After an amusing but unsatisfying turn at superheroes (NEWSFLASH -- Batman-style vigilantes are sexy, but not very romantic), Robin and I have turned to swashbuckling again. I really, really want to run some good swordfights and the Age of Sail is far more romantic than the streets of Hudson City.
I'm trying to work in a deliberate tongue-in-cheek humor by having all the characters named after wines -- Madamoiselle de Malbec, Duc du Burgundy, Marquise du Chablis, Monsieur de Pinot Noir. I'm having a lot of fun with the names; we're making an effort to sample French wines right now and we've concluded we don't like Burgundy-style wines, so all the Burgundy styles and grapes get to be the bad guys.
I wasn't exactly sure of the era when we played the first two games, but I've decided it must be about 1740 or so (I played the first couple of games as closer to 1660, but that just isn't going to work). Enlightened thought is on the rise but nobody's trying to cut the heads off nobles yet, Baroque fashion is in, there's indoor water closets etc. I intimated in the first couple of games that Fake France was at war with Fake Spain as a holdover from trying to force the game into the reign of Louis XIV instead of Louis XV, but I can just handwave that. (In fact, the cessation of hostilities would be a great opportunity to introduce some dashing Spaniards into the mix! And then I can start the Fake War of the Fake Austrian Succession!) Life is glittering and fabulous and people occasionally stab each other with smallswords or shoot each other with flintlocks.
What the heck am I going to call Casanova? Sangiovese?
The admittedly vague concept I have for the world is that the cult of Dionysus became the dominant mystery cult in classical Rome instead of Christianity, and the place of maenads and bacchantes in Dionysus' worship has led to a world with the equality of the sexes prerequisite for playing a game with one's wife in which she doesn't want to be treated as a freak. All the nations have classical Roman names like Gallia and Hispania and Pannonia; the Ottoman-like foreign empire a couple of countries over either worships Tammuz or is populated with people named after coffee (I'm not sure). I'm not sure I really need to detail any of that to make the game entertaining.
What I really don't know about yet is whether there are monsters. We've agreed that there's going to be alchemy in line with the anime "Chevalier D'Eon," but I'm unsure about monsters. Hmm...