Tag Archives: 17th Century

Episode Recap: Good Knight

Our Heroes are…

  • Edward Kenway, Son of Avalon and Captain of the Jackdaw
  • Carmena Elena de Ibarra de la Luz, disgraced Castillian Naval officer and bosun of the Jackdaw
  • Milaria Beaufort, Knight Arrant of Avalon and loyal servant of Queen Elaine
  • Sebastian Valmont, wayward Montaignese aristocrat and porté mage
  • Modestas Radvilas Kelrus (Mohai), Sarmatian Expatriate and former Dragoman to the court of the Empress of the Crescent Moon.

(Captain Kenway, Carmena, and Mohai are absent tonight)

Tonight’s Spotlight Hero is…

Milaria Beaufort

Part One: Shadow of Avalon

The Three Queens tavern in La Bucca is named for the three queens of the Glamour Isles: Elaine, Titania, and Mab.  For many wayward Avalonians, it is a glimmer of home in this forsaken place.  The tavern is known for its briny stews, spicy sausages, and its barrels of ale imported from the Glamour Isles (but mostly Inishmore).  A crowd of jovial displace Avalonians can usually be found here, singing merrily along to the traditional songs of their homeland played lovingly by Candice and Richard, two minstrels who never found their way off the island.

This is why Milaria Beaufort, Knight Errant of Avalon and Queen Elaine’s Champion, has grown to love this place so much since she came to the Pirate Republic.

But tonight is different.  Tonight, most of the local patrons have fled as a gang of raucous, carousing Maghrebis have settled in.  They are no fans of the music or the musicians, but the spirits and stew seem to be to their liking.

Milaria and Sebastian Valmont sit in their cups, doing their best to ignore the obnoxious carrying on of these foreign pirates when a young, wide-eyed man in official looking dress stumbles through the front door.  He quickly surveys the room and, spying Milaria, clumsily smiles and hastens to her table.

As the young man approaches, Milaria’s eye wanders to a table set in the back corner of the bar.  A table that is always reserved for an honored guest who never comes.  But tonight, a man sits there.  Tall, broad-shouldered, with shaggy gray hair and an unkept beard.  His piercing blue eyes do not shy away when Milaria’s meet them.

The young envoy is clueless of this exchange.  He tells Milaria that Ambassador Zorita wishes to meet with her about her…problem.  Tomorrow morning, in the embassy gardens, after morning prayers.

Milaria listens, but watches the old man.  She says she will meet with the ambassador and gives the young man leave of the place.

One of the Maghrebi turns and sizes up Sebastian, then turns and makes a rude remark about the Montaignese man’s breeding and his mother to his companions.  He thinks Sebastian could not possibly understand but he is wrong.  Immediately, Sebastian’s blood runs hot.  He stands and returns the insult.  Immediately, half the pirates are on their feet, including a massive man with a large cutlass and a whip at his side.

Milaria quickly looks back to the table, but the old man is gone.

Steel is drawn.  Milaria moves to protect Candice and Richard and tells them to go fetch the proprietress! Sebastian takes to his work with glee and satisfaction.  The pirates fall before him, all but the big man with the whip.  Skilled in the Mantovani style of Vodacce, the big pirate makes the fight interesting.

As Milaria confronts her share of the pirates, the old shaggy man reappears.  He clubs two pirates heads together, gives her a wink, and is gone.

When Myrna Byrne, all 100 pounds of her, bursts furiously through the kitchen doors brandishing her cudgel, the battle is already won.  The big pirate, now sporting a wicked “SV” slashed across his chest, is carried away by his companions.  Sebastian has claimed his whip, a nice one of Vodacce make, as his own.  One last straggler stops at the door to tell the heroes in broken Avalonian: “Your Queen will soon know the taste of Maghrebi steel!  A thousand ship will be launched against her!”

His soliloquy is cut short by a sharp crack of the whip by Sebastian.

“If that lot is any indication,” Myrna chuckles, “I’ll sleep like a babe.  I’ll take one Jeremiah Berek for every hundred of those devils!”

Milaria scans the tavern for the old man, but he is nowhere to be seen.

“What man?  What are you talking about,” Sebastian says.  “That table has been empty all night.  Are you sure you’re okay?”  Indeed, no one seems to remember seeing a man matching Milaria’s description.  Tonight, or ever.

“That table,” Myrna says, “is reserved for the O’Bannon, should he ever wander to these shores to grace us with his presence.  Only he may sit there.”

“Remind me. What does the O’Bannon look like?” Milaria says.

Part Two: The More You Know

Milaria is walking through a dense tropical forest.  It is night.  Stars peek out from breaks in the canopy above.  In the distance, a voice is chanting.  Derwyddon, certainly, but his words are too distant to be known.

A thin trail winds through the foliage, leading to…a small clearing.  At the far side of it is a massive tree, about which is set a small, ramshackle cottage.  Firelight glimmers from within.  Milaria knows something terrible lives there.  And yet, she approaches the door.  Something moves within.  She touches the door and it swings open, revealing the stern face of Godric, the Pious.

Milaria sits upright in her bed.  She is soaked with sweat.  Outside the window, the first lights of dawn are spreading out across the harbor.

She remembers her dream perfectly.  Every detail.

* * *

The surgeon of the Jackdaw, a big Ussuran man named Deiman Ruikov, introduces Sebastian to two of the luminaries of La Bucca: Wynne Lynch, a Natural Philosopher, and Doctor Carlos Matez, a Castillain Boticario.  Sebastian hopes these two men can shed some light on the bottle of Falisci wine that was connected to the massacre aboard the Jackdaw some weeks back.

Unfortunately, the two men can agree on nothing, leaving Sebastian to wonder if some unorthodox form of sorcery has been employed.  To that, Josette, Lynch’s young assistant, suggests the duelist seek out Nazaret, a Castillian witch who lives in the Jenny’s Jungle near the old Syrneth ruins.  “She knows many things that are unnatural,” Josette confides.  “Bring her a gift.  Something pretty.”

* * *

Milaria is waiting in the gardens of the Castillian Embassy when the chapel bells begin to chime.  The congregation emerges ahead of the Ambassador.  Zorita smiles when he spies Milaria.  He introduces her to his chaplain Narciso Saravia.

“Tell me senorita,” Saravia says to Milaria, “are you among the faithful?”

“I serve Avalon and her church faithfully, if that is what you mean,” Milaria answers.

“Alas, but then our faith only ever reveals part of the whole.  Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Actually,” she responds, “I think faith can reveal the full measure of anyone.”

Zorita indicates it is time for the chaplain to leave, that he would speak with Milaria in private.  Saravia smiles and nods, then says to the Knight Errant, “remember, Theus loves all of us, even his lost sheep.”  Then he turns and walks back towards the chapel.

Sure they are alone, the Ambassador turns excitedly to Milaria.  “I have news,” he says. “Does the name, Baca Salazar, have any meaning to you?”  Milaria recognizes this as the name of a Castillian spy she met in Horchillo, before she and the heroes discovered that they were being played by agents of the Montaigne to perpetuate hostilities between that country and Castille.

Zorita tells her that trusted confidants from Castille have confirmed that Senior Salazar, an agent of the Atabean Trading Company, has been hosting meetings between Castillian dignitaries and certain, less reputable captains of the Maghreb.  While the details are still somewhat vague, the Ambassador tells Milaria that he has arranged a dinner meeting with an old friend who he believes can shed more light on this arrangement.  He asks her to meet him again, in the gardens, on the morrow after morning prayers.

“I hope this begins to make up for the trouble that befell you and your companions in Horchillo,” Zorita says.  “I have not forgiven myself for the part I played in putting your lives at risk.  Please tell Carmena that I hope to make things right by this.”

“Are you sure this place is safe to talk,” she asks him.

“I do not know,” he replies, “but certainly we can see anyone who might seek to listen in, don’t you think?”

Milaria agrees to meet again and the two part ways.

In the darkened shadow of the open chapel, Saravia watchs the two of them.  His eyes narrow, his mouth tight.  Knowing what must be done, he slowly closes the door.

Part Three: The Witch of La Bucca

Sebastian decides to pay a visit to Nazaret, the witch Josette told him about.  He has purchased a fine, silver mirror, tastefully encrusted with precious gems, as a gift for her services.  Together, he and Milaria set off from Sunset Haven into the Jenny’s Jungle to find her abode.

Despite a few mishaps along the way, the pair find their way through the thick jungle thanks in no small part to recollections from Milaria’s dream.  And there it was, a ramshackled, disjointed cottage at the base of a massive tree in a clearing.  The sun is low against the jungle canopy and a light flickers in the window of the cottage.  Milaria is about to touch the door when it swings open, revealing a tall, lean woman with black hair.  She smiles warmly, revealing half her face slack from palsy.

“I’ve been expecting you,” she says.  “Come in.”

Sebastian gives her the mirror and she tucks it away.  He beings produces a sample of the wine and the bottle as well, upon request.  Nazaret sticks a finger in the mouth of the bottle and sample a taste of the residue therein and spits it out on the floor.  She knows.  She knows about the demon hidden away within the vessel.  She knows its taste for blood and memory.  But these are not the things she wants to talk about.  She wants to talk about Milaria.  About the knight’s mantle she wears.  About the power residing within her — sorcerous power as old as legend.  Pure.  Intoxicating.

When Milaria expresses her desire to protect Avalon, she sees her opportunity.

“I can give you everything you need to protect your homeland from these foreign invaders,” she tells the Knight Errant.  She can.  But there is a price.  An unspoken price.  A price Milaria seems yet willing to pay.  Nazaret produces a small knife from her robes.

The sound of trees scratching at the walls of the cottage seems to punctuate the moment.

“A price must be paid willingly,” she says.  Foolish child.

Milaria takes the knife and looks to Sebastian.

“Where I am from,” he says, “blood must be paid.” Yes, blood.  And so much more, fools!

Milaria takes the blade of the knife and presses it tight to the flesh of her arm.

“I will do anything to protect Avalon,” she says, reassuring herself.

The witch’s eyes grow wide  She is so close.

The door to the cottage explodes open suddenly and a shaggy, lean, gray haired man bursts into the room.

“Don’t do it!” he shouts!

To be continued…

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Dragoman

So after some unfortunate shuffling of the deck chairs in our 7th Sea game, we brought in two new players.  One of them, a very serious and historically minded type comes to me and says, “I want to play this?  I don’t see it as a background though.”  “No problem,” I say.  “Let’s see what we can do.”

The background in question was the Dragoman, an envoy and diplomat in the Ottoman Court.  With the preview of the Crescent Empire book beginning to circulate through the kickstarter channels, I figure this is a timely addition.  Especially since that background isn’t included.  Probably because of the focus on language, one of many things this edition of 7th Sea shuffles into the background.

Actually, creating a new background wasn’t difficult at all.  We took two comparable backgrounds, the Courtier and the Consigliere (Vodacce), and smashed them together.  Then there was some jockeying about what Advantages (besides Linguist) to include.  In the end, we settled on 6 points of Advantages as there is precedence for this.  In the end, the hardest part was coming up with a Quirk!  So I turned to the Facebook fan group for that.  In the end, I think it turned out pretty well, and makes a great background for a Crescent agent adventuring in Théah.

Dragonman

Crescent Empire Background

You are a bridge between cultures; an interpreter, mediator, diplomat, and guide in foreign matters in the court of the Empress.

Quirk: Earn a Hero Point when you solve a problem using knowledge from a culture other than your own.

Advantages: Linguist, Friend at Court, Honest Misunderstanding

Skills: Convince, Empathy, Notice, Scholarship, Tempt

High Seas Holidays

The votes are in, and my group of players have almost unanimously elected to go with a high seas adventure game with strong involvement of secret societies.  And with that, prep for our 7th Sea game can really begin in earnest.  Not that I haven’t been brainstorming and scribbling down ideas for awhile now, but this gives me a definite direction with which to steer the ship, so to speak.

With the holidays upon us, I am sneaking in whatever time I can manage to do a bit of prep for the forthcoming 7th Sea campaign.  It’s coming along nicely.  I feel I have quite a few resources collected that will make my work easier when we dive in around mid-January.  And since it’s the holidays, I want to share some of the fruits of my labor with you.

So first up, a 7th Sea Ship Name resource.  Along with a reformatted version of Finn’s Companion #3 (any of you old hands remember that one?), I’ve included a list of authentic ship names from the 17th Century British and Dutch navies, along with pirate vessels of ill repute.  So you can either grab a name from antiquity or mix and match something new for your players to grapple with.  This should be of help to anyone running a historical (or semi-historical) nautical game.  I’m going to add this resource on the Downloads page as well.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Re-examining All For One: Regime Diabolique

Summer is almost over.  My wife is back to work at a new library.  The kids go back to school in a week.  Time for another big shake up of my schedule, hopefully in a good way.  It may make blogging a bit easier.  We’ll see.

So awhile back, if you recall, I posted my thoughts on running a B/X D&D and just how easy it felt.  It still feels easy, fresh, and fun.  Enough so that Witch Hunter feels a bit clunky by comparison.  So as an exercise, I starting playing around with home-brewing a system that would give me the same easy breezy feeling but include all the stuff I want and need for heroic swashbuckling fantasy.  And that’s what I stumbled right back over All For One: Regime Diabolique, by Wiggy of Triple Ace Games.

prod_35164For those of you unfamiliar with the game, All for One (AFO, hereafter) is a roleplaying game set in early 17th Century France, where the players assume the roles of the King’s Musketeers, protecting King and Country from the threats foreign, domestic, and…supernatural!  Demons, vampires, werewolves, and all manner of other things that go bump in the night lurk in the dark shadows of Paris, and in the catacombs below.  Now if that doesn’t sound like a dead ringer candidate for game of the year for this GM, I don’t know what does?

I used AFO a few years back as the basis for another campaign for my library program.  At that time, I was pretty wrapped up in the Savage Worlds system and the Savage World of Solomon Kane, so the Ubiquity system went in the hopper and was hastily converted to SW mechanics.  This was, of course, before Triple Ace Games (TAG) did me the courtesy of releasing a SW adaption on their own.  Boy, would that have saved me some work.  That campaign has long since wrapped, but I’ve kept AFO on my Witch Hunter resource bookshelf for ideas and inspiration.  So it isn’t like I found my dog-earred copy in the garage.

Now maybe you haven’t heard, but as much as I like the new 7th Sea game, it has some aspects that present a bit of a barrier to me as a go-to game.  But what started out as an exercise in stripping a game for parts became sort of a startling rediscovery of the Ubiquity system.  Understand, I never disliked Ubiquity as a game system, it was just a non-starter for me.  The whole even/odds thing felt gimmicky, and most folks compare its play with Savage Worlds.

Flash forward a few years and I have a sudden epiphany that Ubiquity could be the bad ass d10 dice pool game 7th Sea is never going to be for me.  Even better, it’s a rosetta stone.  You can easily map that parts of 7th Sea 2nd edition you like to it, due to the Hero Point/Style Point economies both games share, and still maintain a more traditional conflict resolution mechanic.  Oh sure, it’s not a perfect fit, but it’s pretty damn close.  It seems like a pretty hard game to break, too.  And the tone and style of the game flirts with covering the same territory as witch hunter (supernatural monster hunting) while at the same time opening itself to a more sandbox approach.  In fact, its a perfect fit for those who want to run a game akin to D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker Chronicles.

After four years of playing Witch Hunter, I’ve got the system ALMOST where it needs to be.  So I’m not about to pitch the whole thing and jump ship to Ubiquity, but DAMN if it isn’t tempting.  A lot of the lore of Witch Hunter could easily be mapped to AFO, as could the setting material for Savage World of Solomon Kane.  Personally, I like that Witch Hunter is a more global game.  Where if you want to throw together an adventure in India, or Egypt, or the Far East, you are good to go.  But there are parts of the system that just feel like dead weight compared to what Ubiquity offers.

I would make a few changes off the top, however.  These ideas may not sit well, or may seem superfluous, to hard-core Ubiquity fans.  But if I play it, they are going in.

  • d10 dice pools. Successes on a 6+ (instead of standard evens/odds)
  • Exploding dice!  Rolling a 10 on any die lets you reroll.
  • Rule of 10. dice pools are capped at 10. For every two dice extra, the player gets a free success.
  • Static Defense.  At the very least for NPCs, do away with defense rolls and just reduce attacks by the Average defense.
  • Brute squads/Minion Bands! Gotta have rules for mobs of bad guys.  Someone has probably done this for Ubiquity already, but I’m thinking Threat Ratings 1-5, roll 2 dice per Rank.  Defense is equal to Rank.  Defense Rolls against brute squads don’t suffer the usual -2 for multiple opponents (they are brutes!).
  • Cinematic Health: On paper, the game looks a bit more gritty than I’d like for a pulp game.  But having not played before, I’m hesitant to change that.
  • GM Procedural Rolls.  I’m gonna have a whole blog post on these, as I’m coming to realize they are the secret sauce that makes O/B/X D&D click.  Any GM roll against a player skill is done with 1d10.  A roll equal to or less than the average rating succeeds.  Yes, sorry, the high-low thing.  But these are only for the GM, so…

And that’s more or less it.  Ok, I might add some special stunts for Fencing Schools, but I suspect those are already out and in the wild.

So if you’ve been following along with this blog and thinking, yeah, swashbuckling monster hunters sounds fun!  Or if your one of the many people who cracked the new 7th Sea game and said, “what the…um…” then DEFINITELY do yourself a favor and check out this gem.  The game line is well supported and mostly complete, so no supplement train to worry about (feature or negative, your choice).  Plus, the guys at TAG are fantastic folks who threw a lot of support to me when I was using their stuff for my library program.

 

The Immortal Seven

In preparing for the Horn & Crown campaign arc, I’ve been doing research on many of the power players in King William’s Court.  And while not exclusive to them, it certainly means doing the work researching the Immortal Seven.  I’ve already picked a few of these personages to play a prominent background role in the new story arc, but I like to have a more complete picture of the time.  There is much more to these men than what is included in the profiles below, but in the interests of the campaign my notes focus on the period of 1689 and 1690, leading up to the Battle of Boyne in the Summer of 1690.

The following information has been culled from Wikipedia (naturally) and a few other sources throughout the internet.

 

THE IMMORTAL SEVEN

The Immortal Seven were the seven individuals who put their name to the formal letter of invitation sent on the 30th of June, 1688, to William of Orange requesting that he make the necessary preparations to depose James II.  Together they represented a broad selection of the highest level of English society, sufficient to convince William of Orange that he would enjoy a suitably wide degree of support from across the country.

On the afternoon of the 30th June 1688 seven men sat down to put their names to a formal letter of invitation to William of Orange.

“…the people are so generally dissatisfied with the present conduct of the government in relation to their religion, liberties and properties (all which have been greatly invaded), and they are in such expectation of their prospects being daily worse, that Your Highness may be assured there are nineteen parts of twenty of the people throughout the kingdom who are desirous of a change.”

None of the seven were so foolish as to actually sign their names to the invitation itself, but rather identified themselves by a secret code, a two digit number (that follows their names below).  The letter was duly carried to the Netherlands by Arthur Herbert, the Earl of Torrington (discreetly referred to as Mr H within the letter) and had the desired effect as William of Orange ordered the necessary military and naval preparations for his invasion of Britain.

All seven of these gentlemen received their due rewards when William of Orange and his wife Mary became settled in as William and Mary.

These seven men were thereafter known as the Immortal Seven:

  • The Earl of Devonshire, William Cavendish (24)
    • Whig; House of Commons from 1661 to 1684
      • leader of the anti-court and anti-Catholic party
    • Age: 50
    • son of William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire
      • inherited his father’s peerage as Earl of Devonshire
    • one of the wealthiest landowners in the country
    • After the revolution, Cavendish is a leading Whig, serving as William’s Lord Steward
  • The Lord Lumley, Richard Lumley (29)
    • Age: 40
    • The Lumleys were an ancient family from the north of England
    • son of John Lumley; grandson of Richard Lumley, 1st Viscount Lumley
    • played a prominent part in the suppression of the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth
      • personally responsible (according to John Evelyn) for Monmouth’s arrest
    • wife: Frances Jones, daughter of Sir Henry Jones of Oxford
    • Secured Newcastle for William in December 1688
    • appointed by William in rapid succession (1689-90) as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber, a member of the Privy Council, Colonel of the 1st Troop of Horse Guards, Viscount Lumley of Lumley Castle, Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland and Lord Lieutenant of Durham
      • Lumley is created Earl of Scarbrough on 15 April 1690
  • The Earl of Danby, Thomas Osborne (27)
    • Tory
    • Age: 58
    • Impeached and disgraced member of Parliament with nearly no supporters he could rely on
      • Spent nearly five years in the Tower of London following his impeachment
      • A number of pamphlets asserting his complicity in the Popish Plot, and even accusing him of the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, were published in 1679 and 1680
    • following his imprisonment and release, returned to the House of Lords as a leader in the Tory party
    • Driven to opposition by King James’ attacks on Protestantism
    • Thought that William would not claim the crown
      • Supported the succession of Mary
      • This met with little support
        • rejected both by William and by Mary herself
      • voted against the regency and joined with Halifax and the Commons in declaring the prince and princess joint sovereigns.
    • April 1689 created Marquess of Carmarthen
    • made lord-lieutenant of the three ridings of Yorkshire
    • greatly disliked by the Whigs
      • given the nickname the “White” marquess in allusion to his sickly appearance
    • February 1689: appointed to the post of Lord President of the Council
      • could not conceal his vexation and disappointment
      • increased by the appointment of Halifax as Lord Privy Seal (Treasurer Position that he had held before his disgrace).
        • The antagonism between the “black” and the “white” marquess revived in all its bitterness.
      • retired to the country and was seldom present at the council.
      • In June and July, motions were made in Parliament for his removal
    • In 1690: Halifax’s retires in 1690
    • Once again again acquired the post of Lord Treasurer
    • In 1690, appointed Mary’s chief advisor
  • The Earl of Shrewsbury, Charles Talbot (25)
    • Age: 30
    • crossed to Holland to join William
      • contributed towards defraying the expenses of the projected invasion
      • landed with him in England in November 1688 during the Glorious Revolution
    • appointed Secretary of State for the Southern Department
    • 1690: resigned from office when the Tories gained control of Parliament
    • There is evidence that he had made overtures to the Jacobites after his resignation
      • in correspondence with James at his court in exile at Saint Germains
      • some evidence that these relations were entered upon with William’s full connivance
      • Others claim Shrewsbury was unaware of the King’s knowledge and toleration which would explain the terrified letters he was in the habit of penning to him.
      • Regardless, although often presented with evidence against him, William affected to have no suspicion of Shrewsbury’s loyalty
  • The Bishop of London, Henry Compton (31)
    • Tory
    • Age: 58
    • important figure about London
    • a successful botanist
    • Published:
      • several theological works
      • the Life of Donna Olympia Maladichini (1667)
        • translated from Italian
        • governed the Church during the time of Pope Innocent X (1644 to 1655)
      • the Jesuits’ Intrigues (1669)
        • translated from French
      • A book on the Invisible World and the supernatural
        • published under a pseudonym
    • liberal in his views about Protestants; strong bias against Catholics
    • February 1685: Lost his seat in the council and position as Dean of the Chapel Royal on the accession of James II
    • suspended by James’s Court of High Commission in mid-1686.
      • for his firmness in refusing to suspend John Sharp
        • rector of St Giles’s-in-the-Fields
        • anti-papal preaching had rendered him obnoxious to the king
      • The suspension was lifted in September 1688, two days before the High Commission was abolished
    • embraced the cause of William and Mary,
      • performed the ceremony of their coronation
      • his old position was restored to him
      • Appointed to the Privy Council; serves as an advisor to the King and Queen of England, an office that he has had before
      • chosen as one of the commissioners for revising the liturgy

The Witch Hunter Adventures, The Legion Cycle and its predecessor, A Child’s Game, establish Henry Compton as a major figure in London and someone the cadre is likely to interact with.  This information is reprinted from those sources.

  •  though not a Witch Hunter, he is a friend of the Stalwarts of St. Christopher
    • the original text establishes his connection with Brotherhood of Ashen Cross, which doesn’t make a lot of sense given his prejudices and biases against Catholics.  The Stalwarts have roots in Anglicanism and makes much more sense.
  • concerned about a number of supernatural threats that seemed to be moving into the area, along with London’s new growth.
    • Particularly concerned that many of these new evils seem to be using London as a gateway to the New World.
  • Captain Edward Russell (35)
    • Whig
    • Age: 37
    • elected Whig Member of Parliament for Launceston
    • 1689: appointed Treasurer of the Navy in 1689.
    • May 1689: Promoted directly to full admiral
      • Russell took command in the Channel
      • HMS Duke
      • enforced a blockade of France
    • lived at Chippenham Park in Cambridgeshire
      • re-modelled the manor house and greatly extended Chippenham Park
      • dominates the parish to the south of the village
    • March 1690: elected Member of Parliament for Portsmouth in the general election in March 1690.
    • Spring 1690: conveyed Maria Anna of Neuburg, Charles II of Spain’s future consort, from Flushing to Coruna
    • June 1690: becomes a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty on the Admiralty board led by the Earl of Pembroke
    • July 1690: promoted to Admiral of the Fleet following the debacle at the Battle of Beachy Head
      • Admiral the Earl of Torrinton fell out of favor
    • December 1690: became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.
      • He was fully engaged in providing naval support for the Williamite War in Ireland until the war ended in October 1691
  • Henry Sidney (33)
    • Whig
    • Age: 49
    • Often dismissed as a mere flunkey and court favorite, nevertheless a expert Statesman,
      • an adroitness for manipulating men
    • 1679: entered Parliament
    • 1688: employed by nephew, the 2nd Earl of Sunderland, Robert Spencer to negotiate with William of Orange
    • one of the signatories to, and the actual author of, the cipher sent to the Prince calling for the Glorious Revolution.
    • created Baron Milton and Viscount Sidney by William

Horn & Crown

England: 1690

The specter of war looms over the island kingdom. William III now sits the throne, installed by a bloodless revolution of seven rebellious Protestant nobles. The King in Exile, James II, schemes in France and summons support to his banners. The kingdom is thick with traitors and conspiracies. But something far more insidious crawls beneath the surface — intrigues dark and dangerous that threaten to consume all of Europe in a supernatural battle beyond the comprehension of mankind.

Beneath the streets of London, the Court of Whispers issues a call to all signatories to the Accords in a valiant effort to stem the tide of this apocalyptic conflict. But villains and foes from hidden corners stand to thwart them at any cost.

Meanwhile, you have trailed an old adversary to the city on the Thames. He holds a piece of a puzzle that could yet shine a light in the dark days ahead…

 

Just a little teaser for the next chapter of our home game.

7th Sea Announcement

Big news!

No.  Not about the new Dungeon Master’s Guild or the OGL update from Wizards, though that is newsworthy.  We’ll get to that soon enough.

Now, on the off chance you missed the mission of this blog (fantasy, swashbuckling, and horror roleplaying) or never read my bio, its entirely possible you don’t realize that the announcement for a new edition of 7th Sea last year was HUGE for me and my gaming group.  In fact, one of my players immediately asked, “so, we’re wrapping up Witch Hunter, then?”  Not so fast, Chris.  Plenty of gas left in the tank on that one.  But if I was going to drop everything to try something new, 7th Sea would be in the top 2 position.  (Yes, if WotC announced a new edition of the Dangerous Journeys roleplaying game I would have to drop everything to try it out – assuming I didn’t drop dead from shock).

Well its been a few months of idle speculation with brief bits of news.  And now this shows up in my inbox yesterday.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mr. John Wick:

Hey folks. This is John Wick. I just wanted to thank all of you for taking the time to sign up for this mailing list. We’ve got some exciting news to announce!

In short, 2016 is going to be the “Year of 7th Sea.” We plan on releasing not only a new core book, but new sourcebooks as well. And not just sourcebooks about the Théan nations, oh no. We’ve got huge plans for the world of 7th Sea. Just huge. And we’ll get into all of them, but before we do, let me say this again:

Thank you for letting us know that you’re looking forward to a new edition of the game.

It’s been sixteen years since I last visited the shores of Théah and a lot has changed. I’ve changed, you’ve changed… and Théah has changed. Yes, the continent has undergone some transformations in sixteen years. I suspect you’ll want to know about them. And you’ll also want to know what’s stayed the same. Let’s you and I take a trip across the continent and take a look at some old friends… and some new ones.
My Loyal Crew

First, let me talk a little bit about who’s going to be leading us on this little jaunt. There’s me, of course, but there’s also Mark Diaz Truman. He’s running all the business aspects of the project. Mark’s been in charge of the money matters at JWP since our first Kickstarter, way back in 2012. He’s organizing and designing the forthcoming 7th Sea: Second Edition Kickstarter, and when we launch, he’ll be handling any issues or questions that come up.

Second, there’s the design team: Mike Curry and Rob Justice. Mike and Rob have been friends of mine for a long time and ran the Bear Swarm Podcast for years. They both have keen minds and great insight into what makes a good RPG tick. The three of us have been working on the revised system for 7th Sea (more on that in a moment) and we’ve been talking a lot about how the world.

We’re planning a beautiful book too… so we’ve got some great folks putting together the final layout. Our art director is Marissa Kelly, responsible for the Epyllion game about little dragons and art director for a whole bunch of other companies, including Evil Hat and Storium. Thomas Deeny—you might know him from the newFirefly RPG from MWP—will be handling the graphic design of the Kickstarter and Quick Start.

The More Things Change…

7th Sea: Second Edition is going to see some changes from the first edition. When folks ask me, “What kind of changes?” I often invoke Battletar Galactica. I was a huge fan of the original show—I was ten years old when it came out—and I’m a fan of the reboot as well. In the new BSG, we still had Adama, Apollo, Starbuck, Cylons and everything I loved about the first show. Sure, they had new faces—and in some cases, new genders—but they were still those same characters, just with an updated feel. New special effects, new writing, new cast but same show.

7th Sea: Second Edition is going to feel a lot like that. All the Nations are still there—Avalon, Castille, Vodacce, Ussura, etc.—but a few of them may have slight changes. Three of them have undergone slightly deeper changes. Eisen is going to be a whole lot scarier, for example. When you come across a small town of terrified villagers who look up to the castle on the hill where “the countess” lives… you’ll know you’re in Eisen. Ussura is getting a political facelift plus a new kind of sorcery that replaces shapeshifting. And the Vestenmennavanjar… well, let’s just say you don’t have to choose between “awesome merchant prince” and “awesome Viking raider” anymore; you can have both at the same time.

We’re also adding a new nation to the list: The Sarmatian Commonwealth. I’ve visited Poland twice—going again this year!—and every time I go, I hear the same question: “Why is there no Poland in 7th Sea?” After getting asked this question about a dozen times in an hour, I spent some time researching 17th Century Poland and my answer to that question is now, “Because I was an idiot.” I made a promise the last time I was there that if I ever re-did 7th Sea, I would include Poland. Well, I’m keeping that promise. I’m very excited for the Commonwealth and after you see what we’ve been doing with its politics, sorcery and history, I think you will be, too.

A New Engine

But the big question on most people’s minds is this one: “Are you using d20’s or Roll and Keep?” The answer is… neither.

I love R&K. I helped design it back in the day. But the fact of the matter is, rolling a handful of dice and keeping two of them… isn’t very swashbuckly. If I want to feel like Errol Flynn, if I want to feel like the Dread Pirate Roberts, if I want to feel like Captain Jack Sparrow, I want to throw a handful of dice and use all of them. And that’s the new system we’ve designed for 7th Sea: Second Edition.

We’re still using Trait + Skill (the “Traits are too important” folks are going to be very happy) and we’re still using Raises. Except now, you make Raises after the roll. Which means you get to feel like a Big Damn Hero.

We’ve still got Brute Squads and Villains, but we’ve refined how they work. In fact, a lot of the new system can fall under that category. “We’ve refined how they work.” The new 7th Sea system is fast, elegant and dynamic. It isn’t overly simple and it isn’t like one of my “Little Games.” But I feel it captures the cinematic feel we were going for with the first edition of the game, but didn’t quite reach. RPGs have changed a lot in almost 20 years, and I want 7th Sea to still stand out!

The Kickstarter

I can’t give you an exact date for the Kickstarter just yet, but I can tell you that you should keep your spyglasses on late January/early February. As in, the last week and first week. Yes, it’s that close.

As for when you’ll get a book in your grubby, swashbuckling paws… we want to release the book at Gencon. We’re working ‘round the clock to meet that goal right now. We might miss it… but I’d love to see all of you with 7th Sea: Second Edition books in August. That would put a real big smile on my face.

Expect more updates like this in the next few weeks as we put together the Kickstarter, finalize the system, and put out a Quick Start. Please let your friends know that this email list is the best way to way to get all the newest 7th Sea gossip…

2016 is the Year of 7th Sea. Oil up your swords, lift up them sails and run out the guns! It’s going to be a fantastic year.

 

 

Ok, sure, its your standard press release.  It really doesn’t say much more than, “Get your wallets ready, suckers!”  At least, that’s how my wife would read it.  My one word translation, naturally, is, “SQUEEE!!!!”

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As a bonus, I’ve clipped snippets of the new maps from Wick’s Facebook feed to post here.  Those of you familiar with the original edition can get an idea of the scale of the reboot we are dealing with here.  (And BTW, up til now John Wick’s Facebook feed has been a great source of teasers for the new edition.  Eisen Necromancy, anyone?)

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BTW, the town of Five Sails is apparently straight out of the playtest game.

Thank you.  We now resume our regular programming.

Now excuse me.  I have some work to do on the Court of Whispers.