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Breakdown: World of the Breaking Point

Posted by Jason Walters on

Just a short blog entry this time as we post the “World of The Breaking Point” chapter.

“The Breaking Point" is not about civil servants in general.  It's about your civil servants, the fallible, troubled Pros who are driven to help others.  It’s about their battle with inner and outer demons.  Our Pros are not monsters, nor are they haplessly “following orders.”  They have an agenda toward some greater good.  They might be part of a rotten system or a corrupt team – this can be a very powerful game dynamic, especially with some Pros mired in the mess.  They might be struggling with institutional racism or the hatred of a community.  Whatever the situation, we need to care about our Pros and see them as essentially well-intended, even if narrowly so. 

Otherwise, we're not playing “The Breaking Point,” or any setting of Breakdown.

Our Pros don’t have to agree about their methods or priorities.  They may grow apart, maybe even become diametrically opposed.  Maybe some of our Pros turn against the system, going rogue or becoming whistleblowers.  Nothing locks your Pro into a profession or role.  Let the story go where it may.  The detective can become a private investigator or go to law school.  The doctor can become a social worker or surrender to addiction.

This release of Breakdown provides only broad brush treatment if one of our Pros becomes fully Broken, turning into a monster:  at that point, we relieve the player of the Pro and leave it open to the group as to whether and how Darkness may subsequently use the Pro gone bad.  But, assuming our upcoming Kickstarter goes well, this aspect will be explored in the upcoming superhero-based setting and rules expansion, “The Darkness Within” (working title).  The focus will remain on caring about our Pros, even if they go past the breaking point, begging the players to consider themes such as forgiveness, abandonment, and rehabilitation.  We will consider just what makes a “good” monster to play, what motivates one to abandon social mores while on a crusade.  The expanded rules will not only be for “The Darkness Within” but also for any setting of the game:  in “The Breaking Point” we'll be able to more deeply explore the caregiver who becomes an angel of death, the officer who becomes judge, jury, and executioner, or the crime lab analyst who destroys evidence to help the mob; in “Life in the Shadows," the cult leader who exploits followers, the soldier who turns terrorist, or the freedom fighter who becomes a demagogue.  We will take the concept of Breaking and turn it up to 11!

And that brings us to the purpose of Breakdown, and what purpose means in any game.  We’ll talk about that next, with our final chapter of Breakdown.  


General Setting Description

It's dramatized modern big city USA. Choose any city, refine/reimagine as desired. The first responders, investigators, and hospital staff are understaffed and over-stressed. Politics, corruption, and bureaucracy stymie good people. The public provides support while it also expresses contempt. The media, civic groups, and civil worker unions are just a few of the organizations with agendas possibly intersecting with the Pros.

The Pros have deep devotion to their profession and/or the people they serve. Perhaps, as with the popular antihero Dr. House, the concern for humanity is muted and largely hidden by professional curiosity and determination. Whatever the case, the Pro is a committed public servant.

Examples / Inspirations

Chances are you already have plenty of inspiration in selecting this setting. The core inspirations are already presented earlier in What Inspires and Distinguishes Breakdown, but other fiction might be good inspiration for your city setting:

  • the TV show Homicide: Life on the Street or the book upon which it is based Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

  • the movie Chinatown

  • the book Tourist Season

  • the TV show The Sopranos

  • the Spencer for Hire book series

  • the TV show Third Watch

  • the comic book Stray Bullets

  • the old 1970s TV show Emergency, while too sedate for The Breaking Point, is a good example of weaving the relationships and stories of public servants of different professions

Ideas for Pros

The Protagonists are public servants such as detectives, nurses, EMTs, and firefighters. Prosecutors and public defenders are also good Pro candidates. In the style of contemporary TV dramas, allow for forensic scientists, profilers, cyber investigators, and other traditionally "back office" staff to be close to the action. The players should decide early on if the Pros will center on a particular department or function, or if they will be from different disciplines; in the latter case, their work should overlap in some way, providing for relationships and shared concerns among the players' Pros.

If players want more Scenes together and more group focus, it is strongly recommended the Pros be in the same organization and work in proximity, such as the staff of an emergency room, a squad of detectives, a firehouse team, an interdisciplinary investigative unit, or a paramedic team. If players want to have more individual and two-at-a-time Scenes, then they may be in different professions that interact depending on the incident. There’s no wrong way to go, but it is critical all players are happy with the choice before creating their Pros.

Some example configurations for stronger/closer group play, with example Pros listed:

  • ER staff: two interning doctors (one senior, one second year), the admitting nurse, and a certified nursing assistant

  • Homicide or “special case” detectives: three or four detectives of varying experience and backgrounds, regularly working in pairs

  • Paramedics or firefighters who work on the same team, one Pro as the falsely rumored “affirmative action hire” (with an internal romantic entanglement) leading a diverse crew, the Pro with a large family, the Pro looking to adopt, and the “lone wolf” Pro with a chip on the shoulder and overbearing sense of duty

  • A public defense team who work for those who cannot afford legal representation: the big-time trial lawyer who does this as a pro bono sideline; the investigator with a higher calling; the law clerk who “does all the work,” hoping to become a trial lawyer

  • A group of doctors who collaborate on tough cases – the hotshot surgeon, the empathetic internal medicine specialist, the nerdy-artsy lab specialist

Some example configurations for lone and two person Scenes:

  • Detective, fireman/paramedic, EMT, and a police office

  • Firefighter, arson investigator, paramedic, and lab chemist (whose work is often for the arson squad but can involve analyzing all manner of chemical and biochemical agents)

  • Assistant District Attorney, detective, profiler, and forensics analyst

  • Doctor, nurse, firefighter, and ambulance driver/paramedic

  • Internal affairs investigator, department psychologist, and homicide detective


You’ll see more examples in the CREATING CHARACTERS chapter of the book.

Some Details of Daily Life

You might want to use all or some of the below to help illustrate daily life for the Pros in The Breaking Point – feel free to add your own and change any/all as desired. Do not overwhelm players with details. Leave room for players to add details over time. A list of ten or thereabouts, like below, is ideal.

  1. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork...

  1. Some find nights out with "the gang" important for stress relief. There's probably a favorite watering hole. Others find solitary substance abuse the only way to find relief. And then there’s the brilliant heroin-using detective known for living in a drug den.

  1. It’s no fun facing internal investigations and review boards. Every organization has internal and external watchdogs, formal and informal. Every organization faces the stress of maintaining public confidence while ensuring internal problems are managed.

  1. Dinner at home is a great way to explore the Pro’s personal life and issues. What news is broken at the dinner table? Who can’t keep their mouth shut, who never says a word, and why?

  1. The Pros should consider partner and colleague routines: who gets the coffee or kombucha, is there a favorite lunch place, what are the in-jokes and favorite topics of conversation...

  1. Many public servants don't like to disclose intimate relationships with professional acquaintances; these might be against policy. Affairs with married or otherwise (seemingly) committed colleagues are frequent.

  1. The friendly prostitute, the greedy informant, the wealthy hypochondriac, the badly behaving celebrity, and the self-serving hustler are example recurring characters. They can be used by Darkness to serve up tips or traps, provide hooks into situations, and prompt demonstration of a Pro's character.

  1. Bosses come in all sorts, from the pompous but brilliant ass to the well-intended bumbler to the by-the-book empty suit. Dealing with bosses shows us a lot about the Pros. Bosses may provide challenges or support, sometimes both at once.

Game Starters

Each Game Starter below is just to provide an idea for you to change and reuse (or not) as desired. Below each Game Starter, an indented paragraph provides additional input on potential suitability for your game.

  1. There have been a couple related arsons, the beginning of a series. The first targeted a chemical dump in the city harbor, the incident not (yet) known to the public, causing severe sickness among victims not outright killed by the fire. The second targeted a sewage processing plant, causing illness among affected workers.

Geared towards an interdisciplinary team but also useful for any one group – the doctors facing a mounting and mysterious crisis outside their control or firefighters who can only stop the catastrophe in process while helpless against the cause and longer-term effects. Can be tied into corruption such as politicians covering up the truth or land developers taking a brutal path to “urban renewal.”

  1. A crusading District Attorney is making everyone’s life miserable. Self-righteous and believing the ends justifies the means, the DA rushes to judgment, fabricates evidence, and refuses to listen.

This is best used to complicate any other appropriate Game Starter. A good challenge for law enforcement Pros, especially those with authority issues or who believe in the system.

  1. A death occurs related to a Pro’s Opening or Caring, such as in their community, related to a favored cause, or of special concern to their family or loved ones (in one game that was a gang murder related to a Pro’s crooked relative, where another Pro suspected the relative was crooked).

This can also be an illness in a medical game, or otherwise tuned to cause a challenging overlap between personal and professional concerns for one or more Pros.

  1. A loved one starts the game demanding their Pro pay more attention; if the player has set it up for a graver challenge (concern of separation, divorce, etc.) go for that.

Can also be reserved for later in the game for any Pro who spends time away from home; especially good if the Pro is already avoiding going home. In a separation or divorce concern, most likely start not with that itself but with the loved one demanding something to avoid that, such as counseling or a change in the Pro’s lifestyle to show commitment. Only suitable for players who have set their Pros up for such issues, usually best to avoid if the player hasn’t expressed an interest in this – see directly below for the player who is more interested in their Pro having home interfere with work but not in a relationship-breaking way.

  1. A loved one directly interferes with or becomes subject to the Pro’s world. A few variants for inspiration include:

    1. The partner who becomes a suspect or victim.

    2. The partner who becomes involved in a crime (perhaps as a dupe or hoping to help someone in trouble) or has trouble with addiction or mental illness

    3. A parent retired from the same or similar line of work who won’t stop interfering with cases.

Any of these variations work well where players are looking for conflicts that set the Pro up in an awkward way with work and/or private life but without an existential relationship challenge.

  1. A Pro is seeming to experience a psychological crisis, such as their K-9 corps dog that talks to them or the ghost of a former partner or patient. This does not have to be an actual mental illness, it could be the gaslighting of an enemy, a prank going very wrong, or delusions brought on by a toxin (perhaps a bacterium unknowingly gained from a patient).

Ensure that this is only long-term if it makes sense given the Pro’s Problem, Drive, and/or Caring, otherwise make it short-term. For Pros not intended to have such heavy psychological baggage, ensure that clues quickly point to an enemy or medical source, keeping the focus on mystery and suspense. For Pros intended to go through a long state of mental confusion, let their player do most of the work: Darkness should stick to the consequences of Darkness Tone and infrequently roleplay the delusion with the Pro, letting the player carry exposition.

  1. The “perfect crime” by a terrible person. A master manipulator winds up someone else to commit a murder, theft, or assault that satisfies some goal of the manipulator, respectively such as vengeance, destroying a business competitor, or setting up a spouse to be sent to prison so that the manipulator may raise their child “the right way.” But there’s no direct conspiracy, the manipulator is careful not to plan the crime, maintaining ignorance that the perpetrator would “actually” do anything.

A classic criminal plot and a good test for how far a Pro will go to stop someone they know is evil but has not broken the law (or will get no more than a slap on the wrist for such as “depraved indifference”). Especially compelling if the manipulator is already powerful and has the resources for a top-notch legal defense, assuring that they will not suffer much even if their manipulation is exposed. Play up the arrogance and evil of the manipulator, see how creative the Pros will get and risks they will take to get the insufferable bastard.

  1. An epidemic, or even pandemic, breaks out, the Pros at ground zero. Play up the chaos and fear of such a moment, make it a test of the Pros’ spirit and relationships.

By itself an epidemic is not entirely compelling but throw it in with the stress on personal relationships (inability to go home, possible quarantine, risk to the Pros and their community) and their profession (political pressures, disagreements, doctors wasting precious time when a Pro “knows what to do”). Look for an Opening or otherwise elements of any of the Pros’ Caring or Drive that intersect with the situation.

  1. A riot breaks out, owing to a court ruling in a racially sensitive case or some other social pressure. The riot is like the epidemic, above, and suitable for almost all types of Pros, given the range of criminal activity and personal and social dangers.

As with the epidemic, consider all the possibilities for personal and professional intersections with the Pros. What if the riot engulfs a loved one? What if the Pro is involved with the spark of the riot? What if a group of rioters is doing some street justice one of the Pros tends to believe in?

  1. A celebrity is a victim or cause of harm (or both) related to one or more of the Pros’ profession.

    1. As a victim, a celebrity brings social and political pressure. And what if the celebrity has something to hide for which the Pro is empathetic, or which angers the Pro?

    2. As a perpetrator, this might not be a legal situation: what if the celebrity is an abuser of a patient, or if the celebrity is deliberately not disclosing an STI and spreading it to others?

A celebrity might be well-protected or fragile (or both). Perhaps the celebrity is someone for whom the Pro has sympathy but also fears. What if the celebrity, or their rabid fan base, can make the Pro’s life, or their loved ones’ lives, difficult?

Common Opposition and Dice Ratings

Medical Treatments

For doctors/similar specialists trying to cure a disease, treat a wound, or the like:

  • For any unusual or otherwise difficult to diagnose diseases or conditions, diagnosis must come first. This can include highly unusual injuries, such as a steel pole through the brain. This can vary greatly, anywhere from 2-10 dice.

  • Symptoms may arise which can constitute their own Conflicts, requiring stabilization and/or treatment even beside the disease or condition. Consider that these can happen along a timeline unknown (short of a Conflict to uncover such) to the doctor or medical team. Pepper unexpected symptoms into an ongoing disease/condition and consider such will often have initiative. These can vary as dramatically as any disease or condition itself.

  • Extremely complicated and/or rapidly worsening conditions should have very high dice ratings, requiring careful consideration as the cost of failure can be life or loss of function. Start these at 10 dice, go as high as 18 dice.

  • Fairly known and treatable but seriously risky diseases such as pneumonia or tuberculosis can be anywhere from 3 to 10 dice, especially depending on the condition of the patient and nature of treatment facilities (in primitive conditions, more dice may even be added, and some options won’t be possible). It needn’t be straightforward, there can be many unknowns, such as the presence of other diseases in tandem making what might seem routine pneumonia more complicated.

  • Certain chronic disease might not be curable but might be as easily managed with ongoing care and drugs, such as HIV, diabetes, and many cancers. If discovered early, these can be of no issue to treat. But they can become more dramatically interesting when complicated medically or by behaviors/social pressures, or the occurrence is discovered late and requires extensive care to save life or limb.

  • Remember that medical conditions are not only physical but may be mental or have both mental and physical aspects. They may entail social aspects, such as stigma and/or illegality.

  • Above all, remember: patients lie! They lie a lot, owing to social, cultural, and psychological pressures. The greater the stigma (such as for being sexually compulsive or having a drug habit), the more likely the patient will misdirect. Often, medical professionals don’t even think to interrogate or probe: but if so, the opposition dice are as for a social Conflict in More on Determining Darkness Dice, and feel free to add one or a few dice depending on how fearful the patient. A patient may even be so strongly denying it to themselves that they are nearly delusional, making opposition as strong as 6 or even 8 dice of Darkness (they may think “my behavior cannot possibly be related, no reason to bring it up” or their secret life so partitioned they literally shut it out of their mind and require direct and provocative challenge to even consider it).



A variety of Conflicts can occur around a fire, not just putting it out. Often, putting out the fire won’t even be the Conflict, as routine fires can easily be prevented from spreading.

  • Diagnosing the general nature and environmental risks (is the fire chemical, is the area especially vulnerable to spread) of a fire can be important but takes a little time, 2-4 dice normally and 5-6 if set with expertise and intended to deceive. A rescue attempt might not wait (see below), or if Darkness is the Tone perhaps something has already gone wrong while time was spent diagnosing.

  • Rescuing someone or a pet, if possible, is anywhere from 2-8 dice, just depending on how difficult the circumstances. Usually conduct each rescue separately, but if there’s a lot of people then there’s a couple options:

    • Making one Conflict roll for all, but in such a case if Darkness Tone then an individual or, in a large group, even a few individuals, may be lost and/or larger portions may suffer harm. And failing the roll altogether can mean all are lost.

    • Making a Conflict roll for each person or small group is desirable so long as it doesn’t bog down into many rolls, in which case roll as above; remember that there are usually others around besides the Pros and whenever reasonable focus on one Conflict per Pro.

    • If there are a series of rescues, a Darkness Tone can mean that the risk is increasing as time passes, adding a dice or two to each successive rescue attempt.

  • Containing a fire is usually worthy of 2-6 dice, but it might be a fire has some unknown factor making it as risky as up to 10 dice.

  • Arson investigations are a Conflict against the skill and related dice of the person behind the arson, as determined in More on Determining Darkness Dice; for example, a single highest-skilled individual is 6 dice, so a Conflict investigating the nature of the arson by a highest-skilled arsonist is against those 6 dice. The typical best case for the criminal adds 5 dice (so a small team of experts committing arson in a chemical plant with lots of wood atop water, with extreme damage, might achieve 13 dice for Darkness, 8 for the team and 5 for the “normal ideal”). More dice can be added for unusual circumstances, up to another 5 dice (total added being 10) in the most extreme examples (e.g. a collapsed skyscraper or a nuclear plant).


Criminal Investigations

Some typical law enforcement situations with their dice ratings

  • Approach investigating a crime scene as simply as possible, asking the players only for any general Approach (talking to potential witnesses, canvassing the area, looking for items left behind, etc.). The skill of the perpetrator determines the dice as seen in More on Determining Darkness Dice, e.g. an untrained killer’s crime scene might only be 1 die, a professional assassin will be 6 dice (or if the setting carefully prepared, feel free to add another 1-5 dice). These Conflicts don’t center on solving the case outright but getting a clue; if the Pros lose, they still might get a clue, but it might be a red herring, put them in danger, include faulty information, or otherwise misdirect.

  • Important interviews are typically Conflicts even when someone isn’t lying or guilty, because an interviewee may forget something if not prodded or may leave something out to avoid embarrassment. Interrogation/interview subjects’ dice are determined same as with social opposition or when facing a specialist, if appropriate, as indicated in More on Determining Darkness Dice. Dice can be added depending on other factors, such as whether a witness is sensory-impaired or whether a suspect is delusional, anywhere from 1 to 6 dice. Also consider whether the subject would reasonably break in an initial interrogation or needs to be softened up for a second round; perhaps some things are possible only in a second (or even third) interrogation while the first interrogation provides just initial clues or reveals a lie. Remember that, as always, a Conflict’s Stakes must be reasonable: a murderer who feels safe from discovery and believes they are in control will not confess, evidence must be built up and/or the motivation uncovered to prompt a confession.

  • Working informants is usually not difficult – after all, they are known as informants for a reason. If the Pro comes at the informant in a familiar enough way on a safe enough topic, it may not require a Conflict. For more nervous or manipulative informants, 1-4 dice is enough, unless the information is unusually endangering the informant or otherwise taboo.

  • Remember the Pro’s Success as framed in their character concept. Play to those strengths. The criminal profiler will get clues from an interview based on affect, attitude, stated intentions, expressed morality, and social circumstances. Many detectives read body language, such as the blinking of eyes betraying heightened anxiety. Some are skilled at manipulating subjects, flustering, confusing, or engaging them.

  • See more on forensics below; where the Pros are not themselves experts and are only referring evidence, findings, or entire portions of the investigation (e.g. financial forensics) to others, then reveal based on the Conflict that yielded the evidence or suspicion.

Forensics of All Sorts and Otherwise Research-Based Opposition

This section is especially for Pros who are coroners, forensic accountants, biochemists, crime lab technicians, or the like.

  • Remember that Conflicts are unnecessary if there’s neither dramatic repercussion nor uncertainty of outcome. Determining the caliber of a bullet, a person’s financial history, or any such routine forensics normally should not cause a Conflict, just reveal in the usual time. But unusual time pressure presents (at least) the following opposition dice:

    • If the Pro is providing an initial working theory without appropriate research, then 4-8 Darkness dice, depending how scant or complex the material.

    • If the Pro is doing rushed research, the opposition is 2-6 dice.

  • If evidence/content is deliberately and carefully planted by a specialist to frame a specific party or otherwise specifically deceive (as opposed to generally obfuscate), it takes on 2-4 additional dice depending on how prepared the specialist; if the specialist knows of the researching Pro or otherwise is unusually prepared, it may instead add 4-6 additional dice.

  • Inherently complex evidence (an unusual bacterium, ancient and limited DNA, etc.) presents 3-4 dice if it is not beyond comparable patterns and known variables; but if it is novel, it presents 5+ dice, as many as 10-14 dice if understanding it would be worthy of publication in a relevant journal.

  • Lacking proper equipment or setting adds 2-8 dice opposition, if the Conflict is at all possible.

Nemeses, Arch Enemies, “Big Bads”

Whatever you call them, occasionally an opponent takes center stage for an extended period against one or more of the Pros.

  • A one-sitting worthy enemy can be 6-10 dice; an arch enemy to be faced across many sittings can be as much as 18 or even 24 dice for a truly epic nemesis. Most often, instead of applying the rules as seen in More on Determining Darkness Dice for adding more dice when opposition consists of multiple parties, simply include their usual assisting forces and/or resources in the dice total.

  • A special feature of the long-term nemesis is how power may wax and wane.

    • Success in the Pro’s Conflicts should, over time, chip away at the nemesis’ power. If the Pros compromise the nemesis’ agents or find a weakness, then remove dice for that accordingly when it may come up in any Conflict. Losses can be anywhere from one or a few dice to as much as half. Darkness must illustrate this, showing the Pros the nemesis’ fading Darkness dice as the Conflicts proceed.

    • But it can go the other way, too. Even with the Pros winning, a Darkness Tone may add a dice or two (not more) to the nemesis in a later Conflict, and Darkness must make that evident when that later Conflict arises, remembering it is a short-term gain only applicable for that Conflict. Outright wins by the nemesis may recover Darkness dice lost to the Pros earlier, but usually should not boost the nemesis beyond their starting number of dice.

  • Most important, bear in mind that any 10+ dice rating applies only to the enemy in optimal form, such as with their organization at the ready or otherwise with resources and preparations. Consider aspects in which the enemy might not be so overwhelming or circumstances where power is lessened.

    • The organization-dependent or resource-dependent (weaponry, gadgets, etc.) nemesis is down to 8 or fewer dice without the dependency.

    • The super genius in the literal or figurative dark and deprived of information can become a “mere” really smart 8 or fewer dice opposition.

    • The manipulator facing deaf and blind Pros has far less ability and easily is down to 8 or fewer dice.

    • Of course, to maneuver a nemesis into any of the above situations will normally require the Pros learning enough to know to do that, and then take one or more Conflicts.

  • Remember a Conflict must be reasonable. An insane nemesis or committed ideologue won’t change their mind. A boss sitting amidst a loyal organization can’t just be dragged out.

  • An organization itself can serve as a nemesis. Simply apply its dice when its plans and facilities are in play, employing the guidelines as above to ensure its power may wax and wane and that it has some vulnerable aspect(s).

Authority Figures and Other Leaders

Facing managers, community leaders, union bosses, and similar forces presents a very particular kind of social and/or skill-based contest. Darkness must carefully consider the authority figure’s agenda – both personally and professionally. Authority figures are of many varieties, such as the following (and note these may overlap; the most interesting authority characters will have contrasting overlaps):

  • The petty bully.

  • The idealist, driven by a personal cause and/or by what the organization represents, or an aspect thereof.

  • The corrupt profiteer.

  • The hedonist only concerned with the perks of the office.

  • The coward afraid of losing their job.

  • The noble survivor desperately keeping the job for some crucial personal purpose (a sick loved one, a family).

  • The hardened cynic.

  • The ambitious climber.

  • The bleeding heart who sees their staff/colleagues as family.

  • The sexual predator.

  • The boss hiding something.

  • The leader mixed up in an office romance.

  • The power-monger.

  • The glory hog.

When playing Scenes and in determining Stakes for Conflicts, always consider especially what the authority figure wants at that moment and (assuming they think ahead) ultimately. Sometimes, a Conflict may not be so much whether an authority will do what the Pro wants, but instead what the Pro must give in return. Stakes such as “The authority does what we want unconditionally” or “without precondition” (perhaps still with a promise – regardless of its credibility – of returning the favor “someday”) versus “The authority will allow what you want but only after you agree to do (x) first” often occur, not only zero-sum “you get it or not” Conflicts.

Assign Darkness dice as follows:

  • When trying to get an authority figure to do something the Pro’s way, if reasonably possible at all, Darkness employs the following dice:

    • If being approached directly, consider the authority’s intentions and disposition, assigning 1-4 dice as normal for social opposition, 4 dice if the authority is especially rigid or demanding. If the authority is risking seriously jeopardizing their career, add 1 die; if they are risking termination (and remember, there must be some willingness for that risk, or simply consider the move not possible short of deception, blackmail, or the like), add 2 dice.

    • If the authority is being duped or otherwise being “played,” employ their skill as a manager, administrator, or leader, as normal for facing a specialist, i.e.:

      • An inexperienced or otherwise rudimentarily-skilled authority gets 1-2 dice.

      • A competent, experienced authority gets 2-4 dice.

      • A top-notch leader, one well-hardened, politically savvy, adept in administration, and/or otherwise highly skilled gets 5-6 dice.

      • If multiple authority figures and staff/whole organization are involved, escalate as seen for facing specialists in More on Determining Darkness Dice.

  • Consider the authority figure’s skills when in a Conflict:

    • The manipulator possesses high social intelligence and excels in social situations.

    • The administrator knows the rules by heart, inside and out.

    • The demagogue appeals to fear and can identify every slippery slope into hell.

    • The debater can twist words and arguments to their end.

    • The analyst can prove the data is conclusive.

    • The “natural leader” exudes confidence, has a cult-like following, and will be followed off a cliff.

    • The lawyer builds an unassailable argument.

    • The bully is abusive, escalates conflicts immediately, and is feared.

    • The politician has a network of allies and resources.

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