Friday, January 25, 2013

Sandbox and Rules

I've started thinking about rules for the Sandbox Campaign as I'm calling it now (discussed here). I'm also calling it daVinci-punk.

But here is a summary of elements I see as important to the setting :

  • Renaissance technology - sailing ships, gunpowder, fine steel
  • Age of Exploration: geographic, scientific, metaphysical
  • Explosion in art
  • Magic with a Renaissance flair
  • Witty repartee

Here are specific things I want:

  • Rules-light. I'd like to encourage fast play, quick decisions, and witty repartee.
  • Narrativist elements. Perhaps a plot point system or some other way for players to influence the situation.

Here are the systems I've contemplated:

  • The Fantasy Trip has all the medieval equipment and skills, plus it includes fencing, grenades, and guns (arquebus and blunderbuss). There are several clones that could be used as a foundation. Advantages: not much modification needed. Drawbacks: no narrativist system, no renaissance-style magic system. 
  • Renaissance from Cakebread & Walton is a BRP-clone specifically for the black powder age. It is the basis of Clockworks and Chivalry and several other games. Advantages: Hero points for narrative. Drawbacks: No ship combat.
  • FATE seems to be the system of the hour right now, with the Kickstarter drawing to a close (I'm pulling for Dresden Accelerated). Advantages: Built around narrative. Drawbacks: Must build everything from scratch (unless someone knows about a Renaissance-era game using this).
  • D6 is a cinematic system used to build the first Star Wars game from West End Games. It could be used to build the right mix of swashbuckling and magic. Drawback: Will require heavy modification.
  • Heirs of the Lost World is a pirate-era alternate Earth game with magic. 
  • Principia: Secret Wars of the Renaissance is another alternate history game I've looked at briefly.
If you have more systems I should look at, let me know.


  1. Microscope.

    Other Worlds (Although I've had trouble really wrapping my head around it. It's just so difficult to read, for some reason).

    Mortal Coil might work...

    1. Other Worlds looks possible. I'm picking up the freebie version now.

  2. This sounds like it has the potential to be an awesome game. I'm interested in seeing what you come up with.

  3. I would likely use FATE or even it's pappa FUDGE. There are enough magic and combat resources floating about on the net to make either system an easy fit.
    TFT would also work well, tacking on a Fate point system or allowing players to use unspent exp for narrative control could be added by fiat and enough people have run "muskets and magery" GURPS games over the years that a mostly compatible magic system with the right flavor shouldn't be impossible to find.

  4. If you can find a copy, you should at least look at Lace & Steel.

    Lamentations Of The Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role Playing is also going for a Renaissance fantasy feel, so you might want to take a look at that, though it doesn't really do metagame things like "plot points" and such (though that would be easy enough to add, with "wish lists" and such things).

  5. I have Lace and Steel, Furry Pirates and Flashing Blades, all of which I'm going to look at.