Building the Mandragora Ashes of Freedom RPG pt.4 – Noble Houses
Mandragora: Ashes of Freedom RPG – Noble Houses
I’m still dealing with the concepts involved in the Mandragora: Ashes of Freedom RPG, and it’s taking up a bit of time to do so. I’m currently looking at the concepts for the Noble Houses of the Mandragora, in the Shirr’haim and elsewhere.
The Noble Houses
The Noble (and Imperial) houses are the core government and true power in Mandragora society. In M:AoF, the majority of Mandragora are part of, or affiliated with, a Noble House. These extended families are usually blood relatives or bonded servants – those with noble blood are called Scions. Each house is usually presided over by the eldest females, the Matriarchs. They are the motivating force behind much of a Noble House’s schemes and enterprises.
Building a Noble House
I’d like one of the most important game aspect of the Mandragora: Ashes of Freedom RPG to be the ability to create your own Noble House. It should also help create common bonds between PCs and encourage players to think creatively about how their PCs may know one another. I’m keen to avoid trying to shoe-horn player characters into this sort of thing but it would provide a basic building block for players and GMs to create adventures. I’m planning to create a section on the Renegade Mandragora though (guaranteed that someone will want to play one!).
Amongst the obvious House characters like the Matriarchs, there should also be a number of roles like House Warmaster, Captain of the House Guard, Archmagi, etc. as well as a “supporting cast” of other Scions. Noble Houses are very large, often with family members spread across Lonaraban on various schemes, including the army. Obviously the players and GM will have to come up with the ideas for these individuals, but I’d like to provide a basic framework for their creation and maybe even a sample Noble House.
In all likelihood the PCs will start off as lowly Scions at best, or affiliated as Bondsmen through their own family oaths that they have taken (if they do not have a noble background, or belong to the Worker caste for example). This will provide a basic “entry point” for all PCs.
Notoriety – mad, bad & dangerous to know
Most PCs and Noble Houses can get away with certain behaviour – so long as it stays within certain bounds. Notoriety points represents a running total of “bad behaviour”. When it reaches a certain level, there will be a certain response: the PC may be called to task for their actions by PeaceForcers, or the House has to account for its actions in the Shirr’haim.
Whether the House or individual is at fault or not, Notoriety points can lead to a PC becoming public enemy #1. Together with Darkness Points (which I’m tempted to call SoulStain), these can be both hindrance and help to both players and GMs. Notoriety can also be gained by doing the right thing as well – whistle-blowing on a political “smear” campaign, for example: while the PC may have done the right thing, those who instigated the campaign will see the PC in a far from favourable light. Notoriety can also give the character some status – fame and infamy go hand in hand!
Nobility, FATE & Fame
As FATE is OGL, I’ll be planning to make public the section on Noble Houses or at least the rules for them. FATE already has a generic way city creation process, so it will hopefully add to that section significantly. Fame and infamy will also be made OGL in a similar fashion, if GMs and players wish to use it.