Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Hope & Glory: Number the Brave is now available

I told you there would not be long to wait: Number the Brave, the second novelette in the Hope & Glory series is out and about on DriveThroughRPG, where you’ll get the epub, the mobi and the gorgeous pdf version in a single neat bundle.

If Glass Houses, the first Hope & Glory story, was an espionage thriller set in a steampunkish Indian Raj, Number the Brave is a war story set in that same universe, but in Northern Africa1.
It owes a debt both to old Foreign Legion pulp stories, and to Zulu, one of my favorite war movies, but it turns the premise on its head: what if the besieged defenders are African warriors, surrounded by an overwhelming force of ruthless, savage Europeans?

All the stories in the Hope & Glory series are self-contained and stand-alone, and can be read (and, hopefully, enjoyed) in any order. Each volume includes an appendix providing extra information about the Hope & Glory setting, and gaming statistics for the major elements in the book.
Because let’s not forget it, Hope & Glory will be a roleplaying game, powered by Savage Worlds.
And what better way to discover the gaming universe, than read a few stories?
Two are out, more will come.

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  1. the idea being that each Hope & Glory novelette will explore a different sub-genre, to show the full potential of the Hope & Glory gaming setting. 


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Monks, dirt and wine

In the 13th century, monks in Burgundy were in the habit of taking a spoonful of vineyard dirt and taste it to assess the quality of the vineyard.
Or so they tell me.
Me, I am a geologist, and I’ve seen colleagues taste oil to assess its maturation, so I’m not surprised at anything anyway.

Monk_tasting_wine_from_a_barrelThe interesting fact is this: in Medieval times, French monks had lots of land at their disposal, and in Burgundy they had set up vineyards as far as the eye could see. The climate was favorable, and the monks liked their wine anyway.
But a monk back then had a lot of spare time to observe nature, and so the good Benedictines and Cistercians started noticing trends. Vineyards that were more productive, vineyards in which a certain kind of vine thrived while another suffered, and so on.
They started calling these different parcels of land terroir – and started experimenting to define what made one parcel different from the next. Hence, the idea of sampling and tasting the dirt. Continue reading