Durance (role-playing game)
|Publisher(s)||Bully Pulpit Games|
Durance is a science fiction role-playing game by Jason Morningstar, independently published by Bully Pulpit Games, who also released Fiasco. The game was a 2011 entry on the annual Game Chef game design competition and went on to raise $27,458 (639 backers) of its $5000 goal on kickstarter in June 2012.
Durance is a narrative style game for 3-5 players, played without preparation or a Game Master (GM) as is often the tradition in roleplaying games. Each player takes his or her turn coming up with a question to be resolved in a scene and the other players work out who should be part of the scene and then plays out that scene according to some very simple guidelines. The setting takes place on a distant colony with convicts working under the oversight of a governor and his or her marines. Society and power is split between the criminal society and those working for the government, named Authority. Each side depends on the other and the balance of power may shift in either direction, but since every player has one character on each side of the divide this is meant to create conflict and an interesting setting rather than player competition. This is depicted as a split triangle with the Governor at the top on the Authority side, and the Dimber Damber on the convict side. There are a total of five rungs on the ladder on each side, and the players must pick characters from different rungs and sides, with the rest being filled with minor character that may be taken over if a player's character dies.
The game has many innovative mechanics and ideas, but focuses on the narrative and roleplaying more than the game mechanics.
Jason Morningstar wrote Durance for the Game Chef 2011 competition.:304 This game focused on the contest's theme of William Shakespeare and its ingredients of "daughter," "exile," "forsworn," and "nature"; those elements got Morningstar thinking about the colonization of Australia in the 1780s and the 1790s, and he ended up writing about a penal colony on a distant planet.:304 Morningstar was pleased with the Game Chef iteration of Durance, so in July 2011 he started iterating it for possible publication by Bully Pulpit.:304 About a year later, Bully Pulpit decided to take advantage of the newest advances on the internet, and pushed Durance out as their first Kickstarter, raising $27,458 from 639 backers.:304 Several months later, Durance (2012) was released in both a softcover and a limited-edition hardcover that was Bully Pulpit's first foray into hard-bound publication.:304
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- Shannon Appelcline (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '00s. Evil Hat Productions. ISBN 978-1-61317-087-8.