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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default PEACH: new faction-based political RPG system

    Hi everyone,

    I've developed a system in order to deal with the political situations that arise specifically in cities. I want to perfect this system so that I can run games set in Sharn where each player controls one of the major power groups: The Boromar Clan, the Daask, Cannith South, etc.

    I just started running two concurrent but separate playtests using this system as it appears below set in Gotham city using the continuity of Batman Begins but it's early enough that if anyone sees any ways to improve the system I can still fit them in.

    Thanks for taking a read!

    ******************************************

    The Rules

    This is a diceless, political, player-versus-player, roleplay-heavy game that has a bare-bones set of rules which serves to provide the minimum amount of structure required to resolve conflict between factions.

    Factions

    Each player controls a single faction. Every faction consists of a Leader, an Agenda, a Location and some number of Assets.

    The faction's Leader is an NPC controlled by the player of the faction who offers at least one source of roleplay and propaganda. Killing a faction's leader has no mechanical effect as another leader will simply step up to take control of the faction, but having a personified leader helps to get the player in the mindset of controlling their faction.

    Every faction must have an agenda that serves to drive the game by giving the factions motivations beyond simply each player's desire to "win". This is a RPG above all else and the system is designed to provide a venue for roleplaying, not tactical simulation, therefore each faction's agenda is its most important characteristic. A faction's agenda must be defined on an in-game level and is usually based on the goals of the faction's leader.

    A faction's Location, on an in-game level, is a safe zone where any member of any faction can contact your faction and communicate. This venue should be atmospheric and appropriate to the faction. On an out-of-game level, each faction has a Location thread on the board which is where all inter-faction roleplaying will happen. These discussions can be held PUBLICLY or PRIVATELY, that is up to the players involved.

    A faction's Assets represent both the overall health of the faction and a measure of a faction's influence. On an in-game level, a Asset is a person, place, or thing that provides a mechanism for the faction to enact change in the city. On an out-of-game level, each Asset has the ability to store a single Faction Point between turns and can allow a faction to commit a larger number of FP to a single action. A faction does not need Assets in order to influence events in the city. More information about Assets is described below.

    Faction Points (FP)

    Faction Points describe how much each faction is able to accomplish each turn (in this case, a single in-game day) above and beyond maintaining the status quo. A single Faction Point has no defined value, but rather it provides a measure of a faction's influence relative to other factions. Their use is simple: if a single FP is devoted to accomplishing a task that is not opposed by any other factions, then the task succeeds. If any factions compete to accomplish the same task better or faster than the other, then whichever faction spent the most FP will win. If any factions come into direct conflict with each other, whichever side has spent the most FP will win that conflict.

    Faction Points are earned by writing propaganda, in other words, contributing to the narrative of the story as described by the Style Guide. Each faction will have a base of 4 FP at the start of each turn in addition to FP earned for propaganda.

    More on Assets

    Assets can have one of two states:
    1. An Asset is idle unless it is being used by the faction that possesses it.
    2. An Asset can be busy doing something specific if an FP is spent during a faction's Action phase to put the Asset to work on a particular task. Doing so is part of the narrative and must have an in-game description that is appropriate to the Asset. A faction may assign a new task to a busy Asset by spending another FP and abandoning the FP that was spent on the original task.

    Using Assets:
    If a faction possesses a busy Asset, that faction can use the Asset's efforts to contribute to one of the faction's actions if appropriate. By doing so, the Asset adds one FP to the total number of FP devoted to the action, effectively allowing the faction to store FP between rounds or even within the same round. Once an Asset is used it becomes idle.

    Assets can be affected by other factions in the following ways:
    1. An Asset can be destroyed with a successful action, at which point no faction may benefit from it. If the Asset was busy, the FP spent on it is lost.
    2. An Asset can be rendered unowned with a successful action. If it was busy, it is still busy with its current task, and any faction that claims the Asset can spend that FP if the narrative allows.
    3. An unowned Asset can be claimed with a successful action. Note that in order to take a Asset from another faction it must first be rendered unowned and then claimed as seperate actions.
    4. A new Asset can be created with a successful action if there is space in the city. At the start of the game there will be no space to create additional Assets. Space can be made by destroying existing Assets or by devoting actions to creating new space. A new Asset is initially unowned and another action must be successful in order to claim it.

    Game Play

    The game is turn-based, where each turn represents one day in the game and should take one or two real-life weeks to complete. Each turn has three phases:

    1. Politics Phase
    2. Action/Reaction Phase
    3. Propaganda Phase

    Politics Phase
    This is where the bulk of time will be spent playing the game. As a player, you control an entire faction, its leader, and all of its members. The negotiations you perform with other factions will be roleplayed by members of your factions in the appropriate Location thread. There is no mechanic needed for these scenes, as they only exist to allow in-character communication between factions. A real-life deadline will be given for the end of this phase at which point each player must submit their faction's actions for the turn to the GMs.

    Action/Reaction Phase
    Players must decide what their faction is going to try to accomplish each turn. A faction's Actions are pro-active and include: lobbying, robbing, spying, researching, attacking, covering up an action taken by a faction, bolstering the defenses of another faction, etc. These efforts are quantified when the player decides how many Faction Points to devote to each endeavor. Points can be spent on Actions from the FP granted at the beginning of the turn and by expending FP that have been stored in a faction's Assets, if appropriate. Only FP that have not been spent on Actions are available to be spent on Reactions. At this time players may also choose to make an idle Asset busy with a specific task or change the task of a busy Asset.

    Once each player has submitted their turn's Actions using the format provided, the GMs will inform any players who need to make Reactions. A faction's Reactions are defensive and include: defending a Asset from physical attack, countering a smear campaign, thwarting an investigation, preventing espionage, etc. Again, players will decide how to distribute their remaining FP to counteract the Actions of other factions which affect their faction or its Assets directly. Players may also choose to spend FP which have been stored in their Assets on Reactions, even if the Asset has been used to store an FP during the same turn's earlier Action phase. Any unspent FP left over from at this point are lost: FP left for Reactions cannot be stored in an idle Asset, nor can FP be spent to on behalf of another faction.

    Propaganda Phase
    Once players have decided how to spend their FP on Reactions, the GMs will be able to resolve all actions. Each player will be informed on an out-of-game level the results of their Actions and Reactions. At this point, the players are responsible for sharing the narrative of the story with each other by writing propaganda according to the Style Guide. The quality and quantity of this propaganda will determine how many Faction Points that player's faction receives at the beginning of the next turn.

    At this point the story will have advanced by one day and a new turn will begin.

    Destroying a faction

    If all of a faction's Assets are no longer owned by that faction or have been destroyed, the faction is now considered compromised. This has two mechanical effects:

    1. A compromised faction only receives FP for propaganda in order to represent its diminished influence in the city.
    2. If the leader of a compromised faction is "removed from the story" the faction is destroyed. Doing so requires one successful action but cannot be done on the same turn that the faction was rendered compromised.

    *******************************

    The Style Guide

    Bonus FP will be provided if the content, submitted on time in the Propaganda Submissions thread, is usable without time-consuming modification on the part of the DMs. Any submissions that require heavy modifications by the GMs, either to clean up or to modify to be usable do not count towards bonus points. Remember that the spirit of this propaganda is to simulate the ability of factions, if they actually existed in a city, to be informed about the results of the actions of the other factions.

    Note that you can only get this bonus once per type of propaganda per turn (you can't get 4FP if you submit 2 images but you can submit an article and rumours and a picture). You can submit the same kinds of propaganda every turn, however.

    Get Published: summary of an article in The Gotham Times [1 or 2 FP once per turn]
    1 FP:
    - Provide a catchy headline and a brief summary of a newspaper article, including important names and places. Points are only awarded when your article reaches print. If there is a delay, or someone influences the paper in some way you may not get the points right away.
    - Headline should be no more than 10 words long.
    - Body text should be no more than 150 words long.
    - Articles must be inspired by events that have happened.
    2 FP:
    - as above including a picture relevant to the article content

    Spread the Word: rumours [1 FP once per turn]
    - Provide a half-dozen brief rumours, feel free to include blatant falsehoods as long as they were inspired by factual goings on. Points are awarded when two of your rumours hit the streets. If there is a delay, or someone influences the rumour-mill in some way you may not get the points right away.
    - Rumours should be no more than 75 words long.
    - Rumours must be inspired by events that have happened, even if they are false.
    - At least 50% of the rumours must be true.

    Make a Scene: narrative of an event [1 or 2 FP once per turn]
    1 FP:
    - Describe a place in the city and an event that occured there, including the Location of any faction or a new Location (which will be happily created upon request)
    - The event must be witnessed by people who could then spread the word to other factions. So if you're doing something that happens in the slums, then all the underworldly factions will hear about it and maybe none of the upper class factions. As a rule of thumb the event has to be big enough so that at least half the factions, or a whole category of factions, hears about it.
    - This event must describe actions, or the results of actions, that have actually taken place in the game
    2 FP:
    - As above, but over 500 words

    Paint a Picture: a poster, photograph, or sketch [1 or 2 FP once per turn]
    1 FP:
    - Provide an image that would have been seen by at least half of the factions or a whole category of factions that describes or is inspired by actions or the results of actions that have actually taken place
    - The image should include at least a sentence of brief text in order to ensure that its context is perfectly clear
    - Examples include: a photograph used by The Gotham Times with a caption, a wanted notice including an artist's sketch of the suspect, or a poster that has been widely posted around the city that contains at least a few words of copy
    2 FP:
    - As above, but the image was created specifically for this purpose instead of being taken from another context (in other words, if you created the image yourself instead of grabbing something from the internet)

    Set the Stage: create your faction's Location thread in the game forum [1 or 2 FP, maximum of 2 FP ever per faction]
    - Please post this as a Location thread in the main game forum instead of the Propaganda Submission thread, as an exception to the rule
    1 FP:
    - Describe the place or other usual means that is open to all to conduct business with your faction
    2 FP:
    - As above, but over 250 words and includes detailed descriptions including where in the city it is located, how it is found, the ambience, people or things in the background, and a description of the person with whom first contact is made

    Above and Beyond: Add something to the game above and beyond what's listed [1 FP once per turn]
    - Anything that significally adds to the players' experience of the game that isn't something written or illustrated, such as links, programs, etc.
    - This is really the catch all for anything else people submit that's really cool, that we want to reward but don't have a category for.
    Last edited by Naturax; 2008-01-27 at 08:25 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    EvilElitest's Avatar

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    Default Re: PEACH: new faction-based political RPG system

    AHHHHHHHH, complicated rules, NOOOOOO

    Ok sorry, it seems good really
    from
    EE

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: PEACH: new faction-based political RPG system

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilElitest View Post
    AHHHHHHHH, complicated rules, NOOOOOO

    Ok sorry, it seems good really
    from
    EE
    I tried to make them as simple as possible. I don't want the mechanics to get in the way of the story, but only provide a clean way to resolve PvP conflict.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Maldraugedhen's Avatar

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    Default Re: PEACH: new faction-based political RPG system

    So it's essentially city-based diplomacy with some 'write for additional armies' thrown in, as well as some extra actions and such.

    Hmm. Seems interesting. Personally, though, I think the amount of awarded FP for propaganda should be by GM fiat, with those recommendations as a guideline.
    The road goes ever on and on,
    Down from the door where it began,
    Now far ahead the road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can--
    Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Meeting those who travel on the way,
    Where many paths and errands meet,
    And whither then, I cannot say.
    --J.R.R. Tolkien

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
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    Location
    Toronto, Canada

    Default Re: PEACH: new faction-based political RPG system

    Quote Originally Posted by Maldraugedhen View Post
    So it's essentially city-based diplomacy with some 'write for additional armies' thrown in, as well as some extra actions and such.

    Hmm. Seems interesting. Personally, though, I think the amount of awarded FP for propaganda should be by GM fiat, with those recommendations as a guideline.
    Yes, the play is very similar to Diplomacy, but I don't want it to be a tactical game with a map: I want it to allow for all sorts of intrigue and politics, not just combat.

    I wanted to have an objective measure of how many FP you'd get for propaganda to ensure fairness and so that players weren't surprised by how many FP they were awarded - I don't want it to be a source of arguments between players and the GM. What is the advantage of letting the GM wing it?

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Maldraugedhen's Avatar

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    Default Re: PEACH: new faction-based political RPG system

    What you listed are the advantages of keeping to the code, yes. But the advantage of letting the GM wing it (even just a bit) makes it so that if somebody writes a 1000-word essay for Make A Scene just because they were really getting into the swing of it, the GM can reward that kind of thing. Above and Beyond starts to get at it... but I think it could be covered a bit better.
    The road goes ever on and on,
    Down from the door where it began,
    Now far ahead the road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can--
    Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Meeting those who travel on the way,
    Where many paths and errands meet,
    And whither then, I cannot say.
    --J.R.R. Tolkien

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
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    Location
    Toronto, Canada

    Default Re: PEACH: new faction-based political RPG system

    Quote Originally Posted by Maldraugedhen View Post
    What you listed are the advantages of keeping to the code, yes. But the advantage of letting the GM wing it (even just a bit) makes it so that if somebody writes a 1000-word essay for Make A Scene just because they were really getting into the swing of it, the GM can reward that kind of thing. Above and Beyond starts to get at it... but I think it could be covered a bit better.
    Gotcha. Thanks for the feedback!

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