This is the central site for a long-term project to research, examine, and respond to the radical collective of writers, theorists, architects, and visual artists who operated in Paris between 1829 and 1835 under the names of the Jeunes France & the Bouzingo, and through them to build a critical understanding of French Romanticist subculture through the historical lens of a continuing politically vigilant Anglophone avant-garde.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Role-Playing 1830s Paris, anyone?

I hope to get in a number of looooong-overdue updates over the coming days and months. First, this:

Is there anybody out there who might be actually willing and able to play-test a table-top RPG set in the Romanticist community of Paris, c.1825–45? Yours truly and Warren Fry, game designer & "Resurrecting..."/Revenant collaborator, began testing just such a game a few years ago, and are considering retooling it this summer with a more streamlined system.

Players form a Romanticist Cénacle, and set a collective goal to achieve through organising one or more collective events, demonstrations, interventions, anthologies, journals, plays, operas, etc. The ultimate goal is to enter a state of Romanticist Frenzy – in which (in-game) "reality" and fiction merge, and the players wrest temporary control away from the GM during this period of collective altered-consciousness. In the meantime, they must manage their intellectual careers, their status within mainstream society and within Romanticist subculture (sometimes contradictory), make a living, and negotiate the economic, racial, and gender stratification of the day. Character development and the rule system (hopefully) combine to make the social and psychological transgression of these boundaries provide real effects and challenges – as well as rewards – to the game.

The first play-test involved the defense of a Romanticist play against a Classicist claque, a Romanticist initiation ceremony in the Paris labyrinths orchestrated by Gérard de Nerval, and a fist-fight in a coffee-house.

It would, of course, be helpful to have it tested by someone without our presence; it would also be much easier if they had a basic (or more!) understanding of the period already.

I'm just feeling out the chances of that happening – if you might be interested, email I will try to remember to check responses to this post, too!

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