Yes, Sir! A Game of Great Britannia
A Game of Great Britannia By Mixu Lauronen Â©201 8 Mixu Lauronen Pictures by Pixabay
Table of Contents 05 06 07 08 09 11 12 13 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 17 18 18 18 18 19 19 20 21 23
What is a storytelling game? Great Britannia The Big War Technology Social Hierarchy Spending Time as a Landowner Spending Time as a Personal Servant The Characters Social Status Appearance Age and Birthday Birthplace Skills Using Skills Skill Descriptions Equipment The Game Pounds Starting the Game Course of the Game Ending the Game Learning new skills and enhancing existing skills Beginnings Example of Play Character Sheet
Yes, Sir! is a storytelling game heavily influenced by the Jeeves and Wooster stories of P.G. Wodehouse. It is a game of goodwill and funny happenstances. The game's purpose is to have fun.
What is a storytelling game? A storytelling game is a game in which the players tell a story together. There are characters controlled by the players. Each player tells a part of the story, complemented by the others. There are no winners in Yes, Sir!, no losers, no competition. There's just the story crafted together. There are moments in the story, when the following part isn't clear. Does miss Greenhill remember the details of her ancestor's history? Can mister Blossom jump from the ladders to the window? These kind of things are solved by the rules of the game.
Great Britannia Great Britannia resembles the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the 1 920's and 1 930's. It is, however an imaginary, idealized island. There is now politics or religion, which may be difficult and quarrelsome subjects to the players. The capital is London with many millions of inhabitants. There are smaller cities like Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, and Edinburgh. Most of the island, however, is farmland and old mansions and castles.
The Big War Five years ago a big war ended. It cost millions of lives, mostly young men. Even though Great Britannia was among the winners, almost nothing was won. There were no conquests nor great treasure. Some claim that the war only brought bodies. But the peace brought something else besides wounded and graves. It brought sense of togetherness and a will to rebuild Britannia. The people want to wash the war from their souls. It is a time of work and parties!
Technology There are no televisions, computers, or mobile phones. People keep in touch with letters, telegrams, and wired telephones. The news are read from a newspaper or listened from the radio. The movies are silent and black-and-white. So are photographs, which need to be developed. Music has to be listened to in a concert, from the radio, or as pressed recordings. Cars - or horseless carriages - are a new thing. Trains go virtually anywhere, and people know how to ride or drive carriages. Aeroplanes are also a fresh invention. To go abroad a greatbritannian uses ocean liners or smaller vessels. Oil, gasoline, gas, and coal are used for heating and electricity. Electrial devices are clumsy and use a lot of electricity.
Social hierarchy On the lowest rung of the social hierarchy are the servants: kitchen staff, farmhands and so on. Their life is filled with work. Most people are either farmers or industrial workers. Because of the war, women started doing men's work, and now there's no distinction. This bunch produces most of Britannia's farm and industrial products. Personal servants are on this level. A male servant is called a valet, and a female one is a maid. The relationship between a master and a servant is often close. The players are encouraged to form master/servant pairs. Enterpreneurs are on the next level. Millionaires are an exception. An enterpreneur may have a link to farming community, although most of the time this is not the case.
Then come the Landowners. This game concentrates on them and their servants. The landowners spend their time hunting, enjoying and creating art, traveling, eating, and drinking. Their servants help them. A landowner is either a lord, his heir, or a younger child. The lord is in charge of the family estate, and the heir is practicing the job. Other children usually receive an allowance from their parents. They usually live outside the estate in their apartments in the city. They are called gentlemen and ladies. The Nobility has more social respect than the landowners. They are Great Britannia's Counts, Barons, and Baronettes, with a blood bond to the land from generations past. On the top ladder are members of the supreme court, millionaires and the King. They are outside the law, and can practically do whatever they want.
Spending time as a landowner Landowners usually have more money than they can spend. Some have income from the family estate, some have dividends from investments, some have allowance. In no circumstances they do work. They spend their time in endless sports and art events and balls. A gentleman's club is an important part of every gentleman's life.
Spending time as a personal servant A valet's and maid's days are filled with work. You have to manage the sir's or lady's household, and their health must be kept an eye on. During their free time many servants consume or create arts and culture. Other servants are good sources of information and help. They know each other and their masters much better than the masters know.
The Characters The Characters are the centerpiece of the game. The players experience the World through their eyes and ears. At first, the character has to be created. Creating the character is creating the World. It is recommended to invent places and persons during this process.
Social Status The social status is a value from one to six. 1 . Servants 2. Farmers, industry workers, personal servants 3. Enterpreneurs 4. Landowners 5. Nobles: counts, barons, and so on 6. The King, members of the supreme court, millionaires Personal servants and landowners are preferred.
Appearance What does the character look like? How long is he, and how much does he weigh? How does the character dress up? Does he have a war wound?
Age and Birthday The age is between 20 and 39. It is determined randomly by rolling a 20-sided die and adding 1 9. If the character is a male between ages 23 and 30, he has most likely been in the war. The exact birthdate is decided on now.
Birthplace Has the character been born in the countryside or in the city? Was the birthplace the family estate or a city apartment?
Skills The skills represent what the characters know. Each skill is between 0-5. If the skill's value is 0, the character doesn't know it. Every character has the amount of points equal to their age to put in skills on 1 -1 basis. If the value is at least 1 , a specialization must be chosen. For example, somebody skilled in Cooking might have seafood as specialization. There are examples with the description of the skills.
Using Skills When a skill is needed, a 6-sided die is rolled. If the result is same or less than the skill, it is successful. Specialization is one higher than the skill. This means that with the skill of 5, specialization always works. Alternatively, the player may choose his numbers before rolling. If one of those is the result, the skill works. An Example: Jarvis has 2 points in Economy, and his specialization is Accounting. He is trying to comprehend the peculiarities of his uncle Bertrand's accounting. Because this fits his specialization, the value is three. 1 , 2, and 3 are successes. However, the player announces numbers 1 , 3, and 5 before rolling. He rolls 3 - a success!
Description of Skills Art. Creating and appreciating things.
Specializations: Plays, Oil Painting, Piano
Driving. Driving a car, a motorcycle or a bicycle. Specializations: bicycle, foreign cars, stunt driving
Economy: Managing personal economy.
Specializations: Accounting, Acquiring Credit, Haggling
Gastronomy. Appreciating and making food and drink. Specializations: Baking, Chinese Food, Whiskey
Geography. Knowing where places are.
Specializations: Cities of Great Britannia, Navigation, Local Paths
Hunting. Hunting and guns.
Specializations: Foxes, Tracking, Shotgun
Medicine. Medicinal knowledge.
Specializations: First Aid, Veterinary Medicine, Poisons
Riding. Using horses and carriages.
Specializations: Carriages, Equestrian, Horse Races
Sports. Doing and Knowing Sports.
Specializations: Cricket, Tennis, Sports Results
Technology. Knowledge of mechanical and electrical things. Specializations: Electrical Devices, Locksmith, Motors 16
Equipment Each character has equipment relevant to their work and hobbies, everyone also has a place to stay. If the character knows driving, he has a bicycle or a horseless carriage. If he can ride, he has a horse if he wants to, and so on. Money usually isn't a problem for a landowner. A servant may get resources if he rationalizes his needs well enough.
The Game After character creation it is time to start playing. The beginning is decided upon together. A best start has all the characters in the same place, and enough loose threads for every player. Later on there are examples of beginnings. The length of player's turn is decided. Two to five minutes is recommended. If desired, the overall length of the game can be decided in advance (eg. two hours) .
Pounds Each player gets ten tokens called pounds (abbreviated as ÂŁ) . They can be anything, but real pounds are recommended.
Starting the Game The players roll dice. The one with largest number goes first. In a case of a tie, roll again until a winner is clear. The winner starts to tell a story from his point of view, and continues until the time is up or he wants to stop. Then the player on his left continues.
Course of the Game During the telling everyone else is silent. If the storyteller invites someone in a dialogue, he can join the story. By paying a pound a player can ask one question from the player in turn. If he can't answer, next player gets the turn.
A player can also spend a pound and steal the turn for one minute. after that time the turn returns to the original player. If two players (including the person telling the story) spend a pound and demand a roll, the player in turn must make a die roll. This is the only way to make one: each die roll has to paid by two pounds. Rolls are good in a situation where the outcome is unsure, or the roll would add drama to the situation.
Ending the Game The game ends either when everybody agrees it is a good time to stop, the time is up, or nobody has any pounds left.
Learning new skills and enhancing existing skills When people grow older, they learn new things. On his birthday a character gets one point to put in any skill. If it is a new skill, the player must explain how the character got the skill. Maybe he read books? Or perhaps the other servants taught him? When the character turns 50 and has all the skills at maximum it is assumed he feels himself old and retires to the family estate.
Beginnings Birthday. The patriarch of the family, Sir Arthur Butnott, is having
his 60th birthday, and everyone is expected to attend. It is also known that Sir Butnott will write his will after the three day party.
Engagement. One of the characters is engaged to the most wonderful girl/boy in the World. Someone however finds out that the engagee is a fraud. How to get the player character to call off the wedding?
Hunting Trip. The annual MacMutton Castle fox hunt begins. The characters (or just the landowners) form one group in the most forestly part of the area. Of course they get lost.
Cruise. Old Jones has bought a yacht. There's a party on the ship, and
afterwards a three day cruise. Things start disappearing. There's a thief on the ship!
Brixton Spring Festival. Brixton Spring Festival collects a large
amount of money to a charitable organization every year. Each character must assure the chairwoman, Lady Pineapple, that their charity is the best one.
Example of Play The beginning is the Birthday (see previous page) . Fiona Moss is Arthur's granddaughter, and currently in her room with her maid Sirpa (Sirpa's family comes from Finlandia, a land northeast from Great Britannia) .
Fiona's Player: Fiona is waiting at the dressing table for Sirpa to comb her hair. She is furious. They called her self-righteous and overly proud!
Another player plays a pound and asks: "Who is knocking on the door?"
Fiona's Player: "Come in!" Enter Esther, an old servant of the family,
who asks Fiona to follow herself. Fiona stops making up. Eshter starts to whisper: "I am sorry I intrude, but there's something odd with mister Butnott's will. You know accounting, don't you? (Fiona has 3 points in Economy, and her specialization is Accounting) . I thought you might straighten things up." Sirpa follows them. Fiona opens the will.
The other players think that this calls for a roll, so the player pays a pound, waiting for someone else to do the same. This happens, so there's a roll. If nobody else had paid a pound, Fiona's players wouldn't have had to roll a die, and thus he would have gotten his pound back. The roll is 3, so the player succeeds.
Fiona's player: At first glance, the will seems all right, but then Fiona notices a problem. This is just a draft. But where is the original? 21
Other Players: Time! Sirpa's Player: Sirpa looks very worried, as her lady is reading a
paper she shouldn't be reading. She is nervous - what if someone sees them! Sirpa goes to the door and peeks at the corridor.
Another player pays a pound and gets the turn for one minute: "Sirpa is so nervous she pushes the door closed. Click! It is locked now. Hopefully the key..."
Downton Abbey Jeeves and Wooster Mr. Selfridge
Gosford Park Batman movies
P.G. Wodehouse: Jeeves and Wooster Jules Verne: Around the World in 80 Days Jo Baker: Longbourn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro
PLAYER: _____________________________________ Name: ____________________ Birthday: __________ Birthplace: __________________ Social Status: ____ Appearance: __________________________________ SKILLS
Arts Driving Economy Gastronomy Geography Hunting Medicine Riding Sports Technology
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23
45 45 45 45 45 45 45 45 45 45
Specialization: ___________________ Specialization: ___________________ Specialization: __________________ Specialization: ___________________ Specialization: __________________ Specialization: ___________________ Specialization: ___________________ Specialization: ___________________ Specialization: ___________________ Specialization: ___________________
Possessions and Real Estate:
Permission to photocopy this page is granted 23
Yes, Sir! is a storytelling game about a fictitious country called Great Britannia and its upper class and servants. If the intrigue of Downton Abbey or the light-hearted life of Jeeves and Wooster is close to your heart, Yes, Sir! is the right game for you! The game introduces short and easy rules to engage into the lives of the servants and the landowners. The rules are easy to learn and there's a die mechanics for the cases when the outcome is uncertain. THE GAME INCLUDES: - An introduction to Great Britannia and the life of its social classes - Rules for a storytelling game without a game master - Easy die mechanics - Ten skills - Sample beginnings for a game - Example of play - Character Sheet - List of inspiring material from TV to opera
A storytelling game inspired by Downton Abbey and Jeeves and Wooster.