DW Live: Crisis Management

With only a couple of weeks to go, this update on Dissecting Worlds Live! covers the framework rules for Crisis Management, leaving heavily on the FATE system we’ve also used to build factions. As ever, this is a block of rules designed to aid us telling a story, and building a world, not a reductive hammer. Expect these to get bend, and even broken as we go along. 

Part One – Landing

It’s post-landing and everything is up for grabs.

The Cultural Trackers for the Colony start at zero – i.e. the Colony is not particularly pulled in one direction or another.

Government Aspects

The Goverment of the Colony is an organisation like any other, and likewise has 5 Aspects we need to assign. In the initial phase we can agree them all (like civilised people) or we can fight over them, using dice rolls to mark out who gets to pick what they are. These can be changed later, as you’ll see. These should represent the relationship between the State and it’s Citizens/Subjects/Serfs/Victims (delete as appropriate) and we’ll walk through it on it day. See later, for how they will affect Crisis Management

Factions and Parties

Ultimately, each Faction will stand alone but we expect a certain amount of common ground to occur between them. So people are free to form “parties” of like minded factions. Mechanistically, this won’t make a huge amount of difference, but we’ll sit you together, and from a role-playing point of view, take into account your alliances.

Part Two – Crisis Management

We intend to run a number of cycles of Crisis Management, time allowing. Each cycle should take no more than about an hour, but if they resolve faster, then we’ll do more! Each Crisis will come in three phases, and in each phase a Faction can take actions to affect the outcome. First, the Phases:

Phase One: Societal Drift

Societies change of their own accord over time, as thousands of small influences change the lives of those within them. To represent this, we will roll a d6 for each category of Cultural Factors, and on a 1, it moves down, and on a 6, it moves up. Simple.

Phase Two: The Crisis Hits

A crisis occurs and you need to resolve it. Ideally, being citizens of good character, you will simply talk out the right thing to do, but a crisis is also an opportunity, so if there are any changes you want to make towards your Factions long-term goal, this is the place to negotiate them.

At the start of this Phase we will assign a strength to the Crisis that is a target number a Faction – any Faction – need to roll to overcome it. One, or many factions can attempt the roll, but you don’t get to add them together. In the event of multiple successful rolls, then the one that succeeds the most has the dominant say in how the Crisis is resolved. However, this roll is modified by Cultural Factors and Faction Actions, which are covered further down.

Phase Three: Aftermath

With the crisis resolved (one way or another) we need to work out the final outcome on our society. We look at changing Government Aspects, Cultural Factors and Faction strength before moving on to the next Crisis!

Any Faction roll made to resolve the crisis can have a wider effect on the Colony. If you generate “spin” on this roll – ie beat it by two or more, you can pick one of three options:

  • Change a Government Aspect to a (relevant) one of your choosing
  • Move a Cultural Factor 2 in any direction.

If more than one Faction is able to qualify for this change, the Dominant Faction (ie the one that wins by the most) picks first. The Dominant Faction also gains either an attribute point or an extra action.

Cultural Factors

Cultural Factors will act as modifiers on any roll depending on what the roll is, sometimes for good and bad. Trying to galvanise a “Restrained” population onto the street will give you a penalty, but if the public mood is in “Indulgent” you’ll likely get a bonus as they are more easily roused to action.

Faction Action!

Each Crisis a Faction can take three actions. These actions involve invoking an Aspect for a +/-2 modifier to a roll that they, or another faction, are taken, as long as the aspect is relevant. Yes, that means that you can help, or hinder, another Faction’s rolls. We think relevancy should be fairly obvious – if you’re a Union with the Aspect “Everyone Out, Comrades” then you can invoke that to cause civil disruption, or slow down logistics and manufacturing, but that would also allow someone else to invoke, for example, a Law and Order themed Aspect against you in turn. You can also use your action to tag a Government Aspect, or one from the Crisis, if it’s appropriate.

Example of a Crisis.

Our chosen crisis is simple enough – a outbreak of Space Pox is sweeping the colony. Solutions quickly coalesce around two Factions – the Techno-Primitivists, who believe it should be allowed to blow itself out, and the Cybernautica, who favour full-on nanotech upgrades to boost citizens immune systems. Both chose to muster their support and roll. The strength of the Space Pox is 4.

The Technoprimitives chose to roll on their Social Attribute of 2 spend two of their actions. The first action is to invoke their aspect “Let Nature Take It’s Cause” for +2 and the other invokes the Colony’s Government Aspect of “We Respect the Will of the People” for another +2. This gives them a total of 6 so far. However, the Future Foundation, a Faction representing the cutting edge of technology, use their action to invoke the Techno-primitives aspect “No Interest in Science” against them, exposing their weakness in scientific arguments. Finally, they get a bonus of a further two due to the Colonies score in “Indulgence/Restraint (+1)” due to the stoic nature of the populace. So they roll on a base of 5, and score an additional 1 on the dice, beating the Plague by 2.

The Cybernautica, on the other hand, start with their Mental Attribute of 2, and use a single aspect to invoke “Tomorrows People, Today!”. They are also penalised for the Colony’s high “Risk Avoidance (+1)” score (so this is a -1 penalty), as people aren’t confident in this new and experimental upgrade. However, they have allies, and Future Foundation uses another action to invoke its “Great Explainer” aspect and the Faceless Bureaucracy Faction uses one to invoke it’s aspect of “Control of the Paperwork”, rubber stamping the necessary trails. This gives then a base of 7, so even their average roll of zero means that they too, beat the Crisis.

So, the Cybernautica becomes the Dominant Faction, and choses to gain an extra attribute point which it spends on it’s “Social” trait, a perceived weakness. It also choses to shift the Risk Avoidance Trait of the Colony down to -1, as the success of the nano-treatment makes people open to new ideas.

The techno-primitives also have a good crisis, and elect to change one the Government’s Aspect of “For the Good of Society” to “For the Freedom of All”, which they feel they can tag more easily in the future.

Part Three – Wrap Up.

Look at where we are and what sort of culture we have based on which factions are the most dominant and what government aspects we have. This is the world we made, and I hope we’ll be proud.

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