If you watched Netflix’s spicy Regency romp Bridgerton over the holidays and thought, “Well gee, I’d love to be a young lady/gentleman seeking a prosperous match by navigating a polite but ruthless society,” you’re in luck: there’s a game for that now.
Available on itch.io, The Social Season is a one-sheet TTRPG designed to recreate the intrigue of Regency social season, where you play as family members trying to save their reputations by striking advantageous matches.
Social Season creator Scott Sexton tells Polygon he was inspired by game designer Lysa Penrose’s stream of The Haunting of Good Society, a ghostly take on the popular Jane Austen RPG Good Society. Sexton wanted something quick and simple, and when he saw Justice Arman’s Convertibots, inspired by Grant Howitt’s popular one-sheet TTRPG Honey Heist, he tapped into that genre.
In the game, players aren’t restricted to roles as would-be debutantes — in fact, you don’t even have to play as someone seeking out a marriage. Sexton added variety during playtesting; his first draft of the game had all the players taking on debutante roles, but that ended up being limiting.
“I haven’t played it with any of the players trying to marry each other, but this was also some feedback I got, so I added a bit to give a unifying goal,” Sexton told Polygon via Twitter DM. “You’re all part of the same extended family and trying to land an advantageous match for at least one of you that will save your family from ruin. What that exactly looks like in each game is up to the players.”
The game uses two stats, Composure and Scandal, which Sexton says is adapting the straightforward Honey Heist mechanics, but for Regency-era England.
“This game basically replaces the honey with a desirable marriage, the criminal bears with a scandalous Regency family, and the traps and guards with jealous rivals and opportunistic suitors,” he said.
Social Season asks GMs to generate a scenario by rolling on random table, which will establish the setting (a masquerade ball, perhaps, or an opera or symphony performance), the host (“an eccentric widow,” “the general’s wife,” “the queen”), and a series of rumors and complications. Then players attempt to navigate the situation as their Composure and Scandal shift due to circumstances, with the threat of their characters becoming unplayable if either stat gets too high: overload on Composure, and you’ll “fall ill with a case of the vapours and convalesce at home for the rest of the season,” while too much Scandal will ruin you socially.
The Social Season is a name-your-own-price download on itch.io.