Creating VIPs

The whole process starts when a player submits a write-up, generally in the recruiting thread. This is a paragraph or two that sums up the pertinent parts of the VIP, and gives an overall description.

I take the description, and use it to draw up the VIP's stats. In my current system, each VIP has a stat that aligns with their nation's statline. So each VIP has an ECONOMY score, a MILITARY score, and so on. They also have two additional VIP only stats, Survivability and HP. Survivability is a representation of how hard they are to kill or disable. HP is a buffer, that prevents them from dying immediately to a single mishap.

To draw up the VIP's stats, I look for stuff in their description that matches up with the game's stats, and allocate a certain amount of points depending on the game. (5 for River Kingdoms, everyone starts with 1 HP, an ADVENTURE score of 1, and three loose points distributed as I see fit.) So a wizard is gonna have a minimum MAG score of 1, possibly 3 at the start of it. But a Wizard who's got a focus in alchemy might have an ECON score as well... One who focuses on fireballs might have a MIL score... That's how it goes.

Using VIPs

Once creation is done, they can do things in play. When they do something that matches up with one of their stat bonuses, they contribute that bonus to the effort! So they're like free buffs. Also, depending on their nature, they might be well-suited to a situation! Like a wizard navigating an arcane themed dungeon, or a cleric going up against a demon... When their "class" or "race" applies very well to what they're doing, I might double the bonus given from their stats for that particular situation.

What's more, everything they do earns them experience. Usually it's - experience for doing something low-risk or boring, and + experience for doing something high risk or entertaining.

Once they get a certain amount of experience, they Level Up, and gain more stat points to distribute as I see fit. Usually it goes toward what they've been doing the most of. So an accountant might not start out the best adventurer, but if you keep throwing him into dungeons then by god, he'll learn.

Of course, it's not without risk. Whenever a VIP runs into something dangerous, they have to make a survival check, with the difficulty based on the resources of the opposition. If they make it, they're unscathed. If they fail, they either A. Lose a HP, or B. Take a negative condition depending on their degree of failure. If they fail by only a little, then they're forced to retreat, or maybe lose an item. If they fail by a lot, then they're crippled, or unusable for a turn. If they fail by a WIDE margin, then they die.

And depending on what they run up against, they might have to make multiple survival checks. Traps, natural disasters, and one shot devices only cause one check, generally. Monsters, assassins, and battlefields cause more, the more time the VIP spends there.

Finally, VIPs may be used to initiate PM-level discussions. Using this ties up the VIP for one turn regardless of the number of discussions... The idea is that they're out playing diplomat, envoy, and secure courier, and don't have time to lead armies or go adventuring. In my games, there is no other legal way to have totally secure conversations besides tapping a VIP for a private meeting.

Odds and Ends

New VIPs: It's entirely possible to recruit new VIPs as a game goes on, either by spending resources to attract or create your own, or running into them randomly. I keep a list of wandering VIPs, actually... Some of them start at higher than base rank. And a few are special.

See, dragons, demons, war golems, and the like are gonna be tougher then the average VIP, so they're probably gonna have a higher point base. So how to model that without overshadowing the regular VIPs?

Simple! Give the oddball VIPs drawbacks! Dragons are GREEDY, and thus cost ECON each turn they're working for you. Outsiders are MANAVORES, and require a certain amount of MAG dedicated to keeping them in this plane. Demons are DEMONIC, and you must devote resources to keeping them under control each turn, or they'll turn on you... Stuff like that.

Scenario-based stuff: In the River Kingdoms, which is loosely based around Pathfinder and D&D, VIPs are the only ones who can equip magic items. Magic items either have situational uses, or increase the VIP's stats. (Armor increases survivability and ADV, weapons increase ADV and MIL, wands increase MAG, etc...)

Also, VIPs are good dungeoneers. As all of them have a minimum ADV skill of at least 1, they bring SOMETHING to the excursion when sending out adventurers to explore dungeons. Naturally, this is a risky business, so it always gains the VIP + of experience...

Conclusion

Right. Whew, that was a long post. At any rate, I find it fairly easy to keep track of VIPs, and they give my players a "Face" to say things through, and something to get attached to as time goes on. I feel that they bring a bit of flavor and RP to the game, and I plan to use variations of this system in any TW game I run. Any questions?

(All credit to Lost Demiurge maker of this excellent set of VIP rules.)