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Help: Downton Abbey Mafia (conversion opinions sought)

PostPosted: 26 Jan 2015, 01:02
by Keirador
So I've been thinking about a few game ideas that I haven't seen run around here, and was looking for some feedback. I've never designed a game before, so this might be horrendous.

Possible Downton Abbey spoilers follow.

The winds of change are sweeping into Downton Abbey, ancestral home of the Earls of Grantham. The specter of SOCIALISM threatens to upend everything that Lord Grantham didn't work for. The horrible Miss Sarah Bunting has been sniffing about Downton, filling the servants' heads with all sorts of nasty, pernicious thoughts like equality and basic math skills. She's even gotten the ear of some of the fine lords and ladies upstairs, if you can believe that! Should enough inhabitants of Downton Abbey become SOCIALISTS to outnumber the Monarchists, Downton will fall!

There are two factions and two classes in Downton Abbey.

The Monarchists are the uninformed majority. They win when all SOCALISTS have been sent away from Downton. God Save the King!

The SOCIALISTS are the informed minority. They win when every member of the Upstairs class has either been converted to socialism or turned out of Downton, at which point they will burn Downton Abbey to the ground. Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

The Upstairs class is composed of the elite lords and ladies of high society. They do no work, but have ultimate control over whether servants (the Downstairs class) are to be dismissed from Downton Abbey. If they suspect one of their own number has given in to SOCIALISM, they may agree it is best to send that person to Switzerland for a "rest cure," rather than have them embarrass the family. In game terms, that means the Upstairs class controls the LYNCH.

I'm not exactly sure what form I want this to take yet. The most straight-forward thing to do would be to give only Upstairs people the ability to lynch vote. I reckon I will allow No Lynch as a vote. I suspect I may also make it easier to lynch Downstairs players than Upstairs players, or allow the Upstairs to lynch multiple Downstairs players per turn. I might also give everyone a vote, but the Upstairs players' votes are weighted more heavily. Input very much appreciated.

The Downstairs class are the workers of Downton. Busy, productive people with jobs to do, they nevertheless have no influence over who goes or stays in Downton. Direct influence, that is. By exploiting their jobs and bending the ears of the folks Upstairs, they can be movers and shakers indeed, though little appreciated. The members of the Downstairs class all have roles to play, and may wish to use their abilities during the night, to help or hinder their Upstairs employers as their political leanings dictate.

Every Downstairs player will have a role, they will mostly be fairly standard with some Downtony flavor. I am thinking either the servants get no lynch vote, or may only vote to lynch out a fellow servant.

Before Lord Grantham kicked her out of the house entirely, Miss Sarah Bunting already managed to convert x number, I'm thinking 3/12, but maybe 2/12 as mafia can convert of loyal Downtonians to her dreaded SOCIALISM. Upon becoming a SOCIALIST, a player gains the night abilities to attempt to CONVERT or INCRIMINATE another player Every evening, the Socialist fifth column inside Downton may choose ONE OF THEIR MEMBERS to attempt to CONVERT another player to Socialism, or to INCRIMINATE another player of indiscrete behavior.

Only some players will be susceptible to socialist conversion. If the Socialists successfully target a susceptible, unprotected person for CONVERSION, that person will join the SOCIALIST faction, and participate in their nightly meetings (PM). They retain whatever abilities they had as Monarchists.

(I believe this will be explicitly based on flavor; eg., Lady Isobel Crawley may be susceptible to conversion but the Dowager Countess absolutely will not be, so the town may wish to keep their characters and roles quite secret. However, it is totally GM's call to interpret how a character would respond to a conversion attempt. Tom Branson, for example, might recall his change of heart after seeing an Anglo-Irish aristocratic family turfed out of their home, and refuse to participate in any subversive activities. Feedback appreciated here as well.)

If the Socialists attempt to INCRIMINATE a player, they will put out a nasty rumor that sends the player packing from Downton without another word. Servants are unceremoniously dismissed, while Upstairs society members are blackmailed with evidence of their illicit dalliances, and sent to tour America under threat of social embarrassment.

Every evening, each Upstairs player also submits their lynch votes via PM to the GM, as well as any night actions they may have. Votes may have different weights, and some night actions may effect the outcome of the vote. Weighting will not be made public, only the result of each vote. Still thinking about exactly how I would want this mechanic to work. I don't want it to be mechanically obvious who the Upstairs people are (though towns may wish to out this, of course), but we still need some kind of vote record for people to work with.

Here are some roles I'd consider in the game. This is by no means a final line-up, but if you reckon you might want to play this game without knowing what sorts of roles might be in it, kindly refrain from checking the spoiler.

Mr. Carson: Rolecop. Butler of the house. His job is to know that you're doing your job. Every night, he may investigate a player to discover their role.

Mrs. Hughes: CONVERT-Doc. Housemaid. Very protective of her staff, she understands that times are changing, but also believes the Monarchists at Downton will look after the servants. (She was quite touched when Cora told her "I don’t want you to have any concerns about where you’ll go or who will look after you, because the answer is here and we will.") Every night, she may pay a visit to someone and reassure them about the gentility of the Crawleys, preventing that person from being CONVERTED.

Anna Bates: INCRIMINATE-Doc. Lady's maid. Anna Bates has seen her fair share of unsavory business go down at Downton, and she's no stranger to cleaning up other people's messes before they become public knowledge. Every night, Anna may choose to visit somebody, and if that person has been INCRIMINATED by the Socialists, Anna will help destroy the evidence before anybody finds it, protecting that person from facing any consequences.

Mr. Bates: Vigilante. Valet, husband, and murderer. At night, Mr. Bates may choose to murder somebody, because he has a very serious anger management problem and loves murder. His murders cannot be stopped, though they may be observed. If Mr. Bates is observed murdering, he FINALLY goes to jail. If Mr. Bates does a murder without being observed, he must spend the next night falsifying evidence and lying to the police.

Thomas Barrow: Tracker / watcher. Underbutler. Scheming homosexual. Despite the fact that he is now underbutler, the second-most senior position on the staff, he is for some reason still nursing a huge grudge that Bates got the valet job, even though Bates helped him get his current job. (Seriously, what the hell? What does he even want? I think Julian Fellowes just believes his sexuality makes him untrustworthy.) So, scheming bastard that he is, Barrow is out to snoop on and destroy everybody around him. Every night, he may choose a player to observe. He will record their movements, and discover who they visited and who visited them.

Mrs. Patmore: Bulletproof. Head cook. Arguably the most essential member of the entire staff. Beloved Mrs. Patmore has no enemies, no social life to speak of, and won't take guff from anyone. Any attempt to INCRIMINATE Mrs. Patmore will fail. Also toying with the idea of her being a back-up conversion-cop.


Robert Crawley: Semi-bulletproof. Earl of Grantham and Bumbling Idiot, the whole world seems to bend over backwards to save Lord Grantham's bacon every time he makes a terrible decision. He is able to survive one successful INCRIMINATION, and must be INCRIMINATED twice in order to finally be shamed into leaving Downton. Only the SOCIALISTS will be informed of Lord Grantham's first INCRIMINATION.

Cora Crawley: Lynch protector(???) Countess of Grantham. Lady Grantham is a just but forgiving matriarch. Once per game (?), she may help choose to keep on a staff member the rest of the Upstairs deemed unneeded, or lend her support to a family member otherwise out of favor. In game terms, she may unilaterally prevent one lynch from going through.

Violet Crawley: Double-voter. The Dowager Countess of Grantham, her biting wit and life of experience means her opinion counts extra. Votes by Lady Violet count double.

I'm thinking the rest of the Upstairs folks would just be normal voters. If we wanted everyone to be special somehow, I could just mess about with different passive effects: maybe have Lady Rose or Tom or somebody become a Socialist rather than be eliminated if they're INCRIMINATED, have Mary get eliminated instead of become a socialist if she's CONVERTED, have Edith's vote not even count without her even knowing it (nobody cares about Edith anyhow), that sort of thing. Maybe give somebody in the Upstairs a vig-kill in terms of a unilateral dismissal. I dunno.

So what do you all reckon? Could some version of this be workable, and if workable, could it be fun?

Re: Early Idea Needs Help: Downton Abbey Mafia

PostPosted: 26 Jan 2015, 02:38
by Keirador
Oh, and referring to "Downtown Abbey" would be an insta modkill.

Re: Early Idea Needs Help: Downton Abbey Mafia

PostPosted: 04 Feb 2015, 22:43
by Keirador
Bump. Any interest in this whatsoever?

Re: Early Idea Needs Help: Downton Abbey Mafia

PostPosted: 05 Feb 2015, 18:31
by Crunkus_old
Yes indeed. Will pm you soon.

Re: Early Idea Needs Help: Downton Abbey Mafia

PostPosted: 06 Feb 2015, 08:15
by anaupr

Re: Early Idea Needs Help: Downton Abbey Mafia

PostPosted: 06 Feb 2015, 23:20
by Keirador
anaupr (and anybody else reading this), how do you feel about games with a conversion mechanic, in which town can become scum under certain circumstances? Senior GMs have raised concerns that this mechanic just isn't fun, and should be either scrapped or tightly controlled.

Re: Help: Downton Abbey Mafia (conversion opinions sought)

PostPosted: 07 Feb 2015, 18:03
by condude1
I'm up for conversion, you just have to make sure it's balanced, which can be tricky. More than one conversion generally unbalances a game, unless you put some massive countermeasures in.

Re: Help: Downton Abbey Mafia (conversion opinions sought)

PostPosted: 07 Feb 2015, 23:07
by Keirador
There would definitely be a finite amount of conversions, only a few players would be susceptible to being converted. Scum would have to hunt for them.

Re: Help: Downton Abbey Mafia (conversion opinions sought)

PostPosted: 08 Feb 2015, 14:06
by istott
I'm fine with conversions. Generally, if you want a game with bastardish mechanics (eg alignment changing, cults, lies from the mod, mod interacting heavily, any other shenanigans one wouldnt expect or foresee), its common courtesy to tell the players that the game is bastard in some way.

Re: Help: Downton Abbey Mafia (conversion opinions sought)

PostPosted: 08 Feb 2015, 23:30
by ika42
its a 50/50 shot on conversion mechanics. For me i find the mechanics and ideals behind it normal due to my homestie having a huge amount of them.

Its one of those things where all players have to come into the game with the understanding that they may be converted. Depending how you implement it is really how you can figure out if its fun or not at times. Some players just drop it period due to it. But there are players who like it. While i do understand head GMs concerns, i dont think its big enough deal for you to drop it altogether.

As long as its disclosed that it has alignment change, then you should be fine. Players who sign up for it know that it will have the potential and that players who do not want it should not sign up