Publicity in campaign games

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Brass Jester
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Publicity in campaign games

Postby Brass Jester » Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:07 pm

Here's something I've been experimenting with: publicity and the media. It is basically a variation of the Reaction Table; all heroes start with Indifference and Publicity +0. "Oh, it's another hero. Ho hum"
Now, the Publicity rating is a variable figure, based on the adventure thats just been run and how aware the public/media would have been of it.
Eg: stopping Doomskull in downtown Port Douglas +4 Publicity, travelling to the Moon to stop Doomskull blowing it up +0 Publicity (because no-one knew about it), accidentally setting fire to half of Nash City -6 Publicity (" who is this dangerous clown?") etc.
Each Campaign Month (4 weeks in my game) I publish a newsletter for the players. For each hero I make a Publicity roll (CHA bonus +/- Publicity) and check the medias reaction. The newsletter is then written from this basis.
Eg: Silverknight is Publicity -4 having accidentally destroyed part of Battery Park. Current press is Indifferent, rolls 3 + cha +1 + Publicity -4 = 0. The press reaction is now Unfriendly, so Silverknight gets a few uncomplementary stories about him. He's got 4 weeks to improve his public image, perhaps give a few TV interviews etc.
I don't tell the PC's what their actual Publicity rating is, they can usually work out their standing by how people react. The rating can be modified by Fame/Infamy, and by role-playing. Also, it pays not to annoy the media, if they want to interview a hero and the hero persistently refuses then they might suddenly find themselves reading a few surprising facts about themselves!
Comments, anyone?
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Postby The Crimson Commander » Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:47 pm

Love it, can yuo post the mechanics for us? i think there shuld be a bonus for having a costume and anothe rone for haveing a cape :D

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Postby Brass Jester » Mon Jul 12, 2004 2:12 pm

OK, this is what I use as a baseline.
Start: Attitude: Indifferent, Publicity +0


You failed -1
You succeeded +1
You endangered civilians -1
Known to have Government/Police backing +1
Damaged property -1
Major property damage -2
Villains escape -1
You injured a civilian -2
You disabled a civilian -3
You KILLED a civilian -10 [you won't walk away from that in a hurry]
Public identity +1
Obviously alien -1
Refuse to be interviewed -1
Give interview (use a Skill Check for Oratory etc; award bonus based on how well(or not) you did. I use DC 12 as the media ask awkward questions)
Fame/Infamy +/- 3
Captured famous villain +3 (or more)
Protected civilians +2

Every four weeks (campaign month; my Earths got a funny orbit) the GM makes a secret Publicity check (CHA bonus + Publicity + D20.) xref on Attitude Table to see what the Media (= the Public) think of the hero. This affects how they react to him in the street, if the crowds listen to him etc. A high-profile hero could be given an Intimidate bonus, a pilloried one could cause amusement (or perhaps fear "Oh No; it's him. How he got away with that I'll never know. Murder, I called it.")

Rem: Publicity is what the media know of your involvement. If Doomskull blew up the Moon, sure everyone will notice. But it won't affect your Publicity unless they find out that you were the jerk that should have stopped him.
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Postby The Crimson Commander » Mon Jul 12, 2004 2:25 pm

and the attitude table that you speak off?

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Postby BerkaZerka » Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:23 pm

See Interaction p.148 (gamemastering section).

BZ

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Postby BerkaZerka » Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:25 pm

BTW - Fantastic idea Brass Jester!

BZ

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Postby Brass Jester » Mon Jul 12, 2004 5:19 pm

Thanx for the praise BZ
I've found that it gives the PC's something to work to *without* having to spend pp's. Following the Battery Park incident (Silverknight has an EB stun with a Disintegration Extra; the player didn't switch this off so a large part of the Park got burnt) SK decided to ingratiate himself with the media. He appeared on a couple of TV shows and toured some schools to give talks. He also did some work to restore the park.
[I have to say, as GM, that there was a limit on what I would let him do in this respect. For example, if you blew up half the city, even if you single-handedly rebuilt it, the folks that lived there might still be a bit annoyed that a) you did it anyway and b) you might do it again. Also, the Great Public do not like people trying to crawl back into society.)
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Postby Padre » Mon Jul 12, 2004 7:38 pm

Graet idea! I love it! Consider it stol........err, borrowed for an indefinite amount of time. :wink:
You ask me a question like that and you wonder why I have a drinking problem?!?

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Postby Major Justice » Tue Jul 13, 2004 7:00 am

I think that is a great idea. I would suggest applying the -5 penalty to characters with the disturbing appearance weakness. They would have to work that much harder to earn good press.

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Postby Brass Jester » Tue Jul 13, 2004 9:16 am

Major Justice wrote:I think that is a great idea. I would suggest applying the -5 penalty to characters with the disturbing appearance weakness. They would have to work that much harder to earn good press.

Yes, I like that. I've added it in to my list.
One thing I didn't make clear is that Publicity resets back to 0 at the beginning of each 4 week period. This is to reflect the fact thet the fickle public soon forget that you saved the world two weeks ago. However, the Reaction doesn't reset, eg: once the Press is unfriendly to you, you have to work hard to clean up your image

If you want to expand things a bit more, do the same for your villains. Then, your Publicity is affected by how well known they are, also you could find a villain stealing all your press (similar to what Batman did to the Joker in the film.)
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