Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Rule of the Jungle and the self-invasive species

This just squeaks in as my contribution to this month's Blog Carnival, hosted this time round at Hereticwerks with the theme Invasive Species.

It's partly inspired by the recent release of sixth seventh edition 40K and rerelease of past fifth editions of D&D, and maybe the latest report from GW, or some of the reaction to it. It's for tabletop gaming in general, so no specific system, a form of propluristemic content. It's an off-the-wall rule or regulation for more fully marketizing the gaming group.

In the wording of the rule, a gamer providing support is a Financier, but this could vary by setting: maybe Lender or Rentier for pseudomediaeval or historical settings, anything from Bloodsucker through Shareholder to Saviour for modern, depending on tone, and for an overblown grimmer and darker setting maybe Splitgripper, Souldealer or God-Enabler.

The Rule of the Jungle

1. A player may at any time, even during a game, request support from one or more Financiers, i.e. any other gamer in the group. A Financier who agrees to provide support does so by contributing an agreed number of the Financier's own characters or units (painted to a three-colour minimum if miniatures), up to an agreed value in points or in-game currency, for the requesting player to guide alongside those usually permitted. Other players may do the same, even opponents.

2. A player with Financier support is considered to be the steward of the combined contributions and undertakes to use them well, maximising success. Note that this may mean that one player has access to a greater value of characters or units than another, which may reduce challenge or make a conclusion foregone. Nut up.

3. The session, mission or campaign is played and success or victory determined as usual. All standard measures of success in-game or out, e.g. victory points, experience points, currency units, titles, prizes and winnings, or similar, which would usually be accumulated by a player with Financier support are divided between this player and the respective Financiers in proportion to their individual contributions. Each Financier may also count any or all collective results towards a personal win-loss record, whether or not the Financier was actually present at the table.

4. A player with Financier support is required to win, score or otherwise acquire at least one third of total standard measures available, whether at encounter, site, mission, arc or campaign level. Failure to do so allows any contributing Financier to force a vote by all on removing the player as steward and appointing another.

5. For the purpose of voting by a set of Financiers, each Financier has votes equal to points or in-game currency owned, with a simple majority of total existing votes required.

6. A player removed as steward retains ownership of all characters and units initially owned which would usually remain in play, and is eligible for the usual proportions of standard measures, but may no longer guide the characters and units personally. In the case of miniatures, these must be made available to each successive steward punctually wherever and whenever they are to be used. Characters and units may be cashed in at an agreed value in points or in-game currency by finding a buyer among actual or potential Financiers, and may be repurchased if again on sale.

7. Any contributing Financier may force a vote by all to reward or censure a steward for performance, strategy or policy adopted, or to comment or guide, per item no. 5 above. A steward may force a vote on any related matter, e.g. remuneration or expenses. If misconduct
, e.g. excessive pursuit of private objectives, is suspected on the part of a steward, the burden of proof lies with the Financiers and the vote on removal is taken by the full gaming group, with a simple majority required.

8. Any gamer may force a vote to introduce, modify or remove any element of a rule, including this one, with a turnout of at least 50% and two-thirds majority required.

9. Any players or Financier may transfer points or in-game currency to any other gamer in the group, or undertake to do so, at any time other than during a vote. However, a gamer must avoid giving the impression that this had any influence.

It has benefits, and the risk of being chewed up and shpat out is low unless anyone tries to game the system. Still, it is good this kind of thing doesn't go on in other areas of life.

Tl; dr? Good luck.

Q.  Isn't every species by definition invasive? Or, maybe more to the point, self-invasive?


garrisonjames said...

This is great! I've used financial backers, investors, and the like off and on for a long time in our games, partly inspired by The Lost World and similar stories, so I'm very keen to see how someone else might approach this sort of thing.

You managed to boil it down to a simple, flexible framework that makes a lot of sense and could really add a lot to a game. This needs to be a pdf or little booklet!

Porky said...

A pdf's an interesting idea, not so much for this alone maybe - it feels like it would lack the mass, or context - but definitely for a short series of related ideas. There's a thousand or so posts here, and some of the more useable content could be useful to have in a more accessible or tangible form - and the same for the more useable content at hundreds of other blogs. It's a pity the blog format rather encourages ephemerality, pushing things down and out of sight. So much good work by so many people slipping away.

I'm not sure what the best platform for a single item would be - the postcard? It would be compact, easy to store, carry and shuffle. Going postal for this kind of thing has plenty of precedent of course, with the more recent, local revival thanks to guys like Christian and Tim. It fits the nature of the hobby for sure.