FactionRPG

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These rules are obsolete.

FactionRPG is a political game in which each player takes on the roles of key figures within a powerful faction. Factions must collaborate with and scheme against each other in order to impose and maintain their paradigm.

Contents

Factions

Factions exist in order to enforce their paradigm. This fundamental goal gives factions the motivation to interact with the other factions in the game.

Factions have three components:

  • Leadership: unites all of the people within the faction under a common cause
  • Representatives: speak for the faction when communicating with other factions
  • Assets: exert influence on other assets in order to accomplish the faction's objectives

A faction's leadership can be an individual, group, or even an ideal. Though a faction's leadership cannot be directly attacked, its influence (in the form of Assets) can be removed.

The roleplaying in FactionRPG is done by Representatives in scenes that are only seen by the players participating in them. Communication between your faction and the Representatives of other factions may take any form you wish, but harming Representatives has no effect on the functioning of the faction as a whole.

Assets allow your faction to exert influence on other factions by affecting their assets. Assets can be destroyed or subverted by other factions. You narrate the actions your assets attempt, and these narrations are seen by everyone who can see your assets. If your actions fail, the result of the attempt are narrated by the defending player.

Assets

The resources at the disposal of each faction are represented as a collection of assets. Any source of power wielded by a faction is represented as an asset, be it political, financial, technological, martial, or otherwise. Assets are used to either help or hinder other assets; in this way factions exert influence on each other.

  • Each asset has a numerical rating, called value, which describes how powerful the asset is relative to other assets.
  • Assets can be overt or covert.
    • Overt assets are always visible to every faction and contribute their full value to any actions they attempt.
    • Covert assets are invisible to every faction except those that have a profile on them and contribute one less than their value to any actions they attempt. Even if an asset contributes no strength to an action, it still contributes its specialization to that action.

(In)Visibility

Visible assets Invisible assets
have their properties (value, owner, specialization, etc.) known by those who can see them do not have their properties, or even existence, known by those who cannot see them
can be targeted with any action by those who can see them cannot be targeted by any action by those who cannot see them
have their actions known by those who can see them do not have their actions known by those who cannot see them

Profiles

Factions can gain profiles on covert assets, making them visible to that faction. Factions always have profiles on their own covert assets. Factions can share any profiles they have with other factions during the Negotiation Phase.

Space

The game has a number which represents the maximum total value of all assets, called space. The amount of free space at the start of every turn is always public knowledge.

Actions that increase the value of an asset can only use free space. If no space remains, successful actions are still successful, or even exceptionally successful, however the full increase in asset value does not occur.

With regards to using space, and only with regards to using space, actions are prioritized in order of strength.

Actions

Each asset can be assigned one action each turn, otherwise it performs its default action.

The strength of an action, whether to attack or defend, is the sum of the strength of every asset collaborating on the action.

Overt assets contribute their full value to the strength actions they attempt. Covert assets contribute one less than their value to the strength of actions they attempt. A covert asset may be ordered to go overt when it is given its orders, allowing it to contribute its full value to the strength of the action it attempts, at the cost of becoming visible to every faction.

When making an attack, the margin of success (MoS) of the action is the difference between the action's strength and the target's defense. An undefended asset's defense is its value. The defense of an asset can be raised with defensive actions.

  • If the MoS is zero or less, the attack is a failure. When assets fail an attack, they become compromised.
  • If the MoS is one or more, the attack is a success.
  • If the MoS equals or exceeds the value of the target, the attack is an exceptional success.

Defensive actions always add their strength to the defense of the target, and therefore are always succeed.

If the strength of a defensive action exceeds the value of the target, the action is an exceptional success. However, if the asset was successfully damaged this turn, no additional effect beyond the increase in defense occurs: the defensive action has been thwarted.

If a faction attacks and defends the same asset on the same turn, the attack will ignore any increase in defense gained from the defensive action. This is useful, for example, when you wish to simultaneously Shroud and Infiltrate an asset in order to seize it without the owner knowing who did so.

The possible actions are:

  • Attack(Damage) - thwart defensive actions on the target and reduce the value of the target
  • Attack(Infiltrate) - gain profiles on covert assets and possibly seize control of the target
  • Defend(Shroud) - increase the target's defense and render it covert
  • Defend(Enhance) - increase the target's defense and increase its value

Damage

Failure Success Exceptional Success
attacking assets are compromised
  • target loses value equal to the MoS at the end of the turn
  • all defensive actions on the target this are thwarted
also, attacking assets increase in value at the end of the turn by one less than the target's value

Value gained from damage actions is always randomly distributed among the attacking assets weighted by asset strength. Therefore the more strength you contribute to the attack, the greater the chance that your assets will have their value increased.

Infiltrate

Failure Success Exceptional Success
attackers learn that the faction has no invisible assets and the attacking assets are compromised attackers gain a random profile on an asset which belonged to the owner of the target at the start of the turn and is still invisible at the end of the turn, or if there aren't any, learn that the faction has no invisible assets also, the faction that contributed the most strength decides which faction seizes control of the asset at the end of the turn

Infiltrate attacks always appear to be successful even if the information gained is false.

Infiltrate is the only action that can be taken on a faction which has no visible assets. In this case, the player notes that the action is a "shot in the dark" against the faction, and the defending faction's sentinel becomes the targeted asset. An asset can never be seized in this way, even if the attack is an exceptional success.

When making an infiltrate attack, you must note which faction will seize the asset if the action is an exceptional success. You may choose to have the infiltrated asset remain under the control of its current owner if you wish. By default the attacking faction seizes control of the asset.

The former owner of a covert asset which has been seized keeps a profile on it, and will therefore know who the new owner is. If an asset is rendered covert on the same turn it is seized, however, the former owner will lose their profile on their asset and not automatically know who the new owner is.

Shroud

Success Exceptional Success
target's defense is raised by the action's strength also, the target becomes covert at the end of the turn or, if the asset was already covert, any existing profiles on the asset are lost

All factions that collaborate on an exceptionally successful Shroud will retain a profile on the asset.

Enhance

Success Exceptional Success
target's defense is raised by the action's strength also, the target's value increases by one at the end of the turn

You may target a new 0-value asset with an Enhance action, and if there is sufficient space, the asset will be created. The new asset will have the same visibility as the assets that created it.

An asset can only have its value raised by enhance actions once per turn. If multiple enhance actions on the same target would be successful, only the one with the highest strength raises the value of the asset.

Failed Attacks

When attacks fail the attacking assets become compromised. The attacking assets lose value equal to the MoS, randomly distributed among the assets weighted by strength. The defender does not know which assets participated in the attack unless they already had a profile on those assets. However, the defender is informed that an attack failed, and they are told whether it was a damage attack or an infiltrate attack.

Defense Policy

Each turn when orders are submitted, each faction chooses one their assets to be their sentinel: that asset will be targeted by "shot in the dark" attacks against that faction. The sentinel is by default the highest value asset a faction possesses.

Specializations

Assets can have specializations that allow them to achieve spectacular results or avoid catastrophic failure with a particular kind of action. Asset specializations are purchased at the start of the game when you create your faction.

Every asset collaborating on an action contributes its specialization to that action. In this way, more than one specialization can apply to the same action, and factions can bargain for the use of the specializations of assets that belong to other factions.

Specialization Action Effect
Evade Damage if the attack is a failure, attacking assets are not compromised
Cannibalize Damage if the attack is only a success, attacking assets still gain (MoS - 1) value to a maximum of the target's value - 1
Elude Infiltrate if the attack is a failure, attacking assets are not compromised
Interrogate Infiltrate if the attack is at least a success, the attacking factions gain a number of profiles equal to the MoS to a maximum of the target's value
Ambush Shroud the target's defense is always increased by twice the action's strength
Disguise Any covert assets always contribute their full value to the strength of any action they attempt
Upgrade Enhance on an exceptional success, if another asset with a specialization collaborated on the Enhance action, the target gains one of those specializations permanently
Infuse Enhance on an exceptional success the target gains any one specialization until the end of the next turn

Starting Assets

Before the game starts, the GM will secretly tell each player how many Build Points (BP) they have with which to purchase their starting assets and profiles. All BP must be spent before the game begins.

Build Points (BP)

Each BP can be spent on:

  • one value worth of overt assets (you must buy progressively larger assets in increments of 1 value at a time)
  • rendering an asset covert before the game starts, guaranteeing that no other faction begins the game with a profile on it
  • giving an asset a permanent specialization which the asset will contribute to every action it performs

Submission Format

Build should be submitted in the following format. Copy and paste the following for each asset:

Value:
Covert? (yes/no)
Specialization(s):
Asset Name:
Asset Description:
First Turn's Action:
Attempt Narration for First Turn's Action for those who can see your asset (but not necessarily the target):
Attempt Narration for First Turn's Action for those who can see the target (but not necessarily your asset):
Success Narration for First Turn's Action for those who can see the target (but not necessarily your asset):

Game Play

Every turn of play has three phases:

  • Negotiation: in which players attempt to strike deals with and mislead each other
  • Orders: in which each player secretly assigns orders to and narrations for their assets
  • Results: in which the results of the actions for the turn are determined and additional narrations are written

Negotiation Phase

The Negotiation Phase is the bread and butter of the game.

Each faction has a Contact Point which serves to set the scene for in-game discussions. Each turn, any faction may send a representative to any Contact Point and begin a scene which may include, but is not limited to: making threats, asking for help, sharing information, spreading rumours, etc.

Nothing said during the Negotiation Phase is binding. Players are free to order their assets any way they please, regardless of promises made.

Sharing Profiles

If you have a profile on a covert asset, you may share it with any faction during the Negotiation Phase. You may also share profiles on your covert assets.

Collaboration

If any assets attempting the same action on the same target collaborate with each other, they contribute their value to the strength of the same action instead of each attempting the action independently on the target.

Further, the specializations of all collaborating assets apply to the action.

Assets that belong to the same faction are always considered to be collaborating with each other.

Orders Phase

Eventually each faction is required to commit their resources to a particular set of actions. Orders are submitted secretly to the GM.

Narration of Action Attempts

Narrations for action attempts are divided into what is seen by those who can see the asset attempting the action what is seen by those who can see the target. You also submit the narration for the success of the action as seen by those who can see the target. If the action fails, the defending player will narrate the result instead.

Narrations must be submitted in the following format (copy & paste for each asset):

[fieldset=X-Asset ACTION Y-Target (WITH: <factions>) (TRANSFER TO <faction>)]
[fieldset=Attempt Narration for those who can see your asset (but not necessarily the target)]
FILL THIS IN
[/fieldset]
[fieldset=Attempt Narration for those who can see the target (but not necessarily your asset)]
FILL THIS IN
[/fieldset]
[fieldset=NOTES]
[/fieldset]
[fieldset=Success Narration for those who can see the target (but not necessarily your asset)]
FILL THIS IN
[/fieldset]
[/fieldset]
  • WITH (optional): specify which factions you are collaborating with. This information will only be known to those who can see the assets that collaborated on the action.
  • TRANSFER TO (optional): Which faction will possess this asset after it performs its action. See Transferring Assets.
  • NOTES (optional): Additional information such as: who will gain control of a seized asset, which specialization to infuse the target with, who will possess a newly created asset, if this asset is going overt, etc.

Transferring Assets

You may transfer ownership of an asset to another faction Append "TRANSFER TO (faction)" to the narration for the asset. The transfer will occur at the end of the turn, after the asset has attempted whatever orders you have assigned it this turn. The asset still belongs to you for the purposes of resolving the results of actions this turn.

Results Phase

Resolving the Turn

Actions are resolved by the GM by following these steps:

  • Calculate the defense of every asset.
  • Determine the effect of damage attacks and infiltrate attacks. This includes assigning exceptionally successful Damage attacks their share of any available space.
  • Determine the effect of each defensive action taking into account the results of this turn's damage attacks.
  • Apply the effects of defensive actions and value reduction from damage to each asset simultaneously.
  • Determine which assets gain value from exceptionally successful damage attacks.
  • Apply the above and the results of infiltrate attacks to each asset simultaneously.
  • Transfer assets.
  • Publish the results of the turn.

Narration of Action Results

Each player provides narrations for failed attacks on their assets, and these narrations are used instead of the "Success Narration" submitted for the actions.

Metagame Considerations

Chapters

Long games can be broken up into chapters of several turns. Between chapters, some length of in-game time can pass, while there is an opportunity to recruit new players, and thus add new factions to the game. Other players may retire their factions. Space can be recalculated, and additional BP can be awarded to factions who survived the chapter.

The length of each chapter and the types of changes that may occur between chapters should be public knowledge and should be decided upon before the game begins.

Player Loss

When a player abandons their faction, the faction suffers a coup. This has the following ramifications:

  • All negotiations with the faction cease. The faction's leadership is too fractured for any meaningful discussions to occur.
  • The actions taken by the faction's assets depend on the asset's specialization as described in the following table:
Specialization Action & Target (first choice) Action & Target (if first choice isn't possible)
Evade or Cannibalize Damage a visible asset belonging to another faction with value less than the value of this asset, chosen randomly Infiltrate a faction, chosen randomly, with a "shot in the dark"
Elude or Interrogate Infiltrate a visible asset belonging to another faction with value less than the value of this asset, chosen randomly Infiltrate a faction, chosen randomly, with a "shot in the dark"
Ambush Shroud an asset belonging to this faction, chosen randomly N/A
Disguise Collaborate on any action with a covert asset belonging to this faction, chosen randomly Shroud an asset belonging to this faction with value less than the value of this asset, chosen randomly
Upgrade or Infuse Enhance an asset belonging to this faction, chosen randomly (with a random infusion if applicable) N/A
(none) as per one of the above specializations, chosen randomly as per one of the above specializations, chosen randomly

Theoretically a new player may choose to take over the abandoned faction, at which point it behaves as any player faction would.