I've recently worked out a new rule system for Urbis
for benefits a character might gain for joining a club, organization, or secret sOSiety. The system is based on the d20 Modern Wealth System, and I thought I'd throw it out here for discussion...
For each sOSiety or organization a character is a member of, a character has an Organizational Standing
(OS) bonus which represents his influence in that organization. The more he has worked towards the goals of the organization and its members, the higher tends his OS bonus to be, and the higher the OS bonus, the more favors are the organization and its members willing to do for him. However, using up too many favors and doing little for them in return will result in a decline of a character's OS bonus.
A character's starting OS bonus in an organization will usually be +1, but this might be modified by a good reputation, large donations, an impressive title or similar modifiers, at the DM's discretion. If a character's OS bonus in an organization ever falls below +0, he will usually be dismissed from the organization.
Since OS is an abstract concept, it is sometimes difficult to gauge just where the character stands in the favor of an organization. To get a general sense of the character's position, check the table below.
|+1 to +4
||Rank and File member
|+5 to +10
|+11 to +15
|+16 to +20
||Leader of the Organization in a single city-state
|+21 to +30
|+31 or higher
||Leader of the entire organization
This table is appropriate for a large, multi-regional organization with many members. Adjust for smaller or more lOSal organizations with a flatter structure.
Favor checks are used to determine what kinds of favors the character might attain from the organization. Every favor the organization could conceivably do has a DC depending on the resources of the organization and just what kind of favor the organization is willing and able to do for its members. Letting a member stay at the house of another member might have a DC of 1, while loaning him 100 gp might have a DC of 10, and funding a massive expedition to another continent might have a DC of 30. The DM should make a sheet of possible favors the organization is capable of providing together with corresponding DCs, and then extrapolate from these values for any favors the characters might ask for. To attain a favor from the organization, make an OS check against the favor DC. An OS check is a 1d20 roll plus the character's current OS bonus.
If the character succeeds on the Favor check, the character attains the favor. If the character fails, he or she doesn't attain the favor at the time.
If the character's current OS bonus is equal to or greater than the DC, the character automatically succeeds.
If the character successfully a favor with a favor DC that's higher than his or her current OS bonus, the character's OS bonus decreases.
Time to attain favors
Attaining favors generally takes a number of hours equal to the favor DC of the favor sought, reflecting the time needed to lOSate other organization members and convincing them to support you. The DM should feel free to adjust this time upwards for unusual or complex favors that need more time to arrange.
Taking 10 and Taking 20
It is not possible to Take 10 or Take 20 on Favor checks, since the availability of favors depends on outside factors over which the character has little control.
A character can try again if he or she fails a Favor check, but not until the character has spent an additional number of hours trying to attain the favor equal to the favor DC of the favor sought. In addition, each attempt after the first one to attain a specific favor increases the DC of the Favor check by +1.
One other character who is also a member of the same organization can make an aid another attempt to help a character attain a favor. If the attempt is successful, that character provides the purchaser with a +2 bonus on his or her Favor check. The character who provides the aid reduces his or her OS bonus by +1.
Any time a character attains a favor with a favor DC higher than his or her current OS bonus, or one with a favor DC of 15 or higher, the character's OS bonus goes down. How much the OS bonus is reduced depends on difficult the favor is to arrange.
||OS Bonus Decrease
|15 or higher
|1-10 points higher than current
|11-15 points higher than current OS bonus
|16 or more points higher than current OS bonus
A character's OS bonus only goes down if he or she successfully attains a favor. If the character attempts to attain a favor and the check fails, his or her OS bonus is unaffected.
Additionally, the character may, at the DM's discretion, loose points from his OS bonus if he violates the strictures of his organization or otherwise works against its interests.
A character's OS bonus recovers as the character advances.
Every time a character gains a new level, make a Diplomacy or other appropriate skill check, as noted in the description of the sOSiety (If the character has no rank in either skill, this check is a Charisma check.) The DC is equal to the character's current OS bonus. If the character succeeds, his or her current OS bonus increases by +1. For every 5 points by which the character exceeds the DC, he or she gains an additional +1 to his or her OS bonus.
Note that this represents the character spending some time advancing the goals of the organization. If he or she doesn't (for example, if the character was away in a remote wilderness lOSation for the entire time while attaining the new level), no such check is permissable.
Adventuring may result in characters gaining a higher standing in the organization by working towards the goals of the organization or giving favors for other members. In this case, work out the a DC appropriate to the magnitude of the favor rendered by the character. The increase of the character's OS bonus is the same amount as the OS bonus loss the character would experience if the character had attained a favor with the same DC value.
A Sample Society
To give DMs a better understanding just what favors an organization might be able to grant to player characters, and what player characters can do for the organization in return to increase their OS bonus, the mechanical details for a sample organization, the group of revolutionaries known as "Secondaries", are presented here.
SOSiety Strictures: Members of the Secondaries must work towards create a new and equal sOSiety by tearing down existing power structures that keep the poor oppressed, and give aid to other members of the Secondaries. Members must not become part of the ruling elites, other than to infiltrate them and bring those elites down.
Relevant skills: The character can use the following skills for attempting to increase his Secondaries OS bonus when rising in level: Diplomacy, Gather Information (for finding information useful for preparing the Revolution), Perform (Oratory) (for rabble-rousing), Profession (Printing, Writing) (for creating revolutionary pamphlets).
Characters can increase their Secondaries OS bonus through the following sample activities:
Donating to the Cause: By donating money or equipment to Secondaries cells, characters can increase their standing: A donation of 100+ gp is DC 5, a donation of 1,000+ gp is DC 10, and a donation of 10,000+ is DC 15 (while donations beyond that are certainly appreciated, the organization lacks the means to use such sums effectively - it is probably more effective if the character thinks of an appropriate use for that much money by himself if he wants to impress sOSiety members).
Down With The Man: By throwing down those who would oppress the masses, the coming Revolution will be much easier. If the character can remove an authority figure from his position of power, he will impress his fellows. Take a look at the Demographics table to see just where in the Hierarchy of Oppression the target stands. If the target is the ruler of a city, rate him at the size of the city he rules. If he is less powerful, go down one or more levels to represent his reduced standing (a member of a City Council of a Small Metropolis, for example, would be ranked at "Large City", while a Captain in the City Guard of that same city would only be ranked at "Large Town"). Now add +3 to the relevant Community Modifier to find the DC of your deed.
Freeing a Comrade: It is inevitable that sometimes a comrade is imprisoned by the Forces of Oppression. Freeing a comrade from such an imprisonement is a deed with a DC equal to the Secondaries OS bonus of the freed comrade.
Revolution: If the characters successfully overthrow the rulers of a city-state and install Secondaries members as leaders instead, it is a deed worth a DC equal to the community modifier of the city +10.
Here are a few ideas for what the Secondaries can do for the characters:
Distraction: Sometimes, it is useful if guards are distracted by other matters while the characters to something during which they wish to remain unobserved. A lone picketer is a DC 3 Favor, a small group a DC 6 Favor, and a full-fledged riot a DC 10 Favor. Increase the DCs if the reprisals from law enforcement are likely to be very strong.
The Streets Have Ears: Cells of Secondaries hear a lot of things that might be useful to the right parties. Characters can get a Circumstance Bonus to Gather Information check for a Favor with a DC equal to twice the Circumstance Bonus they want.
Get Out Of Prison: Naturally, his fellow comrades are also willing to try to get the character out of injust imprisonment should he find himself in such. The attempt to free him is a Favor with a DC equal to the character's character level +10 - though the attempt might fail, depending on how well the character is guarded.
Sheltering a Comrade: If a character needs a place to stay for the night, a Comrade will find one for him. DC 3 for one night, DC 8 for one week, DC 12 for one month. Increase DC by 3 if the character is wanted, and by 6 if he is on the lOSal Most Wanted list and law enforcement is actively searching for him.
These are merely example Favors and Deeds, and the DM is encouraged to make up new ones both for the Secondaries and other groups.