I had started work on designing an RPG over at the ForgedRPG forums. Things got stalled, but the discussion about the Accidental Survivors RPG got me thinking again. One of the benefits of that discussion was trying to focus on a genre for what I wanted to represent. What I proposed there is something I can work on here. It also gives a better title than Baroque RPG: Sword Noir.
Sword Noir–that would be sword & sorcery meets film noir. So what is sword noir as a genre? Characters morals are shifting at best and absent at worst. The atmosphere is dark and hope is frail or completely absent. Violence is deadly and fast. The characters are good at what they do, but they are specialists. Trust is the most valued of commodities–life is the cheapest. Grim leaders weave labyrinthine plots which entangle innocents. Magic exists and can be powerful, but it takes extreme dedication to learn, extorts a horrible price, and is slow to conjure.
Of those, there are aspects that require rules, others would be reflected in the flavour text. That violence is deadly and fast informs the rules for combat. Capable specialists indicate some form of a skill system that does not allow easy generalization. Even things like shifting morals would indicate that this game does not use alignment rules. If trust is so valuable, it should be measured, indicating some kind of mechanic to do so. The magic system is obviously not the in-combat, fire and forget format found in many fantasy RPGs.
That’s the basics for now. Head on over to the Baroque OGL forum if you are interested in reading more.
This is really an expansion on the ideas percolating out of thinking about film noir sensibilities in my stories. How about this as a new fiction genre, sword noir?