The Agent’s Patron

Got some wonderful feedback on the Swoosh move, and I think Jesse really cracked it open with a much better trigger. Will have an updated version of that later.

For today, I was thinking about Patrons. Originally, my thinking had been that you would choose from a list and the bonus moves would be part of the choice (so, if you picked an arcane order, you’d get cantrips and +1 to spouting lore about arcane secrets) but as I started writing them I realized I like the Paladin model a lot more, where the player can mix and match their benefits according to whatever logic they like. That freed me up a bit, so the Patron move looks like:

Patron – You work for a secret organization. First, choose one of the following, and select the name of your contact.

  • A Mystical Order (The Lady of Shadows, Myrminster, The Whisperer, Irstingler the Ever Magnificent)
  • A Political Boss (Robin Spacey, Boss Thneed, Colonel Abersmythe, Longshadow)
  • Secret council of priests (Domina Antonia, Cardinal Francis, Sister Talia, Bother Silence)
  • Intelligence Service (B,O,C,Y)
  • Law Enforcement (Captain Vanes, Officer Talbot, Inspector Tukulsky, Auditor Vor)
  • A Military Cabal (General Grieves, Admiral Stetson, Sir Lyanis, Lady Whawai)
  • The Underground (The Crimson, Rattlebone Annie, Tall Zeke, Laces)

Second, select their agenda

  • To Sustain (The current order, the throne, the church, the flow of money)
  • To Usurp (The current order, the throne, the church, the flow of money)
  • To Destroy (The current order, the throne, the church, the flow of money)
  • To Discover (Ancient secrets, mystical secrets, technological secrets, dark secrets)
  • To Advance (An ideology, an ideal, a faith, a technology, a people, themselves)
  • To Resist (An ideology, an ideal, a faith, a technology, a people, a rival organization)

Third, choose what type of secrets you know:

  • Arcane Secrets
  • Religious Secrets
  • Political Secrets
  • Military Secrets
  • Criminal Secrets

You gain a +1 when you spout lore about this type of secret.

Last, pick two things you have gained from the training or resources provided by the organization:

  • Arcane Training – Cast Cantrips
  • Divine Initiation – Cast Rotes
  • Reinforcements – When you make a Recruit move, you may takes a +2 bonus to the roll to call on assets of the organization. Any recruits hired in this way are ultimately loyal to your patron.
  • Connections – +1 to Carouse and Outstanding Warrant Rolls
  • Gadgets – Once per session, you can produce some strange widget provided by your patron which can grant a +1 to any single roll that it might help with
  • Deep Insight – “Who’s really in control here” does not count against your allowed questions when you Discern Realities

Finally, name your patron, and write them in the appropriate Bond entry.[1]

Ok, that’s long, but it’s a good start. And looking at the agent bullet list, that accounts for most of the stuff. The only thing I want now is a resources move.

Structurally this is pretty simple, more or less like a Supply roll – 10+ get what you need, 7–9 get it with strings. I think the catch is that there should always be SOME strings, since it comes from the organization, so we go with another choice. Something like:

Tap Resources When you approach your patron for help, roll +bond with the patron.

  • On a 10+, Pick 1
    • They give you what they think you need
    • But you need to do something first
    • It has unexpected complications
  • On a 7–9, Pick 2

I think that covers the basic moves decently well. Need to come back to races and bonds next time, then on to advanced moves.


  1. Yeah, that’s going to be a bond to an NPC, which doesn’t make sense in its own right, but I had a weird idea of letting the Agent use the bond rating to her patron for some moves. I just realized that it effectively mirrors +faction from Urban Shadows, which is not a bad thing, but funny.  ↩

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