Stop Teasing Me, Swashbucklers!

The BBC's new Musketeers
Back when I first started this blog, my concentration was on swashbuckling adventure of the Zorro and pirates variety.  The King is Dead has gotten to be more of an espionage setting than a sword-swinging one and my heart yearns for some uncomplicated derring-do even though I should really be concentrating on TKID and Steamscapes: Asia.  If the presence of the BBC's new Musketeers wasn't enough to distract me, recent RPG activity on the internets isn't helping at all. 

The Queen's Cavaliers: A Baroque, Clockpunk Swashbuckling Adventure Game.

Back before he sailed off to ports unknown, the always-awesome Mike of Really Bad Eggs did an interview with Caoimhe Ora Snow about her upcoming swashbuckling setting: The Queen’s Cavaliers.  Snow has recently launched a design blog for the setting in preparation for its inevitable Kickstarter, and I have to admit I’m pretty intrigued.

The Queen's Cavaliers uses an overtly inclusive, progressive alternate history as its antidote to the fact that the French aristocracy were assholes (as opposed to my take in turning them into literal vampires to be hunted down and destroyed) and so allows players to adventure in a world of romance and high adventure without feeling bad about supporting a parasitical ruling class. 

I wish I'd been in on the playtests for this one.

Speaking of Mike, he's returned for a brief post complaining about the metafictive conceits of FATE Core.  I try not to be an old codger, but I have to admit that I'm sympathetic to Mike's position.  The metafictive structure of story games like FATE and the Powered by the Apocalypse engine just doesn't work with duet games; they rely too much on leveraging the extra-diagetic social dynamics of the playing group and are useless for one player and one GM.  I bought Monsterhearts during the GM's Day sale and was disappointed to realize that a game with "Sex Moves" for the characters couldn't actually be played by a consenting couple.  That is just plain bad design, people!

Meanwhile, even Jack Shear -- professor of Gothic Gothiness -- has gotten a hankering for happy, fun swashbuckling over at Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque and cooked up a quick setting sketch for Pulau-Pulau from the Bruce Campbell-starring TV series Jack of All Trades.  Not fair, dude!

Finally, the Bundle of Holding for the next three days includes the swashbuckling games Honor + Intrigue and Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies.  I wouldn't know about it if they hadn't quoted my review of Honor + Intrigue.  Grr...  I just blew my gaming budget for the month on Monsterhearts and Monster of the Week; I don't have $16 to get Swashbucklers... and Hellas and a couple of cool-looking sword-and-sorcery games...
Speaking of Honor + Intrigue, I think I've come up with a patch to fix the high percentage of failed rolls: lower the base difficulty to 6 and keep the super-success threshold at 12.  That way, success is pretty easy on its 2d6+modifier system but the GM doesn't need to knock himself out thinking up unique twists for super-successes all the damned time (plus "6 on 2d6" just plain sounds intuitive and easy to remember).


  1. Just so you know, the kickstarter for The Queen's Cavaliers has launched:

    1. I signed up for the Prefundia alert weeks ago and backed at the early-bird special price this morning!


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