[Game Chef 2011] A Game of (Fairy) Courtly Intrigue

Started by AMuses, July 15, 2011, 01:35:52 PM

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Don't have any solid ideas yet about mechanics, but I've been excited about this so wanted to get a forum post up outlining some of my ideas so far.

Set in the forest of A Midsummer Night's Dream, players are members of Oberon's or Titania's court (players would be encouraged to all choose one court or the other, as you'll be making life miserable for the other court). I haven't named them yet but there'd be roughly three classes of character, based on Puck, Titania's handmaidens, and the Changeling (the child that sets off Oberon when we first meet the couple).

The only mechanic aspect I've thought of so far is that I want to have a randomizing element for the magic. Puck's spells end up backfiring or being applied to the wrong person so often that I want to bring that aspect into any and all spells cast.

More thoughts to come, probably after I develop them on the train ride home...

Jonathan Walton

A great start!  I hope the train was productive.


Between the train, my husband, and my gaming group, I think I have had a fairly productive time so far!

The Courts
The two opposing courts are Titania's and Oberon's. Titania's court represents spontaneity while Oberon favors law and order. Neither monarch, nor their subjects, follow their "rules" all the time (Titania can be serious, Oberon can tell a joke), but when the opportunity for fun appears, Titania and her court feel compelled to take that route.

Subjects of the courts fall into three categories, which I'm still working on names for. The "Puck" class are the public faces of the court - emissaries, perhaps, which explains why Puck is so fun-loving. He has to be in order to interact properly with Titania and her folk. This class is good for diplomacy, but bad for spying because they hold such public positions. The Handmaiden class are essentially the serving class - cooks, serving girls, musicians and the like. Better for spying because they blend into the woodwork, but can't influence anyone with real power. Changelings are humans brought into the court as infants by the fairies. They have no magic/very limited magic, but will end up with some sort of stat bonus (when I get to the point of actually working with numbers). They are coveted by both Titania and Oberon as status symbols, but among the fae they are considered rather untrustworthy as it's impossible to tell with whom their loyalties lie - their monarch? The opposing one? Or are they just biding their time until they can escape to the human realm?

This was a huge stumbling block for me, but I was really inspired when I saw people on here referencing looking up Elizabethan-era games. I went looking for dice games (I'm most familiar with dice-systems and for my first design project I want to stick with something somewhat familiar), and found a game that dates back to Roman times but was still popular by the Elizabethan-era (http://ablemedia.com/ctcweb/showcase/boardgames6.html Knucklebones).

The dice used will be 4d6, and I'm thinking at the moment that the actual numbers you roll matter less than the number of pairs. Rolling four of a kind is a critical hit - you're pretty much going to automatically succeed unless your challenge was essentially impossible. Three of a kind beats two pair, two pair beat one pair. If all four of your dice are different numbers, here's where the randomizing element I mentioned in my first post comes in. If all the dice are different, then something goes wrong with a spell - has unintended consequences, hits the wrong person, fizzles out spectacularly, etc. If you're not working with a spell, then four different dice just gives you a negative. However, because the fae are inherently magical creatures, if your success pool drops into the negatives, then something magical and negative will happen (example my husband came up with: my lock picking skill is at 1, but I try to pick the lock anyway. My dice come up 1, 3, 4, 6, so I'm at -1 for the roll. Not only do I fail at picking the lock, I now find a daisy is growing out of it).

This is intended to be a very combat-light system. Most altercations will be battles of wits and diplomacy. The fae are immortal, what is the point of physical combat when you live forever? This game is all about the back room negotiations, spying, treaties and diplomacy required to keep Oberon and Titania happy, for we all know what happens when they meet and are unhappy... (http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=midsummer&Act=2&Scene=1&Scope=scene&LineHighlight=450#450)

And now to fully bake in the ingredients...


Here's a link to the rough draft of my submission! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nOkjPGrLG5rqAwaERcBrvQ4TAhSJ78TZOuvicgTrlqI/edit?hl=en_US

It's not the prettiest document at the moment, but I wanted to wait to get a little feedback before I started messing with the formatting too much. I want to make sure everything makes sense to people who aren't in my head. Any and all comments would be greatly appreciated, as this is the very first time I've even attempted to make my own game!