Les Violettes Dangereuses
Down a glass of champagne, steal a zeppelin, and turn up the heat in an after-hours club while you swap poetry and dissidence as a member of Les Violettes Dangereuses, a group of revolutionary artists who give new meaning to “the pen is mightier than the sword.”
Long ago, the Barons of Industry seized control of the planet’s resources and dug deep into the earth, fracturing it beyond repair. When the world could not sustain them, they fled to the sky in giant floating city-states. The Conglomerate Isles of Apollo see over each city-state and the workers who toil beneath them... quite literally.
In New Frisia, where art deco skyscrapers blend into pristine manicured landscapes, the wealthy throw lavish parties in mahogany ballrooms tethered to moss-covered zeppelins. Hot jazz spills down into the atmosphere where the working class dreams of freedom, and conjures up a culture of resistance.
There are whispers of an army of dead poets that can conjure words into weapons. Their only calling card? A bouquet of black violets. The Barons of Industry have their days numbered, and everyone knows it.
Cutting the Chains of Oppression... Literally
The city of New Frisia is ripe for a change. Though the people may toil in factories and mines making the fuel that powers the world, they won’t for long. For those who consistently suffer injustice, what is it like to tell a story where the oppressed actually win? Can your characters put the people before themselves to build a society for all? Les Violettes Dangereuses is a setting where the characters may not live to see freedom, but the words they leave behind will be the ingredients to start a successful revolution.
Joy and Creativity as Resistance
Thirsty Sword Lesbians often uses joy and creativity as an act of resistance to create evocative stories where people are centered and relationships are nurtured. Creating art, laughing, being sexy, finding companionship, writing poetry, singing songs, and dancing are all vital ways to resist an oppressive society that drains you and makes you forget your worth. From the poetry used to conjure up the blades of Les Violettes Dangereuses, to the explicit melodies of sweet Duchess Sugar, sharing your joy through performance or art can sustain a movement. When your character is flagging and feels like they can’t go on, take a cue from the blues. Make a song about it and sing it to the patrons of an after-hours club where the drinks are strong, and the company enraptured. Need to get the workers to pick up their pickaxes and fight back? Write a poem and have it passed out on broadsides. Need to heal your heart after a big battle’s losses? Dance slow and serpentine, pressed cheek to cheek. Players should be rewarded for creating moments of joy in bleak circumstances, and using their creative expression and joy to survive whatever the Olympian Society can throw at them.
20th Century Steamfunk for a 21st Century Mindset
The Conglomerate Isles of Apollo are islands chained to the ruins of an extinct society by a history of colonialism, ecological collapse, and unchecked wealth. Just as steampunk investigates fantastical science through a pseudo-Victorian industrial mindset, steamfunk explores that from a non-white perspective. Explore the complicated status and histories of the floating islands to create your own Jazz Age narrative. Want to add your own culture and flair to an island? Have a tradition you want to encompass? Surely there’s an island to build, flesh out, and liberate. Play this module to infuse your hopes, experience, and needs into your play.
The Conglomerate Isles of Apollo consist of dozens of large floating cities that are chained to the remains of a dying mining planet where the wealth always trickles up, never down. Each city holds the estates of the Barons of Industry, families who rule the Isles in a tense oligarchy. Anchored with large titanium chains that shake and rattle in the thick polluted atmosphere, the city-states are shackled to the factories and industries they own.
Beneath islands where crystal goblets are never empty of champagne is the Below, a labyrinth city of smokestacks and crumbling housing on scorched land. Once rumored to be a lush, verdant paradise, the Below is now home to most of those who supply the fuel, luxuries, and labor for the Barons and their families. The citizens of the Below are essentially serfs, bought and traded between cities and Barons. The only way to break out of the system is by buying your way out, and it doesn’t come cheap to one’s pocket or soul.
Only recently has anything changed. In the uprising at Minerva Point on New Frisia, words became real weapons. A literary salon known as Les Violettes Dangereuses were sentenced to life in service in the metal mines of Baron Lipford Randal. Their crime? Writing seditious poetry and distributing it to the masses by throwing it off the sides of airships and turning it into song. When the time for their arrest came, they fought back, pulling swords made from poetry out of their chests. They beat back the Baron’s security forces and escaped in a dramatic fight. Rumors of assassins with swords conjured from words themselves stalk the Baron’s every waking thought. A good night’s sleep in his marbled mansion is hard to come by.
In the underground gambling and jazz joints where factory workers, miners, petty criminals, and middle class culture hounds meet, everyday folks get together to get happy. Clubs like the Sugar Bowl are where PCs can pull off their uniforms or overalls, kick up their heels, rouge their knees, and listen to the sweet sounds of Duchess Sugar, or watch the titillatingly dangerous sword dances of Birdie Lu.
Or maybe PCs would like to try their hand as a pearl-handled-pistol-toting crew member of a zeppelin, ferrying the elite from island to island, or workers such as servants and caretakers. The Intercity Union of Zeppelin Workers controls the sky, much to the annoyance of the Barons, who have no other means of transportation.
Explore the floating islands where extreme wealth leads to extreme appetites, and try to sow the seeds of liberation through art. Join the mysterious members of Les Violettes Dangereuses and leave your calling card so they understand that what goes up must surely come down.
The Cloud Cruise Caper
The PCs infiltrate the crew hired to work a 30-day Cloud Cruise around the islands on the Christiana, a new all-aluminum-paneled Zeppelin owned by one of the wealthiest Barons, Theirry Randolph Peters.
During dinner, the PCs overhear plans to dismantle the Intercity Union of Zeppelin Workers from the inside. Among the chief co-conspirators is Slapjack Stonemason, the current President of the I.U.Z.W. Can they get more information without completely blowing their cover?
While on shore leave, the PCs have a wild night on a floating juke joint. Duels are fought, kisses exchanged, and what little baron bills they have are safely tucked in every garter, bra, and suit pocket of their hosts. By the time the PCs rouse themselves, their ship has already sailed. Can they steal, beg, or borrow another before someone notices they're gone?
Rise of a City-State, a new propaganda film by elite Director G. Q. MacArthur, is premiering on the Zeppelin after a grand ball. If they can attend the premier, the PCs can write a scathing critique before it reaches the Below. The PCs receive a note of solidarity and a promise of tickets if they meet the sender in the orangerie and help them with a problem. When they meet the mysterious sender, it’s Yvette Randolph Peters, the daughter of Thierry Randolph Peters. Can they trust her, or will her pretty smile be their downfall?
Bread and Violets
The overworked PCs are charged with giving hope and supplies to the workers of an impoverished city-state whose Baron has chosen to pay their workers a fair wage. Can they supply the city without burning out themselves?
The PCs arrive in the city-state and find it unlike any they’ve visited before. They have to learn the culture and customs before they can even remotely begin their work. Miscommunications and egos flare, and unnecessary duels and passions paint them as elitists. Use this time to explore the PCs’ motivations for liberation and the work they do. Can they humble themselves and listen to what the people want? Or will they fracture themselves further?
In a crucial fight against rival Baronial enforcers, the PCs all fail to draw their swords out of themselves and are forced to flee. While nursing their wounds in a safehouse, they realize they’re burned out, and can’t use their swords until they recharge themselves physically and mentally. Use this time to explore the interpersonal relationships between the PCs and their motivations. Encourage delving into their backstories and telling short flashback scenes that encourage players to heal rifts between each other and recognize that they deserve the same joy they attempt to bring to others. Consider having the PCs remember why their medium allowed them to draw their weapons in the first place, and allow them to create more elaborate and powerful swords based on their new insights.
The people of the city-state have decided that fair wages aren’t enough. They want to collectively rule the city-state and overthrow the Baronial family at the center. The Baron invites leaders to his crumbling estate for a summit, but when the PCs and leaders arrive, the estate is abandoned and all signs point to foul play. The Conglomerate Isles of Apollo blames the disappearance on the people and the Violettes, and are sending a dragoon of zeppelins to regain the city-state. Can the PCs find the Baronial family, clear their name, and secure the first collectively run city-state against the full force of the Conglomerate Isles of Apollo?
Hot Heads and Cold Blues
The PCs finally get some downtime in their hometown of New Frisia. Can they lay low while taking a break? Or will their over-the-top passions, petty affairs, and deep love of a good time bring too much attention?
The PCs all attend a dance night at the Sugar Bowl, Duchess Sugar’s nightclub and gambling spot. Unfortunately, the PC’s most troublesome exes are also in attendance, each one with a different grudge. Kisses are exchanged, drinks fly, and flirting is everywhere. Can the PCs cool their tensions and affairs? Or will their messy entanglements leave the Sugar Bowl worse for wear?
Birdie Lu—dancer, sex worker, swordsbabe, and incomparable flirt—has some intel for the Violettes. There’s a shipment of valuable fuel being loaded at the DuChamp estates air dock, and it’s ripe for the picking. She and her dance company are performing for Baron DuChamp’s daughter Mercedes’s birthday party. All the Violettes have to do is pose as dancers and stay behind after the performance to steal the cargo. Unfortunately, lovelorn Mercedes has taken a shine to one of the PCs and refuses to let them out of her sight. Can the PCs distract the birthday girl and steal the cargo?
After a night of living it up, the PCs are nursing their hangovers when J Zwick sends a messenger to tell them to head down to the shop immediately. When they arrive, a new person is at the counter, chatting amicably to the Baronial Enforcers searching the shop. Greeting them like J themselves, they hand the PCs “their book order” and tell them they are obviously occupied. When the Violettes open the package, they find that the books are all heavily detailed maps of a mythical lost floating island with a singular note: It’s time. Meet me at the end of the rainbow. Can the PCs follow J’s clues to an extraordinary discovery?
Mercedes Irene DuChamp (she/questioning): A young heiress to the Baronial DuChamp empire. Her luminous face, demure demeanor, and bright violet eyes have made her a major catch for leaders and heirs of the Baronial class since she was presented to society. Lately though, Mercedes has been less demure and more outspoken against her family’s control. She’s been rumored to have been spotted in popular dives in the Below, and has even taken to dueling for kicks. A competent swordswoman, she carries her mother’s golden damascus steel rapier, Milady, on her hip wherever she goes and tends to have no problems fending off both potential suitors and opponents. It’s for this reason her parents have chosen to marry her off as quickly as possible to the first Baron who can defeat her.
Mercedes is struggling to find her identity in a world where she is suffocating. Can she help the PCs infiltrate the Baronial class, or will she choose a comfortable life over her growing discomfort with her identity and the system?
J Zwick (they/them, she/her): The only bookseller in the Below and the go-to person if you want to find the perfect book to soothe your soul—and gain some sweet intel. With fine features set in a rich fawn-colored face, their dark doe eyes hide a shrewd intelligence that can only come from having access to the largest collection of knowledge outside of Baronial control. J Zwick is the owner of Zwick’s Books and Curiosities, and their family has owned it as long as they can remember. In fact, if the PCs think about it, J doesn’t look any different than any of the J Zwicks who have owned the store for generations. She doesn’t seem to carry any weapons about their person, nor do they seem particularly put off by being the only unarmed person in a fight. The PCs know that J Zwick is a great lover of rare books, and more than willing to buy any off the PCs that they might come across.
When the PCs need intel, their best bet is to go to J’s shop. J often has a few tasks for them to complete as well. Does she greet them warmly, or are they an annoyance? Is J’s unchanging appearance and lack of a weapon a cause for concern?
International Union of Zeppelin Workers
Bette Riveter (she/her): With waist-length mousy brown hair, oil-stained coveralls, and a no-nonsense face filled with pretty freckles, Bette Riveter is one of the higher ups in the I.U.Z.W., second only to the outwardly corrupt Slapjack Stonemason. Bette is from a long line of riveters who built some of the very first zeppelins. Captain of the I.U.Z.W. registered ship The Hot Stomp, she’s trusted to deliver some of the most sensitive cargo for the Barons, all the while attempting to further the I.U.Z.W’s cause of fair pay for all workers in the Conglomerate Isles. Bette’s weapon of choice is a steel mallet the size of her own body, named Jenny Don’t Miss, affectionately named after her grandmother Jenny... who did not, in fact, ever miss a swing.
Bette Riveter believes the proper way to go forward is to follow the processes of the Baronial Empire, no matter how arcane and slow they may be. Does she butt heads with the PCs? Are there a few who secretly believe Bette’s way is correct? What happens when the PCs get in the way of her agenda?
The Sugar Bowl
Duchess Sugar (they/them): The entertainer du jour. Flexible, bubbly, and with a list of former lovers that fall on every spectrum imaginable, Duchess Sugar is a sepia cutie who wields more power than you’d think. Whether clad in their signature white tuxedo and blond slicked-back hair, or a cut-out gown that leaves nothing to the imagination, Duchess isn’t afraid to be themselves and serve themselves. A dual wielder, Duchess carries a jeweled icepick sheathed between their breasts and a slim rapier with a ruby red hilt on their hip. The elite visit the Sugar Bowl just as much as any Violette, and the PCs know they need to be careful not to mix up which nights are which. What no one knows is whether the Duchess is playing both sides for their own gain, or is genuinely as invested in change as they claim to be.
Duchess is a valuable bridge between the world of Baronial control and the teeming Below, but can the PCs truly trust them not to serve their interest over the people’s? Can any of the PCs catch their interest long enough to find out for sure? Is Duchess friendly to them, or using the PCs for their own gain?
Les Violettes Dangereuses
Philomena Nebula (fae/femme/faer): One of the most legendary members of Les Violettes Dangereuses. It was the lavender-haired Philomena who first pulled a sword from within faerself, grasping the hilt of Restless Blues and slowly pulling the pulsing longsword made of tempered sorrow out of faer heart as fae belted out faer sorrows and hopes onstage at the Sugar Bowl nearly six years ago. Constant heartbreak, suppression, and loss of faer lover has left femme in dire straights: fae haven’t been able to conjure the legendary Restless Blues in over a year. Growing bitter by the day, the once inspirational Philomena feels like fae can’t take a break, and in faer darkest moments wonders if all the Violettes’ work is for naught.
Philomena Nebula’s voice is flagging due to overwork and low spirits, which makes femme ripe for a number of issues. When the PCs lose their way, can Philomena help them turn their defeats into glory and find faerself on the way?
Frida Galaxy (she/her): An outspoken force of beauty and power, Frida has taken the forefront in theViolettessince Philomena has been unable to conjure faer sword. She is stalwart and serious, and there is a persistent rumor that Philomena’s heartbreak lies in Frida rejecting faer affection. With her gorgeous dark umber curves covered in brilliant sequins and fringe, Frida is a sight to behold as she speaks poetry to the people. Her poetry when spoken with passion conjuredSweet Cosmos, a broadsword whose blade is etched with every poem she has ever made and will ever make, and a hilt made of oxblood leather like a finely made book.
The PCs primarily take their orders from Frida, who tolerates very little room for error these days. Does she share the same vision for the future as the PCs? Have they put her on a pedestal she hasn’t asked to be on?
Les Violettes Dangereuses
- Alpha Omega Peters
- Celestial S. Jones
- Heavenly Fannie
Workers at the Sugar Bowl
- Jennie La Rue and her Chocolate Revue
- Peaches Johnson and her Hot Jazz Band
- Sweet Baby Duke
Barons and Baronial Families
- Conchita de Astor
- Earnest Vandermiers IV
- Lady Máxima Marie Ferragult
- Pierre Worth II
International Zeppelin Union Members
- Alex Steelthrower
- Joseph Windsailor
- Keisha Stonecutter
- Betty Ng
- Birdie York
- Sophronia Green
Words to Steel
When a PC officially becomes a member ofLes Violettes Dangereuses, they can turn art into an actual weapon. At the time of membership, the player should choose one type of medium from which to draw their power. From then on, whenever a PC wants to draw their sword, they have to describe or perform the medium they’ve chosen, and how it manifests into a physical representation.
Dorothy Galaxy opens her mouth to sing the lullaby she learned from her father as a child. It conjures from her heart a crystalline longsword that pulses with her words.