Flashing Blades: An 80’s Game Still Fun Today
Flashing Blades is a 1980s adventure which can be purchased in either PDF or Hardcopy form.
The setting is 17th century France, the time of the Three Musketeers, Cyrano de Bergerac and numerous other swashbucklers.
Musketeers, Cavaliers & Roundheads, court intrigue, social climbing, swashbuckling…that sort of thing.
Flashing Blades does a good job of remaining faithful to the genre, with an emphasis on the history and adventure of the setting.
As is typical of many other RPGs, Flashing Blades uses broad character classes (Rogues, Gentlemen, Soldiers and Nobles), each with their own list of skills. It also uses advantages (such as ‘wealth’, ‘contacts’ and ‘gentlemans lackey’ – a sort of loyal servant) and secrets (disadvantages, such as ‘duelist’, ‘compulsive gambler’ and ‘don juan’).
The area in which Flashing Blades comes into its’ own is combat. They do a good job of recreating the feel of duelling and swashbuckling. Combatants choose attack methods (such as sword thrusts and lunges, or dirty fighting techniques like tripping a foe and then stomping on him), along with defensive actions such as parries, sidesteps and dodges. When your character scores a hit, you choose a body location (such as the chest or an arm) and roll twice on a hit location table. The closest result to your chosen area is where your character actually hits. These mechanics really do make a change from the usual roll-to-hit, roll-for-damage variety of many other RPGs.
The game also includes mechanics for gaining positions within the clergy, military, bureacracy and various orders. These concepts add depth to the ‘downtime’ of the game, but are fairly useless for those players who just want the occasional swashbuckling adventure.