Campaign of the Month: August 2011
Le Ballet de l'Acier
Le Ballet de l'Acier – The Dance of Steel – is a swashbuckling adventure campaign set in 17th century France for the Flashing Blades roleplaying game. This is the age of D'Artagnan and Diego Alatriste, Gil de Berault and Percy Blakeney, Cyrano de Bergerac and the marquis de Bardelys, Lady Clarick de Winter and Madeleine de Maupin, an age of honor and intrigue, where a stout heart, a strong wrist, and cold steel could bring fortune or death.
|“Just wanted to say that I’m blown away by the incredible detail of this campaign setting. Simply amazing!” – Mark Pettigrew, designer of Flashing Blades|
Le Ballet de l'Acier Comments
Don’t know if you are ever on the lookout for additional resource material, but if so, two I recommend are:
Koenigsberger, H. G. (1987). Early Modern Europe 1500-1789. Longman Group UK Limited: Harlow, England. Illustrated history emphasizing transition from medieval to early modern period, reformation and counter-reformation, Louis XIV-era dominance, the scientific revolution, and the agrarian period leading up to the industrial revolution.
Kamen, H. (1994). European Society 1500-1700. Routledge: London. Socio-historical review of populations, economics, class systems, communication, rebellions, absolutism.
Neither are role-playing game specific, of course, but if nothing else the texts are solid overviews whether filling out a historical role-playing setting or simply interested in history of the period.
Robert – thanks, and that’s a great idea for a blog post about references and resources; I’ll post a link when it’s up.
Atwault – thanks as well. I don’t run play-by-post anymore; the pace is too excruciatingly slow for me.
I have been scanning your site over recent months and am very impressed with your work. Your attention to historic detail is outstanding, and I imagine makes for a very vivid game immersion! It has been many years since I read The Three Musketeers (in English), and I was wondering about some of the other references you find useful. Besides tales of swashbuckling, do you recommend any histories or similar scholarly works? The richness of the geographic, historical, and sociological content you have accumulated is fantastic!
I am unfamiliar with Flashing Blades as a system, but it sounds like it makes for a smooth game, and the adventure narrative you and your players have developed is a delight to read. Thanks to you and your players for the hard work!
I agree with Killervp, he took the words right out of my mouth !
Love the random generator reference page!
@Leo – thanks very much.
@VP – La Gautier’s a piece of work, to be sure. He had to leave the city after Saint-Sauvan’s death – I need to update his character page and some Marseille encounters to reflect this – but I’m sure he’ll be back at some point in the future.
I find myself truly hating La Gautier….
Black_Vulmea – thanks for the kind words on my campaign. I have always liked the look of your page and the logs are fantastic. I thought I fanned you back when I commented in December, but it is an oversight I have now corrected.
I know . . . I still need to write up Saint-Sauvan’s death, and hopefully we’re going to play again this month.
Ok, so last new log almost 4 months old… I miss the reading material
Hi,Finally got around to favoriting your campaign…fantastic stuff…I will be sure to steal some of it from you…wait…I mean…borrow. Would love your feedback on violent skies
Thanks very much, Job – most appreciated.
You have an absolutely mind-boggling site, BV! I’ve just started coming here and really like the layout, icons, and the very detailed content! You’ve inspired me to step my efforts up a level. ;) Keep up the wonderful creations.
Thank you very much, Andrew – I really appreciate the comment. I’m glad someone else found all the horse breeds entertaining!
I have just spent the better part of my afternoon reading through your many offerings. Little can I add to what has already been said, for I am truly in awe of what you have created. Your players are most certainly lucky to have such a talent as GM. Adventure Logs, City Maps, Glossary, all the information on the variety of horses… etc… Entertaining and informative. I bow to you and yours with sincere compliments for a job well done.
Thanks, abu – ’preciate it.
Wow, most impressive!! KVP sent me here and wow! Never heard of the system, but great work!
Thanks, everyone – I’ll be sure to let the players know that you’re still reading along with their adventures!
I still am in love with this campaign. Every time I come here I find myself wanting to unpack my 7th sea books and start a new adventure. I spent alot of my Christmas holiday reading these pages and truly this campaign is magnificent.
Very impressive work your logs, charater details and image quality are superb – I hope one of these days I can get my own portal page to look as good.
Love the fact that you keep improving the site, and the logs are still quite entertaining!
Thanks very much, Bannacor – much appreciated.
I stumbled onto this site by sheer happenstance. Flashing Blades was…. is my favorite time period and game to rp in. I used to run Flashing Blades over the years, but time has a way of stripping away players. Now such is but fond memories of years gone by.
By what I have seen, you have created an excellant game here. My compliments, Sir. How I long to be one of your players as I was always the Game Master. Ah well, it is not to be.
Again, my compliments to you on your game and your presentation of it on here. Good luck to you and yours.
An Old Fart Gamer….
Thank you very much, Tolsimir – very much appreciated.
This campaign is amazing you have done a fantastic job. I love how you incorporate the history of the time and give your players and amazing opportunity to relive and play a part in said events. As a history buff myself, i find your entire setting extremely intriguing! i look forward to checking it out some more ^^
Thanks, Rasselas – most apprecaited.
I run Le Ballet as a ‘sandbox’ style game, and the wiki mirrors that to some extent; it’s meant to be explored much like the setting itself in-game.
I love your campaign, you have a remarkable talent for bringing even your wiki-readers into the setting and events!
Grazie mille, Haematinon! Sei troppo gentile.
(I hope I got that right!)
I am astonished by the depth of this work, i imagine that you are a sort of Great Master of Roleplay. Your campaign doesnt seem a great novel but Life Itself.
Thanks very much, James – very much appreciated.
We’ve been on a break over the summer, and we’re going to resume the action this fall – I’m really looking forward to seeing where things go from here. Many wheels are turning . . .
I ran into this campaign the other night, and have found it to be an absolute thrill to read. Your historical knowledge has given your campaign a very exciting flavor. Hoping you continue to update your campaign; reading the players’ progress in your world has absolutely been worth my time.
Congrats, mon ami!
Blocking: Yes, the target number is DEX/3, modified by the difference between the attacker’s fencing Expertise and the defender’s Brawling expertise. It hasn’t come up in our current game, but in a game many years ago a character whose sword broke defended himself with a silver platter when a fight broke out at a ball!
Fencing expertise: One of the places fencing styles really impact the game is anticipating what your opponent will do – if you’re facing off against a fencer trained in the Spanish style, for example, do you expect him to slash in order to gain his bonus, or do you expect him to thrust since he’ll be expecting you to expect him to slash? The bonuses for a fencing style may seem small, but they affect actual play significantly
The difference in styles also manifests itself in other ways as well. For example, if the characters are on horseback, offhand weapons become useless (unless a character wants to try to fight with the reins in his teeth!), so the French style loses most of its advantages. Custom swords in my campaign tend to be weighted for a particular style of fencing – frex, a sword used by a Spanish style swordsman is weighted toward the tip to give a + 1 to slash but not to thrust or lunge, so picking up a sword from a defeated opponent may not give you he advantage you’re hoping for.
I’d suggest giving it a try and see how it works in actual play before tinkering too much off the bat – that said, I’d love to see what you come up with!
On my list of things to-do for the wiki is adding the French baton (a short staff) and the cane to the Items pages – characters with the French style will have access to the cane and characters with Brawling to the baton. It’s a bit of an anachronism, as this style of fighting didn’t really become prevalent until the 18th century, but I love the scene in Le Bossu where Lagardère is fighting with the stick, so I decided to stretch the boundaries a little.
I hope this helps, Simon.
Merci beaucoup, Pils! Je l’apprécie.
I hope to play with or without the houserules as soon as I get the chance. There are 2 things about combat that I’m still grappling with:
1) blocking, the rationale that fights with fencing vs non-fencing weapons (e.g. longsword vs club) end up with blocks and not parries and the block chance is really low by default (1/3 DEX I think).
2) that fencing styles are not that different. I would like to expand the styles to further differentiate them – not by much though, just enough to make them a bit different. Put in some kind of conditional bonus or special move, something like that.
My ‘table copy’ of the rules are my printed .pdfs as well, heavily annotated – I also have the .pdf open on my laptop, along with the wiki, while we play.
I like the fact that the entire ‘canon’ of FB – the core rules, the piracy supplement, the ‘adventure path’ and two books of short adventures – fits into a standard report folder.
If you get a chance to try out those house rules in actual play, please let me know how they work out for you.
I did get the pdfs as I’ve been buying up big on all kinds of rpgs recently through an online rpg store (must of spent 1000’s in the last year or so). I was instantly taken with Flashing Blades and have scribbled little notes and house rules in the margins (I printed them) in case I get to play at some time. You’ll be glad to know that all of your house rules are scribbled in my margins.
Thanks very much, Simon – most appreciated.
Right now there are three players; we’ve been playing face-to-face, but we’re on a break until next month as one of the players travelled to Europe. Our plan is to play a couple more times, then switch to Skype when that same player returns home to Scandanavia for good.
Flashing Blades is an outstanding game; it’s still in print, purchaseable directly from FGU, and it’s also available on .pdf. If you like the genre, it’s worth picking up the core rules on .pdf – it’s a classic that’s held up well over the years.
Thanks again for the comment.
I couldn’t agree more. Flashing blades is something that I’ve only come across in the last 12 months and I wish I had it when I was playing rpgs 20+ years ago.
How many players are in the campaign and is it face-to-face or some other way?
Thanks very much, Anthony – most appreciated.
WOW! Amazing site here!!! Chock full of details!!! Makes me want to travel to old Paris and dive into the deepest goblet of wines!!! Your layout is beautiful too! Can’t say enough good about it! Keep up the great work.
Thanks very much, SC – I hope you’ll put together a wiki for your 7th Sea game.
Spectacular OP build. I envy your players!!
I’m not ready to do a wiki yet, but maybe starting early is better than trying to upload a bunch at one time. I actually do have a question for you. I’ll email you that soon.
Thanks very much, jebailey – most appreciated. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss Flashing Blades.
Will you be creating a wiki for your campaign? It would be great to see another FB game on OP.
Your work here is outstanding. I was going down the trail of rules reworking for Flashing Blades with my brother and now you have us thinking even more. I only have a month until the first session of my campaign. You’ve given me TONS to think on, which is a good thing. Following you as well.
Thanks very much, threshel. I appreciate the encouragement.
The Duellists is a classic. I saw it many years ago, but I need to add it to our Netflix queue and watch it again.
Good stuff! I look forward to following this from afar.
FYI, I just watch The Duellists for the first time last night. It’s set in Napoleonic France, and it has a more realistic and gritty dipiction of duelling than your standard swashbuckler, but it is an extremely good movie that really examines the motives of men who duel and the conundrums of Honor.
Thank you, arsheesh. I really appreciate the feedback on the wiki, particularly the ease of use.
Thanks again, sincerely.
I followed your post-link in the “Show Off” thread here and I must say, I am both intrigued and impressed by your swashbuckling campaign here. I’m unfamiliar with “Flashing Blades” but the idea of campaigning in 17th century France sounds like allot of fun. I commend you on the exemplary job you’ve done so far on building this site. You have filled the site with tons of great information, and yet have managed to maintain ease of user interface: navigation through your site is both intuitive and visually stimulating. Bravo.
Thanks, Krypter – most appreciated.
Dei Liberi’s work is a bit earlier than the period of Le Ballet . . ., but his work was a big influence on the fencing masters of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I’ll be sure to include Flos Duellatorum on the bookshelf of one of the master fencers in the game!
What an interesting idea for a campaign! Having spent a little bit of time studying Armizare, specifically Fiore De Liberi’s Flos Duellatorum, it would be great to actually enact scenes in that age. Too bad none of the roleplayers around me has the slightest inkling about stuff like this. Keep up the good work!
Thank you both very much for the encouragement. It’s coming along, though I still have a ways to go before I feel like it’s ‘campaign-ready.’ For now I have the basic outline down, so I can fill in the blanks as time permits.
Please let me know if I can be of assistance, garpenlov.
I just stumbled across “Le Ballet…” too. I agree completely – GREAT WORK! I was so impressed I joined Obsidian just so I can continue to follow your site.
I had been thinking of something similar to what you’ve done, and if you don’t mind, I may contact you in the future to share some thoughts and get your recommendations. Great work!
VERY Impressive work here. I just started fooling around with the Obsidian Portal, personally. I’m glad you linked to your campaign at theRPGsite. Thanks!