Monday, February 17, 2014

A Smattering of Campaign Rules

As a campaign develops there are inevitably unique circumstances that arise which require the referee to adapt to the player's needs. Here are a sample of rules that have already cropped up after only a month of play:


Careers available at the Temple of Man:

* Stevedore: Back breaking labor, hard drinking, and an early grave. A lot of freight is delivered to the Basin of Gold and the Lawson merchants are always looking for the strong and dumb to die for their pleasure.
To qualify: Roll 2d6 vs your strength.
To keep your job: Roll 3d6 vs your constitution (once a month).
If you are fired: Roll 2d6 vs your constitution to avoid a mishap.
To earn a raise: Roll 4d6 vs your constitution. You have a possibility for a raise after your first week and every three months thereafter, with a maximum of four raises. Each raise increases your pay by 10%.
Weekly Pay: 1d12 gp

* Pickpocket: Work is a burden. Why not lighten the burdens of others instead? Every master criminal has to start somewhere; hopefully it won't be in the clink.
To qualify: You're hired!
To avoid notice: 4d6 vs DEX (once a week).
To escape trouble (if noticed): 3d6 vs CON or CHA (your choice).
To earn extra cash: add +1d6 to difficulty to avoid notice or escape trouble; if you succeed, add +1d6 gp.
Weekly Pay: 1d12 gp

* Newsie / Street Peddlar: Whether moving broadsheets, street food, or snake oil, you'll need keen wits, a powerful set of lungs, and a willingness to badger people until they pay you just to shut you up.
To qualify: 2d6 CHA
To keep your job: 3d6 CHA (once a month).
If fired: 2d6 CHA to avoid mishap
To earn a raise: 4d6 vs CHA. You have a possibility for a raise after your first week and every three months thereafter, with a maximum of four raises. Each raise increases your pay by 10%.
Weekly Pay: 1d12 gp

* Clerk: Start an exciting career as a bureaucrat! File papers, transcribe documents, and fill out meaningless forms! Possibilities for upward mobility mean that you could one day be a middle manager asshole!
To qualify: 3d6 INT, minimum 9.
To keep your job: 3d6 WIS (once per month).
If fired: nothing!
Promotion: Automatic after 1 year, roll to determine exact position (bother me about this later).
Pay: 60 gp / mo, paid monthly. 

* Lab Assistant: Established witches are way too cosmic to be doing some boring lab work; that's where you come in. Combine the elements of the universe for the pleasure of others, with only a small chance of turning into a toad.
To qualify: Be a witch or warlock.
To keep your job: 3d6 vs INT (once per month)
If fired: 3d6 vs INT to avoid mishap
Raise: 4d6 vs INT. You have a possibility for a raise after your first week and every three months thereafter, with a maximum of four raises. Each raise increases your pay by 10%.
Weekly Pay: 3d8 gp

* Ward Patrol, Rookie: The local ward boss, Framoso, is looking for a few good men to beat up drunks, shake down prostitutes, and eat comp'd doughnuts. Just try not to get shot.
To qualify: 2d6 vs STR/DEX/CON/WIS (your choice, but roll 2x)
To keep your job: 3d6 vs STR/DEX/CON/WIS (your choice)
To see if a major crime happened on your beat: 1 in 6 chance
Promotion: Each time a major crime is successfully stopped, roll 4d6 vs WIS/INT/CHA (your choice). If you succeed, you are bumped up from rookie to patrolman. However, only one promotion can be earned per 6 months.
Pay: 50 gp / month, paid monthly.

* Grease Monkey: Scavengers in the underworld and in the abandoned outskirts of Val-Sot manage to find all sorts of junk. Most of it isn't worth two shits, and the rest require a lot of work to get in working condition. That's your job.
To qualify: 2d6 vs INT + tech must be one of your languages
To keep your job: 3d6 vs INT
If fired: 2d6 vs CON to avoid mishap
To get a raise: 4d6 vs INT. You have a possibility for a raise after your first week and every three months thereafter, with a maximum of four raises. Each raise increases your pay by 10%.
Weekly Pay: 3d8 gp

* Mugger: Want to pursue a career in larceny but suffering from sausage fingers? Who needs subtlety when you have a dark alley and the butt of a gun!
To qualify: You're hired!
To thrash weaklings and take what you want: 3d6 vs STR.
To escape trouble (if the weakling is you): 3d6 vs CON or CHA (your choice).
To earn extra cash: head to the District of Man and thrash Lawsons (3x payout but 5d6 vs STR and 4d6 vs CON or CHA to escape) or keep mugging: +1d6 vs CON or CHA to get caught per victim.
Weekly Pay: 1d12 gp

Additional notes: To keep your job, you must work at least two weeks per month, although you get paid every week, with the exception of criminal careers; you only get paid the weeks you work, but can work as often (or as little) as you like. You can attempt to qualify for one job per week. If you have a relevant skill or background (and it is approved by your referee), reduce the chances of getting fired, mishaps, and promotions by 1d6. After the first week, players only check to see if they are fired once per month.

Hirelings to Henchmen

While I refer to henchmen as "sidekicks" to avoid confusion, here are some rules for 'bootstrapping' the lowly hireling into a more-useful henchman:
There are four options for moving a character from 0-level to 1st:
* A suitably heroic action may allow for this, at the referee's discretion.
* Likewise, if the hireling shows remarkable bravery over the course of a military campaign they may earn a 'field promotion'.
* The hireling can be placed under the care of a professional trainer for one full month (wherein they are not available for play) at a cost of 2000 gp.
* The hireling survives for a 6 full months; at this point they may undergo a week's training for a mere 500 gp.

If a porter or linkboy has a STR of 13+, they may likewise be upgraded, but training times and costs are doubled. If a porter or linkboy has an INT of 13+ they may be taken on as an apprentice by a witch, requiring a full 24 months of training.

Special hirelings (such as Mr. White) will have unique requirements, and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Regardless, once a hireling graduates to sidekick they will require a half-share of xp and treasure.


Intelligence Gathering: Players may spend their downtime action on one of the following, which should provide them additional information on targets of interest.

Rumors: As per the SWoK PHB, players may ask around at the local dives for information, costing 1d6x25 gp, and can choose to add an additional incentive of up to 100 gp/lvl to get better information.

Libraries: If the players have access to research libraries, they may consult them for relevant documents. The Low Quarter Library (which has a relatively poor selection) grants access for 50 gp / week or 400 gp annually.

City Records: The Lawsons keep detailed federal records that stretch back decades, while the Low Quarter's books are much more chaotic and shoddy. Consulting city records requires a processing fee of 25 gp per document.

Canvassing: Players can also choose to go door-to-door asking for information, although this has the potential risk of alerting the target. Roll 3d6 vs CHA; success indicates that useful information is gathered (if any is available). If there are stoolies, a second roll of 4d6 vs CHA is necessary to avoid snitches (the referee will indicate when this is required).

Stoolie: Opportunities will come up to put a "stool pigeon" in the employ the players. If one is currently hired, they may be asked to dredge up information through their networks on a particular topic, with the chances for success determined by their specialty.

Sage: Sages are "mercenary academics" which may be hired to research a topic of a player's choice. Prices are variable, consult the PHB for further details.

Reconnaissance: In addition to more "passive" information gathering techniques, players can also choose to engage in riskier reconnaissance activities during downtime, as outlined below.

Soft Recon: Players can "case" a site through passive observation, noting exterior features and gaining a rough map. The basic roll is 2d6 vs DEX, although this may be modified based on circumstance.

Hard Recon: For the bold, more information may be gained by actually entering a site and exploring the interior. This requires a roll of 4d6 vs DEX or CHA (if attempting to talk their way in), and again may be modified. If this roll is failed, the player may roll 5d6 vs DEX or CON to escape whatever fate holds in store for them.

Traffic Analysis: Once soft recon has been conducted, players may choose a nearby site in which they "hole up" for a week to watch who enters and leaves a location, along with any obvious guard patrols. Basic roll is 2d6 vs WIS, and may require temporarily renting a space.

Tailing: If the whereabouts of a person of interest are known, players can choose to tail them, requiring a basic roll of 3d6 vs DEX and 3d6 vs WIS, with DEX determining if they are able to follow unobserved and WIS allowing them to keep an eye on their target. If multiple persons follow a target, reduce each of these by 1d6.

Bugging: Once a hard recon has been performed, players may use any devices or spells they have in their employ to plant bugs for further passive information.

Agents: If the players have some sort of leverage over a person in an organization (such as evidence of corruption), they may choose to use that to attempt to turn them into an agent capable of giving them information or acting on their behalf. Alternatively, they may also attempt to bribe such an agent, with a suggested minimum of 100 gp / mo. Base roll is 4d6 vs CHA, and a subsequent roll of 3d6 vs CHA for each additional "favor" asked, with a +1d6 CHA per request after the first in a 3 month period.

Infiltration: For the truly bold, players may attempt to infiltrate an organization to gain insider information. Note that this is inevitably a longer-term commitment than most, and is only capable if a position is available. Rolls are widely variable.

Finally, it is worth noting again that players may use their 'custom' downtime to buy a 30 minute window at the beginning of a session to escape a nasty fate that they have brought about during their downtime. If the situation cannot be resolved successfully after 30 minutes, a roll will be made to determine the player's final fate.
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