What is this?
It could have been so different. Who knows, if Niccolo Machiavelli, military commissioner of the Republic of Florence, had not truly understood the scale of Leonardo da Vinci’s genius, he might simply have wasted his time painting portraits of women and doodling. Instead, Florence’s screwcopters, gun-turtles and organ-guns make it secure against the armies of the Pope, Milan and the French, and a haven for radical thinkers, artists and other inventors inspired by his example. Of course, though, success breeds jealousy amongst the city states of Renaissance Italy and beyond. The city’s winding alleys and cobbled squares swarm with sinister Venetian spies, sour-faced priests bearing secret Papal instructions, Milanese mercenaries hoping to earn the king’s ransom the Sforzas have promised for da Vinci’s secrets and even emissaries from France, England and the Ottoman Empire… Exciting times, but dangerous ones, too.
What if all da Vinci’s inventions worked as he had hoped? What if they had been enthusiastically adopted and that their successes had sparked a different kind of industrial revolution? Think of Gibson and Sterling’s ‘The Difference Engine,’ but amidst the sunlit artistic ferment of the Italian Renaissance instead of the smogs and fogs of Victorian England; think of primitive computers running on water clocks and embellished with cupids; think of swashbuckling swordplay as an army of robot knights marches past on their way to the Vatican; think of crossing wits with Machiavelli, avoiding the dangerous charms of Lucretia Borgia, hearing Christopher Columbus tell you about the new world he has discovered…
I am toying with a setting for the Wordplay roleplaying game system, one set in a version of the Italian Renaissance being transformed by weird and wonderful clockpunk technologies sparked by Leonardo da Vinci's genius. This blog is essentially a design journal, in which I'll note down random thoughts, plothooks, links to interesting images and websites, notes on play sessions and anything else which comes to mind...
Who am I?Mark Galeotti, who'd love to be a Renaissance man. You can also find my Mythic Russia game blog @ http://mythicrussia.wordpress.com/
What is Wordplay?An excellent, simple and intuitive d6-based roleplaying game system - you can find out more about the system and other settings @ http://www.wordplaygames.co.uk/wordplay.html and http://d101games.co.uk/books/wordplay/
Category Archives: Fantasy 1510
As this project slowly continues, every now and then I’ll gladly release a little teaser. Here is the text to accompany one of Johnny Shumate’s brilliant colour character pieces, of a potential nemesis, albeit an honourable one… Lorenzo Neroni, Ruthless … Continue reading
The great naval powers of the Mediterranean are Venice and the Ottoman Empire, followed by Genoa, Naples, Spain and the pirates of the Moslem Barbary Coast and the Christian Knights of St John in Malta. Florence has never been a … Continue reading
From time to time, I’ll post snippets and samples from the manuscript, as it develops… The Bravo “Are you looking at me, ser? Stand aside lest I carve you like the Sunday roast!” You are a hired thug; maybe you are … Continue reading
Continuum is one of my two all-time favorite British gaming conventions (the other is Furnace, a smaller, very friendly event in a former jail!) and I’ll be there as one of the guests of honor, which is indeed a honor given … Continue reading
Renaissance cities were generally small by our standards, but large enough that it was possible to hide in them after committing a crime – but if the authorities really wanted to find you then eventually they would. After all, too … Continue reading
I see the ‘fantasy’ element of 1510 being rooted in its clockpunk and the consequent knock-on effects on the Renaissance, so don’t plan to use this idea, but it did tickle me. I chose 1510 as the default period because … Continue reading