Is it secret? Is it safe? Hideout questions and suggestions

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Duskreign
Joined: 2011-08-10 17:22
Is it secret? Is it safe? Hideout questions and suggestions

I have a confession to make: I am not Duskreign. I am one of his more experienced players and I am taking this opportunity to ask some questions and offer some insights.
How much does a hideout cost? This is not stated and it seems a bit of a stretch to use the castle/fort building rules for a structure that should be secret and nondescript. I have no problems with a hideout's cost/potential profit ratio being the same as other classes, I just think there needs to be some clarification.
As I build my syndicate how many hideouts do I need? Or rather how many people must there be around so that my "business" can flourish?
I have given the idea of what a hideout would look like some thought. Here are two potential ideas
1 - The classic converted warehouse. Old, rundown building in a bad neighbourhood filled with thieves, traps, secret doors, escape tunnels, and an opulent den of sin. The cost would come not from the building, but what was put inside.
2 - A large galley, modified to taste. I personally love this idea. The hideout is based on the ship itself. The cost of the hideout would be in addition to the cost of the ship. The ship would then have hidden cargo holds, crew accommodations well above standard (for the trusted retainers) and other special rooms. Perhaps one could be the planning room, which is lined completely in cork and magically silenced.
In order to see these ideas through those two questions must be answered - how much does one hideout (supporting 30 members) cost, and what population is needed for each hideout in a syndicate?

Tavis
Joined: 2011-07-01 15:40

I think this would be a great opportunity to provide prices for different traps. I imagine that a good hideout costs as much as a good stronghold even though it looks like a dump, because it is so thoroughly riddled with the best security devices money can buy.
This information about trap pricing will also be really useful for wizards building their dungeons. Putting the two together, all it will take to fill the world with Castle Greyhawk-style ruined fortifications with monster- and trap-filled dungeons is the demise of sufficient numbers of parties of high-level characters.

jedo
Adventurer Conqueror King ContributorDwimmermount BackerDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-07-07 17:26

So the main defense for a Citadel is its walls and defenses from the odd army or dragon that might take an interest in it. A hideout's main defense defense is the secret of its location. (Traps are more of a secondary defense- it stops the odd interloper, but in the case of a full on raid by the watch, its there to delay the fuzz while the boys make their escape.) There are probably lots of costs that can come up depending on the nature of how its secret is kept.

For the mobile hideout, (aka a ship, flying castle) the cost of the ship is obvious- its secret is its current location, since it can always keep moving. However if it is assaulted by the authorities, it may not be as defendable, and there are not as many escape options. (see: Deathstar, The)
For the decrepit warehouse across town, keeping its secret would probably involve paying off the local watch, and threatening everyone in the neighborhood to turn a blind eye.
For an underground lair (c.f. Batman, Lex Luthor, Dick Cheney) the construction and digging of plenty of escape tunnels will need to be built by dwarves who can be trusted to keep the secret. (either by coin or slit throat.)
If the hideout uses a front organization to mask its activities, then the running of that business (Especially if it is not profitable) can be an expense.
If the hideout is totally off the radar, like a meeting point in a different alley of the city, under a random bridge, or in a part of the city no one cares to venture into, then any cost savings in building the hideout may be lost in having to spend extra to maintain the moral of the followers. (A fancy hideout should do more for the esprit de corps.)

...and (unlike a castle) if a hideout is assaulted by an enemy it doesn't matter how much physical damage is done- the hideout's secret has been exposed, and it is now an unusable location. The Master Thief has little option other then cut his losses and establish a new hideout at a new undisclosed location, which if it happens a lot will get pretty expensive.

Undercrypt
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion ContributorDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:40

A hideout's main defense ... is the secret of its location.
Interesting. So instead of the construction costs for a typical stronghold, you'd have a list of security costs (paying off the watch, informants, occasional bribes, den of iniquity supplies, false fronts, etc., with traps as an accessory like doors and windows) and the monthly upkeep could be the cost of shuffling it to different "abandoned" locations in the same general area as needed. The cost of the hideout could determine the highest class of the market or city infiltrated, similar to the stronghold cost determining how many hexes it can cover, since bigger cities mean more and higher bribes and the like.
Mistborn springs to mind.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

These are all great ideas, everyone.
Working up a cost for traps is definitely a necessity, but it should be easily doable within the overall economic framework of the game.
It sounds like folks would like to see an even larger elaboration of the Hideout/Syndicate rules, with mechanics for size of syndicate versus city size, chance of a hideout getting discovered or raided, and so on.

Tavis
Joined: 2011-07-01 15:40

Yes, all that and maybe a spy vs. spy hijink resolution thing to handle the process of rival thieves sending out followers to try to uncover one another's hideouts.

Duskreign
Joined: 2011-08-10 17:22

I originally put the following paragraph in a different thread but thought it was more apt here so I pasted it here too!
I have given further thought to Thieves Hideouts. The rules still aren't very clear to me. How I see them working is this - When a thief establishes a hideout, he can pick any urban settlement that exists to buid his hideout. There may or may not be a thief's guild there (if there is, then these are added complications in the form of roleplaying and guildwars). Hideouts (and the Hijinks from them) can be used in an offensive or defensive manner. Offensively, they can be used to uncover vital weaknesses in enemy domains that can be exploited or they could be used to strike fear into an enemies population. Defensively, they can be used to uncover plots that enemy realms are planning on PC domains. Either way this is largely a layer of mechanics/roleplaying that already exist in the form of Hijinks. Determining whether the hideout is offensive or defensive is really a matter of placement. If the hideout is placed within a PCs realm it is likely for defense. Secretly placed within an enemies realm would make its use an offensive one. If Hideouts were cheaper than the standard castles, then it would be easier for thieves to create a network (syndicate) of Hideouts for both uses (but with plenty more complications). This opens up all kinds of roleplaying and potential hooks with traitors, turncoats, subterfuge and guild wars. I think this has the potential to be a boatload of fun!