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Gurps Venice


No not the Venice of lovers,songs, and Tweety & Sylvester(they did go there once). The OLD Venice. The Venice of Marco Polo. The Venice of the Battle of
Lepanto. The Venice of explorers, spies, Conndottieri(armies for hire), galleys, cunning merchants, cunning statesmen, and all sorts of things.
Venice was one of the most interesting states in the western world. It was founded by refugees when Rome fell and grew into a great seat of wealth and power. It was feared because of it's ability to crank out galleys at an extrodinary rate, thus making it able to hold it's own even against the mighty Ottomans. Venetians were known for their willingness to seek out new life and new civilizations-in the hope of making new markets. They were also known for their cunning.
Venetians often had an outlook on life which is easier for a modern to understand. They tended, more than the peasants of Gurps Russia to think in
terms of rationality. They were also more good natured about philosophical quirks than most European states. This can lead to some interesting twists. For instance disadvantage: superstitious-such a person might be typical of a lower class Venetian mixing with middle-class or Patrician characters. Or disadvantage: heretic(religious,scientific,political, etc)-such a person would probably be tolerated depending on what period the game takes place and what his believes are, but it would attract suspicion. During the sixteenth-century it would likly get him sent to the galleys or he might not, but he would fare better earlier or latter or he might not. And so on through many twists.
And then there is the Venetian navy which has a splendid record. A "humane" one for the time as well interestingly enough-as late as Lepanto they continued to use volunteers, or at least conscripted citizens on the oars as often as they thought they could rather than galley-slaves in the hopes of having rowers that have an interest in rowing well. This can bring interesting twists to naval-minded players who are curious about the complexities of fighting with oars.
The Venetian state is an interesting state and would make a very good Gurps.
Several variations on this can be made

Venice "dark": faceless police state, informers everywhere. Everyone lives in terror of the fabled "knock on the door", somewhat exagerrated by Venice's
enemies but with some degree of truth.

Venice "Scrooge": Misers who do anything for gain etc, also exaggerated but with some degree of truth.

Venice "bright": Wordsworth's "eldest child of liberty". Brave sailors, statesmanlike senators, regal Doges*,patriotic citizens, "Viva San Marco!"**

Venice Realistic: All of the above mixed with whatever intricacies needed. For instance an old senator seeking to clear out corruption is put on trial like Socrates: the player is a lawyer sent to
defend him. Or the player is a valiant galley captain who finds out that the reason the food given his rowers is bad is because some supply officer is taking advantage for his own profit. Or whatever. In short a Venice that combines something from all three of the stereotypes given above to create a Venice inhabited by humans, not demons and not angels.

* Doge: elected lord of Venice
**battle cry of Venice