Pop quiz, hotshot. What do Santa Claus, Vito Corleone, and Emperor Palpatine have in common?
I channeled all of them while roleplaying Cardinal Richelieu on Saturday night.
This was the first chance I had to first-person roleplay His Eminence in our campaign, and wow, what a rush! First came Santa Claus. Riordan O'Neill, King's Musketeer, spotted a tail following him shortly after his return to Paris, and the next day he and his travelling companion, formerly Huguenot but recently converted doctor Guillaume Sébastien were rounded up by a contingent of the Cardinal's Guards and escorted to the Louvre for an interview with the Cardinal. The prelate sat, stroking a cat in his lap - which got a laugh for its Blofed-ness - as he first offered the doctor a commission as a médecin ordinaire du roi, one of the king's physicians, which the doctor accepted quickly. Next it was the soldier's turn, as His Eminence dangled an ensign's commission in his Guards. Riordan was sorely tempted but in the end he turned it down, even in the face of blackmail over a duel he fought a year ago in a Parisian alley.
I also got to see how well one of my house rules worked in actual play as well as put 'rulings, not rules' into action. Player characters in my campaign may earn gloire (glory) dice, which are applied to openings and promotions in the various career paths open to the characters. Riordan earned two gloire dice, one for being decorated on campaign, the other for participating in the cavalry duel with Imperial soldiers at Casale. A roll of 10+ on 2D6 is normally required both an opening and a promotion from sergeant to ensign in the Musketeers in my campaign, so Riordan's player got to roll three dice instead. He cruised on the first roll with a fifteen, but only managed a nine on the second; after thinking about it for a moment, he asked if serving as cornet in Challons' company was worth a bonus, and I agreed that his brevet rank was worth a +1 to the roll, so he got his commission. This was something I'd contemplated as a house rule previously, and now I'm going to make it so, but with a slight twist - more about that another time.
I left my iPad at home, so I ran the game wiki-free for a change. I'm a little startled sometimes at how good my memory for the campaign background is - the only npc name I couldn't remember was Riordan's old landlady, and I improvised a pair of random encounters on the road home.
Finally, this was the first time in over a year the three of us were in the same room together to play. Playing over Skype is good enough, but face-to-face is better.
Now the two are off to Fontainebleau, to join the Musketeers' company and the king's court, respectively.
Gaming is good.