Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Viscounts & Vagabonds - Mechanics and Vices

Continuing my series on the basic rules in development for Viscounts & Vagabonds, my roleplaying game of hijinks and skulduggery in Georgian England, in this post I'll be looking at the basic mechanics, the Relationships side of the game, and Vices.

The game uses pools of d10s - typically, you will be building a pool from either an Attribute plus a Skill, or simply testing an Attribute on its own. Should you be dealing with an individual with whom you have a 'love/positive' Relationship, then you will be adding their dice as well to the test. Relationships come into play in a number of ways, of which more in a subsequent post.

The GM will usually determine what your target number is on the roll (TN). You will need to roll at least two of this result, or two of a higher result to succeed. The more, the better. A fairly standard test would be 6X2. A very hard test would be 10X2. Some tests might require three in very rare circumstances (a trio). Usually, this will be because something has to be done under pressure with time or space constraints of some kind. If you have all the time in the world, a X2 result should suffice. Escaping other riders on horseback would require Phys + Horse X3 for example, probably with a TN of 7 or 8.

The GM can taint most rolls with taint dice. These are 1-2 dice (sometimes more) that are added to the pool. These should usually be black to distinguish them. Taint dice reflect some form of adverse circumstance that will not necessarily stand in the way of success, but can mean that you level of success in somehow tainted, or modified, by GM fiat. This would require at least one of the taint dice to beat your result. Hence, if I were to succeed with 7X2, and there was a taint die in the pool that came up with an 8, my success would be tainted in some way.

Reputation can be permanently tainted in this way. Other ongoing factors or circumstances can produce taints. For example, trying to Flirt with an NPC with whom another party member has a negative relationship, would add taint dice equal to half that relationship. A very sick or poor quality steed might bring with it a permanent taint die for every Horse roll made with that mount.

Botches - if you roll more 1s than any other number (including taint dice), then something really very bad has happened. Both player and GM can suggest what this might be. This will usually also mean loss of one from your current pool in that attribute. This trumps even a success. Thus, if I rolled 7X2, but also 1X3, I'd still be stuffed.


All Viscounts have Vices. These are determined by the player at character generation stage. I may provide suggestions in a future post. While it is possible to just have Drink or Gambling as vices, part of the fun is coming up with something far more exotic and colourful for your character. This encourages the GM to put exotic temptations in your character's path. The player and GM should agree on a mechanical penalty

Each Vice has 10 boxes. You may have more than one Vice, so on the character sheet, I may include space for up to three. At generation, a Viscount has to spend points in his Vices equal to Spirit + Luck + Wealth divided by two (rounded up). Every time he is exposed to a Vice, a Viscount must test using a dice pool based on Spirit + current Vice. The Viscount must roll higher on his Spirit dice than his Vice dice to resist. If he fails, he takes an additional point in that Vice.

I've not really decided whether there should be specific impact on Wealth, or Physique or Spirit or indeed other attributes yet. Reputation or even Luck might be at stake. The attribute at stake should be obvious, if not, then Luck is the default.

Once a Viscount fills all his boxes on a Vice, he becomes Dissolute, and his character is removed from play, becoming an NPC and succumbing entirely to their vice, losing all interest in daily life.

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