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13 Chapters in 13 Weeks — Chapter 4

June 1, 2009

For those new to the party, over the next 13 weeks, I will be talking about each chapter in the forthcoming Colonial Gothic Revised. Said tome is due to hit stores next month. Colonial Gothic was the first game we published, and the original version shows clearly the mistakes we made. Each game, and game book we have worked on, we have strive to due better. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail, but in the end, we have one goal in mind: do better.

With that said Colonial Gothic Revised is a chance to correct mistakes, clean things up, and bring the game into line with what we have done with 12°. The system fits most style of games James and I want to do, and we really have refined and tweaked 12°. All this refinement has really made the games we are working on better.

So, anyway, what is Chapter 4 about? Currency, Weapons & Equipment.

First let me say, that I love this game. I think it should be apparent by now, but I think it is good to get my bias out of the way. I love every chapter in this book, and each chapter builds upon itself, and really gives all who play this game as much info as they would need to play in the period. I really strive in the revision to add as much detail as I can. This is a chapter that shows this.


I have taken a rather complex topic — Colonial America economic history and development — and make it able to be gamed at the table. Numerous books have been written that deal with the early economy of the colonies. There was a lack of hard currency, rampant inflation, and a confusing web of colonial and foreign currency in play. In this chapter I really try to put it all in play, and I think I do a good job of that.

Chapter 4 is all about giving you options. That is why I present different options for players and GMs to choose from. These options make commerce as easy or as difficult as you want. The options are grounded in history, and depending on which way you go, allow you to keep the commerce as historically “correct” as a game allows. So what options exist? Glad you ask.

  • Option One: Use the British Sterling for everything.
  • Option Two: Use the British Sterling as the default value, and allow for Book Credit to be used.
  • Option Three: Allow merchants to provide a better price to those paying in hard currency.
  • Option Four: Use Book Credit, and a combination of currency with their exchange value coming into play.

The first two options are currently in the game, but the later two are new (though have been used in my home game forever). Of all the options, Option Four is my favorite and is the default for my game. Why do I like this so much? Because it is close to the confusion real colonists felt at the time. From the chapter:

A final option, and the one most authentic to the period, is using Book Credit and a combination of currencies, with their exchange values coming into play. In the Colonies the typical currencies found are the English Pound Sterling (£), Colonial Bills of Credit, Spanish Doubloons, French Louis, and sometimes Portuguese Johannes. For example, your Hero might have a few Spanish Dollars, some English shillings, and Bills of Credit from Massachusetts, and New York. Whether going to a merchant, or buying a bed for the night in a tavern, all of this currency comes into play when paying. Using the conversion rates and different currencies, you add to the confusion that many faced in this period.

Now, I will admit, for many, Option One is the best choice to go for making the game easy, and for not giving the players too many headaches. However, what I have always wanted to do with Colonial Gothic is have as many options as possible for you to choose from. So with Chapter 4 I really wanted to give you options.

Another note, as for the Conversion Rates, they have been up on the New World Almanack for a very long time.

Ok, with the currency out of the way, the rest of the chapter is devoted to what you would expect, Weapons and Gear. There are some additions as well as an expansion to the gear found in the game. One of the major changes is that all weapons follow the path laid out by Thousand Suns, in that they have a Damage Value. This will be talked about in depth when I get to Chapter 5, but to give you a quick preview, Damage Value works in conjunction with the Degrees of Success.

In all, this chapter see more of a face lift and expansion. It is a good chapter, and it allows you to inject the historical as much, or as little as you want.

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