Impractical Applications (Organizations)

I’ve had a lot of reason to think about rank and organizations in my games: my game group is pretty much perpetually interacting with a rather powerful organization, to the point of having two or three contacts who are seeking higher positions within that organization (one actually a full-fledged friend of all the group) and investigating the behavior of several other people involved in the organization. Either way, it meant that I couldn’t just use it as part of the background anymore; I had to think about how it was put together.

It’s a nice messy organization. Little under a hundred people, divided into five different groups in two different ways, such that there are ten groups total and each person belongs to two. So the first thing I did was decide that I couldn’t get away with having too many different ranks. One of the sets of groups I had narrowed down to four by the end—the head, the seniors, the juniors, and the peons. I’d gotten that set up pretty quickly: the difficult part there was just pulling out eighty or so names, assigning them to one set of groups, then crossing those with the other set in its four ranks, balancing out who was where as evenly as possible.

Then one of my players asked for the organization charts for the first five groups. I’m still working on that; I’ve only finished one. But it’s been a fun little challenge, trying to take into account who listens to whom because of the interactions between those divisions, the other divisions, the office politics, the relative ages of the group, the relative expertise of the group, and a few other factors.

And the rest of the group—well, remember that friend trying to rise in the organization I mentioned? I may not be able to give them particularly good ranks, they’ve got an adamant ceiling a meter thick, but there’s at least one who’d find it plenty rewarding to help her get ahead.

It’s not perfect, but it works. Mostly.

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