Director Tips: Some (Dragon) Skin in the Game

Recently, a fellow has been inquiring about offering agents Dragon Skin armor in his game.

Jess writes:

“In a modern game some players are always going to want the top of the line that is available in the real world. Just trying to cover my bases as a Director before the request arises. For me I think the rating of the Kevlar with ceramic plates, 8/4, should be the MOST any other real world armor should have.”

Here’s my response which, while directed towards Jess gives you some options:

A couple of counters to that–the Agency thrives on discretion, so would not necessarily kit out agents on things which could draw attention (such as highly regulated Dragon Skin). With all the other offerings, it’s easy to say “No, but how about X”. It’s also something that could be doled out on particularly dangerous missions solely at the Director (your) discretion or, alternately, you could say, “that simply doesn’t exist” which is entirely possible based upon how you want to shape your world. Not as satisfying as giving them some Dragon Skin and let them know when take it, it could in all likelihood increase the potential threat level of encountered hostiles, etcetera. I’ve run this for a number of folks and they have been quite satisfied with the range of what’s available rather than the edge cases of what’s not. Another solution is to Rank it at as Heroic or Legendary, so they can’t expect the Agency to waste some valuable resources on new recruits. ;)

Ultimately, the bottom line is to make sure your group is having fun. If you want the game to play out like a James Bond movie, think of how often Bond is in heavy armor (the answer is never). If you start allowing this type of defense creep into your game, you’re not playing a spy game and are drifting more into a paramilitary game (which is okay, Agents of Oblivion can handle it, but it is, admittedly, a different genre. The more protection the agents have, the less likely they are going to use discretion, and you’re going to have some reduced tension unless, and here’s the big secret, you have some baddies in there who could care less that the agents have armor, like the Moonstrong who have claws with either high AP or ignore armor completely. You have to make certain the agents always have some skin in the game (Dragon or otherwise) or they are going to get sloppy. Sometimes the biggest favor you can give your players is to say no.

Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!

1 Note on “Director Tips: Some (Dragon) Skin in the Game”

  1. Thanks for the words of advice Sean.
    My game is going to be more of an X Files meets Dollhouse type of affair with some high end equipment thrown in, rather than the traditional espionage game. I am a fan of Fringe, the short lived Bionic Woman remake, and the like, as well as the aforementioned shows, and I was just waiting for a contemporary sci fi Savage Worlds system to emerge. With its toolkit, build your own genre approach, AOO seemed to come closest.
    That being said, I am more partial to the low key investigative feel of the X Files over something extremely paramilitary, so I am happy for the advice on how to respond to requests for top end armor!

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