Archive for May 21st, 2008

B&G Playtest Rules

2008 May 21

I’m going to try to run Black & Gaunt at SGBoston tonight. Here’s my finished map:

There’s a PDF version here.

Here’s the way it’s going to work:

There are five named characters, John of Gaunt (pale knight), the Black Prince (dark king), Isabella the She-Wolf (dark queen), Abbe Allegre (dark bishop), and the Seigneur (dark rook). There are also eight dark pawns which are placed on the board to represent English soldiers, French peasants, ladies in waiting, and the like.

At the start of the game, John of Gaunt has wondered off, encountered strange forces, and become undead. Over the course of the game he builds an undead army from those he (and his undead followers) have killed. The characters that are still alive try to stop the undead by destroying them or eliminating the source of their power. Failing that, they might try simply to escape back to England.

While there is a starting map for the game, suggesting the outline of the manorial lands formerly governed by the Seigneur before the English invasion, the players should feel free to draw whatever other features they like on the map, including bridges, hidden basements, lost Roman ruins, etc.

Generally speaking the game play like Geiger Counter but with the following changes.

1. John of Gaunt and other undead characters always roll as many dice as there are undead. This means up to 12, since there are 13 characters total. John of Gaunt starts out rolling one die, for just himself.

2. Pawns do not have survival dice and only roll one die in conflicts. Other characters start with one survival die and one advantage die.

3. Undead are created when characters lose rolls in conflicts and die fighting other undead.

4. Noble non-pawn characters, when losing a conflict, can choose — instead of dying and becoming undead — to declare that some other character in the same scene dies instead. If this is a pawn, then they’re dead. If this is another noble, they can pass the buck again, to someone else. When the buck is passed, the passing character must take a condition instead.

5. Acceptable conditions for this hack include: Alone, Hysterical, Injured, Lost, Pursued, Trapped, Unprepared (all but Dead and Infected). I’m not sure what the maximum number of conditions should be. Maybe 5?

6. Once either all the pawns or one of the non-pawn characters has become undead, the living characters can finally discover one or more methods of killing the undead. Good luck with that.

7. I’m not sure how many advantage dice should be on the map. I might try to run it in a GM’d style, playing John of Gaunt and just passing out advantage dice in new locations as it feels right. Then I’ll count them up and aim for that many when running it the next time. Another option might be to generate one advantage die in a resource pool for every pawn killed, which the players can then draw on whenever they like.

I’ll report later on how it goes.