Thursday, December 10, 2009

Court d'Capitate

Lady Andrea d'Capitate, seen here shortly before her death under mysterious circumstances involving an unlocked window, a blowgun dart laced with Kroazian Happy Juice, and a greased pig that had somehow gotten loose inside the royal ballroom.

Picture a game taking place in a royal court that's practically overflowing with backstabbing and intrigue. Players start by each selecting a Mastermind character- many of these characters are members of the host family (the wealthy and influential d'Capitates), but just as many are guests (members of other noble families, a foreign ambassador, a long-lost heir to the throne). The Masterminds (each of whom has their own mechanical quirks that influence how they play) then spend the game vying for influence, until one of them finally becomes amasses enough that they can order that all their rivals be beheaded for treason. They do this in two ways: acquiring Pawns to manipulate, and carrying out increasingly convoluted murder schemes.

The game would be played via several sets of cards- first would be those Mastermind cards listing your stats and special abilities. Second would be a deck of Pawns; I imagine that players would flip over the top card of the deck once per turn, and then take turns bidding on that Pawn to determine who acquires him. Third would be the hand full of Scheme cards that each mastermind has; each will either be an Assassination cards that represents an individual element of a murder plot, or a Plan cards you play face down besides one of your Pawns, to be activated when the prerequisites are triggered and the time is right. Fourth would be event cards, with a new one each round that changes the conditions based on what's going on in the court, such as a musical performance or a toast to the king's health.

Every Pawn has a Luck score (which determines the total Lethality an assassination attempt needs to kill them), a Paranoia score (Which makes it more difficult to get away with assassination attempts), and an Influence score (which gives you points towards your eventual victory so long as the character is unoccupied, i.e. untapped, at the start of your turn).

Masterminds create new assassination plots by writing down the name of that plot's target on a slip of paper, folding it up, and then placing an Assassination card face-down on top of it. Each turn they can add more Assassination cards to the plot. Each card has a Lethality score (for successfully killing the target), a Cunning score (for not getting caught, lest you have to pin the blame on a pawn that will promptly be executed), and a Style score (the number of Victory Points you'll receive if the attempt succeeds); an attempt uses the total of each card's score in each area. And naturally, killing an opponent's pawn means they must discard any Plans attached to that pawn.

That's the gist of the idea. What do you think?


vazor said...

Sounds pretty good. I'd try it- you might consider instead of "write name on paper" have a tile or card so that players aren't scrambling for paper all the time.

Anonymous said...

The interaction between Luck, Paranoia, and Influence sounds like a rather fun mechanic. I do wonder what exactly would be bid for Pawns, though. Would that come from the player's pool of Victory Points? And would there be any mechanics for stealing Pawns without killing them?

Dagda (Brooks Harrel) said...

I've been debating how many forms of currency to have- I know there'll be the victory points you earn over time, and another pool of resources that refills each turn and is spent on various actions (3 points to start a new murder plot, 2 points to add another card to a plot, etc.). If I used that pool for everything, I think it'd refill at the *end* of your turn- that way you'd spend points on bidding for Pawns first, and be using whatever's left for your actual actions once your turn comes around.

As for stealing Pawns, I imagine there'd be an Assassination card that caused the target to change allegiances instead of being killed.