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Old 01-19-2012, 02:10 PM   #11
vitruvian
 
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Default Re: Ideas for Fantastical France?

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Originally Posted by Huscurian View Post
Interesting. I do know that England and France have been at war with each other for so long they'd want to cut each other's throats. I may not know a lot about the Middle Ages but the 1500s I put in would have been in the beginning of another war between France and England.
For reference, the 1500s is the century of Henry VIII and Elizabeth on the English side, Louis XII through Henry IV on the French side, and there were a few wars in there (notably Henry VIII allying with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V against the French). This is the era of guns becoming really important in warfare, religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, colonization of the New World (France acquires Quebec early in the century), with the printing press, telescopes, scientists from Da Vinci to Tycho Brahe to Galileo right towards the end, etc. If you want High Medieval as opposed to Renaissance, you might want to go back a century or two.

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Originally Posted by Huscurian View Post
As for the relics of pagan Rome or no longer understood magical powers, the PCs cannot have magic since magic is rarely sought out. I would assume, from my fictional viewpoint, that France used to know magic in the times of the Roman Empire as the Gauls but that knowledge had died out slowly.
Funny, the 1500s was the time of the historical Faust, Pico della Mirandola, Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus (from whom we get the term elementals), Nostradamus, John Dee, and Judah Loew (supposed creator of the Golem of Prague). The people of the time believed that it was a time of resurgence in magical knowledge, if anything.

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Originally Posted by Huscurian View Post
While Rome may have relics with magical properties, it is likely these relics were sacked, taken, or robbed and sold to others. France may possess some of them but the King likely would have had them.
Historically, large numbers of relics that supposedly possessed miraculous powers could be found at all kinds of local churches and holy sites. You can certainly have these all be frauds, if you wish, but the King having them all seems unlikely - things were nowhere near as unified as we're used to.


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I like those ideas. I may use those for the serious version. I might, just might include Nostradamus as a small cameo in Paris, screaming and hollering about predictions, etc. :P I think my players might find that ... "er, ahem, odd."
That would be.... odd, considering Nostradamus only gave his supposed prophecies in print, and had no need to roam the streets in any case, being invited by the consort to the palace...
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: Ideas for Fantastical France?

Two things. First, I want to point out that "dauphin" is pronounced like "doe fawn" (but drop the w sound). Audio of someone saying, "un dauphin" here: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/File:Fr-dauphin.ogg

Second, the things I used in my fantasy France game were:
The city of Rennes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennes) which was actually a part of Brittany at the beginning of the 16th century, and became a part of France in 1532. It really just has some fascinating culture and history, in my opinion.
Rennes-le-Château (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennes-le-Ch%C3%A2teau) which is in southern France, has no association with Rennes, and has some wonderful conspiracy theories connected to it.
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:58 AM   #13
fredtheobviouspseudonym
 
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Default Don't sell Catherine de Medici short --

while she won't be swinging a sword herself as Queen of France, and a Medici to boot, she can acquire world-class champions in any field.

Oh -- IIRC the musket (or handgonne) was pretty common after c. 1505. For a short look at the warfare of that era, I'd suggest the Osprey book on Pavia -- covers the French, Spanish, German, and Swiss military systems of that era. Lots on individuals, national rivalries (hint -- do NOT brigade Switzers and Landsknechts together, even if you're paying both of them).

One note -- the Spanish had the Caribbean their own until, IIRC, 1519, when a batch of French galleys crossed the Atlantic and began to maraud. Yes, galleys. Frenchmen, not Dutch or English, were the first corsairs on the Spanish Main.
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:58 AM   #14
Michele
 
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Default Re: Ideas for Fantastical France?

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Originally Posted by vitruvian View Post

Funny, the 1500s was the time of the historical Faust, Pico della Mirandola, Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus (from whom we get the term elementals), Nostradamus, John Dee, and Judah Loew (supposed creator of the Golem of Prague). The people of the time believed that it was a time of resurgence in magical knowledge, if anything.
Agree with that, it's not for nothing that I mentioned Agrippa and Paracelsus and Nostradamus upthread.
It could be argued, however, that these people didn't see themselves as "wizards" in the medieval sense, nor as "sibyls" in the Roman sense; we're probably better off thinking that they had a broad definition of "natural sciences". Alchemists and astrologists, generally speaking, didn't think they were dealing with supernatural forces, but, rather, with natural ones that were not yet fully understood.
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Old 01-20-2012, 07:14 AM   #15
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Default Re: Ideas for Fantastical France?

Remembering a book on French Folklore and Folktales I read long ago (and I suggest you find a book like that at your library), the author said that by the end of the Middle Ages the French had pretty much reduced all supernatural beings (other than religious figures and humans with powers) to Fairies/Fees, Mermaids, Dwarfs, and Ogres.

The Fees were basically immortal humans with vast magical powers and caprious habits.

The Mer-folk were underwater Fees.

The Dwarfs were basically Fee peasants, though often rich and magically powerful.

And the Ogres were beautiful Fees with superhuman strength, razor sharp teeth, lots of magic, and a taste for human flesh.
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:41 AM   #16
vitruvian
 
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Default Re: Ideas for Fantastical France?

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
Remembering a book on French Folklore and Folktales I read long ago (and I suggest you find a book like that at your library), the author said that by the end of the Middle Ages the French had pretty much reduced all supernatural beings (other than religious figures and humans with powers) to Fairies/Fees, Mermaids, Dwarfs, and Ogres.

The Fees were basically immortal humans with vast magical powers and caprious habits.

The Mer-folk were underwater Fees.

The Dwarfs were basically Fee peasants, though often rich and magically powerful.

And the Ogres were beautiful Fees with superhuman strength, razor sharp teeth, lots of magic, and a taste for human flesh.
That author seems to have forgotten about talking/anthropomorphized animals, werewolves, dragons, Goeblins (although they may fall under Dwarfs), and a few others...
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:50 AM   #17
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Default Re: Ideas for Fantastical France?

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That author seems to have forgotten about talking/anthropomorphized animals, werewolves, dragons, Goeblins (although they may fall under Dwarfs), and a few others...
Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel, a comedic story of two giants, might also be worth a look.

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Old 01-20-2012, 01:04 PM   #18
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Default Re: Ideas for Fantastical France?

Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions is set in a world based on the stories of Charlemagne and his knight. (It also was a major source of inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons, so you will find some familiar things in it)

Another secondary source is Bullfinch's Mythology, which devotes one of it's volumes to The Age of Chivarly, retelling some of the stories of Orlando and his fellow-knights.

You might also consider looking up the Song of Roland.

In these stories the Moors are the big threat. By the time your campaign is set, presumably they are not as immediate a danger to France as they were in the time of Charles Martel, but they are still a presence. They can add a touch of exotic culture and/or magic; or even a threat if, for example, the characters are travelling in Spain or sailing across the Mediteranian.

Oh, I just though of another possible source of ideas. A Midsummer's Tempest, again by Poul Anderson. This one is set during Cromwell's Revolution in an alternate world in which magic exists and all of Shakespeare's plays were historical events -- even the ones with the faeries. Later than your time period, I know, but a good story and worth reading.

Still later is a graphic novel entitled Here Comes a Candle by Mary Hanson-Roberts, a furry adventure taking the descendants of Puss in Boots and other fairy tale critters and putting them in the middle of the French Revolution.
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Old 01-20-2012, 01:13 PM   #19
vitruvian
 
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Default Re: Ideas for Fantastical France?

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Originally Posted by quarkstomper View Post
Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions is set in a world based on the stories of Charlemagne and his knight. (It also was a major source of inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons, so you will find some familiar things in it)

Another secondary source is Bullfinch's Mythology, which devotes one of it's volumes to The Age of Chivarly, retelling some of the stories of Orlando and his fellow-knights.

You might also consider looking up the Song of Roland.

In these stories the Moors are the big threat. By the time your campaign is set, presumably they are not as immediate a danger to France as they were in the time of Charles Martel, but they are still a presence. They can add a touch of exotic culture and/or magic; or even a threat if, for example, the characters are travelling in Spain or sailing across the Mediteranian.
Not in Spain any longer. This is Habsburg Spain, with some property over the Gibraltar Strait in North Africa taken away from the Moors.

But all of the Matter of France is fair game for legacy stuff, to be sure... one could find Durandal, or Malagigi's spellbooks, or I believe Huon may have been taken away by the faeries to live up to the current time period and could be an NPC. If they travel to Germany, they could equally try to rescue Tannhauser from the Venusberg.
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Old 01-20-2012, 01:54 PM   #20
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Default Re: Ideas for Fantastical France?

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Originally Posted by vitruvian View Post
For reference, the 1500s is the century of Henry VIII and Elizabeth on the English side, Louis XII through Henry IV on the French side, and there were a few wars in there (notably Henry VIII allying with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V against the French). This is the era of guns becoming really important in warfare, religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, colonization of the New World (France acquires Quebec early in the century), with the printing press, telescopes, scientists from Da Vinci to Tycho Brahe to Galileo right towards the end, etc. If you want High Medieval as opposed to Renaissance, you might want to go back a century or two.
That's interesting. Those types of historical figures has me wanting to make them NPCs, vastly powerful/secretive/stigmatized and what not. These could play an important part in the serious version.

I have thought about the High Medieval outlook along with the Renaissance and decided that I wanted to fuse together swords/shields with early guns (such as the arquebusier units)

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Originally Posted by vitruvian View Post
The people of the time believed that it was a time of resurgence in magical knowledge, if anything.
Heh, that is funny. Perhaps while the French government downplays magic via Catherine Medici to remove the most dangerous threats, there would perhaps be others who might believe in that resurgence and it proves that magic does exist.

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Originally Posted by vitruvian View Post
Historically, large numbers of relics ... could be found at all kinds of local churches and holy sites. You can certainly have these all be frauds, if you wish, but the King having them all seems unlikely - things were nowhere near as unified as we're used to.
So... that would include the RCC, Protestants, Lutherans, etc.? Possibly that they're all frauds for the sake of religion but let's not get too ahead here.

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Originally Posted by vitruvian View Post
That would be.... odd, considering Nostradamus only gave his supposed prophecies in print, and had no need to roam the streets in any case, being invited by the consort to the palace...
I may do that. Just make Nostradamus appear before the players, scream out predictions, etc. Maybe have one of the players roll a die to figure out what future they'll have. ;)

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Originally Posted by Hockney View Post
Two things. First, I want to point out that "dauphin" is pronounced like "doe fawn" ... Second, the things I used in my fantasy France game were: The city of Rennes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennes) which was actually a part of Brittany at the beginning of the 16th century, and became a part of France in 1532. It really just has some fascinating culture and history, in my opinion. Rennes-le-Château (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennes-le-Ch%C3%A2teau) which is in southern France, has no association with Rennes, and has some wonderful conspiracy theories connected to it.
Thanks for the sources on Renne. I have a France map dated 1490s to 1530s that outlines the territories of France so it's the primary map for all players "trekking" across the French landscape. England, Germany, and Spain all have 1-3 towns listed but not as much. Brittany, New Orleans, Languedoc, Aquitaine, etc. and more are on the map.

As for the source on un daw-fa(w)n, thanks for the pronounciation. I thought it sounded like Daw-pfun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredtheobviouspseudonym View Post
while she won't be swinging a sword herself as Queen of France, and a Medici to boot, she can acquire world-class champions in any field.

Oh -- IIRC the musket (or handgonne) was pretty common after c. 1505. For a short look at the warfare of that era, I'd suggest the Osprey book on Pavia -- covers the French, Spanish, German, and Swiss military systems of that era. Lots on individuals, national rivalries (hint -- do NOT brigade ....
That's what the French called it when it came to the guns? Handgonne? That would equate to "handgun"? I do know for a fact that arquebusiers are NOT musketeers, or line infantry with longer rifles and that they're equipped with a handgun that must be reloaded with powder, a mini-ball, and then fired. In this Fantasitical France, or the more serious one, the arquebusiers may be more proficient with firearms but are weaker in swordsfights. Put a Musketeer (the Andre Dumas version) against an arquebusier in a swordfight... Most likely Porthos, Athos, or D'Artagnan would've won. In a gunfight, depends on if they dodge!

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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Alchemists and astrologists, generally speaking, didn't think they were dealing with supernatural forces, but, rather, with natural ones that were not yet fully understood.
I didn't think of it that way. If anything by magic, I considered that they believed in the supernatural, that the mysticism and its mysteries often drew crowds of believers, whether it be druids, pagans, witches, satanists, etc. that they rather have a misguided perception of what magic is and what is not, or at least a rudimentary understanding of what the supernatural contained.

It was also considered in Roman times when a man was selected for a substitutionary death, he would die because Romans on the living veil were curious of what lies beyond the realm of death. They wanted to see and hear from him if he ever comes back, when he EVER WILL come back. They have a morbid sense of that belief and they had NO ONE to come back to prove that there was something beyond. That was a rudimentary understanding, albeit with false logic and a lack of common sense when it came to life and death. It's like the same with satanists, druids, pagans, etc.

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
Remembering a book on French Folklore and Folktales I read long ago (and I suggest you find a book like that at your library), the author said that by the end of the Middle Ages the French had pretty much reduced all supernatural beings (other than religious figures and humans with powers) to Fairies/Fees, Mermaids, Dwarfs, and Ogres.

The Fees were basically immortal humans with vast magical powers and caprious habits.

The Mer-folk were underwater Fees.

The Dwarfs were basically Fee peasants, though often rich and magically powerful.

And the Ogres were beautiful Fees with superhuman strength, razor sharp teeth, lots of magic, and a taste for human flesh.
That is indeed interesting. You have me more intrigued with the collection of peoples in your post and it is no wonder that France does have some good influential authors of their time.

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel, a comedic story of two giants, might also be worth a look.

Bill Stoddard
A previous poster recommended it and I will be looking into it more deeply when I have more time to work on FF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quarkstomper View Post
Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions is set in a world based on the stories of Charlemagne and his knight. (It also was a major source of inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons, so you will find some familiar things in it)

Another secondary source is Bullfinch's Mythology, which devotes one of it's volumes to The Age of Chivarly, retelling some of the stories of Orlando and his fellow-knights.

You might also consider looking up the Song of Roland.

In these stories the Moors are the big threat. By the time your campaign is set, presumably they are not as immediate a danger to France as they were in the time of Charles Martel, but they are still a presence. They can add a touch of exotic culture and/or magic; or even a threat if, for example, the characters are travelling in Spain or sailing across the Mediteranian.

Oh, I just though of another possible source of ideas. A Midsummer's Tempest, again by Poul Anderson. This one is set during Cromwell's Revolution in an alternate world in which magic exists and all of Shakespeare's plays were historical events -- even the ones with the faeries. Later than your time period, I know, but a good story and worth reading.

Still later is a graphic novel entitled Here Comes a Candle by Mary Hanson-Roberts, a furry adventure taking the descendants of Puss in Boots and other fairy tale critters and putting them in the middle of the French Revolution.
I'll see if I can obtain a copy of Bullfinch's Mythoogy; and my dad has a copy of a old book that contained mythologies of the world! Not sure what the name of the book was but it was A LOT of material!

The Moors? I assume the Moors did come from Africa before migrating to Spain? Right now, I'm currently deciding whether to keep Spain Habsburg free or not. I may think that the Hapsburgs may be an interesting foe for France, though not too strong early on. They might later.

I have not read many of Poul Anderson's books but I will look into it.

As for Puss in Boots, is that the same Puss in Boots from Shrek? What a cute furry cat, if that's really him! :P I do find the catnip scene too funny in the 3rd movie in Far Far Far Away Land.

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Originally Posted by vitruvian View Post
But all of the Matter of France is fair game for legacy stuff, to be sure... one could find Durandal, or Malagigi's spellbooks, or I believe Huon may have been taken away by the faeries to live up to the current time period and could be an NPC. If they travel to Germany, they could equally try to rescue Tannhauser from the Venusberg.
Can you explain to me what/who is Durandal or Malagigi? Huon? What about Tannhauser? What is the Venusbergs? Are they a faction?
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