I’m scared of them too!
Speechifier: “At this party we’re throwing, I’m going to give this speech extoling the virtues of my lady so that the people here become as loyal to her as I am.”
Tailor: “I want to help him! I’ll sew him some fancy new duds so that he makes a strong impression! The clothes make the man, afterall.”
Me: “Oh, you wanna make him some finery, or just spruce up is current duds?”
Speechifier: “I don’t have finery! I was but a poor wastral before my noble lady, in her beneficence took me be --”
Me: “Yeah, yeah. Tailor, I think making a whole ass outfit is beyond the scope of helping with this speech. [Though not necessarily] Would you like to link in a test to make the clothes? Fancy clothes is Ob 4 Sewing.”
Tailor: “Hell yeah!”
Me: “Cool. If you fail, the clothes will look good – but won’t hold together forever. You’re gonna wear the clothes, Speechifier, or do you want to avoid the risk but also the reward?”
Speechifier: “Such a tender gift of labor and love, how could I refu --”
Moneybags: “I want to help too!”
Me: “Great! How?”
Moneybags: “Money. I’m gonna cater this motherfucker. Everyone’s gonna be fat and happy and real receptive to what our friend here has to say.”
Me: “Only skills can help skills. Would you like to make a linked test – Into the sewing test? That’s not what he’s described at all. The sewing test into Resources? Also doesn’t seem right… – into the Oratory? A sumptuous meal, for a bunch of people, will be Ob 3, failure and the audience will he fat and happy – and drunk. And, of course, you’ll be taxed.”
Moneybags: “Let’s fucking go!”
This is gonna be obvious advice – I hope not insultingly so – but check out the Codex (Page 148). It had some great reminders for me about the nature of Linked Tests. Namely, that they’re every much legit, Intent/Task, Fiction-Influencing, Spicy Failure test as any other. Just with some connective tissue thrown in:
Pretend that my example Linked Tests above weren’t Linked Tests. How would you treat them? Success at Sewing creates an outfit. That guy has that now; it’s in his sheet. Failure and it’s gonna fall apart at an inopportune moment; maybe a seam splits at the shoulder for +1 Ob to Agility and Agility-Rooted skills. Resources success means people are fat and happy; failure means they’re also drunk – you might expect fights, jeers, sex. That’s all still true with a linked test, but there’s also advantage or penalty questions for the Oratory test at stake.
I don’t think the Codex section talks about “Orthogonal” Linked Tests as I’ve described… But there are the foundations: Linked Tests as a substitute for Help when the latter is inappropriate and LTs that set up further advantages down the line (Weaving a bolt of cloth for sewing later on is an example. That could have made my example even more complicated!) These imply a procedure that’s more fluid than the standard, “All sequencial tests, in sequencial fiction, with sequencial consequences.”
Also, maybe try to let the central test person reject or accept the linkedness before the dice are rolled. There’s nothing like gearing up for an important test only to have three of your closest friends stack a bunch of Ob Penalties on you by trying to “be helpful” with Beginner’s Luck tests!