About the Game.   Posted by The GM.Group: 0
The GM
 GM, 15 posts
Fri 1 Jul 2011
at 10:19
About the Game
This game is not pure En Garde! It uses the En Garde! greasy pole climb as a background, similar to D&D's levels, but it incorporates a lot of ongoing roleplay like modern RPGs. Social climbing will be of long term importance to your character development, and may influence his/her motives and abilities, but the day to day adventures will have a more immediate importance. ie, your prospects for gaining a captaincy will perhaps be of less importance to you than rescuing your mistress from the clutches of the Witchfinder General or uncovering a plot laid by Dutch fifth columnists...

It is a semi-freeform game that maintains a narrative style, but with enough of a rules framework to keep everything grounded in realism. You may want to leap from the staicase, swing across the room on the chandelier and then engage two enemies simultaneously, defeating them both in short order, but whether or not that actually happens will depend on your character's skill set and Lady Luck rather than just your announcement of intent. Having said that, such an event will be resolved with a couple of dice rolls, not twenty - I don't want the game bogged down with number-crunching.

Please note that this is a sandbox game. This means that the GM will not be pushing and prodding the Players along a predetermined and choreographed plot line. The game has no points to score or keys to collect by going to vital places and no Arch Villain to be defeated in a Grand Finale. Itís a saga, not a three-act play.

Thatís not to say that there is no plot at all and no villains to defeat. There is certainly an overarching setting, a background of events against which the action takes place, and you will meet up with all sorts of nefarious characters with their own lives and their own agendas. There will be no shortage of action if you want it, but remember: Prince (or Princess) Charming wonít come knocking on your door - only the Rent Man does that...

The game revolves around the characters, their lives and loves, their gains and losses, and how they grow as people. It will evolve as the characters make friends and enemies along the way. This means that Players have a direct input on the direction of the story and will need to make a substantial contribution to its evolution - Iím looking for participants not puppets.

The role of the GM here is not to kick Playersí butts and railroad them along the One True Path to the Holy Grail. The GM will instead provide a world for Players to explore and interact with. If the Players interact with that world and have their characters do things, fun will ensue. If the Players sit on their unkicked butts, have their characters do nothing, and wait for somebody else to carry the story, the game will falter and die. Nobody wants that.

You canít step too far, because Iíll rein you in. Iíd rather use the reins than the spurs.

However, spare a thought for your GM. Unfortunately I have limited time to spend on planning this game and one thing I simply cannot do is create a different plot-line for each player. There's no way I can have one character in London, another in Worcester, a third in Paris, a ninth in Barbados... So although you are theoretically free to do what you want, I must ask that you work together, or certainly in no more than two or three groups.

Itís your game, make of it what you will. Thatís the nature of a sandbox.

If you haven't already done so, check out the Game Info tab at the top of the screen for a taster.

I hope you enjoy the game.

BTW, please check out the web site of the En Garde! community:

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:15, Sun 15 Jan 2012.

The GM
 GM, 175 posts
Sat 18 Feb 2012
at 13:54
Re: About the Game
EDIT. In the years this game has been running, it has undergone major changes, most of which have been to reduce rules and become more freeform. Most of this post is now archival, showing the game's origins. Social climbing is still relevant but is much less mechanistic. Talk to the GM for more up-to-date information. A query costs nothing and there is no obligation to join.

Since some players are new to En Garde!, here's a quick description of what the game is about:

The game was originally published in 1975. It began life as a set of sword combat rules and then had a set of social climbing rules tacked on. Everything centred around French musketeers and army life. After a while, as D&D took off, it became obvious that 'Role Play' was becoming more popular than wargaming, and many players were more interested in the social climbing side of the game, so in later editions that became the focus of play.

The central concept in En Garde! then, is that PCs begin at the bottom of life's 'greasy pole' and their purpose it to climb as high as possible, gaining 'Status Points' (SP) which will ultimately lead to a rise in 'Social Level' (SL). In this respect, it's similar to D&D.

Status Points are earned by social interaction - being seen in the right places, keeping the company of the right people, spending money, hosting parties, etc. It is advantageous to join a gentleman's (or lady's) club, toadying to your superiors can often bring rewards, and spending money like water can make you everyone's friend - for a while.

Of course, you need to earn money in order to spend it, and army life supplied that. I've expanded things somewhat, allowing for a variety of alternative occupations to raise money.

In order to gain money and SP, players plan their characters' activities a month in advance (a wargamey hangover from 'writing orders'). Successful planning will gain SP, fuzzy planning can lose it. I don't want to be too mechanistic with this, but in the interests of fairness, I can't let players get away with too much - especially if it's always the same players. Look on it as a necessary evil...

A central feature of the game was that Female Companionship (which I've re-branded Romantic Companionship to bring it into the 21st century) is essential to progress - if you're not getting it, you lose focus, lose kudos and lose SP...
For the purposes of equality in the game this will apply to all genders.
Hence, a number of NPC companions are available who can provide RC and perhaps other benefits such as Wealth and Influence, both of which are game currencies. Influence points can be bartered to aid your climb.

Many current games of En Garde! stick to this fairly mechanistic style - rolling dice, gaining or losing points and moving on to the next 'turn'. I wanted something a little freer, with more RP involved, and I've borrowed from Traveller's style to achieve this. Characters will focus more on their daily interactions and less on the social climb, which will have a more long-term effect - much like gaining levels in D&D.

I've concentrated on four major areas of change in this game:

1. Reducing the amount of dice rolling and record keeping to allow a freer gaming style and to keep the GM (relatively) sane.

2. Adding more RP opportunities by expanding the lifestyle options beyond army life into the civilian sector, and bringing in a deeper immersion in the life and times: civilian occupations, political intrigues, romantic interludes, crime and punishment, trade and war, etc.

3. Creating gender equality rules, so that players can run female characters who are more than just tomboys with swords.

4. Simplifying the Swordplay now that it's no longer the focus of the game, and relegating it to just another way to solve problems. NB Swordplay by my new rules is quite deadly - be careful how you use it. You can find yourself rolling up a new character very easily...

I can't cut out all the record keeping though. You will need to keep track of your SP and cash, your Influence points and possessions, you will need to write down your progress plan and you will need to remember who your friends and enemies are. :)

If you have any questions, ask in the OOC thread or by PM. :)

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:01, Fri 18 Mar 2016.

The GM
 GM, 180 posts
Sun 19 Feb 2012
at 07:54
Re: About the Game
In reply to The GM (msg #2):

I would like to extend my thanks to members of the British LARP group, The Sealed Knot, for their assistance in some of my historical research.