Games Design - [E&E]City District Sheet

Posted by: Matt On: Sep 2nd 2010 edited

One of the things I've been working on for the (completely) new version of my fantasy city game Enlightenment & Entropy is the idea of a city district sheet, a single sheet covering an area of the city. These replace the old maps n traits approach. Each one has a summary of the area, a potential character, a faction and some fragments for players to grab and run with.

So, below is an example.

The Spire
A towering edifice of rotting architecture and hunched gargoyles stretching nearly a mile high. Once home to the emperors of the Antecendant Empire, now the home of the Regent and his nefarious Bureaucracy. Hunched figures in grey robes scuttle its myriad staircases and passages, delivering intelligence and missives of import.

Some say the affairs of the whole world are catalogued here in some infernal machine. Others whisper that the decaying body of the last emperor is still housed somewhere in the depths, kept alive to legitimise the Regency ...

Lord Null, Cataloger of the Redacted
The seneschals of the Bureaucracy fear their former Lord, a renegade who attempts to reveal the secrets the Regent has kept.
Arcana: The Prince in Shadow
Because I owe... Artificer Galen for the devices he provided - 1d
Because I desire... the end of the Regency - 3d
Because I fear... my former lieutenant, 1st Torturer Evard - 2d

The Bureaucracy
Faceless, relentless and corrupt, the Regent’s Bureaucracy has a hand or an ear in all goings on in the city.
Arcana: The Spire
Influence: 7d
Antagonises: Political ambition and free speech.

A scrap of punchcard paper listing scions of the last emperor, only two names not crossed off.
A bureaucrat, dead in a forgotten passage, clutching a map
A discarded mask, akin to the face of the Regent.

So what I'm looking for here is, if presented with this info and nothing else, what game situations or stories spring to mind? What would you build? Is there anything else you'd need?

I'm curious as to if it serves its purpose...

Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Sep 2nd 2010

I certainly think we might investigate whether the scored off Scions are now dead. I'd be tempted to go to the two names and see what they make of it. (But that's just me!)

I'd also TAKE MAP and study it.

I'm getting the feeling (true or not) that there is a bigger picture involving the Regent (the chord it hits with me is Man In The Iron Mask).

I like the Owe, Desire, Fear thing for Lord Null. The most directly applicable I feel is his Desire. That's the visible hook for characters with this info. The Fear and Owe things have to come out when you speak to other people. I'd like to see that written out or codified in advice. Or maybe it's information that can be earned in play?

Anyway, that's my take Matt.

Posted by: Malcolm Craig On: Sep 2nd 2010 edited

It's very exciting to see you working on this again, Matt.

I feel that Artificer Galen has been contracted to build a machine (perhaps akin to the mythical infernal cataloging machine?) that will finally read the card and reveal the identities of the two remaining Scions. Does the body in the passage bear the marks of torture, perhaps by a familiar hand? Maybe the mask is but one of hundreds, produced by the Bureaucracy for their own nefarious ends?

I'm liking this already, great stuff. There's a lot of story potential in a few short lines and descriptive phrases. If I were re-writing a|state, this is certainly the kind of direction I'd be going in in terms of describing burghs and other areas! Not that I am re-writing it, mind you.


Posted by: Newt Newport On: Sep 2nd 2010

Some of the latter HeroQuest 1 supplements/adventures had abilities/traits for Cities - but this also included things like the services that they provided and their defences.

Posted by: Andrew Kenrick On: Sep 3rd 2010

So are these district sheets something that will be in the book, or something that the players will create around the table?

As for stories - I'd be all about the map and the mask. Are they connected? Where does the map lead? Could the bearer of the mask pass as the regent, and if so what could I do with such a thing?

Lots of story potential there!

Posted by: Matt On: Sep 3rd 2010

Hi Andy, the sheets will form part of the book, but the idea is that there'll be extras for download and groups will create their own.

So, further query, did you see Lord null as a PC or not?

Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Sep 3rd 2010

No, that hadn't occurred to me!

Posted by: Joe Prince On: Sep 3rd 2010

Really? He seemed an obvious PC to me. Probably 'cos he's got stats.
Plus I like his tarot card!

So what's the game about Matt - or is that a secret for another time?

Posted by: Malcolm Craig On: Sep 3rd 2010

That's interesting, I didn't see him as a PC. I'm certainly keen on finding out a lot more about what you are intending to do with E&E and how it works. Are we to take it from the information so far that Tarot forms some part of the game?


Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Sep 3rd 2010

This thread from 2007 (!) is about an earlier iteration of E&E that we tried at RopeCon.

My favourite part was the Tarot Cards that aren't, as it were. That previous iteration didn't work and I'm super interested in how Matt has changed his approach to realize his vision of play.

Posted by: Matt On: Sep 5th 2010

Joe, that's for another thread I have planned. :) This one was just to test some reactions to content.

As an aside, the Tarot cards are still the same, in that there is no deck, but each player conceptualises their character as one.

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