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Bureacratic Workings System [PEACH]

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  • Bureacratic Workings System [PEACH]

    Having just finished reading the rules for Sorcerous Workings, and Sanctaphrax's excellent Bureaucracy rules, and thought that the two could be combined. At this stage it is a literal filing off of the serial numbers of the Sorcerous Workings rules to see if the same principles can be applied (right down to the same phrasing in most cases). Changes to these are noted in italics.

    Bureaucratic Workings

    Bureaucratic workings allow characters to reshape organisations through their organisational skill, enacting edicts, embargoes, or reforms. Renewing the efficiency of a corrupt merchant service, creating law in a den of effete civil servants, raising a city up from its humble beginning to being a pinnacle of precision and commerce —all of these things can be achieved through bureaucratic workings.

    Every working begins with the bureaucrat's intention: what she wishes to accomplish. Once this intention has been established—usually between the player and the Storyteller, if the bureaucrat is a player’s character—the working is then assigned three separate traits of Ambition, Finesse, and Means, which are discussed below. Enacting the working is an extended (Intelligence + Bureaucracy) roll, with a difficulty set by the Finesse of the working, a goal number set by its Ambition, and a terminus set by its Means. It has a base interval of one month, which may be altered by Speed the Wheels if appropriate. Depending on the nature of the working and the stage of its completion, the ST can substitute the default Intelligence + Bureaucracy roll with one more appropriate for the action (such as Manipulation + Bureaucracy to twist legal frameworks, Charisma + Socialise to persuade a Merchant Prince to sign a trade deal etc).

    While most of the actual process of performing some of the bureaucratic working over a span of weeks can be relegated to downtime or off-screen, the bureaucrat must remain active in its completion, spending time performing administrative actions, managing personnel, organising logistics or whatever methodology is necessary to bring about the working. If the bureaucrat is unable to attend to these duties for at least part of an interval—for example, a pressing crisis draws a Twilight Caste away from his company's offices for a month of heroics elsewhere—then no roll can be made for that interval, which does count towards the project's terminus.* If a bureaucrat persistently ignores a working in progress, the Storyteller might introduce complications as a result of this—a hostile takeover might scupper half-finished trading deals, or an incomplete construction order might mean a building falls prey to local wildlife. This should be thought of not as a way of penalizing the bureaucrat, but as a way to bring narrative focus back to the working in a dramatic way.

    *Doesn't count towards terminus in sorcery. Changed because it makes sense for the world to carry on working in the absence of the bureaucrat's efforts, which is likely to cause them to fail. A trading partner gets impatient and abandons talks, the impending winter makes construction of the new aqueduct impossible, a bad set of managers gets entrenched in accounting to the extent that removing them would unsettle other employees etc. This will hopefully not impact balance too much.

    Once a bureaucratic working has been successfully completed, the sorcerer must pay experience points to finalize it. An Ambition 1 working costs 2xp, an Ambition 2 working is 4xp, and an Ambition 3 working is 8xp. Experience points spent on a working are not meant to be a poor investment— if a promising underling is slain, a newly-constructed bridge is washed away, a village under the bureaucrat's auspices is put to the sword by a deathknight, or a working is otherwise made irrelevant, the experience points spent on a neutralized working are refunded to the bureaucrat at the end of the current story.

    Note that this is not intended to be a replacement for roleplaying. Several of these actions are predicated on successful negotiations (particularly when a PC is not in full control of an organisation or region), which should be roleplayed as appropriate. Where applicable, STs should predicate rolling intervals for bureaucratic workings on successfully negotiating with appropriate parties, which should be roleplayed in full.

    Ambition

    The Ambition of a bureaucratic working is the power and scope of the change the sorcerer wishes to make. Ambition is rated on a scale of 1 to 3.*The Ambition of a working is set by the Storyteller based on the effect the sorcerer’s player wishes to create, and determines the goal number of the working, listed in the tables below.

    *Tweaked to represent the former circles, not the Ambition ratings. Mos of these examples were me looking at the sorcerous working examples and thinking "what would the equivalent thing be if applied to a mundane organisation? Not sure whether these scale very well.

    Ambition 1 (Goal Number 5): Hire a workforce capable of performing unskilled work tasks (physical labour, primarily) to your service. Build a road to ease travel to a particular location. Enter into trade deals with local merchants. Make permanent but small-scale municipal enhancements, such as providing an aqueduct or arranging a quarrying endeavour. Organise a militia to protect a town or neighbourhood-sized region against a particular type of mundane nuisance, such as marauding bandits, a competitor's saboteurs, or rabid animals.

    Ambition 1 (Goal Number 10): Bring together two different organisations to create a single overseeing entity for both interests. Arrange retraining or upskilling program for willing employees, such as basic literacy. Enhance a work process to improve efficiency by half again. Redouble an organisation's security against a particular kind of sabotage (extra locks, fireproofing, an additional trade endeavour or insurance scheme to cover against losses etc).

    Ambition 1 (Goal Number 20): Reorganise an organisation to enhance its productive capacity, causing a merchant ring to reliably deliver high-quality goods or a government department to always run smoothly. Create a completely new and successful business enterprise, or enhance an existing enterprise with either new addressable markets, new products or tax loopholes. Make moves that hamper competition in a way that diminishes aspects of their business like suppliers, customers or business partners, making it difficult for them to do business in the area. Open up a system of trade between two realms that allows communication and commerce on a limited scale.

    Ambition 2 (Goal Number 25): Create a connection between two departments of the same organiation that allows them to communicate efficiently on any task over any distance, or bestow a similarly useful but limited efficiency-related benefits. Create persistent adverse market conditions for competition (either through discriminatory laws, organised resistance or a cultural bias of some sort) across a town-sized region. Train up a skilled workforce. Transform a production space (workshop floor, warehouse etc) to produce or store any good within Creation. Protect business holdings against intruders with a personally-trained and loyal body of guards.

    Ambition 2 (Goal Number 30): Alter the supply of goods of a town-sized region over a long duration, altering consumption patterns and market prices accordingly. Reorganise you operations to actively work against outside interference. Raise up and train a body of competent civil servants or trade executives. Upskill and/or retrain an entire workforce to perform a skilled trade. Arrange from scratch the logistics necessary to distribute your goods throughout an entire region.

    Ambition 2 (Goal Number 35): Train a deputy to handle most of the day-to-day running of an entire arm of your organisation. Relocate the offices, records and other operational functions of an entire arm of government or multi-regional mercantile enterprise. Prepare for and open negotiations to establish a system of trade between two realms that allows for large-scale commercial movement.

    Ambition 3 (Goal Number 40): Completely reform a large organisation to weed out corruption and inefficiency. Change the cultural and organisational focus of an entire regional organisation to perform another kind of business. Extend the reach of your trade operations by another hundred miles in every direction, barring government interventions. Transfer and promote an entire workforce into an unfamiliar environment and a new trade. Restore a failing legislature to full function. Erect trade barriers against foreign or competitive goods across an entire region.

    Ambition 3 (Goal Number 50): Alter major organisational properties of a city-sized enterprise: make it capable of moving as needed, cause it to rise up and defend itself against outside competition, alter the relation between departments so that it can handle more tasks then an organisation of its size should feasibly manage, boost its efficiency to impossible levels, make it an unseen presence in a region to those who don't already know of its existence. Alter the trade landscape of a city-sized region to favour different. Enable legislation to cripple competition within a state that can only be met by paying ruinous tariffs or exploiting legal loopholes. Enable a deputy to run an entirely different wing of government, acting as its entirely capable executive.

    Ambition 3 (Goal Number 75): Make subtle changes to trade conditions across an entire Direction. Empower and train an underling to act as your equal within a region-spanning organisation. Enable a legally-enforced trade monopoly across an entire region, which can only be circumvented by black market trading or exploiting dozens of loopholes.

    Finesse

    The Finesse of a bureaucratic working is the extent to which a bureaucrat controls how its effects manifest and what form they take, rated on a scale of 1, 3, or 5 and set by the player. The base difficulty of the (Intelligence + Bureaucracy) roll to perform a bureaucratic working at each interval is equal to the working’s Finesse. While every bureaucratic working is defined by the bureaucrat's intention or goals in performing it, Finesse determines the extent to which the bureaucrat's player gets to dictate how this intent is fulfilled by the working. If, for example, a bureaucrat wished to secure a company building against robbers, a Finesse 1 working and a Finesse 5 working would both be equally efficacious in fulfilling that goal—but the nature and mechanics of the Finesse 1 working would be decided almost entirely by the Storyteller, while those of the Finesse 5 working would be decided by the bureaucrat's player.

    Finesse Effect

    1 - The Storyteller determines how the working manifests in the world. This will always be in accordance with the basic intent of the working— a bureaucrat wishing to train a new civil service mandarin who succeeds at a Finesse 1 working will never end up creating something that does not fulfil those tasks—but all details of the final result are in the Storyteller’s hands.

    3 - The bureaucrat's player comes up with a rough description of how the working plays out in the world, which the Storyteller can then polish or embellish with catches, quirks, or twists that make the working more interesting or flavorful without undermining the core intent of the working. For example, the mandarin is willing to do the job, is competent and quick at the job, but demands unusually luxurious working conditions, higher pay than everyone else, only puts in their full effort on particular kinds of work that they particularly like, etc.

    5 - The bureaucrat's player defines exactly how the bureaucratic working plays out in the world, subject to Storyteller approval.
    If the success of a bureauratic working is in jeopardy, the bureaucrat's player may choose to lower its Finesse mid-project, abandoning some of her control over the outcome to make it more easily attainable. However, there are consequences to taking this patchwork approach to bureaucracy —each step of Finesse the bureaucrat drops counts as one botch to complicate the final outcome of the working, as the bureaucrat's abandoned designs do not fully align with the systems she already has in place.

    Means

    The Means of a buraucratic working are the resources that a bureaucrat has available to put to use towards completion of the intention. Means can take many forms, but all of them have the same benefit—adding to the working’s terminus. Multiple Means stack their benefit, and it is intended that more ambitious workings will require the extra rolls from these to succeed. A sorcerous working with no Means has a terminus of 5 rolls.

    Common Means include:

    Complementary Abilities: A bureaucrat who’s mastered an Ability that naturally lends itself to the working she’s undertaking may claim that as one of her Means, allowing her to make one additional roll. Examples include using Lore (legislation) for a bureaucratic working intended to create a new form of legislation, or Sociailse for a working to create an embassy which will play host to an array of foreign dignatories. In order to claim this benefit, the sorcerer must have a rating of 5 in the complementary Ability, or a rating of 3+ along with an appropriate specialty. At the Storyteller’s discretion, a sorcerer who’s invested in a significant number of Charms or other supernatural powers that are either based on or enhance the complementary Ability may instead receive an additional two intervals from that Ability.

    Complementary Charms: A bureaucrat may claim one of her known Bureaucracy Charms as a Means if its function is related to the working she is trying to perform, allowing her to make one additional roll. A bureaucrat attempting to reshape an organisation to root out corruption would obviously benefit from Bureau-Rectifying Method and Bureau-Reforming Kata, while efforts to push forward legislation that benefits her company would be enhanced by Speed the Wheels.

    Complementary Merits: The changes to organisations and trade environments represented by these workings can clearly benefit from having some resources, influence or other advantage to ensure that changes get made. The applicability of a precise merit will vary from project to project and needs to be determined by the ST, but in general Allies, Backing, Command, Contacts, Followers, Influence, Retainers and Resources will be useful in the kind of endeavours represented by these rules.

    Extra Time: A bureaucrat willing to invest months or even years of preparation, research, and diligent practice into a bureaucratic working may claim that extra time as one of her Means. Extending the interval of the roll from one week to one month allows the bureaucrat to make one additional roll, while extending the interval to one cycle (three months) allows for two additional rolls. A bureaucrat could receive three additional rolls by extending the interval to one year, but only the most dedicated of sorcerers are willing to retire from the world for that long. Note that this is unaffected by Speed the Wheels, as it represents the bureaucrat's own efforts, not those of her organisation.

    Let me know whether this system still makes sense, or if there are problems with this straight an adaptation. Also if there are issues with reproducing stuff this close to the actual rules text in this volume.


    A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
    Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

  • #2
    Remove the xp cost, as it severly limits players interest in actually getting stuff done through this system. And it makes little sense to tax them in this way when this is meant more to give robust and objective system of seeing if a characters efforts succeed or not.

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    • #3
      Yeah, the EXP cost is unnecessary for this system, while its usage in the Sorcerous Working section of the core has to do with Workings being mystical miracles.


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      • #4
        Although bureaucratic workings are mundane in nature, they are also far more likely to result in Merits for the PCs on completion, most likely in Resources or Influence. I had assumed that the sorcerous working xp cost was simply a "this can give you a concrete benefit" payment, not a "you're getting shiny supernatural toys" payment. I can see a reason for it, but then again it's not huge enough to make a difference, I guess.


        A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
        Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

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        • #5
          Notably, the leadership system in the core which specifically calls out the acquisition of merits does not charge EXP for them, and the system for Story Merits, which are the kind that would be produced by this system, also specifically note that they are not acquired with EXP.


          I am no longer participating in the community. Please do not contact me about my previous work.

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          • #6
            To be honest, I'm not sold on the idea of merging Workings and projects. Especially since it gates a bunch of things that shouldn't be all that hard behind xp costs.

            Still, if you're really set on doing it, I guess this works.

            Probably worth taking a look at similar work by Irked, regardless.


            EX3 Craft Rewrite

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            • #7
              I really suspect that nothing Working-related should have XP costs; Craft projects don't; narrative background-building doesn't. If we're not going to charge the Zenith for befriending a new superhuman Ally, I tend to think we shouldn't charge the Twilight for mutating his mortal Ally into something beefy, either.

              (And if we do have to have XP costs, I want to know why we bill a Solar Sorcerer more for an Ambition 3 Terrestrial Working than an Ambition 1 Solar Working.)

              On topic: it seems to me that, if we're going to have big bureaucratic projects, one of the things we really want to take into account is that you might have a bureaucracy working for you - surely it's easier to, say, administrate the newly-unified Hundred Kingdoms if you have your army of Flawlessly Precise Ledger-Kings with you.


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              • #8
                Is the additional rolls from means enough to represent that? Or should ir add bonuses to rolls as well?

                Also, could you post up a link to your system thread? Both the forum search and Google seem to have lost it for me...
                Last edited by Xerxes; 07-25-2016, 02:25 AM.


                A Not-Quite-Newb's Read-Through of Ex3 - my thoughts, notes and trials and tribulations with the Exalted 3rd edition rules.
                Ex3 Reference Materials - currently includes an ST screen, common actions sheet, weapons reference sheet, character creation summary and mortal QCs reference sheet.

                Comment


                • #9
                  To your first question: I don't know! It just seems like a more central issue for a bureaucrat than for a sorcerer.

                  To your second: Sure. I've got a couple of pieces, at this point:

                  -This is the attempt at an organization-management system.

                  -This is a generic Bureaucracy difficulty system, i.e., "What does 10 successes on a Bureaucracy roll actually do for you?"

                  -This is a unified Bureaucratic projects/crafting/sorcerous workings system. In theory it plugs into the first item above; more resources from the organization-management system equals more Means for the workings system.


                  Homebrew: Lunar Charms for 3e

                  Solar Charm Rewrite (Complete) (Now with Charm cards!)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Irked View Post
                    I really suspect that nothing Working-related should have XP costs; Craft projects don't; narrative background-building doesn't. If we're not going to charge the Zenith for befriending a new superhuman Ally, I tend to think we shouldn't charge the Twilight for mutating his mortal Ally into something beefy, either.
                    But if you remove the xp cost from sorcerous workings, they become massively broken. Their difficulty in no way justifies their power; only their xp cost does.

                    Could make them harder, of course. But I don't think we want sorcerers constantly doing workings the way crafters are constantly crafting.


                    EX3 Craft Rewrite

                    Sanctaphrax is not a person
                    -Chejop Kejak

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sanctaphrax View Post
                      To be honest, I'm not sold on the idea of merging Workings and projects. Especially since it gates a bunch of things that shouldn't be all that hard behind xp costs.

                      Still, if you're really set on doing it, I guess this works.

                      Probably worth taking a look at similar work by Irked, regardless.
                      Before I read this post I was inclined to feel similarly; that the Working system needs some significant changes to fit with bureaucratic projects.

                      But looking at the actual table, I feel like... it actually looks like it works fairly well? Although I think at least some of the "beyond the boundaries rules", at least those applying to timescales, should apply here based on Ambition - otherwise I think it's probably a little too easy / fast to pull off the higher-tier projects even at E1.

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