Organizations

This is another aspect of the Fate fractal: organizations are also characters, including the party of player characters. For further reading in this area, I recommend Chapter 16 of Starblazer Adventures and Chapter 14 of Legends of Anglerre.

Scale

An organization’s size is the number of people belonging to the organization. It is a function of the organization’s skills— mainly Arms, Defenses, and Holdings, though Intelligence and Trade have some effect.

The size of its holdings determines the size of its facilities and infrastructure. It correlates with the size, though differently between organizations— a conglomerate is different from a military from a religion. They are increased through experience, though not rolled as a skill.

Its scope is its area of influence. A small but powerful organization can have a very broad scope. Scope increases through story events, and does not need to be bought with experience.

Class Scale Size Holdings Scope
0 Basic A handful of people, such as a family or adventuring party. An office, apartment, condominium, or small house A city block
1 Tiny Dozens: a grouping that fits within Dunbar’s number, such as an extended family, small company, or hamlet. A small office building or installation A village, or neighborhood within a city
2 Small Hundreds: large enough that no one person can keep track of them all. A multi-story office building or installation, or numerous Basic small offices or safehouses A town, or district within a city
3 Medium Thousands A skyscraper-sized facility, or numerous Tiny buildings A city, or all the towns in a geographical region
4 Large Tens of thousands A spacescraper-sized facility, or numerous Small buildings A megalopolis, or an entire sweep of sprawl
5 Huge Hundreds of thousands A town-sized facility, or numerous Medium skyscrapers, or a franchise in every city on the continent A continent
6 Enormous Millions A city-sized facility, or numerous Large spacescrapers, or a franchise in every city on the planet A planet, or the entire system if there’s only one inhabited planet and minimal offworld infrastructure
7 Colossal Tens of millions A metropolis-sized facility, or a network of Huge installations on numerous worlds, or a franchise in every city in the system or cluster A system, or a cluster of a dozen worlds
8 Interplanetary Hundreds of millions A continent-spanning industrial sprawlplex or moon or massive space station, or numerous city-sized installations, or a franchise on every planet in a duchy, or a franchise in every city in a march A march
9 Widespread Billions An industrialized world, or a franchise in every city in a duchy, or a franchise on every planet in the galaxy A duchy
10 Galactic Tens of billions An ecumenopolis world, or multiple franchises in every city in the galaxy The entire galaxy

Organization Mechanics

Aspects

Organizations have as many aspects as their highest-rated skill.

Aggressive Air of Sophistication Alliance with X Antiquated Infrastructure
Aura of Piety Benevolent Neglect Bloated Bureaucracy Build a Better Rodus Trap
Collateral Damage Collective Decision-Making Collective Punishment Competing with X
Cutting Edge Technology Decadent Dynamic Enemy of X
Expansionist Expert Felinx Herders Family Operation Formal
Freshly Acquired Greedy Lean and Mean Long Term Thinking
Millennia of Tradition Of Course We Have a Backup Ossified Owned by X
Reap Profits Now! Renowned for Brutality Ruthless Skinflint Management
That Would Run Up Our Insurance Premiums The Best That Credits Can Buy The Investors Demand... Theocracy
To the Victor Go the Spoils Triple Redundant Failsafes Tyrannical Leadership We Don’t Care. We Don’t Have To.

Stress and Consequences

Organizations have two-box stress tracks to start with; each stress track is bolstered by two skills, instead of the usual one.

Organizations have three kinds of stress:

Type Minor (2) Moderate (4) Severe (6) Extreme (8) Taken Out
Material Minor Casualties; Defenses Breached; Factories Offline Decimated; Gaping Holes; Factories Damaged Massacred; Manufacturing base destroyed Headquarters Destroyed Physical infrastructure destroyed; personnel annihilated
Social Discouraged Personnel; Faux Pas; Disgruntled Personnel; Infighting; Besmirched; Look like Fools; Fleet Routed Mutiny; Rioting; Disgraced Balkanized; Ruined Deserted by employees; no one buys products
Wealth No Liquid Assets; On Austerity Measures Restructuring Mortgaged the Executive Team’s Families Undergoing Acquisition Lost your fortune, requiring loot to reinvest.

Organization Skills

Administration

(SA p284 LoA p190 Administration, Communication, Unity.)

This is a measure of how well-administered the organization is: its ability to organize and to respond to change. It does not necessarily reflect centralized authority; an organization laid out as a well-designed scale-free network with no centralized decision-making can be surprisingly effective, though the kind of swarming technique involved makes traditional leaders very, very nervous.

Morale

AdministrationBonus (cumulative)
+1+1 social stress
+3+1 social stress
+5+1 minor social consequence
+7+1 minor social consequence

The quality of your Administration protects morale and facilitates response to social attacks.


Stunts

  • Charismatic Leader: when your leader gets involved, you receive a +1 Administration bonus, but action against the leader can deal an automatic Moderate consequence to your organization.
  • Dictator: your leader can pay a fate point to ignore any social consequences to the organization for an exchange. This can allow accumulating more consequences than the organization can handle, which is bad when the fate points run out! [LoA]

Arms

(SA p284, 285 LoA p190, 191 Arms, Security, Assassination)

Arms can be bought multiple times for different types of forces; military force is pure hard power. The different types:

  • Army: forces to hold a planetary surface, including maintaining on-world supply lines. These are effective for power projection.
  • Navy: forces to hold sea, air, and space, including maintaining off-world supply lines. These are effective for power projection.
  • Sabotage: covert forces that disrupt other organizations by destroying infrastructure and assassinating personnel.
  • Security: peacekeepers and policemen trained for managing and protecting civilians. These are more effective than an army at getting civilian infrastructure back up and running after conquering with an army, but they are less effective at power projection. (Using an army for peacekeeping or security forces for power projection is at –2. Training a force for dual army and security work is expensive; the skill sets are different.) Mobile.

Strategic

Full-scale warfare is a conflict between the Arms skills of different organizations; if two organizations have different scales, add the difference to the Arms skill of the larger organization.

Tactical

The level of Arms is the quality of the minions of the organization, and the Security skill deployed to protect the organization.

Stunts

  • Conscripts: your organization uses conscripted troops, giving it an additional point of material stress. However, those troops have an aspect like Conscripted or Press-Ganged, which can be tagged in morale attacks.
  • Elite Forces: +1 to special operations and army/fleet level conflicts.

Defenses

DefenseBonus (cumulative)
+1+1 material stress
+3+1 material stress
+5+1 minor material consequence
+7+1 minor material consequence

Defenses are a form of Arms, but depend on fortifications.

The rating of your Defense improves the physical integrity of your Holdings and provides extra resilience to material stress.


Stunts

  • The Best Defense is a Good Offense: for a fate point, your defensive forces can strike at full power against another force in a nearby location, though your home base has a –2 penalty on Defenses during that exchange.

Holdings

(SA p285–7 LoA p193–4)

The physical infrastructure of the organization. The organization’s Scale determines the basic size of the holdings.

Qualities

For each point of Holdings, they have a quality. Sample qualities:

  • Fortified: +2 to defend against frontal attack.
  • Secure: +2 to defend against infiltration.
  • Hidden: +2 to the difficulty of finding it.
  • Isolated: +2 the difficulty of reaching it (which may reflect the Resources required to get there, or the Survival difficulty of the journey), +2 to the Secrecy of anything done there.
  • Impressive: +2 to social skill checks. Impressive can convey a variety of impressions— might, luxury, piety.
  • Large: size is as if your organization was one Scale factor higher.
  • Numerous: you have several holdings at your Scale or many smaller ones.
  • Ancient: the site is thousands of years old and may pack interesting surprises.
  • Advanced: +1 to professional skill checks performed in the laboratories.
  • Mobile: the holdings are a fleet of vehicles, able to relocate as needed.
  • Subsidiary: a smaller holding has a different quality.

Holdings can be taken multiple times if you need to represent different ones.

Infrastructure

HoldingsBonus (cumulative)
+1+1 material stress
+3+1 material stress
+5+1 minor material consequence
+7+1 minor material consequence

The rating of your Holdings also represents their basic physical integrity.

Party Bases and Vehicles

A scale-0 adventuring party can spend XP and Loot to invest in bases and vehicles. (The bases and vehicles can be the Loot, if they have already captured them.) A party might spend 1 XP to get a single Mobile holding of a yacht or light freighter, then spend 2 more to get a secret base from which it operates (Hidden, Subsidiary). Without spending XP, they will need to be there on a regular basis to exercise control; spending XP represents investing in allies and minions to manage holdings in their absence.

Influence (Region)

(SA p283 LoA p188–9 Control, Sway, Influence.)

Influence can be bought multiple times for different types of influence. This can represent economic hard power or any sort of soft power. The different types:

  • Control: overt control over the organization’s territory— the organization is in administrative control and responsibility.
  • Sway: indirect control, stemming from diplomacy, respect, fear, or economic power. This can be bought to affect a region outside the organization’s own territory.
  • Coercion: covert control, stemming from blackmail, extortion, et al. This can be bought to affect a region outside the organization’s own territory. Requires Fair (2) Secrecy.

Influence can be rolled as a social skill when representing the organization as a whole, or can complement the skills of its members.

Influence drops off outside the organization’s territory.

Stunts

  • Conspiracy: you have a covert organization infiltrating operations in your territory. Requires Fair (2) Secrecy.
  • Fearsome: your terrifying reputation keeps others in line, giving you a +2 to Influence. Requires Fair (2) Reputation.
  • Propaganda: you have an excellent propaganda network in place, giving you +1 to influence opinions. This is primarily useful for Sway, though it can assist some uses of Control as well.
  • Stronghold: you have a stronghold in your territory that gives you a +1 to Control in its vicinity.
  • Traditions: your influence has been in place so long that almost everyone in your territory grew up expecting it as normal. You have +2 to Influence as long as everything is being done in the traditional way.

Intelligence (Region)

(SA p284 LoA p189 Information.)

This is a measure of the organization’s skill at intelligence gathering. It can oppose another organization’s Secrecy. It can represent anything from espionage to sensor networks.

Strategic Initiative

Intelligence determines initiative in strategic conflicts; its role is similar to Alertness or Empathy at the personal level.

Stunts

  • Spy Network: a network of field operatives in a particular area of interest (e.g. trade, technology, military activity) gives you a +1 to Information checks. This stunt can be taken multiple times for different interests.
  • Archive: you keep meticulous, well-organized records and get a +2 to analyzing events more than a year old, as long as they occurred after the beginning of your archive.
  • Ancient Archive: requires Archive. Your organization may have been around for a long time, or may have inherited a repository. The well-organized records are valuable in their own right, and the poorly-catalogued ones can yield useful surprises.

Reputation

(SA p285 LoA p192)

The public reputation of your organization is similar to Influence, and can complement it when appropriate.

Strategic

ReputationBonus (cumulative)
+1+1 social stress
+3+1 social stress
+5+1 minor social consequence
+7+1 minor social consequence

Reputation can be used to defend against social attacks, and bolsters the organization’s social stress track. It only operates defensively, though it can inflict stress on attackers.

Tactical

If you are identified as a member of a group, the group’s Reputation serves as an automatic Contacting effect (mostly the getting the tip-off trapping), even without effort on your part, if people are well-disposed toward the reputation, and an automatic Intimidation effect if they fear it.

Resources

(SA p284 LoA p190)

The wherewithal of wealth. This affects how well the organization takes care of its people, providing them with the equipment they need to do their job, health care, etc. To represent high-quality facilities, use Holdings.

Party Treasure

Raising organizational Resources requires Loot four levels higher than your current (Resources + Scale) to invest. So for a scale-0 adventuring party, investing a piece of Great (4) Loot to get Average (1) Resources will let them not worry about paying for meals and hotel rooms; going on to spend 2 more organization XP and Superb (5) Loot means they can rely on Fair (2) party funds for basic equipment; investing 3 more organization XP and Fantastic (6) Loot will have them nicely equipped with a Good (3) expense account.

Corporate Purchasing

ResourcesBonus (cumulative)
+1+1 wealth stress
+3+1 wealth stress
+5+1 minor wealth consequence
+7+1 minor wealth consequence

Purchases made by the corporation at its own scale accrue to its own stress track, which is bolstered by the Resources score.

Expense Accounts

If your organization’s Resources is higher than your own, you can substitute that for things that the organization would reasonably buy for you, though you will take any wealth stress.

Stunts

  • Liquid Assets: your organization can take an additional moderate wealth consequence.
  • Tribute: once per session, you can tag a subordinate organization as an aspect, demanding tribute for a bonus or re-roll on a Resources check.

Secrecy

(SA p285 LoA p192)

The measures the organization takes to keep people from understanding its activity and membership. This can take the form of clandestine cell systems to compartmentalize knowledge, steganography to cloak the presence of communications and defy traffic analysis, carefully planned misdirection, and more. Secrecy is opposed by Intelligence.

Secrecy is required to maintain a dissonance between actions and Reputation.

Keeping a Low Profile

It is possible for an organization maintaining secrecy to go on full defense (for a +2) by reducing its operations to a minimum. It can’t exert Influence in this state, though it can still carry out Intelligence operations.

Secure Communication

Any member of an organization can use its Secrecy score in place of Technician skill to engage in secret communication.

Stunts

  • Wheels within Wheels: the organization’s structure is so convoluted that it gains a +1 bonus to Secrecy, but also gains an aspect such as Convoluted Procedure that attackers can exploit to bluff their way through the fringes of the conspiracy to accomplish a given end, without gaining any idea of the larger structure.

Trade

(SA p285 LoA p191)

The organization’s trade goods and negotiating abilities.

Flow of Goods

ResourcesBonus (cumulative)
+1+1 wealth stress
+3+1 wealth stress
+5+1 minor wealth consequence
+7+1 minor wealth consequence

An organization’s Trade rating is complementary to Resources (so if your Trade is higher, your Resources is effectively at +1 as long as you plausibly have trade goods to use in making deals), and gives extra resilience to your organization’s Wealth stress.

Economic Leverage

Trade is also complementary to Influence when you can bring your organization’s economic power into play. This can also complement personal-scale social skills when negotiating personal-scale deals; if you’re negotiating organization-scale deals (ones that will put stress on the organization’s wealth trace rather than a personal one), add the organization’s scale to its Trade skill for determining the effective level to complement your skill. (So a scale-2 organization with Good (3) Trade is effectively Superb (5) for complementing your Rapport when you’re cutting a big deal.)

Commercial Contacts

Trade also serves as form of Contacting (mostly the getting the tip-off trapping) for discovering economic opportunities.

Stunts

  • Trading Partners: your economic ties give you a +1 to influence your regular trading partners.

Organization Experience

Organizations are built through long-term effort. Player characters get organization XP when significant plot points are accomplished. Loot can be expended for some things (such as buying Holdings), but it generally requires story events to earn the loyalty of the soldiers you’ve hired, etc.