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Author Topic: [Game Chef 2011] The Daughters of Verona  (Read 4996 times)
Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« on: July 15, 2011, 10:57:37 PM »

The Daughters of Verona is a GM-less RPG of Shakespearean comedy. The central themes are Love, Mistaken identities and Complex plots.

It is pretty diffuse to me right now, but I think I will have Zombie Cinema-like character generation by cards. There will be some mechanism to generate complex and confusing plots and relationships that the players get to untangle during play. And marriages at the end, of course.

As for the chargen and complex plots I might have to resort to preparing a demo playset for the competition, and build it from what I have done when the deadline comes closer.  But I hope it will be a full, replayable game by then.

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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2011, 10:17:44 AM »

While doing research I have seen many mentions of Shakespeare's "Stock Characters".  But I can't find any good list of them, just random mentions of "the fool" and "the lovers" as examples. Which are the others?

Is there any good list online somewhere that I have missed in all my Googling?
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Jonathan Walton
Moderator
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Posts: 1424


« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2011, 11:07:37 AM »

Especially in his Italian comedies, Shakespeare draws heavily on the commedia dell'arte tradition, which you also see in, for example, certain comedic operas (Marriage of Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutte, Barber of Seville, etc.).  I'm sure there are some articles on Shakespeare's use of commedia-style stock characters on the internet.
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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2011, 12:32:36 AM »

Oh!  Thanks, then I'll use those.

My game looks more and more like  Montsegur 1244, but happy. I don't mind, I quite like Montsegur 1244. Making all those cards is a chore though.  I think I'll recycle the templates from when we translated Love in the Time of Seid to Swedish, that should save some time.

Now I have to come up with thirty or so "events" or "places" that would fit into Shakespearian comedy.
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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2011, 02:28:49 AM »

One visit to Project Gutenberg and a little creative use of "grep" and I have a list of locations from the Bard's plays. You'd be surprised how many acts that take place in a palace or another, or on the street.  But that is good, I imagine such locations will be found in Verona as well.

Time to make the base for the characters.  I haven't decided if I want completely pregen characters like in Montsegur 1244, or more open pregens like in Zombie Cinema.  How much replay value do one really need in a Game Chef game?  It is rare that a single indie game comes upon my table more than three times.

Montsegur style characters would save time in the "prep" phase of the game, and yield fewer cards that need to be printed before play.  Also I can dictate the starting conditions of the story a bit.

Zombie Cinema style characters would take more time to prep before each session, and generate more cards. But it will allow for higher replay value, and a wider array of possible stories.

For both I will require some basic stuff like names, descriptions, relations and wants/desires/goals. 
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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2011, 12:08:54 PM »

Most of the rules text is down in print now, those who have played Montsegur 1244 will feel at home.

Remains to build all those characters. And turn them into cards.

Also, my SO has shown interest in the game.  Looks like she'll add support for playing unicorns in the game.  She reasoned along the lines of "If there could be fairies in a Midsummer Night's Dream, there could be Unicorns in your game". We'll see how that goes.
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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2011, 12:15:28 PM »

I have dodged making all those characters.  First by searching the web for some pretty pictures to steal for a cover and interior art. Then by writing the setting chapter, it is four lines of text, but should cover what is needed.
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Jason Petrasko
Member

Posts: 93

Rocking out!


WWW
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2011, 12:55:33 PM »

You do realize your generalized progress reports are like a seductive strip tease to game designers right? Show us a little more leg already!
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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2011, 11:57:04 PM »

Right.  The game will play very much like Montsegur 1244, except, in the end we don't have a pyre with all the PCs on it, but a wedding+feast with the PCs.  I focus strictly on comedies here, this will be a "nice" game.  Not the angst ridden, 18+ rated games I usually play. Cross play is the only "weird" element, if you are a girl who plays a heroine in disguise: you will be a girl playing a man (since all the actors are men, by tradition) dressed as a girl dressed as a man!  The game will be the Matroshka doll of cross play.

Of course there needs to be conflict and obstacles for the lovers to overcome, otherwise there would not be a story at all, but it should be along the lines of what we find in Shakespeare's comedies.

There's an element of troupe play by necessity.  At five players we have two pairs of lovers and a fool as main characters.  Then everyone also has one or two extra characters, these would be "blocker" characters, people who get in the way of the lovers, the heroine's father, other suitors (favoured by the father) etc, and servants, and people needed for secondary plot lines.

I steal stuff from the plays like they are written... When you want to put one of your characters into a scene you call out "Enter Romeo", this should reduce the confusion of who you're playing at the moment.

I will make a deck of Complications, stuff to inspire the players when they set scenes...  Stuff like "A Duel" or "Someone puts on a disguise".  The Complication deck will also double as a Location deck with good locations.

The players take turns setting scenes. Five(ish) scenes per act, five acts following the Elizabethan five act structure. There's a wedding in Act V. I'll post the setting when I get back to my other computer.
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fjj
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 06:14:49 AM »

I like the idea of a Montsegur 1244-style comedy :)

Tips for creating the cast of characters:

Include old and young people.
Include men and women.
Include authorities (fathers, judges, captains, priests).
Include family relations.

Draw out a relationship map. Each character must have relations to at least two others.

The wedding at the end:
Will each main character be married? Or perhaps the game is a "fight" of whoose marriage will be celebrated at the end?

Ideas for rules for making it a comedy:
At least one main character must get married. At most one main character may choose to escape on the night before the wedding? :)

/Frederik
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Frederik J. Jensen
Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2011, 06:54:41 AM »

The Truths
The story is a comedy, comedies end with a feast and marriages between the hero(s)
and heroine(s).

Anachronisms are to be expected. After all, no research was done.

Everyone dress in contemporary clothing, no matter where or when the story is set.

Heroines sometimes dress like men to hide their true identities.

All the roles are played by men. Heroines disguised as men are
therefore men dressed as women dressed as men.  This is hillarious.

Mistaken identities are hillarious.

Infedelity is hillarious, even if it is only implied.



Verona
The game is set in Verona. Not that it matters of course, it is the
anachronistic and unresearched Verona we're talking about. The city
may lay on the Adige like those who did some research claim.
But if you need it to it can lie on the coast or at the top of a
mountain. Say that it is a space station if it pleases you, it doesn't
matter. What matters are the Truths above.
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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2011, 07:19:35 AM »

I like the idea of a Montsegur 1244-style comedy :)

Tips for creating the cast of characters:

Include old and young people.
Include men and women.
Include authorities (fathers, judges, captains, priests).
Include family relations.

Draw out a relationship map. Each character must have relations to at least two others.

Yes, I had something like that planned, with the relations written on the cards, like in Montsegur 1244.    But considering how much better Montsegur 1244 plays when you actually have the relation map in front of you I think I'll change to relations on a shared paper instead.

I want dynamic relations, so the game will be (more) different every time you play, but the time needed to draw the map should be well spent.

Quote
The wedding at the end:
Will each main character be married? Or perhaps the game is a "fight" of whoose marriage will be celebrated at the end?

Ideas for rules for making it a comedy:
At least one main character must get married. At most one main character may choose to escape on the night before the wedding? :)

/Frederik

Yes, all "lover"-class characters will be married, since it is to be expected. This is a happy game, I can't have any sulking characters that spoil the end credits party. The escape plot falls due to the same problem.

I wonder if the game needs a scarce resource like that to be interesting.  When we have played Montsegur  1244 there has never been a lack of people who throw themselves onto the pyre, so the rule that at least one must burn has not "come into play". Except as the expectation to guide play, perhaps the same holds for this game.  The expectation that there will be a wedding at the end is enough, you can spend the game trying to resolve who will marry who.

What do you think?
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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 08:56:44 AM »

Woho!

I found loads of public domain renaissance portraits on wikimedia. My game will have actual art!

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Renaissance_profile_portraits_of_men for example

Proof of concept cards, the same size as Magic cards. Print, cut and slip into card protectors and you're good to go.

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fjj
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2011, 09:04:15 AM »

Quote from: Wilper
I want dynamic relations, so the game will be (more) different every time you play, but the time needed to draw the map should be well spent.
One of the features of Montsegur 1244 I am very happy about is that the meaning/interpretation of an early scene can be changed by a later scene ("ah - so that was why Pierre-Roger reacted like that!"). I think this can happen because there is no shared brainstorming first, where motivations and relations are agreed between the players. I find it much more rewarding to discover these in scenes. With a mix of fixed and potential relations, there is plenty of replay value as not all relations play out the same each time - and as not all relations come into play.

Quote from: Wilper
Yes, all "lover"-class characters will be married, since it is to be expected. This is a happy game, I can't have any sulking characters that spoil the end credits party. The escape plot falls due to the same problem.
I find it more interesting to allow other endings than "everybody gets married" - even though this is not entirely true to the comedy formula.

Five(ish) scenes per act, five acts following the Elizabethan five act structure. There's a wedding in Act V.
25 scenes may be a bit long for a comedy - and also you will need to create a lot of cards ;)

PS: This is your game so please do what works for you - above comments reflect my personal preferences ;)
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Frederik J. Jensen
Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2011, 09:18:40 AM »

Shame I won't be done in time to playtest before the deadline. :-)

I still think that the players will be rather free to explore and do as they please, even if it ends in a wedding.  Everyone will play 2-3 characters each, and it is only the fates of 4 of those that are predetermined.

25 scenes, yes, it might be a bit too much. I don't think this game would give enough support for most groups to play 5-6 hours and have fun (unless they LARP everything*).  But a 3 hour game should be fine. With 20-30 minutes lost in the beginning you get about 15 scenes without rushing things.  I have added a bit about "It's OK to not set a scene in an Act if you don't have any cool ideas." Perhaps I should expand it a bit with "... or are in a hurry".  Due to the fixed structure it is easy to judge how much time is left of the story, compare that with the time left of the time slot and start skipping scenes if needed.

* Earlier today I thought about turning the whole thing into a LARP, get some nice aprons to give to players when they play female roles, and scarves/ties/belts or something to give to the male roles.  Since there are no "resolution mechanics" to worry about it would work rather well I think. But it would make the game a lot slower, as we have noticed when we have LARPed the consolamentum scenes in Montsegur 1244.


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