Bravazzo!

Brave bravazzo! With a tongue as sharp as your blade and a heart filled with such passion and secrets, no foe can stand before you! What hope then for any poor maiden who would deny your gallant company, least of all a maiden with eyes filled by your fine cut features and deft pose? But my odious responsibilities would bid me ask you but one promise first, a mere trifling task of small consideration…

Warning! This is all obsolete! This game has been largely abandoned!


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On Design Goals

I don't care about this game at the moment
Too much work to do here. I just need another duelling mechanic to rip, and then go. Sod historicity, they can go research it themselves those lazy cunting bastard gamers. Get real, I mean, my name is not Neil Fucking Gow and I certainly wouldn't READ this crap myself, so why make someone else? Settings are cheap.

Or, let's just focus this bitch. You're all princes. You're all related. Pick some premade relationships out of a hat (familial and otherwise). This makes a relationship map and implies some NPCs. The other NPCs are presupplied. Then go, with the promises, etc. Much tighter situation, less free-wheeling Trollbabe style stuff. You AREN'T a bravazzo in the sense of a wandering free-spirited hero, but you might want to be. You have commitments, and those are your promises.

  • Dramatic and tactical duels, with a fair amount of florid description and fast pace.

Ric: You read that, Pete? I want tactical duels! Tactical means balanced! Make it happen!

  • Duels should be balanced such that they contain a large amount of back and forth and maneuvering, then one or two deciding strikes
  • Every form of conflict is a duel in the fashion that I have described
  • PCs that go on personal quests, and act upon extremes of emotion: love, lust, hate, vengeance, greed, loyalty, etc.
  • PCs that compete and fight and unite and betray, etc with each other and NPCs. All strong story stuff.
  • FICTION LED. Ostensibly, PCs are free to act as they please, and the GM is free to respond freely. There is no mechanically enforced direction.
  • Of course, the PCs are given strong direction by the fiction, and the GM has a variety of pre-prepped responses and NPCs to prevent play from stalling.
  • A completely historical setting, with historically appropriate over all action, but individual interactions and duels will be romanticised and dramatic.

Current issues

  • The duelling tactic where Audatia is used against you is currently broken. It allows a low Audatia duellist to defeat a high Audatia duellist consistently and without effort. I like the flavour of it though, and without it high Audatia duellists can consistantly beat low Audatia duellists without effort. Some elegant compromise needs to be reached.
  • Jokers currently have no special purpose in a duel. I'd like them to have one, preferably an optional one for those without jokers.
  • Give me a list of sample Desires and Mannerisms, etc to be slotted into random NPCs.
  • DUELS ARE BROKEN! They are just dull with a high whiff factor. Way too much back and forth for little gain. There's a clearly optimum build. Perhaps have a mutual 'resolution spiral'?

Please help by commenting! What looks stupid, confusing, etc?

On Ferrara

Regionmap
The region of Ferrara and its environs
FerraraStreetMap
The streets of the city of Ferrara

Of All a Player Needs to Know Prior to Play

Concerning Ferrara and the Signoria

  • You are in the independant Italian city-state of Ferrara, in 1435.
  • Ferrara is rivals with Venice for land, rivals with Florence for the arts, and is friends with the powerless exiled Pope Eugene IV. Also, like all of the previous, Ferrara opposes the ambitious and paranoid Duca (Duke) Filippo Visconti of Milan.
  • The city is currently between wars, but one always threatens from a dozen different directions.
  • The city is ruled by Marchese (Marquis) Niccolo d'Este, and he is well-liked. As is expected, he is extravagant and generous with his wealth and patronage, and suddenly harsh and severe with his punishments.
  • Every nobleman has mistresses and illegitimate children. This is largely accepted. Niccolo himself is illegitimate, though now formally legitimised.
  • Noble women are beautiful and respected at least as prizes, but some may even have power and opinions that matter.
  • There are courtesans at court which are not noble at all.
  • The court relaxes at the Palazzo Schifanoia (Palace Avoid Boredom), where they banquet, play cards, and are entertained by arts and spectacles.
  • At court, professionals and nobles from far and wide will gather, seeking patronage and connections. In such a way, the family d'Este hope to forge links across Italy and Europe. Native Ferrarans might even be a minority at some gatherings.
  • Dull administrative tasks are conducted at the Palazzo Municipale (Municipal Palace), which is linked to the formiddable Castello Estense (Este Castle) in the centre of the city.
  • There is a Communal Council to regulate the city's practical matters, but an Este appointed council is slowly replacing it. So the peasantry do not object to the shift in power, the Este Council is frequently seen to help widows and orphans.
  • In all things, it is who you know that matters, especially if they owe you.

Concerning the Art of Personal Combat

  • There are no firearms.
  • Plate armour is still used in battle, but in the city such armour is too hot and cumbersome and barbaric to wear. Besides, it is very expensive.
  • To pierce armour and for general cutting and thrusting, most swords will have the simple cross-guard and tapered blade of the arming sword.
XVIII.jpg
  • Very new swords might be thinner and straighter and have a ricasso ring to protect the forefinger and these are more focused on thrusting.
XIX.jpg
  • Heavy bladed falchions come from Germany and slimmer cavalry sabres come from Hungary, and these are both focused on cutting.
falchion.jpg
  • There are many Masters and competing schools of martial arts, but most follow similar principles.
  • Duels occur with frequency, but they are still to be remarked upon and spectated by the public. They might be fatal, or they might end at first blood, or somewhere in between.
  • Duels might occur on the spot, or they might be arranged for a more convenient time.
  • Street brawls and armed muggings are also present, though the populace generally are uninterested in riot.

Concerning the Bravazzo

Pete: the word 'bravazzo' is used… but what does it mean? I can guess from the rest of the list, but I would prefer the role to be defined explicitly.

  • You are a bravazzo, and so you are probably loud and brash, yet charismatic and skillful.
  • You may not be a native of Ferrara, but you have friends and allies here, as well as enemies.
  • All men covet honour and respect, but no man is always honourable in his actions.
  • You are perhaps a foreign peasant or tradesman with the illusion of respectability.
  • Perhaps you are an illegitimate or younger child of a noble with some modest wealth and without duties. You might be truly ambitious, or you might simply be bored.
  • You might be a mercenary or ex-soldier who is tired with military life.
  • In gaining your current position in society you have made promises to more powerful people. But your position is never stable, and there is always opportunity to raise it further.

On Promises

bravazzorelax.jpg
A bravazzo makes fine promises to a lady

Pete: use 'Promise' instead of merely 'promise' everywhere in the text to indicate that you are referring to the game element. (For clarity.)

A promise is a solemn pact between two characters, where one character agrees to do some deed on behalf of the other. All characters may make promises, but it is the bravazzos' that will drive the game.

Pete: the bravazzos will drive play? Or the bravazzos Promises will drive play?

What is and is not allowed in a valid promise will be described shortly, but for now be content to know that all promises follow this template:

"For the sake of {whom?}, I will {do what for them?}"

Following this template will keep the promise short but effective. Any details which surround the promise will be created or revealed during play.

Of the Formation of Valid Promises

Each promise is always in accordance with one of the following four states, and it must be possible for it to change to each of them. I will demonstrate this by way of examples, using the promises "For the sake of my Father, I will exact revenge upon his murderer", "For the sake of the Prince, I will ward his daughter" and "For the sake of Cupid, I will marry the Princess".

  1. It is fulfilled completely. It has been satisfactorily kept without any danger of change from now on. So, the vengeance has been done, your ward is safely in someone else's custody, you've actually wed the Princess. This frees you from further obligation and further benefit from the promise. Remove the promise from your list, or transfer it to a list of fulfilled promises for future reference.
  2. It is being kept. It is currently being worked on satisfactorily. So, you are hunting your vengeance, you are protecting your ward, you are trying to seduce the Princess.
  3. It is not being kept. Your attempts to keep it are failing, or you are not even attempting to keep it. You have let your vegeance escape or you are trying to live in peace, you have abandoned your ward or they are in danger regardless, you shun the Princess or she is shunning you.
  4. It is broken completely. Keeping the promise is now impossible. You forgive your vengeance or they escape you completely, your ward is dead or violated, the Princess or yourself has wed another. This frees you from further obligation and further benefit from the promise. Remove the promise from your list, or transfer it to a list of broken promises for future reference.

Some promises are really more akin to abstract motivators in that they are not promises made to actual people. For example, while "For the sake of the Prince, I will ward his daughter" refers to a living and breathing Prince, "For the sake of my Father, I will exact revenge upon his murderer" obviously refers to the memory of someone and "For the sake of Cupid, I will marry the Princess" is directed at honouring a personified virtue. All these cases are correct, but for example "For the sake of the Prince, I will obey him" is too broad and vague, since it indicates no particular direct action.

As mentioned, it must be reasonable for any promise to be in any of the four states during play. Thus, the promise "For the sake of the Princess, I will protect her forever" is illegal, since it can never be fulfilled, but For the sake of the Princess, I will protect her until she is married" is correct. Likewise, "For the sake of the Prince, I will obey him" is also incorrect in this regard; as there is not a suggested state in which it could be fulfilled.

So, ideal promises are short and direct, without unnecessary details, but they are specific and will spur the bravazzo to direct and concrete action.

Concerning the Promise that is Closest to your Heart

Additionally, one promise at a time will be Closest to your Heart, and this promise cannot be broken by any means and will always be kept. No one can stop this, not even the Bravazzo's player or the Games Master. However, the surrounding details of the promise are still mutable, and so your circumstances may be twisted. Perhaps the Princess you intended to marry is a callous and unkind person, or she is already betrothed to someone else. Perhaps your father's murderer was just, or he is revealed to be your closest friend. Or to twist the other way, perhaps the girl you are warding is revealed to be far more important than you realised and you are honoured by the nobility for your dedication.

Such twists and revelations are appropriate for all promises, but they are especially useful to address the otherwise invulnerable Promise that is Closest to your Heart. A Games Master may feel tempted to place artificial obstacles in the way of a bravazzo fulfilling this promise, but do not. It need not be easy, and there may not always be opportunity, but it should be accomplishable given effort and cost. For example, duels will still occur, but their stakes will involve peripheral elements to the main promise, or consequences that arise from pursuing it. In such a way, the love of a lady can start a war that neither the bravazzo nor the lady want.

If a bravazzo has never used one, he may nominate a Promise that is Closest to his Heart at will by drawing a heart next to it. But to change it requires a dramatic reason, and he must cross off a Secret box, and so reveal to all characters present that this promise was more important to him all along. This can be done to newly invented promises, but also, newly revealed secret promises as well. Because secret promises already cost a Secret box to reveal, nominating one as the Promise Closest to His Heart costs no additional Secret boxes, providing that the revelation and nomination occur simultaneously.

This promise is the only one which is directly binding to a bravazzo's will such that they cannot possibly disobey it. Think carefully before nominating one.

Pete: an example .

Of Promises during Play

A bravazzo may form new promises at any time simply by declaring so aloud, and writing it down. No other character may gainsay this, even the character whom the promise is for the sake of.

Excluding fulfilled and broken promises, a bravazzo may only have ten promises at any given time. If a bravazzo with ten promises wishes to make new ones then he must break or fulfil some of the ones he already has.

Concerning example Promises

  • For the sake of Ginevra d'Este, I will recover her love letters from her former lover, the artist Alberto Sartore.
  • For the sake of my mother, I will become a condottiero in the Papal Armies.
  • For the sake of my friend, Randolfo, I will plead with the girl of his dreams, the French songstress, Isabella.
  • For the sake of Pope Eugene IV, I will assassinate the rogue Cardinel Amadeus.
  • For the sake of the great artist Pisanello, I will burn the inferior paintings of Leone Alberti.
  • For the sake of my friend, Paolo, I will marry his sister, Bianca di Pigli.

Of Promises in a Duel

If a duellist is losing a duel and would rather win then he has additional options related to promises:

  • If winning would help him keep a promise or losing would help not keep it, he can invoke it once per duel by using "For the Sake of…!".
  • Similarly, he may use "For the Sake of…!" if the foe has a promise which would be better kept if he lost. In such a way, promises may be used against you.
  • He may make a new promise to his opponent right now, and thus avoid further harm in return for honouring his new bargain. This is negotiated immediately, but if no quick agreement can be reached then the duel must continued, perhaps even as a duel of wits about the exact terms of the promise.
  • He may cross off a Secret box and reveal in a quick flashback a previous promise he had made (a Secret Promise). This will allow him to invoke the promise with "For the Sake of…!" as detailed above.

On Honour

noblesonhorses.jpg
Nobles from many regions ride together

This rates a bravazzo's standing amongst his fellows and what the bravazzo thinks of himself. Of course, a bravazzo may bluff and pretend his Honour is higher than it is, but the socialites of Ferrara may be unconvinced until a duel of wits changes their minds.

The value of your Honour is generated thus:

  • For each Promise you have, grant yourself two Honour.
  • For each Promise you have that has been fulfilled, grant yourself five Honour.
  • For each Promise you have that has been broken, discard seven Honour.
  • For each occasion where you have won a duel, grant yourself three Honour.
  • For each occasion where you have lost a duel, discard three Honour.
  • For each occasion where you have acted dishonourably, discard one or two Honour.
  • For each occasion where you have acted virtuously, grant yourself one or two Honour.
  • … other stuff

It is the sole responsibility of each player to monitor and alter their own Honour and represent it during play. Do not ever even mention it to the Games Master.

(I may even even refer to a whole section of the book about honour, and insist on its importance repeatedly. But aside from this mechanic and a large bold space for it on the character sheet, everything else shall be missing. The section about honour will read: "Missing in this edition, presumed lost" or something. A bit capricious, but I'm not sure I want it to do anything, but I definitely want it there (as a carrot and stick to encourage promise keeping which is deliberately insubstantial). My current thinking: Honour is pointless. That in itself is a point worth making. Respecting it or not is part of the group's social contract (similarly as it is part of a wider society's social contract).)

On Secrets

desperatebravazzo.jpg
A Milanese bravazzo is harshly treated by his former friend

Each player has three Secret boxes and may strike one off whenever he wishes to reveal a secret about his bravazzo.

A bravazzo's secret might be a secret promise, a hidden weapon or ability, a previously unshown skill or perhaps some fact about his history.

Whenever a secret is revealed, the revealing player must narrate a short flashback to show the secret's origin. The player must then go on to show the secret thing in relevant use right now. Note that the secret immediately becomes revealed and obvious to all characters present. A bravazzo cannot reveal a secret secretly and must instead do so with grand drama.

Players may have ideas for secrets and may share and discuss these ideas freely, and they may even foreshadow them during play, but a secret only becomes settled and factual when revealed.

The best secrets are surprising and interesting and are perhaps lightly foreshadowed, but are not completely outrageous. In all cases, plainly stupid and inappropriate secrets may be ridiculed and dismissed at the behest of the players and the Games Master.

Appropriate secrets include,

  • It was I that seduced and impregnated the Duchessa!
  • I am no Catholic, and I hate the Papacy!
  • I am an agent for the Duca Filippo Visconti of Milan!
  • I am an expert lip-reader!
  • I am, in fact, and always have been, a woman in disguise!
  • I never loved her anyway, she was merely a tool I used to get to you!
  • I am your brother!
  • My scabbard contains no sword blade, but instead conceals the rolled-up portrait of Ginevra d'Este!

Concerning Hidden Weapons and Abilities

The bravazzo has a special item or skill which will enable him to overcome his foe decisively.

In a duel, either before or after drawing cards, at the cost of a Secret Box, all the cards that you are required to draw for this Tempo are now considered to be Red. This can merely be a dagger secreted inside a sleeve, or to reveal that his sword is stained with a disorientating poison. But it can be that he has been wielding his sword in his off-hand until now, or that he studied under his foe's master and so knows the weakness of his foe's style.

In less violent duels, a hidden weapon might be to reveal yourself to be the lady's secret admirer, or as a spy with information beyond anything the foe expects. In any and all cases, the revelation must be dramatic and pertinent to the duel at hand, but it cannot be stupid and it cannot directly alter the facts about another duellist without his player's permission.

Concerning Secret Promises

The bravazzo has already made a promise either during play or before it which he has kept secret up until now. Write the promise down as with any other. It might be that he always intended to marry his friend's sister, but never spoke of it for fear of losing them both. Perhaps he promised to save the monastary long before he pretended to agree to destroy it. Or perhaps, he used to swear to himself secretly each night to displace House d'Este that had wronged him so, and now at his moment of triumphant betrayal he announces it to Marchesse Niccolo d'Este so he would know the reason for his death.

Of course, in a duel, the new promise may be invoked immediately as part of the "For the Sake of…!" tactic.

As an important note, upon revealing this new secret promise, it may be nominated as the one that is Closest to his Heart, replacing any other such promise, without any additional cost.

On Duelling

aduel.jpg
A bravazzo expresses disagreement in a civilised manner

Duelling requires a shuffled pack of fifty-two standard playing cards, and with two Jokers of differing colours where they are available.

All duels are conducted between two participants, henceforth referred to as duellists. If more than two characters are involved in a dispute then each group must nominate a single champion from their number to fight for the sake of all of them. Where more than two competing groups are involved, simple circumstances will dictate who will duel first, in the usual case it is who attacks whom first.

Concerning the Arrangement of a Duel

Each participant must agree what the form of the duel is, and what is at stake for it.

At this stage, either participant may simply refuse to duel. Normally this means that they cede the stakes too, but the participant is always guarenteed to escape personal harm. So, if the stakes of the duel are just the bravazzo's life, then the bravazzo may decline to fight at all and will always escape unscathed. But if the stakes included the life of another, then unfortunately they will perish. Of course, refusing a duel is considered dishonourable in most circumstances.

Note that the victor is always granted the duel's stake, but any additional narration must be negotiated and cannot include any permanent changes to the foe without his player's permission. So, unless the stake includes the death of the foe, then the foe cannot die unless his player deems it appropriate. For example, a fight to the death over the love of a lady would allow the victor to kill their foe, but a match to prove who is the greatest swordsman with a short blade will not end in significant injury no matter how hard it is fought, unless both players agree it does.

For legalistic and symbolic purposes, the duel is only officially agreed to and begun once both duellist's choose a tactic.

Concerning the Duel's Arena

Before the duel begins it should be agreed where and when it takes place and the surrounding environs and spectators must be described. The Games Master will outline the arena in rough detail, but then each player at the table must contribute at least one detail that might also affect the duel. So, perhaps the Sun is low in the Western sky, or the plaza stones are slicked with the morning's rain, or there is a beautiful fountain, or some of the crowd favours the Bravazzo's handsome physique, or the alley is infested with rats, and so on.

Of Conducting each Tempo

Once it is formally begun, a duel is conducted in a number of Tempo, representing a discrete exchange of blows that may range in duration from a fraction of a second to an hour depending on the nature of the duel and the conduct of the duellists. Similarly, the duration between Tempo is flexible, but the important distinction is that during a Tempo the bravazzo is lost in the moment and is reacting on instincts. Only between Tempo does he have the leisure to form plans and converse with his foe or a spectator at any length.

At the start of each Tempo the duellists both secretly select a general tactic, and then narrate some appropriate short details upon revealing it. For example, a duelist making a Showy and Inneffectual Display might be swirling his cloak, flourishing his blade or displaying fancy footwork that confuses and distracts his foe. While, a Quietly Confident Masterstroke might be described as a steely-glinted gaze that reads a foe's movements and strikes towards a leg as it slips on a loose stone.

In all cases it is encouraged to refer to the environment and spectators, as well as the duellist's themselves and their appearance, movements and speech. One or two details accompanying the main narration will be most effective.

For convenience, a duellist's tactic may be secretly selected by a specifically prepared card played face down, or a die deliberately placed just so underneath the player's hand.

Concerning the Tactics of a Duel

  • Showy and Inneffectual Display: Audatia +4 for this Tempo. A bold move which is guarenteed to give the foe pause and take the advantage.
  • Quietly Confident Masterstroke: Celeritas +4 for this Tempo. A decisive move which will have great impact if it makes contact, but may require advantage to do so.
  • Classical Approach: Audatia +2, Celeritas +2 for this Tempo. A balanced move with no particular weaknesses.
  • Devious Trickery most Foul: Audatia +3, Celeritas +3 for this Tempo. This albeit effective move is dishonourable and inappropriate for the agreed duel.
  • Careful and Cunning Evasion: Deduct your Prudentia from your foe's Audatia, and then spend any number of Scores to increase your own Audatia by one each. A wily move which will turn a foe's boldness against them.
  • "For the sake of…!" Add +3 to all attributes for the duration of this Tempo but this may only be used once per duel per pertinent promise. The promise is invoked and the strength and resolve gained from this will aid the bravazzo.

You will note that each tactic modifies one or more attributes for the duration of the Tempo. It is these modified values which are referred to below.

Concerning the draw for Advantage

Both duellists then draw cards equal to their Audatia, and each compares the number of Red cards they have drawn to the other. The winner of this has the advantage over their foe during the Tempo. He may then opt to strike his foe, or he may decide to press his advantage in a subsequent Tempo. In the latter case he receives one Score for each difference in results, but he cannot strike.

In the case of a tied result, no side has the advantage, but in their struggle both may strike the other. But if a duellist does indeed opt to strike from a tie, his Prudentia is reduced to zero for the duration of the Tempo, as he must leave himself open for fierce rebuke. Whether a duellist strikes or not will be determined in secret and then revealed simultaneously. Perhaps by disguising the tactic card with a hand, and then turning it over to avoid a strike, and leaving it face side up to indicate a strike attempt.

Typically, cards are drawn and dealt face down, and then revealed either one by one or all together as demanded by the impatience of the players. The former case is more tense and dramatic and allows for concurrent narration, but may become tedious if used excessively.

Concerning the draw for a Strike

If a duellist strikes then he may spend any number of Scores accrued. After these are spent, he may then draw a number of cards equal to his Celeritas and one more for each Score spent.

The total number of Red cards drawn is then compared to the Prudentia of his opponent. If the striker's result is higher then the foe is indeed struck, with the difference indicating it's severity as indicated below.

  1. A barely avoided strike that perhaps rips clothing, and the striker gains a Score.
  2. An irritating scratch, and the striker gains a Score. The foe must make a defiant or irritated gesture, or lose one Fortitudo.
  3. A palpable strike that reduces the foe's Fortitudo by one, and gain two Scores. The foe must grasp himself until they draw cards for the next Tempo, or lose another one Fortitudo.
  4. A debilitating wound that threatens to overwhelm the foe. His Fortitudo is reduced by one, and one again at the end of each Tempo henceforth. This devastating attack gives the striker no Scores however. The foe must grasp himself until the duel is over, or they will immediately lose.
  5. or more A decisive wound that drops a foe's Fortitudo to zero immediately and forces him to yield.

The foe may spend any number of Scores to reduce the difference, at a rate of two Scores per point of difference. In such a way, a duellist may lever his advantage to escape a tricky situation.

If the striker's result is not higher than his foe's, then the exchange is inconclusive and during the interval the circumstances of the duel will change in some way. The foe will narrate how the duel moves to a new area, the area itself changes in some aspect, or the spectators change behaviour, or new spectators arrive. A typical example would be the foe being forced back by the striker's assault, and thus the combat moves to a different area.

Of Winning a Duel

Once a duellist's Fortitudo is reduced to zero then he must yield, perhaps by passing out or running away or begging for mercy or some other ignoble method. His foe may now narrate exactly how this occurs, but as detailed previously, he may not inflict any permanent change upon him not directly implied by the stakes of the duel, except with the player's permission.

Otherwise, a duellist may surrender voluntarily at the start of any Tempo by simply announcing it. In such a case, the loser may narrate how he surrenders and so may narrate a fate kinder to him than if he had duelled to his breaking point and his foe had narrated instead. In either case, the winner is granted the stakes of the duel.

Of Describing a Tempo's Outcome

The player who drew the highest Black card will then briefly narrate the Tempo's outcome, paying attention to any change in circumstances and any shift in the balance of advantage. Aces are high and Jokers are highest. In the case of a tie, the narration is negotiated between both participants. In all cases, all players are welcome to submit ideas and details at the discretion of the proper narrator.

Note that in lieu of bodily wounds, duellists may be disarmed, insulted, cornered, tossed about, disrobed, and so on, all of which will have identical mechanical effects. As before, descriptions should include the environment, spectators and small illuminating details of the duellists' appearance, manner and movements.

On Duelling, Continued

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A bravazzo is pursued and killed while fleeing the city

Concerning Duels of More Various Types

All forms of conflict between two agents can be rendered as a duel. The mechanics do not change, but merely how it is described. In such a way, an argument, a chase on foot, a battle between armies or a seduction can be resolved.

For a duel of wits, the strikes would be cutting retorts and stunning denouncements, with claims broken and fallacies exposed, and duellists will shake their fists, slap the table and rub their temples when struck by arguments that they cannot shrug off.

For a duel of might strikes might still be physical strikes, but also includes any move that places you ahead of your foe and leaves him panting or grasping his labouring heart.

In a duel of skill it would be decisive manoeuvres and stratagems that strike at a foe's efforts.

And strikes in a duel of love would be swooning compliments and revealed gifts that crack the walls around the foe's heart. And a debilitating wound would be inflicted by close and intimate proximity that leaves your foe short of breath and pushes thought of objection from their mind.

In such a way all men and women of reason and skill who conduct dramatic conflict with each other may be considered duellists.

Concerning Challenges Outside of a Duel

Normally, a duellist is sufficiently competent in all things that unless another duellist seeks to thwart them then there is no threat of failure in any action they undertake with effort. All players will freely narrate their actions as appropriate until such time as two duellists disagree significantly, and in such instances a duel occurs. This is not to say that a bravazzo cannot fail at any particular task, only that usually they have the time and resources to overcome any obstacles and eventually succeed.

However, as a purely optional mechanic, for important and especially challenging tasks the Games Master may require a draw. The duellist simply select their most appropriate attribute and draws that many cards. For only moderately incredible feats, a single Red card is required to be successful. But impossible tasks may require a number of them, perhaps two or three.

If the draw is failed then it cannot be re-attempted, and the duellist will suffer some kind of consequence. A tie in such circumstances usually means the opportunity is lost, but the duellist suffers little or no serious consequences from it.

Concerning Permanent Injury

I would not worry on this. Though such things may occur if the victor's goal was specifically to inflict them on their foe, a true duellist, by which I mean a bravazzo, cannot be killed or maimed incidently. It might be said that a debilitating wound must be medically treated or it will become mortal, but if such treatment is unavailable then the player may conveniently ignore the wound by distracting the other players with more interesting drama. The true cost of a duel is its stakes and in the hearts and minds of spectators and the honour of participants, not in crude bodily trauma.

Duellists controlled by the Games Master are not afforded this immunity, but nor should their injuries be dwelled upon overly. Whatever is most expedient to the continuing narrative is correct, and so minor characters might be lethally dispatched without consideration, while major ones might recover without consequence if another character does not press the issue.

Concerning particular Armour and Weapons and Other Equipment

Such things are merely an extension of the duellist. In such a way, a duellist rich with Prudentia might wear armour, where as one high in Audatia might sport a bright cloak that hides a second dagger. Such things can and should be described of course, but they have no specific mechanical impact. This is with one exception which shall be described in the next section.

Concerning Hidden Weapons and Abilities

Tick off a Secret Box and gain one. All your cards that you are required to draw for this Tempo are now considered to be Red. This can merely be a dagger secreted inside a sleeve, or to reveal that his sword is stained with a disorientating poison. But it can be that he has been wielding his sword in his off-hand until now, or that he studied under his foe's master as well and so knows the weakness of his style.

In less violent duels, a hidden weapon might be to reveal yourself to be the lady's secret admirer, or as a spy with information beyond anything the foe expects. In any and all cases, the revelation must be dramatic and pertinent to the duel at hand, but it cannot be stupid and it cannot directly alter the facts about another duellist without his player's permission.

Concerning Preparations made before a Duel

If a duellist has obviously and effectively prepared for a duel, perhaps by surprising his foe unawares, or carefully selecting the environment of the duel to suit him, or by learning his foe's weaknesses, then grant the duellist a free Score or perhaps two or three.

However, uninteresting or repetitive attempts to gain free Scores will be ineffective. For example, a bravazzo who always attacks his foes unawares might gain a dishonourable reputation to that effect, and thus will be shunned. His foes will thus watch for him and so eliminate or reverse his advantage.

Pete: I do like this, but I note that there is no system to back this up. Are you going to leave it as loosely defined as this: ie to GM fiat?

Also, I don't dig the use of the word 'punish': this has negative connotations for what is a fun collaborative game between friends. Players need to get on the same page and be told that it is not de rigeur to ambush your foe in a duel.

Finally, if I am engaging in a duel of love, then I would feel aggrieved if the GM 'punished' me for in-character actions such as renting a boudoir and strewing it with rose petals, which seem like good things to do to earn a free Score and well in keeping with the tone of the game.

Ric: Cleared it up. It is decided by fiat since this is just a matter of keeping things interesting rather than gaming the system in a dull manner, but of course, everyone and anyone at the table can determine this.

On Other Characters

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A bravazzo moves with his lady amidst the Court of Ferrara

To create characters other than bravazzos, simply name them and give them some kind of quirk in manner or personality that makes them distinct when you portray them to the players. Write both of these things down.

All manner of characters may be present in Ferrara from across all of Europe for a variety of reasons. The one restriction is that the only bravazzos present are those controlled by the players.

If a character becomes involved in a duel then simply give them attributes. Ask this, are they mostly brave and reckless (Audatia), cautious and clever (Prudentia), skillful and quick (Celeritas) or strong and tough (Fortitudo)? Which one of these attributes do they posses least of?

Then ask, do they embody their favoured attribute at the considerable expense of others, or are they more well-rounded?

Lastly, consider how capable they are in comparison to a bravazzo.

For characters as capable as a bravazzo, simply assign twelve points as appropriate.

  • For example, for a comparatively well-rounded character: 4, 3, 3, 2
  • For a character with one attribute in dominance at the expense of another: 6, 3, 3, 1

Or, for characters who are significantly less capable than a bravazzo, divide just nine points between their attributes. This is appropriate for peasantry of all types, as well as for the more foolish members of the noble classes.

  • Such as 3, 2, 2, 2 for a character of no particular distinction.
  • Or 4, 3, 1, 1 for a character with little more than glaring weaknesses.

Lastly, for characters of abilities beyond those of a bravazzo, such as learned masters and powerful condottieri or courtiers, a total of fifteen points is appropriate.

  • 5, 4, 3, 3 is a distribution for those who are excellent in most ways.
  • While 7, 3, 3, 2 would represent those who excel in just one aspect.

These details may be summarised thus:

As Capable Less Capable More Capable
Well-rounded 4 3 3 2 3 2 2 2 5 4 3 3
Specialised 6 3 3 1 4 3 1 1 7 3 3 2

Of Easily Transferred Character Traits

Sample Positions
Sample Desires
Sample Personalities

Of the House of Este and the Court

Niccolò III d'Este is no longer young but his rule is stable. Together with Venice, Florence, Bologna and the Papacy, the biggest threat remains Milan, which is ruled by the dangerous house of Visconti. The Visconti even sought to contest Niccolo's right to rule due to his illegitimate heritage, but such claims were crushed when the treacherous Duke in question was captured in battle and has since died of disease. However, the latest Duke, Filippo Maria Visconti, is the most paranoid and ambitious one yet.

His first wife, Gigliola da Carrara, daughter of the lord of Padua, bore him no children and died of plague nearly twenty years ago. His second wife, Parisina Malatesta, has born him two daughters, Luzia and Ginevra, who have both married. The latter to Carlo Gonzaga of Milan, who is an ally amongst the enemies in that region, and the former to the war-captain and womaniser, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. Parisina herself, unfortunately, was suspected of having an affair with Niccolo's bastard son, Ugo, and so both were put to death ten years ago.

His third and current wife, Ricciarda of Saluzzo, daughter of the Francophile Thomas III of Saluzzo, has been married to Niccolo for six years and has already born him two young children, Ercole and Sigismondo.

As with all nobles, Niccolo also has mistresses who bear him illegitimate children, half a dozen at last count. As Ugo was put to death, the current heir to Ferara, Leonello, is now of twenty-eight years and seeks to marry Margherita Gonzaga of Milan. And also Borso, interested in the arts but unnattracted to women, is a man at twenty-three and is next in line after his brother.

Both these were born of Stella de' Tolomei, who is well-liked by Niccolo. Filippa della Tavola, though also liked, has born the currently less-important off-spring, Alberto and Isotta, who are aged twenty and ten respectively. Other mistresses are tended to, but their issue tends to be sequestered into monastic training or left to their own devices.

Also of note is that in 1410 he commissioned three copies of the manuscript The Flower of Battle to help rebuild the western fighting arts. And in 1413 he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Concerning the Marquess of Ferrara, Niccolo d'Este the Third

niccolo.jpg
Audatia: 5 Celeritas: 5 Prudentia: 3 Fortitudo: 2

Manner: Jovial and beneficent and extremely generous, but given to cold and dangerously calculating rages.
Desires: To rule and protect Ferrara, and make it the centre of culture and the arts. To stop the ambitions of Milan. To promote the Pope and the Papacy.

Concerning the Heir of the Marquisate of Ferrara, Leonello d'Este

leonello.jpg
Audatia: 2 Celeritas: 4 Prudentia: 3 Fortitudo: 3

Manner: Jovial and beneficent and extremely generous, but given to cold and dangerously calculating rages.
Desires: Marry Margherita Gonzaga of Milan. Build Ferrara's first hospital. Promote the arts and sciences in Ferrara. Promote the University of Ferrara.

Concerning the noble, Borso d'Este

borso.jpg
Audatia: 4 Celeritas: 3 Prudentia: 1 Fortitudo: 1

Manner: Sometimes nieve and foolish, and otherwise penny-pinching and greedy.
Desires: Secretly practice homosexuality. Own and commission many beautiful works of art, and pay little for them.

Concerning the Archbishop of Ravenna and Member of the Council d'Este, Tommaso Perondoli

Audatia: 3 Celeritas: 2 Prudentia: 4 Fortitudo: 3

Manner: Extremely dedicated and cunning and manipulative, but he has no patience for the excesses of Court.
Desires: Remove the debts his family owes the house of Este through some means. Protect his Church's lands and financial interests.

Of the Pope and the Church

The Pope, the Venetian Eugene IV, is a man of genuine piety and strong conviction, but tempered little by tact or sense of public image. And so last year he was forced to flee Rome via rowing the river Tiber to a waiting Florentine ship. Despite his disguise as a simple monk he was pelted from either bank, and he remains exiled in Florence to this day. Just this January he issued an Papal Bull which supports the rights of freedom for the people of the Canary Islands against the greed and will of Spanish slave traders, but of course, his power is largely impotent.

Pope Eugene despises those in power favouring their family, and so his Holiness violently stripped the powerful Colonna family of Rome of land, money and castles which the previous Pope, the Colonna Martin V, had given them. If not for pressure from Florence, Venice and Naples there would have been outright rebellion. Two years ago a formal peace was mediated by Niccolo d'Este, but both sides know this is temporary. While the Pope is exiled from Rome the Colonna are consolidating their insurrection.

But Pope Martin's most barbed legacy remains the the Council of Basel, whom he founded, who seek to supplant the Papacy as the most powerful political force in the Catholic world. In '31 Eugene attempted to quietly dissolve the Council by Holy Bull, but his attempt backfired and they publicly defied him and went further towards heresy. To the increduality of Papists they attempted to summon his Holiness to them, on threat of holding him in contempt if he refused, like a common criminal held in contempt of court. Fortunately, a grudging compromise was arranged by the newly crowned Holy Roman Emporer, Sigismund, that blessed the Council as ecumenical, but did not grant it superior powers to that of the Papal Seat.

The Pope simply does not have the backing to commit to stronger action. His premature attack on the Council had swayed public opinion against him, because he was seen to be committed to quashing reform and centralising power. To make matters worse; this also opened up the Papal States for outright invasion from the troops of the ambitious Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, in retaliation of his Holiness' support for Florence and Venice against expansionist Milan.

Now he seeks to reverse these concessions. Already he plans the excommunication of the Council and gaining the condottieri and armies capable of freeing the Papal States from the Visconti and destroying the Colonni insurrection. Of course, the Colonni will not go quietly, and the Council of Basel has sympathy in France and Germany who also seek to reduce Papal powers, and of course, Milan and the Visconti remain a threat to all of Italy. But with help, Eugene may well make a triumphant return to Rome.

Concerning Eugene the Fourth, born Gabreile Condulmer, Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Roman Catholic Church

pope.jpg
Audatia: 7 Celeritas: 3 Prudentia: 2 Fortitudo: 3

Manner: Humble, quiet, but tactless and blunt.
Desires: To reclaim Rome from the Colonni, the Papal states from the Visconti and Papal authority from the Council of Basel.

On the Bravazzo

bravazzoandlady.jpg
A bravazzo escorts a lady under his protection

Of a Bravazzo's Family

Choose your bravazzo's family from the following lists. If you can think of a suitable family name that isn't on the list, that's fine too. Write your bravazzo's family name on your character sheet.

Noble Families In Favour
Perondoli Ariosti Barbalungi Montanari Novelli Pendaglia Sacrati Sala
Noble Families In Disgrace
Giglioli Castiglione Bergamino Novelli
Common Families
Carri Boioni Silvestri
Families foreign to Ferrara
Gualharda da Padova Clifford

Pete chooses to be a scion of the disgraced Bergamino family. Fallen on hard times after the shame of an ancestor, the Bergaminos seek to gain favour in the Court once again.

Of a Bravazzo's Name

Choose a name from the following list. You can also just make up your own, suitably appropriate, name if you like. Write your bravazzo's name on your character sheet.

Common Male First Names of 15th Century Italy
Agnolo Agostino Alberto Alessandro Alesso Ambrogio Amerigo Andrea
Antonio Arrigo Baldassarr Baldo Bartolo Bartolomeo Bastiano Battista
Benedetto Bernaba Bernardo Berto Bettino Betto Biagio Bianco
Bindo Bonacorso Bruno Buono Cambio Carlo Cecco Cenni
Chimento Cipriano Corso Cristofano Dino Domenico Donato Duccio
Filippo Francesco Frosino Gabbriello Geri Gherardo Giorgio Giovanni
Girolamo Giusto Goro Guasparre Guccio Guglielmo Guido Iacopo
Lapo Lazzero Leonardo Lodovico Lorenzo Lotto Luca Luigi
Marchionne Marco Mariano Mariotto Martino Maso Matteo Meo
Michele Miniato Nanni Nardo Nencio Neri Niccolaio Niccolo
Nofri Pagolo Papi Piero Pippo Rinaldo Rinieri Roberto
Romolo Salvadore Salvestro Sandro Santi Simone Stefano Taddeo

Pete chooses to name his bravazzo Salvatore Salvatore di Pendaglia, favoured scion of the Pendaglia family. He signs the name with a flourish at the top of his character sheet.

Of Initial Promises

Your bravazzo has made two Promises that he must keep. It is these Promises that will provide the key motivations for your bravazzo during play.

Promises are discussed in the On Promises section.

Remember that they are of the form "For the sake of {whom?}, I will {do what for them?}"

You need to create two Promises. The first is for the sake of a prominent named character within the setting, an NPC: usually, the Games Master will be able to supply appropriate characters, but in addition to those, the setting sheet contains a list of notable figures connected to Ferrara, and any one of those will suffice.

Bearing his character concept in mind, Pete decides that his first Promise will be:

  • For the sake of the infernal Contessa di Rossi's patronage, I will seduce the innocent Maria Farria.

The second Promise is not yours to decide. For this second Promise, look to the the player sitting to your left. His bravazzo has promised something to yours. Take that player's character sheet and write that Promise upon it. The player to your right will be doing the same thing to with your character sheet.

Pete hands his character sheet to Mick, who is sitting to his right. Pete accepts a character sheet from Toad, who is sitting to his left. Scanning Toad's character sheet, Pete decides that Toad's bravazzo has made the following Promise:

  • * For the sake of Salvatore di Pendaglia, I will woo and win his sister.

If you are stuck for a really good Promise, just ask the players at the table for suggestions. It is also fine to chat about potential Promises with the other players. Your Promises are not secret, so announce them boldy to everyone at the table as soon as you've got an idea. This way, you'll know the Promises of the other bravazzos as and when they are created, and so can write the second Promise such that it puts your bravazzo in conflict with the Promise of another bravazzo. Writing Promises that are rich with conflict is encouraged!

Of An Initial Concept

Now think of a general concept for your bravazzo.

Is he going to be a naïve but brave young gentleman from the provinces? The battle-hardened third son of the Luchesse family? Or a Papal fop who is as quick with his blade as he is with his pandering wit?

Your bravazzo already has a name, a family, and some Promises. Use those elements to shape your character concept. Bear in mind that a character concept is a one line description of your bravazzo, not a long paragraph. It has no mechanical effect in play, and is really just you refining your character in your own mind. The richness of your bravazzo must and will come out through actual play.

Once you've decided upon the rough idea for the bravazzo you're going to play, write it down on your character sheet.

Pete has a burning desire to play a conflicted bravazzo from Ferrara itself, torn between duty to family and the calling of his own heart.

Of a Bravazzo's Attributes

The bravazzo, along with any other character capable of duelling, has four attributes rated with a number from one to seven, where a higher value is considered better. Each will reflect how he will conduct himself in a duel.

  • Audatia. Representing audacity, boldness and insolence. It is the source of a duellists bravado and courage that compels him forward to face his foe in overwhelming grand displays and provocative quips which leave him stunned. It's aspect is the Lion, of the most ardent heart which will challenge all.
  • Prudentia. Representing prudence, perception and cunning. This is the measure of a duellist's ability to anticipate attacks and manoeuvre away from harm. As such, it is principally a careful defensive trait in opposition to the recklessnes of Audatia. It's aspect is the Lynx, of the most perceptive eye which will measure all.
  • Celeritas. Representing celerity, reactions and speed. In such a way duellists compare their grace and deftness in defeating their foe. It is this skill which transforms a momentary advantage in a duel into a decisive victory. It's aspect is the Tiger, of the most agile leap which will catch all.
  • Fortitudo. Representing fortitude, strength and resolve. Those duellist's so blessed can bear through adversity, and overcome situations that seem lost. It's aspect is the Elephant, of the most resilient back which will stand immovable by all. For convenience, it can be shown with dark or red coloured beads.

You have twelve points to divide between your four attributes, such that each has at least one and at most seven points allotted to it.

Pete wants a well-rounded bravazzo, so he splits his points evenly amonst his Attributes, giving each a value of three.

Of a Bravazzo's Appearance

Name a singular aspect about your bravazzo's appearance that makes him stand out from the crowd in a favourable manner.

In all things, being noticed and a complimentary first impression is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, the company of the finest poet in all the land might be passed over by a fine lady in favour of a crass and simple dandy with fine boots.

After much agonising deliberation, Pete decides that his bravazzo is noted for his elegant waxed moustache.

Of a Bravazzo's Weapons

Your bravazzo has a favoured weapon. Name it and write it down on your character sheet.

Pete's character, the bravazzo Salvatore di Pendaglia, favours the use of a simple, unadorned arming sword to settle disagreements.

Your bravazzo has two hands to fight with during violent duels. Pick something else for your off-hand,

  • A dagger with a large guard for parrying and close stabs, perhaps with side blades to catch a foe's sword.
  • A small metal buckler for deflecting attacks and bashing foes.
  • Another light sword so that each may be used in turn.
  • Nothing else, but replace the favoured weapon with a heavier sword to cut with greater force.
  • Something else

Salvatore de' Pendaglia is known to favour daggers when the fighting gets close up and bloody, so Pete chooses a dagger with a large guard from the list.

Your bravazzo may use words of all types as weapons, but will favour some manners over others. Pick his favoured type,

  • Brash and callous
  • Florid and fawning
  • Cool and polite
  • Passionate and direct
  • Quiet and confident
  • Aprupt and severe
  • Something else

Salvatore de' Pendaglia often boasts of his deeds in the less-respectable drinking holes of Ferrara, and so his otherwise charming speech is coloured with brash and callous phrases.

On Play

poetry.jpg
A bravazzo entertains the daughter of a Count

Pete: who is the target audience of this section? (And indeed of the entire text?) The following section refers to 'traditional roleplaying games'… but what if I have never played an RPG before? I think you should decide who you are writing this game for, and then write the text for that audience. The way that Hutton approaches this might be a good option (see the first page of 3:16).

In the traditional style of many roleplaying games, I have designed this game to be played between three and five participants, where most have authority over but a single character and one has authority over all other things. The former type of participant is called a player, and their character is invariably a bold and dashing duelling bravazzo whom they must guide through a thrilling tale of passion and intrigue and courage and cunning. The latter is called the Games Master, and his responsibility lies with presenting the world of the game in vivid immediacy and using the characters at his disposal to spur the bravazzos into interesting and dramatic action such that the thrilling tale will unfold.

Play ends upon the agreement of all participants; typically when the narrative has reached a satisfying denouement. I suggest that this should happen after no duration smaller than three hours and no greater than ten hours, and that this time is split between one and three discrete sessions of play.

Of being a Competent Player

Pete: the next paragraph has run on sentences that run on, spanning multiple commas, much like this one. Consider using more but shorter sentences to make the text easier to read and understand.

Having fun is your responsibility, and your bravazzo is your vehicle to accomplish this, but you cannot do this alone. To begin with do not think overly of his history and personality as abstract facts, because such things should never be pre-set and they will instead emerge naturally from play. If a course of action appears to be interesting, pursue it and your Games Master and fellow players should respond, and upon doing so you will come to know that your bravazzo is the kind of person who would do such things.

Similarly, seek interesting action in the activities of your fellow bravazzos, to support, oppose, twist, and so on. This will create links in your stories that enrich both, and the promises that are created between bravazzos and other characters are how these links are made palpable. A bravazzo keeping or not keeping a promise is what drives play forward.

Particularly, at the start of the game you have promised something to the bravazzo on your right, and until that is addressed in some fashion, either deliberately broken or fulfilled, you can consider that player's fun your responsibility as well.

But at no point is a bravazzo a pawn. Promises only have binds as strong as the bravazzo believes them to be. Powerful major characters are only as powerful as bravazzo allows them to be. Even the Promise that is Closest to your bravazzo's Heart is elected by choice, and can be changed with effort.

Pete: the last sentence mentions 'the Promise that is Closest to your bravazzo's Heart'. Promises have yet to be introduced. Consider moving this section to later in the text.

If you are in doubt at any point, or you are lacking in direction or imagination, simply ask for clarification or ideas from the rest of the group. Respond to such queries with candour, so that if, for example, you think it would interesting for a character to behave thus and thus, say so.

Pete: give an example of table chatter to demonstrate this to newbie players? See previous comment about defining who the audience is, because if the audience is seasoned roleplayers then this very comment about providing an example might be redundant.

When describing your actions, always be vivid and immediate. Do not try to be overly clever, but instead include a few simple and obvious details that address the senses of the other participants.

Of being a Competent Games Master

The fun of the whole table is your responsibility, including your own, but not that of any particular player. If the groups sum total of fun is enhanced if one player has less fun, then unfortunately this is the correct course. Do not overly pander to a player that is not contributing sufficiently to their own fun and that of the group's, but do feel free to talk to them directly about this if it causes no significant disruption.

Pete: 'Principally your role is to react to the actions of the bravazzos by supporting, opposing and twisting them.' Twisting them? Reword this. Also, 'The other characters' would be better reworded to NPCs: characters is a short-hand for 'player characters' as I understand it.

Principally your role is to react to the actions of the bravazzos by supporting, opposing and twisting them. Your main tools in this are the other characters, and indirectly this includes the other bravazzos. Use characters to manipulate a bravazzo and set him against his peers or against other characters which are in turn connected to another bravazzo. The major characters exist as powerful forces which will give the players direction should they otherwise lack it, but make no mistake, you should always be trying to bring the action back to a bravazzo. At no point should the politicking between characters overshadow the personal story of a bravazzo.

Pete: the English in this section is rushed. I surmise that you banged it down. It needs some work. The last sentence in the following parapgraph is a statement and not a sentence for example.

In this way, your principal activity is to react to the players. Responding to their personal quests, and always attempting to weave their stories together and against each other in a natural and satisfying way.

Pete: what does 'do so honestly' mean? You know exactly what you mean, and I can guess, but write simple, explicit sentences so that folks do nt have to guess. Provide examples as necessary.

When reacting, do so honestly. If an action or description is dull, stupid or weak then inform the player directly and without malice. Similarly, feel free to openly applaud play that is strong, intelligent and interesting.

When reacting, do so interestingly. The other characters are not merely puppets to be manipulated by a bravazzo, and even minor characters must be assumed to have agendas and personality and connections that will lead to interesting and unforeseen consequences. Such things are not the focus of play, but a lively and active character is more stimulating than a passive one. If a detail is interesting, regardless of where the idea came from, feel free to present it in reaction to a bravazzo's actions, whether as support, adversity or complication.

When reacting, do so completely. For example, do not dissuade a bravazzo from attacking the Duke of Milan if they reasonably could, instead resolve it and enforce appropriate consequences. Do not seek to control a bravazzo's actions artificially by denying them or nullifying them, because this will lead to dissatisfaction.

When describing characters and their actions, be exactly as detailed as the descriptions put forward by the players that are engaged with them. In such a way, interaction that a player wishes to spend effort and time on is rewarded, while uninteresting interaction is concluded quickly. In all narration, add one or two simple and obvious details which address the players' senses directly.

During all description, be enthusiastic and animated in your voice, movement and expression.

Of the Structure of Play

Players must begin by learning what they need to understand the game's setting and situation, and the majority of such information is found in this text's beginning. Then bravazzos will be created according to the various wishes of each player.

The Games Master will need to be more intimately familiar with the background information concerning Ferrara in 1435, but needs to make no specific preparations before each session of play. The promises that each bravazzo starts with will inform the Games Master which characters need to be included, and so some quick preperation or revision of those may be done while the bravazzos are completed.

Once play begins, the Games Master will designate a player, or one will volunteer, and he shall announce what his bravazzo will seek to do, usually in relation to a promise. The Games Master will then describe a scene where the bravazzo can act towards this, and free narration will follow.

During play, the Games Master may introduce any number of characters, and players are free to introduce their bravazzo into a scene, if it is at all reasonable for them to appear.

This scene may lead to others, and play will continue while remaining focused on one bravazzo until such time when,

  • A reasonable amount of actual time has elapsed
  • The bravazzo succumbs to the mercy of another character.
  • The bravazzo makes, fulfils or breaks an important promise.
  • The bravazzo reveals an important secret.
  • An important duel is declared or completed.

At which point another player will be selected or will volunteer, and the above procedure will repeat.

Pete: worked example please!

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