I made a post on G+ last week about a new idea for a game. Then it was called the Bridge, and that was based on what I thought would be the setting. In the entire day since that post, I have removed it from its setting – which was not actually important to the concept – and now I’m calling it the Wall. Why? In the game, the PCs are Occupiers – they are foreign troops garrisoning a city on behalf of a distant monarch. They are the wall protecting the city and the wall separating the Dispossessed in the city from the Elite. The monarch needs the cooperation of the Elite to run the city and the Dispossessed to work in the city. There’s also internal conflicts within the Occupiers, given that they are not a heterogeneous group.
The city might be part of a collection of territories or it might be the only city held by the foreign monarch – it might be the Spanish Netherlands or it might be Calais in 1557 – but that is something each group will decide for itself.
Here’s what I wrote in my G+ post:
You are foreign mercenaries stationed in a fortress that spans a river separating the homes of the elite and the places of governance from the poor and dispossessed. You are charged with keeping order and protecting the city.
Each session is an episode and the problem needs to be solved within the timeframe of that episode. You can use the Fist, the Heart, or the Brain. There is Distance (the cultural distance between you and the locals), Sympathy (the amount of sympathy you have for the Dispossessed) and Influence (your influence with the Elite).
Using the Fist creates Distance and burns Sympathy and Influence and makes it that much harder to succeed next time, but while using the Heart or the Brain might increase your Sympathy or Influence, that is going to make getting cooperation out of your fellow mercenaries that much harder. You might find yourself separated from all three.
Needs a lot more work, but so far the idea intrigues me. Inspiration: Spanish occupation of the Netherlands in the 17th century.
Some of that remains, its core, but some of it has changed. I’ve started doing scenarios which I’ll share here as the game evolves. They are like examples of play, but starting out very abstract (kind of ignoring the narrative to focus on the mechanical) and moving into more fleshed out as the system coalesces.
So, expect to see more as inspiration hits, but I don’t think I’ll have much time to work on this, with the Sword’s Edge RPG still evolving, Lawless Heaven and the Nor’Westers being written, and a super-secret project about which I cannot yet speak.
And I’m continuing my Master’s program.
Oh, and I have a family and a house.
Did I mention I have a day job?
Yes, it is cray-cray.
You can read more about the Wall here