Tuesday, June 8, 2010

House Rules: Other Factions for Strange Aeons

[Note: The following rules are closely linked with my Black Market house rules.]

Threshold and the Lurkers are not the only groups vying for occult items and/or power. A number of other parties are also on the scene, each with its own agenda. Here are a few examples of other factions that can be found in our games of Strange Aeons:

Department of Esoteric Studies
A British government organization, the DES is more of a research group than a Threshold-style counter-occult agency. DES operatives specialize in locating and collecting occult paraphernalia for their organization; the investigation and eradication of nefarious occult activities is not a direct part of the organization's mission. A DES team may opt to trade their occult items to their organization for Build Points just as if they were trading them on the black market. They are not subject to the "It's a Risky Business" or "Contested Goods" rules when doing so; however, they receive -1 to each die roll for the BP value of an item. (Once the player has determined to trade an item to the DES for BP, the transaction must be completed - even if the resulting BP value is 0.)

During scenarios involving two non-Lurker factions, a DES team usually follows the set-up rules for Threshold, unless the opposing team is a Threshold team.

Cousin to the covert British ministries MI5 and MI6, MI13 is even more secretive. Often found operating in the guise of MI5 agents (in the UK) or MI6 agents (abroad), MI13's agents are the UK equivalent of Threshold. They ferret out and eliminate occult threats, often supported by special units of the British army and occasionally accompanied by DES teams acting as "advisors."

MI13 operatives are known to use occult paraphernalia they've acquired to improve their ability to combat occult threats. There are no special rules regarding MI13 teams - they operate exactly as do Threshold teams.

Society of the Jade Lily
An independent group bent on discovering and acquiring occult artifacts to further some unknown agenda, the Jade Lily is a loose network of sinister individuals. They are often encountered at the scene of occult activity or where occult items are to be found, presumably there to steal knowledge and/or items for their own ends.

The Jade Lily has a vast network of underground/criminal connections. As a result, any Jade Lily team attempting to sell an item on the black market gets +1 to its Risk Factor roll. However, they suffer a -1 to any roll to see if the character is "done away with" by Threshold agents after three Risk Factor roll failures.

During scenarios involving two non-Lurker factions, a Jade Lily team usually follows the set-up rules for Lurkers.

Pop Hunters
Working for a variety of organizations, from museums to private collectors, pop hunters specialize in locating and retrieving ancient artifacts and the like. They do so for neither power nor wealth, but for the love of adventure and the satisfaction they find in recovering items of antiquity. Righting of wrongs and termination of nefarious activities, if any, is the result of their own moral code - if any. Pop hunters are, effectively, the archaeological equivalent of soldiers of fortune.

All items a pop hunter team finds are expected to be turned over to the team's benefactor. The team earns build points for this as per selling an item on the black market. However, they are immune to the "It's a Risky Business" rule. (Such transfer of goods is still subject to the "Contested Goods" rule.)

If the team ever tries to use an item itself or sell it on the black market, it risks running afoul of its benefactor. The player must roll as per the "It's a Risky Business" rule. If the transaction is discovered, the team's benefactor has discovered their treachery and discharges them from his employ, taking all of his property - i.e. all of their occult items - with him. (Presumably, the team has a new benefactor by the next game.)

Building Teams for Other Factions
Except as noted above, teams for these and other non-Lurker factions are constructed and advance following the same rules as those for Threshold teams.

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