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Author Topic: Gangs of the Big Apple  (Read 1324 times)
Simon W

Posts: 191

« on: March 27, 2003, 01:11:21 PM »

After seeing the movie 'of s similar name' myself and Mark George thought it would be a good idea to base a gm-less and dice-less rpg around. We came up with the following, before running low on new ideas. See what you think so far.

The object of the game is to become the most respected criminal in 1860’s New York.

Creating a character…

Name & Nickname – examples “Jack Vallon aka Amsterdam”, “William Cutting aka Bill the Butcher” etc

Appearance – a short description including a “looks like” of a celebrity/film star etc. (This is an idea I use in a few games – where the game has a 'movie' feel)

Weapon of Choice – all gang members have a trademark weapon/s.  However, all weapons do the same damage (unless the weapon is a “Good thing” – see below).

Gang Name – these can be pretty daft (e.g. “Dead Rabbits”, “Forty Thieves”, “Natives”) or simply family names (e.g. “The Chichesters”).  

Gang Style – all gangs adopt a distinctive dress & code.  The wackier the better (e.g. ludicrously tall Top Hats with waistcoats & checked trousers with braces, all trimmed with bright Blue).

Gang Base – all gangs also have a base from which they operate.  In these locations they are “King/Queen”.  
Locations could be …..

Disused Church
Old Brewery
Bar by the Docks

Gang Reputation – this governs how much influence the character has on the story.  In game terms it is measured in “Rep Points” or RP’s; with 0 being no influence at all, through to being pre-eminent over all. The range is from 0 to 10.

(Not sure yet how this is decided - thought about each player voting for each other gang/character a number of points 1 - 10 and averaging the results - even voting for oneself! )

So gangs will not all start out equal.  One gang will be most powerful; alliances will have to be made to help counter it.  Or two gangs may hold equal sway, and will thus require the help of smaller gangs.

Rep Points can be lost and gained as follows;

To use a 'Good thing' (see later) costs 1RP.
To invoke a 'Bad thing' for someone else costs 1RP.
For an action particularly in keeping with “Driven by ..” gain 1RP (if majority vote wills it).
If character achieves a Goal gain 2RP’s (this may occur during, or at end of, game).
If character fails to achieve Goal lose 1RP.
To “escape” from a situation (eg survive a fight, escape from custody etc) lose 1RP.
Winning a fight with another player and letting them live gain half of loser’s RP’s (round up).
Losing a fight with another player & surviving lose half own RP’s (round up).

At the end of the game the “winner” is the gang with the highest number of RP’s

Background – these are a few paragraphs describing who & what the character is about.  It should include what the character is Driven by (e.g. lust, greed, vengeance, power, love, hate etc).  It should also contain three “Good things” and three “Bad things” about the character (e.g. “good at fighting, leading people and romance, but bad at backing down, there is a traitor in his gang (called Shang) and he is haunted by his father’s murderer”).  

Players can use their own 'Good things' during the game, but players may invoke other players 'Bad things' at inopportune times!  At all times they must remember what drives them and act appropriately. (How to deal with this, I am not sure).

Goals – to create the scenarios all characters need Goals.  They must have something to do with at least one other player’s character.  Each player chooses one Goal, and has two other Goals chosen by the other players. (e.g. “Kill Bill the Butcher” is chosen, but two others “Fall in love with Jenny” and “ Keep Shang alive” are imposed by the rest of the group).

Setting the scene ………

Once the characters are created the scene must be set.  It’s taken for granted that the place is The Big Apple, and the date is c.1864, but the scenario must start somewhere……..

Where? (not sure how to determine this)

A seedy Bar
A derelict piece of wasteground
An abandoned Church
Police Station
The Docks

Next the Situation must be determined ie something is happening ………
not sure how to determine this either

Game of Poker
Ship coming in
Fight breaking out

Playing the game ……..

Looking for a good mechanic for this bit

…… and from then on the players take over.  Each player helps guide the action bearing in mind that they want to be the best, and helping some gang leaders might hinder some others.

So that’s it.  The end of the game comes when all Goals are achieved, or it gets so late that no-one can stay awake.

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