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Friday, 19 June 2015

10th Anniversary Classic Rant: Aquelarre, and the Fucking Basques!

So, have any of you bought Cthulhu Dark Ages, or were thinking of doing so?

Well fucking don't. Here's what you do to get your medieval dark magic kick instead: Take a class in Spanish, and buy Aquelarre.



Aquelarre, by Ricardo Ibañez, is basically a total rip-off of the Cthulhu system, set in an ultra-realistic Spain between 1300-1450, with supernatural horrors of the medieval kind. Yes, instead of foul tentacle-things man was not meant to know, you have the entire pantheon of demonic entities in the Inferno of the Catholic Church and Dante, plus the weird and often uber-creepy creatures of Spanish, Catalan and especially Basque mythology.

Fucking Basques. Goddamned descendants of the little people with their weird bizarre language with no known etymological roots and their strange totally alien pagan beliefs and their absolute resistance to cultural immersion, fucking should've been wiped out thousands of years ago but somehow manage to survive, hide in caves in those fucking mountains of theirs...

Goddamnit, I despise the Basques. They're plotting you know! They're out to call forth the outer gods when the stars are right and destroy us all! 
And I should fucking know! After all, I'm one-quarter Basque! My grandmother was an Errandonea! Euskal Erria!


(these aren't monsters or witches or anything, they're just "normal" medieval Basques)



Fuck, where was I?

Oh yes; Aquelarre. This game is brilliant. Its a house-ruled version of the BRP/CoC system with a few adjustments for setting's sake. The combat system is a little more detailed, which is a good thing.
The character creation system borrows from WFRP in that you don't get to choose your social background, its determined by random roll. And of course you have a far better chance of being a peasant than anything else. This works really well in an "authentic" medieval RPG; as long as the odds aren't made so ridiculous that they aren't worth having. In our game last night, we actually had one High Noble (son of a Baron), one Jewish Burgher, one Villain (in the old sense of the word, a city-dweller), and only one Peasant. The players did get extremely lucky on their rolls mind you (well, except the Peasant, obviously).

Another clever part of the system is how instead of "sanity" points, you have "rationality/irrationality": These are two stats that have to add to 100, and work as percentages. The more rational you are, the less irrational you are. High Rationality gives you more resistance to magic and the supernatural, but also means it will work for you less. High Irrationality means you're fairly nuts by modern 21st century standards, but you can understand and use the supernatural better. And of course, being exposed to supernatural entities and magicks means that you will lose points of Rationality, and gain Irrationality. Unless you DESTROY those things and BURN whoever brought them about, in which case you gain Rationality. That's right; burning heretics, witches and sorcerers is built into the game mechanic!

The system couldn't be grittier if you dumped a sandbox on it. When the Spaniards say "Medieval Roleplaying" they fucking mean it.

Think I'm being hyperbolic? In last night's game two of the four PCs died. But not from combat or the supernatural, no. They died from fucking Cholera.

And they've all begged me to play again. Some of them want it to replace the Wilderlands campaign as our regular campaign.

So, if you read Spanish, or are willing to pay someone to translate the game for you, get Aquelarre. It has RPGPundit's Guaranteed Anti-Swine Seal of Approval.

RPGPundit 

(Originally posted April 16, 2006)

27 comments:

  1. The new edition of Aquelarre has absolutely stunning faux medieval art and imo would be worth buying for the art alone.

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    1. Any chance of a translation in the future?

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    2. Any chance of a translation in the future?

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    4. So eager he asked three times! Answer, dammit!

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    5. I'd heard rumors of translations on several occasions but I think nothing has come of it.

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    6. 3x the Jason your all welcome! ; )

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    7. I am pleased to bring you the news that this year is the 25th aniversary of the game. It has long been preparing an English translation of the last edition (5th Codex Medievalis style) for this event. The company responsible of this traslation will be the American "Nocturnal Media", if all goes well, maybe the game was ready to the end of the year.

      This is an official notice from Nosolorol, the Spanish company which currently has Aquelarre license, you can see it here:

      http://www.nosolorol.com/nuevo/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=487:aquelarre-sera-traducido-al-ingles-y-al-catalan-y-el-basico-sera-reimpreso

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    1. It´s an amazing game, truly, you need to play almost one time in your life. Aquelarre has been sould out several times, in all of the game Editions.

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  4. For interested folks: I found the current publisher:

    http://www.nosolorol.com/

    They ship worldwide!

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    1. That's fantastic! As soon as I get my Spanish up to the appropriate fluency in a few dozen years I will check this out!

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    2. There´s an English translation on the way, see my previous post :)

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  8. Nocturnal Games is opening the crowdfunding for Aquelarre translation tomorrow :)

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    1. Hell yes! Send us a link? I'll gladly promote it.

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    2. Well, yesterday, the spanish publisher (Nosolorol) announced that today Nocturnal Games is opening the kickstarter for it... but today I have not seen it, not in the web of Nocturnal, neither in kickstarter.
      Anyway, I think we should heard about the crowdfunding soon.

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    3. And... The link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1861515217/aquelarre-the-dark-and-mature-medieval-rpg-now-in

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  9. Replies
    1. I think you mean "heartily".

      "Hardly" en este contexto en ingles significaria "apenas", no "fuertemente"; y creo que eso no era tu intencion? "Heartily" quiere decir "totalmente" (originalmente 'con todo mi corazon').

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