Iâ€™ve been working on designing an RPG for sword noir. Right now, itâ€™s running on a PDQ engine, but with each step, moves a little farther from that. I donâ€™t know where it will end up. I know it will have some form of â€œqualitiesâ€ or â€œaspects.â€
In any case, the whole thing is based off the description of sword noir Iâ€™ve provided here previously. One of the biggest difficulties is getting something together that I would both love to play and hits all the beats. For example, Iâ€™m having real problems addressing this part of the description: â€œTrust is the most valued of commodities . . .â€ Then there is the part that states: â€œThe characters are good at what they do, but they are specialists.â€
For the trust thing, Iâ€™ve been working on a Reputation mechanic, but I find that while it might do what I want, it doesnâ€™t seem to fit organically into the rest of the system. For the specialist part, using descriptive qualities doesnâ€™t really enforce this, though if the character is built from a concept forward, it certainly could help to facilitate it.
In the end, I donâ€™t know if the design I am working on now is the one that will meet my needs. I may need to try again. Hereâ€™s a question, though: do I need a new/specific system to address that description, or can I address it using flavourâ€”like setting and narrationâ€”to create an atmosphere, expectations, and motivations?
Right now, because I am enjoying the design process, Iâ€™ll keep at it. It may prove, though, that story may trump system: that I can do what I need without re-inventing the wheel.
You can follow the design process here.
You can read my thoughts on the design process over at Swordâ€™s Edge Publishing.
The sword noir description can be found in this article.
The sword noir system is inspired by Jaws of the Six Serpents, which you can learn about here.