Patron Hack and a New Special Ability

So, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Patron special ability. It feels weird to me to have an ability that is about factional relationships not be tied to the Faction status system in any way. So for my new Shadows campaign, I’ve scrapped it and replaced it with this rule:

When you have +3 Faction status with a Faction of higher Tier than your own, they become your Patron. While you have a Patron, the cost to advance in Tier is half of what it would otherwise be. If you advance to the same Tier as your Patron, or you lose status with them, you lose this benefit.

I think something similar to this was in an earlier version of the game and I like this because it feels like a nice counterbalance to the War rule - it feels like if there’s a huge penalty to having enemies, their should be a huge benefit to having friends. And it gives the PCs a tangible reason to make friends with other factions.

Now, because I functionally removed a Special Ability from the Shadows playbook, I feel like I owe it to the players to come up with some other option to put on there. Plus, designing special abilities is fun. Here’s what I came up with:

Been Here All Along: When anyone in the crew uses a flashback to reveal that a character is present in a scene - whether through stealth, subterfuge or disguise - it never costs Stress (although you may still need to make a roll).

I might need to work on the wording, but this is basically the Mission: Impossible “peel off the mask” move. I like it because it feels in line with the Crew type, it encourages creativity and it ties into a fun mechanic in the game. Inspired in large part by the Bonefeel move from the Savvyhead in Apocalypse World.

So what do you all think of these ideas?


Sounds like a fun idea, but i don’t see as much of a need to replace Patron with it, personally. To me, Patron implies a more… direct relationship with a particular individual. You care about this person that’s paying for all your stuff, not about the faction they are a part of - and there’s something to be said for making a distinction there, i think. By which i mean - that fiction of working for a person not a faction is still interesting in its own right.

Side note: that special ability is super cool

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That’s totally fair! And to be clear, I don’t think Patron is a terrible ability or anything - I just feel like trying something a bit different. I’ll report back with how it goes!

And thank you for the compliment! I’m excited to show it to the players. In general, I like the idea of having more abilities connected to Flashbacks - it’s an aspect of the game I often notice people forgetting and having abilities tied to it will hopefully forefront it a bit.


Yeah, that special ability is really good! Thanks for sharing it.