The most important function of attitudes in Kannagara will be in social interactions. An atttitude will often determine how many dice a player keeps when rolling to see whether her persona can convince a character to do or believe something.
The simplest example is of a persona trying to convince a character that the kami of the shrine really did speak to her and give her a message for the character. The difficulty for this roll is likely to be quite high, as most people do not readily believe that the kami send them messages. The player rolls a number of dice equal to the persona’s level in the relevant social skill, because the more skilled the persona is, the more likely she is to be convincing. The number of dice kept, however, is equal to the strength of the character’s trust in the persona. If he really trusts her, then he is likely to believe her even if she is not generally good at persuading people. On the other hand, if he does not trust her at all, she cannot convince him. She doesn’t get to keep any dice, so she cannot beat the difficulty.
It is almost as straightforward when a persona is trying to convince a character to help her. In that case, the character’s love for the persona would determine how many dice to keep. On the other hand, if the persona is trying to get a character to do something because it will be good for the character, the character’s hope in the persona may be the relevant score. If the character’s hope is high, he expects to get benefits from the persona, and so it is easy to persuade him that doing something with the persona will be good for him. If the action has nothing to do with the persona, then trust is probably more appropriate; the issue is whether the character believes the persona when she says that this will be good for him.
Negative attitudes mean that a persona cannot convince a character to do things in that way. If a character loves a persona, but also doubts her, then the persona can get that character to do things to help her, but cannot convince him that she is telling the truth, in general. If a character actively doubts a persona, then he will check even if she tells him that the sky is blue.
If the action in question involves another character, then attitudes to the third character provide bonus or penalty dice to roll. If a persona is trying to convince one character that another character is lying to him, then the level of the first character’s doubt in the second would be a bonus to the number of dice to roll, while positive trust in the second character would be a penalty. Similarly, love is a bonus to rolls to convince a character to benefit the person they love, and a penalty to rolls to convince the character to harm that person, and the opposite for hate.
Sometimes, two attitudes might interact. For example, consider a persona trying to convince a character that she can do something unlikely, such as talk to the kami. Trust might seem appropriate, but in this case, that really measures whether the character thinks that the persona believes what she is saying. The question of whether she can really do what she claims is more to do with awe. If the character has high trust in the character, but no sense that she is special in any way, his reaction will be to believe that she thinks she can talk to the kami, but not believe that she can actually do so. So, in this case, awe would determine the number of dice to keep, but trust would provide additional dice to roll.
This means that someone having a negative attitude to a persona will almost always be a problem for the persona. The exception is fear, which would serve as dice to keep when trying to intimidate a character into doing something. Fear, however, also serves as bonus dice to choose to harm the persona when the character thinks he can get away with it, because harming the persona makes punishment less likely. On the other hand, if a character has a positive attitude to the persona, this is good for the persona. This motivates personae to build positive attitudes, which is one aim of the game.
Attitudes, however, are not quite relationships. Attitudes can be one-sided, whereas a genuine relationship is not. In the next post, I want to look at how to represent relationships, and at how that interacts with attitudes.