I mentioned a while ago that I was thinking about adapting the rules for dynamic affiliations from D&D 3.5’s Player’s Handbook II for use in my 4E campaign. My goal is to help differentiate paragon tier by giving the player characters mechanics to represent a wider scope of influence.
The last post I wrote on affiliations gives an overview of the 3.5 rules for dynamic affiliations and my thoughts at the time for how I was going to adapt them, so I’m going to jump right into the mechanics I’ve arrived at.
During the heroic tier, you might have been a member of an organization. Maybe you had a mentor or patron who was a more senior member of the organization and provided you with missions, advice, and other assistance. You were definitely at the bottom of the hierarchy though and were taking orders rather than giving them.
Now that you have advanced to the paragon tier, you have taken a leadership role within the organization. You can now give orders to lower ranking members in order to expand your influence in the world.
When you take a leadership role within an organization, you gain an influence rating. This rating represents the amount of resources and number of underlings at your disposal. If you are the founder of an organization, this could be the entirety of its resources, but it could also represent a small portion of a much larger group. The highest influence rating you can achieve is your character level, but it is also possible to have a much lower rating.
When your underlings take actions on your behalf, they generally use three special skills that represent their actions in an abstract manner. These skills are: espionage, negotiation, and violence. When making an affiliation skill check, roll 1d20 and add 1/2 influence plus any skill modifiers possessed by your affiliation.
Espionage: Espionage checks are used for information retrieval, stealth operations, black mail, scouting, sabotage, and infiltration.
Negotiation: Negotiation checks are used for diplomatic missions, politics, legal proceedings, trade, and influence the general population.
Violence: Violence checks are used for fighting battles and other direct applications of force.
When directing affiliations, you are able to give them general orders each month. These affiliation actions are often targeted at another organization. When choosing DCs for the checks involved, use your influence rating in place of your level when consulting the DC by level table.
Infiltrate: You send your followers to infiltrate the ranks of another organization. Make an opposed espionage check against the target affiliation. If you succeed, your spy has managed to infiltrate the target and you get a +2 bonus on all future espionage checks against that affiliation (unless the spy is removed, see inquisition). If you fail, then decrease your influence by 1.
Inquisition: Worried about enemy agents infiltrating your organization, you order your followers to purge their ranks of any suspected spies or traitors. Make a hard espionage check and decrease your influence by 1 point. If the check is successful, you remove the effects of any infiltration.
Lobby: Your organization’s representatives meet with (and potentially bribe) influential members of the local government. Make a hard negotiation check. If you succeed, you gain a +2 bonus to all affiliation skills in the following month. Additionally, if you succeed by 5 or more, your character gets a +2 bonus to diplomacy skill rolls with members of the government for the following month. On the other hand, if you fail, decrease your influence by 1.
Recruit: Your underlings work to raise funds and recruit new members. Make a hard negotiation check. If you succeed, increase your influence rating by 1.
Research: Your organization devotes itself to research. Choose a focus for the research and make a moderate negotiation check. If you succeed, you gain knowledge about the research’s focus at least as detailed as what would be gained from a hard knowledge skill check.
Shadow War: Your followers secretly works to disrupt the activities of another organization. Make an opposed espionage check against the target organization. If you are successful, the target takes a -2 penalty on all affiliation skills in the following 1d4 months. In addition, if you succeed by 5 or more, the target loses 1 point of influence. If you fail the espionage check, your affiliation instead takes a -2 penalty on all affiliation skills in the following month.
Trade: Your organization focuses on trading with another group. Make an opposed negotiation check against the target organization. If you are successful, increase your influence by 1. If you fail the check, the other affiliation instead increases its influence rating by 1.
War: Your followers arm themselves and march to battle against a rival group. Make an opposed violence check against the target organization. The loser of the opposed check decreases its influence rating by 1d4, and the winner decreases its influence rating by 1.
Legacy of Mulyr’kun Affiliations
These are the affiliations that my players have joined. I’m planning to start using these rules when we pick back up after the holidays, and will be sure to post again about how they work out.
Kaldeshani Freedom Fighters
Dedicated to pushing the Talaran Empire out of the occupied city of Talsh, the freedom fighters are a ragtag group of former soldiers and bandits. While they have a few spies in occupied towns and Talsh itself, most of their power is in their ability to fight. The freedom fighters get +5 on violence checks and +2 on espionage checks.
Tattered Cloak Society
Founded by Rasper Nebelnines, the party’s rogue, the society is nominally focused on promoting the interests and expeditions of halflings in the wider world. Thanks to Rasper’s expertise, the society has attracted several thieves and thugs. The society gets +5 on espionage checks and +2 on negotiate checks.
Order of the Arcane Flame
The order is a guild of elementalists based in the Kaldeshani city of Nells. It publicly presents itself as a scholarly organization, but in truth has a series of agents committed to espionage. The order gets +5 on negotiate checks and +2 on espionage checks.