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Mixing Cults with Barony

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  • Seraph Kitty
    started a topic Mixing Cults with Barony

    Mixing Cults with Barony

    Greeting All,

    I’m preparing to run a rather large scale Mummy game which will in part involve manipulating national events over a time frame of centuries, in conflict with other immortals. To do this, I’ve been brushing up on various system and thinking about how to model stuff out. This led me to reread Damnation City, specifically the Barony systems and Primacy style of gameplay... apart from being a good tool for larger scale political conflicts, it looked fairly applicable to mummy games specifically, in which the cult itself serves as the Regent character, and the Arisen being an “agent” it can send out on specific missions to zoom back in on smaller scale stories.
    Of course, some of the mechanics between Primacy and cults would be redundant with each other (Assets vs Reach / Grasp) but could be altered to expand on each other instead: save Reach and Grasp for what the loyal, fully informed cultists can accomplIsh, while letting them rely on external specialists modeled with Assets, who aren’t necessarily clued in and whom they have to compete with other cults to control.

    My thinking is that this can expand on the existing Cult systems in an interesting way that puts regional politics in the spotlight, and models out how to acquire the services of skilled NPCs, which become a resource to compete over. The Influence system could also be adapted to represent, say, competing for the king’s ear between varied interests. This would also make it a little easier to introduce vampires as a major antagonist without converting their kind of influence into cults.

    Has anybody else tried using these two systems together, or just played with the Primacy style of game, or ran a large scale politics game in mummy? I’d appreciate any advice on using these systems, or running this style of game. Also just the reality check of does this provide an interesting tool, or would it be unnecessary and overly complicated to use in a game?

    Thanks, Seraph Kitty

  • Seraph Kitty
    I’ve been working on merging these systems together over the last several days, and I’m more and more convinced they work really well together. I’m most of the way through a full write up, but here’s a brief summary of what it looks like.

    In the primacy system, the main character is the cult. It focuses on city-wide political scheming, with actions that take at least one day, by default.
    I’ve added a new type of Foundation: barony. In this, its basically one influential person instead of a group, but otherwise acts with cult rules.
    When cults take actions directly for itself, they use Reach or Grasp.
    Cults also recruit skilled specialists, called Assets. Assets provide their services in one Skill, exclusively to the cult - but they can be swayed away to serve another.
    A player may take an action with both the cult and with 1 Asset each day. Having additional Assets take an action costs an influence point.
    Cults have an Influence trait, rated 1 to 10, that provides one fuel point per dot (like willpower). They start at 2 dots in influence; this gives them 15 points for Assets to design at creation.
    Influence is raised and lowered through story decisions, by gaining or losing Assets.

    Here’s what I’m really liking about this merged system:
    It provides a decent subsystem for modeling city wide politics: it doesn’t add too much complexity or clutter, it has plenty of room for nuance, and it beefs up how cults interact with the setting. It emphasizes that an organization’s power is based largely on the people it can sway to its cause. This system can also model a wide range of power structures based on the primary influencers, their right hand agent for direct action, and their less loyal but more valuable contractors and specialists.

    Here’s what’s giving me trouble:
    There’s a few niche systems in Primacy that add a fair amount of complexity. I don’t feel like they currently add enough to include considering that I’m stitching all the complexity of cults into it. But I haven’t found a good rework for them yet..

    -influence juice
    Damnation city attaches a fuel stat to the influence trait, similar to willpower. It’s got some pretty limited uses and means of recovery.
    You can use it to: 1 automatic success on a political action (including primacy actions) for yourself or someone else, activate an agent for 1 scene, use more than one asset at a time.
    Regaining: scrap a dot to refill half, take an action specifically to regain juice, or successfully convince the Prince of your plan.
    My thinking is that most of these uses could be cut or reworked, except for using multiple assets. I don’t have a good alternative cost or limitation to this.

    This benefit is pretty useful, but tracking it is kind of tough, and it makes kind of weird changes to the actions. It scales with 1/2 influence, which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but given all the various rules in this system already, it’s another tricky thing to keep track of. If I keep influence juice, I may change this to being activated at a cost. If I scrap juice, I may try reworking it to be a type of action. Idk

    -scaling resources and actions
    the existing resources system (in either 1 or 2e) isn’t designed to model millionaires, corporations, and entire governments the way that primacy plays with. The modification to resources in primacy let’s you make other characters millionaires, which is fine, but doesn’t provide a framework for the kind of costs and restrictions for city-scale investments. No one in the primacy-cults hack I’m working necessarily needs to have a resources trait, but I think I may need to build some guidelines to using money and actions on this kind of scale...
    Last edited by Seraph Kitty; 06-24-2019, 03:09 AM.

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  • Azahul
    I can't say I have used those mechanics, but I love the concept. I'll need to dig out Damnation City and actually read over the Primacy rules, it's been a long time since I looked at them and I'm super hazy, but actually modelling a cult's development down through the centuries for a political game could be a lot of fun indeed. Featuring multiple descents allows for cool things like entire descents dedicated to the recruitment of particularly talented NPCs, for example, and though it's possible they may not even be alive by the time the Mummy next arises at least the cult would have benefited from their services for a few decades.

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