Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Thoughts on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

I love the idea of Standard Operating Procedures, and this thread on the SJG Forums got me thinking and talking with my players.

SOPs are particularly useful for avoiding ambiguities (did you use your silencer when you shot that man in the back of a restaurant), smoothing over boring details (yup, car's fueled up!), and it can help prevent players from having to state a million times over the things that they like to do all the time.

A good SOP:
  • Speeds play
  • Cuts down on confusion/ambiguity
  • Logically and reasonably explains a character's reaction to a certain set of circumstances
  • Has a narrow focus if not related to a skill roll
  • Possibly gives a skill bonus in a very narrow set of circumstances (+1 to avoid sticking yourself with a syringe while doing lab work, etc)
  • Has power that's reasonable for a perk
  • Helps protect from mistakes of omission (kicking down an unlocked door, forgetting to silence a gun during a stealth operation, etc)
And here are some that I've come up with:
    SOP: Get the Data
    There's no question whether you remembered to pocket a bad guy's phone or copied down his financial data.

    SOP: Check the Goods
    You always check new equipment for defects or issues before it gets used.

    SOP: Burner Phone Addict
    You always remember to change phones between missions to maintain security. 
    SOP: Silencer Use
    If you have a silencer, you're assumed to be using it when appropriate 
    SOP: OTC Medication
    You always have headache/allergy/digestive medication on hand. (Pick one) 
    SOP: Captive Care
    You never forget to feed or otherwise care for those you've taken prisoner
    SOP: Bug awareness
    You take out your phone battery before having sensitive conversations

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