Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Roleplaying In Drake's Wake

In my buddy Nate's Burning Wheel game, we've been enjoying an alternate history where the Spanish Armada was successful, Queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned, and Catholic Spain seems poised to rule the world. Our characters have so far rescued Elizabeth and are leading refugees to the New World, where we hope to find Excalibur, raise a young reincarnation of King Arthur, and train and indoctrinate him to reclaim England in its time of greatest need.


One of the things I like about the campaign is that our characters are a mixture of historical and fictional personalities (of course, even our historical characters are slightly fictionalized due to the alternate history). The HBO show Rome did this to good effect. My friend Ryan is playing Shakespeare, and I'm playing Francis Drake. It's challenging to walk that fine line between the actual historical Drake and my interpretation of him (which is obviously influenced by the events of the game world). Figuring out what the historical Drake would do in a fictional situation has been a big part of the charm for me.

I had just finished The Pirate Queen, about Elizabeth's relationship with her "gentleman adventurers"/pirates, but most of my best research into Drake's life and character was done at the web site In Drake's Wake, which is a wealth of information on this fascinating historical character. There's enough interesting information there that I thought it was worth sharing.

I will continue to enjoy guiding Drake's quest to find Excalibur somewhere in the wilds of North America!

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