CaesarCV
 member, 277 posts
Mon 6 Nov 2017
at 13:48
IC and Advice: Fire Emblem Inspired Royal Servants
Hello! I've been kind of off the site GMing wise for a while, but I've been inspired by playing a few Fire Emblem games, and it gave me a cool idea for a new game! Most of those games (and plenty of other fantasy tales) are based around the concept of a Kingdom being conquered, and the rightful rulers being thrown out. Part of the hook of this particular idea is that the characters aren't Royalty themselves, but instead the servants, courtiers, and minor nobles attending them. This gives a rather unique perspective, and allows for much more 'commoner' style characters.

Characters would be tasked with trying to retake the kingdom and protect the remaining princess, whether they choose to complete that goal through guerilla resistance, political alliances, or something else entirely. I'm currently planning on having the Princess herself be an NPC, with the characters effectively being the heroes of the story and having much of the agency.

I was originally thinking of running this either pseudo-freeform or in Shadow of the Demon Lord, but I'm up for other system suggestions as well. What do you guys think? Is this a good idea? What about systems? What sorts of problems might you expect in the creation or execution of such an idea? Any suggestions or setting concepts you might want to include?

This message was last edited by the user at 13:56, Mon 06 Nov.

icosahedron152
 member, 794 posts
Wed 8 Nov 2017
at 12:32
IC and Advice: Fire Emblem Inspired Royal Servants
Hi Caesar,
Sorry, I don't have time to be a player, nor have I had experience of the systems you mention, but the concept is similar to some ideas I've had, and I suspect the problems will be similar.

The biggest problems I see are with Scale, Time, and Player Quality.

Firstly, you're going to be working on at least two different levels - a personal level and a strategic level. You will need players who can cope with enjoy both styles of play. You will also need rules that can cope with both levels of play. Freeform may work, but it may abstract the action a bit too much.
eg, two armies are converging on the capital, which will get there first? Determined by GM fiat or mechanics?

Secondly, reconquest of a kingdom is an epic undertaking, and will take some considerable time. You will need players who are in it for the long haul. Also, you're going to have to balance the effects of time and distance.
eg. If a PC at court sends a message to a PC at the frontier, it may take weeks to get a reply. How much Personal Level action will take place whilst waiting for that Strategic Level movement? Are you going to play out that activity, or timeskip over it?

If these thoughts help you, I can add a few more or discuss in more detail. If such concepts don't pertain to your game, just ignore me. :)
CaesarCV
 member, 280 posts
Wed 8 Nov 2017
at 13:03
IC and Advice: Fire Emblem Inspired Royal Servants
Thanks for the input! I was thinking of minimizing the Strategic layer to sort of avoid those issues. It'll be more about the missions and other 'exciting bits' than the base tasks of commanding armies or managing logistics. Unless players are particularly interested in that sort of play of course. But in general I'd like to focus more on the 'adventure' level, with the player's actions and decisions having a rather large effect on the macro level. In universe this would be partially explained by having the group eventually get other retainers or allies that can handle much of the day to day actions, while the heroes focus on bigger things. Much like a Fire Emblem game, it would be less focused on the giant battles and more on the character's heroic actions within it, whether that be on the battlefield or by securing some important alliance.
Kilgs
 member, 354 posts
Thu 9 Nov 2017
at 05:12
IC and Advice: Fire Emblem Inspired Royal Servants
Highly recommend Anima if you can get your hands on it.
CaesarCV
 member, 281 posts
Thu 9 Nov 2017
at 05:55
IC and Advice: Fire Emblem Inspired Royal Servants
I actually like Anima Beyond fantasy, but I'd prefer for the characters to be a bit more grounded than the sort of mountain jumping, god summoning madness that system entails ha ha.
StarlitSpider
 member, 54 posts
Thu 9 Nov 2017
at 07:25
IC and Advice: Fire Emblem Inspired Royal Servants
In reply to CaesarCV (msg # 1):

If you want a system that's specifically designed to have the players work on two levels, character and faction/strategic, I recommend having a look at Legacy 2nd Edition.

I don't think its systems are perfect for what you have in mind by the sound of it, since it also has a focus on generational play and its default setting is assumed to be the weirder end of sci-fi/fantasy, with tech levels varying dramatically from player group to player group. It does have some setting hacks (sponsored as part of the original Kickstarter) that are closer to your setting, but they're also larger scale, intended more for Game of Thrones style nations political play, and still generational. (Perhaps you'd get more out of the ideas and mechanics in their Castlevania-inspired Gothic game, where the players are hack-and-slash heroes serving larger secretive organizations that act as their support structures and supply lines.)

However, while the game as a whole may not fit what you have in mind, I suspect the examples of play, systems, and extensive advice within for multi-layered games might be of value to you. It's also PbtA, which means its comparatively freeform with its mechanics.

I've never played a Fire Emblem game, sadly, but what you have in mind does sound unique and intriguing. (Would I be wrong to gesture at the story attached to the Opus Magnum puzzle game?)
CaesarCV
 member, 282 posts
Fri 10 Nov 2017
at 07:32
IC and Advice: Fire Emblem Inspired Royal Servants
Legacy 2nd edition seems awesome, but I might want something a bit more personal. Thanks a ton for putting something on my 'to read' list though!

Can't say I've heard of Opus Magnum. Although the Fire Emblem style plots I was thinking aren't necessarily very different from other similar concepts. I'm not sure if I need a ton of mechanics for the macro level, although, would that make players more interested?

This message was last edited by the user at 07:33, Fri 10 Nov.

StarlitSpider
 member, 55 posts
Fri 10 Nov 2017
at 07:53
IC and Advice: Fire Emblem Inspired Royal Servants
In reply to CaesarCV (msg # 7):

I'd recommend minimal mechanics by default, perhaps just something simple and abstracted if you want to lend a sense of mechanical weight to decisions at the macro level. (Even Legacy uses simple rolls like "Take Hold of something," "Subterfuge," "Perform Diplomacy," etc.)
icosahedron152
 member, 795 posts
Sat 11 Nov 2017
at 04:42
IC and Advice: Fire Emblem Inspired Royal Servants
I'll second the minimal mechanics. I've played macro-scale games, and they can quickly degenerate into a bean-counting exercise if the rules get over-complex.

An Echo Resounding - a stand-alone add-on for Labyrinth Lord - is about the limit of complexity IMO, and then only if you're intending to concentrate on the macro - which you're not.

A better macro complexity level might be something like the game 'Diplomacy'.

I'll take a look at Legacy for my own purposes - thanks, Spider. :)