Monday, July 26, 2010

Affiliations for 4E

One great idea that came late in the 3.5 curve was Affiliations. These were originally introduced in PHB 2 and for some reason haven't made it into 4E yet. I used them in a campaign very successfully and really like how they work. Here's a brief adaptation for 4E. Reference the 3.5 PHB II page 163 for further information.

THREE CATEGORIES OF AFFILIATIONS:
  • Social Affiliations: Interest generally restricted only by common interests or cause. Requires higher levels of activity to gain and maintain status. Benefits come more slowly. However, social affiliations tend to grow rapidly and can become more powerful than others if conditions are ripe.
  • Racial Affiliations: Restricted membership (must have a character of the correct race). Status has more benefits at lower levels.
  • Power Source Affiliations: Restricted membership (must have a character based on appropriate power source). Generally easier to gain status.
MULTIPLE AFFILIATIONS:
  • Penalty: Each affiliation you join imposes a -5 penalty on all future scores. Thus you join the first at -5, the second at -10, the third at -15, etc.
  • Benefits: You may only benefit from one affiliation at a time, regardless of your status in multiple affiliations. You may change which set of affiliation benefits affect you after an extended rest.
And that's all players need to know, other than the table of benefits/duties and titles/criteria for each affiliation they join! To create an affiliation, follow the following steps:
  1. Device a concept, name, symbol, and background.
  2. Choose affiliation's Type and Category.
  3. Choose Executive Powers.
  4. Choose Affiliation's Scale.
  5. Choose Affiliation Score Criteria.
  6. Create Titles held by members. Define Duties and Benefits.
2A) TYPE: Each affiliation is of one of the following types. The type affects the trained "skill" of the affiliation as well as its selection of executive powers. It may also affect the power source it tends to be associated with and other characteristics.
  • BUSINESS
  • CABAL
  • COLLEGE
  • DRUID CIRCLE
  • FIGHTING COMPANY
  • GOVERNMENT
  • SPY RING
  • TEMPLE
  • THIEVE’S GUILD
  • TRIBE
AFFILIATION TYPE AND AFFILIATION SKILLS: Affiliations are dynamic and can act in the game world. They may make checks similar to skill checks to impact their environment. Affiliations may "aid another" and do other actions similar to a normal skill check, except they generally operate on a broader scale and longer time frame. Each affiliation is considered "trained" in negotiation, violence, or espionage.

BUSINESS

CABAL

COLLEGE

DRUID CIRCLE

FIGHTING COMPANY

GOVERNMENT

SPY RING

TEMPLE

THIEVE’S GUILD

TRIBE

VIOLENCE

X

X

X

ESPIONAGE

X

X

X

NEGOTIATION

X

X

X

X


Use 1d20 + the following modifiers vs. a level appropriate DC and evaluate success or failure just as if it were a skill check:
  • Tier: Affiliation is Heroic (+1), Paragon (+2), Epic (+3)
  • Scale: Add 1/2 scale
  • Trained: Affiliation is skilled in particular action (+5)
  • Leader: Add the better of the affiliation leader's relevant ability score modifier. STR/CON for violence, DEX/INT for espionage, and WIS/CHA for negotiation. For example, if a Fighter with 18 (+4) STR, 12 CON (+1), 14 WIS (+2), and 8 CHA (-1) leads a Fighting Company attempting a violence check, the check is at +4 due to the leader's strength. If the same affiliation attempts a Negotiation Check, the check is at +2 due to the leader's Wisdom.
  • Capital: Affiliation expends one point of capital (+2, one time bonus).

2B) CATEGORY: As described above. Select Social, Racial, or Power-Source based. This choice will have impacts on the later steps.

3) EXECUTIVE POWERS: Affiliations wield executive powers, which are a cross between Skills and Skill Powers. They represent more specific portfolios than the broad checks described above. Each type of affiliation may only select certain types of executive powers per the table below. Note that the table is color coded to include information on the broad Affiliation Skills; Blue (Negotiation), Red (Violence), Orange (Espionage). Reference the 3.5 PHB II for complete descriptions.

Business

Cabal

College

Druid Circle

Fighting Cpy

Government

Spy Ring

Temple

Thieve's Guild

Tribe

Assassinate

X

X

X

X

X

X

Beatify

X

X

Craft

X

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

X

X

Law

?

X

?

Mint

?

X

Pariah

X

X

X

Plague

X

X

X

Plunder

X

X

X

X

X

Raid

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Research

X

X

X

Shadow War

X

X

X

X

Terrorize

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Trade

X

X

War

X

X

X

4) SCALE
Scale is generally similar to Level. Most new affiliations -- especially player-character created affiliations begin at Scale 1. At the DM's discretion, if the character founding them is a Paragon Tier character, they may begin at Scale 11 (DM's discretion), and if an Epic Tier character, they may begin at Scale 21.

Scale is important because it is used to determine an affilaition's effectiveness when using Actions or Executive Powers. It is also used to determine the value of an affiliation's capital. Finally, it is used qualitatively to determine the influence of the affiliation. A King (leader of a Scale 18 Affiliation) probably seriously considers what his Dukes request (leaders of Scale 16 Affiliations), may occasionally consult with Barons or Major City Leaders (Scale 13 and 11), and probably doesn't often meet with the leader of the Ninth Alley Gang (Scale 4).
  1. Neighberhood
  2. Neighberhoods

  3. City quarter
  4. City quarter(s)

  5. City
  6. City

  7. City and outliers
  8. City/county

  9. Regional/barony
  10. Regional/march

  11. Multiregional/duchy
  12. Multiregional/kingdom

  13. Multiregional/kingdom + vassal states
  14. Continental/seafaring kingdom

  15. Continental/empire
  16. Multicontinental/empire

  17. Global
  18. Astral Plane

  19. Multiplanar
  20. Cosmos


CAPITAL
  • Abstraction: "Capital" represents a broad variety of assets including lands, finances, magic, and the talent of its members.
  • Starting Capital: An affiliation begins play with capital equal to its scale.
  • Minimum: Minimum capital is zero.
  • Maximum: Maximum capital equals Scale x 2. Capital in excess of this amount is lost at the rate of 1/day (2 for paragon, 3 for epic) unless it is spent.
  • Increasing Capital: Donations of wealth or magic equal in value to a magic item of the Affiliation's current scale increases the Capital Score by one. Capital may also be gained through use of executive powers, bargains with other affiliations, quests, or other means.
  • Decreasing Capital: Affiliations may expend capital voluntarily to gain bonuses on checks or utilize executive powers. Additionally, other affiliations may utilize offensive Executive Powers or wage a campaign against another affiliation to decrease or even steal its Capital. Generally, day-to-day operating costs are assumed to break even, but in particularly hard times the DM may rule that an affiliation loses capital just "treading water" to keep up appearances or adjust capital based on one-time major events, such as quest outcomes.
WAXING, AND WANING
  • Disbanding: An affiliation whose capital falls to -1 is disbanding. A disbanding affiliation cannot take Actions or exercise its Executive Powers. Members continue to receive benefits. Each week the disbanding affiliation makes a Disbanding Saving throw. Success indicates that the members remain scattered, but the memory remains alive and the cause lingers. Failure indicates that the affiliation loses one cumulative point of scale (-1, -2, -3, -4, -5, etc) for each failure. Once scale reaches zero the affiliation is dead. A 20 or higher indicates that the Affiliation has recovered. An infusion of capital can assist a disbanding affiliation; add a bonus to a Disbanding Saving Throw for each point of capital donated to the affiliation. Note that this means that an affiliation might shrink greatly in scale and then be resuscitated -- albeit with greatly limited influence -- with a more modest capital infusion.
  • Increasing Scale: An affiliation whose capital remains equal to its scale (1/2 its maximum) for a number of consecutive months equal to its scale rolls a saving throw at -5. Success indicates that it increases in scale by one. An affiliation may expend capital to gain a bonus on this check equal to +2 per point expended. Up to three points may be spent in heroic tier, two points in paragon, and one point in epic. Large organizations tend to grow more slowly than small ones and are often more conservative, husbanding resources.
    Special: Social affiliations -- due to their inherently looser requirements for joining -- make their growth saving throw roll at -0. They grow much faster than those restricted to a single race or power source.
5) Choose Affiliation Criteria
  • Reference PHB 2: Reference the PHB 2 unless otherwise noted for examples of criteria.
  • Breakpoints: Instead of using the Scale breakpoints noted, use scales 1-10 (heroic), 11-20 (paragon), and 21-30 (epic). An affiliation may only have a number of criteria both positive and negative equal to 5 + 1/5 its scale.
  • Financial Criteria:
    -
    Change "Wealth" to be "Possesses GP or other portable wealth. Convert Wealth to Magic Item Cost. Bonus equals Magic Item Level - Affiliation Scale / 10 (round up to 1, but not for scores higher than 1)."
    - Change "Magic Item Significant to Affililation to be "Magic Item Significant to Affiliation. Bonus equals Magic Item Level - Affiliation Scale / 5 (minimum of 1)."
    - Change "Loses or Destroys Affiliation Property" to be "Loses or Destroys Affiliation Property. -1/Capital Value."
  • Number of Criteria: In general, select three positive criteria. Each additional positive criteria beyond that requires addition of a negative criteria on a 1:1 basis.
    - Racial Affiliations:
    As described above.
    - Power-Source Affiliations: Additional postive criteria require addition of negative criteria on only a 2:1 basis (round down always in 4E), so an affiliation could have 3 positive/0 negative, 4 pos/0 neg, 5 pos/1 neg, 6 pos/1 neg, 7 pos/2 neg, and so on.
    - Social Affiliations: As described above.
6) TITLES, BENEFITS AND DUTIES

When Benefits are Gained: In general, use the following guidelines for determining when characters gain titles and thus benefits.
  • Minor Benefits: Affiliation Score >10
  • Major Benefits: Affiliation Score >20
  • Flagship Benefits: Affiliation Score >30
How Many?
  • Choose three benefits for free.
  • Four benefits requires selecting one duty.
  • Five benefits requires selecting two duties.
Special:
- Racial Affiliations: Gain Minor Benefits at >3. Gain Major Benefits at >14.
- Power-Source Affiliations: None
- Social Affiliations: None

Utilize PHB2 for a description of general benefits. Convert numerical bonuses to be appropriate with 4E. In general, that means +2/tier for damage or skill bonuses.

14 comments:

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