|Heroic Action Role-Play|
These rules cover businesses, guilds, ninja clans, and other organizations a player in Action might want to lead or be a part of. It is quite abstract but gives a framework to role-play around. Players should feel free to ignore these rules and just play happy-go-lucky adventurers, using the contacts gained from skills to define their role in the world instead of the more formal rules here.
The following is used to describe a characters position withing an organization, as well as the organization itself.
Power and Description
The organiozation itself has Power; rating the might of organization as a whole. This is the maximum Rank anyone in the organization can have.
The organization also needs a goal and purpose and should have a description, describing what it does, how it does it, and why. It needs a leader, and it should be noted if its a branch of a larger organization.
Rank and Job
An position in an organization has three traits, Rank, Skill, and Attribute. Rank is the position of the character within the organization. Skill and attribute is what traits the character uses to advance in the organization and is taken from the normal range of character skills and attributes.
Rank generally starts at a value equal to the character's value in the skill of the organization if the character is young and unestablished, while an old master can be as high as the sum of the skill and attribute of the organization if the character is at the apex of his career.
Here is a table with typical positions within an organization based on different combinations of skill and attribute. Naturally, this will vary with the genre; a spy ring is not the same in high fantasy as it is in cyberpunk. The descriptions are only suggestions and pointers, you can go outside the examples. Nor need an organization be only one thing; it is possible for two characters to be a member of the same large organization and use different skills because they are in different careers within that organization.
|Spy ring |
|Maneuver||Athletic Sports||Dance||Acrobatic Sports|
|Melee||Thuggery||Fencing School||Ninja Clan|
You can make an advancement check once per adventure, about every three or so play sessions, when there is a suitable spot of downtime.
- An advancement check is a confident skill roll using the skill noted for the organization. Fortune cannot be spent on these rolls.
- The difficulty is your current Rank in that organization.
If this skill check succeeds, Rank increases by one point. If the skill check fails but negative Outcome is less than the attribute of the organization, nothing happens. If the roll fails and the negative Outcome is equal or greater than the attribute, there is a Setback and Rank is reduced by three. If you are the leader of an organization and it suffers a setback, the Power of the organization is reduced by one. A setback can serve as an adventure hook, successfully concluding this adventure might lessen the damage or at least give a bonus on the next roll.
The advancement check is modified depending on the situation at hand. These modifiers are typical, and the GM can easily invent more of his own, possibly to foreshadow future events. Use only the first applicable modification on the table, ignoring any below. If the modifier is a penalty, you must attempt an advancement check. Fortune cannot be spent on advancement rolls.
|Organization suffered a setback in the adventure||-5|
|Organization gained a boon or fulfilled an objective in the adventure||+5|
|The adventure was a failure or the character was at odds with the organization||-2|
|Character wasted organization resources||-2|
|Organization was involved in the adventure||+2|
Rank can never exceed the Power of the organization, but it is possible to increase the power of the organization instead. If you are a member of several organization, you can still only make one Advancement Check per adventure, unless you suffer a penalty on the advancement check in which case you must roll.
Other Uses of Advancement Checks
A successful advancement check can be used in other ways than to advance your rank. If an organization is important to the story, a GM will often make adventures about who controls it and how to change it, and let important changes in the organization be determined in play rather than with random die rolls.
- Assume Control: If you have Rank equal to the Power of the organization you can become the leader of the organization.
- Expand the Organization: Increase the Power of the organization by one. If there is a leader in the organization and you are att odds with him, you must succeed in a roll of Rank vs. Power to succeed at this.
- Altering the Agenda: You can try and change the goals of the organization. This requires a successful Rank check against the Power of the organization, with modifiers depending on how drastic and tradition-breaking the change is.
- Career Change: You can gain a position in another organization related to the one you are in now, such as moving from a branch office to a central office, from a guild into city administration, or from a union into a political position. Depending on the relationship between the organizations, you starting Rank in the new organization might be lower, especially if you decide to keep your Rank in the old organization.
- Competition: You try to sabotage another's career. The target suffers a -5 penalty on the next Advancement Check and you gain a +2 bonus on your next Advancement Check.
Multiple Characters and Organizations
Several characters can be in the same organization, each using different skills and attributes as long as they make sense for their role and for the organization as a whole.
- Several characters can be competing members of the same large organization. They essentially work independently, each advancing separately in their own branch or department. Each rolls separately for advancement and have their own Rank.
- One character can be a member of several organizations. You can only attempt to advance in one organization with each advancement roll, unless penalties force you to roll for several.
The Meaning of Rank and Power
The impact of an organization, or the characters rank in an organization, depends on the rank.
Social class indicates the circles in which the character or organization acts. For example "imperial" rank signifies that you work within the ruling elite of a wide-ranging empire, but not that you are the emperor. Social Class gives an indication of the relative wealth and prestige you gain from the organization; what this actually means depends on the setting. Being aristocracy in a glamor spy game and a gritty game of rebelling peasants is not the same thing and has very different perks, but both place you at the top.
Subordinates is a very rough figure, even more so than the other figures here. The actual number employed by the organization is very approximately 1/10 of the clout at the ancient level and remains constant as each employee can serve more and more clients. An exception here is military infantry, that tends to employ far more than this figure as tech level advances, to as much as 10% of the numbers given under clout.
Clout is the number of people's lives affected by the organization. This is not the same as the organization's membership. For a company this is the number of customers. For a nation, this is the population. Clout is also budget; poor people in an Electronic-level society live like medieval nobility - servants replaced by machinery.
The tech levels used are the same as for Items. The rankings are very generic and rough, some societies achieve the given level of sophistication later or earlier. An abundance of power use can substitute for technology, but this is too complex to assess in a table. The GM may arbitrarily assign a society a different tech level.
A campaign is set in a magically and spiritually abundant Aztec Empire. The tech level is very low, at the lower end of ancient, but the complexity of society and the abundance of powers makes the GM assign this setting to the combustion level.
This table provides number that are less sketchy than the one above, but still only rough estimates. The numbers from the table above apply to the middle of the bracket of numbers, which is 2 points above the minimum number. You use this table by multiplying the figures from the table above by a factor that depends on how many points you are away from the lowest number in each bracket.
The Rank works much like the contacts element of a skill. Working through the chain of command of a formal organization, you have more authority over your contacts than usual, bust frivolously spending organization resources will penalize future advancement rolls. A more informal hierarchy gives favors rather than executes orders.
An organization has a focus that tells you what it can do; police can investigate, harass, and lend equipment, a retail chain can provide gear and money, a research lab can provide very specialized equipment and knowledge.
Schticks. Limitations, and Powers
- Blue Blood: Your Rank is always at least equal to your Impress, even if Impress is not relevant to the organization you are a member of.
- Self-Made: You can always use Charm to advance, even if Charm is not relevant to the organization you are a member of.
- Silver Spoon: Your wealth is two categories higher than indicated by your Rank. You are always at least Gentry even if your Rank indicates less.
- Talent: A relevant Talent allows you to use your maximum value to advance in an organization, rather than the normal skill value.
- Vision: Your clout is one category higher than indicated by your Rank.
- Poor: You are always Poor, regardless of your Rank.