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Flashing Blades at NTRPGC 2024

Jerry Stratton, March 25, 2024

I’ll be running a game of Mark Pettigrew’s Flashing Blades at 6 PM Wednesday at the North Texas RPG Convention this year. There will be pregenerated characters among the King’s Musketeers and the Cardinal’s Guard—and maybe a few odd men out—working together and competing for the spoils of victory in the famous Hôtel de Bourgogne in Paris in 1637!

I’ve had my eye on Flashing Blades for a while now. But a combination of finally reading Cyrano de Bergerac and browsing through old Dragon magazines—and seeing the ads for this game—convinced me to pull the trigger and buy it from Fantasy Games Unlimited.

I’ve owned En Garde for decades, and have only played it once, at North Texas. It was fun, and Flashing Blades looks like it will be even more fun. (It looks like someone is running En Garde again this year.)

An English spy has stolen French naval documents, compromising France’s strength on the seas! More importantly, the King’s Musketeers and the Cardinal’s Guards are vying to restore the documents and capture the spy before their rivals. Get ready to swing from the chandeliers, fight the Cardinal’s guards—or the King’s musketeers—and outwit the enemies of France in Mark Pettigrew’s game of adventure, intrigue, and… flashing blades!

I’m going to be honest here. As simple as this adventure is, we will probably not finish it in four hours, although that depends on how many people sign up. The adventure is just an excuse to get into brawls, cross blades, and throw furniture around.

Flashing Blades 1985 advertisement: Fantasy Games Unlimited’s advertisement for Flashing Blades in the April 1985 Dragon magazine.; Dragon Magazine; advertisement; Fantasy Games Unlimited; FGU; Flashing Blades

I’ll have more information here later, but (a) there’s no need for you to know the game rules, and (b) pregenerated swashbucklers will be provided. So if you’re in on Wednesday night come in and cross swords!

Flashing Blades is one of those games I used to see advertised in old Dragon magazines and was fascinated by but never bought, which were most of them. There were a lot of retroactively cool (and probably cool at the time) games and game supplements in Dragon’s ads, especially in the back where the smaller companies hung out. But I’ve been a fan of the Three Musketeers for as long as I remember and Flashing Blades especially caught my eye. It was only after buying Daredevils a few years ago to run a Carl Kolchak game that I remembered it, however—and discovered that it was still available for the old advertised price of twelve dollars!

Although I don’t know if that used to be the price of the boxed set. While some of FGU’s old ads mentioned “boxed set”, some did not. But (a) I know I’ve seen boxed sets of Flashing Blades in photographs on the net and (b) the book itself mentions a boxed set in passing that would contain what in this version is bound into the main rulebook. Whether they’ve run out of boxes or whether the game had two versions, I don’t know.

There are things in this world a man does well to carry to extremes. — Edmond Rostand (Cyrano de Bergerac)

  1. <- Kolchak: The Wrong Goodbye