Idiomdrottning’s homepage

The Resistance + Dramasystem mashup

I mentioned The Resistance earlier and that got me to think of a cool mix tape.

(I’ve been struggling before with making The Resistance into more of an RPG but it never flied. Maybe this way can be more of a way to go.)

The Resistance + Dramasystem!

I described the following to my friend and he named it “HFrez”.

First, everyone make characters (I like the dystopian future setting, perhaps use the setting from the novel Kallocain or just your rando generic cyberpunk setting), with desires, dramatic poles, and wants+needs from each other just as normal Dramasystem. Do not skimp on this step, bring the full ruckus! (Perhaps use the modified order from the One-Shot hack in the book.)

Make cool, capable roles – hacker, special weapons officer, face grifter, undercover journalist, corrupt police officer, high-tech B&E specialist etc etc.

At this step, you can have a surface allegiance to the state or be openly an outsider or what have you. You can openly play out how you’re on the take from the state to be double agent to play out a traitorous spy to the Rez movement. The other players have to pretend to not know things their character don’t know at this stage. (But Sandra, Resistance breaks with too player knowledge? Do not leave, read on!!)

Then, play out some drama scenes! Possibly zero if you’re in a hurry. But more is better (decide how many before you even start the game).

Then, play starts. There are two special “roles”. Drama Setter, and Mission Captain. Both go around the table (if you’re familiar with Microscope, how every round has a Lens and a Legacy?) The Drama Setter should not be the next captain, it can be the previous captain (i.e. the person on the right side of the next captain ) but I think it’s even better with “two steps back”, i.e. two steps to the right of the next captain. Use two tokens to keep track.

  1. Drama setter sets a drama scene. Going for their personal wants & needs, desires etc. Informed of what has gone before. Let this part take time. It’s an important, perhaps the main part of the game. These scenes can’t have procedural elements. Do liberal time skips here! Weeks go by.

  2. Mission phase! (This is also supposed to be IC play. Mixed drama + procedural.) Teams are suggested, the suitability of those teams discussed (in character), mission captain proposes final team, more IC discussion, votes for or against the team are cast and revealed, etc etc. Then if there’s an approved team, reset the Clock of Destiny and do the mission, if there’s no approved team, just count up the Clock of Destiny. Either way, both Drama Setter and Mission Captain roles move one step to the left, and go back to step 1, and repeat, alternating Drama Phase and Mission Phase.

Now, the hack is this: that you don’t hand out the team cards until after a team is approved for the first time (but before you do the very first mission). Your team card is your true allegiance. It’s what’s in your heart. You might’ve set yourself up in the dramatic scenes to be an agent of the state infiltrating the rez’ movement. But you’re handed a blue card. So… you are so deep undercover that you become to sympathize with the resistance. Or you have set yourself up to be the leader and founder of the rez, to go through the fire and the flames for the resistance… but you’re handed a red card. So, even you can falter. Even you can be bought, or flinch, or have a change of heart, or have been a willing part of a honeypot operation to catch contrary minds all along. This part of the game is challenging. You need a poker face. You cannot reveal your team card until after the game. Keep on playing your role as you were before.

For the missions, two solutions. One is to very deliberately time skip past them. Flip the cards over, everyone knows whether or not the mission succeeded (and that will inform the coming drama), but the details of the mission will be kept vague.

The other way is to start as usual, the team members hand in their mission cards and the mission pile is shuffled up. But then… you play out a procedural scene as you would in Hillfolk! Forget the playing card system in Hillfolk, but you’re describing how you’re hacking and shooting and face-grifting and breaking-and-entering etc etc. And when you need to overcome an obstacle… make it tense, describe it tensely… (and if you’ve ever played The Resistance, you know how tense this part can be) then flip over the top card from the shuffled mission pile. It says “success” or “failure” right there on the card. So, the hacker might fail their hacking… and it might not be a deliberate sabotage by the hacker herself! (Perhaps, but this won’t be known to the table until much later, the face grifter tipped of the sysops.)

Anyway, as I said, whether or not you do the actual procedural mission part, or if you just decline the suggested team, it counts as the Mission Phase.