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Projects and Bureaucracy Overhaul

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

    I don't have the best answer even after taking some time to think about it. I do very much agree, whatever the name, "capacity to gather information, esp. about rivals and enemies internal or external," deserves to be its own Quality given the kind of stories you'd use these mechanics for.

    What I struggle with is that it stands out as being the lest variable in how it looks. Most of the Qualities can be pictured in meaningfully distinct ways with dozens of possible expressions. Even Scale, the most concrete of them, could be an empire with a strong central power that controls lots of smaller surrounding groups, an alliance of city-states, a trade network, a criminal organization running dojos and tea houses across a given area, etc. Even if mechanically it's below a Quality's resolution to put in a difference between them, when picturing what these organizations look like, I can see how the Qualities let me express the narrative specifics of the organization.

    Espionage feels, perhaps because it's a specific activity rather than a general descriptor, like it's always going to look the same. It doesn't feel like a fast growing religious cult should need to invest in actual spies (not that they can't, but it shouldn't feel assumed) in order to stamp out heretics or keep their flock from adopting outside ideas; but that's activity that current falls under the Espionage umbrella. No one would bat an eye if you stated up such a cult with Military to represent its not super well trained by highly committed fanatics that will take up arms, but if they rely on soft power to control the faithful rather than distinct spies, it would feel weird to have a high Espionage rating even if that's what the mechanics imply.

    I could just be getting dug in on the name, but it feels like there's a bit more to it when you compare them.
    So I did pull back on what aspect gets used for what check. The actions now all call for a "leadership check," consisting of the actor's Bureaucracy + the organization's most relevant Quality. I think that helps the issues with Evaluate you were talking about--now you can have your priests keep an eye out for treachery (Culture), have your bean-counters notice that a noble is embezzling (Economy) or that a mine's production has dropped off (Infrastructure), and so on.

    Having a quality for spy stuff, though... I'm not a huge fan of it either, but I don't see what else it could be. Even if you demote spy networks to Assets (which probably works better, honestly), I think there needs to be some sort of 'organizational stealth' Quality--in any kind of direct conflict, you're going to want to be able to do things sneakily. Maybe "Duplicity" would be better? That way it's not your spies doing stuff so much as it is your general ability to present a false face to the world.
    Last edited by Grod_the_giant; 02-11-2021, 04:37 PM.


    • #17
      I might be putting on my 90s WW thesaurus hat, but what about Adroitness?

      Something a bit more neutral than duplicity, it's generally used somewhat like ST games use Wits: how well the organization reacts quickly to changes, deftly it shows some cards and holds others in waiting, etc. Recruiting spies-as-Assets could be an Adroitness roll when you're actively turning people from other organizations to your side through manipulation and cultivation rather than bribes or threats to their interests. Culture and Military are about showing how your side is stronger as leverage in Leadership checks, Adroitness would be about meeting the target where they are instead.


      • #18
        Alternate idea: what if I was to drop Qualities almost entirely? Leave Wealth, Scale, and Loyalty as static values, say that bureaucractic actions are normal checks, and rely on Assets for all differentiation? (Ie, the difference between a theocracy and a criminal empire isn't Culture, it's that the former has a bunch of church-y assets they can use to benefit church-y)


        • #19
          Update: I did wind up going with Duplicity; I also changed Loyalty to Discipline, Infrastructure to Governance, and edited a few descriptions to draw a clearer line between Quality and Asset--the latter is having the thing, and the former is using the thing.


          • #20
            Update 2: I've completed a Charm rewrite to take advantage of my new systems. (Well, Bureaucracy Charms... It might be worth adding some support to War and maybe Presence, too)