Tuesday, 29 May 2012

WoTR/ToEE Campaign: 17 Things You Need to Know

17 things my players will need to know before the start of the new campaign:

Choosing Sides: White Rose of York or Red of Lancaster?

Recent History:
  • In 1455, under pressure from the Pope (who had threatened to excommunicate the whole of England), Richard, Duke of York, leads fully half of England's nobility in revolt against the Lancastrian King, Henry VI. A weak and insipid ruler, Henry had allowed himself to fall under the sway of dark magicians and demonologists.
  • In 1471, the Yorkist faction finally put an end to the Wars. The Yorkists (fighting under the banner of the White Rose) defeat the Lancastrians and their demonic allies at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Following the battle, the Earl of Angstford and his family, stout Lancastrians and fearsome demonologists, have their lands and titles placed under attainder, (confiscated), by the Yorkist King Edward IV. They flee in various directions: to France, Burgundy and Ireland.
Henry VI, executed soon after Tewkesbury
 Current Situation:
  • The current year is 1481. Edward IV still rules England.
  • With the great mass of English chivalry dead on the Bloody Meadow of  Tewkesbury or in exile abroad, much of the country remains ungoverned and lawless. Many heirs are still too young to inherit their lands. Other lords and knights still retain their lands but live in Exile. Brigandage is common. The monstrous creatures forced into the Wildwoods by the campaigns of Arthur and St George are now once again venturing forth into the settled lands of England.
  • The seat of the Earl of Angstford remains vacant, a tasty morsel dangled before the nose of several important noblemen of dubious loyalty as a means of ensuring their good behaviour. The few castles and manor houses within the limes (territory) of the Earldom which are not razed or ruined, are held by Flemish mercenaries in the service of the King.
  • Women are expected to marry and raise children or take vows as a Nun. HOWEVER, female mercenaries and adventurers are actually quite common in this period, but are viewed as abominations by most "right-thinking" folk.
  • Some new items not normally found in the OSRIC rules are available, but are well beyond the means of most starting players. These include: Arquebus/Hackbutts (primitive handguns), Field Plate Armour, Full Plate Armour (better versions of Plate Mail) and Brigandine Armour (actually quite common, I'll probably post the rules for these)
  • According to the Catholic church, only humans have souls (and possibly Half-Elves and Troll-bloods, but the church isn't sure about that).  Killing animals or members of any other race is NOT considered an act of murder by Catholics. Muslims and Jews believe that Dwarves also have souls. The Muslim and Jewish religions have not had sufficient contact with Elves, Half-Elves and Half-Orcs to have formed an opinion regarding the status of these beings one-way-or-another.

  • The campaign will be set in the fictional English Earldom of Angstford. Although there are road and other physical connections to the rest of England, the territory  of the Earldom represents the physical limits of the campaign sandbox. In theory, your characters can leave at any time. In practise, please don't.
Edward IV, Yorkist King of England
Game Information:
  •  Races: Player Characters may be Shidhe (Elves), Changelings (Half-Elfs), Dwarves, Humans or Troll-Bloods (Half-Orcs descended from Fomorians). There will be no gnomes or halflings in this setting.
  • Class and Level Limits: Unlike the previous game, humans will not be able to multi-class. Non humans may multi-class as normal but be aware that maximum levels for non-humans apply in this setting with the following exceptions: Dwarves and Trollbloods may advance to any level as a fighter or Barbarian. Elves may advance to any level as a Magic-User or Illusionist. Changelings may advance to any level as a Houri, Thief or Ranger.
  • PC Clerics may follow one of three religions: Catholicism, Islam or Judaism and may be of any alignment. However, Clerics must always act within the bounds of their religion. Carrying out actions forbidden to their religion (for example: theft, sexual intercourse or murder for a   Catholic Cleric) will result in the character losing their spellcasting abilities. Only NPC Clerics may be followers of the evil deity known by various names such as the Dark One, Satan etc. PC Clerics ALWAYS turn undead (rather than control them) regardless of their alignment. Clerics of the Dark One always control undead.
  • All Clerics are Priests of their religion. However, not all Priests are Clerics. Clerics are essentially proto-saints at low-levels and actual, living saints, prophets or the equivalent by higher levels. Spell-casting priests (i.e Clerics) are said to possess Grace, as in the "Grace of God". Perhaps one Priest in ten in so blessed.
  • Druids are, well, druids or witches. They are often mistaken for servants of the Dark One and burned at the stake.
  • Wizards and Illusionists are, likewise, often mistaken for servants of the Dark One and burned at the stake. Most pretend to be "astrologers", "sages," "natural philosphers" and the like.
  • Elves may not be Clerics. They may be Druids instead.
  • Paladins do not belong to an Order of Knighthood. They might not even be knights. They do not hold any official place in the hierarchy of their religion, but may eventually be recognised as "warrior-saints" by their faiths. Salahadin and Sir William Marshal are perhaps the best historical examples of individuals who behave in a Paladin-like manner.
Do You Want To Know More?
Click the link for a good grounding in recent events.


Poster said...

woah, this is awesome.

thekelvingreen said...

You're just ripping off Game of Thrones!

(I joke)

Talmyr said...

Looks great, but you really have it in for female characters in your settings ;)

Sounds like there are some interesting possibilities here!

The Angry Lurker said...

That's good background you've written Brian.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Angry, it's a good setting. It's difficult to subtlely make changes to a historic setting, without losing what makes it unique.

A woman's place in 15th Century society was restrictive, to say the least. There were female mercenaries, there were also women who held land in their own right... neither were seen as 'respectable' or 'normal'.

However it is surprising how many women 'wore the trousers' in the home and dictated their husband's actions!

Lead Legion said...

Thanks guys.

I do have a habit of putting female characters through the ringer, I feel that simply changing a pseud-historical setting with a blanket "both genders are treated equally" ruling destroys a number of great roeplaying and character development opportunities.

As Jim says, female leaders and |"adventurer's" seeking to break out of cultural straightjackets did exist and even prospered in the setting. And look at is this way? If it's an achievement for a male character to be elevated to knighthood or even a title, how much more of an achievement would it be for a female character?

scottsz said...

Good stuff!

Chris C. said...

Nice rich material -- I like it!