We. The Revolution (that punctuation is important, if irrationally annoying) stirs up a lot of feelings and thoughts. The French Revolution is one of the richest, but also most complex and difficult settings for any game. A game very much about politics, justice, and the infinite greyscale of morality, set at the very heart of the Reign of Terror? My god, do we even deserve such a valiant game?
You are a judge of the Revolutionary Tribunal, responsible for questioning suspects and witnesses, and finally passing sentence. You must somehow balance the demands of the people with those of the judiciary, of the revolutionaries, of dangerous political figures (including the terrible shadow of figures like Danton and Robespierre), and of each member of your own family. It is harrowing. I gladly, gladly executed a rapist, but the people were not happy at losing a ‘war hero’ and it cost me. I killed Citizen Capet despite pitying him a great deal (if I turned down the opportunity to behead a king I couldn’t live with myself), but spared on Marie Antoinette, and was thus tempted to win some revolutionary favour back by condemning a probably innocent man so broken by his wife’s death that he didn’t care to live anyway. I still felt horrible about it. However beautifully it was drawn.
Although necessarily simplified, I love that the mere choice of what questions to ask (or whether to ask them) directly affects the opinion of those present, as well as the evidence you get. It is messy and fraught with danger and inevitably soaked with political and ethical compromise, however ‘neutral’ or consistent you may claim to be at the beginning.
Trying to rile up or talk down a crowd before the execution feels grubby and revolting… and often wise. The moment’s silence when you drop the dreaded blade on some terrified wretch’s neck is never less than sickening, however much they deserved it.