RogerBW's Blog

GURPS Boardroom and Curia, Matt Riggsby 05 April 2015

This supplement is not called "GURPS Organisations", but it might as well have been.

Disclaimer: I received playtest credit in this book and therefore did not pay for it.

Organisations have often received short shrift in role-playing games, which have usually been about exceptional people. However, player characters often interact with organisations, whether they're trying to infiltrate and destroy them or whether they have them as patrons. Occasionally it's been tried, as when Cyberpunk 3rd edition suggested that the GM make up character sheets for corporations or when Dark Conspiracy introduced a basic system for patronage, but generally not in much detail. This book aims to cover that field.

For those expecting detail, it's here, but this is not a full-on organisation game: you can't stat up two organisations, set them against each other, and see which one wins. Rather, this is about defining the ways organisations interact with player characters: how much stuff do they have, and how loyal are their members?

Organisation stats include membership, general wealth level, and Contacts – which means the type of Contacts available to the organisation's members (for example, a businessmen's club might make financial skills available, whether in some structured setup or via informal networking). Typical traits for members are also listed: Legal Enforcement Powers for that police force, Enemies, Duty, Intolerance, and so on. An organisation may also offer special resources that don't easily fit that framework. There's also a modifier to reaction time: when a member makes a request, how long does it take to get a decision?

The organisation also gets a startup cost (how much money would it take to set up an organisation like this), a resource value (how much it has as a discretionary budget), and Patron, Enemy and Ally/Dependent values (if a PC takes the organisation as a friend or a foe, how should that be scored on his sheet?) There is a list of broad organisational types (Advocacy, Criminal, Hobby, Religious, etc.), a Control Rating to indicate how much control the organisation has over its members, and a Loyalty rating to indicate how likely a member is to go against the organisation's interests if offered an inducement.

The second chapter shows how to use the stats. Wealth and Resouce Value indicate the type of equipment and facilities an organisation will have, and how much of it can be pointed at player characters. Loyalty can vary depending on how things are going. There's a reasonably solid system for requesting aid, though not for burning off one's credit with an organisation (this is too really specific to appear in a book like this, though GURPS Conspiracy X had one approach). There's even a system for PCs to start and run their own organisations.

Finally, several example organisations are written up: the Medici Bank, a mad-science villain's private army, a superhero team, etc.

It's not immediately obvious how to drop these rules into a standard game, but anything that deals with organisations above the individual party level will benefit from having a framework by which they can be defined, even if the full stats aren't relevant. I'm certainly going to be writing up the various occult groups of my Weird War II campaign so that I have a more formal way of tracking their shifting loyalties and resources.

GURPS Social Engineering is not a prerequisite for the use of this book, but it'll make it much more useful; in fact I tend to regard Social Engineering as pretty much essential for the sorts of game I run anyway.

Boardroom and Curia is available from Warehouse 23.

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