Regency/Arthuriana: Notes Toward a Setting
Lots of different little questions and ideas pop into my head as I switch tracks to begin work on the Regency/Arthuriana setting. Since I’m happy to get feedback on this project, I thought I’d just jot down some of my notes on the blog. (This will also help make sure I don’t lose them.) Feel free to comment!
How’s “Greater Albion” for a setting name? I’m not sure it works as the actual name of the book, but I kind of like it for the alternate history Great Britain itself.
I think a case could be made to include all of the standard Savage Worlds Arcane Backgrounds in the setting, but I’m not sure that’s wise.
· When you look at Arthurian legend and try to map it to SW, you could certainly argue that Gawain’s super-strength that waxes and wanes with the movement of the sun is a Super Power – but is that an argument in favor of including it in the setting? Strange innate abilities could conceivably come from having faerie ancestors (not just fairies, but also giants and goblins and pagan gods) but allowing those might tip the setting into seriously goofy territory.
· By the same token, psychic powers like mind-reading and telepathy have often been linked to faerie. Hmm… I guess if the X-Men don’t differentiate between brain powers and body powers than I can lump them all into faerie gifts as well. That would just be fluff, though; they’d still function as their separate Arcane Backgrounds.
· The Regency really is the beginning of the Steam Age, but I have next to no interest in Steampunk. I guess I can just leave the option in there and let PCs be the first of a new generation of mad scientists.
Magic works just like the core rules – in other words, you have to buy a new Power with an advance. While I want magic to appear in this “Greater Albion,” I don’t want it to turn into the magical overload of the Forgotten Realms. Magic is a very, very demanding practice and a magician sacrifices much for perfection of the Art.
· Ritual magic will enable extending durations and effects for AB: Magic and Miracles Powers. That will rather naturally make Magic and Miracles the most popular Arcane Backgrounds regardless of whether I allow Super Powers, Weird Science, and whatever psychic powers are called.
· I can already see that “Boost/Lower Trait” is going to be the most popular Power. I should probably include some notes on it boosting Charisma as well (+1 with a success, +2 with a raise seems obvious.)
Part of the whole concept of doing an alternate history Regency is using it as an opportunity to open up options for players and GMs. 99% of my gaming is done as duets with my wife, so I need this to be a setting where she can have fun – and mooning after Mr. Darcy gets boring for women too. That said, I don’t want it to be so alternate to history that it doesn’t resemble the familiar, Jane Austen Regency so it’s going to be a tightrope walk.
· Even though the legal status of women in Greater Albion is much improved over their historical contemporaries (because of the increased preservation of Roman culture), social mores are still quite similar so women who aren’t willing to risk social censure to break tradition have fewer outlets for their talents than men (just as it was in classical Rome). This means in game terms that they have more chances to devote Advances to magic. The legacy of enchantresses like Nimue and the various Elaines remains strong in Greater Albion.
· Princess Charlotte is probably more than a little like Princess Alusair of Cormyr.
· There is a small cadre of female soldiers named after Britomart (from The Faerie Queene) serving in the Napoleonic Wars. They are not a fiendish plot of Cardinal Richelieu.
· Just how much of The Mists of Avalon is alive in this setting?
Duels amongst nobles are fought with swords, not guns.
· There’s lots and lots of swordfights.