- Alternative Names: The Accountant's Embassy, The Auditors, The Smith Institute
Informal Names: Suits (formally pejorative), Taxmen (pejorative), Lamars (pejorative)
That is a common misunderstanding; the actual quote is “the love of money is the root of all evil."
Go back to the beginning of modern economics, to Adam Smith himself, and you will find very different ideas to some free market ideals endorsed today. Adam Smith wrote as much on the subject of morality as he did upon economics, and he tied his two fields together, writing at length upon the need for a moral dimension to economics. Even one governed by, well, the government.
According to the Suits, there is nothing wrong with the theory of capitalism; some go so far as to say there is nothing wrong with our current implementation of capitalism. The problem, they say, is people twisting the system for their own greed. You can't defeat greed by adjusting the rules, any more than you can defeat thieves with a stroke of the legislator's pen. No, the only solution is to call a policeman.
Marks and RequirementsEdit
Hopeful who join the Auditors tend to be well above the average age for a Princess. Most have had significant experience working in the corporate world, or the financial sector specifically. Seekers are predominant among the members; fighting white collar crime calls for a keen intellect and a deductive mind, not a good right hook. Graces have also begun to show greater interest in membership, turning from the Embassy's traditional focus towards building sustainable ethical businesses. Diamonds are, unsurprisingly, the most common Queen, but, surprisingly, Swords comes in at second place, with a strong showing among financial lawyers, but also turnaround consultants and corporate brokers, who can fix or fund a good company with a sharp mind and a blazing presence that burns through red tape. A minority of corporate executives in stable companies follow the Queen of Hearts.
Members of the Smith Institute favour formal and mundane attire appropriate to the culture. In Europe and America this means suits, with ties for the Princes. Princes often favour executive style hair, while the Princesses often possess power hair. Many members have slightly idiosyncratic tastes; one might prefer the finest hand tailored Italian suits while another dresses in the sharpest of fifty's suits, always with a matching hat.
Regardless of their job title, all members of the Accountant's Embassy are very good at economics. The required Attribute is Intelligence and the requires skill is Academics.
Cutting the Red TapeEdit
In both her Transformed and Mundane State, a Secretary to the Economy finds it very easy to understand finance. They can hold vast tables in their head and fit them together like jigsaw puzzles. By spending a Wisp the Secretary may add her Sensitivity to all rolls to understand a financial system, including: Academics, Investigation and even Empathy, to see through the person sitting across the desk trying to trip her up with lots of meaningless numbers. If the Secretary spends a Wisp during an extended action, she applies Sensitivity to every roll for that action.
Following the MoneyEdit
While transformed, the Secretary can divine basic facts about an organization, and clues to its recent activities, by following the flow of money through it. To use this Privilege the Secretary must have access to a portion of the organization's funds (actual cash, checking account numbers, credit card numbers). If no other opportunity offers the Secretary can establish a link by buying something from the organization, and using Follow the Money on her payment. The Secretary tags the money by spending a Wisp; over the next 24 hours the Wisp touches all the organization's assets and sends data back to her subconscious. After a full day has passed, the Secretary rolls Intelligence + Investigation + the Availability level of the assets she tagged - the organization's Commonalty penalty.
- Dramatic Failure: The Secretary gets a radically false idea of the organization's nature, purpose or recent activities.
- Failure: The data does not form a coherent picture; the Secretary learns nothing.
- Success: The Secretary establishes, to her own satisfaction, one of the following sets of facts:
- One of the organization's Aspirations (or, for a Nation, its Vocation)
- The organization's Virtue or Vice
- One of the organization's Attributes
- The organization's Standing
- The organization's Morale and the current level of damage to it
- One of the organization's Merits
- The goal of one of the organization's current projects, and how close it is to completion
- One of the Conditions currently on the organization
- Exceptional Success: The Secretary learns two of the sets of facts in the above list.
It's Not What you Know, It's Who You KnowEdit
It doesn’t matter what you know about finance; if you know a Secretary to the Economy, you'll be fine. By spending a Willpower point, the Secretary may lend another her dots in Academics, Investigation, Politics, Persuasion or Empathy for use in financial matters alone. The recipient may hold the dots for up to a day and activate them at any point, gaining the Secretary's dots for the rest of the scene. If their own Skill is greater than the one lended, they gain a +1 bonus. Lending another her dots does not deny a Secretary access to them.
The Consul can trace the flow of money in fine detail. When she uses Following the Money, the Consul may ask for the answer to a specific question about the organization - one that can be answered “yes” or “no”, or that has an answer from a small set of alternatives, as far as the Consul knows.
- Dramatic Failure: The Consul is convinced of a false answer.
- Failure: The Consul learns nothing.
- Success: The Consul learns the true answer to her question among the choices she had considered. If the correct answer is not one the Consul considered when she framed the question, she can learn only that the truth is something she didn’t think of.
- Exceptional Success: In addition, the Consul gets an idea of the reason why the answer is true.
King Midas Has Asses' EarsEdit
There's often a big gap between knowing something is true and being able to prove it; a Consul can, however, bridge that gap, if she's willing to take risks. Whenever the Consul has learned a fact about an organization by examining its finances (either mundanely or magically) she may, by spending 2 Wisps, discover clues to a course of action which will end in that fact becoming public knowledge.
When she activates the Privilege, the Storyteller rolls her Wits + Politics in secret; for each success, the Storyteller gives the player one clue to the location of relevant evidence, the means of obtaining it, or the best person to receive it. The Privilege does not consider the Consul's safety or social position - it gives the surest and quickest path to the fact's exposure, no matter how high the cost of following it might be. The Consul cannot use the Privilege more than once on any given fact.
Shaking Hands with the Invisible HandEdit
The Ambassador's understanding of money is so deep that she can predict what organizations will do, even before they know themselves. As with Follow the Money, the Ambassador must tag a portion of an organization's funds with a Wisp and wait for a day while the Wisp finds the organization's assets.
The Ambassador then spends 1 Willpower and rolls Intelligence + Politics + the Availability level of the tagged assets - the organization’s Rank, and asks a question about a future action of the organization. If the roll succeeds, the Ambassador knows the true answer to her question; for each success past the first, she learns the answer to one further question about the same action, expanding on the details.
Drawback: Submerging her mind into the flows of money removes the Ambassador from the normal human perspective, and hinders her ability to relate to people in other than financial terms. After activating this Privilege, for a number of days equal to her successes the Ambassador takes a -2 penalty to all her Empathy and Socialize rolls.
Edward Merchant / Matthew Sheppard Edit
I've got this covered, just let me make a few calls.
Edward was always plagued by crippling anxieties and a genius at numbers. He had long held ambitions to become an accountant out of a belief that nervous people were supposed to be accountants and hide safely away in the back office. To everyone else it was obvious that wasn't going to happen, Edward had to be homeschooled and even took distance learning classes instead of university. To his family's surprise when he graduated he did manage to attend interviews but failed to impress.
Returning to Plan A Edward's mother played her trump card, giving his name to several of her friends who had mentioned they could use help managing their finances at some point, from them his reputation spread. So began Edward's unremarkable career as a quiet accountant who specialised in managing the estate of old ladies who didn't know, or want to know, the first thing about accounting.
There things would have remained had one of his clients not been taken for everything she owned by the international conman Batroc L'Etranger. Strictly speaking, trying to recover what he could was Edward's job. It was also the only part of his job that required more than casual effort, roughly six hours of every day were dedicated to the task. Edward only realised what he had gotten into and how he had left the nice safe world of numbers when he got a threatening phone call, if he didn't back off Batroc threatened to use his skills to eviscerate Edward in the media, and the courts. After several days of sweating Edward forced himself not to back down, he Blossomed there and then. Batroc never saw him coming.
It's The Law
To legally be a financial auditor requires two dots of Status as a Licensed Professional. Most investigators in this Embassy have the Merit. Matthew Sheppard does not. He is an illegal vigilante, who relies on breaking and entering, social engineering and Allies in the police and media, who'll look the other way when he turns over evidence.
In his Mundane form Edward is a small diminutive man with a receding hairline and wispy moustache who seems rather easy to overlook. When he Transforms Matthew gains a foot and a bit of bulk. He wears smart modern suits and executive hair like he owns the room and everybody in it. Matthew has two pieces of Regalia, a set of eight gemstones on rings that allow him to use magical blasts and a briefcase whose capacity far exceeds its size.
Among certain circles Matthew Sheppard is the legendary boogeyman. A ghost never seen until he's coming for his next target. You can't bribe him, you can't threaten him, no crooked accountant can beat him (although if they could, who'd know?), you can't even sue him since he legally does not exist. There are even rumours that he has magical powers and they're a little too consistent to dismiss entirely. In his time he's exposed CEOs, politicians and cracked open the economics of organised crime rings. Several hit men have all failed to track him down and some even became the next case he cracked open. His relationship with the police is strained, they appreciate his help yet face significant pressure from above about his legal non-existence. Not all the politicians he exposed lost their office.
Ever since he first heard there was a price on his head Matthew has made sure he can vanish on a moment's notice. His increasingly stuffed briefcase now contains: Another briefcase full of money (US Dollars, Euros, and British Sterling), some gold, a bag of gemstones, a brick of cocaine (for emergency bribes, he's not a user), emergency rations, a computer, a smart phone, a satellite dish, a wallet full of fake ids for both his selves, a large solar panel and a compact tent. It normally also contains papers from his latest case.
Attributes: Intelligence 4+1, Wits 2+1, Resolve 3, Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2, Presence 1+3, Manipulation 2, Composure 3
Skills: Academics 4+1 (economics), Computer 1, Investigation 5+2 (finance), Politics 2, Science 2, Athletics 2, Drive 1, Firearms 1+1, Larceny 2, Stealth 3, Survival 2, Empathy 2 (spotting lies), Intimidation 1+1, Persuasion 2, Streetwise 2+1
Derived Traits: Health 7, Willpower 6, Size 5, Defense 4+1, Initiative 5, Speed 10
Merits: Library 1 (Academics), Professional Training 2 (Contacts: accountants, police; Asset Skills: Academics, Investigation), Allies 4 (Treasury), Allies 2 (BBC), Allies 2 (Bloggers), Allies 1 (Interpol), Contacts 1 (personal secretaries), Fame 1 (British finance), Resources 3, Safe Place 1, Mandate 2, Onceborn 2, Palace 3, Royal Tongue 1, Veiling 2 - all Allies, Contacts and Fame are for transformed ID
'Inner Light:' 5
Invocations: Acqua 4, Fuoco 2, Terra 1
- Appear: Mantle of Authority, Dim (Traceless)
- Fight: Levinbolt (Multiple, Burning), You Might Hurt Yourself
- Learn: Keen Observation (enhances Finance), Scent Falsehood (Collective, Unwitting), Watchful Mind, Pierian Spring (Personal), Moving Finger (Significant), Books in Running Brooks
- Shape: Bubble Shield, Miss Poppins’ Bottomless Bag (Ordered, Enlarged x4)
Flaw: Embarrassing Phylactery (Edward's Phylactery is a business card in the name of Matthew Sheppard and so it threatens his secret identity. Fortunately it's easy to keep a business card hidden).