I’ve got rascals and villains on my mind. Here’s an idea of a light, comedic game.

“It is well known that there are four kinds of monks.

The first kind are the Cenobites: those who live in monasteries and serve under a rule and an Abbot.

The second kind are the Anchorites or Hermits: those who go out well armed from the ranks of the community to fight single-handed against the vices of the flesh and their own evil thoughts.

The third kind of monks, a detestable kind, are the Sarabaites: These, in their works they still keep faith with the world, so that their tonsure marks them as liars before God.

The fourth kind of monks are those called Gyrovagi. These spend their whole lives tramping from province to province, always on the move, with no stability, they indulge their own wills and succumb to the allurements of gluttony, and are in every way worse than the Sarabaites. Of the miserable conduct of all such it is better to be silent than to speak.”
–Benedict of Nursia

Of course it’s that fourth kind that interests me. Here’s the set-up: Everyone can play either an itinerant monk, a noble household, religious cloister, or peasant village. You need at least one monk and no more than one each of worldly group. The monks are the focus of play, so choosing a worldly group means choosing to provide the adversity for the rapscallions. Regardless of what you choose to play, you’ve got the same attributes to work with — probably a secret, something you desperately need, and something valuable you’ve got.

The monks want to suck everything they can out of their surroundings and leave before they are strung up. Everybody else wants what they want — maybe to expose them, maybe to run them off, not sure. But everyone starts hostile. And in the course of play the monks can “turn” locals to their side, convincing the foolish lord to give them the run of his manor, scaring the peasants into feeding them, stuff like that. But the monks are rogues in the Moliere mode, and there will always be one clear-thinking person — the reeve, the lord’s daughter, a firebrand Abbess — who sees through them, and bears the seeds of their exposure and ruin.

Just an idea…

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One thought on “Gyrovagi

  • January 3, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Sounds like a solid plot for a board/table game.

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