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(TFT) Power Structures

----- Original Message ----- From: "John"
Oddly, in the 30 odd years (yikes) I've been doing this, the issue that I could sprint faster than MA10 has never come up in game. Which has been my experience with a lot of the things that there are house rules to "fix". We never encountered them as broken.

I wonder what that says about my group of friends.

In My Opinion it says that you've been doing a wonderful job of Framing things so that such sprints aren't an issue for yourself and your Group.

A Legionare isn't supposed to sprint away at first sight of the enemey so to speak.

It's not stupid to limit focus to the Frame.
As a matter of fact, that's what the Frame is for.

A kidnaper in the mechanical days doesn't have the Frame to develop a typewriter with unique keystrokes sufficent to throw off forinsic analysis in a normal bank robery secenario.
The concept just dosen't fit the Frame generally.
I'm not saying it can't be done... Im just saying that such a thing is rich in RPG oppertunities.


To bring governments into play I started by looking at Illuminati.
As a model it not only has a dynamic flowchart feel to it but it's also a pretty fun game in its own right which never hurts as long as I don't trod upon it too much.
Rules in PDF if'n you'd care to have a look plus other "resources".

Now while Illuminati has a good basic structure for what I'm shooting at it doesn't quite suit my needs. Part of this is because it's a standalone game in its own right meaning that I don't need to worry myself about issues concerning play balance like deck frequency and the like.
The real issue though is how it would fit into a RPG.
It's pretty simple to imagine a small group of powerful individuals residing in a "star chamber" in some hidden and heavily protected location holding deliberations and sending out orders too their empire but some of this gets pretty murky pretty quickly from an RPG prospective.
What's a "control arrow" supposed to be?
What does the movement of a card or money entail?
For that matter what is a card in RPG terms?

So the way I figure it I have to make the overall frame of Illuminati more general from a RPG view while making several of its abstract concepts more specific to be able to use this thing as a boon rather than a drag for a game.

(note: I use 3 by 5 index cards, it's not ideal but you can still get them)

So instead of focusing strictly on the secret masters of the world (universe? Multi-verse?) I need to be able to describe how large groups of people can be ordered in more general ways and over various scales.

Illuminati refers to the card layouts as Power Structures.
I'm back to the Frame thing again here, this time owing to the recursive nature of Power Structures.

The basic idea goes like this.
GM #1 wants to run a Band of Brothers type campaign that follows the experience of a Company sized Unit through the course of WWII.
The simple Power Structure would be;
The base card is the Company card, controlled by the Captain Figure.
The Company card directly controls the Platoon cards.
Each Platoon card is controlled by a Lieutenant Figure and directly control Squad cards.
Each Squad card is controlled by an NCO.
Overview says that the other Companies of the Battalion that controls this Company should be described and the larger scale Units sketched up.

GM #2 wants to run a more strategic type campaign where the players are members of Allied Supreme Command in Europe. Eisenhower was in control of three groups of 8 field armies with an air and naval command as well. The simple Power Structure here is a card for ASC with a 5 star General Figure controlling it and directly controlling 3 Army Group cards, an Air forces card, and a Navy forces card. Overview says that all Allied forces need to be described and political and corporate Units need to be sketched up.

GM #3 wants a wide open sandbox using the whole planet with an open ended Timeline that starts just before WWII. At this point it's pretty much laying out the Axis and Allied Power Structures in more or less detail with at least as much focus on business and political groups as there is on military groups. Sketch up involves actual future planning for uncontrolled non-player groups (NPG's) and non-player Power Structures.

Without getting caught up in laying out a WWII campaign I'll just point out that the scale of the frame of the game-world makes a difference in what kind of Groups or Units are being represented in the Power Structures that are in play. For example, company's are subsumed into the statistical performance of their larger scale parent Units in considering fronts or theaters for the most part.

So because the Groups or Units being represented can vary considerably in purpose and organization the first thing I describe is a Groups Charter.

A Units Charter is a brief description of the Group including obligations and benefits of membership along with its game-world manifestations and other special effects.

A Charter can be Formal or Informal.

A Formal Charter represents a Group or Unit that has usually been created from another Group or Unit, with the major exception of Charters "cut from whole cloth" like the u.s. Constitution. Government bureau's, Corporate divisions, Political committees, and similar Groups will likely have Formal Charters.

Informal Charters represent Units like a steady RPG Group, garage band, social network, or similar associations that a Group of Figure's invest a measurable amount of Downtime each cycle participating in. While many Informal Groups may appear superficial they are noteworthy for two major reasons.
First, Formal Groups almost always arise from Informal association.
If your Figure has New Followers and can worm their way into the big-wigs country club or the Bohemian Grove. Second, large Formal Units have both their Formal chain of command structure and an Informal structure of employee associations apart from the strictly Formal requirements of the job, like who gets together for drinks after work.
Radar O'Riley working the radio springs to mind.

The benefits and obligations for Formal Units are greater than those for Informal Groups. A key example would be the paying of a wage as a benefit for an obligated expenditure of time. Usually a considerable portion of that time is spent in training and maintenance of the Talents/Spells required for the Unit to perform its Chartered functions. As a Figure can be a member of multiple Units this helps to limit and prioritize a Figures commitments. Other obligations might be requirements of materials, work, or equipment over a given period of time. Often admission or advancement is simply tied to a fee of some sort, other times exclusivity can extend to requirements that a Figure can do little about like blood-lines. Apart from monies and/or training a Figure might receive special equipment, lodging, land, social standing and access, etc. as benefits for membership.

A Units physical manifestation and effects also have a lot to do with how the game-world is framed. A simple way to look at it is "does the Unit get a 'chit', multiple chits or none at all?" A battalion at the company level would get a chit for each member company while an army would be too big to represent. Many groups aren't very contiguous at all and many can form tight formations for some purposes and disperse widely for others. Just because Postmen don't form battalions doesn't mean they don't have an effect. Many Unit effects concern the overall "Happiness" of the Population, but I'll say more about that later.

The other aspect of Charters that is significant is the role it plays in control of a group. A small Informal club might be taken over by the simple expedient of New Follower-ing its membership. A very large Formal organization is likely to have a leadership board or committee of some sort that defers to a formal process for many of its Actions. I use a form of NOMIC to represent formal procedures like Roberts Rules of Order or the "Law".
Player Figures that "sit on the board" or otherwise have access to a voting position get to play NOMIC with the Units formal system.

While a Units Charter is its reason de etre so to speak it's not a Units statistics from an Illuminati standpoint.

Illuminati groups have Power, Resistance, Income, and Alignment.
Of these, Income is the easiest to correlate between a RPG and Illuminati view. I consider Power and Resistance to be related to the statistics of individual members of the group for the most part. Alignments seem to be geared toward Illuminati's tongue in cheek nod toward grand conspiracy and the cold war period.

Alignments serve two purposes in Illuminati.
First matching alignments provide a +4 bonus to control and opposite alignments subtract 4. Also alignments provide focus for certain special effects, such as the Mafia getting a +3 to control Criminal groups.
All of this is special effects that would be described in the Units Charter.
For example a Unit created for the purpose of "law enforcement" would naturally be opposed to a Unit created for the purpose of circumventing the law and would be likely to cooperate with other Units focused on security and adherence to the law.

Generally Power and Resistance derive from the membership of the Group all though these can be greatly modified by special equipment, training, higher authority (transferable power) or other special effects.
Groups/Units are essentially ways of dividing up a Population of Figures.
The larger the Frame of the game-world the bigger the Populations that need to be accounted for.

Of particular issue to Power and Resistance is the idea of "Control" but like Happiness we'll leave that till later.

Income and mega-buck movement in Power Structures go a long way toward describing the Actions involved in an economy but I have to mention the Technology Tree and Buildings at this point.

Units require a number of things to support them and one is a location for actual meeting and coordination. In other words a Unit most likely requires a Building of some sort (maybe a cave or sacred grove, etc.). A company has a barracks, a class has a classroom, trials are conducted in a courthouse, a garage band has a garage, etc. The more Informal the Group the more informal the structural arrangements required but Figures must be able to interact to Action as a coordinated Unit and this encourages players to build in a Sim-City like fashion.
Which brings me to the Tech-Tree.
From a design standpoint this is simply toooooo nifty a tool to pass up.
The way I see it this is a way of structuring the Talents, Spells, and equipment relevant to the game-worlds Frame for the most part.
What's the line about bringing a knife to a gun fight?
In a cyberpunk kind of genera players are expecting to jury-rig and "program" all sorts of subtle effects on the fly so to speak. What was, what is, and what will come is the main consideration in drawing up a Tech-Tree.
Technology gets a part in the Happiness and Control write up.

Indigo's fathers masterpiece was a blade balanced for a man with a 6 fingered sword hand.

We currently have access to Star Trek "communicators" that fail to function properly at important moments and everything.
That has implications for groups and how to restrict informal ones.

Those mega-buck transfers work a bit differently these days but a medieval mega-buck transfer (before the Knights Templar kicked in anyhoo) would require all sorts of security issues i.e. RPG "adventure" opportunities. The Goblin port uses the idea of moving the grain during harvest to help define hexes of particular importance strategically.

I know that this isn't very detailed.
What I'm trying to do with this is show you my underling ideas for how to structure the larger scale stuff like the military might of a nation against something like a RPG "party" of Figures. What I'm not trying to do is "step" on your ideas about how something like this should work.

I'm writing up my post on Control, Happiness, and Technology with some of my ideas on mechanics and as we can all tell from my post history math is one of my strongest areas of communication.
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