The last time I touched on this topic I said:
a Node should be treated no differently from a Villain, for the purposes of campaign design. A Node should have power to affect the plot. A Node has things it wants, things it's in charge of, things it's prepared to kill for. A Node has personality, and it's up to the Director what that personality ought to be.
When discussing Facilities I went on to say:
- Distribute, or
A manufacturing facility makes something, a collection facility stores it, a distribution hub delivers it, and an analyzing facility investigates.
What do all these facilities have in common? They need:
- Security, and,
Someone has to keep the facility maintained and safe from prying eyes. This may mean a simple padlock on an important door, or a full-fledged electronic surveillance system. Also, someone has to monitor what's going on, whether the facility is doing as it should.
How do these concepts work together?
In Night's Black Agents a Node is an enemy power center. It can work on the local level, affecting only a small area. It can control a city, a country, a continent.
It can control more than one facility, or only one. As a general rule it's a good idea if all facilities controlled by one Node have the same Security and Monitoring statistics, so you as Director don't have to keep track of too many numbers. It also makes sense from a worldbuilding POV. The Node will want to maintain a standard.
It may even have the same security firm for each Facility, providing you a chance to drop some handy clues. 'Cerebrus Security? Again? You know what that means ...' Or 'the cybersecurity protocols here are exactly the same as those we encountered at that corporate headquarters, and you remember who was in charge of that ...' As for Monitoring, 'didn't we see that middle manager before? Don't tell me ...'
However, it's reasonable to suppose that one Node might have several different facility types. It might have Manufacture and Distribution facilities working together, or Collect and Analyze.
Let's go a step further and ask four questions:
- What is this Node supposed to do?
- What does it actually do?
- What are its resources?
- What are its methods?
A small law firm, mostly handling wills and other property deals for local clients. The firm’s musty offices occupies the bottom two floors of a house on Flowergate Street in the heart of Whitby; their archives, dating back to old Samuel F.’s era in the 1890s, are crammed into the attic on the top floor. Dracula employed them as his local agents to receive and convey his fifty boxes of earth to Carfax.
I'm assuming for the sake of this example that Billington is a Level One node, with assets local to Whitby. It doesn't matter what kind of Conspiracy this is.
Its function is to Collect. Dracula picks up all kinds of odd things, documents, grimoires, title deeds - you name it, Dracula keeps it. However, often what happens is, Dracula picks up, say, an occult tome and has no need of it right away, so he shoves it at Billington for safe keeping until such time as he remembers to take it back.
The Collection process is handled by outside forces, couriers (a different, Distribution Node), who deliver the items to Billington. The job of the firm is to make sure they're securely held.
However, old Tom Billington, the traditionalist head of the firm, is the only one who believes in the mission. His sons John and Michael are taking it on themselves to Analyze what they have. The sons have noticed that nobody ever comes to get any of the many, many documents in their keeping. Nobody would ever know if they studied some. Not take - they're too cautious. But if they follow the rituals or chase up on some of the clues, they could get themselves some real power.
If Tom found out, he'd be devastated. The kids have managed to keep him out of the loop - so far.
I'm assigning Low Security and Medium Monitoring, which applies to all Facilities held by this Node. So, what Facilities does it have?
Billington & Sons, of course, which is where the critical documents are kept. What else?
- A lock-up garage (for immediate storage or low-priority items).
- A couple of bribed cops whose job is to provide extra security.
- A ritual chamber under the Star Inn. It used to be a smuggler's haven; now it hosts darker rituals.
- A safe in the storage area of the Whitby Museum, and a curator who's been persuaded to keep an eye on it. (this is for the valuable stuff).
- A special grave in the Church of Saint Mary, for visiting dignitaries.
- Robin Hood's Bay Books & Curiosities. This one's for John and Michael. This is where they conduct their studies. They don't want to be caught by dear old dad looking at the company books. The owner, Sam Carmichael, has a private arrangement with the Billingtons; they pay a high rent and get the back room, undisturbed. The Billingtons don't realize Sam is also studying the papers they bring here.