Good system for a Succession-style RPG?

My group has been playing campaigns of pulpy adventure in Star Wars for five years now and we’re about to wrap our latest. I told my group that if we wanted to continue gaming in the Star Wars universe, I needed a tonal break from pulpy adventure in our next campaign.

So that’s how we landed on Succession but in Star Wars as our next setting.

I’m excited but nervous - this is way beyond my gaming wheelhouse even though I’ve played some systems that could be adapted for this purpose.

Any system suggestions for this? I think I could do hacks of Pasión de las Pasiones or Smallville (I’ve been looking for a reason to make a Cortex Prime hack anyway). Hillfolk also sounds adjacent but I’m less familiar with that system. I was curious if there was anything else folks here would recommend, particularly if it doesn’t require so much upfront work.

Specifically, here’s what we mean when we say Succession:

  • PCs are the main movers and shakers. They are both united and conflicted by a common interest (in this case, ownership of a massive corporation in a galaxy far, far away). There should be a roughly even mix of working together and against one another.
  • The mechanics of running a business will figure into the background of the narrative. No one is particularly excited to simulate market conditions too deeply, but the business should regularly provide sources of conflict and drama.
  • Very low bodycount for a Star Wars game - physical conflict should be exceedingly rare.
  • The system should support a 10-15 session campaign. Some level of character advancement would be great, but we won’t stick with this indefinitely.
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I don’t know exactly what’s our there, but there may be a Legacy game that works for this, or could at least be easily reskinned?

There are no special mechanics of running a business in Hillfolk, but all your other points apply. Choose the system only, if you want to have consistently non-lethal pvp action (however, characters may work together at times)! The resolution system for procedural scenes is acceptable, but we preferred the “advanced procedural system” contained in the sourcebook “Blood on the Snow” (it´s not more complicated, only different).

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Legacy could do this … though players would represent factions within the broader setting, I suppose.

However … If it’s a more ‘soap opera’ competition between characters then Passione would be where I’d start.

If the enterprise is dubiously legal then … Cartel?

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This may be a job for Prime Tme Adventures: https://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/Primetime-Adventures-2008-PDF.html

It’s a totally narrative-based game for playing ongoing drama series (Hillfolk borrows from it, and would also probably work well for this). You’d need to not care about anything ‘tactical’, but it’d be great for board-room shenanigans.

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This’ll surprise no one that knows me, but Smallville (Cortex Prime) gives you a fantastic social conflict system and character creation gives you the web of relationships to make all this come together.

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These are all great suggestions so far, thanks!

The faction-based play of Legacy looks close-but-not-quite – players would not represent factions but members of a single faction.

Primetime Adventures looks super compelling though, I’ll give that a readthrough before I make a decision.

Glad to hear I’m not crazy for wanting to hack Smallville - Cortex games are my go-to anytime I want to emulate a TV show (Leverage will always have a special place in my heart). The latest Cortex Prime is confusing as heck but I think I’d be fine to start with Smallville and make modifications by stealing from Prime until I have the game I want.

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Luckily for you, I put together a ToC for players in my Persona game to references Smallville rules in the Prime book:

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Given the emphasis on inter-character conflict, vying for control over a shared institution, I think I would run this in Kingdom. In fact, I totally want to play this.

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Kingdom … slaps forehead … of course … Kingdom!

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I’ll certainly read through Kingdom for some inspiration. However, our experience with Ben Robbins’ Microscope and Follow is that they were usually interesting but rarely exciting. Others here have recommended these systems for generating histories and backgrounds - that may be worth a shot with Kingdom to establish what came before the start of play.

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Kingdom is my favorite of the three, as it provides the most interesting resolution system for its premise. You end up with a lot more character development than in most Microscope sessions, and deeper character conflict than you get in Follow.

However, some of the PbtAs you mentioned above (like Monsterhearts) push the narrative in ways that can surprise everyone at the table (because of the specifity of moves outcomes). If that’s what you mean by ‘exciting’, Kingdom is unlikely to provide that. It’s much more interested in conflicting agendas than in dramatic twists and turns, in my experience.

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For a one-shot of this sort of thing you could do, “Witness the Murder of Your Father and be Ashamed, Young Prince” by Nathan Paoletta. Just move it to the modern day and have it about the Roy siblings working out who’s going to be CEO, while the raven token is for someone going to another company.

Kingdom is…pretty different from Microscope, albeit less so from Follow; It is a game about characters in different positions of… influence over a group of people trying to decide it’s course, and they also have flaws/problems that drive them to not-entirely-rational or self-interested decisions.

I don’t know that it’s NECESSARILY what you’re looking for, but it’s super unique.

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