Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Hope & Glory – Talk Like a Pirate!

Ahoy, mateys!
Today it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I’d rather talk about pirates and other assorted ship-based scoundrels and adventurers.
And because I am still promoting like hell my game Hope & Glory, why not give a look at piracy in the skies.251845
After all, Hope & Glory is a game that features airships.
And indeed, the scenario The Man that would be Quinn includes piracy in the sky lanes, the piracy in question being loosely based on South Cina Sea piracy.
And Emilio Salgari.
We’ve been there already, and you know the Tigers of Mompracem did have an influence on my game.

But really, let’s talk about pirates and adventurers, and Hope & Glory. Continue reading


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French Naughtiness, General Pershing, and inspiration

There is an image, here on my desktop, I’ve been hoping to use as an inspiration for a short story for quite a while.
It’s called Les Surprises de la Vie de Chateau: La Revue Nocturne, that is Surprises of the Life in the Castle: The Night Review.
It’s a host of ghostly dames, in gorgeous Medieval dresses, examining with curiosity and bafflement the lingerie of a flapper girl as she spends the night in a castle’s bedroom.

ghosts

It was drawn by Chery Herouard for a magazine called La Vie Parisienne, somewhere in the 1920s. Continue reading


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Hope & Glory – Winston Churchill’s (minimal) contribution

How does it feel to have your grandmother read your book, and tell you…

It clearly shows your lack of experience with women

… Awkward, uh?
And it’s even worse, I guess, when your grandmother is Frances, Duchess of Marlborough, and you are a young army officer who wrote the book on your way to India, and your name is Winston S. Churchill.

ruritania_zenda_1938_by_mbhdesign-d8zcnf3One of the many bits and pieces that went into Hope & Glory is the literary genre (or sub-genre) of Ruritanian Romance, those stories of passion and derring-do set in unlikely small European nations, like Anthony Hope’s Ruritania or George Barr McCutcheon’s Graustark.
And right now I am working on a small sourcebook for Hope & Glory, set in one of these micro-nations that dot the post-Catastrope landscape of Lost Europe, and in particular a place called Valiria – a fantasy name if ever there was one – which is perched on the Pyrenees, between the iced plains of France and the wind-swept steppes of Spain, where the mammoth roam. Continue reading


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Hope & Glory – meet the Thuggee

This is sort of a triple package of a post – we’ll get a bit of history, some literature, and then a movie.
Nice way to spend a Sunday, right?

This week we have been talking a lot about Hope & Glory, but I hope I kept it varied enough you were not bored out of your socks.

Now, when we put together Hope & Glory I knew we’d have to put the Thuggee in. The Deceivers are such a big trope in Indian adventure that leaving them out would be unthinkable – and in general, whatever is fine in an Indiana Jones movie is also fine at my gaming table.

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This leads us to a gentleman by the name of Sir William Henry Sleeman, KCB. Continue reading


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Hope & Glory – Sandokan was here

It’s about time we talked about Sandokan.
Sandokan is a pirate, created by the fevered mind of Italian swashbuckler/adventure writer Emilio Salgari.
Salgari was born in Verona in 1862, the year after the unification of Italy, and died committing seppuku in 1911.
With over 200 books in his catalog, he was a poor man, and he blamed his publishers for his poverty – he probably had his reasons: not only he was a certified best-seller, but he is still one of the 40 most translated authors right now, 107 years after his death.

Emilio_Salgari_ritrattoSalgari was a strange man, that lived most of his life in Turin – where I was born – and the farther East he ever went was the local library. But he was animated by a colossal imagination, that fuelled his stories and hooked thousands of readers. He wrote pirate stories and swashbucklers, westerns, exotic adventure and the occasional Verne-esque science fiction.
Weirdly enough, while Italy was gearing up for its ill-fated and belated Imperial Adventure, Salgari was an anti-imperialist, and a champion of the underdog. His heroes are normally outsiders, outcasts and people that’s been robbed, cheated and betrayed and is coming back for revenge. Pirates, adventurers, swashbucklers all.

I know a few Salgari enthusiast in the English-speaking world, but he’s a big deal in the Latin countries – in Italy, in Spain, in South America.
Pablo Neruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez were fanboys.
Umberto Eco too. Continue reading