Jump to content

Help! I need a mechanic for Politics.


Merak Gren

Recommended Posts

I'm working on my campaign setting for a Colony Era Jorune game.

The idea is that the PC's will be movers and shakers in the fate of their own Colony site. Local population is about 250 per site. However, they will also need to work / cooperate with the other 79 colony sites. Initially there will be a strong central government, but this will fragment over time. Eventually it will degenerate into a post apocalypse setting. Resource / colony management / leadership will be very important.

Therefore Politics (and politicians) will be important in getting separate groups of people working together.

To keep things simple, I'll only have two opposed political camps. Hardcore Conservatives and Liberals. Not their final names but will do for now.

I'm thnking of using the Allegiance system to an extent. I also need a resource management system that can be used to stat out the colonies.

The politician will be able to swing the allegiance of the colony sites by speaking to different people. People will work better together and resources will be used more efficiently. I'm thinking of using the Status / Command skills as starting points.

The more I think about it, the more it looks like HeroQuest might be the way to go. However, I really want to play this in BRP.

I'd be grateful for comments / suggestions on how it might work.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a similar problem with my current setting, and I intend to use

the modified rules from the GURPS Social Engineering PDF:

http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG37-0140

However, I did only read the PDF, and while I think it looks good and

will prove useful for my purposes, I have not yet attempted to modi-

fy the rules for my BRP setting and therefore have no experience at

all with them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't done this but I've thought about it a lot. There are a few systems out there that look good, but I have a couple of (probably obvious) observations:

First, the different systems all have different levels of complexity. If your campaign centers around political conflict, you're going to want a fully fleshed-out system that gives the players interesting tactical choices. If the politics is a backdrop, you just need enough detail to allow interaction with that backdrop. While many of the systems available are cool, they mostly add detail and complexity. Just be sure to find something that is the right size.

First, keep the core BRP conflict structure: Each entity has an attack skill, a defense skill, armor, and hit points. You could do this as easily as having an "Oratory" skill for the faction that is used for attack and defense, some measure of "Dogma", "Righteousness", "Tradition" or similar to act as armor, and Hit Points based on the size of the organization and zeal.

So whenever there is a conflict, run a couple of rounds of combat and see which side loses hit points -- reflect that as a loss of influence, members, etc. When one side drops to zero, they are defeated. Each organization heals at a slow pace, and events in-game can determine how often the conflicts take place.

To connect this to game action, perhaps the "Oratory" skill of the organization is equal to the best orator in the faction. That way there is a reason to convert/kidnap/kill the best orator on the other side. The pace of inter-organization conflict could be determined by PCs, and skills could be changed (slowly) by PC actions.

There are a bunch of systems to add detail and complexity. Some that I've liked (not all in the BRP family): Dynasties & Demagogues (Penumbra I think); Empires (MRQII), Guilds Factions Cults (MRQ), Age of Treason (MRQII)

Steve

Link to post
Share on other sites

U.S.E. H.E.R.O.Q.U.E.S.T. Not only does it handle non-violent conflicts as smoothly as it handles combat, but it also has the concept of "Organization resources", which sounds central to your game concept, to me. It simply has all the details and mechanics you need, out of the box.

However, if you really, really feel the urge to make it d100, you may try chapter 3 of Parpuzio Gaming System. It contains a lot of HQ concepts adapted to d100. I am not actively developing the system at the moment, but if you use it and give feedback I will gladly discuss improvement, tweaks and modifications at any time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You could use a variation on the opposed traits system from Pendragon. What you would be creating would be multiple tiers of loyalty. At first everyone has a base loyalty to the collective, a loyalty to their home colony and a loyalty to whatever factions you choose to create. Then create situations where some colonies must act against their interests or discomfit themselves to support the initiatives of the collective, prompting opposed tests. For example, Capitol City levies a tax on materiel from Steelburg to upgrade the port facility at Newport. Steelburg had plans to build a new road and bridge to connect them to Farmington, but that project is indefinitely delayed now, prompting Steelburg AND Farmington to test loyalty probably with a modifier and probably their loyalty to the collective will drop but their loyalty to their bloc or individual colonies will go up. Meanwhile, Newports loyalty to the collective goes up because of the pork project.

Thoughts?

Link to post
Share on other sites

If narrative systems float your boat you might want to go with HQ but if you want a BRP feel, I'd'go with RQ : Empires (available for 1$ on DTRPG if I am not mistaken). All the rules to stat and play with all sort of organizations from guilds to empire (including all sort of maneuvering) and how players ifluence and interact in the political game

Link to post
Share on other sites

Try this, it's free: http://perilplanet.com/docs/FUrpg.pdf I suggest this one the most.

And I just got this and it looks like it might work too, if tweaked. And one of the two main rules: "style over substance" tends to portray politics reasonably well. It's also free. https://www.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=91382

These are not D100 games. They are geared towards accounting for the resources the PCs have, and use D6 pools.

Also the Renaissance SRD has a "righteousness" table that can be used as well. http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=97426

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a similar problem with my current setting, and I intend to use

the modified rules from the GURPS Social Engineering PDF:

http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG37-0140

However, I did only read the PDF, and while I think it looks good and

will prove useful for my purposes, I have not yet attempted to modi-

fy the rules for my BRP setting and therefore have no experience at

all with them.

It looks much more complicated that what I need, but thanks for the link. Not sure i'd get it at this stage, I'm not a GURPS person, despite having a few historical supplements.

Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't done this but I've thought about it a lot. There are a few systems out there that look good, but I have a couple of (probably obvious) observations:

First, the different systems all have different levels of complexity. If your campaign centers around political conflict, you're going to want a fully fleshed-out system that gives the players interesting tactical choices. If the politics is a backdrop, you just need enough detail to allow interaction with that backdrop. While many of the systems available are cool, they mostly add detail and complexity. Just be sure to find something that is the right size.

First, keep the core BRP conflict structure: Each entity has an attack skill, a defense skill, armor, and hit points. You could do this as easily as having an "Oratory" skill for the faction that is used for attack and defense, some measure of "Dogma", "Righteousness", "Tradition" or similar to act as armor, and Hit Points based on the size of the organization and zeal.

So whenever there is a conflict, run a couple of rounds of combat and see which side loses hit points -- reflect that as a loss of influence, members, etc. When one side drops to zero, they are defeated. Each organization heals at a slow pace, and events in-game can determine how often the conflicts take place.

To connect this to game action, perhaps the "Oratory" skill of the organization is equal to the best orator in the faction. That way there is a reason to convert/kidnap/kill the best orator on the other side. The pace of inter-organization conflict could be determined by PCs, and skills could be changed (slowly) by PC actions.

There are a bunch of systems to add detail and complexity. Some that I've liked (not all in the BRP family): Dynasties & Demagogues (Penumbra I think); Empires (MRQII), Guilds Factions Cults (MRQ), Age of Treason (MRQII)

Steve

Thanks for your thoughts. I hadn't considered going all the way in replacing combat terms as I wanted something less mechanical.

I am thinking of using the The Politics phase as some kind of 'Winter Phase' as seen in Pendragon. Some of the group leadership dynamics will only apply in the course of a year eg harvests, defense projects, construction etc. maybe even half yearly of quarterly, but outside of game time.

Thanks for you valuable comments.

Link to post
Share on other sites

U.S.E. H.E.R.O.Q.U.E.S.T. Not only does it handle non-violent conflicts as smoothly as it handles combat, but it also has the concept of "Organization resources", which sounds central to your game concept, to me. It simply has all the details and mechanics you need, out of the box.

However, if you really, really feel the urge to make it d100, you may try chapter 3 of Parpuzio Gaming System. It contains a lot of HQ concepts adapted to d100. I am not actively developing the system at the moment, but if you use it and give feedback I will gladly discuss improvement, tweaks and modifications at any time.

The more I look at 'modern' Jorune, the more I think HQ would be a better fit. However, for the Colony era I want something gritty and that's why BRP is my first choice.

I have downloaded your rules and will have a look to see if I can be inspired by it. Thank you very much.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You could use a variation on the opposed traits system from Pendragon. What you would be creating would be multiple tiers of loyalty. At first everyone has a base loyalty to the collective, a loyalty to their home colony and a loyalty to whatever factions you choose to create. Then create situations where some colonies must act against their interests or discomfit themselves to support the initiatives of the collective, prompting opposed tests. For example, Capitol City levies a tax on materiel from Steelburg to upgrade the port facility at Newport. Steelburg had plans to build a new road and bridge to connect them to Farmington, but that project is indefinitely delayed now, prompting Steelburg AND Farmington to test loyalty probably with a modifier and probably their loyalty to the collective will drop but their loyalty to their bloc or individual colonies will go up. Meanwhile, Newports loyalty to the collective goes up because of the pork project.

Thoughts?

I am running a lot of Pendragon at the moment with my group, and am very happy with a lot it can do. I have thought of using Traits to emphasize differences with the Aliens and to distinguish cultural groups. Maybe even political beliefs...hmmm food for thought. Of course, Traits are in the BGB, so no problem there. Loyalties come into the Passions part of Pendragon, and I am not too happy about how they work and how to apply to the setting.

Quite a few things to thnik about. Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If narrative systems float your boat you might want to go with HQ but if you want a BRP feel, I'd'go with RQ : Empires (available for 1$ on DTRPG if I am not mistaken). All the rules to stat and play with all sort of organizations from guilds to empire (including all sort of maneuvering) and how players ifluence and interact in the political game

I hadn't considered RQ: Empires. I have always been more interested in the Glorantha aspect of RQ and not paid enough notice to this book. Thanks for the suggestion.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Try this, it's free: http://perilplanet.com/docs/FUrpg.pdf I suggest this one the most.

And I just got this and it looks like it might work too, if tweaked. And one of the two main rules: "style over substance" tends to portray politics reasonably well. It's also free. https://www.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=91382

These are not D100 games. They are geared towards accounting for the resources the PCs have, and use D6 pools.

Also the Renaissance SRD has a "righteousness" table that can be used as well. http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=97426

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll download and read. Thanks again.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whilst responding to these, I've remembered the 'Kingdom' rules in Warlords of Alexander. Something like that may work where I use opposed / Ressistance table rolls to determine conflict between groups.

I'd have to define how the groups are made up.

I am clearer now, in that I want a system that sits in the background during a 'winterphase' set up. Conflict during the adventuring phase may be as simple as opposed rolls, to see how 'voters' are swayed. Success failure can be tracked and used for year end bonuses / penalties.

So a disastrous leader, will make success of comunity projects much harder or less efficient.

I think I will also need a corruption mechanic so crooked leaders can buy success when they need it.

I'll have a think, read some of the material proposed and see if I can come up with something sensible.

Thanks everyone.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I gave this reply in another thread about UA Sanity mechanics :

"I think you could do something with Allegiance, merging it with the Traits/Passions from Pendragon.

Again. like Mankcam says, you only really need a binary "Morality"/"Immorality", set at 50/50 like Pendragon's T&P. As you perform actions that go against your "preferred" morality, you need to roll against the appropriate level, and gain/lose "points" as you teeter back and forth. You could then tie certain break points to SAN, to reflect something like the Joker's slip into deeper levels of psychosis and depravity as the weight towards "Immorality" grows stronger."

I think it can apply to a political system as well. And, can allow for multiple factions, as long as you can define them in opposing pairs (though, I suppose with 3 factions, you could define 3 pairs so that all 3 can have some relative opposition scale to each other to represent varying degrees of opposition). Basically define "Conservative/Liberal", and set it according to the character's starting political slate. The opposing scale slides back and forth as you make decisions one way or the other. When trying to urge/convince people to work harder or go along with your plan/views, you can either roll directly against the current values, or use it as a modifier or cooperative skill, or perhaps even as an opposed skill (for example you could make a roll of orate vs. community trait, like a character with 80% conservative giving a talk to liberals would roll orate vs. conservative to represent the already existing slant against conservatism).

Ian

Link to post
Share on other sites

I hadn't considered RQ: Empires. I have always been more interested in the Glorantha aspect of RQ and not paid enough notice to this book. Thanks for the suggestion.

Anyone read through this and have impressions to share?

Link to post
Share on other sites

At its core, RQ Empires is a metagame system which treats an empire much

like a character with attributes and skills and enables player characters who

serve the empire to go on different types of missions. It also has rules for

other types of organizations and for the more limited scale of the develop-

ment of a noble's realm. In my view the various subsystems are very good,

both for the use in a campaign and for solo play, but it would be a little dif-

ficult to adapt them to any other genre than fantasy or medieval historical.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Rust, probably with an exclamation mark: The rules are good and interesting, but hard to scale or connect to day-to-day roleplaying. Basically the system is abstract, so (for instance) it's hard to know how much cash a Barony with a Wealth of 10 throws off in a year. And it doesn't scale from small (i.e. the player's barony) to large (conflict between empires) -- it works well for the empire v empire, or Barony v Barony, but connecting them together requires a lot of hand waving.

With some work, it could probably be done, but Empires is more for running the backdrop of the campaign.

One thing that I do specifically like is the porting of MRQII's combat maneuvres to conflicts -- so you get some color (as well as specific effects) based on relative successes during the conflict, and type of conflict (armed warfare or religious conflict).

Steve

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the Allegiance rule could be the core mechanic to go with, as it is fairly simple and provides a good starting place to tinker with this.

Vagabond's suggestions of polarizing viewpoints as either Conservative/Liberal is not a bad place to start, you'ld have to factor in radical or extremist views of both. It's all a bit abstract at present, but if I get time to get my head around this I'll throw a more workable idea out there. I've managed to use the Allegiance rules for some pretty interesting things in the past, and I'll have a good think about how it could be plausibly used here.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, you could simplify and combine Allegiance and polarizing viewpoints/ideologies if you have multiple ideologies. Instead of a polarizing sliding scale, you could just have individual Allegiances (similar to Law/Chaos/Balance in Elric!/SB5), but for those ideologies that are strictly diametrically opposed, in their description, create some sort of limiting factor such as Conservative + Liberal are never greater than 100, or once a character embraces Conservative, Liberal can never be greater than 1/2 of Conservative without losing certain ties to the Conservative ideology. Then, like Allegiance, you can set certain privileges or bonuses when a character's Allegiance towards a certain ideology hits various levels and/or when a certain ideology is embraced. This would allow a character to have multiple ties to various cultures/governments/ideologies that may not be diametrically opposed, but enforce limits when ideologies must be mutually exclusive.

Ian

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, you could simplify and combine Allegiance and polarizing viewpoints/ideologies if you have multiple ideologies. Instead of a polarizing sliding scale, you could just have individual Allegiances (similar to Law/Chaos/Balance in Elric!/SB5), but for those ideologies that are strictly diametrically opposed, in their description, create some sort of limiting factor such as Conservative + Liberal are never greater than 100, or once a character embraces Conservative, Liberal can never be greater than 1/2 of Conservative without losing certain ties to the Conservative ideology. Then, like Allegiance, you can set certain privileges or bonuses when a character's Allegiance towards a certain ideology hits various levels and/or when a certain ideology is embraced. This would allow a character to have multiple ties to various cultures/governments/ideologies that may not be diametrically opposed, but enforce limits when ideologies must be mutually exclusive.

Ian

Yes. That sounds about right. In terms of privilidgeS, once your 'political' credentials are established support from the 'party faithful' is much easier. Of course, different professions will have a different spread of political ideals. The Farmers, the scientists, the administration and the military. Getting them all to work together will be tricky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, treating it with the Allegiance rules rather than a polarising trait is the way to go. Liberal 40%, Conservative 70% is much better than 'Liberal 40/Conservative 60', which is too restrictive and only allows for directly opposing viewpoints. Politics and agendas are certainly a muddled business, so polarising views wouldn't work. I think a tweaking of the Allegiance system is the right way to go about all this, you can cover most aspects with this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For the record, I am planning on implementing something using the Allegiance rules in this way to handle Drennship in Ardoth as well as other political and cultural ideologies (Thantier and their stance on non pure humans, Bronth and Woffen views of Iscin and Crugar, etc.) These Allegiances will have an impact on Etiquette/Interaction skills as well.

I have also been digging into James Bond 007 for some thoughts on such interpersonal skills - again, Bond has some good rules for handling Reaction, Persuasion, Seduction, Interrogation, Torture and Brainwashing.

Ian

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...