On Circles rolls for gangs or crews

So some of the players in our game have a crew/gang/organization that they are the leaders of. They paid the circles points as detailed in the character burner.

Do they have to make Circles tests to bring in a member from one of these organizations?

Here’s a specific example:

Francois de Loire is the leader of the Grey Mousers, a group of elite anvil for the local Forged Lord. When I was having my Vaylen smuggle in some goods, Mike (the player) wanted to bring in a subordinate who was aware of this so that they could get the drop on my Vaylen dude. I had him make a Circles test; he failed the roll, so it turned out that the subordinate was actually a Vaylen working for the Vaylen FoN.

Since he spent the circles points during character burning to get himself a “gang or a crew”, did I screw him over by forcing him to make the Circles test?

We made another roll to actually foil the smuggling. Which turned out to be a tie, which is always awesome.

You did the right thing. He paid for his affiliation and gained dice for it. Does he have a captain or lieutenant relationship? Is Francois an Anvil Lord?


He has a relationship to the Forged Lord (who is the guy in charge), but he’s not an Anvil Lord himself.

That’s cool, I’m glad we did the right thing. Those Circles rolls led to some fun play.

That’s a fun Actual Play story. Me like. (Filing that use of Emnity Clause away for future use).

Two questions about Gangs/Crews:

I’m an Anvil Lord (or Hammer Lord, or Usurper, or Clan Lord). I pay 1, 2, or 3 Circles points to get my guys up to base skill exponents of 3, 4, or 5, plus the appropriate level of equipment.
Question: I still need to pay 2 circles points (or use my free Relationship) to get a second-in-command, and then pay at least 1 circles point to get a Reputation that puts me in command, correct?

I’m not a Lord of anything, but I have a gang/crew. I pay circles points for three things: Affiliation, Reputation, and my second-in-command relationship. When I use circles to bring a subordinate into play, he/she starts with skills at exponent three unless I increase my Circles obstacle to get someone better.
Question: What level of equipment is it reasonable for me to say these guys have? There are explicit guidelines for Anvil Lord/Clan Leader etc. on “put this many points into your Affiliation and you get guys with this level of gear,” but there aren’t guidelines on whether, say, paying 1D for an affiliation with my crew gets me some shmucks with CREWs or my personal Iron squad like Trevor Faith’s Grey Rats. Does paying more for my Affiliation justify better gear?

  1. Anvil Lords (et al) don’t need to do shit aside from buy their affiliation as per the Trait. It definitely behooves them to invest more in their army, though! Nothing like a 2iC to help you get out of sticky situations.

  2. Only if exponent is a feature of the roll. Otherwise, yes. Equipment: Whatever’s appropriate. If you think it’s going to be important, agree to gear and kits before play begins.

What if you bought someone with the Hammer/Anvil lord trait as a lacky? Can you use their goons?

(My character is nominal 2iC to a forged lord. But everyone knows who wears the pants.)

So if your character is second in command to a Forged Lord, that means he’s either an Anvil Lord or Hammer Lord himself, right?

Unfortunately not. The forged lord actually lost his planet (no one claimed he was competent) and his hammer and anvil assets got picked up by the giant flying casino. He provides protection for the giant flying casino… in return, they let him tag along and live very comfortably aboard the casino, and keep him supplied for free. My character is a lower class Anvil Lieutenant who, through ferocious intelligence and ruthless social-climbing managed to gain command of most of the forged lord’s Anvil units, specifically, the elite military police. But he hasn’t been created an Anvil Lord yet.

Then I would suggest paying for an affiliation, reputation and a relationship if you want goons.

If I were your GM, I would not allow you to take an Anvil Lord or Hammer Lord as a second in command unless you were a Forged Lord. MAYBE I’d let you take an Anvil Lord if you were an Anvil Lord or a Hammer Lord if you were a Hammer Lord, but probably only if I had a fever.

Even if I DID allow it, I would immediately implement two tactics. First, I’d set some NPCs to hammering on your second in command in order to convince him that he’s far more deserving to be the Forged Lord’s second in command and he should eliminate you. Second, I’d require you to–at the very least–use an Interstitial scene every time you attempted to bring your Anvil Lord’s or Hammer Lord’s forces into play.

Hmm. But on page 118 of the PDF it says that if you want a gang or crew, you need to:

“Purchase a relationship with the senior-most member of the group (if
you’re the boss, that’d be the second-in-command), then buy an affiliation to
the group and a reputation within that affiliation that puts you in charge.”

That’s exactly what I did. I’m not the seniormost member of the group, that would be the Forged Lord. I have a relationship with him, I have an affiliation with the group, and I have a reputation as (effectively) his 2iC for his Anvil forces.

Seems like you’re in accord with the first sentence of my last post then. :slight_smile:

Well, yes, but the question was, do I still need to circles em up? It’s a big drain on building scenes.

You can use an Interstitial to have a scene with your Forged Lord where you request the troops. As long as he can access the goons without Circling them up (i.e., characters from the first five lifepaths of the Anvil setting and the first eight lifepaths of the Hammer setting), then he could grant you access to them.

Note that the Forged Lord could deny your request if he wanted (requiring you to use a builder or even a conflict to convince him to give you the troops). He can also be killed or subverted.

In any of these scenarios, unless you have the Anvil Lord, Hammer Lord, or Forged Lord traits, you are going to be paying a premium somewhere. Either it will cost you part of a Building Scene, Interstitial Scene or Conflict Scene.

Note: If he is killed or subverted, you will have no choice but to use Circles rolls to get troops for your use.

Ok, cool. But that’s only if I want the troops to be hard. If I don’t mind them being colour, I can just narrate their existance? That works fine for me!