As I recall, the process of writing For King and Country was so swift it was almost an afterthought. I think I had been in the midst of writing something else when my “random concept generator” barfed out the odd combination of Steampunk-James Bond-Napoleon and I simply couldn’t resist trying that on. Not being a deep expert in the history of the period, I did some quick googling to get the basics down and then spent a few days framing the scenario out.
It starts with the “what if” proposition of: What if James Watt accidentally discovered a fabulous energy source while developing his steam engine? I imagined some kind of aetherial or zero-point energy that is probably wide of the mark of what ‘phlogiston’ is supposed to be, but I liked the name. It’s fun to say. From this initial conceit, I was able to pull in the Super Science/Steampunk elements that I wanted to incorporate. Mechanautics, my Steampunk version of cybernetics, just felt right. I’m still not sure the “Taking it on the Plating” rule really works but I was kind of enamored with the idea that a character with artificial limbs could somehow use them as a sort of active defense. Ends up being a bit fiddly though.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t think this pulls off the desired “James Bond” aspect of what I was hoping to achieve here. I pay some lip service to the idea of the players being ‘secret agents on a mission for their government handlers’ but didn’t really follow through with the sort of gadgetry and gonzo mission generators that would invoke the spirit of a James Bond narrative. This I leave in the hands of Game Masters who I hope will pick up the idea and carry it forward. Similarly, I’m sure there are “Napoleonic Era Scholars” out there who could do a much better job of infusing the setting with great historical details.
In recent days, a surprising number of people have contacted me asking “where did that Napoleonic setting of yours go?” I never realized that this had any kind of following so it pleases me to re-publish this now knowing that at least some folks out there (my European friends) will appreciate this.