Something I’m noodling with that I thought I’d share. I haven’t played so there’s zero testing so far. And you might have to extrapolate my intent from my text a little. But still, here you go, enjoy this pre-alpha nomic apocalypse.
Each “turn” is a meeting of the council — a session — in which community issues will be discussed and actions planned. After the meeting, actions are resolved and noted.
The council card has space for CONTEXT, PEOPLE, and RESOLUTIONS. For every ISSUE currently in play there is an ISSUE card.
Create a name for your character. Choose an occupation that you used to hold. Make space on your character card for PERSONAL STRESS.
Chair: the person facilitating the session.
Secretary: the person managing the paperwork.
Members: everyone else
One person must volunteer to be secretary. Do not proceed until someone has volunteered. Once identified, the secretary will start a COUNCIL CARD and note their name under PEOPLE: SECRETARY.
One person must volunteer to be chair. Do not proceed until someone has volunteered. Once identified, the secretary will add the name of the chair to the COUNCIL CARD under PEOPLE: CHAIR.
Choose how you will choose the chair in future and note it in the RESOLUTIONS.
With the chair facilitating, discuss as PLAYERS where you are — your community is an isolated downtown apartment building and your committee is its strata council. But where? What city? What’s near? What’s far? Summarize in a single sentence under CONTEXT.
With the chair facilitating, discuss as PLAYERS what has happened to isolate your community. Help is not coming. Why not? Summarize in a single sentence under CONTEXT.
Note the community resources on the council card. A community starts with 5 food, 5 water, 5 space, 5 trade, and 5 health.
Now that you have a CONTEXT, each player should discuss their role in the community. What is their responsibility? Why are they on the council? Add a single sentence under PERSONAL STRESS summarizing why you are here. Draw a box next to it.
CHAIR: Emily Fassbinder (player name)
SECRETARY: Leslie Hill (player name)
Rising ocean levels have flooded our coastal city and our condominium is isolated, accessible only by boat. The salt water fills the first three floors of the building.
- The first order of business in a session is OLD BUSINESS. The secretary will recap the status of all outstanding issues.
- The chair will assign each outstanding ACTION from OLD BUSINESS to a committee member.
- The secretary keeps track of community resources.
- For NEW BUSINESS the chair will assign the new ISSUE to any committee member.
- During NEW BUSINESS any member can propose a RESOLUTION.
- A RESOLUTION can modify any rule in this list or add a new rule.
- A RESOLUTION is adopted on a 50% or better majority vote.
- Community resources allocated to an ISSUE are determined by consensus.
- Chair is determined by majority vote from council members at the beginning of every session.
NAME: Nathan Green
PLAYER: Brad Murray
PREVIOUS OCCUPATION: Veterinarian
[ ] I am a doctor and am here under duress because the community has no other doctors
Every other session
If your method for selecting a chair requires it, run your procedure for selecting a new chair. If a resolution requires it, run your procedure for selecting a new secretary.
The secretary will recap the status of each outstanding issue from the ISSUE cards. For each unresolved ISSUE, examine the outstanding ACTIONS. The chair will assign the ACTION to any other council member in any way they see fit. That member will attempt to execute the action IN FOCUS. If an investigation is CONCLUDED, note the conclusion. If a MITIGATION is CONCLUDED, note the conclusion.
First, if any RESOURCE is at zero, there is a CRISIS. It starts as a fresh issue with dice N+3 where N is the last ISSUE. Treat it otherwise as a new ISSUE (see below).
For each INVESTIGATION concluded in OLD BUSINESS, discuss a relevant MITIGATION. Note the proposed MITIGATION under the ISSUE ACTIONS.
For each MITIGATION concluded in OLD BUSINESS, congratulate yourselves on a job well done. The secretary will update the community’s resources. Put the ISSUE card in the RESOLVED stack.
The chair will roll a new STRESSOR and create a new ISSUE card. They will hand this ISSUE card to anyone they please, except themself. The secretary will note the ISSUE on the COUNCIL CARD and give it a number of dice equal to the highest ISSUE + 1. The secretary will note on the ISSUE card the maximum community RESOURCES available to those resolving the issue. A STRESSOR may have one or more associated resources. Note these resources.
Whoever has the ISSUE card will, in character, describe the new issue the community faces. At this time the issue does not necessarily have an obvious cause. Describe the impact. Whoever has the ISSUE card will add a new PERSONAL STRESS to their character card: this issue has impacted them somehow. A personal stress can be anything — perhaps the issue has affected you directly. Perhaps a family member. Or maybe just witnessing the effects of the ISSUE preys on your mind. Or maybe it’s your fault.
Discuss how to investigate the ISSUE and resolve an ACTION:INVESTIGATE to take. Note the pending ACTION on the ISSUE card. During this discussion agree on the resources that the community will risk on this issue. Note the maximum resource risk on the card.
In addition to these ISSUES any member can propose a RESOLUTION regarding the way the council operates, such as the selection of the chair or secretary or any existing RESOLUTION. Or they can propose a new RESOLUTION (perhaps a new special role and what their responsibilities are — perhaps someone is elected to select who conducts an ACTION). State the RESOLUTION, vote, and if passed by 50% (unless a RESOLUTION exists that changes this) add the RESOLUTION to the COUNCIL CARD. Any diegetic rule can be created or modified by a resolution. Non-diegetic rules cannot be modified in this fashion.
A RESOLUTION can be pretty much anything diegetic. It could for example be “It is now the community policy that all refugees are turned away” and this will impact the narration of any subsequent issues relating to refugees — why weren’t they turned away? Who’s responsible.
When an ISSUE has FOCUS one person is leading (they are the LEAD) the role play of either an INVESTIGATION or a MITIGATION. They will narrate what they are doing to address the ISSUE mediated by the CHAIR. They can bring anyone along that they want (except the chair), presuming those people agree to join the FOCUS. The chair is the ref but only to guide the narrative and play any other characters in the scene.
The chair’s initial objective is to steer the conversation into a conflict relating to the ISSUE. A conflict is a place in the narrative where:
- The outcome is uncertain
- All possible outcomes, however horrible, are interesting
Once the conflict has been located, the chair will frame it: they will
- Describe the scene
- Make clear what’s at stake
The members pursuing the ISSUE will resolve it
- Resolve it based on RESOURCES and STRESSES
- Actor’s pool:
- +1d10 for each council member addressing the issue
- -1d10 for each of the lead’s stresses
- +1d10 for community resources risked, as defined by the LEAD but not to exceed the limits placed on the ISSUE card by the secretary. Use a different colour die for the resource dice. For each resource type risked, the LEAD needs to provide a story for how that resource is helping and at risk.
- Threat pool N (the number on the issue card) + number of open issues
- Compare highest dice to highest dice ; player dice that beat threat dice are victories
- If a resource die is beat by an issue die, decrement one of the risked resources by 1.
- If a council member die is beat by an issue die, add a STRESS to one of the council members. The LEAD can choose who gets the STRESS. The recipient chooses the exact STRESS.
- If there are remaining threat dice, they count as consequences
- More victories than consequences? Issue resolved & chair narrates
- Each participant resolves one of their personal stresses BUT NOT ONE RECEIVED IN THIS CONFLICT. Participants narrate.
- If the ISSUE is related to a resource and the FOCUS is MITIGATION, reset the resource to 5.
- Otherwise the issue remains open. Chair narrates.
- For each consequence reduce a community RESOURCE by one. This is irrespective of those risked. Something else happened. If the ISSUE has a clear resource impacted, that’s the resource that’s hit. Any character involved in the FOCUS can choose to take the resource hit as a STRESS instead. Narrate.
- Determine the cost to the community (resources bet and lost); chair narrates
- Determine personal costs (new stresses for participants); participants narrate
A community starts with 5 food, 5 water, 5 space, 5 trade, and 5 health.
Stressors (cards maybe?
Food is low (food -1)
- Many new people
- Crops are failing
- Some went bad
- Water is low (water -1)
Many new people
- Source dried up
- Looks undrinkable
- Storage or distribution broken
Travel is limited (trade -1)
Space is reduced (space -1)
People are sick (health -1)
- Food is bad
- Water is bad
- Air is bad
- Bad sanitation
- Lack of medicine
- Resistant bacteria
There is an outbreak of violence (trade -1, health -1)
- Drinking water
- Defective storage
- Stagnant, bacteria
- Tainted with refuse
4 thoughts on “committee”
Too much like work! I need more escapism!
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Escapism is a dime a dozen — lots of options already!
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Hi Brad, I like this. This looks like a fun game and a great tool for establishing back cannon as a session 0 of a survivalist/ post drama game (or any game where hard choices are the go). Also as an interlude eg: this is how things changed while the PCs were off throwing rings into volcanoes etc. Some feedback; it reads as far more collaborative than my experience on committees. If that’s the goal then you have hit the mark.
Some options for increasing drama within the committee- After establishing the Chair in the first round the Secretary is the person to their left. Role of the chair rotates clockwise each round and the Secretary is always the person to their left. If players know when they will be Chair they can strategize their decisions and this leads to the next suggestion – add a Polling step prior to voting. go through all the business, the Secretary records the resolutions and summarises them at the end of Business. The Committee breaks for a drink and nibble to meet and negotiate (Polling). 5 minutes later (or whatever appropriate) they reconvene to vote. An option for Secret Ballot vs show of hands depending on the resolution could be wildfire.
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Cool ideas, thanks! I didn’t want to get too clever with diegetic processes since they are mutable by the committee as resolutions, but your variations sound hot!