I’ve been playing a lot in the past few months. A lot means playing Elder Dragon Highlander during the lunch break with Simon plus a few games now and then, WHFRP on a Thursday night with my s/o’s group, AFG on Saturdays on Google Plus, AFG on Sundays with the Glasgwegian Usual Suspects. I feel like I should be spending a few words on the games because they all rock in their own quirky different ways.
The Saturday game started with me getting a new iMac and broadband connection and a massive urge to try those FLAILSNAILS things that has been going around the intertubes recently. The idea of running a campaign set in a Mythic Europe sort of setting was alluring, where superstitions are real, the divine is present through relics and monsters are in the thick of the woods. Being born and raised in the countryside near Milan, where remains of Medieval and Renaissance architecture and art are still present, the Duchy of Milan and Lombardy felt perfect as settings. After spending a few good hours on Wikipedia trying to frame the historical period I set on running Fantasy F*uckin’ Milan in Spring 1491.
Because this man was awesome:
He married this super-awesome woman:
and together they brought fancy people at their court, including these two exceedingly awesome dudes:
I should probably mention that the man above was the regent, not the duke, and that he had awesome mistresses floating around too, like:
The Duke was his useless nephew, until he died of apparently too much sex.
And that the period is fraught with crazy peninsular politics, foreign invasions regularly repelled (at least until 1498), condottieri, the discovery of a new continent is going to happen in about 18 months. And Milan was only one of the burgeoning powers of Renaissance Italy: Florence, Genoa, Venice, Pisa, the Papal State, Naples.
I kicked off by having the PC attending mass in the Cathedral for the Rite of the Cloud. The Archbishop is hoisted up to the dome, removes the Nail of the True Cross and brings it down to be shown to the worshippers. Only this time someone forgot to hoist the bishop down, pulled him through the incomplete roof (that church took 700 years to complete, they installed the last stained glass windows when I was a kid), yoinked the Nail and legged. The PCs (Giovannuccio da Castellazzo and Marcone da Verona) caught one of the thieves and recovered the nail, while the other thief fled west on horseback.
After giving the nail back to the
Duke Regent, the Regent charged them with pursuing the thief and report. They got horses, left westwards toward the neighbouring town of Rho: the caught thief confessed that the theft was commissioned by a shady dude he never met before and he was supposed to give the Nail to a dude with a green hat waiting outside the Cappuccini convent in Rho. On they way they met a lot of people fleeing from the basilisk (poisoning variety) that appeared in the church square. Fearlessly they continued.
So, what’s the first thing the characters did in town?
They stole boots from corpses, like proper murderhobos. You go to Italy and you shop for shoes as soon as.
Shenanigans followed up, involving the convent librarian Fiar Martino remembering that the Naturalis Historia by Pliny the Elder explains how to kill the basilisk, the convent copy being stolen from his library the day before the basilisk showed up, a lecherous friar and a sassy burglarix, an ermin, a lobster, a frog and a nigtingale. And an old walled door in the convent basement nobody wants to talk about. And the wanting of a trebouchet. And way, way to many mass attendings.
So it happens that the group managed to recover a stack of stolen books, gained a sassy contact in Legnano, caught an ermine and used it to kill the basilisk. A party was thrown in their honour, they gained a level and another accomplishment, met Leonardo da Vinci and sold him the basilisk corpse.
All of the adventuring above comes from 10 Wikipedia pages or less. Just open the Wiki, take notes and play. Historical adventuring is hated by the Game Police, but try to chill: your history professor won’t be around to lament that you forgot that, hey, these walls were not there yet, Milan doesn’t have an armorer guild, tobacco was not available yet in Europe, the above awesome map is from much much later on. Stop caring, think about running a smooth, enjoyable game. If you manage to cram these details in without being boring it’s gonna be much better, but if you don’t chill and be smooth, the Game Police is going to catch you only if you let them.
So, yeah, that’s how I roll on half of my Saturdays. The other half are Western League sessions. Mopre on that later.