Unlike physical combat which results in either you or a denizen (computer 
controlled character) dying, you may also engage in ego battles with the 
denizen instead. Ego battles use the Influence skill to try to change the 
behavior of the denizen. You can make a denizen paranoid or convince him or 
her to give you gold. Losing ego battles will result in a loss of experience 
as though you had died, while winning an ego battle will result in a gain in 

In an ego battle, your ego will be drained upon using an influence skill. 
The denizen will then continually nag at you which will result in more loss 
of ego. If your ego drops to 0, you will lose and the denizen will win. Upon 
the completion of an ego battle (whether the denizen won or lost), that 
denizen will not be able to be influenced for some period of time.

There are 5 categories of influence: Seduction, Empower, Weaken, Charity and 
Paranoia. Once you begin an ego battle using a skill in one of these 
categories, you can only use influence skills of the same type of category. 
As you engage in an ego battle, the more you use one skill of a category, 
the more resistant the denizen will become to it, so the strategy in ego 
battles is to vary your influence attacks as much as possible (assuming you 
have multiple skills in a category).

As a final note, the more prestige you display from the clothes and jewelry 
you wear, the more effective your ego attacks will be. The one exception to 
this is charity attacks which are more effective the less prestige you carry 
(i.e., tattered clothing is more effective when begging). Being naked, 
however, is not an effective strategy in any ego battle (as it will be hard 
for the denizen to take you seriously.)