Political TTRPGs

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There's an excellent Blades in the Dark hack called Court of Blades that I kickstarted back in 2021. Highly recommended. It takes the core Blades' "heist" sequences, but sets it up to be much more focused on courtly intrigue.

Your "scores" are carried out at fancy ballroom galas, in the secret chambers of unwitting "marks". Your "crew" is supplanted into a "Great House", with its position, prestige, and influence changing over time.


I was going to post this one. I've not yet played it, but it looks great, and seems to really focus on courtly intrigue in ways that other games don't quite manage to pull off.

I'd also add the Reign RPG by Greg Stolze. Another I've not yet played, but it looks interesting. It uses the One Roll Engine, which I'm familiar with from Godlike. I thought it was a great concept, but my group didn't play Godlike long enough for the system to become intuitive. I think Reign might be a better match for the system.


Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
I think a lot of Modiphius Dune’s mme habits would lift out smoothly, but it’d be expensive since they’re organized to support a line about the Dune milieu.

Pendragon can handle a lot of politicking well. They also lift out, but it can be some work to define cultures’ sets of virtues, ways of earning glory, etc. I was hoping a bunch of that would be in the new edition of BRP, but no. I have not seen the Mythras factions book; it might present things in a more immediately flexible way.

Might also add the old Birthright setting and mention ACK though I’ve never played it.

I don’t think a game needs specific political mechanical subsystems to be a political game but I think it helps. I look at something like Genesys with specific social conflict rules that can be used to resolve a variety of things from negotiations to debates to court room drama and think it’s nice to have the tools even if I may not use them often.

A lot of it comes down to what you’re looking for in those subsystems. Games like GURPS and WHFRP handle those social and political interactions through their regular skill resolution systems, with modifiers for social class, wealth, status, rank and so on. Genesys your gonna use the social conflict rules. In Savage Worlds dramatic tasks are gong to handle the heavy lifting when it comes to resolution process.


There is a Social Maneuvering system in Chronicles of Darkness, though it is not particularly deep. However, the general game system has enough social skills that are appropriate for a political setting (Politics, Socialize, Streetwise, etc.), as sell as quite a few passive benefits (called Merits), which can measure influence in an organisation (like Status), allies, contacts, resources, etc.

Besides, you can completely ignore the supernatural part of the system, because characters are generated as common people first, and a supernatural template is applied afterwards. It was an unintended byproduct of the system, but it is fully functional.

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