Short one for today, but I had a thought while reading through Action 2: Exploits and I had a thought about "Negative" BAD. For those that don't know, BAD stands for Basic Abstract Difficulty. It's a tool for Action game GMs to use when determining how difficult something is and generally applies over the whole mission. It is also the basis for quickly creating mooks that can be used to populate the forces that will inevitably get mowed down by the heros.

Or mow the heros down if there's enough of them to get some lucky shots or if their BAD is high enough.

Anyway, the BAD modifier runs from 0 to -10 while mook characters mad using the BAD have skills from 10 to 20 based on the BAD. Skills, though can be lower than 10 and its possible to have positive modifiers due to conditions instead of negative ones. This lead me to wonder about "Negative" BAD. What if the guys your PCs were going up against were so inept that the PCs would have to really screw up to fail? Obviously, this would be out of line in a serious campaign or adventure, but one that has moments of humor or just runs on the Rule of Funny could make use of this and it could make for a interesting twist if the players are freaking out about bad rolls and then wondering what's going on when they still succeed.

Calling it "Negative" BAD is a mouthful, though, so we need another name. Since this is basically a measure of gross incompetence, we can call it Basic Abstract Incompetence, or BAI. The BAI rating goes from 1 to 5 and the skill level of any mooks in the organization or compound is 10 - BAI. BAI also changes for the same reasons as BAD, because even utter incompetents are likely to wise up if they find their co-workers piled into a heap of groaning bodies or bleeding corpses. It is possible to mix BAI and BAD. BAI would either be applied to one or two groups in an overall competent organization, and BAD would apply to one or two groups in an overall incompetent organization. A good example of this happened in the first season of Star Wars Rebels. The local imperial forces were generally lackluster and incompetently lead, so they would have had a BAI rating. The Inquisitors or Thrawn and his entourage would have a BAD rating, however, since they are generally competent and dangerous.

How this would work is that the BAI (BAD) rating would apply in most cases, but the BAD (BAI) rating would apply when the (in)competent group gets involved, or the (in)competent group and the PCs cross paths. When the switch happens is up to the GM, but generally the greater the difference between the two ratings, the sooner it should happen. For example, say a group of PCs is infiltrating a poorly managed base with a BAI of 2. Visiting the base is Colonel Bloodbath and his entourage with a BAD of -2. The BAI 2 is replaced with BAD -2 when the PCs cross paths. This could be the two groups passing within close proximity, the more competent group noticing that something's amiss, or the more competent group beginning to impose their will on the location/organization. If the BAI was 1 or the BAD was -1 or 0 or both, then this wouldn't happen unless the two groups were close or the PCs were being fairly blase about their sneaking. If the BAI was higher, the BAD higher, or both, then this would occur with more separation or on smaller mistakes and slip ups. One way to determine if the more competent group notices is by looking at the PCs' skill rolls. If the roll succeeded because of the BAI, then the GM could decide that the more competent group has noticed something amiss and begin looking into it.

As I said, this one's a short one. It's an interesting idea and I hope some of the people around will mess with it and share how it goes.