Friday, December 20, 2013

Houses of the Blooded

Hey there! I'm trying to get back to my blog, though I don't think if I'll be able to sustain it again. I haven't been able to properly connect to the internet for a couple months now and that made it really hard for me to post regularly.
That said, today I will talk about a Tabletop Roleplaying Game that I really like: Houses of the Blooded.
To those unfamiliar with the genre, tabletop roleplaying games (or 'pen and paper roleplaying') are, traditionally, games in which a narrator tells a story of any kind, and players take the role of characters in it, usually taking decisions for them and using dice to determine their outcome.
The most commonly played roleplaying games are Dungeon and Dragons (D&D) and maybe stuff from World of Darkness (WoD).
In D&D each player takes the role of an adventurer, who goes around the world killing monsters and collecting magical items, being a hero against some BBEG and doing some good ole' questin'. Pretty stereotypical if you ask me, and boring after a short while.
In WoD, depending on which game you play, you can be a vampire, a werewolf, a mage, or many other things, and basically see how much your life sucks, in a tragic and dark place. I really like WoD with all its fluff and all, but it's actually an 'indie' game that really caught me in the hobby: Houses of the Blooded.
In Houses of the Blooded, you don't play an adventurer who goes around the wild killing beasts. That's for peasants. In this game, you're a Nobleman, a Ven, who carries the noble blood of an old house and dynasty, and does noble stuff: you don't kill your enemies, you ally with them, then backstab them when they grow too confident. You don't explore new land, you just send your knights to do it as you put some pressure on the peasants of a particularly 'late on taxes' town. And if things actually get out of hand and violence is mandatory, you will have to send a letter to the Parliament saying why you feel truly insulted, so that they may contact a third party who may act as an intermediary between you and the offending party, to arrange as a last measure a Duel, the Ven's organized violence.

What are Ven, you may be asking at this point? Ven are just like humans, but still subtly different. Belonging to an old, quasi-hyperborean race, they are similar to men, except more passionate and easily carried away by emotions. The system of the game recreates this by making a 'compel system': each Ven has a few things that 'compel him' to act in a certain way, and can't do nothing but follow his passionate will to the end, which is almost always tragic (the manual calls it a game of 'tragedy and romance').

But being compelled has an upside: a compelled Ven may gain style, and Style is one of the most interesting mechanics in the game. Whereas most games make a sharp division between Narrator and players, Style allows for players to narrate a small scene, or add a small fact to the story. You can create a character as a Narrator, but any character can spend a stylepoint and make him the new villain. Or just turn him into a foot fetishist. Everything is allowed, as long as it fits the mood. And if it's tragic enough, it may get you even more style to spend.

Then there is the whole Romance/Revenge side of the game: Ven use the same word for both concepts, 'vrente', which roughly translates as 'uncontrollable desire', and think the only law is the one you make yourself, by taking revenge for every insult you recieve (where insult includes both killing someone's mother or just giving him the finger), so that the Senate, highest political authority in Ven community, may give you 'the right to vengeance', where you can do anything justifying it with revenge.

The game also includes mechanics for running a province, plotting and conspiring (in a Game of Thron-ish way), exploring ancient enchanted ruins for magical artifacts, creating art and even romance, which are aspects usually left aside by most systems (or reduced to 'yeah, just roll charisma and then keep bashing that goblin')

To those interested in playing the game, I'd recommend you download the manual and give it a try, especially if you already have some experience in roleplaying and want to try something different.
If you've played HOTB or any other tabletop roleplaying game, leave a comment talking about your experience!

P.s: I'd like to use this space to remind you all that Esperanto is still a living language, and you can practise it by visiting my esperanto blog and reading this entry in which I talk about a roleplaying game, of which I (SPOILER WARNING) will write about in my next english entry.
to learn esperanto, visit or search my entry on esperanto

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like fun, will have to take a look. :)


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