I am in the process of creating a character for Pen & Paper roleplay, and I have decided to play a more complicated character whose skills I am far from having or understanding fully, yet, and I would like to research but I am not finding any good sources.

And I am more concerned with making a realistic believable character as if I was writing a story about her, rather than creating the optimal character sheet. That is why I could really use some research material.

System: Tri-Stat DX system, pen & paper paragraph text style. Modern, realism. Play by post.

The character: Top model that is joining the politic scene. Tools of her trade are poison, drugs, blackmail. With that she would control the people she blackmails to expand her network of people under her control. Currently she has two simple bodyguards.

Need: Mostly resources and sources to research, as finding anything has proven to be a difficult task. It has to be realistic and use actual drugs and poisons that exist.


  1. What ways could she all do blackmail with?
  2. Which drugs and poisons would she have always on her for quick use and what else could she have at home?
  3. What other key points are important when playing a model, or politician?
  4. Would there be any other good tricks at her disposal?
  5. Any useful lists for this?
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Since the "pen and paper paragraph style" most resembles play-by-post or forum play, I've added the relevant tag. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc May 16 '14 at 23:46
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It is a bit confusing, since I've mostly seen "pen & paper" used to describe tabletop RPGs, to differentiate from LARPs or from CRPGs. \$\endgroup\$ – lisardggY May 17 '14 at 7:17

There's an interesting body of fiction and non-fiction literature on influence:

  • Influence: Science and Practice

    • This work gives well researched discussion into persuasive techniques, as they'll be the meat and potatoes of your character.
  • House of Cards

    • Both US / UK miniseries, and the novels will give you an idea of how power-politics operates with a very nasty individual.

On poisons, you'll want to study toxicology, especially forensic toxicology as that will provide the investigative routes that your plots will be uncovered, as well as evidence for real world toxins used in those plots.

You'll also want to read up on bayesian statistics, to inform your strategies. Applying evidence to your plans will result in simpler plans with known factors. Beyond that, a rigorous study of operational planning wouldn't go amiss.

Furthermore, you'll probably want a study of the history of the Byzantine empire to see how convoluted plots with only a modicum of civility actually played out.


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