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The setting for a game spanning several decades. Apologies to the Great Pendragon Campaign.
- Fingal (Tertius Magnus Maximus) - untrained Gifted student
- The Balor, arch-demon
What's the Big Picture? What's going on in this setting that makes it ripe for adventure. What's changing, evolving, declining?
For many centuries Logres was a Roman (elvish) province. Their high culture and powerful military force seems now a time of wonder. In 410 the last Romans returned to Rome. Now many petty kings squabble over their leavings, and in increasing frequency Saxon (Orcish) hordes land their long vessels on the eastern shores.
Will the humans become servitors to the Saxons? Enslaved? Or can they forge unity amongst themselves and beat back the invasion?
This is a task that will take decades.
Right now, though, the Big Picture is that King Vortigern is in close alliance with the Saxons, giving them land in exchange for using them as allies to repel Pictish raids and suppress Cymric opposition to his reign. Many Cymric knights do not like this strategy.
In general there are three responses to the situation:
- the Pagan strategy is to oppose all Saxon presence in Logres (Picts are better than Saxons).
- the Cymric Christian strategy is to allow a Saxon presence, only so long as they are subservient to Logres, and they get no land of their own.
- the Roman Christian strategy is to support Vortigern (although in this case why do Vortigern and Germanus have so many issues!?).
What's the world's culture? What are the cultural analogs? Analogs can be taken from historical earth, current events or fantasy works.
Elves = Romans; Orcs = Saxons
Humans can be from any of a variety of human cultures: Irish, Picts, Cymric, etc. The starting assumption is the PCs are from Salisbury.
The three main cultural trends in Salisbury are Paganism, Cymric Christianity and Roman Christianity.
- a multitude of everlapping cults, mostly organised geographically. No clear or static lines of authority.
- the Druid of Amesbury is the most respected Pagan leader in Salisbury
- he argues that the Kings of Powys and Gwynedd are the most likely to be able to push the Saxons into the sea.
- he wants support from the Lord of Salisbury strengthen Paganism by building more stone circles, and then to use Druidic powers to weaken the Saxons
This is the dominant trend in Salisbury, increasingly divided into two factions.
- supporters of King Vortigern, who is willing to pay the Saxons in land in return for their help in defeating the Picts
- opponents of Vortigern who say the price is too high, the Saxons have Thanet but should not get more
- Roderick, Lord of Salisbury is the official and respected leader. He is not as outspoken in his support of the King as others.
- there is a Bishop of Salisbury, who has not taken sides
- Bishops appointed by Rome, but none in Salisbury
- think the Pagans are not much more trustworthy than the Picts
- argue that if Logres goes to the aid of Rome then Rome's legions will return and save us from Picts and Saxons alike
What's the conflict in which the characters are involved? What are the sides? What's wrong?
The Romans left fifty years ago, the Saxons want this land for their own. The Picts also make frequent raids. Can Logres, long accustomed to being a Roman province, form its own future?
Driving the Saxons is a demon, the Balor. The Balor wants to bring on an Apocalypse, and the Saxons are its heralds. The Balor operates on a scale of decades. Opposing the Apocalypse are the great nature spirits and deities of Logres, who of course have their own agendas. Agents of either side may be invoked with Summoning.
What physical place does this conflict take place in? What ecology, environment, place?
The island of Briton. The land of Logres. Salisbury. Sarum, the capital of Salisbury. The Forest Sauvage.
What's the name of the most important place in this setting? Not the capital or any dumb shit like that, but THE PLACE where all the action goes down?
Salisbury?? Logres?? Briton??
What's the name of a faraway place that folks talk about, dream about or mutter under their breath about?
Who are the antagonists? Who is opposing the goals of the characters?
Saxons. Plus nefarious humans, led by King Vortigern, who married Rowena, a Saxon, daughter of Hengest, one of the Saxon leaders.
Imps and demons, led by an arch-demon, the Balor.
Imagine all of the characters are standing in a room/ruin/field with the antagonists or their minions. What do the antagonists want from that meeting? What do the characters want from that meeting?
The Saxons want the humans to submit, to become their slaves. The Saxons are happy to kill anyone who refuses.
The imps and lesser demons want help bringing on the Balor's apocalypse. They will cajole, promise, bribe, and threaten as necessary to support their aims.
Alternately, imagine the characters standing at the scene of some great disaster or calamity clearly caused by one of the antagonists. What's the disaster? How did it happen? What are the characters going to do about it right now?
The Saxons slaughtered and burnt a whole village.
The imps and other corporal spirits convinced some deluded fool to carry out one of the destructive rituals associated with the apocalypse.
What type of magic exists in this world?
Corruption: everyone who meets the conditions (Gifted, Faithful, pact with a demon, etc). We are using Religion as well, so Corruption must be used for all sorcerous Tax tests.
Standard Sorcery appears with Abstractions and Distillations, and the Arsenal Method. We are also using Enchanting and Alchemy. Homonculi can be created using Alchemy.
Sorcery and Enchanting are very very rare. Most myths confuse them with Summoning. +2 Circles Ob to find a Sorcerer or Enchanter.
Summoning is present, as a separate skill from Sorcery. Gifted is not a pre-requisite: anyone can learn and use Summoning and Circination, but the first test (at a minimum) towards opening these skills must be via Instruction.
Summoning is more common than Sorcery, but still most people have never seen it. +1 Circles Ob to find a Summoner.
Saxons with Void Embrace may learn Rituals of Blood (Orc Summoning variant) and Rituals of Night (Orc Sorcery variant), both augmented by Blood Magic. Elvish magic and Spite-related magic may appear.
Faith: the humans can be Pagan, Roman Christian, or British Christian.
Pagan deities (more as they appear)
- Brigid: poetry, healing via nature (wells), smithcraft
- Arddhu (the horned god): woodlands, wildlife, fertility, hunting, sex
Pagan miracles can affect believers and non-believers alike.
There is one Roman Christian deity and one Cymric Christian deity.
- the Roman God: order, marriage, sky, courage, temples
- the Cymric God: order, marriage, dawn, courage, travel
Christian miracles affect only Christians (of both types).
Neither Faith in Dead Gods nor Death Art is possible.
What character stocks are in play in this world? Which are restricted and why?
Humans, Romans (Elves), Saxons (Orcs), Trolls, Great Wolves, and Spiders. No Dwarfs or Roden. Romans (Elves) are few and far between.
What cultural traits apply to the characters of this game world? Pick three character traits for each culture.
Choose 3 from your religion, sufficient to distinguish which religion that is
e.g. do not choose Chaste, Modest, Temperate because that is not sufficient to distinguish whether you are Roman Christian or British Christian
- Pagan: Energetic, Generous, Honest, Lustful, Proud
- Roman Christian: Chaste, Forgiving, Merciful, Modest, Temperate
- Cymric Christian: Chaste, Energetic, Generous, Modest, Temperate
What's your Resources cycle? 1 month, seasonal, 6 months, annual? What's the game world's currency? Who collects the taxes? What do people do for work? What's the major economy?
Resources cycle is seasonal.
The currency is gold pounds, silver shillings and silver pence (denarii).
Taxes are collected by local knights.
Most work is farm-based, unless you visit a big city.
Material world: What weapons and armor are available? Are some weapons and armor restricted to certain cultures or character stocks? What property is available? Are resources and gear otherwise restricted?
- Ensure sentiment in Salisbury against the Saxons is so strong that a powerful raiding party is sent against them, and no Salisbury forces are available for the Battle of Cambridge.
- The Battle of Cambridge occurs mid-summer, but forces depart early summer.
- Build a powerful alliance in Salisbury between Pagans and Cymric Christians, signified by a great celebration.
- Before Samhain, but at any suitable time
- Make the annual Pagan celebration at Stonehenge into the acknowledged central gathering point for all Pagans across Logres.
- Samhain, harvest time, mid-late autumn
Game begins in early spring.