Lords of the River of Gold
This is pulled from another game, but I like its ability to give additional routes of investigation. This is especially true as you gain notoriety. Contacts may be a single person, or a definable group that may possess information or resources you can use.
The more powerful the contact, the higher the cost.
The more close the contact, the higher the cost.
The higher the cost; the better resources and information that the contact will provide.
Contacts work thusly
1. Identify the target
2. Describe your relationship to the target.
3. Spend XP to purchase the contact, up to a relationship of 5.
4. Use the Contact for favors as many times per plot arc as you have points in the contact.
5. Roll your Contact/Charm to determine success.
1. Minor Favors – basic information or resource. Roll Contact/Charm. Any success will do.
2. Major Favor – secret or damaging information; rare or expensive resource; action. Height is set as 11 – Contact value (so Contact: 3 = ht. 7) or spend a point of the relationship to upgrade a minor favor to a major favor. (I make 1s, so I spend my Contact: 1 to force my contacts hand, but I burn that bridge).
1. Basic contacts cost the same as skills.
2. Upgraded contacts (contacts of significant power (King of Pembroke) or who deal in information (Beks)) may cost extra, per GM.
3. Large contacts, such as a large network like the Church or Hanean Intelligence, may cost extra, per GM.
4. A special relationship (allowing a different roll than Charm/Contact) may cost extra, per GM.
1. Church of Bry
Ava would have a contact with the entire Church of Bry. Any member of the Church should be willing to offer resources or information if she asks nicely. You are investigating a roving band of Bandits, and there happens to be a Cleric of Bry in a nearby town. Ava rides out and asks him if he knows anything. If it is simple information, he will likely just tell her with no role. However, if there is some cost to him, she will have to roll for it. He knows nothing, but Ava thinks that they may show up in this town next. She asks him to send word to her in the next town over if they show up. This would require him to spend time or his own relationship. Ava rolls her contact and succeeds with 2s, so he agrees. If Ava asked him to detain the bandits until she arrived, she would need to make a higher roll. If Ava has Contact (Bry): 2, she would only be able to ask one more favor of the Church of Bry in that particular mission.
Bry is a large network of information, and would cost extra for any person who was not a member of the Church of Bry. Ava would also have a special relationship with the Church, allowing her to roll Knowledge (Religion)/Contact, instead of Charm. Master Die does not apply. This would normally cost extra as well.
2. Nicholas Leonis
Lord Vidrik is close friends with Lord Nicholas Leonis, the grandson of the current Duke. Lord Nicholas is well-placed within Sterlinian nobility and has access to the latest news and gossip. In your search for a mysterious King of the Merchants, who has been selling snake oil to naive nobles, you hit a brick wall. Lord Vidrik would therefore ask Lord Nicholas for information. Lord Nicholas, knowing that his older brother Jordan is one of the naive nobles who bought the worthless junk, is loathe to reveal information for fear of embarrassing his family. But, it isn’t that embarrassing. Vidrik would therefore roll for a minor favor with Lord Nicholas to receive information on the whereabouts of the merchant.
Lord Nicholas is a powerful ally with access to Sterlinian intelligence and the military. He would therefore cost extra to purchase.
In this way, I think we can replace a simple roll and a quick description with some of the more tedious role play and offer additional avenues of information when you can’t think of anything to do. My hope is that this will save roughly 10 minutes each time the system is used.
I will give more details later, and some of you will already have contacts. Dawn and Mandy have contacts, and only NPCs can have contacts. Andre has some contacts as well, but I’m pretty sure they’re dead by now.
Koram will have separate contacts as Koram and as Giles and any other aliases he develops. Since phones aren’t invented, he will only be able to use contacts if he can switch disguises.
Some contact examples:
Sterline City Guard
Residents of Douglas Square
Church (specific deity)
Gang (specific gang)
Sleeping Quarter Merchant Guild
Specific Bartender (such as the chipper woman in the Floating Duck whose name is buried in my notes)
John’s Son (your agent to noble contracts)
Order of the (specific Order)
There are infinite possibilities