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Old 08-18-2014, 05:50 PM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#6): Ally; Ally Group

Last Week: Affliction
Next Week: Altered Time Rate

This week we look at the Basic Set Advantage Allies, found on p. B36-B38, and expanded upon in Powers p. 41. By default, Allies are Mundane Social Advantages with a point cost that varies according to their CP value and Frequency of Appearance value. Once again, I am going to have to ask that you read the book due to the length of the material on it; without factoring in Modifiers, the cost can already vary from 1 CP for an Ally that shows up on a 6 or less*, built on 25% of the cost of the character to which it is allied up to 40 points for a character that shows up all the time (no roll required) and is built on 150% of the CP value of the character to which it is allied. Note that a the "Constant" Frequency Of Appearance level is normally reserved for characters that are physically attached, implanted, worn like clothing, etc.

Allies that lack certain Enhancements are their own characters: NPCs that the GM controls, but favorably disposed towards you. They are agreeable but not guaranteed to constantly agree with you, and can occasionally cause you some trouble. If you abuse them, you risk losing them (and all the points invested in them), though parting amicably or losing one through no significant fault of your own results in a replacement Ally eventually showing up.

If you want several allies that (in game terms) are identical and interchangeable enough to share a single character sheet (examples in the text are an army of low-grade thugs or robot drone swarm) you can buy them as an Ally Group instead of individual Allies. This adds a multiplier to the cost, ranging from six for a Group of size 6 to 10 to 12 for a group of 51 to 100, at which point each further tenfold increase jumps the multiplier by another increment of six: 100,000 such Allies would give a multiplier of 30. RAW indicates that an Unusual Background may be in order and that large enough groups (exactly how much depends on the circumstances) may qualify as a Patron instead.

There are Allies that can be Exotic or Supernatural, and though I can't think of any good examples that aren't better represented with a different trait, even Mental or Physical. Familiars are covered on p. B38, and the Summonable Enhancement (+100%) can be used to create a fleshed out, traditional fantasy "summoner" or something a bit more modern like Pokmon, Yu-Gi-Oh or the dozens of other similar series.

Some Allies can also function as Dependents; if that is the case you calculate their value as each and add the CP values together. The GM will roll against both factors each session; if the character shows up as an Ally, they help you out and cause only the level of trouble appropriate to the character, if they show up as a Dependent then they'll inconvenience you in the appropriate manner. An Ally/Dependent hybrid can fail to show entirely, of course, and can even show up as both Ally and Dependent at the same time (Robin both assisting Batman while also needing to be rescued by him seems like a good example).

So do you allow Allies in your campaigns? Have you ever taken an Ally? In either case, how did it work out? Have you come up with some interesting uses of Modifiers for Allies? I seem to recall within recent memory a thread debating Contacts, and whether their cost made sense in light of Allies. This got me thinking; should "Patron" and/or "Contact" really be Modifiers to "Ally"?
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Last edited by Otaku; 10-28-2014 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 08-19-2014, 04:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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So do you allow Allies in your campaigns? Have you ever taken an Ally? In either case, how did it work out? Have you come up with some interesting uses of Modifiers for Allies? I seem to recall within recent memory a thread debating Contacts, and whether their cost made sense in light of Allies. This got me thinking; should "Patron" and/or "Contact" really be Modifiers to "Ally"?
I do. But people seem to rarely want them. Currently only one player in my campaign has an Ally, and it's closer to an Ally+Enemy in one person.

Meanwhile, I'm playing in a Transhuman Space game, and there I have an Ally Minion*, another PC has an AI Ally, and I think others have low-key Allies too.

I do think that a grand unified ally theory, which would make Patrons and Contacts into modifiers for Ally, would be nice to have. But this is a highly crunchy houserule discussion; I'm not sure if this thread is intended for those.

* == A ghosted bioroid, for those who know the terminology.
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Old 08-19-2014, 04:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

Allies and Ally Groups are a major feature of most of the campaigns I run, as I go very NPC heavy, and I like to give my players the sense that they control large segments of society. So when an NPC says "You and what army?" the PC can say "This one!" and unleash his horde of managably-numbered allies on his foe.

A few things I have discovered in my research: Social Engineering has rules for very low-point allies, down to 5% of your point total, in case you're dealing with heroes with very large point totals. Supers also has rules for treating vehicles as allies, and I find the two go hand-in-hand nicely.

When it comes to Frequency of Appearance, I've settled on two numbers as my go-to values: 6 or less for "Is only there when I feel like it," and 15 or less for "Is always there unless I feel like making them absent."
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Old 08-19-2014, 04:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

The amount of secrecy in a campaign affects what kinds of Allies are useful.

In an Elizabethan M;tA campaign, I started off with an Ally, a family servant. But he didn't know about the secret things going on, and telling him wouldn't have helped much - having witnesses to blatant magic is bad, even when they're on your side. So he ended up not being used much.

The Allies in THS are generally Minions, and trustworthy. Stealing them is a sensible tactic for opponents who want to know what you're up to, but I haven't encountered this as such in play - has anyone?

Two characters in our Weird War II campaign have Allies, who are both ghosts. As such, they're things that have to be kept secret, and are sensible enough not to be threats to secrecy.
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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The amount of secrecy in a campaign affects what kinds of Allies are useful.

In an Elizabethan M;tA campaign, I started off with an Ally, a family servant. But he didn't know about the secret things going on, and telling him wouldn't have helped much - having witnesses to blatant magic is bad, even when they're on your side. So he ended up not being used much.
Why not an Acolyte Ally?
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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Why not an Acolyte Ally?
Didn't know about them: this was GURPS M:tA.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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Didn't know about them: this was GURPS M:tA.
Okay, why not a novice (i.e. with few or no Spheres so far) Mage Ally?
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:31 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
I do. But people seem to rarely want them. Currently only one player in my campaign has an Ally, and it's closer to an Ally+Enemy in one person.

Meanwhile, I'm playing in a Transhuman Space game, and there I have an Ally Minion*, another PC has an AI Ally, and I think others have low-key Allies too.

I do think that a grand unified ally theory, which would make Patrons and Contacts into modifiers for Ally, would be nice to have. But this is a highly crunchy houserule discussion; I'm not sure if this thread is intended for those.

* == A ghosted bioroid, for those who know the terminology.
Part of the goal of these discussions is to cover what does and doesn't work, and what might work better, but I do suppose that we are talking about something so detail intensive that it would be better off in its own thread. Feel free to start one and link to it here as a related discussion.

My very first GURPS character actually did have an Ally and said Ally made for a useful "baby-sitter". The campaign didn't last too long though; I don't think I ever got around to making another Ally for a character I used, but due to enjoying a game where we realized we just needed more PCs (and several would-be players never showing up let alone declining to join), I ended up running two PCs myself and so I keep debating trying to remake the duo as a PC with Ally.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:46 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

IMHO, Duplication is ally(Cosmic: Can control, summonable).

Also, Contacts are ally(Don't accept risks).
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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Okay, why not a novice (i.e. with few or no Spheres so far) Mage Ally?
Didn't think of it at the time - I hadn't realised what the problem would be, and was thinking in terms of a lackey, like the ones in The Three Musketeers.
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