[my ronnies entry] the armor of law - suggestions?

I first played Agon yesterday, and I am intrigued by the way that armor works - for each piece you're wearing, you have one "level" of protection, which dictates the die size you roll for defense.
1 piece: d6
2 pieces: d8
3 pieces: d10
I'm working on a game in which I want to give mechanical weight to laws and customs, and one way in which I intend to do that is by stealing wholesale from Agon. So far, the mechanic works quite like the armor mechanic described above, with the difference being that you "put on" different social/legal advantages, instead of putting on helmet, greaves, and breastplate.
Additionally, each such "piece" is a zero-sum item - only one party can claim each piece, meaning that it's possible for a single advantage, despite your opponent having the other two, is the difference between facing a d10 with nothing, and facing a d8 with a d6.

I have two of the "pieces" so far:
- your party has higher social and legal status than the opposition
- your party is innocently following the law OR your party is only trying to enforce the law (the former is something along the lines of "if you were minding your own business, your conduct lawful and customary, then you get some mechanical weight")

I can't come up with a third piece. An easy one seemed to be "you are kin with your adversaries", but that's not zero-sum: both sides'd get the bonus, and then it'd cancel out (if I follow my current logic), and it wouldn't fit anyway.
As far as the first piece listed, the law is very clear: "Women over men, old over young". It's a matriarchal, semi-communitarian republic, with clans as administrative divisions.
The second piece is intended to reflect that this society was peaceful, more or less, until the Stranger arrived. This society was cut off from the rest of the world for about 200 years after its successful rebellion against the White City (an entity that is conceptually developed only through play), and then, right before play begins, a male soldier from the White City is discovered by a frontier patrol.
The event sends the calm, industrious mountain culture into apoplexy, with some members of the annum (their all-old-lady senate) calling for an exploratory mission, and others demanding that the borders be sealed and the Stranger killed and disposed of. This second "piece of armor" reflects the very rough transition from political more-or-less unity to outright opposition and conflict.

But I think both "pieces" are fairly general (which is good). What I'm asking is - can anyone think of a sort of "I have it, you don't" social advantage that a group might hold over another, in conflict? Keep in mind that equipment and skills have already been taken care of - like I said, this list of three things is going to be social/societal/customary in nature.

Thanks for thinkin!

[edit: linky-link here]


  • Perhaps the third piece could be the degree to which one adheres to traditions? Status quo trumps wild-eyed innovation. OR vice versa:
    The Stranger demands new ideas and bold initiatives! The more obviously novel, insightful, or adaptable idea/innovation trumps.

    I'd also add a component to the second piece that reflects the Family Name (more-established family/clan/whatever).
  • Thanks, David!
    This fits well with my notion of an Outward faction and an Inward faction - I'm not quite sure where I'd want to go with regard to their exact powers, but when a player character joins one of these factions, they can interact with the voting Annum (senate) in some fashion.
    My at-the-moment idea would be to give the Outward faction the power to tear down old customs (abolish laws), and the Inward faction power to create new laws (to better defend society from fundamental change).
    I'll think on this - the Stranger definitely changes things!

    It might could work to have two different axes of social status: personal and familial. This is a very hierarchical society, and that bit about sex and age is not the only form of differentiation of power.
    I am intrigued by the notion of different tiers for more and less respectable families - I had not yet envisioned such a thing, but it would certainly make sense in a stark, carefully-managed culture that some clans, more "community-minded" or "possessed of our cultural virtues" could rise to prominence, be taken more seriously, etc., even if their status was de facto, rather than de jure (which I had to look up, and means "according to law". The more you know!)

    Another thingy: there are three basic laws, regarding status, resource-sharing, and distribution of workload. During character and setting creation, each player may propose an additional law (called a Custom in the rules) - if everyone is interested in the idea, it goes into play. If anyone really dislikes it, or if no one's excited about it, it doesn't go in.
    Each player has the right to make proposals until they've made one successful proposal. Once that's done, we move on to the next stage of character creation.

    Oh oh and I think that the players should switch from playing their soldier-characters to playing "madam senator" characters in the Annum whenever an in-play Custom vote is made, and during the pre-play SetGen, too - you act out how your Anilum (as a senator is called) proposes the law, argues for it, etc.

    Thanks, dude!
  • edited January 2011
    Seems like the notion of "weight of the crowd" should factor in. That is, the social weight behind what third parties demand or expect. You could roll this into the "social status" thing, but it isn't really the same. If a senator attempts to avoid the repercussions of, say, raping a homless girl, his high social status will help him, but the wrath of the crowd will surely not.
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