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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

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    Default Bureaucracy Overhaul (Exalted 3e)

    The Unconquered Sun created Solars to rule the world in His name. Thousands of years after the first age, Exalts both new and old frequently find themselves in positions of leadership. But for such a central part of the experience, the core rules offer very little support, essentially telling Storytellers to make it up as they go along. This is, obviously, less than helpful, so we turn to homebrew, and an unexpected source of inspiration: the rules for social interactions( and specifically Sandact6's Creation Overlords System.[/I])

    Note: All future updates will be made directly in the Google Doc below; the original text is left her for posterity .

    Bureaucracy: Creation-Ruling Mandate

    Assets
    Just as socializing revolves around Intimacies, organizations revolve around Assets—the resources they can draw on, the unique skills and philosophies that make the group strong. An important trading contract, a particularly expert craftsman, and a company of soldiers might all be Assets. To accomplish anything significant, an organization must deploy a relevant Asset, just as a character must draw on a relevant Intimacy to persuade a rival. They may also be used to gain bonuses on other bureaucratic actions (see below).

    Assets do not have to be positive. Double-edged swords like “I never change my mind” usually make less sense when thinking about tangible resources, although it’s not impossible. If you captured a city from a rival kingdom, for example, they’ll likely hold it against you. More often, out-and-out negative factors show up on your Asset list, such as enemy spies or food shortages. Just as an unfortunate Intimacy can penalize your Resolve, a negative Asset can penalize your bureaucratic actions.

    Just like Intimacies, Assets come in different levels, based on the broader power of the asset.

    • Minor or one-dot Assets are extremely small-scale, such as would be relevant for a single village. A skilled mortal craftsman, a couple fishing boats, or friendly elemental could all be Minor Assets. If modifying a bureaucratic action, a Minor Asset adds or subtracts one success.
    • Major or two-dot Assets are more significant, such as would be important for a city. A jade or iron mine, a company of trained soldiers, or a Terrestrial Exalt could all be Major Assets. If modifying a bureaucratic action, a Major Asset adds or subtracts two successes.
    • Royal or three-dot Assets are beyond the reach of most cities, representing a level of power found only in great city-states, established provinces, or small kingdoms. A full legion of trained soldiers, a warstrider with full supporting infrastructure, or a Celestial Exalt could all be Royal Assets. If modifying a bureaucratic action, a Royal Asset adds or subtracts three successes.
    • Imperial or four-dot Assets are the tools of kings—and not the Savage Lands sort of king ruling over a couple dirty villages, either. An army numbering in the tens of thousands, a First Age factory-cathedral, or a legion of bound demons could all be Imperial Assets. If modifying a bureaucratic action, an Imperial Asset adds or subtracts four successes.
    • Defining or five-dot Assets are the sort of things that make the world tremble when they’re deployed. The Guild is one of the few mundane organizations that reach this scale; a state like Lookshy, if not being represented as an entity in its own right, would also qualify as a Defining Asset. If modifying a bureaucratic action, a Defining Asset adds or subtracts five successes.


    Once used, either to benefit a bureaucratic action to accomplish a goal, Assets do not reset. Once you’ve used an Asset to boost a roll or justify an action, it cannot be used again for the rest of the season. This represents material being expended and personal being exhausted.

    Qualities
    Organizations don’t use the standard set of nine Abilities and twenty six Attributes. Even if we put aside issues of complexity, standard Abilities and Attributes don’t always make sense in the context of a large group. Instead, they possess Qualities that lie somewhere between natural abilities and trained skill. Like Attributes, Qualities are represented by dots—they begin with one dot in each, and can increase them to a maximum of five dots. Each organization has the following Qualities:
    • Culture represents an organization’s “soft power”—how much influence it wields through its name alone. A organization with a high Culture score might be the seat of a religion that has spread throughout the direction, a famous center of art or learning, or simply a nation that commands respect through sheer age and inertia.
    • Discipline is similar to an individual’s Resolve, representing your general level of control over your organization. It represents how devoted the organization’s members are, how well they respond to internal inquires and initiatives, and how resistant they are to being corrupted.
    • Duplicity is a measure of an organization's ability to hide its actions from outside observers. A criminal empire masquerading as a legitimate business would make frequent use of Duplicity, as would a nation famed for its spy rings.
    • Economy represents an organization’s wealth and industrial base. A high Economy score does not necessarily mean giant piles of cash—rather, it shows how quickly the organization can take advantage of new opportunities, how skilled they are at arranging trade deals, and so on.
    • Governance represents how generally advanced an organization is. It covers things like public works, bureaucratic skills, and general high-level support of the organization’s members.
    • Military represents an organization's ability to use their troops effectively. It doesn't necessarily represent the number of soldiers or ships you can raise, so much as the skill of your generals, the loyalty of your forces, and your ability to get soldiers where they need to go quickly and with the necessary supplies.
    • Scale represents the organization’s size and scope. When opposing larger organizations, you take a two-die penalty for each point of size difference.


    Scale Description
    1 The organization is the size of a town or hamlet.
    2 The organization is the size of a modest city or spread out over several towns.
    3 The organization is spread out over a small country or is the size of one of Creation’s larger cities such as Chiaroscuro or Nexus.
    4 The organization is the size of a single large country or is spread out over multiple countries. In such cases each province could be an asset unto themselves.
    5 The organization encompasses the area of an entire direction or continent.

    Leadership
    Organizations don’t act on their own. In order to attempt anything which would require a roll, a non-trivial character must lead a concerted effort. This leadership roll functions as a normal check, with a die pool equal to the leader’s Bureaucracy plus the organization’s most relevant Quality. (Treat this as a Wits + Bureaucracy check for the purpose of Excellencies and similar). For certain tasks, such as leading an army or conducting diplomatic negotiations, a different Attribute such as War or Presence can be used with the Storyteller’s approval.

    Organizations act slowly, compared to individuals—even simple actions can take weeks to accomplish. However, unlike individuals, a group can go in multiple directions at once. An organization can attempt a number of simultaneous actions equal to its Scale. Each must be led by a different non-trivial character.

    Organizations and Merits
    The Backing, Command, and Cult Merits are replaced by the Leader merit, described below:[INDENT]Leader (1-5): You command the loyalty of a group of followers, or even an entire kingdom. This is an organization with a Scale equal to half your rank in the Merit, rounded up. As usual, the organization begins with one dot in each Quality; you may also distribute a number of dots between its other Qualities equal to twice your rank in the Merit. Your organization begins play with a number of Assets equal to its Scale, each with a rank no higher than its Scale.

    In addition, the following Allies, Contacts, Followers, Mentor, and Retainers Merits can provide specific Assets for your organization, with a dot rating equal to the rank of the Merit. Other Merits, such as Artifact or Manse, can potentially be used as Assets, but must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the GM—a daiklave won’t make much of a difference to a city, but a First Age warship might.

    Bureaucratic Actions
    The most basic bureaucratic action is the Deploy action, which represents using your Assets to accomplish things in the world. Similar to the Persuade social action, you cannot attempt to deploy your organization unless you have a ready Asset of sufficient strength. This is a leadership roll with a difficulty set by the Storyteller (or by an opposing force’s check). Doing so takes one week per dot of the Asset required—if using a Major Asset to accomplish a village-level task, it does not take longer than using a Minor Asset would.

    If you don’t have the asset you need, the Recruitment action is used to recruit a new Asset, or strengthen an existing one. Like the Deploy action, doing so requires you to use another Asset, with a dot rating of one less than the new or strengthened Asset. For these purposes, your organization’s Scale can be treated as an Asset with an equal rating. Significantly, the Recruitment action can’t strengthen an Asset to a higher rating than the organization’s size—only direct accomplishments by the players can do the trick.

    The Recruitment action is a leadership roll with a difficulty equal to the Asset’s rating, and takes a number of weeks equal to the Asset’s rating.

    If you don’t have a ready asset, the Restructure action can be used to “recharge” an Asset that’s already been used. This is a leadership roll with a difficulty equal to the Asset’s dot rating, and takes one week per dot of the Asset being recharged. On a success, the Asset is strengthened. Restructure can also be used to combine multiple Assets into a single stronger unit (such as three Major mines being combined into a single “Mining Town” Royal Asset) or to divide an existing Asset into multiple smaller ones (such as dividing a legion into component dragons). It can also be used to weaken an existing Asset, typically one that has been imposed on your organization. Doing so is a Leadership roll with a difficulty equal to the dot rating of the Asset being weakened, and taking one week per dot of the Asset's rating. Success weakens the Asset by one step, or removes it entirely if it would be reduced to zero dots.

    If something has gone wrong with your organization, and a foe has secretly sabotaged you, the Evaluate action can be used to discover hidden Assets and similar issue. Doing so is a leadership roll with a difficulty equal to the Asset’s rating or your foe’s Espionage, whichever is higher. It can also be used to hide your own assets from foes, or disguise them as something stronger or weaker.

    Finally, the Development action allows you to increase one of your organization's Qualities by one dot, to a maximum of five. Like Deploy, you can't work in a vacuum-- improving a Quality requires you to use a relevant Asset with a rating equal to or higher than the Quality being developed. Doing so is a leadership roll with a difficulty equal to the Quality's new rating, and takes a number of weeks equal to its new rating.

    The exception to this is Scale, which requires the use of three Assets, at least one of which must have a rating equal to the new Scale rating. Going from three dots of Scale to four takes one season, and going from four dots to five takes a full year. There must also be space to expand into--though ambitious empires can certainly make space by conquering their neighbors.

    The Social Influence Parallel
    If it helps to relate bureaucratic actions back to social ones, Deploy is equivalent to Persuade, Recruitment to Instill, Restructure to Inspire, and Evaluate to Read Intentions. Development has no analogue.

    Bureaucratic Conflict
    Things get more complicated when other people get involved, of course. Your organization will often wind up directly competing with a rival, making opposed rolls as you try to accomplish your goals. This still uses the four Bureaucratic actions described above, simply targeting your foe and reversing the effect.

    The Deploy action can be used directly, to force a foe to do what you want—surrender to your armies, place an embargo on a third party, and so on. Just like Persuade, the strength of the Asset required depends on the severity of your demand.

    The Recruitment action, used on a foe, becomes the Interfere action and can be used to weaken one of your foe’s Assets by one step, or impose a negative Asset upon them. You must still use one of your Assets to accomplish the deed, with a dot rating of one less than new Asset or the Asset being weakened. This is a leadership roll with a difficulty equal to the Asset’s rating or the target organization’s Loyalty, whichever is higher. If Espionage is used, it’s possible to hide the result from the target until they attempt to use the weakened Asset or complete a successful Evaluate action.

    Restructure, used offensively, becomes Sabotage, and can be used to exhaust one of your foe’s Assets, or dismantle one into smaller units. This is a leadership roll with a difficulty equal to the Asset’s rating or the target organization’s Loyalty, whichever is higher. The foe typically cannot tell what was done until they either attempt to use the weakened Asset or complete a successful Evaluate action.

    Evaluate easily becomes Spying, an attempt to discover your foe’s hidden Assets. This is a leadership roll with a difficulty equal to the Asset’s rating or the target organization’s Loyalty, whichever is lower.

    -----------------------------------

    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2021-02-20 at 08:47 PM.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Bureaucracy Overhaul (Exalted 3e)

    Interesting. I can't really speak about its practical implications, because my Exalted games haven't really included bureaucracy. But lack of rules for governance, organizations and projects has been cited as a major hole in the system.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Bureaucracy Overhaul (Exalted 3e)

    I like what you're going for here, even if it's hard to wrap my brain around completely right now. Thoughts:

    -Your organizational conflict rules refer to Loyalty, which is not one of the attributes you listed.
    -It's not clear if restructuring multiple assets together allows you to make an asset that exceeds your Scale, or if that's only possible with narrative accomplishment.
    -There's not a lot of guidance for how to adjudicate the Deploy action. What size asset is required to create a given change, and what should the difficulty be? In a total vacuum, it's hard for me to figure out how to answer those questions as a storyteller.
    -It's not clear when negative assets apply, and how.
    Last edited by Eurus; 2021-02-19 at 09:19 PM.
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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Bureaucracy Overhaul (Exalted 3e)

    The core idea really is the same as the social system--to get things done, you're going to need Intimacies Assets, and so most of the rules are concerned with creating and manipulating them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eurus View Post
    I like what you're going for here, even if it's hard to wrap my brain around completely right now. Thoughts:

    -Your organizational conflict rules refer to Loyalty, which is not one of the attributes you listed.
    Whoops. Artifact of a name change.

    -It's not clear if restructuring multiple assets together allows you to make an asset that exceeds your Scale, or if that's only possible with narrative accomplishment.
    You're right. Hmm... I'm tempted to say yes, you can? Recruiting a five-dot asset for your one-dot town in the first session because you're a Solar and you just win at all skill checks is a problem, but if combining assets means you have to acquire them in the first place... does need some more guidelines though. Something like "to create an n-dot asset, you need to combine three (n-1)-dot assets" seems like a good starting point.

    -There's not a lot of guidance for how to adjudicate the Deploy action. What size asset is required to create a given change, and what should the difficulty be? In a total vacuum, it's hard for me to figure out how to answer those questions as a storyteller.
    I'll add some examples. The idea I was going for was that asset strength and organization size sort of correlate: a 2-dot asset is something that would matter to a size-2 organization, and would be required for the kind of challenges a size-2 organization would face. So, like, if you're trying to capture a walled city, you'd need a 3-dot asset because "conquering cities" is the kind of thing a size-3 organization (ie, small kingdom) does.

    -It's not clear when negative assets apply, and how.
    I can go into this a bit more. To continue the social conflict analogy, the idea is something like using Instill to slap someone with an Intimacy like "bad temper" when you know they're due to appear in court. If your kingdom has a negative asset like "Plague in City A," it would penalize a Governance roll to build a new set of shipyards there, but not if you changed your mind and put them in City B.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2021-02-20 at 02:36 PM.

    STaRS (and STaRS Lite)
    A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system, by me. Now officially released!

    Grod's Guide to Greatness
    A big book of player options for 5e, by me

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

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