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Age of Musketeers, anyone ?


rust

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While playing the ruler of Malta in the Europa Universalis - Magna Mundi com-

puter game I had the idea that this background could perhaps be made into

an interesting roleplaying setting.

The characters would be members of an order of knights, which would provi-

de them with both equipment and missions.

The order's base would be a remote island, small enough to develop it in so-

me detail (maps, important NPCs), but the order would also have priories all

over an alternate Europe, giving the characters opportunities for travel and

various kinds of related missions (for example diplomacy, church politics, he-

resies and strange events in remote priories ...).

The order would of course also have an army and a navy, and its "frontier is-

land" would rather often be under siege by heathen invaders or under attack

by equally heathen pirates, to offer the characters more than enough com-

bat opportunities.

All this would happen in an alternate world in the period between about 1550

and 1650, the "Age of Musketeers", with early firearms, rapiers, and perhaps

some rather weak "evil" magic for the "bad guys" and probably some "scho-

larly" magic for friendly NPCs.

I think I would also use the personality traits option to encourage the play-

ers to play their characters "in a knightly fashion", not that much different

from Pendragon knights (misbehaving knights will reduce the order's income

from donations and make the grandmaster really grumpy ...).

A little problem are female characters, which do not fit into such an order

very well, and I do not yet know whether I could make them possible in this

setting.

I am not yet sure whether I will really turn this idea into a BRP setting ("so

many projects, so little time ..."), but just in case: Has anyone already done

some "BRP work" on the period in question (professions, arms, equipment and

thelike) that I could "borrow" - and that would prevent me from re-inventing

the wheel ?

Oh, and comments and ideas are of course most welcome.

Thank you. :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Hey there,

Sounds cool, but I don't see female PC's as a problem. It's fantasy, after all. The female musketeers fit in just fine in The Phoenix Guards. Speaking of which, I've been dying for a rpg set in Dragaera, either Khaavren or Vlad period. Anybody done anything with BRP? A Khaavren period set could mesh well with this Musketeer concept...

Baron Eric Greystone

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Ah, sorry, rust - many years ago I wanted to run a Thirty Years War campaign, and did a fair bit of research into technology, arms and equipment for the era (double-barreled wheellock pistols with dagger blades and a weighted mace grip, for example). Unfortunately, it was all books and notepaper, so none of it survived the intervening years ...

But there should be plenty of those types of books about, often nicely illustrated, so there is at least some good primary research material to draw on.

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

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I'm all up for the setting. For some reason, I can't seem to get enough of swashbuckling.

Here's a magazine that I've recently found out about that might offer some help: The Official Site of Renaissance Magazine The site has several links that might help out the setting.

And here's a site that has a lot of info. as well: The Tome though it seems to concern itself more with a medieval setting.

Rapiers

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This anime series is set in the era, and supposedly has real-life rapier fighting techniques: Amazon.com: Le Chevalier d'Eon: Complete Box Set: Movies & TV

It's even loosely based on the exploits of a real-life transvestite spy Charles d’Eon de Beaumont. I don't know if that's a selling point or not, for anyone. But I'm interested in the series for it's rapier fighting and zombie gargoyles! (I wanted to do a zombies vs. swashbucklers setting, but I'm constantly told that rapiers aren't efficient zombie fighting weapons:( ) Plus the period setting is supposed to be accurate--when you look past the fantastical stuff.

Edited by Dredj
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Thank you all for the comments, ideas and tips - and especially Dredj for the

many interesting links. :)

As for the female characters, I still hesitate to create a mixed knightly order,

but of course there could be an associated female order ...

While I am still not really working on the setting, I have begun to collect some

ideas.

For example, this is a "first draft" of how such a campaign could begin:

The order is in serious decline. It has lost its previous seat to the heathens,

and with it the order lost both its purpose and most of its prestige. There

are even rumours that the Pope intends to disband the order and to give its

property to the Jesuits.

Then the good news arrive: One of the great kings of Europe has died, and

in his will he gave a new seat and a new purpose to the order, a small island

on the naval frontier with the heathens.

The various priories of the order immediately send small groups of knights (one

such group are the characters) to the island to prepare it for the arrival of

the order's hierarchy and main force.

When the characters arrive on the island, they have to realize that this gift

is a very mixed blessing.

The island's population has been decimated by pirate raids, the only town of

the island has been burned down by the pirates and has only been partially

rebuilt afterwards, the island's fortifications are both outdated and ruined, the

island produces hardly enough food to feed the locals and has no trade con-

nection with the mainland - and the next pirate raid is likely to happen very

soon.

Moreover, the locals are not exactly welcoming, their religious practices bor-

der on the heretical, and the various national groups of knights from the dif-

ferent priories do not get along with each other very well - the French dislike

the Spaniards, the Spaniards dislike the Portuguese, Germans and Poles dis-

trust each other, and all of them maneuver for the control of the island until

the order's Grand Master arrives.

In short, there are more problems (and far more pirates in the area) than the-

re are knights on the island, and the characters have to decide and act very

quickly to prevent the situation from becoming a desaster.

Well, this is how I would imagine the beginning of such a campaign ... >:->

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Maybe the whole reason there are women in the order is that too many of the men have been killed or gone over to another order so they need to replenish their ranks with women. Also, since they are moving onto the island and there's too many heretics, the knights might want women to swell their ranks and help to "out breed" the locals. Of course the women they want would have to follow the beliefs the knights adhere to.

Also, the order might want women from merchant families who will do trade with the island (and the women could be bored with their maiden or nun lives). The knights could also hire themselves out for protecting merchants as payment for the trade.

These might be long term goals. But it seems the issue boils down to: how do we attract women to the island and make it safe for them and local trade?

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Yep. The first task of the knights probably would be to "get their act toge-

ther" and to prove to the suspicious locals that the order is able to beat the

pirates and to defend the island - and not just to make the pirates more an-

gry.

This would require both local preparations for the defence of the island and

missions to aquire equipment (arms, gunpowder, ammunition ...) and perhaps

to hire some mercenaries for the time until more knights have arrived on the

island.

And then, of course, a first epic battle against the invading pirates ... >:->

Afterwards the knights would have to make plans for the development of the

island, depending on the available money (not much, at least in the beginning)

and manpower: Rebuild the town and its fortifications, establish a market and

trade, build or buy some ships to protect the fishermen from the pirates, in-

vite suitable settlers without alienating the locals, and so on and on.

However, these would mostly be background events for the characters, for

them I would need some more adventurous missions to keep the players hap-

py.

Examples could be a "counter offensive" to take the war to the pirates and

their supporters (and to gain money by raiding the pirate bases ...), missions

to find and free the islanders that have been enslaved by the pirates and to

return them to the island (winning the gratitude of the locals ...), plus the

diplomacy, church politics and other ideas mentioned in the first post.

Since I prefer a "sandbox" style of roleplaying, much would depend on the in-

tentions of the players. I would expect them to go for the combat oriented

possibilities of the setting, but they could just as well decide to show more

interest in church intrigue - or even in the administration of the island.

Therefore I would develop the setting without too much depth and detail, and

later add what is needed according to the route chosen by the players.

So, the first things needed - apart from the general background (BRP profes-

sions, equipment, etc.) - would be the organization of the order (easy to co-

py from the real Maltese order) and a good description of the island and of

its important NPCs (knights as well as locals).

Next would be the "enemy", the pirates and - in the background - a kind of

powerful "evil counterpart" of the knights, perhaps something like the medie-

val Assassins, plus some "neutral" powers to make things a bit more compli-

cated (other knightly orders, the Jesuits, various nations' "secret services"

- greetings from Cardinal Richelieu - with conflicting aims and interests).

The most difficult part of this currently seems to be the naval warfare - the

ships and their guns, boarding actions and thelike in BRP terms.

Since I am probably too lazy to design this, I could wait for the announced

Pirates supplement for BRP to "borrow" some basic material from there, as it

seems to be almost exactly the same time period.

Well, it seems I am already working on this setting ... :D

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Thank you all for the comments, ideas and tips - and especially Dredj for the

many interesting links. :)

As for the female characters, I still hesitate to create a mixed knightly order,

but of course there could be an associated female order ...

While I am still not really working on the setting, I have begun to collect some

ideas.

For example, this is a "first draft" of how such a campaign could begin:

The order is in serious decline. It has lost its previous seat to the heathens,

and with it the order lost both its purpose and most of its prestige. There

are even rumours that the Pope intends to disband the order and to give its

property to the Jesuits.

Then the good news arrive: One of the great kings of Europe has died, and

in his will he gave a new seat and a new purpose to the order, a small island

on the naval frontier with the heathens.

The various priories of the order immediately send small groups of knights (one

such group are the characters) to the island to prepare it for the arrival of

the order's hierarchy and main force.

When the characters arrive on the island, they have to realize that this gift

is a very mixed blessing.

The island's population has been decimated by pirate raids, the only town of

the island has been burned down by the pirates and has only been partially

rebuilt afterwards, the island's fortifications are both outdated and ruined, the

island produces hardly enough food to feed the locals and has no trade con-

nection with the mainland - and the next pirate raid is likely to happen very

soon.

Moreover, the locals are not exactly welcoming, their religious practices bor-

der on the heretical, and the various national groups of knights from the dif-

ferent priories do not get along with each other very well - the French dislike

the Spaniards, the Spaniards dislike the Portuguese, Germans and Poles dis-

trust each other, and all of them maneuver for the control of the island until

the order's Grand Master arrives.

In short, there are more problems (and far more pirates in the area) than the-

re are knights on the island, and the characters have to decide and act very

quickly to prevent the situation from becoming a desaster.

Well, this is how I would imagine the beginning of such a campaign ... >:->

There wouldn't be a great siege involved at some point would there ? :D

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There wouldn't be a great siege involved at some point would there ? :D

You can count on that. :D

Once the order has managed to build some decent fortifications, I would use

the first lull in the campaign to let the besieging heathen forces arrive on the

island ... :cool:

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I would very strongly suggest checking out the Flashing Blades material from the link I posted above. And the system isn't that far removed from BRP. You could tell they used BRP for a basis for their own system. So the High Seas supplement might be of particular interest. All of the Flashing Blades supplements and core book are a plethora of historical knowledge--if I remember right. Somebody did their homework!

Plus you can edit any of those adventures for use in your campaign, as they all tie into the same time period.

Here's the link: http://www.rpgnow.com/index.php?cPath=99

And all the Flashing Blades stuff, altogether, only costs $17.20 USD, if I calculated right.

http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_2095.html This is a review of the game and supplements. The reviewer must not have played any BRP games at the time of the review.

Edited by Dredj
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Thank you, this looks good indeed - I will download it soon. :D

Edit:

Yes, it really looks good - thank you again.

Together with GURPS Swashbucklers and some other stuff I seem to have now

almost all of the material necessary to start designing the setting and the ope-

ning scenes of a campaign in this setting - I obviously have to do it, although

I am not yet sure when I will have enough time for it ...

Edited by rust

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Well, if I would work on this setting, I would as always start with a first map.

For an Alternate History setting, I would take the map of the real world loca-

tion and change it slightly, with a usually simplified topography (more details

could be added later, during the campaign) and with mostly fictional names

- the map should remind the players of the "real thing", but still be different

enough to avoid any confusion with the real world.

In the case of the "Fictional Malta" setting, a first draft of that map could

look like this one:

post-246-140468074303_thumb.png

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I started with a map and an outline of the real world Malta, both from the In-

ternet, and then used Paint.NET to mark the various terrains into the outline,

colour them and write the few words of text - all in all less than an hour, and

much of that time was spent searching for an outline of Malta on the Inter-

net.

Paint.NET is a free expanded version of Paint, very easy to work with for any-

one who knows Paint, and with just enough functions for something like that

little map. I once tried GIMP, but I did not have the patience necessary to

learn to handle it properly, and Paint.NET does all I need.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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