You play members of a house or household, large or small, struggling to survive and prosper close to the border of an unpredictable and sometimes hostile area. Perhaps you are a noble house on the border between civilisation and savage wilderness; maybe you are a merchant house plying your trade between galactic empires; or perhaps you are the family who live at the big house on the edge of a rough neighbourhood, trying to figure out how you can afford that holiday in Spain and still pay the phone bill.
The game is designed to tell stories about the House and the individuals in it, focusing on the interplay between the needs of the group and the desires of the people that make it up. You’ll play characters with strong personalities and driving goals, not all of which will be compatible with the survival and prosperity of the House.
The rules system for House on the Border will be based on the Apocalypse World engine.
The House and the Border
At the start of the game, you collectively decide what kind of House the game will focus on, and what the nature of the border is. The House could be a literal building, a family or clan, a business house or something else entirely. As for the border, it could be a simple spatial border between kingdoms or a frontier between a civilised area and an untamed space. But equally it could be something different: a border in time, perhaps, such as a political or cultural revolution; or an ephemeral border between competing political or religious interests. It needn’t be grand, but could be something like an anarchic neighbourhood on the wrong side of the tracks or a lawless wilderness. Agree on this before you start to create characters.
What matters to your House?
Your House will have a bunch of things that are important to it. These are divided into two types: values and resources. Values are things that matter to the House, such as Honour or Victory. Resources are things the House needs to survive and/or prosper, such as Money or Defences.
In future installments, I’ll develop how these work.