Thursday, November 14, 2013

Albion Trigger: The Gloriana Project

We're thinking about combining the Camelot Trigger setting from Fate Worlds 2 (interplanetary SF mecha with Arthurian themes) with this:

Maybe we're losing it. But we think Early Modern Europe has a great deal to offer. It's much more intelligible to us moderns than medieval Europe is, as Silvia Federici has shown us with Caliban and the Witch.

In Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene we have Tudor state ideology, Arthurian mythos, a touch of the Italian renaissance epics, and so much more coming together in a heady mix. Add in Camelot Trigger's mecha and modify its SFnal storyline, and I believe we'd have a very interesting alternative Camelot Trigger setting indeed.

All we have is a name so far, so please feel free to drop setting and story ideas in the Comments.


  1. I don't know that I have anything to add, but I think it's a great idea. There was an Arthurian mecha game going on G+ for a bit, I believe.

  2. Spenser is a very evocative text to use for gaming. Because every character, monster, place and object in it is a symbol (whole books have been written decoding those symbols), GMs and players alike can easily grasp it and manipulate it. When Arthegall's title is "The Knight of Justice," Spenser is basically writing your aspects for you. Very nice of him!

    If you want to use the characters from FQ, then you are talking about Britomart, a woman and knight who is one of the most compelling heroines in British Lit (and the daughter of King Ryons, one of Arthur's early enemies), and her future husband Arthegall ("Arthur's Equal"), who is Arthur's half-brother by Igraine and a full brother to Morgan and Morgause. The Arthur of FQ is "Prince Arthur," very specifically a young version of Arthur after he has drawn the sword from the stone but before he has been crowned King. Close reading of Malory can place Spenser's "Prince Arthur" in a very specific 3-month period of Arthur's chronology.

    On the other hand, if you want to set the game in the Renaissance, under a Queen Gloriana/Elizabeth surrogate, then all those characters are historical and long dead. Instead of Prince Arthur, Merlin (who appears briefly in FQ), Britomart and Arthegall, you have Elizabeth, John Dee, Lord Strange (when history gives you a historical person named Lord Strange, we are fools not to use him), Raleigh, Sydney, Kit Marlowe and the other members of the "School of Night" to which Spenser himself belonged, devotees of the Queen and -- if Frances Yates is to be believed -- secret occultists.

    To call this text and this period "lucrative" is the game designer's gross understatement!

    1. Thanks for your very detailed and intriguing post, Jason. Truth to tell, I am very interested in the Renaissance period, but Spenser's work really draws me in. I suppose one option is to base the characters/NPCs on the real world Renaissance characters, and the mechs on the Knights described by in the FQ. Or maybe the Arthuriana lives in some form of VR world. Spenser's book really draws one in...

  3. Yeah, Spenser's knights associated with various virtues suggests armies of mechs divided into various legions or corps along each theme. An "Arthegall" or "Justice Mech" model which one PC might ride, while another uses a mech based on the Red Cross Knight in the Legion of Faith.

    The original Camelot Trigger waived historicity in favor of fun. Maybe we should do the same. Maybe we just put Prince Arthur and the characters from FQ into a Renaissance environment and go from there. Who cares if it's not "accurate", right? Gloriana is Queen of England. Prince Arthur is a young man, potentially a rival to her throne, but also a potential husband and Prince Consort. Arthegall, Britomart, and the others are here, along with Merlin, but a lot of the Arthurian characters who come along later are either in their infancy (Lancelot) or teens (Guinevere). The various demons, dragons, evil magicians and so on of FQ become our new alien invaders. Mordred's not born yet, but Gloriana's reign is threatened by political intrigues within and occult forces from without.

    I'll also note that Dee actually attempted to recreate Arthurian legend and the Round Table in Elizabeth's court in an occult practice Yates and others have called "occult imperialism." The idea was to capitalize on the power of Arthurian legend to make Britain the dominant world power. Elizabeth was cast as Arthur, Dee took on the role of Merlin (he claimed blood descent), and other courtiers were assigned other Arthurian characters. Imagine it as cosplay, except that, by adopting these Arthurian roles, Dee imagined that the British crown could actually take on Arthur's mythic potency.

    Again, when history gives you shit this good, you don't need to make up anything except the aliens.

    If it were me, I would probably keep the Elizabethan court and have it come under attack by a technologically advanced alien species which Dee and Bacon describe as "demons". Elizabeth orders a twin defense strategy: Dee's occult imperialism married to a program of stealing and adapting the alien technology. FQ -- which was Elizabeth's favorite book, by the way, and which she had read to her in the evenings -- becomes an organizing principle and may even be regarded as a prophetic text, suggesting tactics which can be used against the invaders. Members of Elizabeth's court (including the PCs) are assigned roles from the book as, essentially, military offices and noble titles. The more the character emulates his occult role, the more potent his occult gifts become. Meanwhile, Bacon's development of alien science creates a plethora of new weapons, not all of which are entirely understood or safe...

    1. This is exceedingly brilliant! Perhaps not surprisingly from the author of the True 20 setting "Arthur Lives!":

  4. And this just made my head explode. I'll be watching this project because it is similar in some respects to my Knights & Kaiju Pendragon game.