Romance. Scandal. Manners.
Welcome to Good Society, the Jane Austen roleplaying game.
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Good Society is a story focused roleplaying game that seeks to capture the heart, and the countenance, of the work of Jane Austen.
It is a game of balls, estates, sly glances, and turns about the garden. At least, on the surface.
Underneath this, just as Austen’s own work, it is a game of social ambition, family obligation and breathtaking, heart stopping and deeply repressed longing.
It is the elegance of Austen’s world, the sharpness of her wit, and the beauty of her passion that inspired us to create this system. But is the deep and complex struggle between desire, expectation, and position that has guided its development – and we hope you will enjoy both elements.
Today is the first ball of the season. As your presence is announced at the entrance of the grand hall, pray tell – who do the men and women of good society see?
In Good Society, you will create a character of the kind that burst from the pages of Austen’s work. You will choose your position in society, your family background, your relationships, and of course your secret objective. It is the burning fire to achieve this objective, whether to fulfil a passion, lay claim to an estate, or restore a good name, that fuels the drama of this game.
Who will I be?
In Good Society, characters are created from four components.
Your Character Role
While a proper lady or gentleman has a great many characteristics, society reduces you to just one. Are you the heir, toying with suitors as you wait expectantly for your estate? Or a socialite, desperate to climb the ladder to the pinnacle of high society?
Your Family Background
More important than who you are in regency society, is of course who your family is. Are you the clergyman’s daughter? Or did your father marry well, into old money and a vast estate?
Your Secret Desire
Your heart burns with a hidden passion for the achievement of but one end. I would not dare to presume to guess what it may be.
Your Closest Relationship
We all are made what we are by our ties to others. Shall you find in another a loyal confident, or a bitter rival? Or could it be the former object of your affection, still jilted by your disloyalty?
How do I play?
Good Society is a rules light, player driven game. It can be played with a GM, or without one. It is driven by the trade of resolve tokens which allow players to change narrative details about the world, and make things happen.
The two other major mechanics in the game are reputation, which controls how society perceives and reacts to your character, and abilities, certain advantages your character receives from their family background. And, oh, did I mention there is mechanic for in-character monologues?
Games of good society typically last two or three sessions, though guidelines for longer play are included in the book.
A game of Good Society consists of five phases
Collaboration: Decide what kind of story you would like to tell. Will this be a drama, or a light-hearted farce? Will you play with gender norms, or should you get rid of, or reverse them?
Backstory: Build the world of your Austen novel. Who are your family, rivals, and friends? Which cousin will inherent your estate if you fail to marry? Which eligible Captain has recently arrived in town? During the game, players will take on the roles of the minor characters that surround them, as well as their primary character.
Novel: In-character play. Pursue your secret objective, exploiting relationships, estates, and connections to make engagements, secure an inheritance, and disgrace enemies. All while keeping your reputation in check.
Rumour and Scandal: Players collaboratively determine what rumours and scandal are flying around the town. Which are merely gossip mongering and which will be confirmed?
Epistolary: An optional phase for the writing of letters. Very important.