25th April 2014

Villa Noir – Charmed School – The Game

Villa Noir is an exclusive finishing school with stunning views of Lake Geneva, but it is a troubled place.  Strange goings-on  and terrifying nocturnal noises are regular occurences here and several girls have been removed from the school because of problems with their ‘nerves’.  Mildred Featherstonehaugh’s nerves were so bad that she was found floating three feet above her bed and is now recuperating in a specially softened room in a covent a few kilometres away.

You, and a few other girls are convinced that the staff, led by the headmistress, are dabbling in the dark arts.  You decide to investigate, but you will find many obstacles put in your way, not least of which are the malign influences in the school.  Even the strongest willed and morally upstanding gel will find herself trying to achieve her own (often quite counterproductive or trivial) goals despite the needs of the group as a whole.  The spirits in the school have found a way of distracting you so you cannot achieve your purpose.

You must complete your investigations and gather sufficient evidence to take to the authorities before the headmistress and her pedagogic minions find out that you are onto them.

Villa Noir – A game for 3 – 8 players

This game is to some extent an RPG so the primary piece of equipment you will need is the ability to play a part and join in the story as it unfolds.  Other than that you will need:

  • Board comprising school track and Surete space and discovery track
  • 30 goal cards
  • 40 clue cards (10 of each suit, witness, documentary evidence, supernatural and forensic)
  • 30 chance cards
  • Set of dice(4, 6, 8, 10, 20 sided and percentile)
  • Paper and pen for notes, character skill tracking etc.
  • Character markers to move around the board and to mark current position on discovery track
  • Counters to represent the energy/time players have to spend on actions each round

I will provide links to a pdf of all the cards and the board design when I have created these later today.

Set up

Each player rolls up her character.  You can give her a name and draw a picture if you like, but this is not required.  The only thing that is needed is the stats for the following skills.  These are the things the girls have been sent to finishing school to learn.  They are also the skills they will use in their investigations and could be the subject of secret goals.

Roll 2d8 for each of the following skills:

  • Deportment
  • Languages
  • Drawing
  • Needlework
  • Grooming
  • Dancing
  • Hosting / Entertainment

Give each player three goal cards.  Players will find themselves compelled to stay in school until their goals are completed and so will be unable to go to La Surete, even if they have sufficient evidence.  Players will find ways to discard goal cards as they move around the board, but must always hold at least one goal card.

Give each player 10 counters to represent their spend in energy in each round.

Place the headmistress counter on position 1 of the Discovery tracker.  Each unsuccessful encounter will result in the headmistress moving one further space along the tracker.  If she reaches the end of the track the investigators will be discovered and will lose the game to the Satanist teachers.

How to play

  1. Maintenance phase (not applicable in first round) – players restore their energy points to their current level – usually 10 unless there are any cards in play which affect the number of energy points a player may hold)
  2. In each round the player should first throw a six-sided die and advance that many spaces clockwise around the board. If she lands on a Chance space she should first take a chance card and follow the instructions on it. She then can carry out the following actions.
  • Take a lesson – Nominate a skill, throw 1d4 and improve that skill by the number thrown – this will cost 6 energy points
  • Discard a goal card – take one of your goal cards and place it back on the bottom of the goal card pile – this also cost 6 energy points
  • Look for clues – player takes a card from the top of the Chance pile – this costs 4 energy points.

The number of actions a player may take are limited only by the energy points she has to spend.  Players may repeat the same action if they are able to do so.

Player proceed around the outer part of the board until they are able to take sufficient evidence to the Surete to close down the school and arrest the devil-worshipping teachers.  They will  find themselves unable to leave the school premises until they have achieved whatever secret goals they have to fulfil, and must therefore continue around the outer track.

The Surete will not take seriously any girl who turns up with insufficient evidence.  So you may leave the school as soon as you have satisfied any goal cards you are holding and you may advance to the Surete station.  However, the game will continue until other girls also arrive with the evidence you lack.  Only then will the game end with the victory of the investigators.

Girls may not reveal EITHER the goal(s) they are trying to satisfy OR what types of clues they are holding.  If they do either of these things they will have to draw another goal card.  This may result in girls waiting at the Surete having to return to school if they now hold unsatisfied goals.

There is also a 50% chance that such tittle-tattle may reach the ears of the teachers and make the headmistress one degree more suspicious.  Throw the percentile die and d10.  If the throw is less than 50 move the headmistress one place along the discovery tracker.

If a girl reveals what clues she is holding, in addition to drawing a new goal card, she will also have to surrender one clue card at random – chosen by the player to her right.  She will hold up her cards so the other is unable to see what they are.  The player to the right takes one and this card is placed back at the bottom of the Clue pile.

If any circumstances cause a goal of a girl waiting at the Surete to become unsatisfied, she must return to school (place her marker on any blank space on the outer track). For example, if a girl holds a goal to be the best dancer and currently has the highest level of ‘Dancing’ skill, but another girl takes a lesson which makes her skill level higher – her goal will now be unsatisfied and she will feel psychically drawn back towards the school.

Chance cards

These are of two types

  • Encounter cards – these cards describe incidents or encounters with individuals.  You will have to test your skills in this case.  If you are successful in the encounter – you may draw a Clue card into your hand.  If you are unsuccessful, the fact that the encounter has taken place will make the Headmistress more suspicious.  Move her one place along the discovery track.  Once the encounter is resolved place the card back under the Chance pile
  • Psychic Interference cards – these cards may positively or negatively impact how you operate.  For example, they may give you more energy counters or allow you to discard a goal card.  Alternatively, they may deplete your energy, or cause you to forgetfully mislay a clue, for example.  Some of these cards are resolved and placed back under the pile immediately, others may stay in play until some other instruction causes them to be discarded to the bottom of the chance pile

Resolving an encounter card

On drawing an encounter card a girl must test the skills listed on the card.  E.g. an encounter entitled ‘Tea with the Vicar’ may require you to prove that you can serve tea properly (Hosting / Entertainment skill) and that you are properly presented to receive an important visitor (Grooming skill)

Test your skill by throwing 1d20.  If the throw is equal to or less than your current level in that skill you have been successful, if not then you are unsuccessful.  You must be successful in all skills listed for the encounter to resolve it successfully.  Successful encounters allow you to draw a Clue card. Unsuccessful encounters will result in the Headmistress moving one space along the Discovery Tracker.

Clue cards

Clue cards are of four kinds (witness, documentary evidence, supernatural and forensic).  All four kinds of evidence must be presented to the Surete in order for the investigators to claim victory.  This evidence may be presented  by more than one girl, but only girls who have satisfied their goals can leave school and go to the Surete.

Winning and Losing

The investigators win when the Surete have been presented with at least one of each kind of clue by girls who have met their goals.

In the case that ALL girls have reached the Surete (having achieved their goals) but insufficient evidence has been presented, the girls will be arrested for wasting police time and the school will be contacted.  This will result in the Headmistress becoming so suspicious that she immediately moves to the end of the Discovery Tracker.

If the Headmistress reaches the end of the Discovery Tracker before the girls have presented their evidence to the Surete, the teachers have triumphed and all pupils at the school become the minions of the Prince of Darkness.

pdfs for board and cards to follow


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