I Cavalieri del Tempio
Summary courtesy of Andrea Angiolino, used with permission.
In a period when foreign role-playing games were quite successful, the release of the luxury manual of "I Cavalieri del Tempio" in 1990 meant an unusual effort of production and design: a large team of authors (Andrea Angiolin, Giuliano Boschi, Agostino Carocci, Massimo Casa and Luca Giuliano) and a company with a large distribution (E.Elle).
The game is based on alternate history. "I Cavalieri del Tempio" is dedicated to the legend of the Templar Knights. The Templars kningts got esoteric knowledge in the East that allow them to separate their "astral body" from the physical one. Characters are members of a secret and esoteric organization born from the ashes of that order when it has been destroyed by the King of France and the Pope. They start the outermost part of the organization, knowing very little of the real purposes of their missions, and they are sent travel in time and space to direct the course of history follwing a secret "Celestial Plan" of the organization.
The setting is strictly historical and the kind of magic available reflects the credible supernatural power that could be believed at that age in the real world. Basic manual start with Middle Ages, but the system allows to feature adventures in any historical period or even in the future.
Concerning the Templar organization and its plan, "I Cavalieri del Tempio" was quite influenced by Umberto Eco's novel "Il pendolo di Foucault", that has been published for the first time in Italy in October 1988. The medieval setting of the game is also under the influence of Eco's first novel "Il nome della rosa" - one of the official adventures, included in the supplement "E.Elle Avventura" n.1, is even set in the ruins of Eco's abbey some years after the burning that destroyed it. Another influential writer has been Franc Cuom with his "Gunthert d'Amalfi cavaliere templare": the authors of the game had fruitful contacts with him while he was writing the nmvel and he also wrote the preface for the second edition of the manual.