Forging the Fourth Treaty

From Dragon
Jump to: navigation, search
"Time brings all things to pass." The run takes place on the Day of the Late Dog in the Month of the Dog in the Year of the Dog of the Fourth Treaty of Houses

The run takes place in the Harbor of Fortunate Arrival

Previous Run

Representatives from all the Houses of the Arcade, great and small, gather to write a new Treaty of Houses. There are a lot of mechanics, and the party starts to investigate all of them. After some time, Cai Wen and others with political opinions work on the politics mechanic, while others spend their time visiting the individual house mechanics, earning chits for favor to be used in the politics mechanic.


Treaty of Houses

  • Each house starts with four tokens, one for each stat. (Tokens are coins with colored stickers)
  • PCs may earn colored chits by interacting with house mechanics. (Chits are colored plastic beads.)
  • At the end of every hour:
    • Two treaty cards are drawn and placed in the treaty area
    • Each house may place or move a single token on a treaty card either for or against. Tokens are placed in order from largest to smallest.
    • Draw one event card
    • The currently winning set of treaty cards is calculated.
  • All Treaty Cards will have a symbol on them. For each symbol, the card with the highest token total (total value of tokens for, minus total value of tokens against) is the winner.
    • Ties are broken by the single largest token unless another tiebreaker is in effect.
  • To propose a deal with a different house, see the GMs. Have a deal to propose, rather than asking "What do you want to do X?" or "What will you offer us to do Y?" Keeping the house's Goal Statement in mind will be useful, and if you make an offer that is rejected out of hand, you can't make another until the next hour.

House Mechanics

  • Earning chits symbolizes gaining the (slight) favor of the house in question. However, the houses are all very busy doing their own thing, so making your way in sufficiently to get their favors requires some doing.
  • House mechanics can be entered by one or more PCs as a group. Each PC can only participate once per house per hour, whether solo or as part of a group. Some challenges require more than one; others can be done solo (and generally a solo challenge can be done by a group taking turns).
  • To enter a mechanic, the group must choose one of
    • Put an HEI chit in the GM chit bowl
    • Attempt the required Entrance Roll.
  • If making the Entrance Roll, one person gets to make the roll; others in the group may assist. The roller may spend karma.
  • If the roll fails, then the group must choose one of
    • Put an HEI chit plus two chits of other colors in the GM chit bowl to do the mechanic
    • Leave the mechanic for the hour
  • There are up to three potential outcomes: Success, Failure, and Retreat
  • Success in the mechanic grants one chit of that house color to the group
  • Failure in the mechanic requires paying one non-HEI chit to the GM bowl.
  • Retreat from the mechanic is free
  • If the mechanic says to put your initials on something, everyone in the group should do so.
  • Don't do anything that obviously seems like cheating even if the rules don't cover it. (i.e. if you solve a reusable puzzle by yourself don't show around the answer)

House of Exuberant Interference

HEI chits are instantiated:

  • To pay into the GM bowl as described elsewhere
  • One per hour by Li Merit and Zhu Cai Wen

The House of Exuberant Interference may spend chits as follows. Chits which do not specify a color may be any color

Block a house from moving/placing a token
Five chits of the house color plus 2 chit per token value
Add or subtract 1 from the upcoming card draw
Eight chits of any color
Lightly edit a card
Nine chits of different colors. Requires agreement of all houses with a token on the card.
Shuffle a card with no tokens back into the deck
Six chits of the same color
Transfer value between two tokens of the same house. (Requires agreement of that house)
Five chits of that house color plus two chits per point moved
Instantiate a blank token for a house. (Requires agreement of that house)
Three chits of that house color
Turn over the Goal Statement for the house
Six chits of different colors, including one of the house’s color.

Only "block a house from moving/placing" may be done during the end-of-hour actions.

House actions should generally be done with consensus/agreement; if you can't reach consensus, actions should have support from a majority of players.

House of Benevolent Oversight

Entrance roll: 10 successes Resolve with All Politics
House color : Red

Governance is always a balancing act, with the sure knowledge that no compromise can last forever, that eventually all you have built will fall. But failure is never the end - it is just the preliminary to beginning again.

Mechanic: Take out four Jenga beams and put them on the top, using only one hand at a time. Leave them there.

  • Success: The tower does not fall
  • Failure: You touch the tower with both of your hands at once, or the tower falls. (If you knock over the tower not during a turn, that also counts as failure)
  • Retreat: Stop before four

House of Judicious Increase

Entrance roll: 12 successes with Int and Bureaucracy or Bargaining
House color : Light green

Anyone can amass belongings, or coinage. To grow true wealth requires an understanding of the shapes that money draws - the lines that it travels between source and sink. It is necessary to see meaning not just in the numbers, but in the patterns that the numbers make.

Mechanic: Solve one of the nonograms. Do not mark the paper - use the cubes of starmetal and silver, or the colored jewels. Put your initials on it and put it back once you have solved it, and do not solve the same one again.

The picture is made up of solid (black) squares, and blank (dotted) squares. The clues are the numbers at the ends of rows and columns. The numbers are the number of consecutive black squares. Thus a clue 1.9.10 would mean that there is one solid followed by a block of 9 solids followed by a block of 10 solids. The order is correct but you have to work out how many blank spaces there are in between. When you have completed all the rows and columns you will have revealed a picture.


  • Success; Solve the puzzle as an identifiable picture
  • Failure: Give up
  • Retreat: Run out of time at the end of the hour

House of Gainful Protection

Entrance roll: 14 successes Accuracy with an offensive combat skill House color : Orange

It is all very well to talk loftily about ideals, or frown meaningfully about ideas. What actually matters is whether you can get things done. Things in the real world. Whether that which you hold in your hand will answer to your will and do what you require of it. '

Mechanic: Stand between the two cones. Throw three rings at the three other cones.

  • Success: Earn one chit per ring thrown over a cone
  • Failure: Get no rings over any cones
  • Retreat: You may declare your first three throws as "practice throws" before throwing them. These will not count as either success or failure. You may retreat after the practice throws if you choose.

House of Beneficent Travel

Entrance roll: 7 successes Yang with Combat Riding
House color: Light pink

Governance is a balancing act, but nothing is set in stone. Balance is dynamic, in motion, constantly adjusting. Speed and flexibility are key.

Mechanic: Suspend

Roll the color die three times and place three wires of those colors into the suspension structure, using only one hand.

  • Success: The structure does not fall. If you use up all the wires (including in an incomplete turn) declare double victory, score a second chit, and take all the wires down.
  • Failure: You touch the structure with both hands at once, or it falls. (If you knock it down not during a turn, that also counts as failure)
  • Retreat: Stop before three wires

House of Enticing Vintage

Entrance roll: 10 successes Int with Memory or KS: Recurring NPCs
House color : Dark green

To wax rhapsodic about philosophy is always fine entertainment, but it is best done between friends, over cups of good wine. And at such times, talk will always eventually wind from the heights of intellectual rigor, to the more comforting and familiar - the talk between friends of who and what and when, of times past and things yet to come.

Mechanic: The trivia challenge requires at least two. One person draws a trivia slip and asks the question; everyone else must agree on an answer. The asker determines if the answer is correct (or close enough. Use your best judgment, and ask a GM if you're really not sure). Throw away the slip afterwards.

  • Success: The answer is correct or close enough
  • Failure: The answer is wrong
  • Retreat: The answer is close but not close enough (such as getting 5 out of 6 of something)

House of Quiet Concordance

Entrance roll: 9 successes Yin with Chi Mastery or Grace with Tea Ceremonies
House color : Dark blue

To strive for enlightenment is to turn one's aspiration inward, not to batter oneself against a foe or a rival. To create a space for peace and reflection. To add a moment of grace and beauty to the world.

Mechanic: Fold an origami crane. 3t-2.png

  • Success: Fold an origami crane.
  • Retreat: Do not fold an origami crane.
  • Failure: There is no failure; there is the attempt.

House of Resplendent Decoration

Entrance roll: 10 successes Charisma with Persuasion
House color : Medium blue

No one knows better the difference between "seems" and "is" than those who have mastered the art of adornment. To put on the grand show, to wear the mask, to convince the world that you are far greater than you really are. But when the world treats you as you have convinced them to, when the world sees you as you choose to be seen - no one knows better how "seems" and "is" are in fact the same thing.

Mechanic: Solve an unsolved level of Shadowmatic on Laura's iPad, without using any in-game hints. You may play as little or as much of previous levels (includes a tutorial) as you prefer.

  • Success: Solve an unsolved level
  • Failure: Give up
  • Retreat: Run out of time at the end of the hour

House of Ornamental Purity

Entrance roll: 9 successes Wit with Interpret Omens
House color : Light blue

This is supposed to be a statement of ideals? We've only been a Great House for two weeks. We haven't written any ideals yet. Being able to see through things is good. Being able to see things through the things you see through is good too. There's probably something to that.

Mechanic: Open one of the envelopes of transparent circles, and stack them in the right orientation to create a picture. Once you have solved it, shuffle the circles and put them back, put your initials on the envelope, and do not solve the same one again. (Don't start repeating until they've all been done at least once)

  • Success: Solve a picture
  • Failure: Give up
  • Retreat: Run out of time at the end of the hour

Invisible House

Entrance roll: 9 successes Grace with Sense Motive
House color: Brown

Pass along the information that nobody else hears? Keep hidden in plain sight? Pass by unseen, leaving with more than we arrived with? Yeah, we can do that.

Mechanic: Mini-Codenames.

Requires at least two people. One is the Codenames cluegiver; everyone else is a guesser. The cluegiver deals out a Codenames board (rules are in the box) and draws a reference card and orients it. They can pick either color once the card is oriented. They must then clue four of their chosen color in two clues.

(There are rules for Codename in the box, but if you aren't familiar with it, it's probably easiest to play for the first time as a guesser with someone experienced as a cluegiver)

  • Success: Get four spies of the correct color without guessing any spies of the wrong color or the assassin. (For any correct spies more than four, get another chit)
  • Failure: Guess a wrong color spy, or the assassin, or less than two correct spies
  • Retreat: Guess three correct spies and a civilian

Flower Alliance

Entrance roll: 7 successes Grace with Noble Lord/Lady Pastimes
House color: hot pink

The graceful turn of a wrist, the tapping of a fan once, twice, three times. The smile, the tilt of the head, the subtle widening or lowering - never rolling - of the eyes. To convey a world of meaning with never a word - of all of these we have made our study.

Mechanic: Charades. Requires at least two people. One is the actor; everyone else in the group is a guesser. This is standard charades - shouting out guesses is fine, you don't have to agree on the One Answer. Throw away the slip afterwards.

(The charade slips are all the titles of past runs)

  • Success: Guess the thing
  • Failure: Give up
  • Retreat: Run out of time at the hour


Delilah is willing to provide one Light chit (spiral shell token) to each PC. The chit must be used against the status quo in some fashion. Cards supporting the status quo are marked with a

No one can carry a Light chit and a Dark chit at the same time. Light chits may be used in mildly cheaty ways (i.e. placed on a card out of sequence, used to push over the Jenga tower without taking a penalty) and can only be used once. If played on a card, they will have the value of the smallest token already on the card, with a minimum of 1.


Sima is willing to provide one Dark chit (flat black bead) to each PC. No one can carry a Light chit and a Dark chit at the same time. The chit may be played at any time on any card that has a and it will always have a value of 1 more than any other token on the card. If a Light token and a Dark token are somehow both on the same card, the Light token is always discarded.

House Goal Statements

House of Benevolent Oversight

The House of Benevolent Oversight believes strongly in the class structure of the Empire. There are Royals, there are Nobles, there are Merchants, there are Peasants, etc… One should not try to be the other. It is not in their blood to succeed.

They will support any agenda item which tends to preserve this structure and are generally agnostic towards those which are irrelevant to it, but they will interpret this broadly.

Remain in Charge (major)
Preserve Royalist/Classist Agendas (major)
Preserve Status Quo (minor)
House of Judicious Increase

The House of Judicious Increase does indeed worship money. Not because it brings them power, but because the wealthy deserve power. Wealth can be obtained, hoarded, created, destroyed, lost, etc., but all of this is completely independent of blood. Wealth is an external measure of worth taken by those who deserve it, and lost by those who don’t.

They are opposed to anything that implies success is something that can be determined by your blood, your family, etc. Success must be proved, power must be earned. Money is the best way to keep score of all of these things.

Be in Charge (major)
Wealth is a Stat (major)
Corporate House Membership (minor) (There must be some way for random people who strike it rich to join/found a great house.
House of Gainful Protection

The leader can not be involved in defending the realm. They must be free for vision, expansion, prosperity, and truth. The details must be handled by others. Totally reliable, absolutely loyal others. This is the philosophy of the House of Gainful Protection. They do not wish to rule, for then the safety of the realm must be the responsibility of others, and to whom else could it be trusted. So, they seek to wield what power they have from next to the throne, not upon it.

The HGP is a great believer in stratification. The Feudal nobility is a fine structure, but so is the military rank and file. They will oppose any effort to eliminate stratification.

Be the Right Hand to the Leader (major)
Mil is a Stat (major)
Pro-stratification (major)
House of Beneficent Travel

More like the House of Benevolent Oversight than any of the other houses, the HBT understands that one must lead others. But they prefer the leader be one who is deep in the mechanics of the kingdom, close to the pulse of the economy, the nobility, the social pressures… namely, the House of Beneficent Travel.

They will support any measure that appears to result in Lady Jin being in charge, or the HBT being in charge more generally. They believe in the Royalist hierarchy, but not at the expense of being shoved down that hierarchy.

Lady Jin in charge (major)
HBT in charge (minor)
Preserve Royalist/Feudal Agendas (minor)
House of Enticing Vintage

The Arcade is based in stories, not wealth, not military might, but the social bonds between people. The other houses have lost this. Obsessed with military, and wealth, and chi, they forget that people must ultimately rule people, and thus the simplicity of wine and song is a much greater force than brute strength.

They wish to overthrow the current regime and seize power for the authentic benefit of the nation, the people. Not in the sense of making all people equal, but in the sense of once more centering them as the goal as the story unfolds. They will happily overthrow the mechanics as well for a set more suited to these goals.

Be in charge (major)
Houses are based on Land and People, not money and skills (major)
Stats should include some story/art/aesthetic to reflect this (minor)
House of Quiet Concordance

The House of Quiet Concordance exemplifies its name. Silent, frequently passive, they tend to search within for all of the meaning others seek outside themselves. They will not support any attempt to remove the Chi stat, unless it is to replace it with a similarly mystical stat. They need not dominate the mechanics, but the spiritual world must be present in them or all will fall.

They are in favor of peace, stability, and the space for contemplation.

Stats must include mysticism (major)
Peace (major)
Stability (minor)
Tradition (minor)
House of Resplendent Decoration

In love there is strength. In marriage there is power. The House of Resplendent Decoration has been disappointed time and time again by allies, by friends, and by business associates, but family is paramount.

The marriage of Liet and Myo provides the passageway to cure all past ills, and put a devoted couple in charge of the country. Long live Liet! Long live Myo! Long live their love!

HEV in charge (major)
Romantic (minor)
House of Ornamental Purity

The House of Ornamental Purity understands the difference between the substance and the facade. Right now, they are the facade personified. Teetering on the brink of falling back to what they were, the HOP will do whatever it takes to hold on to what they have achieved. They will last until their facade becomes the substance.

Stay a Great House (major)
Resource based stats (major)
Stuff inherits (minor)
The Invisible House

The Invisible House survives when unseen. The pot must be stirred, and the others must be distracted, lest they find the time to seek out what they should not. They are rabble-rousers, and find the greatest opportunities for profit in turbulent chaos. They are also self-made, self-started, and self-reliant. Without the support of others, you must recruit a hearty stock indeed.

Turbulence and Change (minor)
Bootstrappers (minor)
The Flower Alliance

Though not a great house, the Flower Alliance has assembled a significant amount of power to be represented here. For what shall they use this power if not for Beauty, for Love, and for EGALITARIANISM. POWER TO THE PEOPLE! DOWN WITH THE NOBILITY!

They seek only the aesthetic and will oppose brutalist ways. Imagine if Beauty itself were a house stat, then THE PEOPLE WOULD BE FREE TO CHOOSE AS THEY WILL!

Egalitarian (MAJOR)
Aesthetics (Minor OR MAJOR!)

All possible treaty cards

Houses have a monopoly on a goods or service
Houses own/control land
Houses own/control land and the people living there
Houses have stuff/resources
Houses have members but no other stuff/resources

All houses are legally equal
There are levels of Houses (great/minor)

Anyone can found a House
The House list is fixed
Merging/splitting Houses is allowed
The House list can be changed by the ruler

House stats are Resources / Mil / Influence / Chi
House stats are People / Places / Things
House stats are Physical / Mental / Tao
House stats are Sheep / Brick / Wood / Ore / Wheat
House stats are Con / Wis / Int / Cha / Dex / Str
House stats are Truth / Beauty
House stats are Tradition / Innovation / Loyalty / Independence / Power / Vision
House stats are Legislative / Judicial / Executive
House stats are ___

Houses are associations*
Houses are family lines
Houses are corporations
There are no houses

Houses have nobility / members / employees *
Houses have officers / members
Houses have elders / youngers

Inheritance is declared during life *
Inheritance is primogeniture
Inheritance is equally split among heirs
Inheritance all goes to the government
All your stuff gets burned on your death

The ruling house is Benevolent Oversight
The ruling house is Beneficent Travel
The ruling house is Judicious Increase
The ruling house is Gainful Protection
The ruling house is the one with the largest total stats
The ruling house is the one with the largest stat ___
The ruling house is the one with the largest stat ___
The ruling house is the one with the largest stat ___
The ruling house is the one with the largest stat
The ruling house is the one chosen by acclaim of the people
The ruling house is chosen by lot

The ruling house is not re-determined until the next Treaty of Houses *
The ruling house is re-determined every Cycle
The ruling house is re-determined every year
The ruling house is re-determined on the death of the ruler
The ruling house is re-determined after a declaration of no confidence by the other houses

All possible event cards

Messenger Arrives
Word arrives that the Prince and Heir to the House of Benevolent Oversight has died is just fine.
HBO loses two points from all HBO tokens currently on the board.</> HBO may add 1 point to any single token on the board.
Unexpected Guest!
The mysterious Cryptomancer arrives.
One PC may make a single free edit to any visible treaty card if he may make a single free edit to your character sheet.
Wedding Presents
In celebration of the marriage of Liet and Myo, all houses present them with stunning wedding gifts.
HEV and HRD may add a point to all of their tokens on a treaty card shared with a token of another house.
The King Returns
Search though the deck and destroy the treaty card named, "The Loyal Servant". The King of the Arcade Lives! He arrives with the body of the Lord of Protection in his arms. As he tells his tale of woe,
HBO may move/place all of their tokens freely, now. HGP removes all tokens.
The Loyal Servant
Search though the deck and destroy the treaty card named, "The King Returns". The Lord of Protection Lives! He arrives with the body of the Benevolent King in his arms. As he tells his tale of woe,
HGP may move/place all of their tokens freely, now. HBO removes all tokens.
Demonstrations Outside
The crowds gathering outside seem like they might turn ugly.
GMs add one "Light" chit to any treaty card. PCs may add one light token to an appropriate treaty card.
Guards Arrive
Guards arrive to secure the area, as rumors of a possible disruption spread.
GMs add one "Dark" chit to any treaty card. PCs may add one light token to an appropriate treaty card.
Wolf and Magpie
The Spiritual Battle mechanic is over. Wolf wins 3 to 2.
Ezokin and HJI can each add a point to any token. PCs can add 2 points, and HGP can add a point.
For the moment, the Arcade seems to be the home of werewolves.
TIH, HJI, and HBT may each add one point to any token on the board.
Minor Houses Unite
House of the Lotus, House of the Laughing Shadow, House of the South Wind, and the House of a Hundred Scholars may each add a 4 point token to the board.
Time to Rest
The House of the Lotus, House of the Hidden Orchid, and the other smaller flower houses host a break.
Every house gets one free token move (not place). Alternatively, each house may move one point between two of their placed tokens.
Ambassadors Arrive
Each of the Illuminated Precincts, the Plains of Honor, Butterfly Meadows, Hearthstone, and the Dragon's Throne send an ambassador to weigh in on the future of the Arcade.
Each may add a 2 point token to the board.
Return to the Center
The Master of HQC makes a stirring plea asking for calm and quiet deliberation.
All cards which currently have no tokens on them should be shuffled back into the deck.
More Options!
Draw 5 treaty cards.
Time's Arrow
Meilin is rushing around doing something...
Shuffle this card back into the deck. The next time it is drawn, Meilin will show up to turn the event deck over. Draw the new top card and proceed, but with the event deck upside down.
Abominable Interference!
Nothing Happens

Stuff happens

Mondo is deployed to solve nonograms.

The House of Judicious Increase makes a strong attempt (supported by several of the pro-bootstrapping houses like the Invisible House) to make Resources the determiner of the royal house.

The House of Beneficent Travel and the House of Benevolent Oversight, supported by Gainful Protection, both make pretty strong competing claims to be the royal house.

Liet and Myo pull some shenanigans to join cards for merging houses and declaring the merged house the winner.

The party brokers a many-way compromise to have Lady Jin and the Prince marry, gets rid of the "King Returns" card, breaks apart the merged cards but adds "Narrative" to the standard stats to appease Liet and Myo, and names Benevolent Oversight the royal house (but since the Prince has had his concept pretty strongly adjusted away from Ruler and towards Seer, Lady Jin will be able to rule as Queen).

Final Treaty

Houses are associations
There are levels of Houses (great/minor)
Houses own/control land
Merging/splitting Houses is allowed
House stats are Resoures / Military / Influence / Chi / Narrative
The ruling house is Benevolent Oversight
The name of the country changes to reflect the Dragon's order of things.