[Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Published 1989.
The Book-House: Find 2nd Edition products.

Moderator: Blacky the Blackball

Post Reply
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25109
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

[Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by Big Mac » Thu May 23, 2019 11:24 am

I'm just looking through the softcover* Print on Demand version of Night below and there is something at the back of the book, that used to be a separate reference card, called DM Reference Card 4.

* = You might want to buy the hardcover PoD version instead, so you can keep it open.

Here is the top of what it says:
DM Reference Card 4 wrote:DM Reference Card 4:
Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

The following achievements earn Social Collapse Points (SCPs) in the City of the Glass Pool. Certain goals are mandatory for successs; these are indicated in bold.
The card then goes on to list "Actions Which Earn SCPs", "Partial Milestones" and "Experience Awards", which are customised to that specific city.

The "Actions Which Earn SCPs" are a bunch of bullet points that all involve disrupting the local society.

The "Partial Milestones" are things that happen when the PCs earn specific numbers of SCPs (starting from 50 SCPs and going up to 100 SCPs).

The "Experience Awards" is how many XP the PCs get for earning specific amounts of SCPs (in this case one award for 50 SCPs and another award for 100 SCPs).

Has anyone ever seen this system used in another D&D product?

Are there any other D&D adventures, that involve the PCs trying to disrupt an evil city, where SCPs might help with a long-term campaign against that city?

Would you tell players about the existence of SCP awards...or would you keep SCPs secret and use them as a GM tool for working out when to trigger "Partial Milestones" and XP awards?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

NPCDave
Frost Giant
Posts: 814
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:11 am
Gender: male

Re: [Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by NPCDave » Thu May 23, 2019 11:49 pm

I have seen these kind of situational point systems for used in individual adventures whenever there is a large scale goal that PCs have to accomplish which requires numerous lesser goals to be accomplished. The two that I can recall though, were mass combats where the PCs get points for each lesser goal they complete and then the outcome of the mass combat is decided by the score they get.

Dungeon Magazine #143 Tides of Dread
A pirate invasion of the PC colony requires them to recruit allies and collect weaponry, so each mini-adventure in this adventure adds to their score. They then fight some encounters during the mass combat to get more points and in the final encounter the final events can add or subtract from their score. Their final score still determines the result of the mass combat.

SF2 Starspawn of Volturnus
For Star Frontiers of all things, this adventure has the same plot as Tides of Dread, and the PCs collect a score based on how well they handled the mini-adventures and how they handle the encounters during the mass combat. Here though the final outcome isn't decided by the score, instead the DM rolls percentile and your odds on the percentile are determined by your score. I think if you did everything right and maximized your score the die roll was 90% you would win the final battle.

I don't recall seeing another adventure where you had to reduce a city to anarchy like Night Below does...but that is a unique situation and I haven't read every adventure out there.

User avatar
Seethyr
Couatl
Posts: 1342
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:07 am
Gender: male
Location: The City of Gold

Re: [Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by Seethyr » Fri May 24, 2019 12:17 am

Neat little mechanic but I wish there was consistency across products. I mean, isn’t it in Out of the Abyss where you summon a gaggle of demon lords to the center of Menzoberranzan and the city is just fine and dandy afterwards? Perhaps Shaboath is just a little more unstable but it seems odd.
Follow the Maztica (Aztez/Maya) and Anchorome (Indigenous North America) Campaigns on DMsGuild!

The Maztica Campaign
The Anchorome Campaign

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25109
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: [Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by Big Mac » Fri May 24, 2019 9:44 am

NPCDave wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 11:49 pm
I have seen these kind of situational point systems for used in individual adventures whenever there is a large scale goal that PCs have to accomplish which requires numerous lesser goals to be accomplished. The two that I can recall though, were mass combats where the PCs get points for each lesser goal they complete and then the outcome of the mass combat is decided by the score they get.

Dungeon Magazine #143 Tides of Dread
A pirate invasion of the PC colony requires them to recruit allies and collect weaponry, so each mini-adventure in this adventure adds to their score. They then fight some encounters during the mass combat to get more points and in the final encounter the final events can add or subtract from their score. Their final score still determines the result of the mass combat.
That's pretty cool. So if you recruit more allies and gather more weapons, your entire group is more successful.
NPCDave wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 11:49 pm
SF2 Starspawn of Volturnus
For Star Frontiers of all things, this adventure has the same plot as Tides of Dread, and the PCs collect a score based on how well they handled the mini-adventures and how they handle the encounters during the mass combat. Here though the final outcome isn't decided by the score, instead the DM rolls percentile and your odds on the percentile are determined by your score. I think if you did everything right and maximized your score the die roll was 90% you would win the final battle.
The percentage roll is a bit of a game changer. Night Below goes up to a score of 100, so that could have been designed as a percentage of social collapse. But I don't see a roll and if you get 99 SCPs you don't win the 100 goal.
NPCDave wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 11:49 pm
I don't recall seeing another adventure where you had to reduce a city to anarchy like Night Below does...but that is a unique situation and I haven't read every adventure out there.
I don't recall seeing this before, but I might have skimmed over it, in something, and not remembered it, if they didn't make such a big deal about it.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25109
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: [Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by Big Mac » Fri May 24, 2019 9:58 am

Seethyr wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 12:17 am
Neat little mechanic but I wish there was consistency across products. I mean, isn’t it in Out of the Abyss where you summon a gaggle of demon lords to the center of Menzoberranzan and the city is just fine and dandy afterwards? Perhaps Shaboath is just a little more unstable but it seems odd.
I know what you mean about the consistency. One of the frustrating things about the "Edition Treadmill" is that various editions of D&D have come up with some very interesting side rules, that have never been used in following editions.

I don't know Out of the Abyss, so I don't know how resilient Menzoberranzan would be, but as it's a drow city, I can imagine that some players might like the idea of destroying the city's society, so that they have to focus on rebuilding, instead of raiding other places to capture slaves.

I guess that the "Actions Which Earn SCPs" and "Partial Milestones" would need to be customised to specific cities.

I bet this could be adapted for destroying organisations too (like a thieves guild or an evil cult), if the PCs wanted to clean up a city, rather than destroy the civilisation.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
Cromstar
Gnoll
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:58 pm
Gender: male

Re: [Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by Cromstar » Sat May 25, 2019 2:50 am

For the record, Menzoberranzan is a drow city that summons demons on the regular to begin with, uses them in its 'justice' system, and is a city in which the noble houses literally wipe each other out to a one in order to advance in the city's heirarchy. The only rule in that political game is 'don't leave survivors'. Summoning all the demon lords into Menzoberranzan probably wouldn't have that much effect on the city over all. It's a chaotic evil city of drow where the only law is 'don't get caught' so causing a social collapse would basically require it to have a stable society in the first place, which it really doesn't.

That said, consistency (especially across different editions) *is* a bit of an issue. I'm not denying that at all (look how many different ways the game products in 2nd Edition handled psionics, ugh).
Big Mac wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 9:58 am
I guess that the "Actions Which Earn SCPs" and "Partial Milestones" would need to be customised to specific cities.

I bet this could be adapted for destroying organisations too (like a thieves guild or an evil cult), if the PCs wanted to clean up a city, rather than destroy the civilisation.
I would honestly say that this should be the case. Social collapse really depends on the specific social order. I'm just going to spoiler the entire next part to discuss this particular usage of SCPs in Night Below:

The City of the Glass Pool is a kua-toa city partially run by the mindflayers who represent the aboleth who dominate the kua-toa. This sets up 3 things of import to this social order. First, kua-toa have issues with madness courtesy of their deity Blibdoolpoolp (sp?). So they have specific requirements as individuals and a society to stave off the madness (including rules about using wading pools) and an entire military order dedicated to hunting down and removing those kua-toa who undergo madness. Second, their goddess is already mad and fickle, which makes reliance on her favor a tricky prospect. Third, most of the kua-toa are being pushed and bullied around by their hated enemies the illithids; this is especially galling for a race that already dislikes cooperation even among its own people. Add in a prince who believes his father has held the throne too long and you've got a solid and rigid social order that has obvious, exploitable weaknesses:

-Killing monitors means more mad kua-toa wrecking havoc
-Killing mindflayers and other outsiders isn't going to draw the ire of the kua-toa themsleves
-There are plenty of ways to hurt the priesthood, but desecrating their main temple literally causes their goddess to cut all the priests off from her power
-The prince is more than willing to side with a group of adventurers who plan to storm the castle to kill the king
-Attacking and making useless the places needed for the normal kua-toa to prevent madness drastically increases the chances of madness developing in the entire city

These make up many of the major ways to obtain SCPs because they explit these flaws and weaknesses in the social order of the City that are in many ways unique to that city. Desecrating the temple of Lloth in Menzoberranzan would certainly earn you the ire of the priestesses, who would subsequently whip the rest of the city to do unspeakable things to the perpetrators, but even if Lloth decided to cut off her power to her priestesses, that's probably only going to end with a lot of the really nasty ones getting backstabbed by family members or anyone else who happens to be armed and within arms length. Most of the non-nobles in the city wouldn't even notice the difference.


As an alternative example, if I were going to design a system like this for, say, Waterdeep, I'd probably but a lot of emphasis on the following:

-Disrupting the sea trade, especially sinking trade ships and destroying dock facilities
-Disrupting the land trade, probably by destroying caravans nearby the city
-Killing the one known and any of the better-known 'almost certainly one of' the Lords of Waterdeep (unless later products have changed up the dynamics a lot, Lord...Peregrin?...was the only confirmed Lord of the city, but some lords are strongly suspected by the general public (Khelben Blackstaff, Mirt the Moneylender, etc).
-Anything that creates a means for crap in Undermountain to escape into the city

Those would be the four biggest things that immediately come to mind that would unsettle and disrupt the public. Killing the Lords especially would likely cause order to break down in the city pretty fast.

Incidentally, the SCPs system here has given me an idea about how to model the political situation in the Council of Worms setting that I've very loosely outlined.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25109
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: [Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:21 am

Excellent points Cromstar.

So SCPs would really need to be custom made for each location.
Cromstar wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:50 am
As an alternative example, if I were going to design a system like this for, say, Waterdeep, I'd probably but a lot of emphasis on the following:

-Disrupting the sea trade, especially sinking trade ships and destroying dock facilities
-Disrupting the land trade, probably by destroying caravans nearby the city
-Killing the one known and any of the better-known 'almost certainly one of' the Lords of Waterdeep (unless later products have changed up the dynamics a lot, Lord...Peregrin?...was the only confirmed Lord of the city, but some lords are strongly suspected by the general public (Khelben Blackstaff, Mirt the Moneylender, etc).
-Anything that creates a means for crap in Undermountain to escape into the city

Those would be the four biggest things that immediately come to mind that would unsettle and disrupt the public. Killing the Lords especially would likely cause order to break down in the city pretty fast.
I like the sinking ships aspect. You wouldn't even need to get into a city to do that.

I would suggest that scuttling ships in the channels leading to a harbour would cause the most problems. A shallow shipwreck turns into something that other ships can hit. So you can sink more ships, if a ship is wrecked in the right place.

A fire ship crewed by undead that sails into the harbour at night could also be a lot of fun. Give it the markings of a long lost pirate ship (or some faction that was at war with Waterdeep hundreds of years back) and you could have a lot of people spreading rumors about a potential invasion or war. :twisted:

Getting someone to dress up as Hallister and scare some locals might also cause a bit of disruption. ;)
Cromstar wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:50 am
Incidentally, the SCPs system here has given me an idea about how to model the political situation in the Council of Worms setting that I've very loosely outlined.
If you do anything like work out how the Council of Wyrms socieity might collapse, please drop a link to the topic here (if you remember).
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 25109
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: [Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:26 am

Chainmail has some (fairly simple) rules for Warband games, called Homeland Invasion.

There isn't really anything about making the society collapse (it's more about a one-off fight beteween defenders and attackers) but each defending faction gets it's own bespoke defence advantages.

I think that combining the two ideas (the weaknesses and strengths of defenders) could be the way to try to making some random tables that could be used for attempts to make society collapse in various different communities.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
Cromstar
Gnoll
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:58 pm
Gender: male

Re: [Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by Cromstar » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:10 am

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:21 am
I like the sinking ships aspect. You wouldn't even need to get into a city to do that.

I would suggest that scuttling ships in the channels leading to a harbour would cause the most problems. A shallow shipwreck turns into something that other ships can hit. So you can sink more ships, if a ship is wrecked in the right place.

A fire ship crewed by undead that sails into the harbour at night could also be a lot of fun. Give it the markings of a long lost pirate ship (or some faction that was at war with Waterdeep hundreds of years back) and you could have a lot of people spreading rumors about a potential invasion or war. :twisted:
Full admission, I absolutely was inspired on this from the Threat From the Sea novel trilogy by Mel Odom.

In the second(?) book, the shaughin attack Waterdeep, a large part of which is getting into the harbor to wreck everything.

I also immediately jumped to 'block the harbor entrance' which could probably be used as a bigger bonus for SCPs (and if the city clears the harbor entrance, you lose some SCPs, similar to Night Below).
Getting someone to dress up as Hallister and scare some locals might also cause a bit of disruption. ;)
Personally, unless I wanted Khelben Blackstaff to come sniffing around, I'd avoid doing that, but its absolutely a great way to spread panic!
Cromstar wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:50 am
Incidentally, the SCPs system here has given me an idea about how to model the political situation in the Council of Worms setting that I've very loosely outlined.
If you do anything like work out how the Council of Wyrms socieity might collapse, please drop a link to the topic here (if you remember).
I'm working up a post on this right now, actually, trying to get it posted tonight, and I'll link here once I do. It won't be quite a society collapse in the sense of 'everything is total anarchy' in my mind though.

User avatar
Cromstar
Gnoll
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:58 pm
Gender: male

Re: [Night Below] Social Collapse Point System (SCPs)

Post by Cromstar » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:07 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:21 am
If you do anything like work out how the Council of Wyrms socieity might collapse, please drop a link to the topic here (if you remember).
Obligatory link: viewtopic.php?f=103&t=22183

This thread is for a system related to the SCPs for the Council of Wyrms setting that I've started working on.

Post Reply

Return to “AD&D 2nd Edition”