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Weird Venetian adventure seed

I really should be doing several other things right now, but that's exactly the kind of time I start doing things like this. For those unaware of the fact, Jurgen Hubert, long-time gamer, at least sometime GURPS fan, and self-publisher of a variety of gaming products, has been spending time doing translations of bits and pieces of old German folkloristic texts (he's got a Patreon, if you'd like to support his efforts).

Jurgen recently posted a tidbit with relevance to some of my works. Legend has it that Venetians would come to Germany, find and extract treasures using magic, and sneak back to Venice to live it up. There's more, of course but this struck me as an interesting basis for some heist and smuggling-style adventures.

For something like this, the Venetian state machinery is going to be involved at some level. The question is whether its agencies are directly involved in the covert looting or if they are, as usual, lurking in the shadows doing oversight and making sure the state gets its cut while preserving plausible deniability. Both are viable options, but I'd be inclined to run it as the former. The job is to sneak in, rummage around the countryside, and get out with the goods.

During the late 15th century, the Holy Roman Empire was a bit of a mess. The authority of the emperor was at a low ebb, and the nobility often erupted into open conflicts with one another. That's a reasonably good set of conditions for our Venetian treasure hunters. Angry local lords who want to prevent that kind of thing may not feel restrained by legal restrictions imposed from above, but it also means that there's lower odds of a coordinated response. This is classic Dukes of Hazzard/Bonnie-and-Clyde-fleeing-to-banjo-music stuff; just make it over the county line and you should be clear.

The kinds of characters this effort needs includes:
  • Technical specialists. This depends on the kind of magical work involved. People with Divination skill? Alchemy? A handful of actual spells like Find Earth? Whatever is required, people like that are needed.
  • Guides and navigators. Somebody has to get the treasure hunting party there and back again, guiding them through the physical and social landscape. This requires things like Area Knowledge, social skills for bribing and otherwise finessing people along the way, possibly Current Events, and maybe Allies or Contacts in the region.
  • Strong backs. A few big guys to do any digging and heavy lifting are going to be necessary, and if they can fight their way out of sudden confrontations, so much the better.
And any number of individuals can be added in: a healer or priest because why not, subsidiary specialists for mining, loading up animals, piloting boats, etc., a designated leader (perhaps a member of the patrician family underwriting the whole thing) who doesn't fit one of the above roles, someone without particular capabilities of their own but is along because they have a specific, useful relationship with the place or the magic in question needs a person of a particular type (a tall red-headed woman wearing a green hat, the father of seven daughters, etc.).


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