As I am assembling classes to implement the behaviors of people acting in the roles of
a group, I'm finding myself having to answer basic questions about how information
flows inside of an organization.
I'm going to fall back on my experience with a project I worked on implementing an
expert system for Naval damage control. In that system we had a concept they each
actor in our system had its own database of knowledge about itself, the vessel, and
the other actors in the simulation. In that model, knowledge was acquired by the senses,
and passed on via communication. An actor walking into a room, and discovering smoke,
would change their picture of the world to now include the knowledge that there was
smoke in a compartment. That knowledge of smoke would be tagged with a level of
importance from ignore to raise an alarm. We call that entropy. The entropy
of a bit can:
- alter the behavior of an actor to drop what they are doing, and immediately
report that information to the chain of command
- Have the actor make note that the information should be shared in their next report
- File the information under ignore.
That bit of data that there was smoke in the compartment is fairly high on the entropy
scale. The actor would be compare its knowledge that there is smoke to the overall
group's knowledge of that same bit of information. If the actor knew the group
didn't know about the smoke, it would then start a mission to deliver that new piece of
information to the decision makers of the group.
When the knowledge reached the top, the decision makers would then formulate a plan for
how to investigate the source of the smoke. Unless, of course, this information arrived
after the organization decided to start forming fire attack teams and battle flames
observed somewhere else.
In the damage control scenario, everyone was on the same team. For Gilgamesh, I have to
expand this concept to include adversarial parties. I don't think that is radically
going to change matters. I am just going to have to tag information with what group it
was intended for as it enters an actor's mind. If the actor is a foot soldier in
an army, the group is the army. If the actor is a member of a party, the group is that
party. If the leader of that party is a member of a trade syndicate... well there I have
to put in some plumbing to govern how information leaps the gap from one group to another
group inside of an actor with multiple allegiances.
I've identified seven different constituencies that an actor may be a part of, more or
A party is a group of adventurers out on a mission. They share tactical information
about the current mission, and they coordinate with each other on logistics.
Cults are religious orders. Individuals in this society may belong to one, more, or none
of the cults that worship a particular diety. Some of these cults have an obligation to
share privileged information.
Clans are familial groups that members are born into. Clans tend to know very personal
details about their members, but what happens in the Clan stays in the clan. However
if outside information is pertinent to a fellow clan member, there is an obligation to
Networks are loose affiliations of people who share inside knowledge. These could be
trade groups, or professional organizations. Members tend to look out for one another
in the same way a clan, but the ties are much looser.
Syndicates are organizations that protect the interests of its members through
intimidation and violence. An individual who is part of a syndicate can count on a
certain level of material support from the group. And in return they expect a certain
amount of insider knowledge the actor may have from other endeavors.
Armies are martial organizations devoted to the defense of the state. They share very
detailed tactical and logistical plans, in compartmentalized sub-units. Information
is disseminated on a need to know basis, but it is the duty of every member to report
tactical information as it is know to them.
The state is more or less a syndicate with an army and a fixed address. Citizens of the
state can count on the state to defend them from danger. Sharing privileged information
with members of another state is considered Treason. Members who discover information
about a crime or sign of invasion or other public danger are encouraged to report
those to authorities. That encouragement is less than a duty, however.
All organizations can commission a spies and scouts to go out and discover information
from other organizations. A scout simply works behind opposing lines to observe public
information about troop movements, commodity prices, and infrastructure. A spy
actively infiltrates and organization, or tries to use leverage on insiders on the
other organization to divulge privileged data.
And of course, with spies, there is always the challenge of the double agent. But...