Saturday 11 May 2024

Paris, 1635

No sooner said than sorted. That is, of course, not quite correct. The sharp-eyed and really bored among you will note differences between the setup here and the one suggested the other week. However, that is simply because the assembly was demolished and then rebuilt, and I did not make a map nor look at any of the pictures for the scenario when rebuilding. So the scenario is as below.

The idea of the scenario is that my player character, a man of good wit and very little else, has to proceed from the near edge of the table, where you can see him with his walking stick, to the far edge to meet a certain M. White, an English secret agent. I am to be his translator, having facility with English and Latin.

The negotiations between the English and French governments are in a delicate state. The French have shut off the Spanish Road from Italy to the Low Countries, and the Spanish would like reinforcements to still get to their possessions in what is now Belgium. The obvious route is along the English Channel, but of course, that has to be by the permission of the English Government and Royal Navy. The RN, of course, has been massively expanded using the controversial Ship Money under Charles.

There are differing views of the potential treaty, of course. There are pro- and anti-treaty factions in both England and France, the Dutch probably have a view as well, as do the Spanish. The set up above has a number of civilians on the street. These are, in fact, markers for random encounters, ranging from street entertainers and traders to agents of the various government factions. My aim is to get along the street without being intercepted, hurt, and, preferably, drawing my sword.

And so I proceeded. The first encounter, in front of the shops on the left, was with a Spanish secret agent. He was quite aggressive, blocking my progress towards the marketplace. Fortunately, the next encounter, whom I managed to trigger while trying to avoid my Spanish interlocutor, was a patrol of the City Watch.

They took a rather dim view of a gentleman citizen being hassled on the street, and moved in, whereupon the Spaniard legged it up an alley, to reappear later in the marketplace.

Fortunately for me, the watch decided to hang around, because my next encounter, just behind the wagon towards the top of the picture, was with a bunch of drunk students. These proved very difficult to get away from; I had to charm my way past them and the character’s charm is rather low. The drunk’s charm was high, although their wit and dexterity were lowered significantly. This caused me a problem as, as I was trying to sidle past them, the leader of the students tripped over his own feet and landed at mine. His colleagues, somewhat muddledly, thought I had struck him and attempted to pursue me.

The watch, too, became interested and I hurried on towards the corner where I encountered a Cardinal’s Guard loitering. As I was employed by the Cardinal, I hoped that this would provide some protection, but he was a bit slow on the uptake. In the picture, you can see the Spanish agent has just got ahead of me in the marketplace, as well.

Further up the road to the left, the next encounter has been unmasked, which turned out to be a sober student. Hearing the commotion on the street with his colleagues, he assumed that I had assaulted them and started to pursue me. He kept failing his wit rolls (he had a wit of 7; I don’t know how universities recruit such people now, it must be for their fees).

The oncoming student had the effect of persuading me to double back past the Cardinal’s Guard and drunken students towards the shop on the right, where the lurking encounter turned out to be a couple of Huguenot officers. Fortunately, these were pro-treaty, and one of them had a wit of 18. He failed to spot what was going on, but his colleague did and moved to cover me from the advancing Spaniard.

In the ensuing fracas, the Spaniard hit me below the belt (the cad!) and I lost an action, but I managed to stagger out of the fray. One of the drunken students took exception to the assault on a Frenchman and hit the Spaniard back, which stunned him too. In the ensuing chaos, I managed to slip away while the Spanish secret agent was surrounded by students, the City Watch, the Cardinal’s Guard, and a Huguenot. He drew his sword, but only to surrender it to the sergeant of the City Watch.

The next two encounters, both triggered at the same time, were with a bunch of street entertainers and some traders, so, as the Watch arrested the Spanish secret agent, I strolled (or limped) up the road to the tavern and saluted: ‘M. White, I presume.’


Well, that was fun. It turned what would have been a ‘You meet at the local tavern’ into an amusing game, and also one which I learned quite a lot from. One was the usefulness of having a grid on which you can quickly roll up non-player characters. In Flashing Blades most things are rolled from the main attributes of the character, so you can roll someone up, look at their strength attribute, for example, and work out their chance to land a punch on you. Something for next time.

Another thing learned was the importance of context. This scenario is in the Latin Quarter of Paris, near the university. Hence the chances of students, both drunk and sober. I was lucky that I only rolled up one encounter of someone against the treaty, though. The Spanish agent caused enough trouble, A bunch of English or French anti-treaty agents would have caused a whole lot more.

The planning for the scenario was simple. The situation was written up, my message from the Cardinal typed in a peculiar script, and a table of random encounters, (20 in number – FB uses 1d20 rolls most of the time) written, and off I went. I wonder what happens next...


  1. Looked and sounded like a lot of fun!

    1. Oh, it was. As a devoted 6 mm wargamer, I can see that for these sorts of RPG / skirmish types the big figures have some good point. But fun is what it is about.