Author Topic: Hayek's short games - ideas and interest check for game 2 - a dive into history  (Read 899 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Hayek

  • Viscount
  • ***
  • Posts: 4334
Fancy some nice RPGing, loosely based on intriguing bits of history?

After the completion of the first of my 'short games' (http://www.realroleplaying.com/rmsmf/index.php?board=669.0) I now hope to start a second. The idea behind these games is that there is an in-game reason why the game cannot last indefinately. Combined with a rasonable posting frequency and some GM help to keep things moving, the game should last about a year, perhaps 18 months. (Did the last one in 17 months and a bit, and that was mainly do to me having a lot of RL work at two points - 12 months is doable).

The focus of such a game is not on developing characters, but on using them: they start fully formed, in some position of influence, and can - nay, need to - get into action straight away. I'm using a customized system to keep things simple (a toned down version of HARP, bascially).

As for settings, this time I'd like to run something based on history, though without pretensions for complete historical accuracy (after all, the players need to make the game, and their decisions must have consequences). I present two options:

Overthrowing the Serenissima [/i]

Set in fourtheenth/fifthteenth century Venice, Italy's foremost trading republic, also called 'La serinissima' - the most serene. But her politics was anything but serene. From cloak and dagger conspiracies, to the city's renowned courtesans, and occasionally even a near civil war, there was much internal fighting going on, and jealous competitors /other countries would often intrigue against her.

As the game commences, the Doge (head of the republic, chosen for life) has just died. A new one will be elected soon. But the morning of the Doge's funeral, the corpse of the ambassador of the king of France to Venice is found floating in the grand canal. Worrisome as that is, also several notes appear in the bocca di leone (places where Venetians could leave notes reporting dangerous activity) warning of an attempt to completely overthrow the Venetian republic and install a dictator friendly to a foreign power. Details are very scarse, but clearly something is afoot. As all leading families have foreign ties - Venice is a trading republic, after all - the threat can come from anywhere, and must be countered soon. The new Doge will be elected no matter what. The only option is to prevent the wrong candidate from winning. That task falls to the notorious Council of Ten, the committee at the head of Venice infamous secret service. During their short time in office, they can employ all means - torture and execution not excepted - against enemies of the state. The players, each a member of a prominent Venetian clan, are the members of this Council. They must find out what's afoot, through violence trickery and guile, and prevent it by any means necessary - even if it means a large scale battle in Venice itself.

Additional notes: the forcing mechanism is the election of the new doge, which limits the in-game time available to a few days. Posts would cover actions for a few hours at most, often considerably less. There would be plenty of room for characters focussing on different skills. In fact, I propose that each player controls not only his main character - a nobleman by necessity, as membership of the council of ten was restricted to them - but also a secondary character, loyal assistant to the first. This could be a fighter, a thief, a courtesan, a priest, you name it, giving access to all layers of society. There will surely be combat in the game, and that might determine the outcome, but more subtle methods are certainly also possible. The only thing excluded is outright magic, though I think we can go a long way with poison and rogueish skills.

Or, we could go down further back in history, with..

The norman conquest of Italy

Between 1016 and 1065, an considerable number of norman fighters - who three or four generations earlier were still vikings out of scandinavia, but in the meantime settled the French region of Normandy and made it their own - went to find their fortunes in southern Italy. (below modern day Naples). They found a fertile land, with a populartion who were poor fighters and hopelessly divided between different factions to boot. Living of the land through brigandage and plunder was easy, and the superior fighting skills of the normans meant they could easily act as mercenaries for all factions - Lombards, Byzantines (Greeks), the Papacy, the local barons of the Holy Roman Empire, not to mention dissident fractions among those.  And in Sicily the Saracens were always causing trouble. Ample work therefore, for a bunch of less-than-scrupulous younger sons who have no patrimony to inherit in Normandy, but with sharp swords they can do very well for themselves under the hot southern sun.

The players would be norman knights, recently arrived with a few comrades. They find this part of Italy in near-anarchy, in no small measure due to the depridations of other normans like them who arrived a bit earlier. Yet something is afoot, a new emperor and a new pope come to power in a short span of time, and they feel the ravaging of the land cannot continue and hinders their policies. A big army is ammassing north of the Alps. The new Emperor - technically only king of the romans till his coronation in Rome - is going to clear out the mess. While afraid of no-one, it is clear a heads-on battle with trained Germanic soldiers will be a lot more dangerous than sacking italian towns, and is best avoided as an almost surely losing proposition. However, there are other possibilities....

Should you be able to acquire a title of nobility yourself, from one of the parties (the prince of Capua, duke of Benevento, the Pope, or through the catapan (governor) from the byzantines, and the corresponding lands, you would be seen as part of the solution rather than the problem. So, a band of like-minded norman knights set out to do just that.

This setting would be loosely based on the exploits of the Hauteville brothers, who came to Italy as norman mercenaries / thugs, fought for and against everyone (literally, just not at the same time) and ended their careers as dukes, princes and in one case (a generation later) as king of Sicily. The focus would be on the early stage, the arrival of the imperial (western) army is the forcing mechanism. I combine elements from over 20 years of actual history in a campaign that would last about a year in game time (to allow for moving to different places, ambushes, a short siege and what not). A twist in the mechanics is that there is no reason why the players should always remain loyal to eachother - neither did the real normans. But internecine strife is of course not conductive to the desired result...
Finally a warning: chances are fairly high that some characters might not make it to the end in this one.

-----
Now I'm no historian, but as I'm faily well read in both pieces of history, I feel I can make enjoyable games out of either.  For now I want to know if there's any interest. Start would be end May / begin of June. The first option needs fewer players than the second though ( 3 to 5 vs 5 to 7). So, who's game?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 02:56:00 PM by Hayek »

Offline Old Man

  • Viscount
  • ***
  • Posts: 4424
    • The Campaign Nook
Hmmm interesting concepts. Not sure yet, but leaning to the first idea.
"Do what you know, yet know what you do."

Offline Jaeru

  • GamesMasters
  • Marquis
  • *
  • Posts: 9886
Love both ideas...I lean towards the second one, but at the same time fear it might be too ambitious for PbP. If one character tries to win the hand of a noblemen's daughter and the other goes off to start a siege...the timelines would give me a headache as GM.


That said...if you can pull it off, then the second is my choice as it is more epic  :mellow:

Offline Barrow

  • GamesMasters
  • Viscount
  • *
  • Posts: 3504
I'm in. Either option sounds good to me.  :yes:



Offline Dalewarrior

  • GamesMasters
  • Earl
  • *
  • Posts: 6636
Hi Hayek,
If my browser doesn't give me error messages, I'd be happy to join the Norman campaign, but I'm also allright with the Venetian one.
Cheers,
António

Offline Enheduanna

  • Baronet
  • *
  • Posts: 1213
Hello Hayek,

I’m interested in these as well.  The Venetian one sounds more enticing to me, but I’m certainly not opposed to the Norman campaign.

Offline Hayek

  • Viscount
  • ***
  • Posts: 4334
That's 5, very promising! Welcome all, and thanks!

I'll give it till the end of the week for others to join in and express their preference. (after that additional people are still welcome, but the choice will have been made then).

Online I8flesh2

  • Knight of the Quest
  • *****
  • Posts: 955
I'll throw my hat in as well. However, I will retire Sir Reginald for the time being and create someone new.

Offline Hayek

  • Viscount
  • ***
  • Posts: 4334
Excellent. I'll get this on the road ASAP, seems like the Venice storyline has slightly more appeal (and I agree with Jaeru that it is easier to GM). So we'll do that.

Unfortunately, ASAP also means waiting till my internet has been sorted out in a few days, currently I'm managing 0.2 Mbps. Yes, 0.2. Feels remarkably like, say, 1996.  :ill:

Online I8flesh2

  • Knight of the Quest
  • *****
  • Posts: 955
Pshhhkkkkkkrrrrkakingkakingkakingtshchchchchchchchcch

Offline Barrow

  • GamesMasters
  • Viscount
  • *
  • Posts: 3504
Unfortunately, ASAP also means waiting till my internet has been sorted out in a few days, currently I'm managing 0.2 Mbps. Yes, 0.2. Feels remarkably like, say, 1996.  :ill:

 :lol: That's pretty swank for 96. I think I still had a 300 baud modem back then!

Offline Hayek

  • Viscount
  • ***
  • Posts: 4334
Ok, back in action. requested a board!

Offline Hayek

  • Viscount
  • ***
  • Posts: 4334
For the record, I started this campaign, but if people want to join, that can still be arranged the coming week!

Offline WaitingCynicism

  • Messenger
  • **
  • Posts: 20
I would be interested

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk