Affiliations (D&D)

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Unofficial rules compendium

This is an expanded version of the Affiliation rules from PH 2.

Affiliation Rules


The type of the affiliation indicates what services and executive powers it can have and how well it uses them. It also gives the general flavor and purpose of the affiliation. Though no two cabals are alike, they are all secretive and wield magical powers.

Affiliation Checks

The table indicates how well each type of affiliation does the three different types of actions; violence, negotiation, and espionage. The typical classes category is just for atmosphere, to give an idea what the different categories are all about, and to help the DM design challenges. Specific affiliations can have a completely setup; this is just what is typical for each type. Scale is an indication on what level of NPCs can be found in the affiliation; the leading members of an affiliation generally have a level at least equal to its Scale. Besides such leaders, the affiliation has a number of veteran members of half this level and up.

Example: The Golden Hall is a Pelor temple with a of Scale of 8. A diplomatic envoy from the Golden Hall can be expected to be a level 8 cleric. A spy from the Golden Hall can be expected to be a fourth level monk.

Affiliation Checks Table






Spy ring



Affiliation checks
Violence 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/2 1/2 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/2
Espionage 1/4 1/2 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/2 1/4 1/2 1/4
Negotiation 1/2 1/4 1/2 1/2 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/2 1/4 1/4
1/2 The affiliation makes this type of check using 1/2 of its capital or Scale as a rating (whichever is greater). It is strong in this area.
1/4 The affiliation makes this type of check using 1/4 of its capital or Scale as a rating (whichever is greater). It is generally considered weak in this area.
Typical classes
Violence Rogue Sorcerer Fighter Barbarian Fighter Fighter Rogue Fighter Fighter Barbarian
Espionage Wizard Wizard Wizard Druid Rogue Rogue Rogue Monk Rogue Ranger
Negotiation Rogue Bard Bard Druid Rogue Cleric Rogue Cleric Rogue Druid

Executive Powers

The following tables list which executive powers the different types of affiliations can have. An affiliation generally has one executive power, plus one per four points of capital.

Type Busi- ness Cabal College Druid circle Fighting company Gover- nement Spy ring Tem- ple Theives Guild Tribe
Assassinate x x x x x x
Beatify x x
Craft x x x x x
Crusade x x x
Excommunicate x x x
Gift x x x x
Harvest x x
Holiday x x x
Inquisition 0 x, 0 0 x 0
Law x
Mint x x
Pariah x x x
Plague 0 x 0 x 0 x
Plunder 0 0 x, 0 x x, 0 x, 0 x, 0
Raid x x x x x x x
Research x x x
Shadow War x x x x
Terrorize x, 0 x, 0 x x x, 0 x, 0 x
Trade x x
War 0 0 0 x x 0 0 x
Type Busi- ness Cabal College Druid circle Fighting company Gover- nement Spy ring Tem- ple Theives Guild Tribe

x The affiliation can select this type of action.
0 The affiliation is immune to this executive power. This does not make specific members immune.


How likely are you to find the affiliation as you wander the world? An affiliation can be large without being powerful or rich.

The 'members' category is only a rough guideline, what matters is the Scale of influence. A cabal is likely to have much fewer members than a temple, yet can wield as much influence. In general, an affiliation cannot have more members than indicated; it can most certainly have fewer.

When in a locale where the affiliation has no inflience, yet could have an odd member present, make an affiliation score check (DC 20 in a metropolis, 25-30 in lesser places). For example, the Sun Lodge of Sasserine has no official presence in the City of Greyhawk, but on a successful DC 20 affiliation check, a member can still be found there.

Scale Scale of Influence Members Examples
1 Neighborhood/hamlet 2 Bakery, druid site, hermitage
2 Neighborhoods/village 4 Crossroads tavern
3 City quarter/small town 8 Small abbey, small tribe
4 City quarter/large town 15 Bank, Slaughterhouse, trading post
5 Small city 30 Arena, pirate ship, small guild
6 Large city 60 City watch, medium tribe, large guild
7 City and outliers 125 Large college, large tribe
8 Metropolis/county 250 Frontier fort, druid sect
9 Regional/barony 500 Small castle, established church
10 Regional/march 1,000 Minor nobility, powerful guild
11 Multiregional/duchy 2,000 Nobility, established knightly order, dread pirate fleet
12 Multiregional/kingdom 4,000 Standing army, orc hordes lead by a legendary chieftain
13 Multiregional/kingdom and vassal states 8,000 Vast army raised to fight the terrasque
14 Continental/sefaring kingdom 15,000 Centuries-old seafaring kingdom, illithid nation
15 Continental/empire 30,000 Emperor and his legions, circle of archmages
16 Multicontinental/empire 65,000 Imperial legions with arcane and divine support
17 Global 130,000 Ancient order of epic-level knights
18 Planar 250,000 Githyanki incursion
19 Multiplanar 500,000 Armies in blood war between demons and devils
20 Cosmic 1,000,000 Epic-level affiliations


This works the same as the gold-piece limit of a community; in an established base the affiliation can produce goods and services of this value or less. Unlike a community, an affiliation is limited in the category of good and services it can provide, depending on its type and executive powers. Unlike a community, the Capital of an affiliation is not limited by size; an affiliation can be vast but poor. Still, larger affiliations tend to be richer, and the capital of an affiliation is rarely less than half its size. If the capital of the affiliation is larger than its Scale, the affiliation is considered affluent, and additional Capital indicates increasing financial solidity, but the gp limit does not increase; increasing the gp limit of an affiliation further requires increasing its Scale.

Capital also gives an indication of the level of influence in its area and organization within the affiliation; a richer affiliation has members willing to contribute more and thus gains a greater degree of control. Lawful affiliations tend to be richer than chaotic ones.

In cases where the assets of an affiliation matter, they can be assumed to be (Capital x gold piece limit). This represents what the affiliation can muster in a relatively short time, not its total wealth.

Capital or Scale
(use lower value)
Gold Piece
leading member
1 1,800 Druid, hermit
2 4,000 Yeoman, Journeyman,
3 5,000 Sergeant
4 6,600 Courtie
5 8,600 Knight
6 11,200 Guild Master
7 14,400 Noble
8 18,800
9 24,000
10 32,000 Baron
11 42,000
12 54,000
13 70,000
14 90,000 King
15 118,000
16 154,000
17 200,000 Emperor
18 260,000
19 340,000
20 440,000 Extraplanar lords

Changing Affiliation Scale and Capital

An affiliation's scores change over time. As noted in the PH2, Capital normally increases by one for each year of peace, but most changes are due to PC actions or campaign events. The following events are in addition to those in the PH2.

Event Requirements Change in Capital Change in Scale
Bankruptcy Capital reduced to zero Reset at half Scale -1. Local section of affiliation is destroyed
Migration Capital 10 or more -5 +1
Expansion Capital => 2x Scale Reset at Scale +1
Achieve affiliation renown Affiliation score =
+1 -
Achieve affiliation domination Affiliation score =
Scale + Capital
- +1
Donation Donation to affiliation of gp = assets (Limit x Scale) +2 -
Payment Payment from affiliation > gp limit -1 -

Starting up an Affiliation.

Most new affiliations start out small and work themselves up, but that is not necessarily so. A player could be given a valuable land grant, and once the area is cleared, this could start up an affiliation at a decent level straight away. Or a group of high-level mages decide to form a cabal. Or a great gathering of people decide to form a church. Most new affiliations fall into one of the three categories below.

Start out Small

Requires two members, nothing more. Starting Scale is one. Whatever wealth you bring is the starting gold piece limit, up to 1,800 gold pieces. If you start out with a gp limit of 1,000 gp or more, the affiliation has a starting capital of 1 per 1,000 gold pieces, otherwise Capital is zero. Each member starts with an affiliation score of half their level.

Start out Rich

A small but rich circle of friends. Requires a number of members equal to the desired Scale, half of which must be of the same level as the Scale, and all the others must be at least half this level. Requires total capital equal to the gold piece limit of the desired level of Capital times the Scale or Capital, whichever is greater. Each funding member starts out with an affiliation score of their full level plus one for each multiple of the gp limit they donated (since the gp limit depends on how much is donated, this can become quite complex).

Start out Big

A large but relatively poor congregation. The Scale of the affiliation depends on the number of members, with a minimum of 15 members. Each member new member is expected to donate goods or work of a gold piece value equal to their level squared. Capital is half of the Scale, unless members are particularly rich or poor. Starting affiliation score for the funders is equal to character level.

Favors from an Affiliation

Members can get favors and services from their affiliation once per month. Make a check using the character's affiliation score. The base DC is the rating associated with the gold piece limit of the affiliation, that is the least of the Scale and Capital scores. On a success, the affiliation sends a group with an encounter level of one per five points of result on your roll.

No individual member of the group can have a challenge level higher than the Scale or Wealth of the affiliation (whichever is greater), and the group as a whole can never have a higher EL than the affiliations Scale + Capital. The group is appropriate to the affiliation and to the expected problem. Use the guidelines for the composition of a violence, negotiation, or espionage team, above. It will stay around until the problem appears to be solved or until a day has passed uneventfully, unless it was stated beforehand that the task was to last a long time. You can call it again, but multiple favors impose a penalty on the roll.

These rules can also be used to make the affiliation as a whole to take an action, for example to use an executive power. In this case, the DC is equal to 30 + the Affiliation's Scale.

If the group you call in this fashion is soundly defeated or the affiliation fails when using an executive power you called for, your affiliation score is reduced by one or even more for a major setback. The same applies if the group had major expenses that you fail to reimburse.

The roll is modified depending on how easy it is for the affiliation to fulfill the request.

Action Example DC
Aid Bail member out of jail Least of Capital or Scale
Affiliation action Stage a raid 30 + Scale
Away from affiliation home area Requires an expedition +15
Instigator volunteers for duty on mission Offers to join raid -5
Circumstance Example Modifier
Action is related to executive power War party from an affiliation that has Raid +5
Action is related to the type of affiliation Healing for a good temple +5
Working towards the goals of the affiliation Pelor church fighting undead +10
Action is alien to the affiliation Thieves guild giving charity -5 (or more)
You are a renowned member Affiliation score => Scale +5
You are a dominant member Affiliation score => (Scale + Capital) +10
Each earlier request this month Crying wolf -5
Requires a week or more of time Guard a member's house while he is away -5

Example: Ennis the magistrate is sick and needs a healer. He has an affiliation score of 12 in the Golden Hall (a Pelor temple with a Scale and Capital of 8 each) . The Golden Hall is a temple dedicated to (among other things) healing and Ennis is a member of renown, so he receives a +10 bonus on his check, for a total modifier of +22 against a DC of 8; success is automatic but a roll is still called for to see who the affiliation sends. A die roll of 12 gives a total of 34; a group of EL 6 is sent. In this case, the DM sends a 5th level cleric with two second-level acolytes to pay a call to Ennis' house. A 5th level cleric can cast cure disease, but since the ailment is minor, he only uses his Heal skill to aid in Ennis' natural recovery.

Later, Ennis wishes the Golden Hall to use its power of Excommunication to punish the cult he thinks infected him with disease. Ennis uses his affiliation score of 12, with a +5 modifier because it involves an executive power and another +5 because Ennis is a member of renown, for a total of +22. The DC is 38. Ennis rolls an 16 and only just succeeds. Sadly, it later turns out that the cult Ennis blamed was not involved; the excommunication is lifted and Ennis' affiliation score is reduced by two.

Affiliation Benchmarks

Affiliation Score

Affiliation score modifiers are divided into 3 categories; acquired, work, and adventure. In addition, there are penalties that can reduce affiliation score. Each category has a limitation.

To balance the advancement capacity of an affiliation, total the number of possible bonuses in each category. If the number of possible conditions is greater than the base value for that category, half the difference can be used to pay off excess conditions in other categories.

Acquired (Base 4)

These are based on traits in your character, such as skill ranks, spell ability, feats, and class abilities. Some abilities are inherent and only available at start. Others can be acquired by level progressions; these should generally be evenly spaced out between level 2 and 8, possibly with a few as late as level 10. Bonuses significantly less rewarding than these (for example, a +1 bonus at 10 ranks of skill, with no bonus at 5 ranks) count as only half a condition.

Example Bonus
Female +1
Born in Sasserine +1
Halfblood Suel +1
Purebred Suel +2
Hereditary Scion of Sasserine +1
Hereditary district council† +3
Bab +5 +1
Bab +10 +2
Skill at 5 ranks +1
Skill at 10 ranks +2
5 ranks in one of 3 skills +1
Specific Feat (or part of small set) +1
Spell of third level/fifth level +1/+2
Particular class or class ability +1
Has a particular alignment +1
Has a particular faith +1
Has a particular prestige class +2
Particular supernatural ability +2
Knows three languages from a defined list +1

Work (Base 4)

These are points given for downtime tasks and commitments that are not a part of actual game-play. Examples include attending meetings, paying a fee, organizing an event or sharing valuable information. The following are examples. Most of these are continuing duties, but some are-one-off tasks; these generally cost a lot of money and/or time.

Example Bonus
Married to someone with an affiliation score of 4 or greater. +1
Maintain membership (score 4 or more) in another affiliation +1
Owns property relevant to the affiliation, per (gp limit) of property +1
Owns very significant item or property that is hard to quantify in money +1
Donates one day/week to affiliation activities +1
Continual reports on most activities to the affiliation +1
Upholds a pledge or conditional duty +1
Spends 1,000 gp on the affiliation (max 1/3 months) +1
Donate 100 gp/level to the affiliation (max 1/3 months) +1
Donation significant to the affiliation and worth 5,000 gp or more +2
Create a lasting work for the affiliation. Takes 1 month of effort and a Craft roll, DC 15 +1
Research or recover new spell (max one of each spell level) +1
Offer 25% discount to members (only if you work full-time)† +2
Pay a tithe of 10% on all income +2

Adventure (base 4)

These are adventures that further the goals of the affiliation. Basically, all affiliations use same criteria, just described differently for each group. The balance factor does not depend on the bonuses given, but on how adventuresome the affiliation is and how often adventuring activities are likely to affect your affiliation score.

Category of penalties Balance Factor
Aggressive: Adventures will count regularly 4
Methodical: Adventures will count regularly, but requires special means or measures 3
Adventuresome: Adventures will count occasionally 2
Ethical: Adventures will count occasionally, but requires special means or measures 1
Pacifist: Adventures will count only rarely 0
Example Bonus
Advance the agenda of the affiliation +1
‡ Fulfills an objective of the affiliation +2
‡ Fulfills the (current) purpose of the affiliation +4
Save the affiliation from a major loss of face or minor setback +1
‡ Save the affiliation from a major setback +2
‡ Prevent the breakup or ruin of the affiliation +4
‡ Help another member overcome significant obstacle related to affiliation's purpose, or save their life (per 10 full points of affiliation score) +1
Successfully face down an appropriate opponent (In competitive affiliations, this can be another member within 5 points of affiliation score from yourself) in a manner appropriate to the affiliation (debate in a scholarly affiliation, snubbing in a social affiliation, win a challenge in a martial affiliation) +1

Penalty (Base 2)

Certain stated actions that reduce affiliation score. These are not balanced point-for-point, instead they are classified in one of the following broad categories. The points here are only used for balance purposes.

Category of penalties Balance Factor
No penalties: The affiliation is all-forgiving 4
Light penalties on rare occasions: A penalty of no more than 4 points for actions that must be undertaken deliberately. 3
Severe penalties on rare occasions: A severe penalty for actions that must be undertaken deliberately. 2
Light penalties on common occasions: A penalty of no more than 4 points, which can happen as a result of failure or otherwise be forced. 2
Severe penalties on common occasion: A severe penalty, which can happen as a result of failure or otherwise be forced 0

† This bonus is not generally applicable to PCs. Does not count for balance purposes.

‡ Bonus not cumulative with others in the group or with the line above the group.


A benefit conferred by a certain affiliation score can be compared to that of a magic item. The value of the benefit should be approximately 10 gp times the required affiliation score squared. This works out to 250 gp ( 4), 1,000 gp (10), 4,000 gp (20), and 9,000 gp (30).

The following limitations each halve the cost of an ability. Half + half = 1/4 in this case.

  • An item with inflexible powers, such as an affiliation badge with specific abilities
  • Available only in affiliation base or from members
  • Available only part of the time (typically one week per month)
  • Available only for certain purposes
  • Carries a potential loss of affiliation score (1/4 if it always carries such a loss)

Examples of common benefits and their value.

Benefit Value (gp)
Skill bonus (squared) 100
Skill bonus in special locale (squared) 50
Leadership bonus (squared) 100
Feat 1,000
Follower of CL (squared) 50
3/4 price on spellcasting or other services from members 250
3/4 price on mundane goods of one type (weapons, armor, vehicles) 1,000
3/4 price on one type of magical goods 2,000
Monthly income 50 gp for a part-time job 500

See also

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