Three Guiding Questions
In order to create and maintain the focus for Kushiel's Debut, these three guiding questions have been considered and offered here to share. They are developed based on 'Jared's Big Three Questions' as shared in the documentation for the John Wick game Houses of the Blooded
1) What is This Game About?
Love. Kushiel's Debut is at it's core a game about Love. Love and the many forms it takes, whether romantic love between individuals, a patriots love for his country, a zealots love for his religion, or a people's love for their way of life. It explores the benefits and consequences of embracing that emotion in a culture whose only religious mandate is "Love As Thou Wilt" Love unhindered, whether beautiful or tragic, life-affirming or self-destructive. This is the central theme of Kushiel's Debut, an online text-based roleplaying game based on the Kushiel's Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey.
Terre d'Ange is a very loose equivalent to early renaissance France, behind in technological elements, and with frequent elements of magical fantasy and alternative religion thrown in. Here the D'Angeline people call themselves 'scions', proud because they are descended from the bloodline of angels who chose to leave Heaven in order to follow a different path.
Yet still, these so called children of the angels found that their society was much like that of the other feudal systems that surrounded them. Some families rose to rule as liege lords while others served as vassals. Some believed that their birthrights entitled them to more, and for the most part few argued, falling into a hierarchy not terribly different from that of their neighboring countries, save in one element. Because their angelic ancestors had risked everything, betraying even God himself that they might love freely, all D'Angelines honor the precept 'Love as thou wilt' with a deep sort of devotion. Love, pleasure, romance, all have a sacred place in the heart of most D'Angelines, and can seem very strange to outsiders. It is said that the Royal Family holds its place because they cast the truest line to Elua himself, the original angel born of the One God's son, yet willing to reject that heritage for the freedom to love as he chose.
And so the children of this Elua and his chosen companions, the Angels who wanted love and freedom over their place in heaven, populated the land of Terre d'Ange and created a country that would mingle beauty, love and magic with all of the failings of mortals themselves. Desire, ambition, competition, greed, cruelty, and vengeance. It is said that blessed Elua cared not for crowns nor politics, but none can claim that of his descendants, nor the descendants of his followers. The Game of Houses thrives, guided by love in all of its beauty, destruction or tragedy.
2) How Does This Game Do That?
The methods and mechanics of Kushiel's Debut are often evolving and expanding, however all decisions move back to the focus at hand. A holy mandate to Love, yet mortal imperfections that can pervert love into obsession, fanaticism, isolation and tragedy. All of this set within a court that is similar to so many others, rife with competition for power and attention, political machinations, disagreements, betrayals, and moments of startling loyalty as well.
The wiki provides a wealth of information on the different noble houses of Terre d'Ange as well as the houses on the Mont, the section of the city set aside for holy prostitution. Using this thematic information as background players then utilize the nWoD system to describe their character's attributes, skills, flaws, and talents. The system then provides a mechanism for physical, mental, and social conflicts to allow each character to fulfill a role in the setting.
Additional systems both uniquely created and adapted from other games provide opportunities to interact with the feudal economy, to develop custom made characteristics for individual characters, and even to intensify the theme with the innate qualities of the Angel's bloodlines, or through studying the occult.
Through a combination of game mechanics, staff and player run storyline, and player incentives, Kushiel's Debut keeps its vision of exploring the themes of power, love, and faith at the forefront.
3) What Behaviors Does This Game Reward and Punish?
Kushiel's debut ultimately seeks to reward players for engaging in the 'Game of Houses', for exploring themes of love's glory and the suffering it causes, for playing up their flaws of blind romance, zealotry, fanaticism, patriotism, xenophobia, and even excesses of understanding and generosity. Players who document their +goals and the movement they make towards them as well as their flaws and how they have thwarted their efforts receive reward in the form of xp when submitting rp reports. Players are also rewarded for participation, showing up for scenes allows players the opportunity to highlight their progress and their setbacks personally and offers the opportunity for those they play with to do the same.
Our Incentives go even further to reward those who allow their characters to suffer, or who in the name of co-operation allow other characters to triumph over them. As a MU*, Kushiel's Debut is a setting focused on collaborative storytelling, and though competition occurs at the character level we attempt to discourage it at the player level, offering instead a variety of bonuses to those who play characters willing to suffer for their own mistakes in a way that contributes to the larger story.