Dirty Princesses

A Game about Expectations and Danger

Some of my own notes October 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bullbar83 @ 1:01 am

I was writing some notes for myself to try and start getting organised and decided that instead I should post them on here. So if they don’t really make sense, that’s why…

What is the game about in terms of story?

It’s about a land that has always been ruled by a Queen, and it’s about her daughters who have to go off on perilous quests to prove that they have what it takes to rule. Setting is malleable, it can be steampunk or sci-fi or typical fantasy.

What is the game about in terms of theme and ideas?

It’s about the person everyone wants you to be, the person you want to be, and the person you actually become. It’s about being your own you.

How do I achieve these goals?

–          Character Creation and Pre-Campaign work involves creating the traits of your mother, The Queen, as well as creating your Princess from a web of expectations and relationships.

–          Over the course of the campaign, the challenges the Princesses face (via Challenge scenes, primarily) will reflect the traits of their mother that they didn’t previously think to deal with, and their successes or failures in these challenges will also affect those traits.

Describe the basic mechanics real quick-like?

You roll a bunch of d10s and you look for Straights. The more you have in them and the higher the highest number, the better. Extra straights add bonuses too.

Structure of the Document Vs Structure of the Game (I don’t want this to make sense I just like it)

Structure of the Document:

  1. Introduction
  2. Character Creation
  3. Campaign Creation (Stuff about the Queen mostly, as well as Retinue characters)
  4. The Basics of the Rules
  5. Challenges and such
  6. The GM stuff

Structure of the Game:

  1. You all talk and decide on a setting and style
  2. You all make up the Queen of the setting, giving her traits
  3. You make Princesses that suit the setting, and give them relationships with their mother and with themselves
  4. You start an individual session
  5. If you haven’t already, make Retinue characters for this Princess. The thing is, the Retinue characters probably don’t have to be the same every session. I’d say in fact, that if you want to keep going with one character you can, but there should only be a few benefits and it should still be ok to have your character killed off in one session and play somebody new that the Princess has recruited since then.
  6. The GM presents situations, the Retinue characters call for Challenge scenes to try to earn Adversity (I’m not quite sure how this works yet, given the non-revolving nature of the GM now) and the Princess calls for a Challenge once per session to do with the traits of the Queen.
  7. Umm, that’s all I’ve got for now.

Things I need to figure out yet:

–          What is a Challenge scene and how does it change things?

–          What does the Princess do in the non-Challenge scenes?

–          What do the Retinue characters usually do? I’m getting an idea of spending their scenes collecting ‘Adversity’ (which is the currency the GM spends to cause trouble) and then using it to assist the Princess somehow? Perhaps behind the scenes?

–          How do the Queen’s traits tie back into things? This is something that will probably be more GM advice rather than concrete mechanics, although I do need a framework for it to enable the endgame stuff to come into play.

–          What have I missed?

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4 Responses to “Some of my own notes”

  1. John Reid Says:

    This all sounds very interesting.

    Some questions come to mind:

    – Why are the princesses dirty?
    – What is the purpose of using straits for resolution? Maybe it’s just my brain but I see collecting straits as slower for most people than the usual target number approach. However, if there was a strong thematic link (like calling the straits “staircases” or “ascents” as the princesses grow in confindence and ability) I’d be more enthusiastic about the mechanic.

  2. bullbar83 Says:

    I’ll be honest and say there isn’t really a thematic reason for choosing the straights, it was just something I came up with that appealed to me. And I haven’t had anything else grab me yet, so I’m just kind of going with it. Once I play a few games with my group, that might change.

    As for the reason behind the Dirty? Well, I guess that’s just symbolic of the whole ‘gotta break yourself down before you can build yourself back up’ idea. I was originally going to call it something different, but the phrase Dirty Princesses stuck.

  3. I’d consider using cards.

    …But then again I’m a card junkie.

    Seriously though, once you include cards you get access to a “Queen” which might represent something important in the game. You can also start applying suits to actions, or start playing with functions that players might be familiar with from poker…so you not only have straights, but you have flushes, royal flushes, etc.

    To add distinctiveness and mesh better with the game world, I’d remove kings from the deck, leaving the Queen as the high card.

    Just an alternate idea.

  4. J.B. Mannon Says:

    I would like to second the idea of using card instead of dice. The big reason being that most people have multiple decks of cards at home so ease of access. Also a deck of cards gives you a limited number (4) of times any one number will show up in any player’s hand which will up the odds of success fully building out straits. Just a thought.


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