Colonial Nations RP
In the year 1580, many fleets are setting sail to explore the New World. Play as European, Native, or anyone else who takes your fancy, in the latest Nations RP from that highly successful series of RPs.
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awilla the hun

Firstly: Welcome in. If you are reading this, you are no doubt a brave, stalwart person, eager to brave unimaginable hardships in search of gold, fame, honour, or just a new home. Set full sail to the West: it's time for adventure!

Were it so simple. Unfortunately, I have devised rules about the colony: its size, type, and so on. This is partly to avoid what has plagued other Nations RPs: someone making a militaristic giant of a nation, which mugs everyone else; and partly to add a sense of character. Of brave handfuls of people struggling to survive in an unimaginably vast wilderness, with only technology and their wits to help them. If you want to be a native settlement, don't worry: I have one in the works.

So, the rules.

Name and Country of Origin.

All colonies have a country of origin. You may pick any country in the world that was around in 1580, given enough reason. This even includes non European countries, within reason: African tribesmen did not have the shipbuliding technology to get to America. China may have done, but it will probably be on the wrong coast for this RP. I would like a wide variety of nations to be represented here, not just England. And remember: neither Italy nor Germany were properly unified at this time, so be precise when naming where their colonists come from.

The colonial settlement should also have a name. As long as it isn't too modern, it will be accepted.

Type of Colony

This is the first important "decision making" point here. The past has seen many different types of colonies and adventurers going to America, often with radically different aims, so this RP is no different.

State your type of colony, and add some background about it. Be imaginative and creative; this is a story writing site, after all.

The types of colony (and their advantages and disadvantages) are:

Swashbucklers- A band of adventurers, and their assorted assistants, setting forth into the New World for glory and fame. Whilst these people often lack much in the way of numbers, knowledge of the country, or indeed most types of wilderness survival skills, they make up for it in sheer enthusiasm, and a sense of adventure. They are also often personally rich, which means that they have some financial capabilities and connections to give them a reasonable amount of equipment.

Refugees- A disaparate group of people who are trying to tlee the Old World for a better life in the New. This is often due to religious persecution (e.g. the Mayflower), but feel free to think of other reasons. Whilst they may not be wealthy (if they were, they could probably buy enough influence to remain free of persecution), knowledgeable about the New World, or even able to read, their main strengths come in the form of their sheer ruggedness and resilience. Having pooled every penny to get a ship and crew, and faced the grim existence of both being oppressed and being in the Renaissance lower classes, they are largely practical people, used to living in conditions far worse (it is hoped) than in a colonial town. And they have no motive to leave or desert the cause, either; the Old World cannot be better than the New.

Government Expedition: In the name of the Crown, this colony is set up to further the interests of a Country's Government. This can be anything from a naval base to a fishing port, trading centre to a bulwark against someone else's colonial ambitions. This colony has access to fairly substantial support from home, including professional soldiers, supply shipments, or even information about the New World! Whilst the colony may appear to be powerful, it is not without weaknesses of its own: it is totally subservient to the reigning monarch, whose desires may be different to those of their colony many miles across the Atlantic. Expect to recieve unwelcome gifts: convicts being dumped in it, having to cater for a large fleet, being ordered to stay in the midst of a famine, or even having support removed altogether if the situation is bad enough (at home or in the New World.)

Merchants: A wealthy merchant has hired you to explore the New World for one simple reason: GOLD! Perhaps having seen people "drinking the smoke of tobacco" (a great medicine, apparently), or tasted a chocolate sauce from the Spaniards in the south, for example, you have to find profitable goods for sale at home. Because of the immense wealth of your merchant, you may recieve the finest that Renaissance Europe has to offer: advanced technology, many learned men, mercenaries, and so on. You will, however, not have quite the resources of the Government Expedition, and will have to keep a steady flow of profit returning home if you wish to achieve success. The will of your men to remain may well be notably lacking.

As you may have noticed, the above does not contain numerical figures. Therefore, I have to trust in your staying firmly in character for this enterprise to be a success.

More to come.

10/6/2008 #1
awilla the hun

So, here I go, with yet more rules etc.


Where your colony is. The site is most likely going to be coastal, for ease of access to ships. However, the coast of the New World is dotted with small islands (often with Native Villages already on them), so it does not have to be land based. Sheltered bays are ideal. (Research a little on the geography, though.) The coast of the New World was often forested, which means a plentiful wood supply, but more limited open ground. A good food source is vital, whether fish, berries, hunting animals, or trade with the natives.

And before you ask... the events are presumed to be taking place on a fairly small area of the New World's East Coast. This is so as everyone can interact with reasonable ease. I apologise for the lack of better measurments, but I am not a geographer. Consider this to be a fictional location (within reason- no goblins and magicians, etc.)

Specialists of the Colony

These are assorted people from across the world who the expedition has took on board for their great usefulness. I would advise that you keep in character, with both colony type and use of their tools (they are, again, not statistical, and are often of little worth if you simply play to win the game, with no regard for realism.) Similarly, it is unlikely that a bunch of poor fugitives are going to get their hands on, say, a great natural philosopher.

The colony may take up to four of these people, one from each category. If you have any suggestions, please tell me.

Foreigners (people not from your mother country.)

Jewish Banker- such men were renowned money lenders in the Renaissance (no racial slur intended), and as a result have access to substantial amounts of cash. May be among religious fugitives, giving them an unexpected financial boost. Use: Provides a lot of gold to the expedition- more trading power with home, and other Europeans.

Native Scout- an unfortunate individual who has managed to be kidnapped by the Europeans/has freely joined their enterprise. He/she has managed to learn their language, and can be considered of great use to the expedition (although he may desert to his village.) Note: can be in only one place at a time. Use: can translate Algonkian (the native language), and has some knowledge of local custom and geography.

Mercenary Captain: Such men were well known in the Italian and German states, both for their ruthlessness and their expertise. They can also represent pirates, hired for the colony at great expense. Use: Provides a band of about sixty extra soldiers. These men require regular pay to avoid desertion.

Mason: A member of the Guild of Masons, who are remarkably skilled at constructing buildings. Use: Improves the construction of stone buildings. (There is very little stone naturally in the New World, but bringing along building materials can provide him with what he needs.)


Carpenter: A skilled carpenter and his team, capable of working very well with wood. Use: aids in the construction and strengthening of wooden buildings, as well as increasing the comfort of the colony (good wooden tools, furniture, etc.) Also could be handy in selling new woods back to the mother country.

Skilled Smith: An exceptionally skilled smith, who has many uses in the colony. Use: can be an expert in jewellry- in which case, the profitability of gold, jewels and ornaments taken back to the mother country increases- tools- in which case metal tools are improved, aiding in the construction of buildings etc- or weapons and armour, in which case metal weapons and armour are greatly improved.

Professional Soldier: A military officer, from the army of the home country, and his men, ready to do battle with Indians and Europeans. Use: Gain about fifty soldiers, who do not require regular pay of loot.

Farmer: A well known gentleman of the agricultural profession, willing to turn his knowledge to keeping the colony alive, or indeed to trying his hand with crops from the New World. Use: The colony gains a food supply, and tobacco (if found) can be traded, as can cocoa.

Shipwright: This man and his team can, given the correct tools and materials, construct boats for the colony. Use: can construct small pinnaces to aid in the exploration of waterways in the New World, and makes it more attractive for a naval base.

Men of Knowledge

Explorer: Somehow, the colony has managed to attract a famous explorer to their cause. Such a man can be of great assistance in the New World, helping with all manner of tasks. Use: increases the pace of march through wilderness, provides a food source in hunting, trapping and so on, and is generally excellent at wilderness survival. Can also aid in the trade of furs.

Merchant: A renowned merchant has lent his expertise to the mission. Use: Greatly assists in trading with other colonists, the mother country, and (with translation) Indians. He also knows the languages of Old world nations.

Bombardier: The expedition has recruited this gentleman: an expert in the art of employing heavy guns. Use: The expedition can obtain five cannons. (NOTE: Owing to the lack of roads in the New World, meaning that they will be very hard to move overland, you will have to be innovative in the use of these.)

Natural Philosopher: This gentleman has arrived to aid the expedition, at fairly great expense, and is renowned for his knowledge of nature, the sciences, or even alchemy. Use: the colony has access to two of the following tools: Perspective Glass (telescope), Compass, Barometer (this being a gentleman ahead of his time), Surveyor's equipment (map making), watches, alchemical potions. (Slightly improved medicines, as well as something to impress the Natives with. Like many of his devices.)


Algonkian Dictionary: The renowned linguist, one Thomas Harriot, managed to create a rough dictionary of the language employed by the natives. Perhaps your colony is using this, or something quite like it. Use: Know native language (but, unlike the scout, nothing of the area.)

Animal Tamer: The colony has brought along an expert on animals. His skills can doubtless be put to great use here. Use: the colony has access to twenty extra horses (half riding, half wagon towing), as well as guard dogs. (These, it must be said, terrified the Indians who encountered them.) Can also assist in a trade of exotic animals. (This is not without precedent- a lucrative trade was run for a while with "cattes of the mountaigne"- lynxes for gentlemen of the court.

Women: The leader of the colony has brought along women. Whilst this may seem to be a great disadvanage- women in this time were not renowned soldiers or scholars, by and large- this is also an advantage; women, especially wealthy ones, ran the houses of their husbands, and were therefore fairly practical. And, of course, more c*** matters are possible... Use: Massively improves the morale of the colonists (with their wives, mistresses, etc), and provides more practical skills. However, the female proportion (one third) of the population cannot be called up to fight or go out on offensive sorties. The population, over the long term, can also increase.

Missionaries: The colony is accompanied by men of the cloth, both to preach god's word to the savage, and to inspire the colonists. Use: Can attempt to convert Natives to the Christian faith (making them more friendly to the colonists), and improves the morale of the settlers.

Plate Armour: The colony has somehow managed to obtain ancient suits of armour. Whilst inneffective against musketry, these are extremely strong against native arrows. Use: the colony has access to twenty suits of plate armour. These are nigh invulnerable against Indian arrows.

These are by no means balanced out, so suggestions will be appreciated.

Resources of Colony

The colony cannot have more than five hundred members. Swashbucklers cannot have more than two hundred and fifty.

It is presumed that a ship has already been purchased.

The colonists have acquired weaponry to outfit approximately one in ten of their members as professional soldiers. (Plus militia, which is all the able bodied males.) The soldiers can be armed with:

Weapons (two of the following)- Musket, Sword, Brace of Pistols, Pike, Halberd, Javelin, Crossbow, Shield. (Longbow if English, ask permission with me before putting in any weird, foreign stuff.) Everyone is presumed to have a dagger of some kind.

Armour (one of the following)- leather jerkin, cuirass (heavier, but more resilient.) Professionals are presumed to have a helmet of some kind.

Militia are armed with polearms (including farm tools, etc) and shields OR crossbows.

The colonists have access to approximately two month's supply of food (three months for refugees- they expect to stay there for good), and the following resources: Crops for growing, a small amount of stone (not enough for massive castle walls), trinkets to sell to natives (the precise nature to be determined by the player.)

The colonists have access to all the useful tools (within reason). However, these break and fall apart fairly quickly, without the help of a specialist (see above for the exact type.) They also have access to:

Five horses (riding or towing- your choice.)

Two small boats to explore the area with.

If the colonists are from the government, or from a merchant company, they can request shipments from across the Atlantic. They take approximately six months to arrive, and can consist of:

A fifty man detachment of soldiers/ workers

New tools

A replacement for a specialist

Supplies of food

Anything else you can think of (within reason.)

Great Personalities of the Colony

A description of some of the personalities of the colony. These include the leader; the four specialists; any henchmen that the leader has (lieutenants, etc), and any other generally prominent people. Be imaginative in these- this is a writer's site, after all. Should include


Physical Description


Background Info

Position in Colony

How to set up your nation

Just post it, and I'll have a look and see if it's legal or not.

HAVE FUN! And if I have missed anything out, tell me...

10/6/2008 . Edited 10/7/2008 #2
awilla the hun

Other stuff

-Refugees automatically have women and missionaries, but are not allowed to have any other special specialists.

-Government Expeditions automatically have the Professional Soldier, in addition to another Tradesman, but may not have the Jewish Banker (this was a time of great anti semitism, it must be remembered. See Merchant of Venice for more details.)

-Merchants automatically have a Merchant specialist in addition to another man of knowledge; but cannot have missionaries (they just refuse to serve such people.)

-Swashbucklers have double the complement of professional soldiers compared to other colonies, but are not allowed to have a Carpenter, Farmer or Mason specialist. However, they are also excellent huntsmen- it was an aristocratic sport in Europe, at the time.

10/7/2008 #3

((Awilla, plate armour shouldn't be a speciality; it was not uncommon in 1580, especially among professional soldiers. Also, plate armour could resist bullets at longer ranges, as the common form of guns were arquebus and caliver. Muskets, which were rather slow to load and unreliable at the time, were the only infantry firearms that could pirece heavy armor at long range.))

10/7/2008 #4
Sarah Crowning

Plate armor might not have been uncommon, but it was still very expensive. We're in the colonies here, so resources are scarce. Bringing a suit of plate armor is something that would take enough time and expenditure to matter.

10/8/2008 #5
awilla the hun

It would be just about as common, therefore, as an Algonian dictionary. Especially as plate armour was no longer in general use, owing to the increasing power of firearms. This was based on a real life incident (as are most of the others): an English governor, in preparation for warfare with Indians, brought along a number of suits of plate armour, and used them to great effect against his foes.

10/8/2008 #6

((Also, why is it that your first shipment is 500 people, but each successive shipment can only bring 50? Did they just decide to decrease the size of the ship? Did they decide they don't want to spare any more people to bring wealth to the nation? Also, can shipments bring new specialists? Or does the government just say, "Let's just send them gunts from now on; they obviously couldn't have any USE for any more educated and skilled people!"))

10/8/2008 #7

Aspen, its just part of the game, it shouldn't all be extremely realistic or else it wouldn't be fun. And I don't think we should make shipments take six months, or else it would take almost a month in real time to get there. Instead you should consider shortening it to say, three months?

10/8/2008 #8
awilla the hun

You cannot get another specialist. In game terms, it would be overpowered: all a national/merchant colony has to do is simply sit back, and eventually become a superpower with plate armour, algonkian dictionaries, cannon, horses, and generally everything it needs to take any course of action. I created this as a game which restricts the normal tatics of the nations RP (simply scoring the biggest empire with the biggest guns over the most interesting or realistic), and forces a player to be innovative, and to think.

Similarly, this is why there is such a long time for shipments: a national/merchant colony does have an advantage over other colonies, but it is not so huge that they simply beat the hell out of them by mugging them with huge streams of soldier shipments, for example. The player has to be resourceful with their extremely limited amounts of power. On the other hand, I have not play tested this system, so things are probably going to change.

10/9/2008 #9

I think that at least ONE specialist per SIX MONTHS would not be overpowered. Merchants could request similar shipments, like calling in a mason from the governor's hometown, or something.

10/9/2008 #10

No because then people who joined later would be understocked and at a disadvantage, how about you can get a new one every six months if when that specialist arrives your other specialist in that category leaves on that same boat, seems like a fair compromise.

10/9/2008 #11

Perhaps...we'll wait and see how things turn out.

10/9/2008 #12
awilla the hun

As Kross said, game balance. If you dislike your choices, you can swap one specialist at the next home shipment. And as for only fifty people, it must be remembered that ships back then weren't exactly massive, and the home country has other affairs to see to (or the company has a limited budget.)

10/10/2008 #13

Yeah, but then why did the first shipment bring a whole five hundred?

10/10/2008 #14

So the game would make sense!!

10/10/2008 #15

EXACTLY!!!! That is my point! The first shipment brings 500, but then awilla claims that the ships were so small and governments cared so little that ships would actually only carry 50!!! I could understand maybe cutting down to 300, maybe 200, but 50 is 1/10 of the original shipment!!! Did their vessels suddenly SHRINK?!?! Did sparing 500 become such a big problem for nations that were already overpopulated?!?! WHERE IS THE LOGIC?!?!

*Insert slow, painful death from utter confusion.*

10/10/2008 #16
Sarah Crowning

First expedition has to be large enough to support itself. They commission a whole fleet of ships, fill them up with all the necessary materials, and found the colony. Once that's done most of the ships can be repurposed to more profitable or useful endeavors and one or two can make regular rounds.

10/11/2008 #17

OK. That makes sense.

10/11/2008 #18
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