Groups and Organizations

Groups and Organizations #

This subsystem is about characters being organized into a setting-defined group and how to map the challenges and responsibilities those can entail.

This is mostly for fairly self-contained groups where the PCs are important, prominent members. For bigger organizations of which the PCs are only minor members, Factions are probably a better fit.

Types of Organizations #

Think about the kind of organization that’s being made. They can also frequently cross over.

Organization around People #

The organization revolves around other people.

Some examples include:

  • Group of refugees
  • Small community
  • Local neighborhood
  • Band of fugitives

Organization around Infrastructure #

The organization revolves around a physical location, vehicle, or method of employment.

Some examples include:

  • A ship that can travel long distances
  • A safehouse in the wilderness
  • An adventuring company
  • A vehicle caravan

Examples #

Liminal Void #

The PCs beyond Level 0 are intended to be the crew of a spaceship, which provides them both the means to eke out a living outside of the normal grind and a way to exist on the fringes of society. There might be other crew members or sub-vessels depending on the size of the ship and the tier of play, but they’re the primary crew members.

Organization Qualities #

Depending on the nature of the organization, come up with some distinctive qualities

Positive Qualities #

Think about aspects of the organization in question that have benefits.

For people, these could be things like:

  • Someone has great survival skills.
  • Someone is well connected to others.
  • Someone has great technical knowledge.
  • Someone can acquire money.
  • Someone knows how to navigate areas well.

For infrastructure, these could be things like:

  • The location has a great view of the entire surrounding area.
  • The safehouse has an underground access that allows easy access to other areas.
  • The caravan is coordinated enough to easily separate and rejoin when necessary.
  • The ship has a dedicated medical bay.
  • The company has established a connection with a certain Faction.

Usually these translate to effectively having extra subsystem features (effective Assets, effective Faction relationships, etc), gaining direct bonuses to various things (like cheaper maintenance or more upgrades), or are tied into direct capabilities (like access to certain kinds of jobs or opportunities).

These don’t have to be established up front: you can either establish them later in the course of play or build them up intentionally.

Examples #

Liminal Void #

As noted, the organization in question is the crew of a ship. So this includes both to some extent. Regarding the ship, this is largely how it’s outfitted: vessel size, presence of containment units, cargo bay capacity, speed, and so on. Regarding its crew, this could also represent things like secondary technical crew members, a boarding crew, connections to various kinds of companies to acquire certain kinds of supplies for cheap, and so on. If PCs stole or acquired the ship via salvage, there’s also a chance that it has a secret feature aside from the obvious ones. These features change the kinds of jobs that PCs can take on as well as their ability to handle things coming their way.

Risks and Problems #

Conversely, think about things that could end up being problems.

For people, these could be things like:

  • They’re being hunted by a major power.
  • They can’t be seen in public.
  • They have medical needs that require consistent intervention or supplies.
  • They abhor the PCs' methods and work counter to them.

For infrastructure, these could be things like:

  • The location is on an easily spotted landmark, so it’s very easily found.
  • The safehouse has a leaky roof.
  • The caravan can only travel on actual roads.
  • The ship’s power systems are insufficient and can shut off key systems at bad times.
  • The company is notorious for having done something bad.

These often manifest in the form of opportunities for consequences and twists: when one would come up, the PCs can opt to engage with the Flaw. In the case of more major flaws, these represent reduced capabilities in a certain area.

As with positive qualities, these don’t have to be established beforehand and can be added in play, potentially alongside positive qualities.

Examples #

Liminal Void #

The nature of how you got your ship is a good source of risk: either you’re making payments on a legitimate purchase, you’re paying extra to maintain a salvaged ship, or you’re on the run with your stolen ship. There can also be problems tied to specific positive qualities: luxurious living quarters could put too much strain on the power system, for example, or a more sophisticated AI can sometimes glitch out and do unexpected things. More major flaws represent capability reduction or major risks: an inconsistent power system might prevent heavy machinery from being used until it’s fixed, or a glitchy AI could turn out to be actively harmful. These could also manifest themselves in stressful situations rather than being predetermined: for example, revealing extensive hull damage than expected when a high-speed chase would put more stress than normal, or finding out about a vermin infestation when something gnaws through a key power line.

Advancement #

In games where a diegetic Organization is prominent, it’s a very helpful area for intentional advancement.

Adding more Qualities #

Usually the size, prominence, strength, etc. of the organization can directly correlate with Level and Tier. You could make gaining positive qualities and flaws the measure for both, as well as provide prerequisites for positive qualities.

Examples #

Liminal Void #

This is exactly how advancement in Liminal Void works. Level and Tier are determined by how capable your ship is because the only way you can afford to increase its capabilities is usually by accomplishing quite a bit: they correlate very strongly. Advancement can also do things like smooth out more major flaws into minor flaws: a poor power system can be fixed to be consistent enough for high-power operations, for example, even if it still sometimes shorts out. As qualities are introduced, the GM is given “headroom” to introduce new flaws (either on introduction or later) to keep things interesting. As Tier advancement occurs, the players have more pull to completely change or reconfigure their ship, getting something that meets their desires.