Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day

I recently realized today is Leap Day. That seems like a perfect opportunity to create an adventure based on the Calendar changes and differences in the period. For example, the English were still using the outdated Julian Calendar until the mid 18th century while the Catholic world had switched to the more accurate Gregorian Calendar.back in the 16th century. So France and England have different dates for the same events.

Maybe Leap Day, since it doesn't exist in most years, is a particularly perfect day to cross over to the Other Side. The veil between worlds might be weaker on a sometimes non-existent day.

Perhaps Leap Day allows actions that might not otherwise succeed to have a chance to succeed. Perhaps some powers (of good or evil) have no power on that one day. Or prophecies or geases can be avoided or gotten around on that day.

Or maybe Church and the Scholars are all wrong and Leap Day doesn't really exist. Any actions performed on that day are only a sort of dream or shadow of reality with no permanence.

But instead of writing up those ideas in greater detail, my wife and I are buying a new car today. So I leave you with these bare bones ideas while I go spend money.

Happy Leap Day

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia a werewolf hunter?

It appears that Two-Fisted Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may also have been a werewolf hunter. I just saw this today:

According to the Order's website, the International Order of Saint Hubertus was founded in 1695 by Count Franz Anton von Sporck in what was then the Kingdom of Bohemia, then territory of the Habsburg Empire, now the modern Czech Republic. Members of the male-only knightly order wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,” which means “Honoring God by honoring His creatures” and hold titles like Grand Master, Prior, and Chancellor.
My players and I are familiar with St. Hubertus from a couple of werewolf hunting adventures in our campaign. I referred to St. Hubertus in previous posts here and here. In the real world, the Key of St. Hubertus was thought to prevent or cure the madness caused by dog and wolf bites. In game, I included the key as part of a ritual in Honor+Intrigue for preventing lycanthropy. But what would be more natural than for there to have been a society of knightly werewolf hunters? More natural that is, if werewolves were real.

For those wanting to use the Order in a more modern setting, something could certainly be made of the connections to the Holy Roman Empire. And the Order being banned by Adolf Hitler is pure horror roleplaying gold. Was Hitler concerned that the werewolf hunting skills of the Order would provide a counter to the secret occult purpose behind Operation Werwolf?

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New Resource for Early Modern Sieges

La Hougue, Normandy, August 2012 by David Flintham

I came across this post on the English Civil war site. It's by a Military Historian by the name of David Flintham. He makes the excellent point that warfare in the Early Modern age was often about fortifications - building them, besieging them, defending them, and storming them - rather than about battles in the field. It's an idea I was already familiar with, but sometimes seeing something again triggers other thoughts. Hence my previous post.

I was also happy to see that David Flintham had also created a site on sieges. Predominantly this is for the English Civil War or as he calls it the War of the Three Kingdoms - which in addition to being more geographically correct is just a helluva better name. But it also includes information on some other conflicts and he includes a nice little article on Vauban, the Frenchman who turned fortifications and siege craft into a science and not just an art. There is a line in the 1992 Michael Mann version of Last of the Mohicans that always reminds me of Vauban and Early Modern siegecraft.

Maj. Duncan Heyward: Might I inquire after the situation sir, given that I've seen the French engineering from the ridge above.

Colonel Munro: The situation is that his guns are bigger than mine and he has more of them. We keep our heads down while his troops dig 30 yards of trench a day. When those trenches are 200 yards from the fort and within range, he'll bring in his 15-inch mortars, lob explosive rounds over our walls, and pound us to dust.

The calculation of digging 30 yards of trench a day to reach a distance of 200 yards from the fortifications is typical of Vauban-style sieges: measured, planned, and predictable. Unless the defenders surrender first, once the walls are breached and the attackers storm the town, science and predictability give way to chaos, rapine, and slaughter. The end of a siege could be a grim and bloody affair.

So take a look at David Flintham's site. It's well worth the look.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Sieges were a major component of Early Modern warfare. Towns and cities in the period were surrounded by defensive fortifications: walls, ditches, and bastions. Building and maintaining those defenses were expensive activities that required significant capital outlay. Defending or breaching those defenses where one of the most common, if not the most common, major military actions in the Early Modern period. These events are depicted in many drawings, sketches, and paintings, commemorated in song, and even make there way into fiction set in the period, e.g. the 1627-1628 Siege of La Rochelle is prominently featured in Dumas' The Three Musketeers and the 1757 Siege of Fort William is a key element in the movie Last of the Mohicans. Similarly games set in this period should, and often do, reflect this historical fact. 

In the original period RPG, "EnGarde!" out of the 60 possible force deployments only 26 are Field Operations. The remaining deployments are all related to fortresses with Siege: 14, Assault: 9, and Defense: 11. So characters will end up involved in Field Operations about 43% of the time while being one side or the other of a fortification occurs 57% of the time.

"Flashing Blades" has an even simpler method for determining the type of military operation (page 26).

Roll. . . . .Situation
1 . . . . . . .Siege
2 . . . . . . ,Battle
3 . . . . . . .Under Siege
4 . . . . . . .Repeated Skirmishes
5 . . , . , , .Attack
6 . . . . . . .Battle

Field Operations are 50% of the results (either Battle or Repeated Skirmishes) while deployments related to fortifications are 50% of the results (either Siege, Under Siege, or Attack). Attack is what is also called storming and this is where grenadier units, in their original meaning of soldier tossing fused explosives, are at a premium and count double in the Flashing Blades army combat calculation.

"Honor+Intrigue" is focused on the actions of characters rather army campaigns and does not include a dice driven system for generating or resolving military campaigns. It does, however, include a system for resolving ship-to-ship actions and battles. And in the section on battles we see an example for the above mentioned Siege of La Rochelle.

Example: In France, the fortified city of La Rochelle is in
rebellion. King Louis’ army is moderately better trained (+1),
and overwhelmingly larger (+4). However, the rebels have an
overwhelmingly advantageous position, being in a fortified city
that can only be attacked from one side (+4 to their Army Rating).
Louis’ men are much better supplied, however (+2). Both sides
have very competent commanders (+2 to each). This leaves King
Louis’ army with an Army Rating of 9 and the rebels with a 6,
giving Louis’ Army a +3 to its rolls. In all likelihood, Louis’
army will win the Siege, unless the rebels get reinforcements from
England to turn the tide. However, the actions of a small band of
Musketeers may be able to hasten victory before that happens.

I supplement my H+I campaign by using the military campaign rules from Flashing Blades. And have used the historical siege of Bergen op Zoom as a major campaign arc. 

In my next post, I'll highlight a new resource I found for sieges in the period.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Item: Double-barreled Wheellock Pistol

Here's a handy little item. A double-barreled wheellock pistol. In length it looks like it is the size of a pocket pistol or what was sometimes called a mazzagato. You can see that both wheellocks are on the right side. The rear wheel has drops the hammer towards the muzzle. The forward wheel drops the hammer towards the pistol butt.

Honor+Intrigue includes multi-barrel firearms under the rules for craftsmen creating specialty devices. A multi-barrel gun is an uncommon device.

A Firearm with multiple barrels (Every 2 barrels the weapon has
gives it a -1 penalty to hit with every shot, up to a maximum of 10
barrels for a -5 penalty. Each barrel requires the standard reload
time separately. You can fire the barrels all at once if you choose,
either taking out multiple pawns in a group, or adding +1 damage
to the base for each bullet that hits a single target after the first).

From Honor+Intrigue: Inventions & Contraptions for Craftsmen & Scholars page 189.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Château de Chantilly

Next week's session features a May Day fancy ball hosted by the Prince and Princess de Conde and the Princesses brother, the Duke of Montmorency. (For those of you from the UK that is not a fancy dress ball. It is a normal dress ball.) The location for the activities is the Château de Chantilly located about 25 miles north of the Palace of the Louvre in the town of Chantilly. Both King Louis and Queen Anne will be attending. Of course their Majesties will be accompanied by collection of courtiers, nobles, and aristocrats. 

The players plan to use the occasion to finally put a dent in the popularity of the Prince de Conde by fouling up the festivities. In my imagination I see this as a free-for-all sandbox party setting overlaid with a set of crazy activities that combine Three Stooges slapstick, Mission Impossible clockwork planning, and Leverage like complications - "Let's go steal a ball."

To allow for a scenic location and to facilitate and open, sandbox style I created a list of activities and a map of the chateau. Well to be honest, I found, copied, and edited a map of the chateau. There are a number of maps available out on the Internet. For my purposes I wanted a map that included at least some of the grounds as a location for privacy outdoors whether for a quiet strolls in the garden, romantic assignations, or settling an affair of honor. I also wanted to clearly indicate areas of the chateau for the ball, dining for at least two different meals, an area for cards and talk, and several different areas where I could reasonably have various noble attendees stay overnight. 

This map from Wikipedia had the details I was looking for and a high enough resolution to facilitate zooming in close enough to see individual rooms, windows, and doors. It also included moats and a garden which would make a perfect location for a May Pole. And I liked the roof tiling on some of the rooms rather than a complete cutaway like this map.

I also used this map which had a map key and printing that was easier to read. Of course it was in French so I had to do some fussing about with translations. But by combining these I was able to create this map which is what I will give to the players for next week's session.Later I'll publish a follow up post with a list of May Day activities and some info on how the French celebrated the holiday in that period.

Friday, February 19, 2016

New Flaw: Haunted by Nightmares

The inspiration for this post is two fold. Lucien de Bourges, a King's Musketeer, is one of the original PCs in my H+I campaign. Lucien has the Flaw: Haunted by the Siege of Nègrepelisse. Nègrepelisse was a Huguenot stronghold in the south of France that was stormed and burnt to the ground in 1622 by French troops under Louis XIII. The Siege or Massacre, depending on whose propaganda you believe, was either a justified reprisal for the treacherous massacre of the town's garrison by Huguenot rebels or yet another massacre of innocent Huguenots by Catholics.

The Siege was part of the background for two of the original PCs who were part of the Régiment de Picardie during the Siege. One of the PC's players decided she liked the idea that the events of the Siege, which almost certainly included the killing of all the women and children, were traumatic enough for a young soldier to leave him haunted afterwards. Supposedly this would cause some bad dreams and a flashback or PTSD like reaction to events that reminded Lucien of something that happened during the Siege. I didn't ever find a good way to represent this as an H+I flaw though. It never really seemed to come up in play.

A while ago I noticed a post on the Tom's "...and a Brace of Pistols" blog called Nightmarish Penalties… that provided what seemed like a good method for how to handle a haunting personal event. Now I'll adapt it for Honor+Intrigue.

Flaw: Haunted by Nightmares

You are stalked in your sleep by some terrible event from your past. You have great difficulty sleeping.  
This looks fine as is.

Prerequisite: None

Flaws in H+I don't have prerequisites.

Effect: Each night, make a Routine (D3) Resolve roll. If you fail, your character gains no rest and suffers a -1d penalty to any Natural and Exceptional Healing rolls the following day. Also, for one scene, determined by the GM, your character suffers a -1d penalty to all action rolls as those nightmares prove eerily prescient. 

I'm not sure what a Resolve roll is, but a Routine roll doesn't sound too difficult. Since it has to do with getting no rest, I'll use the roll vs. Exhaustion from H+I. 

The Exhaustion roll is first rolled when a character hits 24 hours without sleep. It requires a Savvy roll. Now I might have expected exhaustion to be tied to Might, but using Savvy means that a Savvy, but weak scholar will handle staying up without sleep better than a Mighty, but stupid warrior. It must be all those late nights cramming for exams. So the to avoid Exhaustion the player must roll 2d6+Savvy and get a 9+. (A roll with an adjusted total of 9 always succeeds in H+I.)

If the Exhaustion roll is failed, the PC loses 1 Composure. An additional roll is required every 8 hours thereafter. Heroes have a total of 3 Composure. Once Composure reaches 0 due to Exhaustion, the character falls unconscious. To reverse Exhaustion requires 8 hours of continuous sleep. 

This seems like it will work. Composure loss imposes a penalty of -1 per lost point on all rolls. So failing a roll for the first night gets you a penalty. Failing a second time, increases the penalty. Savvy starting characters ranges from -1 up to 4 with 1 being about average for PC templates. So most PCs would end up needing to roll 8+1=9 or better on 2d6. 

But those aren't very good odds if you have to roll this every night. Since the Witch Hunter difficulty was Routine, that sounds like an H+I difficulty of Easy. That is the lowest difficulty in H+I and comes with a bonus of +1. So now our typical PC only needs to roll 7+1+1=9. So the Haunted PC has a 58% chance to get a decent night's sleep. If he fails that roll, the chance to succeed goes down to 42%. Which means that the cumulative chance to get a second failure in a row is only 24%. And the cumulative chance of getting a third failure in a row is just under 18%. (If you fail the second row you end up with a -2 penalty which cancels the bonus for Easy roll and +1 Savvy so failure of the third roll becomes much more likely.)

For comparison, let's look at the Flaw: Drunkard.

Roll a die when you are required to do something
important for the rest of your companions. If a ‘1’
comes up, you are intoxicated. Roll 1d3 to determine
how much Composure you lost. If you’ve lost all
Composure, you have passed out!

Drunkard gives the character a 1/6 chance that anytime something important happens he will be feeling the effects of drink. Which means there is a wee bit more than a 5% chance that the PC will be unplayable due to being dead, stinking drunk, and passed out. This makes Drunkard seem like a much better choice of Flaw than Haunted by Nightmares. 

One way to decrease the likelihood would be to allow the player to add a relevant Career to the roll. But I can't say that I like that too much. If a Soldier is Haunted by Nightmares, I don't think being a better Soldier lets him sleep better at night. 

A second way to decrease the likelihood would be to treat one failed roll as generating a single nightmare but no Composure penalty. The player would then make a second roll to see if his sleep was so disrupted by nightmares that he is exhausted. That would mean that there is a 42% chance each night of a nightmare occurring and there is a 24% chance per night that sleep is disrupted so that -1 Composure is lost. This seems closer to the mark.

You may not use Lucky to reroll this test.
Given the difficulty above, I'd allow the player to reroll if they have the Devils Own Luck. I'd also allow the player to spend a Fortune Point to undo a failed roll. (Actually a better choice than rerolling.)
An apothecary can produce a tonic (requires a D4 Heal (Herbalist) roll) that helps to induce a dreamless sleep and grants +1d to this roll.
We can make this a Common preparation and allow it to give a Bonus Die to the rolls. That ups the odds considerably and moves this into an appropriate range.

Alternative Effect: Each night, the GM rolls a d10. On a 1 or 2, your character suffers horrible nightmares and must make a Challenging (D4) Resolve roll. If failed, your character gains no rest and suffers a -1d penalty to all action rolls. You may not use Lucky to reroll this test. An apothecary can produce a tonic (requires a D4 Heal (Herbalist) roll) that helps to induce a dreamless sleep and grants +1d to this roll.

We can skip the Alternative Effect. The write up is going to be long enough as is and there is already enough to track with multiple rolls and Composure losses. 

Fun with Player Agency (Optional)

If using the first option, award the player a hero point for explaining how his or her nightmare apply to the scene in question.

This is in line with other Flaws in H+I. I'd move it to a non-optional rule (though award of a Fortune Point is as always at the GM's discretion).

I'll skip the "Dick GM Move." It's too grim and dark for the feel of my H+I campaign. Also it adds some more rolling and tracking which I don't want to include. But if you want a darker, doomed feel to your game, take a look at what Tom did.

So here is the finished write up of the new flaw.

Flaw: Haunted by Nightmares (Honor+Intrigue)

You are stalked in your sleep by some terrible event from your past. You have great difficulty sleeping.

Effect: Each night, make an Easy Savvy roll. If you fail, you have a notable nightmare. At the GM's discretion for one scene, your character suffers a penalty die to all action rolls as nightmare proves eerily prescient or because the scene is strongly reminiscent of the cause of your nightmares (if there is a particular cause). Award the player a Fortune Point for explaining how his or her nightmare relates to the scene in question.

Now make a second Easy Savvy roll. If you fail, your nightmares were so bad that your sleep has been disrupted and you gain no rest. Your character loses 1 Composure. Treat the character as Exhausted and continue to apply rolls and penalties as for Exhaustion until the character passes out from lack of sleep or gets 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

All Composure lost due to nightmares is recovered with 8 hours of uninterrupted night's sleep.
and suffers a -1d penalty to any Natural and Exceptional Healing rolls the following day. Also, for one scene, determined by the GM, your character suffers a -1d penalty to all action rolls as those nightmares prove eerily prescient.

An apothecary can produce a tonic that helps to induce a dreamless sleep and grants a Bonus Die to both the nightmare roll and the second roll to see if the nightmares interrupt his sleep. Treat this tonic as a Common preparation.

Alternative Effect: Instead of collapsing into unconsciousness when the PC's Composure reaches 0, a player may choose to instead have their character experience nightmarish hallucinations due to sleep deprivation.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

d12 Chart for Herb Gathering

The Sign of the Frothing Mug posted a fun D12 table for Herbs, Plants, and Grubs. It was designed for D&D 2E, but I thought it would be fun to adapt it for Honor+Intrigue.

Honor+Intrigue includes an Apothecary career which is designed to handle the creation of remedies from herbs, plants, and I suppose grubs. There is also an Alchemist career, but it is more concerned with metals and minerals rather than plants and inorganic, rather than organic chemistry. This table could be a fun addition to a game where a character has the Apothecary career. At the GM’s option, other careers such as Healer, Explorer, Hunter, or Farm Boy/Girl may be used instead of Apothecary.

After an appropriate amount of time (Frothing Mug suggests 1 hour) and a successful use of the Apothecary career, roll on the following charts for results. If the Apothecary searches for multiple hours, roll again. Any time the same result is rolled, double the previous amount (e.g., if the Apothecary searches for 3 hours and rolls feverfew three times, it is no longer a small patch; hour 1 = 1 batch of tea, hour 2 = 2 batches, hour 3 = 4 batches).

HERBS (1d12)
1. Small patch of feverfew. This is enough to brew up one batch of feverfew tea, which is helpful in disposing of migraines and headaches. It may cut down on any penalties associated with sickness (particularly penalties to Savvy) and may help resist mind-control spells or effects for the next 1d4 hours (granting a +1 bonus to resist Compel, Beguile, and other such spells or powers).

2. Thistles. This is enough to brew up one batch of milk-thistle tea. It will allow anyone drinking it to make a new Might roll against any illness they may have been exposed to or grant a +2 bonus to any Might roll for illness within the next 8 hours.

3. Handful of meadowsweet. A handful is enough meadowsweet to create one dose of meadowsweet ointment. It takes 3 hours to create a batch of the ointment (up to 3 doses) It must be mixed with a lard base and boiled which takes a total of 3 hours. The ointment is used to dull pain and, in conjunction with first aid from a career such as Physician or Healer. The ointment will return 1 extra Lifeblood to the subject.

4. Bees! The Apothecary must succeed at a Savvy roll or take 1 point of Lifeblood damage from bee stings. If the Apothecary fails, they may roll again taking additional damage for each failure. If they succeed, the Apothecary may approach the bees' nest and collect honey. If the Apothecaary has a way of producing smoke that allows a bonus of +2 to their Savvy roll. While it has no medicinal purpose, it sure tastes good, and can be used to brew mead.

5. Flowering Melissa. This herb can be used to flavor food, and generally has a calmative effect that combats melancholia. This provides a +1 bonus for the next 8 hours to resist any spell or power that causes an emotional effect.

6. Horehound. Enough of these flowers to brew one pot of horehound tea. It is useful for dispelling head colds and chesty coughs, and grants a +3 bonus to Might to resist or recover from sicknesses of that type for the next 1d4 days.

7. Mugwort. Used to treat cramps, bloating, and sore feet. Can be made into a mugwort ointment, which permits travelers to push themselves for an extra mile per day without effort. This is enough to make one application, which is good for one traveler for one day.

8. Rosemary. The flowers can be used to brew an all-purpose remedial tea (granting a +1 bonus on all sickness-related saves for the next 1d4 days) or be reduced to a pomade by boiling with lard, which makes a fine face wash. Rosemary wood can be burned to lye-bearing ash to make a mouthwash and tooth-cleanser.

9. Rue. Enough rue to treat one venomous bite. When using rue on poisoned wounds the treatment grants a Bonus Die to any roll to resist the effects of venoms or toxins. It is also a common ingredient in holy water.

10. Sage. Can be used to prepare a purgative, which grants a Bonus Die to saves vs. poison when the poison has been ingested. Can also be used to brew one batch of sage tea, which grants the imbiber +1 bonus to Savvy for 1d4 hours for the purposes of concentration.

11. Thyme. A key ingredient in anti-infection incenses and fumigations, thyme can be burned to help ward off disease. This is enough to burn for 30 minutes. Any area under the influences of thyme-based incense fumes for 1 hour will grant a +1 bonus to Might rolls to resist or recover from illnesses while in the area.

12. Yarrow-root. Is used to help treat battle-wounds and infectious bites. Wounds treated with yarrow-root pomade heal +1 Lifeblood per day. Treating an infectious bite with yarrow pomade grants a +1 bonus to resist the infection.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Unusual Item: Land Sailing

"Land Sailing" Hendrik Gerritsz Pot (1637)

I remember land sailing as an odd leisure activity done out salt flats or deserts of the American southwest sometime last century. I think it may also have been done in the 19th century as a failed form of transportation. Land sailing is a lot like the somewhat more familiar ice sailing, but on packed sand or salt instead of on ice. I recall Moorcock used ice schooners on the frozen seas of one of his Eternal Champion stories.

Much later I came across land sailing as an actual Early Modern activity in Neal Stephenson's epic trilogy, The Baroque Cycle. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Stephenson's writing. I love the real period detail he provides, but I just can't get enthusiastic about any of his characters. But that's probably a post for another time.

Adventure Seeds

(1) Some sort of crazy chase on a Low Countries beach with people boarding enemy land ships and epic swords fights by the tiller arm. Here I am thinking of something like a James Bond chase. Unusual vehicles and spies. So the PCs against rival agents from the Spanish Netherlands or the Dutch Gehimebond. The chase is something I keep in the back of my head for a return trip to Flanders or the Dutch Republic.

(2) A race organized by courtiers or wealthy merchants. This can either be just a short diversion where the PCs do something unusual or it could be a more typical race scenario of the likes of any race event where there are rival pilots, betting, attempts to rig the race or sabotage the racers, and maybe even combat during the race. Pick any race you like to steal ideas e.g. the 1966 movie Grand Prix, Pod racing from the Phantom Menace, any of a half gajillion action TV series episodes, or even Speed Racer.

(3) For a more gonzo or alt-history take, I like the notion of a land ship expedition heading into the Arabian desert to find the lost city of Irem. You can combine elements of (1) and (2) by including a rival group of land sailors.

Here's another picture of racing land yachts. I especially like the two-master in the center.

"Land Yacht" Simon Stevins zeilwagen voor Prins Maurits (Sail wagon for Prince Maurice) 1649

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bonus NPC of the Week: Crispin du Villette

Crispin du Villette

Deadly Duelist            (SR 5)

Location: Lyon.

Crispin du Villette is a duelist from Lyon. He is both hot-tempered and a hopeless romantic. He is currently carrying on a torrid love affair with "Bette" the wife of the Chevalier de Savelborn, who is carrying on an affair of his own. Crispin is now low on funds as he has totally ignored his 'business' while heedlessly pursuing his romance. 

First encountered by Gaston in Adventure 10.3: A Quiet Walk Home. He was accused of murdering his mistress' husband, the Chevalier de Savelborn, but he was freed when the PCs (Guy, Lucien, Gaston, Fr. Signoret) uncovered the real murdered – Rolf d'Ehlerange the Masked Noble. Crispin is grateful to the PCs for proving his innocence.

Daring 2          Flair 1
Melee 2           Defense 1
Soldier 1          Duelist 2
Lifeblood 8      Advantage 1        Retainer 3
Languages: French (N), +1 Slot

Boon: Dueling Style (French), Maneuver Mastery
Flaw: Hopeless Romantic, Hot-Tempered
Rapier: 1d6 Dmg; +1 Parry
*Cloak +1 Feint, Bind
Maneuver: Bladework+4, Lunge+3, Quick Cut+3; Feint (BD+3), Footwork+2; Cloak Parry+3, Dodge, Parry+2[3], Riposte+2; Ranged Attack+0

Author: Gaston's Hat     NPC in: L'Honneur et les Intrigues (Fiction)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

NPCs from the Strange Stone's Blog

Just a quick post today. I happened across a new blog the other day called Strange Stones and I noticed the author had posted some NPCs to use as "potential allies (or antagonists)." The characters are from a fictional setting, but as it is a "fantasy Spain" it should be useful. Sadly it doesn't look like any other posts were made on the fictional world of Oriad.

In my campaign, the players recently infiltrated a secret society of Spanish sympathizers so some more Spanish NPCs may come in handy. Coincidentally, I included masked assassins as minions of the Red Brotherhood - which itself was taken from a Flashing Blades adventure. I like the the two assassins that this person created so I can definitely use them.

I find it interesting to look at the NPCs that other people create. It's one of the reasons I buy published adventures even if I don't run them. Seeing other people's NPCs sometimes gives me someone I can use. And it gives me a different slant on designing characters using a given system.

So here is a link to The Duke's War.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nobility and the Dukes and Duchesses of France (ducs et duchesse)

Noble families are a strong and pervasive political and military presence in Medieval and Early Modern societies. For the cape & sword swashbuckling adventure genre nobles are part of the setting. Frequently the heroes are lower ranking members of the noble class or the gentry. Their patrons and their opponents are often high ranking nobles or royalty and even when the heroes aren't engaged directly with the higher levels of society, the royals and peers of the realm will appear as part of the backdrop and color of the setting. So in my campaign I've used a lot of nobles, some fictional and many who are real.

The highest nobility in France are the Royal Family, the Princes and Princesses of the Blood, and the Peers and Dukes of the realm. Since they are few in number they are nearly all actual historical personages. Here are some links I've found useful in locating real nobles in Europe, especially in France.

Using the list of French Dukedoms above I created this list of the extant French Duchies as of the 1624 date of my campaign.

French Duchies

Date of Creation
Current Status
Duc d'Angoulême
Charles de Valois
Duc d'Anjou
Royal family
Gaston de Bourbon
Duc d'Aumale
Charles of Guise, duc d'Aumale
Duc de Bar
Bar, Anjou, Lorraine
Held by duc de Lorraine
Duc de Beaufort
Estrées, Bourbon-Vendôme
César, Duke of Vendôme
Duc de Bellegarde
Roger Saint-Lary
Duc de Brissac
Francis de Cossé 2nd duc de Brissac
Duc de Candale
Nogaret de La Valette
Henri de Nogaret de La Valette
Duc de Chartres
Royal Family, Este, Savoie-Nemours
Redeemed by the Crown 1623; in 1626 given to Gaston de Bourbon
Duc de Châteauroux
Henry de Bourbon, prince de Condé
Duc de Châtellerault
Bourbon-Montpensier, Orléans
Marie de Bourbon, Duchess de Montpensier till 1627; extinct 1693
Duc de Chaulnes
Honoré d'Albert (b. 1581)
Duc de Fronsac
François III d'Orléans-Longueville
Duc de Guise
Charles de Lorraine, duc de Guise; Extinct 1688
Duc de Joyeuse
Joyeuse, Lorraine-Guise
Henriette Catherine de Joyeuse, wife of the Duke de Guise; Extinct 1675
Duc de La Valette
Nogaret de La Valette
Bernard de Nogaret
Duc de Lesdiguières
Bonne, Créquy
François de Bonne
Duc de Longueville
Henri II d'Orléans AKA
Henri de Valois-Loungueville
Duc de Luynes
Louis-Charles d'Albert
Duc de Mayenne
Lorraine-Guise, Gonzaga
Charles de Gonzague duc de Nevers
Duc de Mercœur
Françoise Lorraine-Mercœur & her husband César de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme
Duc de Montbazon
Hercule de Rohan-Montbazon
Duc de Montmorency
Henri II de Montmorency
Duc de Nemours
Henri de Savoy
Duc de Nevers
Albret, Cleves, Gonzaga
Charles de Gonzague duc de Nevers
Duc de Penthièvre
Luxembourg, Lorraine, Bourbon-Vendôme
César de Bourbon
Duc de Piney
Luxembourg, Albert,
Léon d'Albert de Luynes through his wife Marguerite-Charlotte de Luxembourg
Duc de Rethel
Charles de Gonzague duc de Nevers
Duc de Retz
Possibly Jean François de Gondi Archbishop of Paris
Duc de Rohan
Henri II duc de Rohan
Duc de Sully
Maximilien de Béthune
Duc de Thouars
La Trémoille
Henri de La Trémoille
Duc de Valois
Royal family
1626 given to Gaston de Bourbon
Duc de Vendôme
César, Duke of Vendôme
Duc de Ventadour
Henri de Lévis de Ventadour
Duc d'Elbeuf
Charles de Lorraine
Duc d'Epernon
Nogaret de La Valette
Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette
Duc d'Estouteville
Estouteville, Bourbon-Saint-Pôl, Orléans-Longueville,
Held by duc de Longueville
Duc d'Halluin
Hallwin, Schomberg
Charles de Schomberg
Duc d'Orléans
Royal family
1626 given to Gaston de Bourbon after marriage to Marie de Bourbon
Duchess de Chevreuse
Lorraine, Lorraine-Guise
Marie de Rohan; Sold 1655
Duchesse de Montpensier
Bourbon, Orléans
Marie de Bourbon