Hacking MHR Affiliations

I have an unnatural love for MHR (Marvel Heroic Roleplaying). I think about it under the shower, and am planning on sending Cam Banks a mail to marry it (the game, not Cam Banks – I am not that much into redheads). Anyway. There are plenty of great hacks out there, and I see opportunity for a lot more. But first, I would like to summarize all the different alternate rules and hacks I have found for subparts of the game. Some are mine, some are from other people. I will do one post for each big thing, and start with AFFILIATIONS.

Affiliation-hacking considerations

First, a really cool discussion on it from some other cool place. Basically, don’t use Solo / Buddy / Team unless it is really relevant to your game. So you will likely have to make your own, but should consider the following important points:

  • Affiliations are the one thing that everyone has.
  • Affiliations are the one thing that will be in every pool. Therefore, they define a lot of the game flow.
  • They need to cover the whole range of actions done in the game. If an action cannot be linked to an affiliation, your affiliations have a problem.
  • Conversely, the range of actions need to be more or less evenly shared between all affiliations. If an affiliation is used all the time, and another is never used, your affiliations have a problem.
  • They need to be of different values, else you lose the rythm of the game. There are some games out there allowing players to choose d6/d8/d10, d8/d8/d8 or d6/d6/d12, but I would really not recommend it, especially not the d8/d8/d8. I could theoretically see a d4/d8/d12 work.
  • They need to be non-overlapping. This one is a bit more difficult, but necessary in my opinion.

Ideally, your affiliations should able to look like an evenly split pie chart. Note that you don’t have to keep only three Affiliations (even though it usually is better):

  • 4 Affiliations: d6/d6/d8/d10
  • 5 Affiliations: d6/d6/d8/d8/d10
  • 6 Affiliations: d6/d6/d8/d8/d10/d10

Seriously, don’t go over 6.

Affiliation-hacking Examples

I will list only the ones I feel respect the above points.

  • Steel / Guile / Lore (Sword and Sorcery Hack)
  • Earth / Water / Fire / Air / Void (L5R Hack)
  • Physical / Social / Mental (WoD Hack)
  • Destruction / Construction / Protection (Conan Hack)
  • Command / Ops / Science (Star Trek Hack)
  • Relationships (Mass Effect Hack, see below)
  • Grifter / Hacker / Hitter / Mastermind / Thief (yes, Leverage Roles are affiliations!)
  • Defender / Striker / Leader / Controller (DD4E suggestion, interesting but might be difficult to use outside of battle)
  • Valor / Compassion / Conviction / Temperance (Exalted Hack)
  • Body / Mind / Force (Star Wars Hack)

For the Mass Effect Relationships, this is an idea for a hack I am building. It is based on the relationship part of this article. Each character has an affiliation dice with every other character and a Solo d6. When Solo, use Solo. When in a Buddy situation, use the Relationship dice of the character you are with. When in a team situation, use the higher relationship dice you have in the Team (or the lower, still hesitating). Aaaand… that’s it! Now go and start making affiliations for your game, and remember that they are the soul of your game. so don’t mess it up

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