Saturday, 7 May 2016

I'm playing a Play-by-eMail RPG Historical Adventure Game - Agema's Swashbuckler - Turn #1

And now for something completely different!

I play, and have played since 1998, Play by Mail (though now email is also a method) wargames, roleplaying, and large campaign games, all run by Agema Publications.

Recently I decided that I'd like to take part in a 'quick-play' role-playing adventure game, set in the early 1700s as part of Agema's larger The Glory of Kings game.
Swashbuckler is a rpg adventure, that allows quite some choice in character creation and then freedom of choice for what the player wants to do. Agema's games are GM'ed by a full-time human-being, so plot-twists and spanners-in-the-works do feature regularly, keeping players on their toes and the games from growing stale.

There is also a fan-run forum for Agema's games, HERE.

There's also a three-page, "Full-size Preview" of Swashbuckler over on Wargame Vault which shows the rules books samples, and gives a good idea of the game. HERE's the link.

Anyway, here's my character sheet for the game of Swashbuckler
Character: Mister Bartholomew Yorke    
Game date: July 1706 
Location: at York (England) 
Type: Merchant 
Nationality: English 
Religion: Anglican 
Aptitudes: Persuasion. Civilised. Gallantry. 
Weakness: Temper
[Explanation: Aptitudes and Weaknesses are taken from a selection of choices in the game - a starting character begins with three aptitudes and one weakness.
My character, belonging to the merchant-class, starts with one of his aptitudes chosen for him; "Persuasion", this representing him being able to talk customers into buying something. I then chose "Civilised", which means that he is comfortable in towns and cities and knows how they function, and can get himself a shop-job on the side, if needed. Lastly, I chose "Gallantry", though this is a 'catch-all' term which, in this case, accounts for my character's sheer-bloody-mindedness that won't see him budge from the pursuit he has set himself.
The weakness is open for the player to choose, and I chose "Temper" as it was the choice that I best understood.]
Social Standing: Unheard of 
Money: 6 guineas 
Investments: none at present
Age: Born 1680
Character Description: (my brief summary of who my character is)
Aspirations to be a successful merchant adventurer, and then to return - but not before July 1708 - to the Traders & Brewers Society of York. 
During a heated, drunken argument at the Traders & Brewers Society of York, Bartholomew allowed his temper to get the better of him, asserted that not only was he the better merchant present, but that he would prove it by setting out with only the few coins he had on his person and would return, two years hence, to be judged on how much profit he had acquired.
The Shambles - York (today)
Front and Back to the Merchant Adventurer's Guild Hall - York (today)
Current situation: (the GM's opening plot-twist to my adventure)
Truth be told York does feel like a backwater for an aspiring merchant these days. There is no foreign trade offices here, and little to excite or provide opportunity. 
It is early in the morning, and what little possessions you have are packed in a humble hand-held small travelling trunk. Walking down the cobbled street of Meadlands you are heading for the World's End Inn, where you understand it is possible to catch a coach bound for just about anywhere in England.  
You are thus engaged in making ready to depart to find your fortune when you espy coming down the street behind you three roughs. Each is in an ill-temper and seems to know your name. You don't recognise them, but you can imagine a rival may have hired them, for as they approach you see each is brandishing a walking stick in the manner of a club, and the leading man - whose teeth such as he has them are black, and his face grimy, calls over, "I'll count to five, after that we're going to chase you down and throw you into the Ouse! One, two, three..."
Etching of the old Ouse Bridge, York, with shipping on the River Ouse

And that is where my work now begins. I have to provide the GM a brief paragraph of instructions, stating how I'm to deal with the immediate situation, and what, if I can, I would then like then to do should things prove successful. 

Each turn I can use up to two of my Aptitudes to try to aid my aims, and it is advised that I use my Weakness once every six turns - if I don't, the GM will force the weakness to erupt into a situation that will see my character do something that I hadn't considered. 

The game runs one turn every three weeks, or so, and costs £5.00. [This time frame is due to the fact that games of Swashbuckler are enveloped inside the larger game of The Glory of Kings, where players need to run a country and so need longer to complete their game turn.]

For the price (which, when you consider that UK minimum wage per hour is around £7.00, is good value) each player receives a game turn newspaper - which details both the Swashbuckler and The Glory of Kings game happenings - game maps where needed, and an updated character sheet featuring the character's stats, location details and role-play story. 

Game turns can be played via paper format, through the post - payment via cheque - or via email format, with payment going through PayPal.

What I'm going to do is serialise my rpg character's adventures on this blog, for you all to read and enjoy (plus it gives me something to do, not involving having to paint toy soldiers!)



  1. I used to run a PBM game way way back about 25-30 years ago. It is interesting to see them still going, it is even something I feel I could get involved in once more.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    1. @Clint: Yes, PBM gaming has been a nearly-ever-present for me since I first started in 1998. I stopped wargaming at one point but kept on with the PBM. I've only ever gamed through Agema, after seeing an advert in the back of a Wargames Illustrated, and Richard has been good to me when I've been afflicted through problems and needed time off.

      There's this website with a pretty good list of what's available, but nearly all the games are Internet played nowadays.


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