Affiliations are statistics that represent how effective a character is when they are in specific situations, usually regarding the other characters they are dealing with in the scene. A certain affiliation can be used in a resolution mechanic when the character is in the situation described by that affiliation.
Affiliations in specific games
The superhero role-playing game Marvel Heroic Roleplaying introduced affiliations as one of their primary statistics (which Cortex Plus games like MHR refer to as "traits" and represent with dice values), and therefore an affiliation is expected to be used in every dice roll made by a player in the game. The specific affiliations used were:
- Solo, when the character works alone,
- Buddy, when the character is paired with one other character, and
- Team, when the character is in a team of three or more.
These options are suitable for a Marvel-style superhero story in which different characters work together in ever-changing combinations, but not as much for a game with a stable party of characters that always work together and never split up.
The Game Handbook for Cortex Prime (a successor game to Marvel Heroic Roleplaying) presents the same list of affiliations but also expands the definition to include other types of situation, including environmental. It includes a suggestion that a historical medieval game could include affiliations based on the Three Estates (Clergy, Nobility and Commons), each representing how well the character can act among representatives of that estate or class. This use of affiliation is similar to using factions as statistics.
Environmental situations could include a list of biomes representing how well the character functions in those biomes (for a game involving extensive travel).