Diplomacy: the RPG

  • 6 Replies
Diplomacy: the RPG
« on: March 04, 2014, 10:47:38 AM »
A few of us were discussing DA on G+ and this subject emerged from the conversation. Parapasting my own post, I was wondering if game sessions would end up alternating between 'in character' phases with scenes and moves and generally roleplaying-y things happening around the table, and 'Diplomacy' phases between seasons with new situations sprouting on the map from Fortune rolls and a lot of one-to-ones with the MC.?

Am I the only one having this impression and, would that be a good thing? How much diverging interests between players can you manage before it breaks group dynamics altogether, despite oaths and all that?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 11:04:14 AM by Eric Nieudan »

Re: Diplomacy: the RPG
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 11:21:50 AM »
I think the intention is for it to break up fast and it should.  Read Game of Thrones, watch Vikings, Watch Pillars of Earth.  Everyone has their own agenda and they will be at odds.  The catch though is with Oaths and the reality that everyone has holding near each other and this is still one kingdom they HAVE to be friends.  If they go into Civil War the implications are horrible this leaves it a lot to intrigue and that's a good thing.  A correct word can do more harm then an army ever has, however an army with that work (War Herald) on your side words can get awesome.  I see the game as making entangling alliances between characters and having to make choices of whose side your on when tensions flare.  At the end of the game I anticipate a full on Civil War somewhere in the game.



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Re: Diplomacy: the RPG
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 01:31:26 PM »
I think you'll find as the text develops, a revision or two down the line, that the game's default is that you'll be playing a single house, allies and companions, not playing cousins who become enemies.

I can't, and the text won't, rule out the possibility of a terrible PvP civil war, but the game will always fully support characters who stick together against outside enemies.


Re: Diplomacy: the RPG
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 02:22:16 PM »
Vincent I'd be curious though to see how you could make a single house with all these characters.  How could a house work together if there was a Dragon priest and a wicker man.  Those two would instinctively hate each other...unless you keep like the dragon wizard as a slave pet to the wicker man and his group?  The game feels like inherently the game has different religions and beliefs.  This will constantly put a family at odds.  If a family was to be united the one thing they really shouldn't fight about is religion in this matter.

Thoughts anyone?

Re: Diplomacy: the RPG
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2014, 05:17:28 PM »
The playbooks are so diverse and independent that it can be hard to see how they might consistently work together, they are mostly leaders in their own right, and infused with personal responsibilities right off the bat. The glue, I think, is oaths. Oaths were terribly important in history, binding promises that dictated lives and were the difference between honor and dishonor, freedom and outlawry. Oath breakers were considered deeply untrustworthy, and people would hesitate or refuse to deal with them. Sagas of the Icelanders has a wonderful section on honor which details the effects of having it and not having it, and I would encourage everyone to read it.

Though Oaths have a mechanical effect and function like bonds, they are in fact promises to another character that players are rewarded for keeping to. Though there is no mechanical disadvantage to breaking an oath, the fictional implications are enormous.

If Dahved the War Herald has sworn to return Alej of Tyrene the Outlaw Heir to his throne, and Alej has sworn to lead Dahved to glory, it gives the characters an agenda to pursue together, external threats to deal with, and internal strife to overcome. The mechanical benefit of pursuing the fulfillment of your oaths is experience, the narrative benefit is the advancement of the character's goals, and abandoning or shirking those oaths will generate all kinds of fascinating drama.

Re: Diplomacy: the RPG
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 11:17:52 PM »
Well, there's working together and there's working together right? It seems like the characters should be made collaboratively, which will sort out the religion problems (either everyone's the same religion or they are intentionally not the same). As far as the Dragon Herald being a problem, who's to say that the other characters even know there is a Dragon Herald?

I'm also thinking about how the different ranks might interact and it strikes me as intriguing how some 3rd rank War Heralds or Troll Killers might have their paths cross with the 7th rank Dragon Herald. Is it a story of disrespect and resentment or does the noble unknowingly get the slave out of a spot and earn an important favor?

What I haven't quite figured out is how this game can exploit those kinds of interactions without becoming several parallel, but mostly unconnected narratives. Of the game's stated inspirations, I'm only familiar with A Song of Ice and Fire, but I know from that that I'm five books in and Madam Dragon has yet to meet 95% of the other characters. Even if the stories are contained within a single large city ... maybe the answer is that the MC makes judicious use of the fast forward button.

Re: Diplomacy: the RPG
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 01:09:22 AM »
I think the disparity in rank can be resolved by the oaths, which sort of represent shared, mutual and dependent responsibilities. To your lord, to your vassal, to your people, up and down the chain.

If AW is anything to go by, the characters are the most valiant, devious, resourceful etc examples of their kind in the world, which goes a way to explaining rank disparity. Even if the Dragon Herald is a filthy, mad peasant, they are possessed of a great and terrible destiny, bound to inevitably put them into contact with creatures of nigh-unfathomable power. On the road to such a fate, princes, kings and emperors are just practice.