Grander politics in Free From the Yoke
We're almost there - £615 to go at the time of writing this update! You may notice a lot of our custom content pledge levels have already been claimed, but it may surprise you to know that some of those backers have already started swapping ideas with us. Look for a preview of the first of these, The Matchmaker, dropping later today.
The Game of Houses
Last update I talked about magic in Free From the Yoke. That’s one of the big changes coming in the book at the character level, so I thought I’d talk about what we’re changing at the Family - or rather, House - level.
In Legacy, your Families barely know each other, and a large part of the game is deciding what place they’ll all take in the Homeland’s society. In contrast, you start a game of Free From the Yoke having gone through invasion, occupation, rebellion and victory.
So you all know each other, and the things you went through together - and the ways in which you caused hurt to the others while surviving the occupation - are big factors. But there’s a bigger one - the hero of the rebellion, the Arbiter, the house that now rules the land.
The Arbiter is the centre of the land’s political system, and everything orbits around them. Each season of play starts with the Arbiter holding court - depending on your House’s Favour rating, you might get a prestigious new position, an onerous responsibility, or be completely overlooked.
Favour is the big change to the political game in Free From the Yoke. Ranging from -2 to 2, it governs how close you are to the halls of power. Gain Favour by contributing materially to the Arbiter’s plans, or lose Favour by withdrawing from court and suck up the consequences. High favour gives you access to the Arbiter’s resources but ties you to their plans; low favour makes life harder but more independent.
There’s a final use for it: getting the aid of the Arbiter’s agent. They might be the Arbiter's Fist, their Shadow, their Soul or their Voice - the group picks at the start of the age, and they stick around from then on as a central figure. If your House thinks their character could do with assistance, they can request the Arbiter’s aid. When they do so, you move to the zoomed-in character level with one player controlling the agent, gaining access to powerful abilities. In exchange, the House’s favour moves one step towards 0, and the agent has their own priorities.
Finally, each Age there’s a particular project that’s the Arbiter’s top priority. Maybe it’s a war on the borders, a grand construction, a mystic ritual, a trade deal, or something else. These take the role of Wonders in Legacy. Each has their own resources and actions needed to complete them: if you hit those requirements, you win favour with the Arbiter. If the project’s completed, you end the Age by picking fortunes - with high-Favour Houses getting the juiciest. If it fails, bad things happen, with the worst fallout landing closest to the court.
And what if you want to seize the reins of power yourself? It’s tough, and dangerous, and unlikely to make you many friends. But it’s doable, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. And if you can manage it, think of the glory and power you would then hold...
I'll talk more about Free From the Yoke's other changes soon, but you can get a sense of them yourself by reading over this changed and expanded Basic Moves document.