Swashbuckling means you have to keep the pace brisk, and the mood has to be one of adventure and daring. My friends have started to make characters, and while we have decided to start the game at sea, we will probably try to swing from at least one chandelier, and at least have one chase involving horse dawn carriages. My image of how swashbuckling works, is to have iconic settings and iconic dramatic situations presented in swift succession to get that feeling we all look for in such a game.
Now, anyone can line up a few villains, a few chases and a fencing scene or two. Making it sing and dance demands a rhythm, a beat, to keep everyone dancing the same dance.
Swashbuckling is, I claim, not a genre, but a way to approach your game. I suggest the following.
- Chases - there must be quick transitions between scenes. If you don't just gloss over a bit of travel, it should be a chase.
- Witty banter - whatever you do, you have to whip out witty one liners. The problem hwre of course is that not all of us are that quick thinking. 7th Sea have something called The Repartee system, usable for tauting and intimidating people while you cross swords. I like that game system support for such a thing.
- Swinging, sliding and jumping - I designed a S&W swashbuckler class in an earlier post, and tried to get this in there. I think swinging from chandeliers is the thing for swashbuckling. Oddly, most gamesystem give you penalties when doing something at the same time as swinging a sword. To make this kind of action happen you should give bonuses for every action you take while fighting! The only game I know of that does it is Wushu. 7th Sea uses something called Drama Dice, which you can use to increase the chance of success. A good idea, but maybe having to roll at all is a bad idea?