Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mechanics: How to Build a Resistance Group

This is probably today's star
I have players that are interested in building a resistance group to fight against an evil empire. This requires a lot of skills and resources that adventurers in RPGs usually don't have in abundance. I think Boardroom and Curia and Social Engineering already have most of the rules and mechanics to facilitate a large amount of what they need, so I feel like this post will largely be referencing relevant sections of those two books, but at least this way I can put them in a sensible order and limit required reading to only a few sections instead of just throwing the PDFs at the group and saying, "figure it out, it's in there."

How To Start an Organization

The main things to tackle when starting up an organization are:
  • Finding people interested in the organization
  • Covering all the skill bases to make sure the organization can run smoothly
  • Finding the financial resources to support the organization
There is a section called Starting an Organization on p.17 of Boardroom and Curia, and I can't do everything for my players, but among the things a secret organization determined to overthrow the royal family probably have are:
  • A dangerous Secret disadvantage.
  • Possibly Social Stigma (Criminal) if certain people are well known despite the secret, or if a large number of members have been arrested previously because of corrupt powers.
The organization type tags probably include:
  • Criminal
  • Secret
Most of the attributes to define for the organization are on that page, so we follow those and we have the rudimentary requirements for starting up the organization, namely the amount of money and people required, and the skills required to gather those people.

How to Find Key Players

Starting an organization lets you hire people "in bulk," a bunch of NPCs that narratively speaking, aren't even worthy of names, rank and files that the players might or might not ever interact with. First off, the Basic Set has simple rules for just hiring some schmo, but if we are talking C-level officers then we might appreciate something with a bit more complexity, so we might want to use Social Engineering. The equivalent section in the latter book is on p.22. Things to especially consider when hiring for a position in a more secretive environment:
  • Consider looking at Concealed Activities on p.23 for help on finding people with discretion.
  • Consider Investors on page 46 for finding money. (Notice how I keep mentioning money?)
  • Consider Searching for Organizations on p. 45 if instead you want to work for an existing movement.
  • Consider the advice on building Personal Loyalty for vetting people for positions that require intimate trust.

How to Manage an Organization

Management mostly happens off screen, but there is some content for helping with management.
Running an Organization on page 19 of Boardroom and Curia has some guidance. To leverage an organization for the player's benefit however, is more an application of the rules in Social Engineering: Pulling Rank. From the qualities of the organization type, the following assistance rolls might be appropriate (page references are in Pulling Rank):

  • Covert Activity (p.14)
  • Muscle (p.19)
  • The Cavalry (p.19)
Along with those, Safe House (p.15), Cash (p.16), and Introduction (p.18) also seem appropriate among others.

Summary of What's Needed

To be successful, the players need to have or know someone with all of the following for the organization to run correctly.
  • Funds
  • Streetwise to know how to associate with dregs and the trod upon.
  • Leadership for times of crisis (practically guaranteed)
  • Administration to run the organization
  • Propaganda to manage the public perception
  • Current Affairs to find outstanding associates
  • Savoir-Faire (High Society) to find sympathizers in high places.
  • Various social advantages to help with reaction modifiers
  • Area Knowledge to know how and where to find the types of people needed.

Other Thoughts and Conclusion

Boardroom and Curia has the Provisional IRA on p.23 which is probably a close model to what my players might want, so a good place to look for suggestions. Secret meeting places might be important, so the article What's in a Lair? in Pyramid #3/86 could be helpful. I didn't know the right place to squeeze it in, but the section in Social Engineering on Revolutionary Politics (p.64) might also be helpful.


  1. Alright, I need to dedicate some time to this book. Considering the militant groups I have written up earlier make references to the IRA, it already sets me up for doing more of Nod and GDI.

    Good write up btw - looking forward to breaking this one open.

    1. I find it really useful. It's weird because the title makes it sound real boring and dry, but it's crazy how useful it is to stat out government bodies, powerful companies, mafias, what have you.

    2. Lol, you know while I was reading this I was thinking to myself, that Michael guy would probably like to check this out.

    3. I'll definitely see if I can get some time on it this weekend; evenings this week are busy busy.

  2. This was a really good write up and you just sold me on a copy of Boardroom and Curia!

    1. It is such a surprisingly useful book. I guess It shouldn't surprise me that its useful though. If you oversimplify the objectives of role playing games to the bare minimum, it's either "interact with an entity or interact with a group to solve a problem." Boardroom and Curia is probably a quarter of the equation in a way.

  3. This should probably have the Boardroom and Curia tag.


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