Dirty Princesses

A Game about Expectations and Danger

The Basics November 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bullbar83 @ 10:40 am

What seems to elude me at the moment is a basic mechanism for resolving conflicts. Once I have that, it feels like everything else will fall into place.

What do I want in it? Well…

– Card based: Several people suggested the idea and it’s a good one, as it allows the symbolic use of the Queen, the Jacks become stand-ins for the Princesses and it just adds a whole different feel.
– I want there to be a way for assistance to come from the Retinue characters to the Princess, and for that help to be pretty invaluable
– Conflict comes primarily from GM created threats, not from the other players

So I’m not really sure what to do with that. I had an idea that worked around trick-taking but it just didn’t seem right. So I’m thinking something along the lines of the Princess getting to draw a bunch of cards. And each sut relates to an ability. And those cards go into play in a queue. And the Retinue get to manipulate that queue. Which might not make sense just yet.

But now that I think about it…

So there’s roleplaying, of course. And then it goes into an actual conflict and basically each side draw X cards and they place them face down three at a time. Then they flip up the first one, compare them, something like that.

I dunno.


Cards November 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bullbar83 @ 2:15 pm

I realise that despite wanting to use cards instead of dice, and enjoying the symbolism that they bring, I have no idea of how to incorporate them. My mind jumped straight into trick-taking and competitive modes that just won’t work with what I have in mind. That in turn makes me wonder… what DO I have in mind? What do Princesses do and what do Retinue do? How do the Retinue help their Princess? In an actual conflict/scene, how do things work?

In my mind, there are basically a variety of scene types and you cycle through those in an average session. These are:

Challenge Scenes: These are the ones that drive the overall story of the Princesses. They probably only happen once a session, and the outcome changes the Princess and it affects the traits of the Queen.

Support Scenes: These are where the Retinue characters get to come into their own, and they depict some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on to help out their Princess. However I think they can also be used to pursue their own agendas.

Conflict Scenes: These are pretty much everything else, The name is probably a bit wrong because obviously not every scene is required to include conflict. I imagine that over the course of several of these scenes, the Princess would muster resources and steer toward the Challenge.

So how do I have a mechanic that works toward/within that structure, allows the Princess to shine, allows the Retinue to be useful, allows the traits of the Queen to affect Challenges and provides for interesting longer-term play with a definite endgame?


The Trick November 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bullbar83 @ 4:43 pm

Perhaps I make it into a trick taking game. Everybody goes around the table playing cards and the highest wins and they get to say an action that their character performs and helps out and once they win a certain number of tricks they win the conflict and get their desired outcome/narration rights.

And then different suits can sort of represent different conflict types? Or resources that they can bring to bear? And so changing the suit means you’re changing the nature of the conflict.


Here’s how it works now November 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bullbar83 @ 7:44 pm

A few important things and some more notes to myself about the idea of using cards.


– Suits represent the basic stats of the Princesses. At the moment I only have three stats and there are obviously four suits. Instead of trying to make up something else, I’m simply going to leave Heart open. What Heart represents is their drive and motivation and all of that jazz that isn’t the basic stats.

– You still choose traits in the same way, although I’m thinking I’ll be cutting down the number of questions you have to answer. So instead of, for every other Princess, choosing a trait/giving them a trait, you simply choose one of your sisters and explain what she taught you and another of your sisters and explain what you taught her. For those, you’ll probably get a numerical rating (I’m thinking around 4 if you taught and around 2 if you were taught).

– You can burn Composure to get extra cards. I still need to figure out how Composure works exactly.

– Earning Adversity will give you the ability to keep cards in your hand, perhaps

– Playing cards in certain combinations will be more powerful in some way, but I’m not good with that and I can’t figure it all out right now.

– Playing Queens will assure your victory but will move the game closer to the point where the Queen dies (I think).


Basically, you frame scenes in this game to gain resources. You can either earn back Composure by tidying yourself up a bit and ordering some peasants around, or you can earn Adversity by taking on a challenge on your own, or you can move yourself a step closer to achieving your Quest, or you can do it to change the traits of the Queen.


What’s on the cards?

Filed under: Uncategorized — bullbar83 @ 7:15 pm

The ideas about using cards instead of dice have been slowly floating around in my brain, so here are some of the thoughts I’ve had about that.

I really, really liked the suggestion about removing the King and having the Queen as the highest card. It makes too much sense and meshes too well thematically to ignore. I’m thinking maybe I can take the route of having the suits assigned to the stats? So you get bonuses when you play certain combinations of certain cards in line with the stat you’re trying to use? And then your traits and such will get assigned a number and you draw that many cards and get to play them when it’s relevant. Pretty simple stuff, but simple works best sometimes. So I need to figure out a basic card resolution system and throw it at some players during the week.

I’m thinking that perhaps Queens can be played to pretty much automatically succeed at whatever it is you’re trying to do, but the cost is that you move one step closer towards the endgame mechanics. Perhaps. But then how does that tie into the whole ‘traits of the Queen relating to the trials of the Princesses’ angle? Because I do still want to keep that angle.


Actually y’know what? I’m going to playtest with the dice system I’ve got first and see how well that works. Then I can see what direction I need to move in, especially if I want to use cards.


Zero Progress November 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bullbar83 @ 10:26 pm

It seems that the more free time I have, the less motivated I am to work on anything. I already completely ignored my own self-inflicted deadline.


So, I am going to, instead of trying to get things written, simply try for several basic playtests with friends by the end of this month. That’s all I’ve got at the moment.