Today’s post was via request by the Patrons of The Golden Cup Public House in a poll we conducted. For those of you not in the know, this is the name of an in game establishment, as well as the name for the Aurum Larp Facebook Group. if you’d like to join you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/507939049399599/
Now strap in, as by its very nature today’s post will be quite verbose. Today we will be discussing Story Development Actions (hereafter SDA’s) as well as giving examples to flesh out the system in your head. For those of you who do not know what SDA’s are, here is an excerpt from our rulebook:
Aurum is a game that focuses on storytelling, but sometimes a character’s story cannot develop simply from the time spent at an event. The Story Development Action system is designed to quantify what a character does between events so that a player may further along the narrative of their character. When a player attends an event as a PC they may submit a single story development action of their choosing. The story development action does not necessarily have to be applied to the character played by the player at that event, it can also be applied to one of their alternate characters if they choose. Full Time NPC’s do not receive Story Development Actions.
Below are the three Story Development Actions Available
The “Correspond With Trade Contact” SDA requires the player to have purchased at least one rank of either Trade Contact or Underground Trade Contact. The Trade Contact and Underground Trade Contact skills allows for an NPC (or NPC’s if multiple ranks are purchased), from either the Character’s Background or who was established in game, to be a resource to the character. They may use this SDA to request information, favors, or job opportunities (modules). If the NPC’s is unable to obtain the information or perform the favor, the character may be pointed in the right direction.
So let’s say that Mike the Explorer has purchased the Underground Trade Contact Rank 1 from the general list. He opted not to submit an NPC for this in his backstory, as he wanted to make this contact in game. Eventually Mike meets and NPC who is known for trafficking in stolen goods, and applies to have this be their Underground Trade Contact. Since Mike has had several interactions with this NPC, Plot approves the Underground Trade Contact, it is noted on Mike the Explorer’s character card, and from that point forward he can use “Correspond With Trade Contact” SDA to have the NPC be a personal resource. Mike the Explorer heard an in game rumor that a wealthy merchant had a prize signet ring stolen from him. He decides to submit an SDA at the end of the event to see if his NPC contact had any leads as to the location of the ring itself. On the back end, plot analyzes what they believe is the skill set for the NPC, makes some random rolls, and determines final success. An email is sent to Mike’s player with the results. For the purpose of this example we’ll assume that Mike the Explorer’s roll was moderately successful. His contact has not come across the ring himself, but he got wind that a different fence who operates out of Vice Landing may be selling an item that fits that description, and sets up a guide to facilitate the meeting. From a logistical standpoint, plot will provide the player with a time at the next event where a module hook will show so that Mike The Explorer and a few of his friends can head out and meet the other fence.
The “Research” SDA is a little more broad and can encompass a great deal of things. It allows a character to attempt the invention of new schematics for any craft skill that imparts this ability to them. It can also be used to track down information on a person, place or object instead. Unlike the “Correspond With Trade Contact” SDA the success of this action is based on what sort of skills the player character themselves possesses.
If Mike The Explorer had used this action to find the item from the previous example, it would be based on his character, rather than his trade contact, success is based on his own skill set. And since he has nothing in his background about dealing with illicit goods, nor does he know who possesses the ring at the moment, the SDA would fail and Plot would give Mike’s player guidance as to how to proceed next.
Mike The Explorer’s friend, Mandy The Engineer, possesses several ranks of Theory Math and Theory Physics and wishes to invent a six shooter pistol. At the end of the same event she submits a Research action to attempt the invention of the new schematics. Firearms can be manufactured with Practice Physics 2, and Mandy has an equivalent Theory Physics. The schematic she is attempting to create is a modification on the standard 5 shooter that is available to anyone with Physics 2, so it is relatively simple. However, the dice are not with Mandy the Engineer and she fails the roll. Plot will then send a response to Mandy and give an in-game explanation why she failed to create the schematic this time, as well provide her with any bonuses to a future SDA to attempt the same thing. So for the purpose of clarity, let’s say that plot determines that the reason she failed was that a gang of Raccoons got into her workshop and trashed the place. She found most of her research notes shredded and her tools scattered. After cleaning up the mess and painstakingly pasting together her shredded research notes, she saw that several key pieces of information were probably digested by the Racoons. A setback for sure, but not a major one. She will get a +40% increase to her next SDA to research the schematic.
The final SDA available to players is the “Assist” SDA. This is for when players wish to work together to accomplish a single SDA. Typically it is used to improve the chances of a “Research” SDA, but it is possible that it may also be used to supplement a given “Correspond With Trade Contact” SDA.
So let’s say that Mandy the Engineer from the previous example had a friend, Jake the Kobold Entrepreneur, who wanted to use the “Assist” SDA to help Mandy with her research of a six shooter gun. Jake purchased Practice Physics 1 because he wanted to repair his own gear, so he has some very basic knowledge in Physics. Plot makes a roll for Jake, which then provides a static bonus to Mandy’s roll to make the six shooter gun. Jake’s success, and the subsequent bonus he provided were actually enough to push Mandy’s roll from the failure she would have had that month, to a success. Instead of the failure message, plot emails both Mandy and Jake’s players with the result. The same story above could have been modified to pan out almost the same, except that since Jake also has Set Traps, we could say that he noticed that Mandy’s workshop had little furry friends sneaking about and set out some rudimentary traps to keep out the racoons.
These are just some very basic examples, but I hope they were sufficient in giving you folks some ideas about how this system works. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.
Some of the more frequently asked questions we receive about our game and larp in general, all in one place! This will be updated periodically