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Asset quality in espionage

The main advantage of asset quality in conflicts is to do more damage in extended tasks. This is a clear advantage in:

  • Duels (doing more damage to your opponent)

  • Skirmishes (doing more damage to notable characters)

  • Warfare (doing more damage to enemy assets or notable characters)

  • Intrigue (doing more “damage” to notable characters)

However, in espionage, it seems less clear how asset quality plays out, since you’re more concerned with moving around and gathering information than doing damage to people. The rules contain a comment that high quality spies/agents etc wouldn’t need a bold/subtle move to bypass lower quality security measures. However, since all actions have to be bold or subtle anyway, this passage seems redundant.

What would be the advantage of a high quality asset in an espionage conflict? Somehow I feel it should be to make getting it past security measures easier, but I don’t see how that works.

I can definitely imagine using the “not bold/subtle” move rule with a little correction, basically turning it around: if your intrigue character has a quality higher than the highest-rated security measure in a target zone, you are allowed the option of moving your spy into the zone without a test.

Also, page 192 has an important rule: “In any circumstance where you’re making a skill test
with an asset and the asset’s Quality has no other effect within the rules (for that specific test), then the gamemaster may allow you to generate bonus Momentum on a successful test equal to the asset’s Quality.”
So, higher-quality spies can generate bonus momentum when rolling to move subtly, etc.

Also, at times a spy may need to roll to convince/coerce/manipulate/scare someone into cooperation (and maybe turn an enemy or neutral character into an informant), which can be an extended task, especially if the target is not a minor character. This would be something similar to “attacking” someone in intrigue.

3 Likes

Thanks! That’s a nice answer. I guess that that interpretation says: in the case of espionage, there may be a “free” (not subtle/bold) move for assets if they exceed the quality of opponents assets in their way.