Designing Really Wild West/Starfinder Faction Rules
We discussed some organizations for Really Wild West yesterday, and I mentioned we might talk about some rules that cover how players interact with them during the week. Lots of games have had faction/organization/reputation rules. I want SOMETHING like that for Really Wild West, but I want to keep it simple. So, here’s a first stab.
For these rules, factions and organizations are seen as interchangeable, though a GM might well split that hair more finely for a specific campaign. (For example a single organization might have multiple factions within it, and increasing your reputation with one faction might have no impact on others, or even lower your reputation).
Organizations have the same attitudes as NPCs – Helpful, Friendly, Indifferent, Unfriendly, and Hostile. An organization is normally Indifferent to you unless it has some reason to see you as a threat. This includes people known to strongly support or be members of opposing organizations or factions, though normally not casual supporters. For example, the Religion of Humanity in Porfiriate Mexico is explicitly rationalist, and dismisses all religion as anti-intellectual superstition. Thus a member of the Church of Humanity is likely to be unfriendly to actual priests, and certainly missionaries, from other faiths, though someone who is simply a member of that faith is unlikely to be seen in the same light unless they make a strong point of pushing their beliefs on others.
Those attitudes determine how much help and aid the organization as a whole will extend you (or how much it’ll try to harm you). This is separate from the attitude of specific NPCs, though the two can overlap. Professor Amelia Von Schtat might personally be very fond of you, and do what she can to aid you, but as a Preceptor of the Faustus Society she can’t help that her superiors want you dead.
You can attempt to alter an organization’s attitude toward you, but only with a Qualifying Event. Just talking to a faction, sending them gift baskets, and hanging around spending money in their stores is not enough to actually cause the organization as a whole to think better of you.
Here are some example qualifying events. Most only let you make a check to improve the organization’s attitude towards you once.
Formally joining a faction
Bring a senior member to helpful attitude
Bring a commanding member to helpful attitude.
Performing an impactful service
“Performing an impactful service” normally represents doing something for the faction that is important, more than the faction would expect from you, and something word of gets back to them about. In general to be considered “impactful” the service should be something that takes an investment one step higher than the level of attitude you are trying to bring the organization to. For example, if the Gesellschaft is Indifferent toward you, you’d have to do something noteworthy that only a Friendly character would normally be willing to do in order to make a check to improve the organization’s attitude toward you to Friendly.
It’s true – groups want to know what you have done for them lately. An organization is friendly or helpful to you (or just friendly or helpful if you are a formal member, however that organization determines such things), you must make a Maintenance Check from time to time to keep their attitude toward you at that level. If you fail a Maintenance Check, the organizations attitude toward you is decreased by one step,
A Reaction Check is like a Maintenance Check, but it is triggered only by some specific even the organization is aware of. Here are some sample Qualifying Events.
Lose formal membership for the faction.
Fail at an important duty you perform for the faction.
Publicly join an opposing faction.
Perform an impactful service for an opposing faction.
DCs to Come
This is just a sketch of the system I have in mind. I’ll nee to think about what the skill checks and DCs allowed are. I suspect I’ll always allow Diplomacy, but you may sometimes be able to make another skill check appropriate to the organization or your qualifying event. For example if you are trying to make the Faustus Society treat you better, and you have Profession (archaeology), and you undertake an archaeological expedition for them, it makes sense you could make that profession check to improve their attitude.
And if you kill one of their foes, you might even be able to make an attack roll or a raw class level check to improve their attitude.
It’s a work in progress. 😊
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