Saturday, July 12, 2014

5E Backgrounds for Institutions


5E Backgrounds are pretty neato.

And I was thinking: why not use them for institutions or groups? Doing this has three functions:

1) portray institutions more vividly because of the focus this requires
2) provide an additional source of inspiration 
3) facilitate creation of groups with built in theme and conflict

We use the same categories, but their meaning is shifted a bit. 

The bond is the character who is the strongest advocate and best representative of the group's current Ideal. 

The ideal is by the book, what the group stands for or believes in most strongly. 

The flaw is the character who is the strongest advocate and best representative of a competing, hostile, dangerous, or antithetical ideal. 

Traits are similar to a PC's traits. What's different about this group?

Skills can be but don't need to be drawn from the skill list. What does this group do? You can always find someone in the group who can do that thing well for a price. 

Tools are resources the group has. 

Give inspiration when a PC struggles for or against against the ideal, bond, or flaw. 

The key to changing the group's ideal is to do something about the bond. Changing a group's ideal might be worth XP.

This is a fractal structure. One of these could represent a city or a world. 

Here's an example institution from my own campaign. This is the thieves guild in which the PCs are members. 

INSTITUTION: the Curators, a thieves guild that preserves the past. 
Bond: The Curator. Curator Cesa adheres to the old ways. 
Ideal: Tradition. Our only mission is to preserve the past. 
Flaw: Igrild. Journeyman Igrild thinks we must control the state to ensure our survival.
Trait: Classy and Theatrical. Leather, mahogany, symbolic gestures.
Skills: Thievery, Lore
Tools: eclectic library of old books, secret spell of remote temporary tattooing