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Sistemi Alternativi


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avevo promesso di parlare di sistemi alternativi per giocare Sine Requie.

Come ho già detto, uno che mi era venuto in mente era qurello di modificare le carte di Archipelago ma dato che non avrò mai tempo per farlo passerei direttamente al secondo. Se proprio siete curiosi poi approfondisco (poi magari a qualcun altro viene voglia di farlo veramente :) ).

L'altro sistema è Solum Caeca Ferocia. E' un gioco, basato sul motore di gioco de "Il Mondo dell'Apocalisse" scritto da Luca Ricci di Janus (ex editori, fra l'altro, di Polaris, Fiasco, Lo spirito del Secolo e molti altri giochi).

Qua sotto riporto l'actual play (descrizione di gioco concreto) fatto da Renato Ramonda. Spiega qualche meccanica propria del gioco e se conoscete un po' apocalipse world dovreste anche capire il resto.

Solum Caeca Ferocia

This is equal parts AP report and anecdote, and as such it contains many non-game bits about the context of the day: long post ahead. Also, I'm going by memory and many months have passed, so any correction is welcome and will be integrated in the text.

I'll call it SCF from now on: Solum Caeca Ferocia ("blind fury only", in Latin, or something) is a hack-in-progress written by +Luca Ricci , a Powered by the Apocalypse game set in the world of an Italian-published rpg called Sine Requie.

I should preface this whole thing saying that I only knew Sine Requie very marginally, and as such I pretty much acted as a "blind tester" with regards to the setting. I knew it was set in Italy after WWII, in an alternate world where the Dead woke up in the middle of the War and changed the tides of history. Fascist government has collapsed and the Church has taken over, making the whole Italy a church domain. Templar Knights and lay hunters fight the dead in the dangerous country, the Inquisition is back in full action to root out demonic influences and the threat of the less obvious "dead". Cities act as city-states and the wilderness is full of dangerous dead. That's pretty much it.

System wise, Sine Requie is a pretty traditional game and uses a deck of Tarots as an alternative resolution mechanic, in which, put shortly, GM-based fiat/decision is inspired/guided by which Arcana is extracted from the deck.

Now you are in the same boat as I was when I went to the gaming den of Luca Ricci that day.

The plan was to meet several friends, and especially +John Stavropoulos and +Terry Romero who where visiting Italy. So we met, we joked around (about how much Luca's taverna looked like the place in NY John and Terry went to game at a friend's home, for example) and after a while John took the initiative and proposed a list of games to play to secretly vote, including Luca's hack (even if Luca didn't yet consider it playable). Lo and behold, almost all of us voted for SCF, so Luca had to humor us. This is, btw, the reason this test game was played in english (with Italian-language playbooks).

The playbooks are pretty much complete and run the gamut of the Sine Requie archetypal characters: Soldier (military police, pretty much), Templar (appointed from the Church to keep order and eradicate heretics and dead), Hunter of the dead (freelance grizzled militia), but also "spooky kid" (with supernatural powers) and Dead (not the run-of-the-mill zombie though, a less standard dead that can pass as human but still eats flesh) and "Boss" (person in charge). I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

John yoinked the Dead, I picked the spooky kid, +Giulia Barbano took a Templar, +Flavio Mortarino a Hunter and Terry chose a Soldier.

The chargen process is very streamlined, as in all PbA games, and Luca uses bonds that remind me of Dungeon World that each player chooses with the two players sitting next to him/her. They are very colorful and are basically leading qustions. Players are encouraged to talk about which bonds they are choosing, and to mesh them together. By the time we finished the Bonds (can't remember if they are called that way, sorry Luca) we already had a pretty dynamic situation going. My character was a spooky child raised by some secret heretic sect/family that was convinced to be able to make miracles (pyrokinesis and healing: fire from heaven and divine blessing, as she saw it) that had bonded with Johns teenage ghoulish girl (they saved each other's life) and were wandering together. Terry's veteran soldier was a middle-aged woman that had seen too much violence and had picked up my girl and brought her to a church/hostel because she was lost. At the same time, Flavio's hunter had a shared past with Giulia's Templar (but they clearly chose different roads in life). Put all of these characters in the same small city (in Latina? Can't remember for sure) and stuff will happen.

But SCF has another situation driving mechanic, and one I liked a lot. Each player (?) picks a Major Arcana from a tarot deck and lays it down: this not only gives the whole table a series of custom moves tied to the Arcana in a thematic way (The Fool: when you act without thinking, roll +something, etc), but (IIRC) they are also used to semi-randomly create a new "Nostradamus poem" that the MC writes down and then reads to the group. This is the current Prophecy. As with all Nostradamus' prophecies it's obviously obscure and could be interpreted in many ways, but I found the idea nothing short of brilliant: the human brain is amazing at the pattern recognition game, and as such everybody could immediately see several possible meanings relevant to the game to interpret the prophecy.

In a longer term SCF campaign, the Prophecy would be used by the MC to inform the creation of the Fronts (dunno what they are called in SCF, or how they are structured), becoming possibly the background theme/force of the Campaign.

In our case, the prophecy hinted at a new messiah coming soon that would cleanse the world, or something... and given our characters, for example, it could even be that it was my kid's possible future as a messianic figure, heading some heretic movement (she did, after all, wield those powers in the name of the Holy Mary of the Sacred Heart).

Despite the linguistic stumbling blocks, the game flowed well. The characters that didn't share Bonds were initially having relatively separate stories, but in the space of one session we got a pretty coherent story where all of them crossed paths.

John's ghoul girl, needing feeding, tore off an arm from a mother that was leaving/abandoning her infant son at a convent (at a Ruota degli Esposti, because they were too poor). The woman didn't die right away, but the ghoul had to run... after snatching the infant.

Terry's soldier brought the dying woman at the same church/hostel were my character was staying.

My little girl got curious, sneaked in and decided to miracle-cure the poor woman. She actually stabilized, but my powers went haywire and I started a fire.

Giulia's Templar got wind of the ghoul attack and started ordering around his men, and the collaboration with the soldiers was a bit tense. Flavio's character was actually (IIRC) the ghoul girl drunk father that had abandoned her, her little sister and her mother.

The investigation was brusquely interrupted by the fire in the Church's rectory.

Throughout all the mess, all my character's interactions with Terry's were of her middle-aged soldier being very protecting, and my little girl being a bit (ok, maybe more than a bit) manipulative, treating her as "kinda-mom"... but apart for her dangerous and murderous girl friend and her secret powers, she was sincere after all.

When the Templar kept me under scrutiny and intended to interrogate me, Terry's character came to my rescue, even risking a violent confrontation.

The story moved forward to the same night after a while, and we had a big showdown in the dark alleys of the city: Flavio's hunter found the ghoul girl in his bed, got a good dose of scare and guilt trip, the fight that erupted continued in the alley where my spooky girl sprung up to defend John's ghoul (who was just like a misguided big sister, really!) with holy fire from the relentless Templar and his sword... but in the end Terry's soldier snatched my character (saving her from the Templar and very likely inquisition), and the Templar cut the ghoul's head, ending its menace.

It was a pretty climatic final moment, with John larping his character's last actions and crawling in a fetal position on the floor (I joined in, crouched to protect her).

The closing scene had Terry's soldier on a cart with my girl: a veteran soldier whose motherly instincts had taken precedence, on the run to another city where they could pass as a family. Because, what could possibly go wrong, right?

In the end, Giulia's Templar was almost the "bad guy" and everybody treated him like a bossy asshole... even if he was just doing his job, and wasn't particularly ruthless or violent, quite the contrary... but alas, everybody assumed the Templar had to be an asshole :-D

Closing thoughts:

I am impressed by SCF. I could easily see myself playing one or more short-mid campaigns in this game and setting (varying playbooks and situation). And this is high praise indeed since not only I didn't particularly care for Sine Requie, but I actively dislike zombies.

The situation creation just hums.

The Major Arcana mechanic is interesting and would probably work even better with custom cards with the Move trigger printed in large type. It's intended to be there to color the action without being overwhelming... and it does.

The Prophecy mechanic is, IMO, genius: I seem to remember Luca was still not satisfied in it, and it probably would be the bit to require some clearing up to be MCd by someone who isn't Luca.

But all in all, I liked the game a lot.

I still have all these distinct memories: Flavio and Giulia's characters bickering with snide remarks, John's super-creepy ghoul, Terry's voice and expression when in character... I consider this kind of synaesthetic memories a hallmark of a good time. Make of that what you like :)

I know Luca considers the hack back-burnered, but I had promised myself to do this write-up to both share a memory of playing with my friends and to give Luca some feedback. So, sorry if it took so long.

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A me piacerebbe molto che un "esperto di Sine Requie" facesse il color hack per Dreamwake ... c'è nessuno interessato? :D

No seriamente, è un'idea che mi frulla in testa da un pò, ma non ho abbastanza esperienza col setting e il gameplay di Sine per tentare di farla da solo... chi mi dà una mano? :cool:

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Hasimir, la cosa divertente è che quando ho giocato al tuo gioco (si chiamava ancora TacOps allora) avrei voluto provarlo proprio usando il setting di Sine Requie. Poi facemmo invece un'altra cosa.

A parte gli aneddoti, io penso che non si debba necessariamente essere "espertoni" per fare un color hack del genere. I manuali di Sine sono 95% fuffa, quindi basta tradurre la fuffa nel linguaggio del tuo regolamento e il gioco è fatto. Piuttosto ricordati che Sine è 4 o 5 giochi diversi insieme, perché giocare nel Sanctum Imperium produce un'esperienza piuttosto diversa dal giocare nel Soviet. Nella prospettiva di un gioco tradizionale poco importa, ma per un gioco focalizzato occorrono regole piuttosto differenti da un sub-setting all'altro, e forse addirittura all'interno dello stesso sub-setting.

Io comunque rimango dell'idea che giocare un Inquisitore e i suoi Conversi con le regole di Cani nella Vigna sarebbe il massimo. Ma gli "espertoni" di Cani continuano a sostenere che sia una bestemmia, e non ho argomenti sufficienti per contraddirli.

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Nel manuale di Dreamwake spiego, in un'apposita Appendice, come fare un Color Hack al volo sedendosi al tavolo facendo 4 chiacchiere con i propri amici.

Come dici bene, non ci vuole poi molto.

Ci vuole un pò più di impegno se si vuole fare una cosina per bene in modo che sia usabile da altri, e non solo dal tuo tavolo.

Soprattutto se l'intento è quello di offrire IL setting originale (per quanto filtrato dal nuovo regolamento) a chi non lo ha mai nemmeno letto... e non un generico "Facciamo che ci sono gli zombie durante la WWII e i preti hanno la sega elettrica" che pure va bene ma, appunto, non è Sine Requie ;)

Io ho giocato solo un pochino nel Sanctum Imperium... dimmi un pò... che differenze ci sono rispetto agli altri setting?

Il tuo aiuto è beneaccettissimo :)

PS: il 100% del mio gioco serve a rendere importante e rilevante la "fuffa" di un setting ;)

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