Picaresque Design

edited April 20 in Make Stuff!
Hi all,

Months ago I shared my draft documents for Goblinville here and the discussion was immeasurably helpful for refining the game. I've been working on a hack for the system that will shift the focus to human rogues in a (non-magical) fantasy city.

I wanted to design a game that pushed hard toward the Picaresque genre. The attached documents include the current state of the rules and character sheet. I cut a lot of elements from Goblinville (basically everything about inventory, time, and explorations) and added a procedure for players to set their own scenes that I hope gives enough concrete context while allowing them to pursue their own agendas. It is a very different game.

I'd love any feedback but I'm focused on a few things:
- Are these procedures clear enough that you can imagine the flow of play?
- Are the grudges and ambitions an interesting enough framework to catch your interest?
- Are the minimal setting details appreciated or would you want more of a 'canon' setting?
- Are the opportunities for advancement and progress sufficient to encourage multiple sessions of play?

Rules v2

Sheets v2

Comments

  • This is an exciting prospect. I’ll check it out!
  • edited April 11
    Cool. It reads well.

    First the hiccups :

    I am stopped by this "they say what location they choose a rogue and one of that rogue’s locations."

    Scene ends when "The immediate crisis is resolved" is harsh. Postponed and stalled won't do ? That can hurt...

    You write as if the players would introduce NPCs and not the GM. I would make a move for the GM to introduce intermediaries (henchman, procuress, lawyer, moneylender, etc.) For reincorporation I would state that what turned good will later turn bad, and what turned bad will later turn good, so this intermediaries are mere farce, and won't change the stakes, only disturb the broth. But I suspect you need the GM to be harsher than that because of the game's economy.

    For a campaign, I love the locations, but would like a table for intermediate goals, be them resting actions. Fashion is not enough to explore character.

    I suggest jumping to "picarro" or "busca vida" or "hidalgo" right in the first paragraph, to seta el tone y el accento. Like in 7 samurais not all samurais are nobles, likewise not all picarros (scamps) are hidalgos (sons of something). I always assume that they are lying about their origins, or half lying in the case of bastards, to have if only a remote chance of social elevation. Btw, spanish for Great would be Gran, but Grand sounds nice too. And the game's not set in Spain, so, there's that, too. ;p

    Typos
    With a subject of that sort, there will be some confusion between rogue and rouge (Find+replace).
    solely (to) undermine
    temper(a)ment,
    For another picarro (not "Goblin")
    one experience (not 2 "experience"s)
    Find+replace double spaces (maybe it's only your font settings that make some huge spaces).

    The subject is novel, the mechanics easy to picture. Your version of Harm resolves a problem recurring in many games. I specially like locations and fashion for setting the theatricality level.

    Now, could I choose "any balcony" as a location for my character ? ;p
  • Don't forget to check this, forumites.
  • I'm going to do a second pass on Picaresque this weekend, and incorporate more of your advice @DeReel.

    The thing I'm thinking about first is introducing new NPCs:

    A player may introduce a new NPC once for each of their own scenes, with the caveat that this NPC hates your rogue. I can be a simmering hatred of long acquaintance or a fresh, impulsive hatred based on first impressions.

    The GM may introduce a new NPC once per scene, with the caveat that this NPC presents a direct obstacle between the acting rogue and their ambition. They could be a rival with the same goal, a friend cautioning against rash action, or an old acquaintance with an axe to grind.

    Whenever possible, reincorporate a character rather than inventing someone new. It will provide a greater sense of continuity.
  • Edited mostly by simplifying and refining the focus of play. One big shift is that only the (non-GM) players decide when to roll. Given the genre, the purpose of a roll is always clarified as a way to get what you want from someone.

    Rules v2

    Sheets v2
  • A nice draft of a fun-sounding game.

    I'm not 100% convinced that there's enough here for everyone: a good, inspired group may find easy gaming with this, and another may be lost. That may or may not be sufficient for your design goals! But it's light on support.

    (I designed a similar game myself once, and eventually found that I had to add a "track progress towards a goal" mechanic which triggers an endgame. I'm not sure your game needs THAT, but I'd keep an eye on structure in playtests.)
    moconnor said:


    The thing I'm thinking about first is introducing new NPCs:

    A player may introduce a new NPC once for each of their own scenes, with the caveat that this NPC hates your rogue. I can be a simmering hatred of long acquaintance or a fresh, impulsive hatred based on first impressions.

    The GM may introduce a new NPC once per scene, with the caveat that this NPC presents a direct obstacle between the acting rogue and their ambition. They could be a rival with the same goal, a friend cautioning against rash action, or an old acquaintance with an axe to grind.

    This is excellent.

    Another part I love is the table for mentors. Nice!

    How do shame and wounds work in these rules? I have no idea from the text.
Sign In or Register to comment.