Today we would like to tell you more about French faction. As always let's start from the short story by Michał Paradowski.
Louis XIV, by God's grace the Most Christian King of France and Navarre, looked at the officer walking by his side. He squinted, the setting sun was in his eyes but in the face of one Europe's most powerful rulers he could not put his hat back on. The king spoke on:
- Do you understand the gravity of the situation, captain?
- Of course Your Highness, that's why I have chosen them – the Gascon nodded – monsieur de Verier and the rest of the legation will be well protected. Captain Lannes however was not happy that I am taking three dozen of his finest men.
- Lannes will find two hundred volunteers to fill the gaps in the maison militaire .
- Of course Your Highness. And about my companions… - the officer waited. Louis halted and stood face to face with the Gascon. The group of courtiers, pages and guardsmen walking behind them stopped immediately. They knew that the king wanted his conversation with sir de Batz-Castelmore to be private. The king nodded his head for a moment, as if thinking:
- I know that you trust them, considering what you have been through in the past. I signed the order returning them to service, they are the members of Mousquetaires du roi once more.
- Thank you for your favor Sire, you know that they are willing to die in your service. They spilled blood for France more than once!
- You do understand how delicate your mission will be? – Louis looked inquiringly at the officer – It is more than probable that when de Verier and his colleagues are negotiating you will have to engage in… well… other activities.
- Your Highness my rapier is at your command. I am ready to put my life… - the Gascon started emphatically. Louis smiled and interrupted him:
- I hope it will not come to this. Many of the pretty mesdemoiselles of Paris would be very unhappy. A new Fronde might even happen if people got to know that I sent you on such a dangerous mission and you died during it.
The officer also smiled but he quickly became serious again and replied:
- Those three are as brothers to me, we always fought one for all and all for one. We will complete our mission Sire, you can be sure of this.
The Gascon bowed low and quickly departed towards the palace. The royal escort immediately surrounded the ruler and several trusted courtiers started a conversation. But Louis did not crave for court gossip. He knew that dark clouds were gathering over Vienna and thought if he just sent his trusted musketeers to certain death.
The King's Musketeers, or Mousquetaires de la maison militaire du roi de France, are some of the kingdoms finest soldiers. In the year 1666 there were 2 companies of them. One were the original king's musketeer, the other were the original cardinal's musketeers, who joined the royal ranks after the deaths of Richelieu in 1642 and Mazarin in 1661. Serving as a musketeer is an honour, and the volunteers are heavily vetted. Only brave and well-trained men make it.
Preface: Dumas based his novels on the semi-fictional Mémoires de M. d'Artagnan. However, the musketeers of these memoirs were too young for his novels. They entered service in the 1640s, when Richelieu was already near death, ailing. In 1625, when the novels take place, they would be around 5-10 years old. Dumas made them older to better fit his timeline. In the Anno Domini 1666 timeline we returned the musketeers to their original birth dates, and even make them a couple years younger. Like their real life counterparts they enter service in the early 1640s., so they could only encounter the old Richelieu.
Note: all special skills are covered in the rulebook, so we don't repeat them below.
All French from heroes below has Rapier:3 and at least Parry:1, which makes them the best faction in close combat.
Full name, Charles de Batz de Castelmore d'Artagnan born in the year 1624. He arrived in Paris as an ambitious 17 year old Gascon noble, dreaming of glory of joining the musketeers. Knowing he was still to young and inexperienced to be accepted, he became count de la Fere's squire. Along his side he fought in Flanders in the years 1641-42. He impressed his superiors, but since the musketeers were dissolved in 1646, he joined the Gardes-Françaises instead. During the Fronde he sided with the king, which garnered him Cardinal Mazarin's support. In 1658 he joined the reformed King's Musketeers and was soon promoted to captain.
Full name, Isaac de Porthau around the year 1621. He was the son of the Secretary of the Parliament of Béarn and the cousin of Comte de Troisville. He arrived in Paris in 1640 along Athos and Aramis. Initially rejected by the musketeers, he served in Alexander des Essart's company. He was accepted in the musketeer ranks in 1642 for showing great valor while fighting in Flanders. His father's death forced him to leave his unit and take over his duties as the Secretary of the Parliament of Béarn along with his mansion in the Pyrenees. He lived a comfortable life until he was called to arms by D'Artagnan.
Full name, Henri, Seigneur d'Aramitz around the year 1622. His uncle, musketeer captain Jean-Armand du Peyrer, Comte de Troisville, heard of his fencing talents and called him and his friends to Paris with the looming Flanders campaign in mind. Due to his support the young, 19 year old Aramis was accepted in the ranks of the musketeers of the guard. His father's death and the dissolution of the musketeer unit caused him to leave the military and become the abbot of Bearn. He lived a calm life there, meeting his friends occasionally. When D'Artagnan called for his help, Aramis didn't hesitate for a moment.
Full name, Armand d'Athos around the year 1620 to Captain de Troisville's sister. He was summoned to Paris alongside Aramis and Porthos in 1640 and enlisted in the musketeers. Athos is calm, composed, sometimes even ponderous. He accepted the young D'Artagnan into his service and brought him along to fight in Flanders. In 1643 he was wounded in a duel and left the musketeers. Later he fought in the Fronde and joined the mission to rescue King Charles I, which was doomed to fail. He helped restore Charles II as the King of England in 1660. Answering D'Artagnan's call, he leaves Paris and joins his friends on their mission to Vienna.