In Burning Grunweld, by dint of his reputation, Siggar (played by Kyle B) has been asked to join the city watch in the besieged town of Keroon. This is a perfect in-game opportunity for him to buy an affiliation … except there’s no chance in hell. He’s got Resources B0. (IIRC, it’s Ob 3 or 4 for a 1D affiliation.)
So, I’m generally sympathetic to the response of “tough!” It seems to me, though, that a big Resources test to earn such an affiliation is fitting when becoming master of a handful of men in a feudal context (a lord’s knights would swear oaths to him, sleep in his hall, eat his food), where displays of largess were absolutely fundamental.
For a city watch, however, he’s essentially stepping into a middle management role. Those under him are paid by the quartermaster, not by him, nor do they eat his food nor sleep in his home, etc. (he’s in the barracks with them). Why such a huge expense (for him, at least) to cement his affiliation? But perhaps that’s where I’ve gone wrong - he’d probably be called upon to pay for his own livery and equipment and whatnot. Perhaps his men are making do with shitty equipment, etc.
One angle I’m thinking of playing up is that, as a foreign newcomer, Siggar won’t ever really be accepted until he does buy this affiliation. The established interests (who do assume that position and money go together) - other ranking guardsmen, city officials, etc. will be aware of him but not necessarily accepting that he has any clout.
For this, I’d definitely leave him without an Affiliation for a while. He’s the newcomer. What if he’s here today and gone tomorrow? On the other hand, a resources test for affiliation so far out of reach for a guardsman seems odd. Maybe make it an option in the trait vote and see if he seems to have won over his comrades.
Oh, and city watch in a besieged town? He’s definitely likely to be supplying any equipment beyond a truncheon and a spear. Even medieval levies brought by poorer vassals were often woefully unequipped.
Those are great ideas, but how does it help mechanically? I know you can link tests together in a chain (A->B->C->D), but that will only ever net you +1D at most to test D (and the precursor tests had better be easy) - but can you chain several otherwise unrelated tests into a final one? (A->D, B->D, C->D) ? If so, then my eyes have been opened to many new possibilities!
I’ve been concerned about this since my first reading of BWR. I think you can do it if make sense, in the exact same way than you can accumulate Cash on Hand. Maybe you don’t need to think about it as Linked Tests, but independent tasks to adquire support for your plans in the form of helping dice. (Like if you are trying to convince some members of the Parliament than vote for your cause in some election in a series of diferents Duel of Wits.)
I can think in an explorer visiting a number of investors trying to gather enough money to pay for an expedition to distant lands, or some inventor trying to build a bizarre machine over a long period of time.
I think there’s lots of situations where it makes sense - for example, someone Scouting before a battle while someone else plans the Logistics for the main force, both linking into the final Strategy or Tactics roll. The logistics and scouting are totally independent. Plus, it’s a GREAT way to make hard tests achievable. In this example you could go into the battle with up to +2D In the past, long linked sequences always struck me as kinda daft (other than earning tests and for fun complications), since they usually just make things harder.
With a Resources B0 he’s about the equivalent of a poor peasant or serf who scratches by with subsistence farming. Remember, Resources is not just about cash you’ve got lying around. It’s about his pull in town–is his credit respected? If he’s going to make that test, he’s going to have to scrape together some cash, maybe get a loan or two, some help, spend a couple of Persona points and make a linked test to gather up some dice.
Note, most western medieval cities didn’t have a standing guard unless they were held directly by a lord rather than chartered. Even then, the guard probably wasn’t much more than a small garrison at the castle. In most chartered cities and communes, the various city guilds took turns providing duties, sort of like the volunteer fire departments or EMS departments that many small American towns have today. Also, their duties were primarily related to fire-related duties. Whatever the faults of the movie Gangs of New York, it actually fairly well captured what this would have been like in a medieval city with the rivalry and occasional hand-to-hand fighting between rival fire fighting crews.
Which is not to say that a fantasy city in your world can’t have a standing guard, of course!
So he needs a linked test for +1D and some helping dice - if the local lord with 5 resources helps that’s +2D. Take out a loan for another 2D, add in 2D of cash dice and you’re rolling 7 dice. Throw in persona if you want better odds. It’s effort and you’ll have to repay a loan and you’ll owe the lord a big favour, but you’ll have your affiliation and as a bonus you’ll have resources advance to 1.
What this thread reminds me of is the fact that, with mechanics-savvy players, a fat obstacle can be an adventure in itself. BWHQ played a game along these lines around an upcoming massive resources test. This particular test is too peripheral for me to handle this way, but it’s giving me ideas.
Is this new “title” that he’s getting important enough to get the Resource increase? B0 Serf to middle management of the guards sounds like yeah, maybe. Would help take some of the edge off the roll he’d need to make.
The Resources obstacle represents the necessity to do your time and invest in your new situation. I like the idea that he gets in the guard, but doesn’t have any pull until he makes the test. That nuance is reflected in the rules and the fiction!
Also, I think there are rules in the Resources chapter for the GM assigning ranks to player characters. I don’t have my book in front of me, though!