Spitballing Hillfolk

Hello Again,

So, in Hillfolk players makes other players offerings. These offerings represent in roads to pre-written relationship barriers/conflicts. For example, Uhwayr wants a child from Kudju. This is an agreed upon source of contention.

I believe, from what I remember, you offer these tokens, but if they aren’t received, they just go back to player who made the peace treaty. The player who is rebuked gets their token back, and the player who rebuked gets nothing.

What if they went somewhere else? These failed offerings?
What if every rebuke doubled the token amount?


That’s not really accurate to how Hillfolk works, I don’t think. It’s more like this: one person (the petitioner) asks something of another character (the granter). The granter decides whether to give the petitioner what they ask, or to refuse the request.

If the petitioner gets what they want, then the petitioner gives the granter a token. (If the petitioner doesn’t have any tokens, they give the granter one from the pot.)

If the petitioner did not get what they want, then the granter gives the petitioner a token. (If the granter doesn’t have any tokens, they give the petitioner one from the pot.)

So in every dramatic scene, a token is exchanged or gained. There’s never a time where the token just goes back to the person who had it originally. Every scene moves tokens or gains tokens, which is important for the game’s rhythm because after a few rounds you can start to spend multiple tokens to force an issue.


I do think Hillfolk’s mechanics are pretty hackable and could be built upon to do some interesting stuff, though.

In particular, I think that the game sorely needs a procedural system that meaningfully interfaced with the dramatic rules. But that’s sort of a different issue.


It might be neat to have something like a “side bet” for a set-up/pay-off?
I do like the idea of the same petition increasing in value, maybe both ways?

There is a built in possibility to force an issue after your petition is rebuked, where you spend two tokens to make the granter have to capitulate at least partially to your demands. They either have to give in or spend three tokens to rebuke the force. So there is a mechanic for the petition increasing in value over several scenes, and it is an important part of how the game structures the narrative.

If I wanted to hack the dramatic scenes in some way, it would be to find a way to get the rest of the table involved in a scene that only involves two players. Hillfolk asks for a big group of players, bigger than most RPGs, but then a lot of the game is two players talking to each other while everyone else watches. This is usually great, actually, but it would be nice to have other players spend resources to ask pointed questions, prompt monologues or flashbacks that explain a character’s beliefs, and push for more drama. Make the audience players a more active part of the dramatic scene, even if they don’t have a character there.

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For me, the two token force move comes with the same problems that compells do in Fate.

You can always gameify a token game by making 1 token into some dice, the more, the more “stable” the equivalence will be. If you have a lot of players and lots of dice, giving each one responsibility over one die is not radical. Declaring/lending a die, assigning it to a part of the fiction, rolling it, interpreting the result into fiction : there’s work for everybody*. This way you maximize interaction at the table. You just need to make it meaningful, and that’s the easy part. So, maybe that’s a good prospect.

*The same trick exists with @Warriormonk trolling deck for players whose characters are out of a scene (Monje ? me puedes dar la direccion del trolling deck para referenciarlo aqui ?)

Sorry, I never went back to that particular design, but more or less the list of cards could be:

-Introduce a noise or smell in the scene. The player framing the scene is free to build upon it as they want
-Play an NPC, the player to your right tells you who is this person, the player to your left (or the facilitator) tells you what they want.
-Change the weather or the whole atmosphere in the scene. Players present just roll with it until the scene ends.
-Play a small wild animal, critter or vermin of your choice that stumbles into the scene. Ask another player to choose your need: food, safety, curiosity or any other you both agree on.
-Play a minor NPC that either delivers an uninportant message to someone or dies in this scene. Either way, make it as dramatic as you can.

Most of the other cards fit a specific type of game, so I don’t think they will be useful here, but now that you have the gist of it you may develop more cards to fit Hillfolk or the genre of your choosing.