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.