The Age of Renaissance is Underutilized
I've been playing Assassin's Creed II lately, and have been having a great time. As a GM and blogger, I've naturally been thinking of utilization in RPGs. Beyond the simple things (What class is Enzio? Rogue, assassin, avenger?) I've been thinking that the Renaissance is an underutilized time in RPGs.
People usually like to think of the Renaissance as The Three Musketeers (not the new Steampunk version coming out), with gunpowder and rapiers. The world of Assassin's Creed II is an earlier time than Athos, Porthos an Aramis. While rapiers are seen, gunpowder is almost unheard of. Guards primarily utilize crossbows. There isn't anything particularly different from D&D as far as weapons are concerned.
The Reniassance wasn't about technology, but a reniassance of ideas. The beliefs and political structuring began to change. The "Points of Light" that existed in Europe began to grow as civilization expanded. This is what would be represented in a D&D game set 200 years further into the future.
Here's how I envision it:
The church is rising in power. The Temples of Pelor, Bahamut, Avandra and Erathis have gained more and more prestige, and now run the civilized world as a centralized non-government head of state. Imagine if the Pope was split up into a council in the early 1500's, and had complete control over all nations. The Council of Gods is beginning to stamp out Psionics, Arcane spellcasters and Primal practitioners. From the shadows, Wizards, Warlocks and Artificers strike back, allying themselves with the Shadowfell in order to have the power needed to hold their own. They remain in hiding, unravelling the fabric of civilization that the Council of Gods have established.
Corruption reigns supreme. Adventures no longer take place in the wilderness, but in the cities, where the most intrigue happens.
If you're playing in the Nentir Vale, Fallcrest is now a sprawling city, stretching into the Moon Hills. The Harkenwold has changed from many small hamlets into larger towns known as the Five Cities. Winterfell has been overrun long ago, burned to the ground by raiders and forces of Orcus.
That's what I'd do if I was running a game in the Reniassance era. Anything else you can think of to add to a game set in this era?