Crisis Action Guide
Hey you! Yeah, you. Do you like crises? Do you like action? Well, that's good person, that's REAL good. Step on up and read my handy bullet pointed list of things to consider before submitting that bad boy or girl.
Simply put, if you aren't taking a big risk/action, don't expect a big, splashy outcome. I think there's been some confusion with this and the ability to add AP to actions, and I definitely don't want that leading to (understandably) salty feelings, so to make it official: AP added to crisis actions will not add any intensity or risk/reward to the action itself, but will be used to break ties. Meaning, if your action is "I want to kill Bob," and Sara's action is "I want to kidnap Bob to keep him in my magical safety bubble for the rest of his natural life," we are going to use AP added to determine whose action comes first/has more impact.
As for what is meant by risks and splashy actions, I'll try to list some examples. If your action is to counsel the widows and widowers of a specific tragedy and offer to be there for them, you probably shouldn't expect the perpetrator of the tragedy to drop dead of shock at your kindness. If you want to kill the perpetrator, you need to make that your action.
For Example: "I don't like Princess Steve and I definitely don't like that she's marrying Prince Steve of Stevington. That is too much Steve. I'm going to shave her cat."
This is a bad crisis action because, while it does imply the goal (stop the union of Steves!), the action doesn't support it. Princess Steve will no doubt be sad about her cold, naked cat, but it's not going to stop that wedding.
A better crisis action would be: "I don't like Princess Steve and I want to ruin her upcoming nuptials. I'm going to seduce Prince Steve of Stevington, not to sleep with him but to win affection and place a seed of doubt in his mind. I'm also going to hire her wedding planner and send them on vacation to Maelstrom (no really, they like it there). Finally, I have enlisted Audric's help to kidnap her cat and threaten to shave it if she doesn't immediately return home and marry some made up admirer I invented named Duck Dodgers. I'm paying 75k silver to a failed disciple of vellichor to forge the notes from him."
Here's what we want from a crisis action (and I think it will help those submitting, too) - we want specifically what you are trying to accomplish, and/or what you are trying to prevent. Then, you can add details of how you are going to go about that, resources you are going to use, etc. But I think we'll all be happier with the process of crisis resolution if it's clear at the outset what YOUR goals are, and then we can read the action from that perspective.
Also note, if you say "I am using all my resources to--" ...well, we are going to take all your resources. If you say you are going to do a thing that will cost you money, we will take that money. If you are bringing in a Whisper to help you smooth things over, please specify that Whisper/diplomat and their purpose. (Don't just NPC them for this, you need to get them involved!)
For example: "I am going to use all my resources to send my minions to the corners of the globe to investigate the strange puzzle box I found but really I'm not good at investigations but I'm going to try to put the info together."
This is a bad crisis action for the following reasons: There's no clarity as to what the submitter wants to do/wants to prevent. The submitter has not specified precisely how many resources, or what their 'minions' are, or where those minions come from. Globes do not have corners. If your character is not good at investigations, definitely involve someone who is (or leave that part of the action to them).
A better crisis action would be "I want to gather information on the puzzle box. I'm taking 200k silver and paying a bunch of scouts from the explorer's society to go to caves at Sanctum, Blancbier and Bastion to find anything they can on this puzzle box. All information will be passed to Laric, because he's super good at investigating and I'm just a Moneybags Minionminder"
This one is somewhat tricky to define because the possibilities are so wide open. But in short, if your crisis action isn't interesting to you to write and plan out? It's probably not super interesting to read or GM, either. General preparedness (I have x troops here, x troops there, and guards are warned to be on high alert) can be taken as somewhat of a given, unless the situation is very much out of the ordinary. We are not going to suddenly crack down on someone and say they lost the game because they didn't submit a plan for wolf preparedness before the giant clownwolves arrived. Likewise, actions along the lines of "I am going to calm the people," or "I am going to incite the people" will need a clear target and a goal. An action to calm the rioters doesn't make sense if there are no rioters. If you find yourself thinking "Oh, I should come up with something for this crisis, I guess," it might be more fulfilling to find someone pursuing an interesting action that you can aid in, or wait for a crisis that grabs you and is clearly something your character needs to take part in. You will likely have no doubt if a crisis is one that your character will need to respond to. Your PC's need for involvement will probably be immediately clear, even if what specific action you want to take is not.
For Example: "I'm going to talk to my people in the Lower Boroughs to see what they think about the price of imported ladybugs the nobility are all gluing to the inner corners of their eyes these days."
This is a pretty poor crisis action because: There's no clear goal to accomplish/prevent. People in the LB probably don't know or care about the highly trendy ladybug highlights the nobility are rocking this season.
A better action might be no action at all in this particular crisis. Or, decide you hate this needless cruelty to ladybugs, state you want to prevent the next shipment coming in and will employ all your gangster thug friends to help, sneaking into the cargo hold and dumping those ladybug crates into the Bay. This is why we can't have nice things - we drown them out of spite.
Make it interesting:
This is kind of a rehash of content, but I feel it's the most important part of this guide. If your action isn't interesting to you, it's definitely not interesting to anyone else. Play with it! Push some boundaries? Ask yourself what story you are personally trying to tell here, and have a vision! If we see you've submitted something that is guaranteed to get you killed or ruined, we will definitely reach out and make sure that's your intention. We're not looking for a "gotcha" moment, at all. We want your story to fit within the overall story as point or counterpoint, and offer you fun and character growth!