Thursday, December 29, 2016

Colonial Adventures

A latter day Emirikol?

Over the holiday I've been reading The Dark Side of the Enlightenment: Wizards, Alchemists, and Spiritual Seekers in the Age of Reason, and it got me thinking (though not for the first time) about a game set in a slightly alternate history/fantasy version of Colonial America as the Revolutionary War approaches. Such a setting offers plenty of wilderness to be tamed in performance of the Gygaxian ritual, but also political intrigues, mystic cults, and a clash cultures.

Though something like Warhammer Fantasy would work for this, it strikes me that the Adventures in Middle-Earth implementation of D&D 5e would also fit the bill. The de-emphasis of magic better fits a hidden magic or mildly fantastic historical setting. The idea of replacing races with cultures works well. Its Scholar class could probably be a good template for how to implement a Rosicrucian Hermetic Magi, Cabbalist, or Alchemist. The Wanderer could form the basis of a magic-free Frontier Ranger. There would still be some bases to be covered: Some sort of depowered Warlock would be useful for hidden New England witches and a less magically Bard raconteur/agitator (though maybe better handled as a thief?).

Of course this territory has been somewhat mined by game systems to some degree before (Colonial Gothic and Northern Crown, I'm aware of), so there are other places to steal ideas.


Anonymous said...

I'll suggest my own OGL game “Ghastly Affair”, which is made to handle Gothic stories set in the period between 1765 to 1820. The Player's Manual and Presenter's Manual are currently available in print on Amazon. The rules assume game play in Europe, but adapting the game to other locations (such as Colonial America) would be trivial.

You can find out more about the game here:

Trey said...

Thanks for the link!

David Baymiller said...

If you haven't watched it the fox series Sleepy Hollow has similar ideas. That show as well as Colonial Gothic and the TV show Salem are three of the main Inspirations for my own Colonial games. The shows are definitely worth checking out for ideas.

Jon Bupp said...

I definitely want to set a future campaign in Colonial times. I was actually thinking of doing a "trilogy" of sorts with a Roanoke, Revolution era, and Louisiana Purchase/Lewis and Clark.

John Q said...

I've been pondering a fantasy Colonial America for a while. I'd considered just adapting Northern Crown but I'd rather stay closer to 'real' history. I like the idea of using Adv in Middle Earth as a rules source. I'll have to give it a look. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Trey said...

@Dave - I'm a big Salem fan, but I sort of dropped off of Sleepy Hollow early on. Maybe I should give it another chance.
@Jon Bupp - Sounds cool!
@John Q - Thanks! Like you, I think Northern Crown goes a little far afield, but it has some interesting stuff.