Campaign of the Month: March 2014
If you framed your life as a novel or a movie, not everyone who matters to you, who helps you out, or who has ever helped you out is a major role. In fact, not everything that keeps you going, day to day, is a person at all.
These people and things are called Resources. Resources represent the “set dressing” around you—people you can call on for help and places that are important to you. The connection you have with a Resource isn’t as deep or all-encompassing as with a Relationship, but it’s significant enough to get you the occasional benefit.
Your character will have a variable number of these depending on how you create your Leads. Features also have Resources at their disposal.
Resources are limited—your Leads can’t use them as many times as they want. Your pull with the police department only gets you so far, and there are only so many times your buddies from the Frat will help you move a body. However, back off for a while and you can start asking for help again—Resources are renewed at the beginning of each session.
Resources have at whatever their rating is, as well as a pair of specialties describing how they can help your character.
Specialties describe important details about a character’s Resources and prevent them from being too generic. THE CAFE becomes more interesting when you describe it with the Relaxed specialty. Or changes meaning if you instead give it the Bustling specialty. Additionally, specialties say a great deal about your connection to your Resources, sort of like miniature Relationships. If you have a MECHANIC Resource who keeps an eye on your classic cars, giving her the Confidante specialty adds a layer of interest that can stay in the background, or perhaps inspire her to grow to be a Feature some day.
Resources provide Aid to any roll they’re called in on. When you call on a Resource, you get to roll both of its dice at the same time you roll the rest of your pool for a Contest or Test. You need to keep track of exactly which dice these are, so use a different color or roll them separately. You can then include one or both of the Resource dice in your total for that roll, but doing so spends that die for the rest of the session. If you use both dice in one total, that’s it for that Resource until the next session. If you used only one, the other is open for use later in the session. Resources are renewed at the start of the next session.
The number of dice you get for each resource is dependent on how broadly or specifically your Resource is written.
For Locations; metro areas (Midtown) are with 1d, neighborhoods (Upper West Hill) are worth 2d, specific buildings (GCPD:MCU Building) are worth 3d, and single rooms (James Gordon’s Office) are worth 4d.
For Extras; Large groups (Gotham Police Department) are worth 1d, units within a group (Major Crimes Unit) are worth 2d, and specific individuals (James Gordon) are worth 3d. These ratings represent peers or allies. Any group, unit or individual who is subordinate to you is increased by +1d.
Multiple characters—Leads and Features—can have access to the same Resources. This shows up on the Pathways Map when several characters draw arrows to the same circle or diamond. So, MR. SALVATORE might be your friend’s dad and also your favorite art teacher who you confide in.
What you get from your connection to Mr. Salvatore is probably different from what his daughter gets and it may be rated differently. So, you may have MR. SALVATORE (Advice, Inspiration) 2D8, while your friend—who views her father mostly as a mobile ATM who gets her out of trouble—has DADDY (Excuse, Spending Money) 2D6.
You can also gain access to Resources that aren’t written down on your Lead sheet, but it costs you a Plot Point. Suppose you really could use access to your friend Sam’s OLD CLUNKER (Privacy, Transportation) 2D8. You pay Sam a Plot Point for using up one of his car’s two dice, and you can roll it as a Resource—but since it’s not your Resource, it always defaults to a d6. This also uses dice like discussed above.
It’s important to remember that while you’re sharing a Resource, you’re not spending the same Resource. If someone else spends dice from a Resource, you still have access to your dice until you spend them.
Resources feel and function differently than the other traits, and need to be treated as such. Lets talk about the mechanics first, because they can help illustrate how the Trait works in theme.
When you roll dice you build a pool of Value + Relationship + Asset. You can also add in Resources, but they roll along side your pool, not inside of it. Resources act as if they are dice Aiding your pool, not part of your pool. This is because when Resources are used, they are spent. You pick two dice from your pool for free, picking up extras cost a Plot Point. But spending a Resource doesn’t cost Plot Points and can add into the total. Hopefully that all makes sense.
Since Resources aren’t part of your Pool, they shouldn’t be things you have a Relationship with. Resources are things that Aid you, both mechanically and thematically. You only get to use the Resource when it’s Aiding you, not whenever your dealing with it.
Lets take an example. Jolly Swagman could have a Resource in Cavalier. If Swagman confronts Cavalier, he can’t use the Resource. Cavalier isn’t helping him. But when Swagman is dealing with Black Mask, he could pull in his Cavalier Resource because he’s using gear he’s taken from Cavalier in the past.
Another example: If Longshot is patrolling the Sionis Industries Shipping and Receiving Warehouse he can’t use it as a Resource. Again, it’s not helping him. But when he goes to confront Black Mask he could present evidence of his surveillance to convince Black Mask he’s on to him and then use the Location as a Resource.
Resources get really tricky with Factions. A Resource with a Faction implies you have access to that Faction’s support. If the League of Shadows is out to kill you, they are not a Resource for you. Having a Resource with a Faction almost always implies either a current or former membership in that Faction. If you don’t work with them, they aren’t going to Aid you.