Assets

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Assets

Assets is one out of seven modules that make up the Off-Screen System.

Retainers, Allies, Feeding Grounds, Mentors, or Resources are all assets. Feeding Ground and Resources are 'static assets', while Retainers, Allies, and Mentors are 'dynamic assets' (because they move around). The off-screen system allows you to investigate the assets of other PCs, grow and hide your own assets, as well as to attack, defend and coerce assets. Some assets require upkeep in the form of Downtime. For Allies and Retainers, you also need to specify a method of control (see tab "Control"). Some assets like Allies and Retainers can be used to initiate off-screen actions, or to make off-screen actions more powerful. Only one Asset can be involved in a given off-screen action at a time, unless you spend Juice. (1 Juice for each additional asset after the first.) The amount of Status a single character can control is limited by their skill dots (see tab "Status") Please remember that your touchstones, retainers and contacts do not just exist as an abstract on your character sheet. The same surgeon father that is your touchstone might be someone else's Health contact!

Contacts

Contacts tell you what's going on in their sector. They require no maintenance, and use no downtime hours. Status 1 does everything Contacts do and more, but uses up your downtime.

Status

Status is what you control personally. Status 2 Police means you work for the Police department or have a PI license. Status 1 Underworld means you are a low-level mook for one of the city's organized crime families. You can take an unlimited number of influence actions providing they are of your status level or less, and providing they are 'legal' within your group's ethos - that is, things that won't get you frowned, fired, or killed by your boss. Or your peers. Or your minions. Status actions are performed as part of your ordinary job, and do not rouse attention - Contacts are not informed.

Acquire

Action: Simple and Extended
Time: 4 hours per roll
Dicepool: Depends on job.
Successes required: New level squared
Command: +request Buy (type) Status=
Modifiers: Sites and Resource Points
Teamwork: No

The total value of the Status you can control, either personally, through retainers, or as allies, is limited by your skill. More specifically, your Skills. All characters start with 22 skill points at character creation. You cannot control more than 22 points of Status until you have bought more skills.

Example

Since character creation, Debonair Rival has bought one dot of Persuasion, one of Computers, and two of Weaponry. Now possessing 26 skill points, he is able to control 26 points of Status. He has Underworld Status 3, three 2-dot 'thug' retainers with Underworld Status 2, Politics Allies 5, Occult Allies 3, Bureaucracy Allies 2, a four-dot retainer with Health Status, and a three-dot retainer with Finance Status, bringing him to the maximum amount he can control. He also has a two-dot secretary retainer with Expression, Persuasion, and Socialize as her tag skills, but as she has no Status she does not contribute to his tally. Debonair Rival would like to raise his own Underworld Status, but must buy another skill point before he can do so.

Retainers

Retainers are single individuals with useful skills and traits of their own. They get three 'tags', which are frequently skills but may also be appropriate merits. They may hold Status, but not Allies. A retainer gets double their rank in dice for any action that corresponds to their tags, and their rank in dice for any other action. For example, a 3-dot retainer with Status Street, Brawl, and Initiative can take an unlimited number of 'legal' Street actions of level 3 or lower, gets 6 dice when rolling Brawl, and has an Initiative of 6. Her Defense is 3, as is her dicepool for everything else, from Academics to Streetwise.

Resources may be one of a retainer's tags, but they will not beggar themselves on your behalf. For obvious reasons, you cannot control a retainer with their own Resources via money.

Resources 1 gives 1 RP/month. A one-dot retainer may not have Resources as a tag.
Resources 2 gives 4 RP/month. A two-dot retainer gives their controller 3 RP/month.
Resources 3 gives 12 RP/month. A three-dot retainer gives their controller 9 RP/month.
Resources 4 gives 25 RP/month. A four-dot retainer gives their controller 20 RP/month.
Resources 5 gives 100 RP/month. A five-dot retainer gives their controller 80 RP/month.

Retainers may independently perform a number of 'defensive' actions equal to 6 - their Rating free of charge (so a 1-dot retainer may take 5 defensive actions, while a 5-dot retainer may take only 1 defensive action, but neither require their controller to spend downtime to activate them). When doing so, they use only their own dice pool (so either their rating or double their rating if using a tagged skill). Defensive actions are:

  • Defend a Group
  • Defend a Territory
  • Defend a PC
  • Cover Up an Action
  • Cover Up an Asset
  • Cover Up a PC

Retainers may also be called upon to assist in 'active' actions. This costs the PC who controls them downtime equal to half the Retainer's rating, rounded up (which represents getting in touch with the Retainer, apprising them of the situation, and giving them instructions). A Retainer so activated provides a dice bonus equal to their rank, or equal to double their rank on tag skills.

Acquire

Action: Simple and Extended
Time: 4 hours per roll
Dicepool:
Manipulation + Intimidation (High)
Manipulation + Subterfuge (Moderate)
Manipulation + Persuasion (Low)
You may add either your Dominate, Majesty, or Nightmare dots to any of these rolls.
Successes required: Level squared.
Command: +request Buy Retainer at (level)=
Modifiers: Sites and Resource Points
Teamwork: No

Don't forget to tell us:

  • What method you're using to acquire them
  • Whether you're using any relevant modifiers
  • What you want their tags to be
  • How you're going to control you're using (blood, time, threats, or money. See Control tab.)
  • Are you ghouling your retainer? If so, you must control them with blood. What discipline dots will they have?
A one- or two- dot retainer gets 1 discipline dot, which must be in-clan for you.
A three- or four- dot retainer gets 2 discipline dots, which must be in-clan for you.
A five-dot retainer gets 3 discipline dots. The first two must be in-clan, the third can be any discipline you possess.

Improve

Action: Simple and Extended
Time: 4 hours per roll
Dicepool:
Manipulation + Intimidation (High)
Manipulation + Subterfuge (Moderate)
Manipulation + Persuasion (Low)
You may add either your Dominate, Majesty, or Nightmare dots to any of these rolls.
Successes required: New level squared.
Command: +request Raise (Retainer) to (+1 level)=
Modifiers: Sites and Resource Points
Teamwork: No
Once acquired a Retainer can be trained, but only one level at a time.

Allies

Allies are groups of friends in useful places. Allies 2 Police means you have an assortment of beat cops and desk jockeys you can call in favors from. Allies actions are inherently risky. Anyone with Contacts in the influence field is informed, unless you pay +1 favor level to hide the action.

You get a one favor per level each month, so Allies 2 Police gives you a level 1 favor and a level 2 favor. You can spend Juice to refresh these favors. Allies can be 'pushed' to take actions that are beyond their usual power level, which risks them being fired or worse. Pushing requires a Manipulation + Persuasion + Allies - Favor level roll.

On an exceptional success, your allies get away with it and it costs you only the level of favor you're pushing from.
On a normal success, your allies get away with it, but the favor level wraps around (so if you ask your Level 2 allies for a Level 3 favor and get only a normal success, it costs both your Level 2 and Level 1 favors. 2 + 1 = 3). If you do not have sufficient favors to pay for the wrap-around, you exhaust one dot of allies (so if you ask your Level 2 allies for a Level 4 favor and get only a normal success, it costs both Level 2 and Level 1 favors, but that still doesn't add up to 4). If this happens, your highest-level favor remains unavailable at the beginning of the next month.
On a failure, your allies fail to complete the task. Anyone with Contacts in that influence field is automatically informed of the attempt. The favor is still considered used.
On a dramatic failure, your allies fail to complete the task, are discovered, and are fired or worse. (The Mob, for example, doesn't have much of a retirement plan.) You lose one dot of Allies permanently, which is refunded as per Sanctity of Merits.

Calling in a favor from your Allies costs hours equal to half the level of the favor, rounded up. For most Off-Screen Actions, this provides a number of teamwork dice equal to your Allies rank.

Acquire

Action: Simple and Extended
Time: 4 hours per roll
Dicepool:
Manipulation + Intimidation (High)
Manipulation + Subterfuge (Moderate)
Manipulation + Persuasion (Low)
You may add either your Dominate, Majesty, or Nightmare dots to any of these rolls.
Successes required: 1
Command: +request Buy (type) Allies=
Modifiers: Sites and Resource Points
Teamwork: No

Don't forget to tell us:

  • What method you're using to acquire them
  • Whether you're using any relevant modifiers
  • How you want to control them. (By blood, time, threats, or money. See Control tab.)

Raise

Action: Simple and Extended
Time: 4 hours per roll
Dicepool:
Manipulation + Intimidation (High)
Manipulation + Subterfuge (Moderate)
Manipulation + Persuasion (Low)
You may add either your Dominate, Majesty, or Nightmare dots to any of these rolls.
Successes required: New level squared
Command: +request Raise (Allies) to (+1 level)=
Modifiers: Sites and Resource Points
Teamwork: No

Investigate

Action: Resisted (Streetwise) and Extended
Time: Investigation costs 1 hour to begin, and takes 2 hours per die roll, time paid in advance
Dicepool:
Wits + Investigation (Low)
Wits + Empathy (Moderate)
Wits + Streetwise/Politics (High)
You may add all your Auspex dots, and half your dots for any of the following disciplines: Animalism, Dominate, Majesty, or Protean
Command: +request Investigate (Thing)=
Modifiers: Sites, Resource Points, Relevant status dots
Teamwork: No

You can investigate to see controls a given Influence group.

  • 3 successes reveals who the Status 5 person is, whether they're controlled, and if they are part of an allies group, who controls them.
  • 6 successes reveals who the two Status 4 people are, whether they're controlled, and if they are part of an allies group, who controls them.
  • 9 successes reveals who the four Status 3 people are, whether they're controlled, and if they are part of an allies group, who controls them.
  • 12 successes reveals any Status 2 people who are controlled, and if they are part of an allies group, who controls them. Anyone who controls the Status 5 person is informed of your investigation.
  • 15 successes reveals any Status 1 people who are controlled, and if they are part of an allies group, who controls them. Anyone who controls a Status 4 person is informed of your investigation.

To identify who controls a retainer or mentor requires additional successes equal to the Asset's rating.

You can investigate Feeding Grounds to see who has been feeding there and to see who controls them. This requires one success per day (so if you want to know who has been feeding there in the last week, it will require 7 successes).

You can investigate Resources if you have successfully completed at least one successful investigation on a character, by investigating the character. This reveals what (if anything) the resources are tied to. Resources that are not tied to anything are extremely easy to attack.

The Alternate Identity Merit raises the threshold to determine who controls an Asset by its rating. It's hard to identify who controls a retainer when they know the individual by a completely different name, or to seize someone's bank accounts when you don't know their mortal identity.

Cover up

Cover-Ups are how you defend against investigation.

Action: Simple/Contested
Time: 7 hours (Weekly)
Dicepool:
Manipulation + Subterfuge + (half Majesty) (Moderate)
Wits + Streetwise + (half Protean) + (half Majesty) (Low)
Wits + Larceny + (half Protean) (Low)
You may add your dots in Dominate, Nightmare, and Obfuscate, as well as your dots in the Alternate Identity Merit
Command: +request Cover-up (Asset)=
Modifiers: Sites, Resource Points, Influence
Teamwork: Yes

You can send assets to run interference, or you can do it yourself. Defending any asset against Investigation is a Streetwise or Subterfuge skill. Covering up an action can use Larceny instead. Cover-Ups always cost 7 hours and are handled just like defending territory. You may also defend your assets by placing them under the control of other assets. By only having your major domo contact your police allies, investigating the police turns up his name, not yours, requiring a further investigation. By placing your mook squad under the control of your gang boss, their actions lead back to him, not to you. Mechanically speaking, this works as your major domo taking a Cover Up action for that Asset.

Note: Retainers may take a number of defensive or cover-up actions equal to 6 - Rank for free each week. This requires no downtime to activate them, and uses only their own dicepools (being their rank, or double their rank if using a tagged skill). Most people set their retainers to defend or cover up the same things or people each week, which allows you to inform the storytellers only when you want to change the arrangement rather than specifying it each week.

Any use of Status automatically has Cover-Up equal to its rating in successes.

Defend

Action: Simple/Contested
Time:
16 Hours (Weekly) for individuals such as PCs or Retainers
7 Hours (Weekly) for Feeding Grounds, Allies, or Safe Place/Haven
Dicepool:
Strength + Brawl/Weaponry + (half Protean) (High)
Dexterity + Firearms + (half Protean)(High)
Defending against Coercion only: Presence/Strength + Intimidation + Majesty + (half Protean)(High)
Command: +request Defend (Asset)=
Modifiers: Sites, Resource Points, Influence
Teamwork: Yes

An asset can be set to defend another asset, or you may personally defend your own assets and territories. You spend time each night checking in with your assets and defending them. You add the better of your Stamina, Resolve, or Composure to the resistance of the asset. Groups may defend assets together, with each other actor adding half their appropriate attribute. If an attack is made on a defended asset, groups may respond at the coterie level after the roll is resolved. Thus if an Debonair Rival takes a Destroy action against Sookie, she adds Vampire Bill's Stamina to her defense. If Debonair Rival's roll (penalized appropriately) succeeds, the Destruction occurs, and then poor Sookie is in trouble.

Note: Retainers may take a number of defensive or cover-up actions equal to 6 - Rank for free each week. This requires no downtime to activate them, and uses only their own dicepools (being their rank, or double their rank if using a tagged skill). Most people set their retainers to defend or cover up the same things or people each week, which allows you to inform the storytellers only when you want to change the arrangement rather than specifying it each week.

To defend a territory, see the Territory page.

Attacking Assets puts them in the hospital, puts them in jail, or puts them in the morgue.

Attacking Allies

Action: Resisted (Asset)
Time: 12 Hours, + 4 hours per rating of the asset
Dicepool:
Strength + Brawl/Weaponry + (half Protean)(High)
Dexterity + Firearms + (half Protean)(High)
Intelligence + Science/Stealth + Obfuscate (Low)
Dots in Nightmare may always be added to Attacks.
Command: +request Attack (Asset)=
Modifiers: Sites, Resource Points, Influence
Teamwork: Yes

Targeting a specific Ally rating of a specific Kingpin reduces the hours needed and the difficulty of destroying the Ally group within the city. Not targeting a specific Ally rating of a specific Kingpin pits your action against the rating of the city itself (usually 5).

Attacking Allies exhausts one dot per Rating + 4 successes. If an already exhausted dot would be re-exhausted, it is lost permanently. For example, Vampire Bill wants to attack Debonair Rival's level 3 Media Allies. He needs 7 successes to exhaust Debonair Rival's Allies by one dot, dropping him to Allies 2; 14 successes to exhaust two dots; 21 to exhaust three dots. As always, exhaustion heals at a rate of one dot per month in the case of Allies. If Vampire Bill manages to get 28 successes, this extra iteration wraps back around to destroy Debonair Rival's highest exhausted dot. (The Sanctity of Merits applies here, and Debonair Rival will be refunded the beat value.)

Attacking Retainers

Action: Resisted (Asset)
Time: 10 Hours
Dicepool:
Strength + Brawl/Weaponry + (half Protean)(High)
Dexterity + Firearms + (half Protean)(High)
Intelligence + Science/Stealth + Obfuscate (Low)
Dots in Nightmare may always be added to Attacks.
Command: +request Attack (Asset)=
Modifiers: Sites, Resource Points, Influence
Teamwork: Yes

On a success, the retainer is exhausted by one dot per success. If an already exhausted dot would be re-exhausted, it is lost permanently. This may represent a retainer being demoted, being hospitalized, or sustaining debilitating injury.

On an exceptional success, the retainer is killed. Beats are refunded as per the Sanctity of Merits.

Attacking Resources

Action: Resisted (Asset)
Time: 10 Hours
Dicepool: Varies, depending on where the resources come from and how they're stored. Examples include:
Intelligence + Computers (Moderate)
Manipulation + Persuasion (Low)
Dexterity + Larceny (Moderate)
Command: +request Attack (Resources)=
Modifiers: Sites, Resource Points, Influence, possibly Territory
Teamwork: Yes
You must know either where a character's resources are coming from or where they're being stored in order to attack them. The relevant dicepool will be chosen on the basis of this information. For example, if you know that Vampire Bill keeps all his money in the cookie jar on the top shelf of his Haven's kitchen, Dexterity + Larceny would allow you to break into his house and steal it. On the other hand, if you know that his money comes from his job at Mick E. Cheese, Presence + Intimidation against his boss could get him fired.

Coerce

Action: Resisted (Asset)
Time: 12 Hours, + 4 hours per rating of the asset
Dicepool:
Manipulation + Intimidation (High)
Manipulation + Subterfuge (Moderate)
Manipulation + Persuasion (Low)
You may add either your Dominate, Majesty, or Nightmare dots to any of these rolls.
Modifiers: Sites, Resource Points, Influence
Teamwork: No

Coercion of Assets brings them under your control and removes them from another Kingpin, aka; Stealing Dots. 'Stolen' dots must be paid for with beats as usual, or they are destroyed at the end of the month.

Subversion: It is possible to put 'taps' or 'false friends' inside another character's assets. By succeeding with a number of successes equal to the controlling character's Presence, the asset reports all actions taken with/inside it back to the subversive character. Blood-bound assets are immune to non-supernatural subversion.

Triple Agent: If someone attempts to subvert your blood-bound asset, or if someone fails exposure and you defend against the coercion attempt, you can attempt to hide your defense, and allow the subverting character to believe they have succeeded. In which case you can feed false information at will to give them. Creating a Triple Agent requires successfully defending with 3 or more successes, and then succeeding at an intelligence + Subterfuge roll, with a bonus equal to the asset's rating, and resisted by the subverting character's Empathy or Subterfuge. Success equal to the subverting character's Wits results in an active Triple Agent. Calling on a Triple Agent costs Downtime hours equal to their rating, instead of Downtime hours equal to half their rating rounded up.

As per Downtime, there is a downtime cost to maintain your allies and retainers, equal to their dots. In addition to this, Allies and Retainers need to be controlled. You can choose between four methods of control, known loosely as the 'Four Bs': Blood, Bribery, Blackmail, and Bullying:

Blood - Vitae

Bloodbonding requires Vitae.

Allies require Vitae equal to the level squared per month. (Thus a level 5 ally requires 25 blood - that's a lot of mouths to feed!) Deprived allies exhaust one dot, and if they fall behind two months in a row, unbind a single level.
Retainers require Vitae equal to their level. They also exhaust one dot if deprived, but if their deprived condition lasts two months in a row the retainer is destroyed.
Ghouled retainers must be controlled by Vitae.

Bloodbond is the best means of control because every vampire has access to blood, and because bloodbonding is the ultimate control mechanism. Bloodbound allies cannot be coerced except by supernatural means.
Bloodbonding is the worst means of control because it creates fanatics, and because once they're addicted you can't swap from blood to another means of control. Also, y'know, ethics.

Money - Bribery

Bribery is often the most simple, but most expensive. This does not always mean literal bribery - it could just as easily represent a salary.

Allies: Each time you call in a favor from your allies, twice the level of the favor must be paid in RP.
Retainers are considered to be hired at a flat cost of twice their level per month in RP.

Bribery is the best means of control because all you have to do is throw money at the problem.
Bribery is the worst means of control because it requires huge scads of money.

Time - Blackmail

Blackmail requires additional hours of Downtime as you continue to do legwork and deepen your grip on your allies and retainers. This does not always mean literal blackmail - it could represent you taking time to watch goofy movies and gossip with your best friend.

Allies: 2 hours of Downtime per level each month.
Retainers require additional Downtime hours equal to their level.

Blackmail is the best means of control because all it takes is time - and everyone has time!
Blackmail is the worst means of control because there's never enough tiiiiiiiime.

Threats - Bullying

Bullying is easy, but cruel. Larger groups of allies and more competent retainers require bigger, grander and more sadistic displays of power to keep them in line.

Allies: Each ally group you are bullying forces a single breaking point each month, at a level equal to 6 - the asset level.
Retainers: Each Retainer forces a single breaking point each month, at a level equal to 8 - the asset level.
Bullying is the best means of control because it costs you nothing - not time and not money. And once your Humanity is low enough, you don't have make those checks anymore. Also, beats for breaking points!
Bullying is the worst means of control because it makes you a horrible freaking monster.