Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Requiem for a Spanish Don

One thing we did when we first started playing Honor+Intrigue was to create some character background. Two of the players created friends, family, contacts, and enemies from their past. Creating enemies in character backgrounds is something we haven't usually done for our characters. I'd have to say that in these cases it fell kind of flat. The enemies just didn't work out. Either they were too important and powerful for the beginning heroes or their presence just wasn't very relevant to what came up in play. I'm sure a better choice of enemies or a GM who was able to find better ways to put them in play might have done more with those connections. But I think part of the issue is that most players (in my experience) have stronger connections to enemies that develop in play. Even when the player herself created the enemy, the connection to an imagined (by one player), but not played out, history seems weaker than the connection to history that was played out by the group as a whole in the game. In theory, group creation of history might form a stronger connection (I think that Spirit of the Century does that), but I think the real problem is not individual vs. group imagination but the difference between reading history and living history or, as the classic advice to writers says, "show, don't tell." 

Don Martin (pronounced Mar-teen) was created to be an enemy from Gaston's past. But he just didn't work out that well. His introduction could have played out like Inigo Montoya confronting the six-fingered man, but instead it came across more like this

"I am Don Martin Santiago de Rodriguez y Alta-Marino, you killed my father....<long pause>."

Gaston who after waiting for more from the Spaniard says, "I've killed a lot of people. Pardon me while I go refresh my drink."

Sometimes that's the difference between an RPG and a movie. Like a stage performance, an RPG is live so if a scene falls flat, you usually have to live with that outcome. But Don Martin was a loose end and loose ends deserve a chance for a resolution. So since the players were involved with the Spanish in Paris, I gave him a chance to show up again and the dice were in favor of that. When Don Martin was first seen he was with the Don Antonio de Zúñiga y Dávila, marqués de Mirabel the (historical) Ambassador to France from the Court of King Felipe III of Spain. Now the Ambassador had recently decided that Gaston couldn't be allowed to keep snooping around the pro-Spanish secret society that the Ambassador is funding. So it seemed the perfect time to have Don Martin challenge Gaston to a duel. Bad move on Don Martin's part. But as a result you get the deceased's stats.

Don Martin Santiago de Rodriguez y Alta-Marino

Enemy of Gaston Thibeault    (SR 10)
Motivation:     “You killed my father.”
Martin is pronounced mar-teen
Location: Paris

Background: Don Martin is the enemy of Gaston Thibeault.  Don Martin wants vengeance against the commoner who dared to kill his father, a Spanish noble, and plunder his body of a family heirloom.  At the battle of White Mountain near Prague, Bohemia, Gaston killed a Spanish Don who was serving with the victorious Spanish-Imperial forces led by the Count of Tilly. Gaston was serving with the Bohemians. Gaston’s main gauche is the vizcaina taken from the body of the Don that he killed. Don Martin is the son of the Spanish Don who Gaston killed. The vicaina has been to the New World and back and has some special meaning to the Spaniard. Don Martin was first briefly encountered in Adventure 07: The Duke de Bellegarde’s Ball.

Might 1    Daring 3
Brawl -1    Melee 3    Defense 1
Noble 1    Duelist 1    Soldier 0     Retainer 3   
Lifeblood     Composure 3    Advantage 2
Boons: Daredevil, Italian Dueling Style
Flaws: Arrogant, Oath of Vengeance

  Rapier: 1d6+1 Dmg; +1 Parry
  Main-Gauche: 1d6+1 damage, +1 Bind, Disarm, and Sword Break
  (2) Wheel-lock pistols: 1d6+1 dam, 10’ range inc., load=3 MAs, Misfire 2

Maneuvers: Bladework+6, Brawling+2, Disarm+4, Hilt Punch+4, Lunge+6,  Swordbreak (+1 Dmg); Beat (Bonus+4),  Bind+4 (1 free after parry), Feint+3,   Footwork+3, Grapple+0, Shove/Trip+0; Dodge, Parry+3, Riposte+3, Stop Thrust (Bonus+6); Ranged Attack+0

Master of the Italian Style: +1 to resist Disarm. Knows the Final Secret—The Cross Lunge: Mighty Success on attack with either weapon, gives free Bladework attack with the other weapon.

Author: Gaston’s Hat    NPC in: L'Honneur et les Intrigues (Fic). Don Martin's picture is from the The Surrender of Juliers by José Leonardo 1636. The original painting is in one of my favorite museums, the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

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