SAGE Organized Roleplaying Campaign Rules (SAGE-ORC)


Version 1.8; Copyright 2009 Revenant Games.

v1.4 2008-11-11: Removed contradictory paragraph in Signature Characters about receiving XP based on current level. XP rewards and level are properly described in section 1.5.
v1.5 2009-09-29: Replaced Bronze with Copper Scenarios and added Prize Certificate Quality.
v1.6 2009-10-26: Updated Judges guide NPC information. Added more detail to play-test XP player rewards.
v1.7 2009-11-01: Clarified Signature vs Unlimited character wording.
v1.8 2010-01-30: Added 'No Sale' Cert tag.
v1.9 2010-03-28: Changed Table buiding rules for 1st level characters. The table max level cap always bottoms out at 2, not 1.


1.0 Players Guide
2.0 Regions
3.0 Judges Guide
4.0 Campaign Coordination


The SAGE ORC Rules are designed as general Organized Roleplaying Game Campaign Rules. The distinction of an Organized Roleplaying Game Campaign and other Organized Play games is the ongoing continuity of story and plot. ORC campaigns are multi-year RPG plots where the player's actions have a direct result on the outcome of the storyline, and are played on a global scale.

These rules are largely game independent where possible. That is to say these rules are geared to be used with many RPG games with little to no alterations. In the interest of serving the community, the SAGE ORC Rules also fall under an OGL.

There are a few primary Goals which are considered to be of importance throughout these rules:

  • The campaign rules are to be flexible to the players wants and needs, without creating a political bureaucracy nor overbearing ultimatums, and without sacrificing game integrity.
  • Encourage a Gentleman's code-of-conduct among players and coordinators, similar to writers "constructive criticism" behavior.
  • Avoid an "us or them" battle with any other Organized Play Campaigns, all campaigns have their merits.
  • Avoid encumbering politics: to be run as an organization of peers, not a hierarchy of power.
  • Encourage diversity of input and opinions.
  • Distributed Self-Service workload. Rather than channeling all activities through a single bottleneck, as many features as possible are setup as self-service online.

Notes on specific Campaign Changes

It is assumed that changes to these rules will be made for each specific campaign. These changes from this Core document should be included in the Campaign Declarations.

These ORC rules originally were designed for Wyrmstone and Spymaster which use Fantasycraft and Spycraft. Because of this, they reference some Crafty Games' rules. Where possible this is being abstracted, and it is assumed that of these ORC rules will be updated to suit the specific campaign.

1.0 Players Guide

You have arrived at the gateway to limitless adventure! Organized Roleplaying Campaigns (ORC) are a true community creation, forged by the choices of thousands of players, coordinators and authors across the globe. They can be played both as a home game, or as part of the larger global campaign where players around the globe share experiences!

If you are not familiar with ORC, they are simply methods that allow many different players to participate in a single campaign around the world. Players can play at home, at retail stores and at conventions. These campaigns are a great way to meet new people and play with old and new friends. ORC gameplay is also a great way for people who are finding their lives get busier and busier with each year to still be able to participate in their favorite gaming, as the schedule demands are adjustable, you can play when you have time.

Each ORC campaign can use its own rules system, as described in the Campaign Declaration along with any exemptions and inclusions as appropriate. As a player and Author you are likely not allowed to use every published iteration of every rule that could be available to you. To keep things on an even playing field, the campaign staff selects from the available rules to create a balanced body of available rules.

1.1 Rule Number One: The Story is King

The primary goal of any ORC session is to maintain game energy and make sure everyone has fun. The Story is more important than the Rules! One of the biggest ways any game can get derailed is when the players and game control get mired in wrestling with the rules. Rule One seeks to combat this in two ways:

First, a reiteration of an old gaming saw: Sometimes you have to improvise. Judges in any game are allowed to pick and choose which rules are used during a given situation, and possibly even use variant or simpler rules to adjudicate a situation. This concept is not new to the world of RPGs, and the campaign reaffirms this ability for the Judge.

In practice, this may mean that a Judge may fall back on the tried and true "gimme a roll" technique rather than snatching up the rulebook to ensure that every modifier is applied to the situation. Players should support the Judge when this happens. Ultimately, it's about the collective story the group is telling--arguments about situational modifiers or precise rules wording sap all the energy from the experience, and can destroy everyone's fun. Conversely, Judges should remember it is a shared narrative experience, and avoid steamrolling player input, as they are part of the shared narrative as well.

We discourage argument, regardless of who may be right. If arguments start to build, the Judge is allowed to simply invoke Rule Number One, and players are encouraged to respect it in the interests of keeping the story flowing smoothly. Save rules discussion for the post-game conversation.

Second, in keeping with the concept of minimizing rules disputes, players and Judges running a SAGE-ORC table are encouraged to play with No Rulebooks at the Table. This is a surprising assertion, we know. We are asking players to think outside the typical Organized Play box.

When a game session is in progress, simply put the books away. Of course the books are still required to be owned following the standard rules, and if a quick check is needed, so be it. Heavily referencing a book during a game, however, just slows down action. Avoid it. As a player, if you're not immediately involved in the action, don't use the time as a chance to pour over your rulebook. Pay attention to the story. As a Judge, don't be afraid to use "gimme a roll" rather than slow play to a crawl with a ten-minute rulebook consultation.

1.2 The Storytelling Experience

There has come to be an expectation in the Organized Play environment that every running of a scenario should be as close to the same as the last. This is a deviation from the entire concept of storytelling. For centuries Storytelling has been a shared experience by both the Storyteller and the audience. However, the modern Storyteller is quite different from the storyteller of times past. Because of modern media the audience has been trained to expect a single story that never changes regardless of the telling.

We instead encourage the philosophy that each storyteller will tell the story in their own distinct way, working with the characters at the table to generate a unique and fun experience. We encourage the players and judges to embrace this idea and to not be concerned about having a reproducible and consistent experience for every table. That is an unrealistic expectation. For that sort of experience one can instead play a computer game or watch a movie. It is important to remember that this is not a tournament. The term "game" is only loosely applied because there is no winner.

1.3 Required Materials and Campaign Declarations

Campaign Staff should create an addendum to the SAGE-ORC rules enumerating each Rulebook included in the campaign, along with supplemental caveats. These are the Campaign Declarations. In the Campaign Declarations are two groups of Rulebooks:

Core Rules

These rules are critical to the campaign, and each player or judge must own a copy of these rules. Because of this, the Core Rules list should be kept to a small list.

Supplemental Rules

Any supplemental rules can be included along with caveats on how they are included. Players are only required to own supplemental rulebooks when they use rules from them for part of their character.

Rules Limitations

Not all rules will work in a SAGE-ORC campaign. Because of this, rules may be given one of four qualifiers:
  • Limited -- The rule may be used by players if they have access to the rule as granted by a Certificate.
  • Restricted -- The rule may be used only by NPC's.
  • Removed -- The rule is removed from play in the campaign.
  • Open -- The rule is available for play by any player or any NPC.

1.4 Characters

Because of the Philosophy of Rule Number One and the concept of "just have fun", ORC has an approach to Character management unique among Organized Play RPG campaigns. ORC Campaigns support both standard character advancement (Signature Characters) and ad-hoc character play (Unlimited Characters).

Signature Characters

A Player can have any number of Signature Characters. Each Signature is tracked with their own Character Journal. Furthermore--to encourage balanced play and to avoid the 'second fiddle' syndrome of lower level characters--when playing at a table, Signature Characters may be played at any level they have reached. For instance, a level-10 Signature Character may be played at level-1 through level-10 (see Section 1.5 Table Level for more information). It is for this reason that a Character Build for each level of a Signature Character should be maintained and available.

Unlimited Characters

A Player can have any number of Unlimited Characters. Unlimited characters do not advance, do not have continuity, nor do they track Experience. They can be created at any level, with any legal character build combination. Because of this Signature Characters receive special certificates that are not provided for Unlimited characters.

Unlimited Characters are allowed to use Meta-game Organizations for a single adventure. Prior to the start of an adventure, Unlimited Characters may receive access to a Meta-Org by meeting the Meta-Org requirements and expending the total required Reputation.

Experience Points (XP) and Reputation

Experience and Reputation may be gained for playing or running an ORC event, as follows:

  • Scenarios may only be played once per player.
  • Unlimited Characters do not track Experience, but may track additional things depending upon the campaign (such as Reputation).
  • Signature Characters must start at Level 1, and track experience from that point forward.
  • Signature Characters must keep a copy of each Level character sheet.
  • Signature Characters gain XP rewards as detailed in the scenario's Rewards section.
  • Signature Characters run through a pre-release play-test Silver, Gold or Electrum adventure receive an immediate reward of 100*TL (this reward can only be received once per scenario). Furthermore, when the scenario is officially released the play test Judge can provide a regular XP reward based on how the characters completed the play test to the best of their ability (and this latter can be used for any level of Adventure).
  • If a character dies in a play-test, they may ignore the standard death penalty and instead burn the scenario--collecting no XP rewards as well as no penalties for death, but they also may not play the scenario again.
  • When a Judge runs a scenario without having ever played it (i.e. "burns it"), they may select one Signature Character and apply the full XP and Reputation to that Character, as if that character had played the scenario at their max level and received all rewards and all objectives were met; when a mission features exclusive objectives, the GC chooses which exclusive objectives apply). The Journal must be signed by at least 2 of the players at the event, with heir SAGE ID, and the text "Burned Scenario" must be written in the notes section. A Judge may earn this reward only once for a given scenario.
  • When a Judge runs a scenario and does not collect rewards from burning it, they may select one Signature Character and apply the XP and Reputation to that Character, as if that character had played the scenario at half their max level and received all rewards and all objectives were met; when a mission features exclusive objectives, the GC chooses which exclusive objectives apply). The Journal must be signed by at least 2 of the players at the event, with heir SAGE ID, and the text "Ran Scenario" must be written in the notes section. A Judge may not earn this reward if they are earning the reward for burning a scenario.

1.5 Table Size and Table/Threat/Average-Party Level

Any ORC game may run with 3-6 players per table. However, it is recommended to run with 4-5 players wherever possible.

Signature and Unlimited characters bring a new twist to figuring out the table level. Threat Level (TL) or APL are similar concepts depending upon the rules system. For this document we use the term Threat level.

In essence: each character can be played at a level lower than the current level, this is the game level. All of the character's game levels must be equal to or +/- one level from the lowest level character at the table. The fully explained rules which apply when calculating the Threat level of a SAGE-ORC game:

  • Only Signature Characters are used in determining the Threat Level of a table.
  • Signature Characters have a Current Level, which is the character level based on its current experience.
  • Signature Characters may be played at any level from level-1 to their Current Level.
  • Identify the Signature Character with the lowest Current Level. This is the baseline for the Capped Table Range. The capped table range is plus or minus one level from the lowest Current Level or 2 if the lowest level is 1. For example, if the lowest level Signature Character is level-4, the Capped Table Range is levels 3, 4 and 5; or if the lowest level Signature Character is level-1, the Capped Table Range is levels 1, 2 and 3.
  • Signature Characters may be played at any level within the capped table range, as long as the selected level is at or below the Current Level of the Signature Character. This is the character's Game Level.
  • If a Signature Character's Current Level is above the Capped Table Range, they are still allowed to be played at a Game Level within the Capped Table Range.
  • If a Signature Character's Current Level is below the Capped Table Range, you didn't calculate things correctly, go back and recalculate!
  • Once all of the Signature Character's Game Levels are determined, the Threat Level of the table is determined following the standard rules, based on the Character's Game Levels, not their Current levels. Threat Level change effects can then be applied as described in the Core Rulebook (if applicable).
  • Unlimited Characters are played at the table's Threat Level, as if that were the characters Game Level.
  • Experience rewards are factored based on the Game Level of the characters, not the Current Level.
  • A Scenario's Threat Level may only be modified by unanimous agreement; if even one player dissents, the default Threat Level is used.
  • All Characters must be fully completed at the selected Game Level before the game starts. It should take no more than five minutes to prep an Unlimited or Signature Character for play at a table. For this reason it is recommended that players have a library of Unlimited Character builds at various levels, and it is strongly suggested to keep a build of the Signature Characters at all levels they can be played--or at the least keep a version at every three levels.
  • Events are given the discretion to pre-determine a target Threat Level range before hand, by stating: This Event will run at Threat Level 4-8 or TL 4-8. Events can also try to pre-muster players of similar levels together.

1.5 Campaign Documentation

All Campaign Documentation must be filled out in ink.

Player Identification (SAGE ID)

Having a SAGE website Login is required to play any ORC sponsored campaign. Your Website Login is your SAGE ID. Website Logins are free for players. The website login name is recorded on the Character Journal. This website login is the SAME LOGIN as your login for any SAGE sponsored ORC Campaign, and for the older Living Spycraft Campaign.

Character Journal

Signature Characters are tracked using a Character Journal. This Journal tracks:

Character Name (or Alias)
Scenario Log -- A log of all scenarios the character has been in. This is signed by the Judge at the end of each table.
Notable Subplots and Certs -- A description of any subplots and notable Certificates that may exist for the character.
Other relevant rules-specific information -- This should be limited however possible, it is easy for it to get out of control. Typically this is merely Experience or Reputation.

The Character Journal is handed to the judge for review at the start of each game. Character Journals are enumerated, and new ones may be created as a player desires.

Character Dossier

This document is custom for each game system. It should be a small 3x5 to half-page sheet summarizing the character high points. This sheet is handed to the judge at the beginning of each game. The high points can include secret skill checks, hitpoints, vitality, initiative, etc.

Character Sheet

Players are required to have a valid completed Character Sheet for their character (Signature or Unlimited), at the described level. If the character is a Signature Character, a copy of each prior level build is also required.

Certificates ("Certs")

Certificates -- or "certs" -- represent specific notoriety, favors, accomplishments or other notable things a character earns during play. The specific effect of each cert is described on the Cert. Certs are printed in a playing-card sized area, for ease of tracking by the Players. Certs must be on-hand for characters to receive the benefit described on a cert.

When a Cert is received, the Cert Name is recorded in the Certs/Notes section of the Character Journal for the Scenario, and the Judge signs and dates (in ink) the individual Certs handed to each player.

Certs may not be traded, and are only usable by the player and/or character to whom they are granted.

When a cert is no longer able to be used (it is Finite, etc) it must be Destroyed. Certs can be destroyed by either tearing them up, or by drawing a line in ink through the entire cert (if the player wishes to keep the Cert).

There are three types of Certs: Player Certs and Character Certs. Player certs are given to individual players, and may be used by the player at any SAGE-ORC sponsored Campaign. Character Certs are given to specific characters, and may only be used when that character is played.

Some certs have special qualities, as follows. These qualities may not apply to all game systems, and only those qualities that apply to a given system need be used.

  • Access: The Character has access to the rule or item. Authors using this certificate must get permission from the Council.
  • Accomplishment: This recognizes a notable accomplishment of the Character. It generally does not ever go away.
  • Cumulative: Unless otherwise specified, when a character gains more than 1 copy of a cumulative cert, he is subject to the combined effects of all copies of the cert in his possession. For example, when a character possesses 2 copies of the Enmity of W.A.R.D. cert, each of which inflicts a -1 penalty with certain skill checks, he suffers a -2 penalty with these checks. Note that any cert without this quality is not cumulative, and multiple copies have no effect.
  • Exclusive: Only 1 character may benefit from each specific exclusive cert at each table during each event. This character must be chosen before play begins. If the players cannot agree about who benefits, each character possessing the cert rolls 1d20 and adds his career level, with the highest result benefiting from the cert.
  • Finite: This cert may only be used a finite number of times, as noted by the Cert. Each time the cert is used, the Finite quantity is reduced (or a checkbox is filled in with ink if available). When the Finite quantity is reduced to zero or all checkboxes are filled, the Cert is depleted and must be destroyed (as described above). A common use of Finite is as a Favor, where the character can call on the named NPC as a contact of the listed grade, for a specific purpose. Unless otherwise defined, all certs are considered to be Finite 1.
  • Limited: A character may only be subject to 1 of each specific limited cert at any given time.
  • Minimum Level X: This cert may only be gained by a character whose career level equals or exceeds the indicated minimum.
  • No Sale: This cert may not be sold or refunded. If the character does not wish to possess it any more, it is lost.
  • Prize, or Prize Slot X: This cert represents a Prize, following the rules of Prizes within the Fantasy Craft game system. If Slot is defined this prize takes X slots (where X may be 0 or more). This quality may only be added in Silver and Gold scenarios. If the Slot is not defined, it is assumed the Prize Slot is 1.
  • Report: This cert must be recorded on the Judge Character Journal which is handed to the Judge before each section.
  • Signature: This certificate may only be used by Signature Characters. Without this tag, the certificate may be used by either Signature or Unlimited characters.
  • Status: This describes a specific status or condition the Character is placed under, such as Wanted. The only way to change or remove a Status is described in the flavor text. Many status items are event Triggers (as explained in the description).

Any cert with none of these qualities may be possessed and used in any quantity at each table during each event.

1.7 Effect Durations

If playing a Signature Character, the only permanent Effects that carry from session to session are those described in a Certificate, or Death.

1.8 On Decorum

While playing a SAGE game, characters are often tasked with all manner of mayhem. It is vital that no one "cross the line" (especially during convention and in-store games where underage children may be present). Players are expected to conduct themselves honestly and be considerate to the rest of the SAGE community. Everyone should strive to be courteous and avoid gratuitous descriptions of potentially questionable activities (including but not limited to theft and assassination).

In most cases, the Judge has all the tools required to suitably chastise a character who is crossing the line -- in the form of warnings and possible exposure penalties. Should a dispute arise that cannot be resolved with a minimum of fuss, however, a member of the campaign staff or local event staff may have to be summoned.

Be good to each other, and have fun!

1.9 Complaints

For this campaign to function, there must be a degree of honesty and a simple code of trust between players. We would hope that the community can maintain this level of professionalism. However we also understand that there are those who will violate this trust.

If anyone (player, coordinator, etc) suspects another of breaking any of the rules, poor gameplay, outright cheating, or even simply of abusing their position, they should submit a description to the Council and the Council will investigate.

2.0 Regions

Regions in the Game World are assigned to Coordinators by the Council. These positions are held for a period of time and may be continued (See Elections above). The purpose of Regions in the campaign is to provide Meta-Game story community. Some campaigns may elect to not use Regions. Gameplay is not restricted by Region, other than event specific Level-4 Scenarios.

2.1 Region Guidelines

The following guidelines are in place for Regions:

  • There is only one Coordinator per Region, although this Coordinator may select any number of assistants.
  • There are two types of Regions: Player and Non-Player. Regional Coordinators may select either region, but only Player Regions are assigned a real-world analog. Non-Player regions do not have a Real-World analog, but may still be developed and may even participate in Meta-Region events.
  • A Regional Coordinator can cover multiple regions, but they must be requested individually, and existing track records will be used by the Council to determine if the new region should be assigned.
  • There is no limitation on scenarios by region. Regions may use special Level-4 Scenarios which are restricted to a single region (players may only play it when physically within that region). These are produced by a Regional Coordinator, for the purpose of supporting Events and other special local Regional activities.
  • When a Regional Coordinator retires in a Player Region, the local Region is first searched for a replacement. If no replacement can be found within the local Region, the Player Region will be closed or moved.

2.2 Meta-Regional Events

Meta-Regional Events are special events where more than one region participates in a unified special event, usually tied to storyline updates. Rules for Meta-Regional events:

  • Each year any Region may participate in one Meta-Regional event.
  • The Council must approve each meta-Regional event.
  • The event must occur within the real-world boundaries of one of the Player Regions participating within the event.
  • At least one Level-4 Scenario should be created for the event.

3.0 Judges Guide

3.1 NPC Statistics

Before sitting down to an event, the Judge must familiarize themselves with each NPC. It is important to read the details on all of the NPC qualities and to review any suggested strategy by the author.

3.2 Online Play

SAGE-ORC games may be played using internet chat or any web service, so long as the Judge and all players in each event round agree upon any play modifications and rules revisions demanded by the platform. Following each event round, or series of closely consecutive event rounds, the Judge must send each player an email with the contents of each line of the players' Character Journal. The player copies the contents of the email onto his Character Journal and writes "Online Play" in the Authorization column. He then prints the email and keeps it with his Character Journal for future reference.

3.3 Enforcing the Rules

When a player is found to be breaking the rules, it should be everyone's first instinct that he's merely misinformed. The Judge and all players should make an effort to help less knowledgeable players understand the rules and learn from their mistakes. However, if this interferes with Rule Number One, the education can wait until the game is over.

In the unfortunate event that a player is caught cheating, the Judge should make every effort to discretely resolve the situation at the event, taking the player aside (preferably under the guise of something in-game, like something the character's spotted), and politely correct him.

When a player is known to persistently circumvent the rules, one or more of the Judges involved should contact a member of the campaign's staff for assistance (see the Coordinators section).

A Judge is permitted to eject chronic troublemakers, but should only do so under the direst circumstances, in which the offending player will ruin the game for everyone if he stays. Any Judge who takes such drastic measures should contact the campaign's staff at the first available opportunity to report the incident.

3.4 Scenarios

All SAGE-ORC scenarios are available for download from the the ORC website. However, some scenarios may be retired from time to time for various reasons. These retired scenarios can still be downloaded, but they are no longer available for official play in the campaign. No XP or Reputation can be gained by playing a retired Scenario.

There are four levels of Scenarios from 1-4. Depending upon the Campaign, the level may have a variant name. In Wyrmstone these are Copper, Silver, Gold and Electrum. In SpyMaster these are Alpha, Bravo and Charlie (there is no equivalent to Level 4).

Level-1 (Copper / Classification Alpha) Scenarios are those generated by the community, for the community, with no restrictions, and are freely available for download and upload. Level 1 scenarios are also typically not official Campaign Canon, any author can explore any option they wish with a Level-1 Scenario.

This avoids a majority of the politics that might occur, where one authors vision of a story may clash with another authors. Level-1 scenarios are much like "fan-fic" style games, where the fan base can explore alternate variations on the story without them ever being officially sanctioned.

Through the use of Level-1 scenarios authors are free to explore anything they wish (within the Writers Guidelines), and it is only up to the community to decide if the Author or Scenario is well received or not. Your Mileage May Vary. Level-1 Scenarios do not provide any Certificates. However, Reputation and XP gained from a Level-1 Scenario can be used with Signature Character advancement.

Level-2 (Silver / Classification Bravo) Scenarios are those which are approved by the Council, and are freely available. Level-2 scenarios also are approved as canon by Regional Coordinators. Level-2 Scenarios may provide Certificates (and thus access to Restricted Items).

Level-3 (Gold / Classification Charlie) Scenarios are similar to Level-2 Scenarios, but typically deal with the major plotlines. Level-3 Scenarios have a nominal per-event cost, with the proceeds going back to the author(s) as royalties and to cover campaign management costs. SAGE Karma Points can also be used to purchase scenarios within the same campaign (running events and helping with the campaign results in SAGE Karma Points for a member).

Level-4 (Electrum) Scenarios are a special variation of Level-2 Scenarios. These are restricted to a real-world region for the purpose of promoting local events, such as through Interactives. Level-4 Scenarios may only be produced by a Regional Coordinator for the Player Region they cover, and it may only be played by players when they are physically within that Region (such as at a Convention), or when they are at a cross-region Convention. Level-4 Scenarios need to also focus a majority of their game-time in the same region.

Scenario Tags

A scenario's descriptive text follows a particular pattern and contains several useful pieces of information, including the Scenario's Caliber and the campaign qualities in effect for the scenario (at least at the start), as well as a brief teaser. It also includes one or more 'Scenario tags,' which offer an idea of what to expect during the scenario. Scenario tags can indicate that a scenario will be particularly difficult (and most likely somewhat more rewarding). They can hint as to whether a scenario is highly realistic or operates more like an over-the-top summer blockbuster. Scenario tags confer no special rules. They are merely a tool by which players can anticipate and further tailor their Living Spycraft experience.

Scenario tags are always listed in alphabetical order and may only apply to one scene of a scenario for which they're listed. Their inclusion always points to a major element of the scenario, however, even if that element is only seen briefly.

The available Scenario Tags:

  • Cinematic: The scenario features semi-realistic to outlandish situations and plots. Super-science may play a prominent role.
  • Core Book (book name): The book listed as book name is considered a Core rulebook for the purpose of this scenario. The GC must possess a copy of the book listed to run this Scenario. Only one book may be added as a Core Book with this Scenario Tag. Example: Core Book (Practice Makes Perfect).
  • Covert: The scenario features situations in which the characters' stealth skills are challenged.
  • Dangerous: The scenario is particularly life-threatening, but likely also offers high rewards. The dangerous tag is different from Caliber in that it's more a gauge of the actual threat in a scenario, rather than the anticipated threat.
  • Different (how) This scenario differs from the conventional background genre in the described manner. This is more of a warning to expect something unusual. Example: Different (Aliens) could be used to describe a scenario in Spymaster that diverges from the norm to perhaps be closer to a "Stargate" style of play, with Aliens walking around behind the scenes.
  • Hostile: The scenario features situations in which the characters' combat skills are challenged.
  • Investigative: The scenario features situations in which the characters' analytical skills are challenged.
  • Social: The scenario features situations in which the characters' social skills are challenged.
  • Mobile: The scenario takes place across the globe, requiring rapid travel. Alternately, it might feature chases or other situations in which vehicles are strongly recommended.
  • Realistic: The scenario features largely realistic situations and plots. The technology is by and large seen in the real world.
  • Unrelenting: The scenario tests the characters to the extreme. Expect difficult challenges and combats.
  • Weird: The scenario features alien, supernatural, or other bizarre elements.

Scenario Release Schedule

Some Level-2+ scenarios may, at the Campaign Council's discretion, have a staggered release schedule. This is to help Conventions and Gamedays provide value to their players, by giving early access to Scenarios at the event, before they are available for general open play.

4.0 Campaign Coordination

Each ORC is managed by a diverse group of volunteers who are always in need of additional assistance. The organization is structured as a small Council which oversees the general direction of the Campaign, and a large group of Coordinators and Authors who assist the Council.

There is also a Campaign Supervisor which is typically the sponsoring entity who owns the intellectual property for the Campaign. The Supervisor has ultimate veto rights and the ability to change positions as necessary.

4.1 Campaign Council

The Council's responsibility:

  • Oversee and acknowledge ongoing plotlines
  • Provide adjudication when necessary
  • Continue clarifying the campaign management rules
  • Approve Coordinators (outside of an Election)
  • Veto a Coordinator's decision (if required)

Two requirements for Council seats:

  1. The member must have been a Coordinator for at least one term. For new Campaigns this requirement can be held back for a year or two.
  2. The member must not be in the same household as another Council member.

There must be an odd number of council members (preferably five to seven). Among the council members, one is selected as the Chair. Chair has the ability to break a tie, even if they participated in the regular vote, and is responsible for calling meetings.

4.2 Campaign Coordinator

Coordinators can be responsible for any number of things (buffet style; different Coordinators can cover different scopes):

  • Regional Coordinator (RC): Responsible for developing story and maintaining continuity in an area of the game world (Preferably starting on a smaller level--in-game city/province/state level before taking on larger areas). Only one Region allowed per Coordinator, without approval of Council. The Region may be a Player or Non-Player Region. Player regions are assigned to a real-world analog. Frequently Regional Coordinators may also be Game Play Coordinators, but this is not required. Regional Coordinators are responsible for developing Level-4 Scenarios as well as updating the world entries for their Region.
  • Meta-Org Coordinator (MOC): Responsible for the managing and planning of in-game organizations, such as Adventurers Guilds and the like. Multiple orgs are allowed per Coordinator.
  • Game Play Coordinators (GPC): Organizing Play (assisting game days, being a local point of contact, approving Certificates, etc). Frequently this can be the same individual as the Regional Coordinator, but it is not required to be the same person.
  • Council Assistant Coordinator (CAC): General assistants to the Council, this can include duties such as moderating the website (forums, blogs), volunteering at Events, Editing content, etc.

Becoming a Coordinator

Regions are assigned by the Campaign Council. The Council has a list of allowed and disallowed Regions, but this is primarily a guideline.

To become a Regional Coordinator you must create a simple proposal about what you have in mind for the Region, how you can assist the Campaign in the local area (what what you consider this to be), and a little bit about your background. This is sent to the Campaign Council who considers it in the context of all the regions, your locale and background, and makes a decision.

Interested parties in other coordinator seats can make their interest known to the council. Providing help as an assistant volunteer with the Campaign and events is always a good way to become known to the Council for future considerations of new positions.

4.3 Election and Ratification

Council and Coordinator positions are the only ones that may have an Election and Ratification, as anybody can choose to be an Author. Selected Positions are in seat for a term of two years, after which point the position is open again. Selection is handled through online Elections where all players and contributors are invited to participate. Elections are only required when there is more than one candidate for a seat, and if the situation merits the Council may split regions as appropriate so both desired contributors can assist in their own way.

Election always happens at the same time each year (target September). Council positions are shifted, half rotate one year the other half the following year (to keep it from being a total turnover in one year). When starting a new ORC campaign or in the event of an unexpected retirement, the term of some members may be longer to setup a stagger period as defined by the Campaign Supervisor.

The Campaign Supervisor always has the right to reject any election, and may make appointments if they deem it is necessary.

4.4 Authors and Submissions

Authors submit Content, which includes Scenarios (standard Adventures or Live-action) and Worldbook / Gazetteer contributions. The bulk of the workload is handled by the Authors, and they are expected to follow a process and code of conduct for not overstepping what is appropriate.

Worldbook Submission Process

Ready to dive in? Each Campaign is a vast canvas, wide open to expansion by creative authors. However, there is one baseline request which is asked of all authors adding to the World Book:

  • Scenario Matching--If you want to contribute to the Worldbook, there should be scenarios to match the Worldbook contributions you are creating (They can be any Level). Even if you don't create them yourself, but drum up somebody else to create them, great! We just want to see the play opportunities expanding along with the Worldbook. Thanks!

If there is a section of the world where you would like to work, first see if anybody is currently working in that area. If not, contact the Council and propose the skeleton of your idea. They may be likely to suggest alterations or different areas where it is a better fit.

Level 2-4 Scenario Submission Process and Timeline

This process only applies to Level 2-4 Scenarios! You can publish Level-1 scenarios directly to the website yourself, without using this process!

If you are interested in writing a Level-2+ Scenario, please review this entire document and follow the specified process. The Timing described in this is a rough guideline to create a framework. It may be dramatically reduced or stretched out as required by the Campaign Council.

1. Proposal
Before you consider writing a Scenario, please read the Suggested Practices section of the SAGE Writers Guide, and if you are using Spycraft also read the Mission Basics section of the Spycraft Rulebook.

The first step when writing a scenario for an ORC campaign is to create a proposal using the Scenario Proposal Template found on the Campaign's Download Site. Then review the outline in the context of the SAGE Writers Guide. After you have done this, if you feel that the outline is compelling, email the proposal to the Scenario Proposal Address for the Campaign, with a subject '{Campaign-Name} Scenario Proposal'. Please do not include the proposal as an MS-Word document, but rather just include it as the text of the email.

The proposal should be reviewed by the Council in a timely manner, but if you have not heard back from the Council within one month, review your submission and make certain you followed the proper submission format, then contact them again.

There is a Scenario Proposal Document Template located in the Scenario Writers Pack, which is located in the Download Section.

2. Approval (1-Year before Premiere)
If your scenario proposal is approved, you will be provided with a time frame for when it is to be submitted and released. This will likely be at least a year away, but may be closer or further depending upon the circumstances. The approval process may involve requested changes to the proposal, and several rounds of reviewing/re-submitting the proposal. The most important date is the Submission Date.

3. Initial Draft (6-Months before Premiere)
The initial draft should be completed at least halfway between the approval and the Submission Date. It MUST be built on top of the latest Scenario Template document file. The latest Scenario Template can be found in Downloads Section of the Campaign Website. The initial draft MUST follow the Formatting and Editing Requirements found in this Campaign Writers Guide.

The Initial Draft should include most of the bulk of the text for the mission, but can skip detailed stat blocks or more in depth rules (It should include rough place-holders for the stat blocks, including scene breakdowns and statistics.

The Council may request a copy of the Initial Draft three to six months before the Submission Date, to review in the context of the proposal. It is possible that changes to the mission may be requested at this time.

4. Semi-Final Draft (2-Months before Premiere)
The Semi-Final Draft should be complete one to two months prior to the Submission Date. The Semi-Final Draft should include most of the rules and bulk of the scenario.

5. Final Submission (1-Month before Premiere)
The month between the Semi-Final Draft and the Final Draft should be spent reviewing the mission, making final tweaks and polish before the Final Submission.

4.5 SAGE Writers Standards

Ownership of Proposals and Final Works
Accepted Proposals and final works are placed under the Open Gaming License version 1.0a. Acceptance of this policy is implicit in submitting a proposal and the final work. Published Scenarios are placed under the same Open Gaming License version 1.0a as described in the Copyright section for the Campaign.
Rules and Sources
  • Core Rules -- You may only use rules marked as Core for the setting you are using. Core rules are listed in the Campaign Declarations section of the ORC rules. You may, with approval from the Campaign Council, add one authorized expanded Rulebook (printed or PDF) using the Core Book scenario tag. Level-1 Scenarios do not need to have approval to use an alternate book, since they do not effect canon story lines, but still need to use the Core Book scenario tag.
  • Writers Guide -- All projects must comply with the latest Campaign Writers Guide.
  • Errata -- All projects must comply with the latest Errata for any Rulebook being used.
    Other Sources -- Inclusion of images, maps, pictures and text must follow appropriate copyright law. Without documented permission to use (and place under OGL) any images, maps, pictures or text which are not an original work of the author, the images, maps, pictures or text cannot be included.
All projects must use the appropriate templates, found in the Campaign Downloads section of the Campaign Website.
Standards of Content
SAGE Submissions must adhere to these standards. The purpose of these standards is because of the broad audience the Campaigns target. These standards are to be treated as guidelines rather than a strict code, but final interpretation is up to the Campaign Council.

These Standards of Content were originally influenced by the RPGA Standards of Content.

The core for most these rules boils down to a simple assertion. If objectionable Material is to be used, make sure to show it as Objectionable. Furthermore, all content should be able to be rated no worse than "PG-13", if it were a movie.

  • Good versus Evil: Insofar as products, marketing, promotions, and services portray the conflict between "good" and "evil", such portrayals should encourage the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Though dramatic purposes may require that evil prevail over good for a time, the ultimate victory of good over evil is a desirable goal. Products should assume that player characters or heroes are good and should never support evil as a preferred lifestyle.
  • Profanity: The gratuitous use of profanity and symbols considered vulgar by the contemporary standards of a product's target market is not acceptable unless integral to a character or story.
  • Dramatic Horror, Violence and Gore: The use of dramatic horror is acceptable in product development. However, scenes depicting excessively graphic gore are not acceptable.
  • Sexual Themes: Sexual situations--including abuse and pornography--will not appear graphically in art or text for salacious purposes. (We do not accept scenarios with sexual relationships described between any characters. Romantic relationships are encouraged, but direct implication of current sexual activity is not allowed.)
  • Nudity: When depicting the human form--or creatures possessing humaniform features-gratuitous nudity, the depiction of genitalia, bare female nipples, and sexual or bathroom activity is not acceptable. We encourage the depiction of the full range of humaniforms from heroic fantasy heroes to variations of average men, women, and children. While human sensuality and sexuality may appear in products, it should not be the focus-nor should it create disrespect for the human form.
  • Prejudice: We celebrate diversity. Our products should not depict existing minorities, nationalities, social castes, religious groups, genders, lifestyle preferences, or people with disabilities as a group inferior to any other group.
  • Religion and Mythology: Current, real-world religions and religious groups and/or practices will not be portrayed in any way that promotes disrespect for these religions or their participants. All religions and religious practices in products are purely fictional. We do not endorse or promote any specific religion or religious practice.
  • Addictions: Addictions of any kind should not appear as glamorous or entertaining pastimes. Addiction, or the encouragement of addiction, should be shown as a dangerous habit with harmful effects.
Prior Works
All designers who build on work presented in the Campaign should consider the information in those works as canon, and must either reflect on information presented in previous works, or build upon information supplied in those volumes. Where more recent publications contradict information in previous works, consider the recent information to be correct. All effort should be made to fully research the background of the setting prior to writing. Contradictions of setting material should be avoided at all costs.
Shared World
Be aware of the campaign is always evolving as other mission writers, and the campaign's coordinators, create new missions and background. The main difference between an Organized Roleplay Campaign and a home campaign is that it features many Judges rather than one, and that everyone must work together to build the storyline rather than alone.

In this process, you will need to cooperate and compromise, adjusting your scenario to fit in not only with what has come before but also what is in development for the future. When working on a mission, you should ask yourself whether your material changes something already established or is overly obtrusive.

If you are not sure, contact the Campaign Council and pitch your idea to them so they can consider it before you commit the idea to writing. The Council may work with you to incorporate the idea into the greater campaign (perhaps including one or more other mission writers who need to be involved because their work intersects yours), or may ask you to make adjustments, and you must be prepared for both outcomes.