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Old 01-19-2015, 02:53 PM   #11
Agemegos
 
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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The only Frankish coin around seems to be the denier, worth $4 (240 to the pound). There may be other from other realms, of course.
The Carolingian pound was about 326 grammes. GURPS uses avoirdupois pounds, which are nearly 40% larger. 334 deniers to the pound avoirdupois.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

I was poking around at some history for a vampire game I wanted to run set in the late 1700s, and I was curious where a 1000 year-old vampire would come from, so I did some study on the late 8th century, and this page is the result.

It's chump-change stuff, as far as the more serious historians here are (almost all of it is just from Wikipedia), but you might find it useful.
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:27 PM   #13
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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You know, every time you write chainmail DanHoward dies a little inside... :)

Yes, mail is ok but not mail-and-plates - right? Longswords in GURPS are longer than 40" - is that really something which occurs in the 8th century? Joyeuse, the Emperor's sword, is in GURPS term a broadsword.

The only Frankish coin around seems to be the denier, worth $4 (240 to the pound). There may be other from other realms, of course.
Going by GURPS Vikings in some things, perhaps even many things, could b good. Sure, there are minted coins, and the towns are "civilized" places, but in most parts of the world of the campaign, hack-silver is just as good. Gold coins would be from old Rome, or from the Byzantines (I don't know how much communication there was between Charlemagne and Byzantium, but later during the Ottonian Renaissance, one of the Otto Emperors married a Byzantine princess), or from Moslem lands (and I'm not sure if they minted gold coins that early).

One thing to keep in mind is that Rome isn't long ago, in the 8th or early 9th century.

Charlemagne wasn't trying to start anything new. He was trying to re-create something old, an ideal that's actually still fairly recent. The Western Roman empire fell only a few centuries ago. People still vaguely remember all the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, aqueducts, public health, peace, etc.

Then again, there's also the raw lust for power. You can create the setting as very cynical if you prefer, with Charlemagne simply using the "ideal of Rome" as a vehicle. Or with hi being the only true idealist and everybody else being cynical.

I have that supplement, but I don't actually remember much of it. It left me unusualy underwhelmed (a lot of the page count was spent trying to make AD&D jump through hoops it can't ever become able jump through), but I don't know of a better supplement for that period. At least I don't know that there is a Pendragon one. There ought to be (because its an extremely obvious thing to write and publish) , but when I last looked into it a few years ago, there wasn't.

With paladins (proto-knights-in-inadequately-polished-mail), being a major part of the setting, you ought to try to get yourself a simple system for defining horses, since the individualization of favourite horse of each player character, and each major NPC, would be very likely to be of importance.

GURPS seems to tend towards either full-detail (where each horse has its own freakin' character sheet) or no-detail (all horses are exactly alike). If you can find some house rules, or make them yourself, that offers a compromise, that would be ideal. (Also look into whether thoroughbreds existed in that period - if they do, the PCs may want to try to get friendly with the Saracens, the enemy, in order to trade for better mounts, or even hoping to receive them as gifts).
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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I recently got hold of an old AD&D campaign module called Charlemagne's Paladins. How would you set about roleplaying in 8th-century Francia? It's just on the edge between TL 2 and TL 3, but most of what's important to my players - i.e., weapons and armor - would still be TL 2 (no longswords, mail and plate, etc.) For priests and saints, I'd probably go with some restricted version of Divine Power. The few wizards that existed would use RPM - but no PCs would be allowed to use it! Any other thoughts?
GURPS Divine Power tends to offer some very blatant effects, and that's decidedly suboptimal for historical fantasy. Most often it's preferable to have subtler effects instead. Ones that leave plenty of room for doubt and uncertainty. One that don't enable any one religion to prove to followers of other religions that it is the one religion that is actually true whereas the others are collective delusions with no substance behind them.

The Crusader template offers a few suggestions, in GURPS Monster Hunters. Very much the same concept as a Paladin or a Saint, but the effects are less visible. There are very few actual write-up examples in MH1, but if you read them and can get into the "mindset" behind them, then GURPS has a fairly large amount of building blocks with which you can build many more similar ones.

There's also this old thread, especially the posts from me and Polydamas

You can use some of the suggestions outright for player characters who are Germanics, especially if they're pagan Germanics.

But also, there's the whole mindset, of seeing supernatural as being a much wider concept than just robed wizards shooting fireballs out of their fingertips. The whole stack-of-Skill Talent as a supernatural boon, defined by supernatural Limitations, for instance (an idea originally proposed in GURPS Fantasy).

Christian/Abrahamic powers can often be handled via Luck or Serendipity. Sometimes with a bunch of Limiations, but Aspected doesn't fit. That fits a lot better with polytheism, e.g. where a Germanic pagan sacrifices to a god and in exchange gets Luck or Serendipity or similar that is Aspected towards the portfolio of that god. A Christian or other Abrahamic character is much more likely to get generic (non-Aspected) good fortune, in some cases in exchange for prayer (some kind of Preperation Required).

Healing also fits. After all, that was the main scthick of the Christian prophet. The Healing Power is extremely blatant, though; there are many better options, better in that they're both subtler and cheaper. One thing you can do is simply take a Healing Skill Talent, affecting all medical skills, with Limtiations to represent it as a supernatural power. A stack of 4 ain't so much, but if you allow a stack of 6 or even 8, it could begin to get very interesting. Also you could have half the stack have few Limitations and the other half of the stack having starker Limitations. Another idea of mine is a stack of High TL, Aspected to Medical Only, Enhanced to Works With TL3 Tools (or even Works Without Tools!) and with further Limitations to reflect that it's a supernatural ability.

Another option again, for supernatural healing, one that actually isn't well supported by GURPS' RAW, is the ability to "confer" medically useful Advantages to others. Specifically slower forms of Regeneration (or Rapid Healing). That should be an Enhancement or Limitation reflecting that the trait never benefits the character himself, but only the one target he confers it to, and reflecting how difficult, expensive or time consuming the process is, and whether the character has multiple instances of advantage that he can confer (so that he can have 2 or even 3 or 4 Very Slow Regeneration "out" similtaneously), and also such things as whether the target sleeps constantly for the duration.

GURPS' RAW doesn't support that out of the book, but if you work with good system engineers, you can create it. It's a bit odd but not actually against the "spirit" of GURPS in any way.

Also other Powers. Clairvoyance doesn't really fit Abrahamic well, but could be a powerful ability of a secular, scholarly wizard ("arcane" magic). Or the result of Germanic seidr magic. The later probably may not be correct for the period (the Norse got seidr from Finnish or Lappish shamans, and probably later in the Viking Age - I don't think the Germans ever had it), but could still "feel" right.

And so forth.

Most of the Power-type Advantages in GURPS Powers are silly, but if you modify them with flavourful Limitations (or sometimes Enhancements - Low Signature and No Signature are very good for maintaining room for doubt and uncertainty) they stop being silly and become good, often very good.
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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They didn't wear full plate as I think I said; it just wasn't fashionable at the time. Greeks were wearing breastplates in the time of Socrates...
I would note that this was bronze plate, not steel, and is rather heavy, not significantly better than steel maile, and very expensive.
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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I would note that this was bronze plate, not steel, and is rather heavy, not significantly better than steel maile, and very expensive.
Steel was not specified. The point is that it was available, and certainly someone from Charlemagne's retinue could have some and make a reasonable backstory to justify it.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:51 PM   #17
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

There's a vast difference between cast bronze plates and hammered iron ones. Plate defenses did exist in the period - greaves are listed alongside chausses in documents from his Empire.

Plate, being hammered out, requires a much larger forge to heat and work, which consumes a lot of fuel. It's also entirely skilled labor - linking chain has a skill to it, but not like getting plate right.

Also worth noting that Charlemagne's riders were, to my knowledge, also making use of the javelin at the time, serving primarily as a missile platform before closing to hand.

Also, regarding the supernatural, witch burning was banned in the empire due to the official position being that witches did not exist. Take from that what you will.

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Old 01-20-2015, 06:35 AM   #18
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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GURPS Divine Power tends to offer some very blatant effects, and that's decidedly suboptimal for historical fantasy. Most often it's preferable to have subtler effects instead. Ones that leave plenty of room for doubt and uncertainty. One that don't enable any one religion to prove to followers of other religions that it is the one religion that is actually true whereas the others are collective delusions with no substance behind them.
Another possibility is to use an old idea of mine and use the Bible as a Book for Book Magic.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:15 AM   #19
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

Could try going Darklands style and use the "man proposes, God disposes" mechanism from Thaumatology - PCs use specific "spells" based on reaction rolls from specific Saints.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:55 AM   #20
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

What kind of Code of Honor would the Carolingians use? It's too early for Chivalric. Soldier's? Or some new one?

I think I'll base the Christian Code of Honor on upholding the seven cardinal virtues in order to live a more Christ-like life.
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