Contacts represent the acquaintances a character has in the mortal world that can help keep her informed about topics of interest to her. More often than not, Contacts represent specialists, in all walks of life, that the character has built a casual relationship with in order to gather information. These individuals will not often go to great lengths fora character as Allies may, nor will they necessarily be helpful, trusted or loyal servants as a Retainer would be; Contacts represent the authoritative information sources, showing the character knows“ whom to ask” when looking for information about the movers and shakers behind the scenes.
Using Contacts let’s a PC find out exactly what is going on in their city within a particular Influence Category without necessarily being able to control that Influence Category. When a character calls upon her Contacts, it represents reaching out to those individuals “in the know” by making a few phone calls, placing a few bribes, checking with local snitches, or calling the local socialite circles to get the latest dish on recent actions performed in a specific Influence Category of their choice.
Contacts are used by first declaring which Influence Category to observe then expending a number of Contacts Traits equal to the level of the Influence action about which you are trying to gain information. For example, Jenn, a local Nosferatu, is using her Contacts x3 on Industry Influence, which will allow her to get information about Industry actions of levels equal to 3, 2 or 1.
The advantage of the Contacts Background is that it behaves like a flexible MMonitor Action that can be switched among different Influence Categories as needed. Contacts used for Follow, Monitor and Watch actions can be Boosted, Combinedand use Stealth just as any other action. In this case the Contacts Traits are used just like Influence Traits but for these specific actions. A PC could even use Contacts to Monitor and Resources to Boost theMonitor action conducted by the use of Contacts.