At some point every cadre must acquire a place to call home, even if only briefly between voyages. The benefits of a haven are many, from providing storage for the loot collected delving ancient ruins, to acting as a a place to rest, train and plan between adventures, embark on business, or even a place to work on new creations that may change the very history of the world.
This content is an optional add-on intended to provide inspiration. These rules shouldn’t replace role play or lower level systems, just supplement them.
Aka: Den, Lair, Burrow, Haunt, Refuge, Sanctuary, Property
Every good crew needs one; a place to plan, rest, hide, keep their gear, and, inevitably, wait out the mess they’ve caused elsewhere. It’s no good to have all your conversations out in public where any rake can hear, to keep your ill-gotten gains and contraband tools under your mattress, or to bring all the trouble of your trouble-making deeds home to your family.
Sure, lots of amateurs get away without them, but that’s why they’re amateurs; no one takes those guys seriously… besides, a haven doesn’t have to be something fancy. In fact, better if it isn’t! The best hideouts are places out of the way; lost and forgotten often means safe.
Elements of a Haven ∞
Name: An easy to remember name for the place.
Description: A high level description of the place.
Location: Culture, City, District or General Area
Controlled By: The name of the cadre or crew in control of the haven.
Haven Aspects ∞
Each haven has the following aspects rated on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being poor or nonexistent and 5 being extraordinary or singular. The abstract cost to increase any given aspect is new level x 100g but this can be circumvented by in-game actions.
Examples: The characters steal a set of masterwork locks and use them in the haven raising the Security level; an Artisan character or NPC ally uses salvaged wood to build an extension, adding capacity at reduced cost; a mechanist NPC hooks the haven up to heating, water and power to increase the amenities in return for a favour. The higher the Aspect, the more significant the cost to upgrade should be, in time, effort, and money, but creative thinking should be rewarded.
How hard is it to get into the place? Is it a couple of blankets on sticks in a hedge in the park, a tin shack leaning against a factorum with rotten boards for doors, a house with a set of sturdy doors and locks or a first age Orick vault in the undercity? The more secure a haven is the harder it is get into and a truly secure haven might have high quality locks, doors with reinforced frames and hinges, window locks, and more that make gaining entry even more difficult. Each point in security increases the difficulty for someone to breach the haven or get in unnoticed.
How big is the place? Is it a tiny storage room in the tunnels beneath the city, an abandoned warehouse in a bad part of town, or a palatial estate on in the noble quarter? The higher the capacity the more folks and stuff you can comfortably keep in the place and the more facilities you can add to it. Each point in capacity represents enough space for 3 people and their gear and impacts how many facility slots are available for upgrades.
How well appointed is this place? Is it a filthy cave without power or water, a guard tower connected to the sewers and power lines, or a self-sufficient first age structure with its own Helion engine? The higher the amenities rating the more comfortable it is to stay there and the more facilities you can add to it. Each point in amenities improves the stress regeneration rate of anyone living there by 1/week.
The opposite of amenities are conditions. Conditions represent distinct elements of a haven that have a negative impact on inhabitants, reducing its effectiveness as a place of rest and penalizing stress recovery when staying there. Examples include things like vermin, filth, structural flaws, noisy location, or hotspot for authorities. Each Condition is a distinct flaw representing something wrong with the place and imposes a -1 penalty to stress recovery for anyone staying there.
Structure is to Havens as Health is to Characters. A haven that gets set on fire or has a wall broken down isn’t going to be a great hideout for long. Structure is rated on 1-5 but actually damaging a structure requires more than hitting it with a sword; acts that reduce the structure must be plausibly capable of doing so, exceeding a difficulty rating to reduce the structure by 1.
Used only for covert groups, operating on the edges of, or outside the authority of local powers, if Structure is akin to Health, Heat is akin to Stress. The more people know about a haven, the higher the heat. Let the heat get too high and you’re likely to get a visit from a competitor, or worse, the Guard. Let it go beyond that and you might have to abandon the place, at the very least temporarily. Heat is determined and tracked by the Storyteller based on the Cadre’s actions. Examples of actions that can increase heat include banditry based out of the haven, bringing untrustworthy people in, getting followed back, or revealing the havens existence to others in a drunken rant.
Facilities is a derived haven aspect determined by multiplying the Amenities rating by Capacity. Facilities are the more subjective traits of a place and the Facilities value determines the maximum number of facilities a haven can support. This number can be increased by improving the underlying Amenities or Capacity aspects of the haven. A list of possible facilities are provided below each with their own benefits, but these are only examples and players are encouraged to suggest and develop others. As with Aspects, adding Facilities costs new level x 100g, but should reflect in-game actions as well.
Fortifications: Particularly important for havens outside of the confines of civilization, fortifications are things like palisades, arrow slits, choke points, and traps. Each point represents some specific upgrade and adds a general bonus to rolls to defend the property.
Greenspace: From a narrow garden in an alley to a greenhouse or even an acre of cultivated land, greenspace provides either food or income to the Cadre, reducing the Upkeep by 1g for each point, or bringing the level in gelt/week.
Guardians: A trained Clanbar, armed scrapjack, or just a tough friend with a bit of steel. Guards are a good way to improve the security of a place. The higher the level the more dangerous or skilled the guard.
Hidden: The haven or its entrances are carefully hidden from common sight. Maybe the haven is hidden in the depths of the cities utility tunnels, or its entrances have been concealed behind sliding bookcases or trapdoors. A hidden haven imposes a penalty on those looking to find it.
Libraries: A few books and some floor plans can go a long way, and a luminar even farther. A library need not be a dusty room filled with tomes; this facility just represents a collection of knowledge of some sort. The higher the level, the better the bonus to relevant checks (typically, but not necessarily, Lore) when using the library for research. Types of Library: Technical, Social, Historical, Arcane…
Luxuries: The haven has been decorated and has some aesthetic luxuries intended to impress, from paintings, rugs, and hunting trophies, to impressive fixtures, tapestries, or carved reliefs, a well decorated location can grant a bonus to cadre social checks when bringing certain outsiders in… it also just makes the place feel cozy.
Material Upgrade: A skilled architect or artisan can find novel ways to reinforce a haven using higher quality materials. Each point in Material upgrade acts as a multiplier to the haven’s Structure aspect.
Secret Exits: A zipline from the top of the tower, or a hidden door into an adjacent sewer tunnel. Whatever the case it’s a good way to get out when things get hot. The higher the level, the harder it is to find and the more of an advantage it gives on rolls to escape the haven.
Stables: The haven has facilities for the storage and maintenance of draft animals such as horses, from short term stalls to a barn and paddock. Each point in this allows for the storage of 2 horses and associated gear.
Staff: Cooks, Stewards, Drudges, Domestics, and Craftsmen are all useful to have around, and each brings their own benefit to the haven, but they also each have a cost and for more covert groups represent a potential source of heat.
Storage: The haven has dedicated storage facilities such as a cold room, cellar, supply closet, storehouse, or armoury. Each point in storage adds a point to the haven’s capacity, but cannot exceed the capacity.
Surgery: A medical area from a dingy cutting room to a sterile operating theatre, is a boon for anyone who might need healing. Characters gain a bonus to Medicine checks equal to the level of this facility.
Technological Facilities: The list provided represents the most commonly available facilities for most cadres, but there are certainly more advanced options out there. Proto-fostrians, Clatterjacks, Nexi, Massless Barriers, and other first age wonders can all be sought out to improve a haven and each brings their own benefits and costs. These sorts of things aren’t usually purchasable on the open market though so if you’re interested, talk to the storyteller.
Training Room: You want to practice something but you don’t want anyone to see you do it? A training room is a good option; a padded ring and some wooden weapons for combat training; an obstacle course for athletics; a set of locks and dummies for training larceny. The higher the level a training room, the higher skills can be trained there, for both PCs and NPC allies.
Vault: A secured room or container for storing goods. The higher the level, the more secure the vault (though it does not increase the security of the haven itself)
Workshop: An area or room with various tools for a specific craft; forges and anvils for Metalwork, looms and tanning facilities for textiles, retorts and alembics for alchemy, etc. The higher the level, the better the tools. Types of Workshop: Alchemy, Metalwork, Textiles, Tech.
Havens require maintenance and attention and a neglected haven quickly degrades. The cost of upkeep is determined by averaging a haven’s Security, Capacity, and Amenities scores and consulting the table below. Each week this upkeep is not met the Storyteller rolls 2d10 + Upkeep against a difficulty of 16. On a success nothing happens, on a failure something breaks the haven acquires a new condition, and on a critical failure multiple things go wrong and two conditions are added.
|0-1||Rough||The haven is barely better than the wilds, offering little more than an interior space to gather. Operating from this haven isn’t ideal but it at least gives you somewhere to stay out of the rain and it’s definitely cheap.||0g|
|1-2||Basic||The haven has seen some work or investment and offers some bare amenities. Operating from this haven doesn’t offer much, but it’s getting there. It costs little to keep it up.||1g/week|
|2-3||Average||The haven is a decent space. Operating from this haven grants a minor advantage but there is some cost to keeping it that way.||5g/week|
|3-4||Good||The haven has seen considerable investment and work and offers all the amenities necessary for the crew relax and operate. Operating from this haven grants advantage.||10g/week|
|4-5||Excellent||The haven is in superb condition, with all necessary amenities and several above that. Operating from this haven grants considerable advantage.||20g/week|
Other Property Types ∞
The content above assumes the perspective of havens as part of an urban scoundrel campaign but these are only one of several property types. The rules above are designed to be flexible enough to alternate forms of property such as those described below.
Properties come in many types, from small apartments and chambers in larger structures, to free standing homes and camps, to large estates, outposts, and even strongholds and fortresses. Smaller properties can typically be rented for a fee, or purchased with enough coin, but larger ones can be more difficult. Unless the property is located outside of the dominion of a major culture obtaining title typically involves both reputation and coin. Below are some example properties.
Apartment or Chamber ∞
An individual or small number of rooms within a shared structure such as an inn, common house, castle, or tower. The most basic and common sort of property within the reach of most, such properties are typically only useful as resting places and require payment of ongoing rent. These small urban properties are great for travelers who may only be in a given locale for a short while but still need somewhere to lay their heads and plot their activities but less than ideal for large groups which may need more than one set of chambers to accommodate the full cadre.
Cottage, Camp or House ∞
A small free-standing property, usually modestly priced, and in the case of the first two outside protection of city or town. Cottages and Camps are rarely subject to oversight as they are often located away from centers of power. Houses on the other hand require owners to be citizens or ingratiate themselves with the local authorities. In either case these structures provide additional opportunities for the character to construct additions, hire staff, and undertake longer term projects. A camp or house can easily evolve into an outpost or estate with enough investment and time.
An estate refers to any large single or multi-building property purchased or received within a city or town. These always require that the purchaser be a citizen of the culture or in the good graces of the local authorities. Estate prices differ depending on a variety of factors; the culture, the relationship of the characters to the local authorities and previous owner, the quality of the area the estate is located in, the condition of the estate, etc. An estate is a place for even the largest groups of adventurers to call home, a place to rest and relax, to organize their affairs and pursue their own personal interests. Purchasing or accepting title for an estate is also a symbol of a cadres long-term intents and can lead to new contacts and leads. Estates provide ample opportunities to customize and expand, evolving to fit the needs of the occupants.
Stronghold or Outpost ∞
Towns in and of themselves, a Stronghold is a large fortified property, usually multi storey, designed to be relatively self sufficient. The difference between a Stronghold and an Outpost is largely in how far away they are from the nearest major population center. These properties are rarely sold; most who seek one must build one or restore the ruins of one, or be granted control by a local ruler. A stronghold is a place to establish ones own dominance over the land and accepting or acquiring one always comes with more responsibility than simply own property. Strongholds built near existing centers of power must be at both the permission and service of the authorities or they could be seen as a threat. Strongholds are expected to secure their own land and contribute to the defense of their realm and may be expected to raise militias or provide horses and soldiers when requested.