I was rereading Baptism of Fire and notices a problem with the using Influence on a captureg Poison Thorn.
Page 235 (Atlas version) of Feng Shui says that the difficulty of using the Sorcery schtick influence on a Poison Thorn to betray Sneezy is equal to 4, the will they have.
The rules for Influence on page 86 (Atlas version) in the Enchantment section says the difficulty is equal to Will plus a modifier based on how adverse the subject will be to the suggestion. So this would add a +12 to difficulty for a mook based on what it says in the text plus any other modifiers the GM gives. (The Thorns are convinced they will die if they talk so the +12 is the best fit of the modifiers given.) So the difficulty is at a least 16. (I could easily come up with justify able modifiers to up the difficulty to an even higher number and if the Jade Agenda's house rules on Attributes vs Skill are being used the difficulty goes up even higher.) A starting sorcerer has an AV of 15 in Sorcery.
Now I can see why the difficulty modifier is not being added as it is cool to have the Poison Thorn's head explode, but how wold you prevent a player from thinking that using Influence isn't going to work like that and it is very difficult to control a GMC normally.
Or do you ignore the problem using the incorrect difficulty could cause and just use the correct difficulty to use the correct value for the difficulty?
Using the correct modifier also sets up the PC for backlash as the attempt is most likely going to fail for a starting character.
The last time I ran baptism of Fire was many years ago when I first got Feng Shui and it wasn't a problem as no characters had Sorcery and i didn't even notice the problem. As I'm going to be rerunning it most likely in the near future with a new group, that has some players who will have players who look for rule loopholes, etc. to exploit.
Exploding Head = Rule of Cool. Also, you can invoke "A Wizard Did It", and handwave the missing modifier as a result of Ta Yu's sorcery: he WANTS the PC's enchantment effect to succeed, because this will trigger the head explosion, so he's deliberately reduced the Will modifier to make sure he gets the results he wants. If the PCs get all butthurt about how their Kewl Powerz are guaranteed to fail here, then it's important to remember that the key piece of information is not who the Poison Thorns are working for, it's that there's Sorcery involved. This tells the PCs that there's something hinky going on beyond just a turf battle/protection racket.
Actually, I think I'd set things up this way, based on Sorcery AV 15 vs. Will 4:
Sorcery result is 4 or less: Fails, and Poison Thorn gets really, really smug about it.
Sorcery result is between 5 and 15: Head explodes, PCs get no information other than Sorcery involved.
Sorcery result is 16+: Head explodes, but the Poison Thorn lets slip a clue, such as a name fragment or location.
This satisfies the Rule of Cool and allows the PC a little bit of success if they roll well.
Name fragment should be something that leads to the next scene... most likely, this is Fast Eddie at the Bun Festival, although you could try Sneezy, Ta Yu (meaningless at this point, as nobody else is likely to know he's in the current juncture), the Barrister, or some other street scene you wanted to throw in. Could be the ganger's grandmother (who knows about "those idiots hanging out at the construction site", or she's a local Fortune Teller who can do the I Ching Divination thing, and oh she just forgot, can you nice boys deliver this ointment to my granddaughter, she works at that Bun Bakery place, and her skin gets so dry after all this cold weather you know), or some other Red Herring (local fishmonger who agreed to give the Poison Thorns a crate of frozen red herring as his "protection payment", just before Fast Eddie's thugs show up for a little friendly shakedown).
I think if it comes up I'll hand wave the modifier like you suggested and let the head explode. The justification I'll use is that Ta Yu set up the heads to explode if sorcery is used to try and get them to talk and the sorcery ability of the sorcerer was at a certain level in the of chance a future attempt were to succeed.
Most likely I'll end up asking some other questions as a game date approaches.
well that is surely good to knwo