Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Influence-Based Experience

This is just a brainstorm from a while back that I keep meaning to revisit and write up; whenever I've had the time and energy to do a large stint of game design/writing, there's always been a higher priority like Trigger Discipline. So in this case I'll cave, and try posting the original chat transcript instead.

(11:02:46 PM) Dagda: Evening
(11:03:23 PM) Isaac: hi
(11:03:28 PM) Isaac: How are you?
(11:04:23 PM) Dagda: Not bad. Just thought I'd check in- *if* memory serves, our past communication's been about some game projects of yours.
(11:05:21 PM) Isaac: That's correct. I originally posted on /tg/ because I was concerned I had too much fluff for the game world, and I wanted to guage opions if anyone would read it.
(11:05:48 PM) Isaac: Then some /tg/ers asked me about the combat system, and when i explained it we had a bit of a chat about dice pools etc.
(11:06:42 PM) Dagda: So how're things now?
(11:07:50 PM) Isaac: Looking up. SOme recent exoperineces with dark heresy have given me justification to move away from the range/delivery/cone/aoe type magic system. I prefer less number crunching that 3.5th ed.
(11:08:10 PM) Isaac: Magic has been one of the major things holding me up
(11:08:27 PM) Dagda: Huh. I actually don't know anything about dark heresy's 'magic' system.
(11:09:24 PM) Isaac: Its strength is that it expects the GM to be able to narrate the effects, and beyond chance to succeed and general area of effect its very narrative
(11:09:42 PM) Isaac: somthing I had wanted to move towards but was afraid of alienation the rules lawyers
(11:09:51 PM) Isaac: DH has made me brave :)
(11:10:10 PM) Dagda: Always good to have more to draw on
(11:10:16 PM) Dagda: What sort of setting was this, again?
(11:10:17 PM) Isaac: Sorry for my crappy typing, its bloody cold here and I keep hitting extra keys
(11:10:29 PM) Dagda: Hadn't even noticed the typos.
(11:10:32 PM) Isaac: grumble grumble NOT steampunk
(11:10:56 PM) Isaac: it has steampunk elements and did before SP got big
(11:11:10 PM) Dagda: People initially grasp a concept based on existing references. Accept it.
(11:11:24 PM) Dagda: Before SP got big? Just how long have you had this setting in mind?
(11:11:49 PM) Isaac: I hate to admit how long it has been worked on, it gets left behind for Rl, as everyone's work does
(11:12:06 PM) Isaac: I'd say since 2000, at least, i started working on it in 2000
(11:12:17 PM) Dagda: So what's the tech of the setting running on, if not steam?
(11:12:40 PM) Isaac: Oh it is steampunk, I was just being bitter
(11:12:44 PM) Isaac: but you have to take out the lighter side of steampunk...ever read China Mieville?
(11:13:22 PM) Isaac: Its victorian era with elements of political unrest (church vs. state vs. the prolitariat)
(11:13:40 PM) Dagda: Doesn't look like I have, no. Victorian era, eh?
(11:13:57 PM) Isaac: explicit magic users who ar esecond class citizens and deep conspiracy tieing it all together
(11:14:12 PM) Dagda: What's the focus of the action?
(11:14:32 PM) Isaac: most often PCs take on the role of these second class citizen magic users
(11:14:39 PM) Dagda: Are secrets and politics a part of the gameplay or more just the driving force behind the adventure plotlines?
(11:14:54 PM) Isaac: Definitely part of the gameplay
(11:15:29 PM) Isaac: And as these magic users and inhumans you skulk about aiding one faction or another, or building your own fortune and empire
(11:15:53 PM) Isaac: While trying to uncover the few big secrets that hold the city together
(11:16:26 PM) Dagda: Can you give me an example of how the system would fit into a conspiracy-oriented encounter?
(11:16:59 PM) Dagda: Assuming it's not on a larger scale than just an encounter
(11:18:42 PM) Isaac: There is a heavy emphasis on non combat skills, and combat is fairly deadly, so a lot of the gameplay is intended to be the dealings, information gathering, subtle use of magic while staying under the radar of the Crown and the Church while trying to meet the expectations of your Guild and set up your own goals/contacts/infastructure.
(11:19:10 PM) Dagda: What role does combat play in an adventure, then?
(11:19:18 PM) Isaac: Then consider that while you may be allied with your group, each of them has their own goals from their Guilds which mayconflict with yours, but the presiding body has told you all to play nice.
(11:20:41 PM) Isaac: When negotiations fail, naturally, when you are backed into a corner by a powerful faction you owe alliegience to.
(11:21:40 PM) Isaac: While you are trying to master your own fate you keep ghetting drawn into the business of other factions. When you get caught by the Crown or the Church, when you have to pick one faction over another, thats when combat comes into play
(11:22:56 PM) Dagda: So combat's what happens when things get bad. It's something you avoid if you've been playing your cards right in general.
(11:24:32 PM) Isaac: definitely. Door kickers beware, its a good way to die. While the players have magic, the best magic, its slow and subtle and they are outnumbered. They are often ostricised from aspects of society, barred from parts of the city altogether and if caught practicing magic without the right sorts of permuission, coudl be attacked/killed on sight
(11:25:09 PM) Isaac: I have actually found the 'flavour' of the magic a bit similar to unknown armies, in as much as its underhanded, personal and less flashy than say, DnD
(11:25:49 PM) Dagda: Though it varies- if you invest in political skills, you can get away with being mediocre at combat. If you invest in combat, you can afford to get into more trouble.
(11:25:54 PM) Dagda: I presume.
(11:26:26 PM) Isaac: True, I guess my playstyle is influenced by teh types of players I make
(11:26:39 PM) Dagda: Without compromising the "combat is dangerous and it's best to avoid it where possible"
(11:27:03 PM) Isaac: less capable physically, with a mystic focus, but there are stealthy superhuman assassins, demon possessed tanks etc. for the action oriented
(11:27:16 PM) Dagda: So what's the "price" of magic in this setting, if anything?
(11:27:24 PM) Dagda: How does it work?
(11:28:06 PM) Isaac: A mana based name change. I don't call it mana, but thats what it is. Many spells need physical components or foci, it varies from class to class.
(11:28:30 PM) Isaac: There is an undercurrent of power that these second class citizens can tap, its what sets them, apart from humans
(11:29:03 PM) Dagda: So will casters have a reserve of mana points? Do these automatically recharge on a daily basis, or. . .
(11:29:12 PM) Isaac: they start human, but develop or discover their aptitude early on, and most magic is hereditary, so if your dad was a spellcaster, you woudl already be hanging out at the guildhall until the day your power manifested
(11:30:04 PM) Isaac: they do recharge on a daily basis but this process can be hurried by immersing yourself in areas thick with the power, or draining it from other spellcasters, both of which have their own risks
(11:30:56 PM) Isaac: Stealing other spellcasters power runs the risk of uncontrolled mutation, and spending too much time in the waypoints of power can affect the mind and loosen ones grip on reality
(11:32:05 PM) Isaac: I have made strong effort to keep the game very streetlevel, where your informants, allies, enemies and past are as important if not moreso, than your strength score or gold pieces.
(11:32:53 PM) Dagda: Then do you intend to work those factors into the system?
(11:33:42 PM) Dagda: After all, it's entirely possible to have mechanics for both moment-to-moment factors like throwing a punch and larger-scale elements like cultivating pull with different factions.
(11:33:53 PM) Isaac: yes, part of your character creation is the purchase of contacts, past events, histories, bonuses from your hometown etc.
(11:35:12 PM) Dagda: And are the resources alotted for this ones that can also be spent on personal abilities instead? How much can you focus on one or the other?
(11:36:33 PM) Isaac: at this point, completely freeform. If you wanted to max out physical stats at the expense of even choosing a past, so be it. It cill ead to broken characters, but the world is too dangerous for a walking warmachine PC to survive too long. No amount of physical prowess will keep you alive when the ruling classes bring out their big guns
(11:37:15 PM) Isaac: But the idea is for PCs to choose a class, a faction, a past, a hometown, allies/enemies and a debt system
(11:37:40 PM) Dagda: So the system's fully freeform? I buy a past with the same resources that buy attributes and skills?
(11:37:46 PM) Isaac: sorry phrased that wrong. there is a debt system that allows for debts you owe and others owe tht can be called in at any time
(11:37:49 PM) Isaac: yes
(11:38:24 PM) Isaac: the class abilities, which are essentially schools of magic, are locked into the class you choose, but all your stats and past are up to you
(11:38:31 PM) Dagda: What about character advancement once the game proper begins?
(11:39:22 PM) Isaac: Continues to be freeforem. While I LOVE the DH career system (which is a lot like MMO advancement) I feel that limiting people into a career is not what I'm aiming for
(11:39:38 PM) Isaac: you get your XP and decide to spend that on more stats, more magic, skills, traits etc.
(11:39:49 PM) Dagda: Yes, but are people earning xp and then spending it on whatever?
(11:39:56 PM) Isaac: yes
(11:40:41 PM) Dagda: Rather than having some manner of causal link? Like, if you want contacts and support from this faction, you don't spend xp, you do in-game actions that net influence points with that faction.
(11:40:53 PM) Isaac: I alway sliked the idea of a system where XP was marked for the manner in which it was earned, and must be spent similarly. Makes little sense to become a better swordfighter when you got some XP for good bluffing
(11:41:06 PM) Dagda: (Or both- an ability might cost X xp plus Y influence points)
(11:41:58 PM) Dagda: It just seems to me that if you want a focus on acquiring influence, you'd do well to treat it as a form of overarching character advancement.
(11:43:05 PM) Dagda: You want to get more standing with this faction, so you try to do them favors. Pull it off and you'll get the cryptography support you were wanting to have available, or the muscle, etc.
(11:44:07 PM) Isaac: I like it. It doesn't really make sense for faction favour to be purley XP based
(11:45:42 PM) Isaac: The idea was to RP actions to curry favour with each faction, but I could certainly work in a more concrete mechanic
(11:45:54 PM) Dagda: I can actually suggest a way to tie political pull into character advancement even further:
(11:46:02 PM) Isaac: please do
(11:46:02 PM) Dagda: Training.
(11:47:24 PM) Dagda: You want to learn how to fight? Well, this mafia-type organization can show you plenty of dirty moves, or this contact's a drill sergeant who can teach you the proper way to handle a rifle, or this organization prides itself on their ability as duelists. . .
(11:47:51 PM) Isaac: hey, thats got potential
(11:48:04 PM) Dagda: You'll be hindered if you try to learn an ability on your own.
(11:48:19 PM) Isaac: So if you want to increase your magic you need to keep your Guild happy, if you want to have more contacts/better social you work for the local crims
(11:49:04 PM) Dagda: It'd be kinda like classes in the d20 system.
(11:49:08 PM) Isaac: that actually opens up a whole boatload of potential fringe benefits, includinginformation, allies, weapons, better tech and resources gained at each level of 'favour'
(11:49:26 PM) Isaac: I really like this :)
(11:50:43 PM) Dagda: In the sense that if you just want to learn particular thing- say, to get decent at picking locks- you can expend a "use" of a contact to serve as a trainer.
(11:50:48 PM) Isaac: One aspect was the PCs advencement up the ranks of their own organistaion, but that can be expanded to all factions to accomodate this mechanic
(11:51:26 PM) Dagda: But if you want a package of skills- like the whole host of abilities needed to become an expert burglar- you'll want to curry favor with the appropriate organization.
(11:51:32 PM) Isaac: thats great, and it adds for a more realistic and RP friendly way to level up rather than the oots joke of literally dinging after an encounter
(11:52:22 PM) Isaac: and it works with the idea that there are often long periods of downtime between missions where the PCs muct get by on their own. That gives them a lot of tiem to seek out the necessary contacts
(11:52:34 PM) Dagda: So in addition to things like contacts, gear, and favors influence can be spent to gain training.
(11:53:40 PM) Dagda: If you *really* wanted to pursue your concept you could have influence be XP in its entirety. It'd certainly convey a strong sense of flavor.
(11:54:08 PM) Isaac: oh yes, thats ambitious. that really could work, though
(11:55:10 PM) Dagda: Personal experience learned from overcoming challenges would thus be relegated to a matter covered by the Training rules
(11:55:53 PM) Isaac: yes, you have lived through the event, now you wish to learn the skills behind it and how to apply it when you want
(11:56:32 PM) Isaac: This is a great idea for a game so heavily involved in the day to day life of the PCs. It fits right in with what I already have.
(11:57:41 PM) Dagda: I suggest having two types of influence- that which is awarded specifically and that which is yours to assign.
(11:58:00 PM) Isaac: I think I see where you are going with this...
(11:59:14 PM) Dagda: The second type would be relatively small in supply and could represent general pull. In fact, I'd recommend that you only be able to use it to *augment* influence you earn with a specific fashion.
(5/19/2009 12:01:14 AM) Dagda: Today my actions earned me the gratitude of Faction A (to the tune of 3 Influence Points), Faction B (4 IP), and Faction C (1 IP). I also earned another 3 bonus IP to assign how I wish, though I can't go beyond doubling the IP recieved with a given faction.
(12:01:28 AM) Dagda: So I can only assign 1 bonus IP to group C.
(12:02:19 AM) Dagda: The question is what exactly would earn bonus IP. The answer should tie heavily into your idea of how the game world works.
(12:03:20 AM) Isaac: Each faction has a very specific set of goals. If the PCs advance those goals in any tangible way, that could be considered a successful mission and gain them gratitude (and therefore influence)
(12:03:53 AM) Dagda: With regards to bonus IP I'm specifically talking about overarching themes.
(12:04:53 AM) Dagda: It should be a reward for something players are expected to do over the course of their adventures- perhaps just accomplishing impressive things.
(12:05:18 AM) Dagda: The idea being that doing so improves people's regard for you.
(12:05:47 AM) Isaac: It could tie into their own personal goals...without getting too anime, they might gain this extra IP for following/forging their own destiny in a city where everything is orhcestrated and run by bigger thanlife forces
(12:06:19 AM) Dagda: Oh ho!
(12:06:33 AM) Dagda: THAT opens up a whole new window of opportunity
(12:06:57 AM) Isaac: Each player must decide a goal at character creation, and this can change during the course of the game, based on who they interact with
(12:07:15 AM) Dagda: And you can give that goal *stats*
(12:07:35 AM) Isaac: as in its importance to you, or how complete it is?
(12:08:09 AM) Dagda: Both, neither, depends on your conception of the setting and who characters are.
(12:08:33 AM) Dagda: Preferably, it shouldn't be too out there.
(12:08:40 AM) Isaac: I agree
(12:09:29 AM) Dagda: The idea behind Bonus IPs is to give people a little leeway- their character advancement isn't 99% determined by whose in-game agenda they're pushing
(12:09:41 AM) Dagda: They can steer a little, from a metagame perspective.
(12:10:18 AM) Isaac: Yep, and thats a good thing, with such an open ended character creation, it'd be stifling if they couldn't have some leeway while advanceing
(12:11:43 AM) Dagda: *Something* is earning them a little more regard from people in general. It's their choice how they leverage it.
(12:12:33 AM) Dagda: Now, here's something else I'm wondering.
(12:12:57 AM) Dagda: To just go on a relevant tangent
(12:13:06 AM) Isaac: Thats great, it gives them the opportunity to build their own empire/destiny/allies in the shadows while they pay lip service supporting other factions agendas
(12:13:23 AM) Isaac: Its so triple agent, its just the feel I've been trying to capture
(12:14:13 AM) Dagda: It seems to me that faction influence has to ways it can be potentially be spent: one-time favors, and various "level up" abilities.
(12:14:34 AM) Dagda: Be it personal training or other permanent benefits.
(12:15:48 AM) Dagda: I think you'd want to have Influence Points "level up" both your flexible, personal pull and your faction pull
(12:16:42 AM) Dagda: And you can either permanently expend a level-up bonus to get a permanent bonus, or keep it on reserve for a per-adventure bonus.
(12:19:02 AM) Isaac: ala fate points?
(12:19:24 AM) Isaac: or an on the fly gaming purpose (calling in an orphans network to run a message?)
(12:19:32 AM) Isaac: street urchins*
(12:21:19 AM) Dagda: The idea is that if I've got X influence points with the Street Urchins, I could spend some permanently to gain a permanent contact OR leave them in that faction's per-adventure pool and spend a similar amount to get that contact's aid for that single adventure.
(12:22:14 AM) Dagda: Another example would be acquiring a weapon from a faction's armory as a permanent possession versus borrowing it for a week.
(12:22:51 AM) Isaac: and the necessary IP to buy either the perm or temp benefit scales according to its worth
(12:23:12 AM) Dagda: Permanently purchased resources are always on hand and reliable- you don't have to jump through any hoops to prevent the faction from turning you down.
(12:23:19 AM) Dagda: Yeah
(12:24:04 AM) Dagda: You want the organization's best cryptographer? It'll cost you a good deal of influence, and require several difficult skill checks.
(12:24:52 AM) Dagda: Acquiring something permanently takes longer and is even more difficult, and you aren't getting that influence back at the start of the next session. But you've now got a permanent resource.
(12:25:00 AM) Dagda: Unless, of course, things go south.
(12:25:26 AM) Isaac: And the skill checks might be influenced by the PC having too much IP with a faction that is a rival to the one they are currently working with
(12:25:48 AM) Dagda: And of course, favors can be owed both ways. You can "go into debt" with a given organization, influence-wise, in which case you owe *them* a favor.
(12:25:55 AM) Isaac: Ah the inf are like fate points in DH, regenerating between sesions
(12:26:09 AM) Dagda: More power, but more obligations when it comes to how you use it.
(12:26:14 AM) Isaac: That is perfect, owing a debt, I already have the ground work for that set up in the rules
(12:27:50 AM) Dagda: What I'm saying is that temporary benefits would draw on a reserve of influence that replenishes- but you can permanently deduct from that reserve to permanently gain something.
(12:28:05 AM) Isaac: I get it
(12:28:54 AM) Isaac: It compliments the feel of the game perfectly, shady deals and danderous debts
(12:29:00 AM) Dagda: This even allows for temporary training- you get a "crash course" in something. It's only one session of training, so it won't temporarily make a beginner a master, but it could be relevant for the task at hand.
(12:29:18 AM) Isaac: Hey thats neat
(12:30:35 AM) Dagda: Someone challenges you to a duel? Better learn how to handle a flintlock pistol real fast.
(12:31:18 AM) Isaac: That precise situation lends itself to fantastic RP opportunities
(12:31:56 AM) Dagda: (Or call in a favor with an assisn contact to get them to poison your opponent's breakfast)
(12:32:03 AM) Dagda: *assassin contact
(12:32:26 AM) Isaac: brilliant
(12:32:29 AM) Dagda: That remind me, you'd also want rules covering your relationship with contacts.
(12:32:50 AM) Dagda: Some favors are done for an organization, but many more are personal.
(12:35:46 AM) Isaac: There is fluff regarding the movers and shakers in each organisation, and sometimes these people have goals that are not synonymous with that of their organisation. It'd be interesting if the PCs develop more IP with a particular person within the faction than the faction itself...
(12:37:41 AM) Dagda: A contact can help you out of personal obligation or via a faction
(12:38:25 AM) Isaac: This whole mechanic could lead to very complicated webs of deals, favours and obligations, but thats exactly the world I'm trying to foster
(12:40:06 AM) Dagda: I think getting help from a contact should either be replenishing (when they're a friend, or you've got heavy blackmail on them, or you've built up a professional relationship with them) or one-time.
(12:41:14 AM) Dagda: If a contact is a part of a faction, you can "buy" some or all of their services with faction IP. Otherwise, you'll need bonus IP and/or personal favors.
(12:41:46 AM) Isaac: Sounds good
(12:41:49 AM) Dagda: I think you'll definitely want players to be able to make their own contacts.
(12:42:58 AM) Isaac: In as much as they seek them out (I want to find a swordsmaster) and the gM fleshes it out, or they make up the entire NPC?
(12:43:27 AM) Isaac: In the character creation, when they choose their initial contacts they were allowed to select from alist or make their own, with GMS blesing
(12:43:33 AM) Isaac: blessing*
(12:46:02 AM) Dagda: I'd say let the player specify the Services they want the contact to have (i.e. what the contact can do for them and how well they can do it), then let the player and the GM work together to come up with the fluff.
(12:46:31 AM) Isaac: Cool. I don't think people that can't work with the GM would be the crowd that this is aimed at anyhow
(12:47:27 AM) Dagda: Factions, meanwhile, have a set list and hierarchy of services. They're large, predetermined packages, while unafilliated contacts provide small amounts of custom-picked abilities.
(12:48:35 AM) Dagda: A magic-user who wants to learn how to swordfight doesn't have to spend alot of time building influence with, say, the City Guard; he can take an old swordmaster as a contact instead.
(12:48:40 AM) Isaac: Definitely. I was just thinking how the factions themselves, and their set benefits at each level of favour almost mimic the DH career system, a system i'm very fond of, but uses it in a different way
(12:49:10 AM) Isaac: Great thinking, that lets people focus on their long term goals while picking up bits and pieces wher ethey need them.
(12:49:45 AM) Dagda: Of course, there's also the matter of *losing* influence.
(12:50:15 AM) Dagda: Are players going to have to take sides in this setting?
(12:52:54 AM) Isaac: Eventually they will, if they invest any amount of time in any one faction, have to pick one side over another, as so many are directly opposed to one another.
(12:53:20 AM) Isaac: you can't be a part of faction A AND faction B. One wants to save the forest, one wants to destroy it completely.
(12:54:16 AM) Isaac: If you start to curry too much favour with a faction that opposes one you are 'in' with, there woudl have to be consequences
(12:54:32 AM) Dagda: I imagine that first you lose any accumulated influence with a given faction, and then they actively become your enemy as your influence drops into the negatives.
(12:54:41 AM) Isaac: And if you are in too deep, they might consider you cannot be allowe dto leave, as you know too much
(12:54:54 AM) Isaac: Thats how I pictured it as well.
(12:55:36 AM) Isaac: They start to hear about you working for a rival, and your favour with them starts to drop. Eventually, without replenishing it by working for them, it goes into negatives and they consider you an enemy
(12:56:19 AM) Dagda: The idea of permanently spending influence works here- metagame, the points spent on the training stay spent, so your influence goes negative more quickly. In-game, they're more of an enemy because you didn't just betray them, you betrayed them after they taught you what you know.
(12:57:32 AM) Isaac: I'm running out of ways to compliment you here, thats an excellent idea.
(12:57:47 AM) Dagda: Heh
(12:59:56 AM) Isaac: You are an incredible help, this will completely revolutionise the way I'm working. You'll get a thanks on the dedication page for sure :P
(1:00:21 AM) Dagda: Neat
(1:00:45 AM) Isaac: I presume you're cool with me running with these mechanics?
(1:01:10 AM) Dagda: No prob
(1:03:37 AM) Isaac: The vbest thing about it all is that I have all the fluff and groundwork already done. Now I have the fun job (no sarcasm, really) of making up faction packages :)
(1:06:21 AM) Dagda: First step is to define the different Services.
(1:08:21 AM) Dagda: Way I see it, you've got: NPC assistance, single skill checks, training, equipment, and Secrets (i.e. plot-advancing hints).
(1:08:27 AM) Dagda: For starters, anyway.
(1:09:21 AM) Dagda: Plus faction-specific favors, like having the city guard overlook a crime.
(1:09:32 AM) Isaac: Well i've got the actual skills and traits as a starting point for them, if you want the lockpicking skill, who could you learn it from? So I shoudl categorise skills according to the different factions that exist
(1:10:02 AM) Dagda: And of course, the GM can always let the players request a favor of their own imagining and then put a price tag on it. There can even be in-game negotiations.
(1:10:03 AM) Isaac: This is a new level of work, but its a huge step forward for the game itself
(1:10:17 AM) Isaac: Oh brilliant that woudl work so well
(1:11:12 AM) Isaac: What about using actually money to bribe or add weight to what you want, ie, the guard wont overlook the crime, but you can pay them off to affcet the negotiations/diff roll
(1:11:50 AM) Dagda: I'd say that someone's capability to train should depend on their level of ability with the relevant skill, with the potential for outside modifiers if they invest character ability into becoming a better trainer.
(1:12:35 AM) Dagda: And of course, a player can do this too. Acquire influence with the street urchins by showing them some new dirty fighting moves, and so on.
(1:13:33 AM) Isaac: Wow, and in that way they can gain inf with the faction they ar etraining/helping
(1:13:39 AM) Isaac: wow this has some real potential
(1:14:30 AM) Dagda: Know what else would be interesting?
(1:15:03 AM) Isaac: please do tell me :)
(1:15:56 AM) Dagda: If you gave faction some different stats- social standing, popular support, wealth, ratings in several different areas of capability as derived from their member's numbers and average level of ability. . .
(1:17:51 AM) Dagda: Not only would you ahve a quick general reference regarding the degree to which they can provide services (no gold-plated carriages from those street urchins), it would let players mechanically influence a given faction's standing. Or even. . .found a faction of their own.
(1:18:23 AM) Isaac: Fuck yes, thats exactly what i wanted them to be able to do, build heir own empire/crime family
(1:18:55 AM) Isaac: and I don't swear often, but thats perfect
(1:18:55 AM) Dagda: Kill a faction's head swordmaster, and their military prowess goes down a bit. Better yet, convince him to side with another faction to give them a corresponding increase.
(1:19:28 AM) Isaac: And if you allow other people in a faction get ito debt with you you can gain their loyalty and take over an existing faction...
(1:19:46 AM) Dagda: Could be.
(1:27:29 AM) Isaac: I can imagine a complex matrix that shows which factions sit well with which other ones and with various castes and classes within the city. I already have a V:tM like breakdown of how each school of magic views one another, now I'll expand it to include all factions.
(1:28:37 AM) Dagda: And entries mentioning which factions can provide different types of training/equipment.
(1:30:52 AM) Isaac: definitely. have you seen the career paths in DH? I imagine it would be similar to how they are set up. As you gain levels in favour a wider range of services become available that you can purchase
(1:38:09 AM) Dagda: That and the services are more potent, so to speak
(1:39:03 AM) Isaac: Yeah, they won't kill someone of good standing to save you from a trial if you are but a mook to them, but if you are invaluable to them they would go to greater lengths to protect you
(1:39:10 AM) Dagda: You could have a more "elite" faction that provides more potent services, but costs more to "level up" in
(1:40:01 AM) Isaac: That would definitely be in, there are a few factions that are elite, in that regard, with a lot more pull and greater resources.
(1:40:02 AM) Dagda: The variable being less the overall IP cost for a given service, and more how "valuable" you are to that faction.
(1:41:01 AM) Dagda: Something that's a minor favor for a noble is a life-changer for a street urchin.
(1:42:04 AM) Isaac: True
(1:43:54 AM) Dagda: And a gang of street urchins rallying to your defense is worth about as much as the noble lending you a handful of trained guards.
(1:45:16 AM) Isaac: I've saved all this, I gotta go grab some dinner, its pm here in Australia, if you're not around when I get back, I can't tell you how much I appreciate this brainstorm, you've reinvigorated my interest in this project. You've been an invaluable help to a stranger for little thanks or reward. You're a hell of a guy, Dagda. :) I'll be back in 30 or so. Thanks again.

And he's single, ladies! In all seriousness, I love having these sorts of discussions; if you've got some rpg project that you'd like feedback or suggestions on, you can feel free to hit me up via IM.

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