their Influence. If you accept what they say, the GM will adjust your Labels accordingly; if you want to keep your Labels as they are, you must reject their Influence.

So it is spelled out there, whereas Rejecting Their Influence is not mentioned attached to the descriptions of the other two common uses of Influence, +1 ongoing and Taking Advantage.

Is “Reject Someone's Influence” allowed against “Take Advantage Of Your Influence Over Someone”?

Anything I missed in The Book that would cover this? Any outside sources? I don't know any related games; are there clues from related Powered by the Apocalypse games, their own Epyllion or Urban Shadows, etc.?

I'm new to TTRPGs overall, but have a vague understanding there's some unwritten rule resembling, "if it's not in the rules, it's not in the rules" —which would apply here if all else fails.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se! Thanks for stopping by and asking this excellent question! I'm super happy to have someone else asking questions about Masks here. :) I'm hoping we can get you a good answer. I hope you are having a good time with it and that you stick around here and keep contributing! \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 16 at 17:41
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Further down in the Rejecting Influence section, it states:

You can also reject their Influence any time they try to affect you and you resist.

(This is on pp 76-77 in my book, so you must have a different edition and maybe the text is different.)

I think that indicates you can reject in response to someone taking advantage of their Influence.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Simply missed it! This is in my book, too (p. 81), and by my reading it speaks directly to the real question—"when is it triggered?". Thanks so much. The examples of triggering Reject Someone's Influence that immediately follow your quote are in-fic responses to "Comfort or Support" and "Provoke Someone". That's quite clear. So back to your quote, "any time they try to affect you and you resist." Cheers! \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Reid May 17 at 12:34
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Moves are dramatic, and happen at a dramatic pace.

Talk it out and find a place where you agree on the uncertainty, then make the move that makes sense.

-- Masks p.34, "Triggers and Uncertainty"

The sentiment's common among PbtA games - moves don't happen unless everyone at the table agrees that the appropriate fiction has established what move should happen and for what stakes.

Rejecting someone's influence over you is almost necessarily a dramatic beat, and like every other move has to happen at an appropriate place in the fiction.

So:

If someone tries to use Influence to shift your labels:

That move itself gives you a dramatic opening to either accept the shift or take the risk to reject that influence.

If someone leverages their Influence into +1 ongoing against you:

If you want to reject their influence, the proper time to do it is before they make the roll, rather than trying to "change the past" by affecting a roll that's already landed. So, to follow the book's example:

when Hornet tries to provoke Sureshot into coming with her on a mission instead of moping in his room

Sureshot and Hornet are both fairly equal participants in the scene of Hornet trying to wheedle Sureshot to come out on patrol. If Sureshot wanted to reject Hornet's influence so it was harder for her to provoke him, I'd allow that as long as he could come up with an appropriate response, like shutting the door in her face, and resolve his roll to reject her influence before she makes her roll to provoke him.

It's possible someone can leverage their Influence over you in ways you might not be able to respond to - for example, if they're Assessing a Situation that revolves around you but you're not aware of them. In that case you don't have much ground to reject it.

If someone surrenders their influence to change a roll or give you a condition:

Inflicting a condition works under the same caveats as leveraging influence - trying to inflict that condition is going to mean personally involving that influence in a moment of drama, and you probably have enough dramatic time to reject that influence if you want to take the chance.

Nudging a roll after the dice have hit the table is a very unusual thing to happen, and necessarily is less of a spotlight moment than whatever it was that caused the dice to go tumbling in the first place. Especially if someone's burning their Influence after they already leveraged it against you, trying to work up the drama to reject that influence in the moment usually doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

That said, sometimes it does, or it might? If there's a really important dramatic juncture that someone is looking to burn Influence on to nudge the roll downward, you might feel like there should be some uncertainty how that's going to turn out. Like, say, Rex wants to burn his Influence over Grasshopper as she's trying to Unleash Her Powers to capture the shady government conspirator that transformed him in the first place, because he's afraid of what will happen if she does.

In that case, what might work better is looking at the Defend Someone move to see if it fits. It almost certainly will, and the numbers on defending against a PC threat line up with the effect of burning influence.

If you're responding to a move in a way that suggests you're rejecting Influence:

Even if Sureshot doesn't try to reject Hornet's Influence before she rolls Provoke, anything about the events of the succeeding mission might still cause him to regret how easily she talked him into it and take actions to reject her Influence. But the Provoke roll's in the past, so nothing about it changes as a result.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much for the answer, and its clarifying of narrative considerations. Compared to some actual play I've seen under PbtA, sure they're all fiction-driven, but my table is seemingly even more aggressive than normal about everything both first making sense and second actually happening in-fiction, even down to things like… PC: "Oh no! Well, not going to make that mistake again." said as they're marking potential during a bad roll outcome, or giving narrative life to the more "technical" rolls—like spending or rejecting influence. Cheers! \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Reid May 17 at 12:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're welcome! If there's some common scenario at your table that this answer isn't helping with, let me know and I'll do what I can to cover it. \$\endgroup\$ – Glazius May 17 at 16:01

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