Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Marque & Reprisal

Letters of Marque are a staple of historical adventure and pirate-oriented fiction: be it in the Spanish Main or at large into the stardust-strewn Orion’s Arm, no matter if you command a sailing ship or motor launch or a starship, a Letter of Marque is what you need to be on the safe side. At least, on one safe side, at least.

Commodore Walkers Action by Brooking

The handbook definition is as follows:

Letters of marque and reprisal are commissions or warrants issued to someone to commit what would otherwise be acts of piracy. They will normally contain the following first three elements, unless they imply or refer to a declaration of war to define the enemies, and may optionally contain the remainder:

  • Names person, authorizes him to pass beyond borders with forces under his command.
  • Specifies nationality of targets for action.
  • Authorizes seizure or destruction of assets or personnel of target nationality.
  • Describes offense for which commission is issued as reprisal.
  • Restriction on time, manner, place, or amount of reprisal.

And that’s what I’ve been doing this afternoon, contrary to my plans – no, I don’t mean committing what would otherwise be acts of piracy(although it would be fun). I mean I spent part of the afternoon putting together a Letter of Marque issued by the Honourable East India Company to characters and players in my Hope & Glory roleplaying game – as in my universe John Company has become a sort of corporate state, they have a right to issue such documents.
To airships.
Because we like sky privateers.

The letter is part of a special treat for some of our fans, and part of the current Kickstarter to release an Italian language edition of the game.
And who knows, might turn into a hook for future adventures. It was also a nice opportunity to do the sort of research that makes this writing thing quite fun.


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Coming soon-ish: The Heart of the Lizard

There is one thing that can really make things look up even on a cold rainy day, when you are writing for a living, and that’s being asked by your publisher how many more stories in the same series can you write, per year, should the first one you just delivered be a success.

The obvious answer being “as many as you need,” of course – but in the meantime you feel real good because you know you’ve done a good job.

It happened to me a few hours ago, three days after delivering The Heart of the Lizard, my first (hopefully, of many) tie-in novella for Andrea Sfiligoi’s 4 Against Darkness fantasy solo roleplaying game, set in the gaming world of Norindaal.

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Visit Mordavia for less than 10 bucks

177744Halloween draws near, and you have still 19 days and a handful of hours, at the moment I’m writing this, to get hold of the Leagues of Gothic Horror bundle at Bundle of Holding.
For about ten bucks you can get the basic set-up including the Leagues of Adventure roleplaying game handbook, and the two books, Leagues of Gothic Horror and Mordavia: Land of Horror, that will allow you to play a solid game of Hammer-style horror.
No emo vamps here, no horny werewolves… just the good old game of the sharp stake and the silver blade. Can it get any better? Continue reading


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The RPG Shelf: Ex-Machina

Before I left for Pinerole, I went through my roleplaying games shelves to look for some books to put up for sale at the traditional auction that closes the gaming event.
In the last years I have started coming to terms with the fact that sooner or later I’ll have to let go of my gaming collection, and the Pinerole Gaming Auction felt like a good opportunity for a general rehearsal of what’s to come, and also a good way to recap part of the money I was spending to go to the convention.

While I was looking for suitable candidates for the auction, I found a book I did not remember I had.
It felt weird.
First, the what the heck is this? moment.
Then the instant recollection, and the soft pang of guilt, because this was a game I liked a lot, but I have not been playing for over ten years.
I had all but forgotten about it.
The game is called Ex-Machina, and it offers me a hook to talk about an issue that’s close to my heart, wherever it may be right now.
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Hope & Glory review and a bit about utopia

THE world is undergoing immense changes. Never before have the conditions of life changed so swiftly and enormously as they have changed for mankind in the last fifty years. We have been carried along—with no means of measuring the increasing swiftness in the succession of events. We are only now beginning to realize the force and strength of the storm of change that has come upon us.(H.G. Wells, The Open Conspiracy, 1928)

40651289_1844226848964225_7031900626594299904_nThe first full review of Hope & Glory is in and it is just great – you can read it here, on the Ars Rolica blog. It’s in Spanish, but as usual Google Translate is your friend.

The review really made me happy and I was particularly happy of the fact that the reviewer started out cautious and a little diffident, but finally was captivated by the setting.

All the elements are perfectly interwoven with each other and, as I said before, once that initial caution is saved, it is very easy to get carried away by the exciting combination of genres that Hope & Glory presents.

… and I thought, we made it!

I am extremely grateful to Ars Rolica for their great and in-depth review of our game; I am sure I can speak for my long-suffering partner in this adventure – Umberto Pignatelli, that had to put order and numbers on my somewhat sprawling world – and the guys that did art and graphics. Thank you, Ars Rolica!

There was also a bit that caused me to pause, and laugh, and then an idea for a post, and here I am… Continue reading


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Weekend with the Savages

secret masterThis one that’s coming is going to be a busy weekend.
There is the Comics Fair in Rome, Romics.
There is the book festival I Portici di Carta, where two kilometers of the main street in central Turin willbe turned into a book stall.
And in Milan there’s StraniMondi, the coolest science fiction convention ever, where all the cool writers and readers hang out together in harmony.
And I’m sure I’m forgetting a pair of book or comic or gaming related events that will take place over the weekend.
And I will attend none of these.
Because I will be joining the Savages in Pinerolo, the home base of the old Savoy cavalry and the seat of the Pinerole event – not a convention, more like a bunch of roleplayers spending a day doing what they like: playing. Continue reading