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Old 01-19-2015, 06:45 AM   #1
Anders
 
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Default Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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?
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:17 AM   #2
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(no longswords, mail and plate, etc.)
Chainmail and carolingian longswords are OK for 8th century. Actually, production of carolingian longswords in Europe is associated with Charlemagne's reign.
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:40 AM   #4
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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.
Francian region is not my strong point, but no plate armor is right.

Concerning longswords, now I see that this English term is not just opposite to short sword, and it's usually used to describe later type of sword. Actually, I knew it, but somehow supposed that carolingian sword can barely fit this category (possibly it can't).
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
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?
I agree that Latin Christendom and barbaricum are clearly TL 2 in Charlemagne's day (and a TL 2 with less cool toys than a Roman TL 2). One idea would be to take the Carolingian world-picture and run with it, so there are dog-men in distant valleys and man-eaters on the steppe, holy men commit showy miracles, and demons appear on cabbages, while fate and the old gods can cause trouble as well.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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Francian region is not my strong point, but no plate armor is right.

Concerning longswords, now I see that this English term is not just opposite to short sword, and it's usually used to describe later type of sword. Actually, I knew it, but somehow supposed that carolingian sword can barely fit this category (possibly it can't).
The most specific English meaning of "longsword," and the one which GURPS uses, is a straight two-edged sword about four feet long with a grip for both hands. They first appear in the fourteenth century and fall out of use in the sixteenth. Carolingian spathae are about the same size as big Roman or Iron Age swords.

The most specific English meaning of "mail and plates," and the one which GURPS uses, is armour of small plates joined by maille.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:14 AM   #7
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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Francian region is not my strong point, but no plate armor is right.
Note here Anders is talking about a type of armor called Mail and Plates, which consists of a mail backing with relatively small metal plates attached. Proper plate armor consists of large plates, typically with mail voiders at the joints and the like.

Low Tech notes they came to be sometime around the 14th century, so a lack of such would indeed be appropriate.

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Originally Posted by Erling View Post
Concerning longswords, now I see that this English term is not just opposite to short sword, and it's usually used to describe later type of sword. Actually, I knew it, but somehow supposed that carolingian sword can barely fit this category (possibly it can't).
Longswords in GURPS are Reach 1,2 weapons that can be used in one or both hands - they're a slightly lighter version of the bastard sword. The weapons referred to as longswords in most modern writings and games are what GURPS calls broadswords (a more appropriate term, I think, is arming sword, but that doesn't flow as readily). A quick search indicates Carolingian longswords are around 100 cm in total length, which would be appropriate for a GURPS broadsword.
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
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.
I should think the main thing you would not have is full plate. Mail in point of fact is a more tech-intensive product than plate which is a fairly simple idea. What they did not have is the massive amounts of plate common in the latter Middle Ages. Probably any improvement would be in metalurgy; the concept of plate is fairly basic. If a Frankish knight acquired a brestplate somehow(say he was on a diplomatic mission to Byzantium and saw one for sale) it would not be odd. What would be odd would be one dressed in one of the ornamental suits found in English mansions which are usually tournament dress anyway, and not for campaign.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
I should think the main thing you would not have is full plate. Mail in point of fact is a more tech-intensive product than plate which is a fairly simple idea. What they did not have is the massive amounts of plate common in the latter Middle Ages. Probably any improvement would be in metalurgy; the concept of plate is fairly basic. If a Frankish knight acquired a brestplate somehow(say he was on a diplomatic mission to Byzantium and saw one for sale) it would not be odd. What would be odd would be one dressed in one of the ornamental suits found in English mansions which are usually tournament dress anyway, and not for campaign.
How would he get a breastplate from Constantinople? The Eastern Romans didn't wear plate Armor.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Charlemagne's Paladins - roleplaying in the 8th century

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How would he get a breastplate from Constantinople? The Eastern Romans didn't wear plate Armor.
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. It is a fairly simple concept. If nothing else he could have ordered it, and a local smithy produced it-better then what a Frankish smith could have. Or he could have bought an antique. Constantinople was mentioned not least because it is a center of artisanship. Or it could have been bought from a merchant in transit. And in any case, saying they "didn't" wear it is hyperbole. A warrior wore what he favored. It would be more accurate to say they generally favored scale.

There are lots of ways to imagine such a thing happening. Full plate in Medieval style is what is not available. Not partial plate.
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