Warning: Text-wall ahead!VENDETTA!
A forum RPG of deceit, conspiracy and revenge.
THE CITY OF FORZA
Anno Domini 1294. The past century have been one of strife and barbarians. The Crusades are failing, the Reconquista slowly grinds to a halt and the Eastern kingdoms are ravaged by the Mongol hordes. It is a new dark age falling upon all of Europe. All except for the city-states of Italy, where brilliant minds and ruthless politicians begin the Renaissance
. From the shattered Europe the Italian merchants exploit and makes a profit, their power growing with every year. The cities of Venice, Florence, Milan, Genoa, Bologna and Verona, which was once part of the great Lombardian League, seem to dominate all lands of Italy. But some small cities strive still for independence and glory.
One such is the City of Forza
. Resting at the foot of the Apennine Mountains in the lands of Tuscany, it is a vassal of the Florentian Republic. The Duke of Forza, Adrian Forza, has ambitions which stretch beyond servitude to the Doges of Firenze. For over a century and spanning three generations the Dukes of Forza have plotted their ascendence to greatness. Now he must find support in the merchants and nobles of Forza, which are in turn dominated by the influential families Miragliano
The Miraglianos originated from Venice, but their backhanded politics and depravity earned them a banishment from the Dux Venetia. The family's pride is in the Bishop of Forza who are of their blood. But his relatives count among both prestigious and infamous citizens. Even though the most controvertial members were murdered in the Miragliano purge at the start of the century, it still holds smugglers, brothel madames, rakes and other scum and villans mostly found in the slums of the city. While the upper echelons of the Miragliano hide their black sheep well, their corrupting influence still finds it's way up like lamp-oil in water.
The Barbarossa claim heritage from the great Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, but the truth is deceptively simple. The family's forefather was a rowdy viking from the North who allied himself with the Lombards to keep their coasts safe in exchange for the right of plunder. The red-bearded man fathered many children through numerous wives, some who were his own daughters. However the family has refined itself over the centuries into respected merchants and keeps in contact with their main family in Genoa through extensive trade routes through the Italian countryside. Merchants without peer, but utterly degenerate. Deviant behaviour, incest and all kinds of debauchery can be found throughout the family, a stain not easily cleaned out once you get mixed in with their business.
These are the families that the Duke must ally with if he is to gain independence. But will the families be content with being vassals to a new Grand Duke of Forza?
Welcome to VENDETTA, a game of thrones one could say. Yeah, who would know that I would bring this down from the attic again. What is that? You haven't heard of VENDETTA? (all caps required, it's even supposed to have an exclamation mark!)
It's not that odd really. You see, back in the days (1996 that is) when the TV-series A Game of Thrones wasn't yet made, George R.R. Martin wrote the book that it was based on. I loved it (although I didn't read it until 2004) and it inspired me. I already had a vivid tabletop roleplaying career going and as such I set out to make a political game ā la A Game of Thrones. However I didn't want to play the book, I wanted to make my own game but with the essential themes intact. And what setting is better for that sort of epic backstabbing and debauchery than Renaissance Italy? Nothing I tell you!
As such VENDETTA! was born, a game which doesn't follow one group of characters, but two lineages. The original game was a bit clunky, since I basically had to incorporate a WoD system to even interest my gaming groups. To say the least there was a lot of stabbing and epic battles going on (which I didn't enjoy at all) but after a while even the usual hack and slash players started to glance over combat opportunities to tend to their political schemes. Because you see... there was another group of PLAYERS! O_O
Yes, the whole game started out with two groups of players, who at first didn't know of each other's existence. But when it came out that those backstabbing Miraglianos and depraved Barbarossas actually were real players... GAME ON! And suddenly the families split, almost simultaneously! Two off-shoots of the two families came together into a third, Barbargliano. (hey, I kinda like it!)
It is quite frankly the most fun I have ever had with an rpg. The players pretty much made up the families from the start and then played for almost three years, once every or other week with each group, spanning an impressive 500 years of ingame time, that is almost 15 generations of player characters. I was blown away with the ingenuity of the players as they kept coming up with new ways to screw each other over. It was all fun and sadly ended when we moved away from each other for university studies and work.
With the rising popularity of the TV-series, I decided to have a look. I have yet to watch an episode, because I also decided to reread the book series first. It made me nostalgic to say the least. I went up to the attic and carried my old VENDETTA! stuff down. I sat for two days and read through twenty folders of notes written by both me and the players. I had a sudden realization that I wanted to capture that magic again. And what better way to do so than bring it to Elliquiy, where I know I can find a willing and eager (participating) audience. So I sat all day today and reworked it for forum compatibility.
As such I present, VENDETTA: the Forum RPG!
HOW DO I PLAY?
You play VENDETTA like any other game here on Elliquiy, but perhaps with a more grand scale (see many of the epic sub boards on the forum) although it will start of small. There are two ways to participate:
Starting out as part of one of the two great families has both pros and cons. You start out with a modicum of power through your influential connections but you must also keep the family's interests in mind. If you start to fail the family interests there is nothing that stops you from being murdered by your beloved relatives. Contribution to the cause is key!
It's worth noting that the above descriptions of the families are ripped directly from my old sessions. I think it is important that the players themselves get to create their family and make it unique.
A new staple that I didn't include in the original, I thought it could be a good way to put an Elliquiy spin on it. These characters are not part of the mighty families and as such they have a sort of free reign but none of the resources. They have to work their way up, but once they reach higher ground they will have more potential than those of the families. With such influence comes many enemies and allies, but it is hard to reach such a height without help. Some might take a short-cut and ally with one of the families, but must sacrifice their independence to do so.
Characters may not be NPCs (naturally) but I felt that this was a good place to mention them. These are characters that I, the Game Master, will utilize to remain in some resemblence of control. While I will never force you on a plot railroad I will sometimes throw an obstacle in your way or perhaps a bit of good luck to help you along. The two most important NPCs that you will be dealing with is the Duke and his Advisor. Note that these are not invincible characters. During the original run many players became Advisors and Dukes, giving prestige and power to their families. However not many actually held on to that power for long. Other NPCs are actually created on the whim of the players. Need a mercenary captain to gather an armed force? Suggest to the GM that you might know one who used to serve the ruler of Florence, perhaps he's in the city at the moment?
Once you have chosen a way to play, just make a character and play as in any other RP. You might want to try your luck in the political skirmishes of the city or just live your own life. Whichever you choose, the City of Forza always finds a way to make life interesting.
ARE THERE ANY RULES?
Several in fact. The FIRST one being that the GM is always right. I'll listen to anything my players have to say, but in the end I have to draw some lines. This is especially true in a forum game. I will implement many devices of chance, luck and statistics in the run of the game, but I'll never reveal the odds or said statistics. This is because: 1) many of these systems are from the original and developed VENDETTA! which I plan on making into a tabletop RPG someday and as such I wouldn't want it to be stolen. 2) if I reveal odds and statistics you will start to play the game rather than role-playing the game, which most certainly isn't my goal with this. Instead you'll just have to trust me to be fair and GM by my rules. If you can't accept that, this RP isn't for you. In which case I am sorry if I made you read all this before telling you... :/
SECOND, there will be character deaths. It is implemented in a simple system which I will introduce shortly, but first an insurance. Character Death doesn't mean you can't play anymore. As I said before, the original game spanned about 15 generations. Time moves in a relative speed in VENDETTA!, even though only a session has passed, your character might have fathered a child or taken a favorite niece under her wing. Once one character dies, there is always someone there to pick it up. And with a healthy dose of bitterness and despise, VENDETTA! earns its title.
To elaborate on the death of characters, there are ways to kill and avoid being killed. Each generation may launch a vendetta for every character. Essentially each of your characters may kill once. Be it through a thourough stabbing or poisoning or sending an assassin, you may attempt to kill another character. However, the victim may negate this murder most foul by using his own vendetta to ward off the attempt. Once that is done both characters are pretty much open for vendettas.
However there are times when a certain gamble can be made by the victim. Because there is a chance that the vendetta might fail outright. Here the earlier mentioned odds and statistics play their own invisible game. What, you might ask, can make a vendetta fail? Without revealing too much, there are three factors: Influence, Resources and Allies. By gathering from all three, you increase your chance of surviving a vendetta without negating your own. Even if you are the Duke of Forza, with all the money in the world and allies in the whole of Europe, there is still a chance that a vendetta might succeed. Especially if your enemies start to weaken your positions. One cannot pool vendettas together to kill a character, however one might conspire to weaken a target and finally kill him. But whoever launch the vendetta might open himself up to an attempt at his own life from one of his former co-conspirators...
So you want to kill an NPC, huh? Well go ahead and tell me. Here it's a pure 50% chance that you succeed (unless your target is the Duke, his advisor, or someone else who is incredibly influential) and the result is almost instantaneous, unless you want to play the scene out. This is most useful to weaken someone's position. Do your rival have a valuable trade route to Sicily? Perhaps you should kill the captain of his trade barge who has a relative with the Corsican corsairs. His barges won't go unharassed anymore...
THIRD, please let me know before you create an important NPC. I won't necessarily play them all and you don't have to fill out a full fledged sheet for them, but I need to keep tabs.
FOURTH, all rules of courtesy and rules stated by Elliquiy apply. No exceptions!
WAIT A MINUTE, I HAVE A QUESTION!
Ask away. I'll always reply to questions. While I might take some time to answer sometimes, I see no reason to ignore anyone.
If it has to do with history or rather a history aspect of the game I have a lot of experience in historical research (university does that to you, especially when you major in history) and can usually spare a moment to help you find any information you want. It might take me a while to reply, but my small "library" has a section dedicated to Renaissance Italy, so in that department I'll be fairly quick.
If you want me to participate with an NPC, shoot goddamnit, I want to play too. =p
Also consider my humanity, I might be wrong sometimes, in which case I want to know it.
JUST LET ME PLAY DARNIT!
In a moment. Believe it or not, this is only an interest check. I hope you like the idea, because I spent a couple of hours on it. If you are, tell me! My initial goal is to have four players for each family. Then to recreate the families. And if you are that interested, even recreate the city itself. Player satisfaction is king here. Once I have gather some players we can create characters. And then we can finally play it. Initially I want the game to go on for at least a generation, but if we nurture it and manage it well, who knows how many new families might turn up and which century we end up in. Thank you for reading this far, you have endurance like Rocky and an interest for Renaissance Italy equal (or maybe even greater) to mine.
If you decide you are interested and want to voice that interest or post questions, please read through it all. If you already have, post away!