With the 7th Sea kickstarter still going on, and going so strong, I find it hard to not think about a game set in the age of sail. Grand adventures on the high seas. Canny duelists. Clever pirates. Sharp wits, and even sharper steel. A sense of high adventure and daring do. Most importantly, the call to defend the last vestiges of true freedom that humanity has known, and will know, until we find a new frontier and set sail into the stars. I'm talking about the age of sail, and here's what I'd propose for a campaign.
The idea here is for a game set during the Age of Sail. It wouldn't necessarily need to be historically accurate, or even in the real world, but that level of tech. In particular I'm thinking a combination of 1680-1690 and 1720-1730. The bow is gone, replaced by the gun. Ships have cannons. The sword is still prevalent, particularly among the elite classes and duels with swords still happen. Think the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Disney's Three Musketeers, and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.
The PCs in this game would be a crew of, effectively, pirates. I don't necessarily mean that they torment merchant vessels, but the idea here is it is a crew that is not tied to any particular nation. If to anything, they will be connected to one of the free ports that sits in areas like the Caribbean and the New World where the large nations are just exploring and settling, but also have frontiersmen and women a plenty.
As said, somewhere that is unclaimed. A heavy sense of the wilds and frontier. Rough law where people take care of their own matters, and that can get both rough and personal. The area free from the control of the big nations, but as the game goes on that area will grow smaller.
What Happens In The Game
So what happens over the course of the game? History, effectively. The nations push in. THey claim territory. They fight over land. As t hey push, and expand, and explore there becomes less and less places for the PCs to live their lives of simple freedom where they can follow the path they set out for themselves.
the idea here isn't to force the PCs to fight against this encroachment from the old world, but to see how they handle it. Do they join up? Do they fight? Do they ignore it? Do they become outlaws? Do they just try to make the best of it? Or do they burn the whole world down because if they can't have it then Anarchy will reign?
The Big Challenge
The big challenge to an idea like this is what happens when one PC wants to join with the Spanish, another the English, and three others want to stay free and fight against it? Or some other mix. Either those individuals sacrifice their players, or the GM has to be willing, able, and capable to bounce between characters as they stray very far apart.
Beyond this, is selling the sense of freedom, and the change in the world. This is a game very much about the closing of the frontier. The end of the mystery of what lies just over the horizon. In a sense, this is a story where magic and romance come to an end...unless the players find some way to preserve it.