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Old 03-03-2011, 12:17 PM   #21
combatmedic
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

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Have more naval warfare. For some reason no one ever thinks about fantasies having naval warfare.
I second the call for more naval warfare.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:59 PM   #22
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

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I second the call for more naval warfare.
Not just warfare, but naval exploration as well. The Renaissance sent the Portuguese to China thanks to Prince Philip the Navigator around Africa, and Spain to the Americas thanks to Columbus, Vespucci, and others. These voyages actually predate the Golden Age of Piracy, the English defeat of the Spanish Armada, and Magellan's circumnavigation voyage by 100-150 years.

And let's face it, what's the Renaissance without a New World to explore?
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:17 PM   #23
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

I really like TBrock's suggestion of a discoveries and a 'New World.'

I have some questions for the OP. What sort of game are you planning to run? Will it be centered in one city? Will the PCs travel far and wide? To which professions will the PCs belong? Are they going to be sailors, soldiers, priests, tradesmen, merchants, artists, or something else?

Once you have a handle on what sort of game you will run, you can make setting choies to fit that mode of play. You'll know on what you need to concentrate, and what can be left sketchy or ignored.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:05 AM   #24
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

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I really like TBrock's suggestion of a discoveries and a 'New World.'

I have some questions for the OP. What sort of game are you planning to run? Will it be centered in one city? Will the PCs travel far and wide? To which professions will the PCs belong? Are they going to be sailors, soldiers, priests, tradesmen, merchants, artists, or something else?

Once you have a handle on what sort of game you will run, you can make setting choies to fit that mode of play. You'll know on what you need to concentrate, and what can be left sketchy or ignored.
This is really a world building project, so I suppose I'm building a sandbox. I'm going to focus the majority of my efforts in support of a campaign for characters from the British Isles or British Isles analog to start, but I can't really narrow it down more than that.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:41 AM   #25
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This is really a world building project, so I suppose I'm building a sandbox. I'm going to focus the majority of my efforts in support of a campaign for characters from the British Isles or British Isles analog to start, but I can't really narrow it down more than that.
Sounds nifty. I like the sandbox approach.

I created a spin -off thread for 'Hyborian Renaisance,' BTW.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:33 PM   #26
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I've been tinkering around with a renaissance inspired setting for a while. The general consensus in other threads has been that a fantasy setting has way more curb appeal than a historically inspired one for most players, so I've started working out something that approximates the renaissance, but is a pure fantasy setting.

What sort of things would you put in this sort of setting or what would you want to see as a player.

Would you want fantasy races? If so how do they fit in.

How would you handle religion. Assuming you don't have Christianity and Islam what replaces it?

What historical elements from the 16th century do you incorporate? What do you mash in from other eras?

What crunchy bits can you think of from this forum such as real world martial arts and real world inspired Path/Book magic would be a good fit?

My overall idea is to approximate real world politics and history, but with lots of secret magic, martial arts, gadgeteering, monsters, and so on thrown in.
To answer my own questions-

I think of this partially as a martial arts setting. I'd like a touch of the samurai epic, but with longsword masters taking on rapier fighters and the like. I'd want to highlight the new and interesting warrior types brought into being by the military revolution. Border Reivers could rub shoulders with Reiters, Landsknecht, Stradiots, Gallowglass, sword-and-buckler men from the Tercios, Seadogs, and Musketeers. Hermetic magic and a bit of Davinci style gadgeteering should also be part of the setting.

I'm neutral about fantasy races. I kind of like the idea of having a few races that are essentially human variants like dwarves, ogres, and gnomes. I also envision having faerie races present at least as NPCs that occasionally make their presence felt. Demons and other spiritual beings might have a role to play as well.

I'm toying with the idea of building a fill in for the Christian church around Aethyr from GURPS Cabal, with them being somewhere between Angels/Demons and Demi-gods running creation for the godhead in Atziluth. That would steer clear of real world religion while giving a nice Hermetic sort of a feel.

For real world elements I want to keep the rivalry between the Anglo-Dutch and the Spanish, but I am thinking about making the Spanish fill ins the thralls of something very sinister, with a touch of the Nazi era thrown in. I'd like to keep the Ottomans and corsairs part of the setting so we can have galley warfare and epic sieges ala Rhodes and Malta. I need a Holy Roman Empire or something similar for all those Reiters and Landsknecht to come from. Ivan the Terrible's Russia is too good to leave out and we need a pseudo-Poland, so we can have winged Hussars.

The whole thing would do well with a whitewash of Robert E. Howard.

For magic I am thinking GURPS Cabal for cosmology, but with Path/Book magic as the primary system. My thought is that everyday people believe in magic and wizards, but magic isn't so pervasive as to be part of everyday life.
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Old 03-05-2011, 10:30 PM   #27
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

If you wonder what this setting might play like, I suggest reading Howard's The Shadow of the Vulture.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:12 AM   #28
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

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Not just warfare, but naval exploration as well. The Renaissance sent the Portuguese to China thanks to Prince Philip the Navigator around Africa, and Spain to the Americas thanks to Columbus, Vespucci, and others. These voyages actually predate the Golden Age of Piracy, the English defeat of the Spanish Armada, and Magellan's circumnavigation voyage by 100-150 years.

And let's face it, what's the Renaissance without a New World to explore?
In point of fact Tolkien had plenty of sea exploration; it is even believed by some fans that he implied that the Numenoreans discovered America(which would explain Pipeweed). However naval warfare has a small part in it, although it is also implied that it does take place between Gondor and Umbar.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:20 PM   #29
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Some important things to keep in mind about the changes from the feudal period, which most traditional fantasy settings are based on, and the Renaissance (if overly simplified): The knight was the best expression of the feudal age, and everything about knights gets supplanted by Renaissance-age developments. He was powerful on the battlefield because of technology like heavy armor and the stirrup -- he's a tank. Gunpowder (and powerful bows and crossbows) can negate the knight's armor and cannons can destroy their castles much faster than seige engines. Only nobles can be knights because only they can afford the armor, horses, and life of military training -- they were both elite miliary units and elite members of society -- the other soldiers were usually commoners conscripted away from their farms and had poor equipment and little training. The growth of a wealthy merchant class begins to knock away the foundations of the noble's economic power, and those merchants can pay for professional soldiers to guard their interests. Weapons like guns and crossbows take very little training to be proficient in (compared to a sword or a bow), and so those armies of conscripted commoners become more effective -- the powerful units are no longer elite armored horsemen but ranks of infantry. These changes didn't happen over night, of course, but it gives you an idea how things are shifting away from the paradigm that supports individuals like the D&D Fighter and Paladin.
It is worth noting that knights adapt. The heavy cavalryman continues to be a force on the battlefield, but changes take place. You can still play a knight- if by a knight you mean a heavily armored horsemen. You add armor of proof and probably 2-3 wheel-lock pistols, but the basic type remains. The knight in full plate or 'man-at-arms' loses his leg armor and becomes either a reiter or a demi-lancer. These types evolve, but continue to make their presence felt into the 19th century.

It's not really accurate to assume that everyone gives up their armor and becomes a swashbuckling musketeer. Plate armor remains normal on the battlefield well into the 17th century and would be used by specialist troops until the dawn of the American Civil War.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:08 PM   #30
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It is worth noting that knights adapt. The heavy cavalryman continues to be a force on the battlefield, but changes take place. You can still play a knight- if by a knight you mean a heavily armored horsemen. You add armor of proof and probably 2-3 wheel-lock pistols, but the basic type remains. The knight in full plate or 'man-at-arms' loses his leg armor and becomes either a reiter or a demi-lancer. These types evolve, but continue to make their presence felt into the 19th century.

It's not really accurate to assume that everyone gives up their armor and becomes a swashbuckling musketeer. Plate armor remains normal on the battlefield well into the 17th century and would be used by specialist troops until the dawn of the American Civil War.
True. I was being pretty general, just trying to take the typical image of the medieval period's premier warrior and use it to show what's different about the Renaissance period.
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