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Noir City: Corruption

Page history last edited by Ragboy 11 years, 1 month ago


The Corruption attribute functions similar to Fame/Infamy as described in Pirates of the Spanish Main.



Gaining/Losing Corruption

The hero gains and loses corruption depending on their actions during gameplay. The list below is not all inclusive; the GM is encouraged to modify/add to this list, “awarding” corruption like bennies/XP for excellent roleplaying, creative solutions, and the like. For each “job” or “operation” completed successfully, award each character 1-3 Corruption points (positive or negative depending on the nature of the adventure and the character’s actions).



The soldiers on both sides of the law gain recognition depending on how sterling or corrupt their reputation. Anytime the hero is in public there’s a chance that he or she is recognized either by law enforcement or the criminal element. This chance equals a Smarts roll +1 for every 10 points of corruption (either way). The results of that recognition are left up to the GM, but likely a hood is quickly targeted for arrest (or vigilante action) and a copper has whatever operation he or she is running revealed along with subsequent retaliation.


Corruption        Benefit/Hindrances

80 to 89…...............Territory, Contract (Major)

70 to 79……............One of the Family

60 to 69……............+2 to Intimidate and Streetwise rolls

50 to 59...................Wanted (Major), Scratch

49 to 40...................Reward, Contract (Minor)

39 to 30...................Crew, Wanted (Minor) or Minor Enemy

29 to 20...................Hood

19 to -19..................None. The character is too small fry for anyone to care

-20 to -29.................Sterling

-30 to -39.................Backup, Minor Enemy

-40 to -49..................Medal, Contract (Minor)

-50 to -59..................Major Enemy, Promotion

-60 to -69..................+2 Charisma

-70 to -79...................Squad

-80 to -89...................Precinct, Contract (Major)



When a hero’s Corruption rises to this tier, he or she is officially a criminal. As such the hero receives a -1 Charisma and -1 Persuasion when dealing with the general law-abiding public. In addition, the hood receives a +1 to Intimidation and a +1 to Streetwise checks.



The hero is starting to shine in all the right places. This drops the hero’s “street cred” giving them a -1 Intimidation and a -1 Streetwise when dealing with the criminal element. In addition, the hero receives a +1 Charisma.



The hood has a certain ruthless reputation on the streets and starts attracting 1 expert-type extra or 2-5 thugs per month. The hero can only maintain 1 expert and 5 thugs at any given time. His or her crew is replaced at the same rate due to casualties, though if the entire crew is lost either to desertion or attrition in one month, the hood doesn’t attract new crew members for a year.


The hood must provide for the general needs of his or her crew, including money, food, shelter, a cut of the profits, etc. The hood’s crew won’t automatically disperse if the character’s Corruption decreases, but lack of adequate food, shelter, money, and equipment will drive the crew to abandon the hero and let everyone know that the hood is a cheapskate. They might even band together to take the “boss” out if the hood consistently abuses the crew.


Otherwise, the crew will break the law and put themselves in harm’s way for the business and the hood for the duration of the hood’s criminal career. Someone from the crew could become a Sidekick if the hero takes that Edge.



The hero has distinguished him or herself in the fight and starts attracting believers to the cause. The backup could be other policemen in the unit or from neighboring precincts, freelancers such as private investigators or others, however, when the hero is in trouble, help is just a phone/radio call away. When the hero calls, one expert and up to 2-5 combat types are available in 1d10 minutes. The hero need not provide anything to the backup other than information, however, greasing the wheels with money, favors, and/or equipment reduces the time by up to 9 minutes. This is determined by the roleplaying and the GM’s discretion. It is possible that the Backup requires a few favors of their own from time to time.

If the hero abuses his or her backup, consistently gets people killed, reneges on promises or commits a major crime (or other Corruption-type offense), the hero will find radios silent and/or unreturned voicemail when he or she calls for backup.


The backup will fight for the hero, break protocols, if not minor laws, and otherwise be at the hero’s disposal for up to a day. Someone that the hero has called may become a Sidekick if the hero takes that Edge.


Minor Enemy / Wanted (Minor)

When ascending or descending the Corruption ladder, toes are stepped on and laws are broken. The hero has pissed off someone powerful or come to the attention of law enforcement and has gained a hindrance. Minor enemies include politically-minded rivals on the force (or corrupt cops), small time hoods with crews, a minor politician or businessman, or the like. If the hero takes out or puts away the enemy or serves time for the minor crime, another enemy or warrant appears in 2-6 months. If the hero’s corruption drops below (on the Corrupt side) or rises above (on the Sterling side) this tier, then the enemy finds someone else to hate or the crime’s statute of limitations expires.


Reward / Medal

The hero has distinguished him or herself to such a degree that someone in power wants to encourage this behavior. On the Sterling side, the hero receives a medal from the city, police force, or some other institution, as well as some money, equipment or favors. On the Corrupt side, a crime boss or other nefarious character decides this small fish might be a good ally and rewards him or her with money, equipment or favors. The details are left up to the GM, but should fit the character’s developing career.


Contract (Minor)

With every recognition comes those that are jealous or feel they were stepped on by the hero’s progress. Some minor crime boss takes out a contract on the hero. About once per rank, the hero must face down 2-5 assassins alone (though backup/crew resources may be called in on this). These assassins are thugs, poorly armed, and not necessarily effective.


Major Enemy / Wanted (Major)

The hero has come to the attention of someone very powerful or his or her rap sheet has grown to such a size that law enforcement concentrates resources specifically on the thug. If the enemy is taken down or jail time is served, the hero has bought off the hindrance.


Promotion / Scratch

The hero continues to gain recognition. The thug gets a steady income from burgeoning enterprises, while the crusader gets a sponsorship, promotion or other regular monetary benefit. The hero receives $500 a month extra.


One of the Family

The thug is a made man. The details of the benefits are left up to the GM, however, the hero should be able to call on 2-5 extras to fight for him or her at any time (this is in addition to the thug’s crew) and can utilize key family resources, such as money launderers, lawyers, chop shops, safehouses, and the like. In addition, the thug’s income goes up to $1000 a month over and above “Scratch” above, and any other specific operations undertaken.



The hero receives support from the local police force, concerned citizens groups, a network of private eyes and bounty hunters or some other group of do-gooders, allowing him or her to call on 2-5 additional extras to conduct operations against the criminal element. The hero can utilize law enforcement resources, including guns, vehicles, computers/databases, and the like to conduct special operations. In addition, the hero’s income goes up to an extra $1000 a month over and above the Promotion and any other specific operations undertaken.



The thug is a high roller; he or she is rewarded with a family of his or her own. The details of this are left up to the GM, but the reward should be substantial. This “benefit” should also come with responsibilities, as the hero now runs an organization. It may even be time to retire…



The hero is so good at fighting the criminal element that he or she is promoted to command a special operation, manages to put together a “crime fighting” group or otherwise gets major sponsorship for the crusade. The details are left up the GM, but the resources available should be substantial. This “benefit” comes with major responsibilities, as the hero is now directly answerable to a higher power and must continue to produce results. It may be time for one more major operation before retiring and running for public office…




Noir City Main Page

Character Creation
Making a Living

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