A Nova for a Swashbuckler Campaign

by Thomas Devine (Ted2041@uncwil.edu)

I've been reading Jonathan Israel's book on the Dutch Republic and I thought up a fun twist for a swashbuckling campaign. This setting involves one successfully cast spell, which should be more than enough to make the players totally supersitious. Here's the plot; during the 1672 war Louis XIV orchestrated against the Dutch (he was jelous of their wealth) a crackbrained wizard casts a spell to send the Dutch people and their homes to the New World. It works! But his notes are lost and the wizard sinks into total senility, assuming he didn't start there.

I see mists descending onto the Netherlands, villages start disappearing in Holland and Zeeland, the suddenly Leyden and Delft are gone [the first landing on what is the site of Brooklyn in our world, the the second appearing at Yonkers]. Amsterdam is displaced to Manhattan, the Hague would land at what became Albany in our world, and the Zeeland towns would be spread over Long Island, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod. Utrecht city would land at Providence, Rhode Island and the rest of the towns villages and farms of Holland, Utrecht, and Zeeland, would be spread through southern New England, and the Hudson valley. The Dutch cannals would become manifest as an "Eerie Cannal" from the Hague (Albany) to Groninjen City (Buffalo). The towns and populations of Noord Brabant, Gelderland, Overijssel, Drenthe, and Groninjen province, would be spread out along the route of the cannal. Friesland would be spread out along the coast of lake Eerie.

Given that the Netherlands were armed for war in this period, I make the assumption that the Dutch quickly overwhelm the both the English colonists and Native American in the area they land in. I also assume that William of Orange and De Witt make peace. Although William was thrilled to see De Witt and his faction destroyed durring the crisis of 1672, I make the assuption that William was no Maurits, quick to bretray and murder for advantage, and I also assume that all of the Dutch would be shocked for awhile. Since the area the spell placed the Dutch in is much larger than the Netherlands and contains great reasources, I assume that the next few decades extend the Dutch Golden Age with a much bigger boom, and that with no signifigant armies to fight, the fortunes of the House of Orange shrivel.

So what is the use of this? A complex dynamic society is placed into the American Frontier of the early 18th century. Concider Dutch society in the 17th century, now take the lid off those forces struggling for greater freedom and participation. Acellerate the patronage of art rather than squash it. Dissolve the power of the Predicants in the vast distances and opportunities of the new world. The setting would make for wild swashbuckling. Charles and then James would be keeping a hostile eye toward their nephew (yes he was James' son-in-law, but he was also the Nephew of the two of them, royal inbreeding don't you know). As James would be unlikely to to be dethroned by William, look for a large emigration to the American Plantations. Given the dynamism of 17th century Dutch society, which was only ground down by several decades of war, the transpher to America would lead to a vast boom. The population would likely double to around four millions by 1710 at the latest. By 1730 the Dutch lands could have a pull like that late 19th century America had on Europe, thus a stagnant Europe, like that of Aeolus, would face an ultradynamic America in the 18th century. Throw in political wrangling, colonial compitition, and probable revolutions for and against both the Regents and the House of Orange, and you've got a wild setting.

Picture a fortified Dutch city (it was fortified against Spanish cannon durring the Eighty Years War) at the point were the Monogahela and the Allegainy meet. It is at the edge of what it knows as civilization, though it is conected by fine cannals to the Atlantic and the Hudson. See this city, its fine buildings and busy life with the eyes of the local Indians. Picture New England Farmers riding into Utrecht. So many interesting borders could be set up and crossed. So many interesting transformations and revelations, who needs more magic?

Note: If you would like to pop another country across the pond, either in addition to or instead of the Netherlands, tell me about it and the campaign and adventure possiblities. I could see the Irish allining with the Native Americans. Popping a well chosen Italian city onto the site that became San Francisco could be exciting. Moving a German Kingdom that didn't want to be absorbed into Bismark's Germanny into the Great Lakes region could be fun. But only do one big change. More than that gets too messy.