Tangling With the Night Watch

Societies, especially cities, have handled the enforcement of laws a lot of different ways in different places and times; the ubiquity of police in the 21st century can make it hard to imagine what other systems might even look like. One particularly gameable institution was the ‘night watch’. This system was found in a few […]

Lower-Class NPCs from the Medieval Joke Book

The earliest known printed joke book, the 15th-century Facetiae of Poggio Bracciolini, is a fabulous window into how this late Medieval/early Renaissance Italian saw his world. It’s also legitimately very funny. This week we’re going to look at seven jokes from the Facetiae, each of which has at its heart a character who makes a […]

Bandits, Agricultural College, and the Century of Humiliation

In 1924, in Guangzhou, China, six bandits kidnapped thirty-six students and staff at an agricultural college. What might otherwise be a pretty simple story of retrieving some hostages gets incredibly muddy with just a little bit of context – and the whole thing makes a great RPG adventure! This post is brought to you by […]

The Pirate Mutiny that Made the ‘Fancy’

In 1694, a mutiny occurred aboard a British ship moored in a Spanish harbor. A group of sailors, led by the first mate, overpowered the captain and those loyal to him. The mutineers set their enemies adrift and, with the rest of the crew apparently behind them, set off to become pirates! Their ship, rechristened […]

The Trans Conquistador, Lieutenant Erauso

This week we’re going to look at a series of bloody, hair-raising adventures from the autobiography of a 17th-century nun, conquistador, murderer, and transman. Lieutenant Erauso was a celebrity in his own day, and his tales of mischief and mayhem across South America make terrific templates for RPG adventures! I’ll talk more about identifying Erauso […]

The South Sea Scam Colony

From 1879 to 1881, a French nobleman found several hundred willing dupes, took their money, and packed them off to a nation he’d made up. Dazzled with promises of land and ease, these peasants found only pestilence and death beneath the hot Pacific sun. The audacity of the scam, the ambiguous motives of the scammer, […]

The Bizarre Court-Martial of Francesco Caracciolo

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The Great Onion Scheme

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The Lyon Mail Stagecoach Robbery

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Infiltrating the She-Wolf’s Bandits

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The Axeman’s Letter

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Theobald Meyrick, Urban Villain

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Henry Stanley’s Convenient Deaths

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Liberating the Edward A. Horton and Blog News!

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The Scheming Landlord of Magomero

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