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Bureaucracy

In the world of Exalted, a bureaucracy can be written up similarly to a character and is described by several traits.

Purpose is an an abstract trait similar to Motivation. It is a short (typically one-sentence) description of the general direction and goals of bureaucracy and the reason for its existence. Storytellers should look to a bureaucracy's Purpose when determining that actions it can take. Barring special circumstances, a bureaucracy does not take actions outside of its Purpose. In some cases, a bureaucracy may present a false Purpose to the general public. An example would be an organization run as a cover-up for a crime syndicate.

Power is a trait that represents how much economic and social clout a bureaucracy has. It is similar to Essence (for individuals) and Might (for units). It is possible for a bureaucracy to have a low Purview, but a high Power (in the case of a village council or local court that controls most aspects of civilian life). On the other hand, a bureaucracy can have a high Purview but a low Power (in the case of many branches of the Thousand Scales).

Purview represents the area and scope of the bureaucracy's influence. A Purview of 1 might represent the government of a single town (village councils, local militias). A Purview of 5 represents a group with influence over an entire Direction (the Dragon-Blooded Deliberative, the Guild, a Deathlord's spy network). A Purview of 10 represents jurisdiction over an entire world (the Solar Deliberative, the Celestial Bureaucracy, the arbiter-priests of Cecelyne).

Resources represents the amount of money the bureaucracy can bring to bear. It is identical to the Background of the same name, save that it is not capped at ●●●●●. A bureaucracy needs Resources at least equal to its Purview (and typically more) in order to function properly. Each month, the bureaucracy must expend Resources equal to its Purview in order to maintain its offices, carry out tasks, and pay its staff. Certain business ventures and actions taken with in organization itself also cost Resources. A bureaucracy that goes a month without making adequate Resources payments to cover its expenses either loses Personnel or gains Corruption.

Personnel represents the staff of a bureaucracy. It is rated from ● to ●●●●●. A bureaucracy needs Personnel ●●●●● in order to function properly. Any rating below ●●●●● means the bureaucracy is understaffed and not running efficiently. Understaffed bureaucracies run more slowly and less accurately. A rating of zero means the organization cannot function at all. Either because it has collapsed completely or all of its staff members have abandoned it. For each point of Personnel lower then ●●●●●, increase the time it takes the bureaucracy to complete any task by a factor of 1 and increase the difficulty of any task by 1.

Corruption represents just that, corruption within the ranks of the bureaucracy's officials. Corruption is rated from zero (very little or no corruption) to ●●●●● (completely corrupt). Corruption hampers virtually all efforts made by members of the bureaucracy and those who attempt to interact with it. Each point of Corruption increases the difficulty of any task the bureaucracy attempts to undertake by 1. Any points of Corruption reduce the bureaucracy's effective Resources rating by 1 and the amount of Resources made in any venture by 1.

Loyalty is a bureaucracy's version of Willpower. A bureaucracy can spend Loyalty in order to resist magically implemented Policies. Loyalty expenditure can often be used to resist magically-imposed Corruption. A bureaucracy has a Loyalty rating equal to its leader's [Charisma + Willpower]. Taking certain actions cost the bureaucracy Loyalty. A bureaucracy that has its Loyalty drained to zero either loses Personnel or gains Corruption. If this effect occurs, the bureaucracy's Loyalty is immediately reset to its [Maximum - 1]. A group reduced to 0 maximum Loyalty this way utterly dissolves.

Policies are a bureaucracy's version of Intimacies. A bureaucracy may have Policies equal to its leader's [Intelligence + Bureaucracy] and its [Purview]. A character acting in accordance with a Policy reduces the difficulty of proposing a task or venture by 1. A character attempting to go against Policy increases the difficulty of a proposed task or venture by 1. Unlike normal Intimacies, these bonuses and penalties stack. A character flagrantly violating a dozen Policies can swiftly rack up enough penalties to make a task impossible.

What Does It Do?

The following are actions the bureaucracy can take on its own behalf or the behalf of others.

Support
Cost: 1+ Loyalty, 0+ Resources

The organization supports some action or venture. The bureaucracy adds bonus dice to a character's rolls equal to its Power plus the amount of Resources (if any) expended. Each Policy the action is in accordance with adds a bonus success. Acting in accordance with the group's Purpose adds three bonus successes. When supporting an action outside its Purview, a bureaucracy is limited to adding its Purview in bonus dice. For example, a village council attempting to affect policy in a neighboring state is limited to adding one die. Supporting any venture costs one point of Loyalty per roll. So the second roll costs two Loyalty, the third costs three, etc.

Corruption subtracts its rating from any dice added and one point from any Resources committed. Acting against Policy or Purpose instead subtracts successes from the roll.

Purge Corruption
Cost: 1+ Loyalty, 1+ Resources

The leadership of a bureaucracy stamps down on corruption within its ranks. The leader makes an [Intelligence + Bureaucracy] roll with a difficulty equal to the organization's [Purview + Corruption]. Success removes one point of Corruption and one point of Personnel. This crackdown takes one month per point of Corruption and costs Resources and Loyalty equal to the organization's Corruption rating each month. The leader receives no bonuses for Power or Backing on this roll, as corrupt members of the organization invariably close ranks to protect their jobs.

Recruit
Cost: 2 Loyalty, 1+ Resources

The bureaucracy recruits and trains new staff to fill out its ranks. A recruitment drive takes a number of months equal to its [Purview] to complete and requires the expenditure of Resources equal to is [Purview].

Rally
Cost: None

One per week an organization may roll to recover Loyalty. In order to regain Loyalty, the group's leader must be present and making a concentrated effort to inspire and lead the organization. This is represented by a [Charisma + Bureaucracy] roll. Each success restores one point of Loyalty, up to the organization's natural maximum. Corruption subtracts directly from Loyalty gained this way.

Recover
Cost: None

When a group suffers from a Loyalty penalty due to having been fully drained of Loyalty, the group's leader can take this action to restore the group's normal maximum. This is a [Charisma + Bureaucracy] roll with a difficulty equal to the [Total Penalty + Corruption]. Each success beyond this restores one point to the group's maximum Loyalty. An organization can Recover at most once per month.

Implement/Remove Policy
Cost: 1+ Loyalty, 1+ Resources

The leader of the organization acts to institute or abolish a Policy. In order to do this, the leader must be present and must actively interact with his organization. This is a [Charisma + Bureaucracy] roll with a difficulty equal to the organization's [Purview]. At the Storyteller's discretion, Corruption can make either implementing or removing a Policy more difficult, if the corrupt members of an organization feel such a thing endangers their position. Success requires a number of successes equal to the organization's [Purview x 5], with each roll representing a month of effort. Both instituting and removing a Policy require Loyalty and Resources equal to an organization's Purview.

Rush
Cost: 1+ Loyalty, 1+ Resources

The leader of an organization can order his subordinates to speed up work on a single project. This costs 1 Loyalty and Resources per difficulty of the project and requires a number of successes on an [Intelligence + Bureaucracy] roll equal to the project's difficulty to coordinate properly. Success means the project is completed twice as quickly as normal, or that extended rolls made to work towards the completion of the project represent half as much time. A bureaucracy can Rush multiple projects at once, so long as the total difficulty of the Rushed projects does not exceed its Purview. Rushing a project (or projects) doubles the time required for all of the organizations other projects.

Dealing With It

Having the support of an organization can be a great boon, even for the mighty Exalted. Unfortunately despite the power they can bring to bear against any task, bureaucracies are often caught up in protocol and red tape.

In order to ensure the aid of a bureaucracy, the player and Storyteller should first determine the Scope of the task at hand. Scope should range from 1 for a simple task (getting access to a low-security restricted area, resolving a minor trade dispute), to 5 for a legendary task (abolishing slavery across a major nation, brokering a major trade deal between two nations). A Scope above five should be used to represent truly epic tasks worthy of the elder Exalted.

The first step is securing an audience with an official important enough to authorize the character's request. Such a person is someone within the organization with Backing at least equal to the Scope of a task. Epic ventures with Scope above five merely decrease the chances that anyone will take the character's requests seriously. Setting up this meeting is an [Intelligence or Charisma + Bureaucracy] roll with a difficulty equal the [Scope] of the venture plus the official's Backing. Each roll represents a month's worth of effort filling out the proper paperwork, making the right connections, scheduling meetings, or lobbying the organization. This is not an extended roll, and failing means the character must try again at +1 difficulty. If the organization has been ordered not to deal with the character, increase the difficulty by 3.

Once the character has secured a meeting, she must convince the organization to support her project. This is an [Intelligence + Bureaucracy] roll that requires successes equal to the organization's [Power] plus the project's [Scope]. Should the character also require a Resources commitment, add the amount of Resources requested to the number of successes needed. If the organization has any Corruption, this may increase the number of successes needed, if corrupt members of the organization feel targeted or threatened by the proposal. Acting in accordance with Purpose or Policies adds an automatic success (three for Purpose) to this roll, while acting against Policy removes one success (three for Purpose). Winning over an organization is not an extended roll, and failure means the character must start over.

Each net success on this roll equals one relevant roll that the character can apply the organization's [Power + any Resources committed] in dice to.

What Does It Take?

Completing a project is an extended roll, with each roll representing one month of work.

A Scope ● project is a local concern. Building a school or government building in a small village, resolving a trade dispute that involves Resources ●● or less, or amending a local law are all examples. Scope ● projects require 50 successes.

A Scope ●● project is a issue that affects a city-state. Scope ●● projects require 100 successes.

A Scope ●●● project spans a major nation. Scope ●●● projects require 150 successes.

A Scope ●●●● project covers a major area, such as the Scavenger Lands or the Halsanti League. Scope ●●●● projects require 200 successes.

A Scope ●●●●● project is Directional. Scope ●●●●● projects require 250 successes.

Speeding The Wheels

In Creation, bribes are part doing business. While most officials would balk at crass bribes, even the most upright and diligent bureaucrats are often willing to accept 'gifts', 'donations', or 'tokens of a petitioner's esteem'. In the Realm a bribe is typically disguised as a gift for an uncle, aunt, or some other 'long lost relative'. In order to have any effect, a bribe must have a Resources rating at least equal to the effective Backing of the bureaucrat the character is trying to bribe. Artifacts given as bribes (which happens in the Scarlet Dynasty more often when one would think) should be worth at least [5 + Artifact Rating] in Resources. A bribe adds reduces the difficulty of any roll by the Resources value of the bribe.

Backing is the Background of the same name. A character with Backing is a recognized member of the group in question with at least some authority to lead. A character with Backing can automatically approve projects with a difficulty less then or equal to his Backing. At the Storytellers discretion, Backing in an extremely powerful organization (one with Purview higher then 5) may cost more Background points.

Connections is the Background of the same name. A character with Connections is not a member of the group, but has a close ally who is willing to work with her. Connections adds its rating in automatic successes on rolls to secure an audience with an organization.

Water Charms -- Bureaucracy

Stream-to-River Administration
Cost: --
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●, Essence ●●●
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: [Daana'd's] Essence Overwhelming

This Charm expands and improves [Daana'd's] Essence Overwhelming, increasing the number of dice the character can add to [Ability + Specialty + Support]

Benevolent Master's Blessing
Cost: --
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●, Essence ●●●
Type: Permanent
Keywords: Elemental
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: Elemental Ability Reinforcement

This Charm expands and improves its prerequisite. The character can add dice to allies or subordinates with no dots in Bureaucracy, but is limited to adding dice equal to her [Essence] to these targets. This Charm also removes the Touch Keyword from Elemental Ability Reinforcement, negating the need for all participants to be holding hands.

Additionally, when a character with Essence 4+ uses Elemental Ability Reinforcement to enhance a bureaucracy with a Purview no greater then her [Essence], the Charm gains an additional elemental effect, described below.

Air, is the power of genius and inspiration, the Loyalty cost of any action is reduced by 1. Earth, brings purity and harmony to any task. The organization functions as though its Corruption were one less, to a minimum of 0. Water, controls the ebb and flow of the market. The Resource cost of any action is reduces by 1. Fire brings passion and energy, halving the time necessary for an extended roll. Wood encourages members of an organization to support and aid each other. The organization functions as though its Personnel rating was one higher.

This Charm can be purchased multiple times, with each purchase representing a different element.

United Brotherhood Administration
Cost: --
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●●, Essence ●●●
Type: Permanent
Keywords: Cooperative
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: Benevolent Master's Blessing

The strength of the Terrestrial Host is greatest when they stand united. This Charm grants the leader of an organization an additional point Loyalty for each of her subordinates who know it. She may gain additional Loyalty equal to her [Essence] in this way.

Confluence of Savant Thought
Cost: 2m
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●, Essence ●●
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: One Scene
Prerequisites: None

This Charm allows and Exalt to instantly intuit the inner workings of bureaucracy. She knows who is in charge of what tasks, where equipment (including secret information) is kept, and which officials are amenable to bribes. A character must have had at least a scene of contact with the organization in question to target it with this Charm.

Thoughtful Gift Technique
Cost: 2m
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●, Essence ●●
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Confluence of Savant Thought

In Creation, bribes are the order of the day. Knowing who to bribe and with what can dramatically affect a character's fortunes. In order to use this Charm, the Dragon-Blooded must have interacted with his target or the targeted organization over the course of at least one scene.

The character gains an uncanny insight into her target's tastes, allowing any bribe she presents to add her [Essence] to its effective Resource rating.

Efficiency Streamlining Technique
Cost: 5m, 1W
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●●, Essence ●●
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Confluence of Savant Thought

This Charm improves a character's ability to produce results when working for or with a bureaucracy. The character halves the time needed to complete any task.

Geese-Flying-South Administration
Cost: 5m, 1W
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●●, Essence ●●
Type: Simple
Keywords: Compulsion, Dynasty
Duration: One task or Essence in months
Prerequisites: Confluence of Savant Thought

Dragon-Blooded use this Charm to compel their subordinates to work quickly and efficiently on a bureaucratic task. It can only forcefully target mortals who are subservient to the character, but Dragon-Blooded descendants count as mortals for this purpose. Characters who are naturally immune (other Exalted, spirits, demons, the Dragon-Blooded herself, even mortals who are not the character's employees or servants, etc.) may accept the effects of this Charm voluntarily when it is invoked. This Charm can initially affect a Magnitude equal to the Exalt's [Essence] rating.

The character names a single Bureaucracy-based task. Until the task is completed or the Charm ends, all affected characters gain an Intimacy of loyalty towards completing the task as quickly and efficiently as possible. Additionally, completing the task becomes part of the group's Policy. A character loyal to the task gains a bonus to their MDV equal to the Exalt's Essence rating when confronted with any mental influence that would prevent them from completing their work. Loyal characters may choose to gain dice equal to the Exalt's [Essence] rating or an automatic success on any rolls related to completing the task. Finally, this magical Intimacy is contagious in nature. A mortal assigned to the task by an acknowledged superior is affected by the Charm as though he was present when it was invoked. Characters who are naturally immune may voluntarily choose to be affected by the Charm when they come into contact with it. There is no upper limit on the number of characters this Charm can target in this fashion.

The effects of this Charm last for the duration of the task or the character's [Essence] in months, whichever is shorter. If an affected character wishes to free themselves from the unnatural Intimacy generated by this Charm, it costs one Willpower per point of the Exalt's [Essence].

Bestow the Saffron Mantle
Cost: 1m
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●●, Essence ●●
Type: Simple
Keywords: Dynasty, Touch
Duration: Essence in months
Prerequisites: Geese-Flying-South Administration

This Charm empowers an underling to act in the Dragon-Blooded bureaucrat's best interests. It can only forcefully target mortals, but Exalted descendants can be targeted as though they were mortals. Characters who would normally be immune can voluntarily accept the effects of this Charm if they wish. A character can empower up to [Essence + 1] proxies at a time.

While under the effects of this Charm, a proxy uses the Dragon-Blooded's Bureaucracy rating (including any applicable Specialties) instead of their own. When called upon to make a decision, the proxy instinctively knows what the Dragon-Blooded would do if she were present. The range of a Bureaucracy-based Elemental Ability Reinforcement when it targets a proxy is Infinite, and it no longer has the Touch Keyword. Finally, when under the effects of mental influence, the proxy treats commands to betray the Dragon-Blooded as unacceptable orders.

If an affected character wishes to free themselves from this Charm, it costs one Willpower per point of the Exalt's [Essence].

Thrashing Carp Serenade
Cost: 3m
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●, Essence ●
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: One Scene
Prerequisites: None

A character can use this Charm to impede the function of a bureaucracy. Upon activation, the Exalt targets an organization. For the duration of the Charm, whenever any member of the targeted organization who can perceive the Exalt takes any action that directly advances the group’s official agenda, that action suffers an external penalty of the Exalt’s Bureaucracy rating. This does not apply to actions taken in personal or mass combat. It is not immediately evident that the Terrestrial is the source of the disruption.

Testing the Waters
Cost: 3m
Minimums: Bureaucracy ●●●●●, Essence ●●
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Thrashing Carp Serenade

Dragon-Blooded use this Charm to gain insight into political matters. When activated, the character instantly knows what the outcome would be if the matter under discussion were put to a vote. This Charm does not reveal which way individuals will vote, but it does give the character the exact number of yeas, nays, and abstentions. Voters with a dodge MDV greater than the Exalt’s [Perception] + [Bureaucracy] count as abstentions. This Charm extracts the information from the minds of others rather than divining the future, and it can predict the votes of beings outside fate.
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