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Author Topic: Dark Albion: the Origin Thread  (Read 30967 times)

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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« on: June 30, 2011, 05:53:19 PM »
(Edit: Dark Albion is now a major OSR setting product, with two supplements thus far. Follow the link above to purchase it, or the newest supplement Cults of Chaos here)

I. OVERVIEW:



Albion is basically gritty-dark fantasy England, around the middle of the 15th century. That means that Henry VI is on the throne and he's gone mad. His wife Queen Margaret is either "the scheming bitch who is controlling everything" or "the only hope of resisting the corrupt noble lords who plot to ruin the kingdom", depending on who you ask. The realm is caught up in a great conflict between the royal family (the Lancaster branch of the Plantagenet dynasty) and their cousins of the York branch; who's leader is the charismatic and powerful Richard of York. Consistently denied what he and his supporters felt was his rightful place of influence over the kingdom, Richard has now made the claim that he is the rightful King of Albion, , by virtue of being the product of various lines of royal descent, some of which did indeed have an arguably better claim to the throne than the Lancasters (who achieved the throne by usurpation only 50 years ago). Desperate negotiations are under way to attempt to avoid civil war, and desperate preparations on all sides are taking place in case it cannot be avoided.


A. THE GOVERNMENT:


Henry VI (in his early 30s) is the Mad King, who spends long periods of time catatonic, interspersed with brief periods of mad delirium, and very brief spates of lucidity. Even before he went mad, he was never a good king; having come to the throne at the age of one, and having been mostly a puppet of powerful aristocrats ever since. The real power behind the throne is Queen Margaret (in her early 20s), who has built up an alliance of noblemen to back her interests... oh, and those of the King, of course. The government of the kingdom is done from the noble council known as the Star Chamber, but there is also a Parliament, which is called periodically and has certain powers, most notably the giving of titles and offices. The commons, clergy and nobility all have representation of different kinds in the Parliament, and thus powerful men (like York) who are kept excluded from the Star Chamber (by the queen), can still manipulate their way into great power when the Queen finds herself forced to summon Parliament. There are several factions of nobles in Albion, who are increasingly being lumped into one of two groups: the followers of the "Red Rose" of Lancaster, or of the "White Rose" of York. Among the most powerful and influential families are the Nevilles (including the Earl of Warwick, who is seeking an alliance with York), the Percys and the Beauforts (both supporters of the house of Lancaster and thus currently in power).

Aside from this, regions are divided into Counties and Duchies (as well as some Bishoprics ruled by the high clergy of the Church), ruled by aristocrats (though these must conform to the King's laws in their rule), and a few free or "chartered" cities, like London and York which are governed by a lord mayor and a council.


B. RELIGION:


The dominant religion in Albion is the monotheistic Church of the Unconquered Sun. This faith, which took hold over the pagan gods of Arcadia almost 1500 years ago, dominates most of the known world, outside of Frogland and barbaric countries like Scots Land, Eire, or the faraway lands of the Rus. South of the middle sea, and in parts of Iberia, the civilized men there (of very distant exotic lands like Turk Land, Araby, or Saracen Land) follow another Lawful deity, the god of the crescent moon. But very little is known about that by the average Angleman.

The Church answers ultimately to the Pontifex in faroff Arcadia, but here in Albion it is the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury who is the ultimate spiritual authority; his power is not absolute, however, and the various bisoprics throughout the land exert great authority. The common people participate in daily prayer to the Sun, weekly temple services on Sunday, and many feast days in honor of the different Saints of Law.

The average priest has no magical power; there are those priests, however, who develop miraculous gifts, magic from the Unconquered Sun; who are then given a special classification; they are Clerics, called upon to fight against evil however they will, as champions of the Unconquered Sun. The order of Clerics has significant power, but must respect the authority of the Bishops and the head of the Clerical Order is answerable to the Archbishop. Even so, the fact that they alone have the power to work miracles gives them a great deal of influence and clout, both among the common people and in the church hierarchy.

The earlier faith of Albion was the tribal worship of the Old Gods, Neutral spirits of nature still worshiped in parts of Cambria, in remote places in the Pennine Mountains and the forest of Sherwood, and by some backwards rural communities in various areas (particularly Salisbury, which was the ancient center of power of this pagan faith). Likewise, both the Eiremen and the Scots Men still worship the Old Gods. There are no clerics of the Old Gods in Albion, though in Scots Land and Eire there may still be druids who have miraculous power from these nature deities.

There are also the Dark Gods, gods of Chaos who have many different (usually inhuman) forms and natures, that are worshiped by the Picts and some of the Cymri, as well as by secret cults in Albion. Worship of Chaos is strictly forbidden in Albion, and the penalty is death. These gods grant no miracles, though they can grant arcane power, either to magic-users or in the form of other dark gifts.


C. MAGIC:


Spellcasting is a very rare art in Albion, but it is not without its adherents. Sorcery and witchcraft are prohibited on pain of death, but magic as such is not; if the magic-user is (at least on paper) a follower of the Unconquered Sun. Thus, the difference between what grants you a place on the pyre and what does not is often a matter of luck, class, and actions.

Wise men and women of the lower classes may know a little magic; and the Cymri Travelers are skilled magic-users, but open practice of their magic would risk being denounced as a witch, so they must be very cautious in how they use them. The gentry and nobility have also produced magic-users, who style themselves Conjurers or Natural Philosophers; they are often learned men who are likely to be trained as scholars in the prestigious university of Oxford or the slightly less prestigious university at Cambridge. They call their magic a science, and even the king and most nobles will have conjurers as advisors. But even then, there is a certain danger in their practice; their higher breeding and education permits them to study and practice in the open, but if they make political enemies with power, they might find themselves accused of consorting with demons or worshiping Chaos, and end up losing their heads. The Church is often hostile to those conjurers who do not give them sufficient respect or who cross them. Of course, many of these peasant wise-women or upper-class conjurers really ARE involved in Chaos Cults, which only complicates things further.


D. MINORITIES:


There is only a limited amount of racial diversity in Albion; aside from the Anglemen who make up the bulk of the population, there are also some of the Cymri that continue to exist as barbarians in Cambria, but also some descendants of Cymri stock who refused to adopt the culture or ways of the Anglemen. These are known now as the Travelers, known for their colorful dress and migrant nature, they travel from place to place selling cheap wares, performing as entertainers, or living as thieves; alone or in small "tribes". They are known for being practitioners of sorcerous magic and are generally treated in a range from tolerance to open hostility; prone to be persecuted or blamed for any misfortune that may strike a community where they pass through, though likewise sometimes called upon for their expertise in either thuggery or magic. Likewise, some Scots men have traveled south, exiles from their clans for the most part, to work as mercenaries in Albion. They are seen as what they are, barbarians, but are often respected for their capacity for violence. In London as well the largest port cities (Bristol, Newcastle, Southampton or Chester) men from more exotic lands may be found. But for the most part, Albion is a pretty insular place.


E. TECHNOLOGY/WARFARE:


There is no standing army in Albion; each noble is responsible for raising up his own troops, the vast majority of which will be peasants, as well as mercenaries. Knights are the lowest class of nobility (though still far above the common man) and are the officers of these forces. The Knight is still the great powerhouse of warfare, on mighty steeds armed with lances and plate mail.

Black Powder is still in its infancy; the bombard (cannon) is a new and often unreliable technology, more common in parts of the Continent than on Albion; even so, forces on both the Lancastrian and Yorkist sides of the brewing conflict are purchasing Cannon. The Hand Cannon or Arquebus is still practically unheard of here, though it exists on the Continent; its acceptance in Albion has been severely slowed due to the pride the locals have for the Long Bow, which they feel was responsible for their victory over the Frogmen at the battle of Agincourt. Even so, a few of these quite expensive, unreliable weapons have begun trickling in.


F. DANGERS/ADVENTURE:


There are still many parts of Albion that are wild and dangerous. Ruins abound from earlier peoples, be they barrows in Salisbury, in the depths of the great forest of Sherwood, the Pennine Mountains, the wild lands of Cambria, the swamps of the Wash, or the frontier brutality of the Northern Marches. Monsters of various sorts lurk in these dark uncivilized pockets. In the cities, cults of chaos plot, as well as more mundane thieves guilds. Bandits loot the countryside, some portraying themselves as "rebels" in these troubled times. Tales are told of treasure-hordes from ancient kingdoms before the time of the Anglemen, still waiting to be found in the depths of mountain caverns. Dragons and Giants exist, though they are dwindling and it has been centuries since either made themselves seen in the civilized regions.

The Fae, the inhuman beings who once ruled this isle, were eventually overthrown by the Cymri they held as slaves, after the Fae had bred with some of them and given them secrets of magic; but it is said the Fae were not extinguished, only forced away into some other world; and in some magical places the border between the realm of Fae and the world of men becomes tenuous. From these places, the Fae may seek to bring chaos to the world of men, either raiding themselves, or sending forth Changelings (creatures that can mimic the appearance of a man) to do their bidding.

Goblins too were once slaves of the Fae, and stories are told that the Goblins were not wiped out, but live on in vast underground cities deep beneath Albion.

Undead of all types are not uncommon; those poor men who have not been given the proper burial rites may rise again as ghouls, zombies or skeletons; ancient pagan kings may haunt their barrows as Wraiths or Wights; and servants of the Dark Gods may be granted a foul mockery of eternal life, not united with the Eternal and Unconquered Sun, but in this physical realm as vampires or liches. Demons too, and more incomprehensible extra-planar beings, may be set free to roam in our world by evil or careless magicians.



II. REGIONS:



Albion is divided into a variety of fiefdoms, some very small, others quite large. The largest landowners are the Church, the Crown (house of Lancaster), the house of York, then the house of Neville, the house of Beaufort, the house of Percy, and then various other nobles.

While there are no central regional administrations, the important areas of Albion can be divided into the following:


A. LONDON:


The city of London is the capital of Albion, and has been for most of its history, certainly since the unification of Albion under William the Bastard. The city's history is much older than that; it was a Cymri village originally, and was later chosen by the Arcadians as their capital in the time when Albion was a province of Arcadia; at that time the city was called "londinium".

London is found in Middlesex, the region immediately surrounding London; a major center of commerce and agriculture, an important region to control if you want to rule the country. It is the largest city of Albion, with a population of nearly 30000 people. The only other city that even compares in size to this is York, which has a bit over 20000. All of the other major cities of Albion: Newcastle, Coventry, Norwich, Bristol, and Salisbury, have over 10000 but under 20000 people.

London is a vile large sprawling filthy den of infamy, for the most part. Filled with cut-throats, disease, mobs, fanatical movements of all stripes (political and religious), and dark cults; it is also where one must go to gain influence and power, or to find knowledge, rare artifacts, valuables in trade of all kind, training, or rich patrons.

The ruler of London is, in theory, the Lord Mayor. This is a relatively minor title from the point of view of the kingdom as a whole, but it is one that the lower gentry will sometimes kill each other over the chance of obtaining it. The current Lord Mayor of London is Stephen Forster. Since the time of King John Lackland, the mayor has been chosen not by royal appointment but by election, held by the powerful Livery Companies (or trade guilds) of the city. By law, the Lord Mayor must have previously served at least one term as city sheriff, and be a present or past Alderman of the city (member of the city council). Elections are held every year on the day of the Saint-Celestial Mikael (29th of September). Voting is by show of hands, but any liveryman present may demand that a second vote, by ballot, be held a fortnight later. This often ends up happening as a political maneuver. There is a great deal of scheming and occasional violence that takes place in the struggle to win the mayoralty. The day after the election is finally ratified, the Lord Mayor proceeds in a parade to the royal courts of justice to swear allegiance to the King; this is known as the "Lord Mayor's Show", and is a great procession and feast with much pomp; mayors often try to outdo the prior holders of the office in terms of how much is spent on pomp and pageantry for the event.

In spite of the grandeur of the office, there are at least two groups that hold more power than the Mayor in the city: the Livery Companies, and the London Mob.

The Livery companies are the trade guilds of the city, they control monopolies on the trade relevant to their company. Anyone wishing to participate in a given trade must first join the company as a "freeman" of the company; you can attain to that position by virtue of inheritance (if your father or grandfather were members), or by servitude (after serving a period of 7 years as an apprentice to the company). Some companies also allow one to enter by "redemption", which is the paying of a substantial fee to skip the period of apprenticeship. Companies often grant honorary membership to people of note, usually those people have no training in the trade involved and are not expected to work in that trade. After serving for a certain minimum period of time as freemen (usually either 3, 5, or 7 years), a freeman can ascend to the rank of "liveryman" by vote of the company liverymen. Each livery company has its own "livery hall", where the members meet regularly to conduct business. The liverymen of all the different companies unite in a Common Hall, in order to exercise their traditional right to elect the sheriffs and mayor of London.

There are 48 officially warranted Livery Companies (that is, companies that have a charter and a right therefore to exclude any others from practicing their trade) in London, more than in any other city, though most cities have a good number of equivalent trade guilds. The first 12 companies are known as the "great twelve" and are the most powerful companies of the city:

1 The Worshipful Company of Mercers (General merchants)
2 The Worshipful Company of Grocers
3 The Worshipful Company of Drapers (Wool and cloth merchants)
4 The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers
5 The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths
6 The Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors
7 The Worshipful Company of Skinners (Fur traders)
8 The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers
9 The Worshipful Company of Salters
10 The Worshipful Company of Ironmongers
11 The Worshipful Company of Vintners (Wine merchants)
12 The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers

After the great 12, in order of antiquity, you have: The Worshipful Companies of Dyers, Brewers, Leathersellers, Pewterers, Barbers (Barbers, surgeons, and dentists), Cutlers, Bakers, Wax Chandlers, Tallow Chandlers, Armourers and Brasiers (Armour makers and brass workers), Girdlers (Sword-belt and dress-belt makers), Butchers, Saddlers, Carpenters, Cordwainers (Fine leather workers), Painter-Stainers, Curriers (Tanned leather dressers), Masons, Plumbers, Innholders, Founders (Metalworkers), Poulters, Cooks, Coopers (Barrel makers), Tylers and Bricklayers, Bowyers (Longbow makers), Fletchers (Arrow makers), Blacksmiths, Joiners and Ceilers (Wood craftsmen), Weavers, Woolmen, Scriveners (Court document writers and notaries public), Fruiterers, Plaisterers (Plasterers), Stationers (paper makers) and Broderers (Embroiders).

There is considerable dispute between the Company of Taylors and Skinners as to which is the older company, to the point that the members of the two companies will often engage in violent brawls against each other, and that they have over the years maneuvered at one time or another to have their order of precedence switched. The feud has no sign of abating.

All of these powerful guilds have to a considerable extent defined the city of London as it currently exists, many of them have entire neighbourhoods of the city dedicated to their trade, giving origin to street names like "cordwainer street", "old fish street" (where the Fishmongers are based), "Bread street", "goldsmith's row", etc.

But perhaps even more powerful than the Livery Companies is the Mob. London's underclass survives largely by begging or by crime (as well as the occasional day-labour). The livery companies have a stake in all three pursuits, and street gangs are often financed on the sly by the local company, to provide security of sorts to the neighbourhood and its business, and sometimes to act as strongmen in conflicts with other companies or rival groups in the city. These street gangs, often associated to the Livery Companies, accordingly tend to operate in similar ways to the companies themselves, and refer to themselves in fanciful titles like "The Worshipful Company of Free-gentlemen of London" or "The Antient Company of Stranglers". Of course, these various "thieves' guilds" have no official recognition whatsoever.

But oftentimes, charismatic gang leaders can end up becoming powerful agitators of the population of the city as a whole, and the famous "mob" forms, a mass of city folk barely controlled that seems to act with a mind of its own to commit violence or destruction in the name of some cause or another. Most recently, the mob has been raised on three occasions: first, in a series of riots in protest against the corrupt chancellors of the Mad King. Second, ironically, to fight off the revolt raised in the countryside by the rebel leader known as Jack Cade (also known as "Jack Make-Amends"). Despite the fact that Make-Amends sought much the same goals as the mob itself had in their earlier riots, when Jack and his ragtag army of rebels entered into the city, the mob of London turned against him. He had managed to raise up an important part of the south in rebellion, murdered the Lord High Treasurer of the time, and several allies of the Queen's faction, but when Jack entered London and began acting too lordly for his own good, the London Mob's leaders took umbrage at this country bumpkin coming in and trying to usurp their authority, and ended up slaughtering Jack and his men on the London Bridge. The third time and most recent time the mob rose up of late was to declare itself in support of Richard of York, committing violence against a number of Lancastrian supporters and plunging the city into lawlessness until the Star Chamber was forced to submit to the mob's will and call Parliament; the Parliament, where the Yorkists have greater influence, was only too glad to order Richard of York's return to Albion from Eire.

Important landmarks in London include the Tower of London, the London Bridge, St.Apollonius' Cathedral, and the Cleric Charterhouse Priory. The Tower of London was once a royal castle (first built by the Cymric king Lud, though wholly rebuilt several times after that) and is now used as a prison for the most important (usually noble) prisoners awaiting trial. The courtyard of the Tower is used to behead those prisoners sentenced to death. The garden of the tower is filled with ravens, and it is said that if the ravens ever leave the tower completely, then Albion will fall to conquest.

The Bridge is a mighty construction which crosses the Thames, out of London and into the town of Southwark, on the southern shore of the river. The heads of executed traitors are traditionally stuck on pikes on the bridge. The southern side of the Thames is more swampy, and has a reputation as a place where criminals go to hide out or have secret meetings.

The Cathedral of St.Apollonius is the largest of several temples of the Unconquered Sun in the city; several kings have been crowned here, and more than a few are buried here as well. The Cleric Charterhouse Priory is found outside the city wall, and some of the surrounding farmland belongs to the Clerical Order for their benefit; the Charterhouse has 25 clerics stationed there permanently (though there could be room for up to 200 clerics staying there at any given time). The Priory features an impressive Clerical Temple, as well as a Hospital first built 100 years ago in the time of the Black Death; the Clerics here treat those suffering from maladies or injuries that they find worthy of their care.

Also outside the city walls is the Savoy, a private palace belonging not to the crown but to the house of Lancaster. It is where the Mad King and the royal family usually reside when they are in the London area. The grounds of the Savoy feature a village and a small hospital which is run as a charity from the queen's personal treasury.

Both the Charterhouse and the Savoy are outside the legal authority of the Mayoralty of London; thus the forces of the London Sheriff may not enter there. This has occasionally led to criminals wanted by the Sheriff's office escaping the city walls and hiding or taking sanctuary in either the Charterhouse or the Savoy, though of course there they would be subject to the justice of the Clerical Order or the house of Lancaster.

London is located on the Thames river, and the region immediately surrounding the city is known as Middlesex. It is the land's major center of commerce and agriculture, an important region to control if you want to rule the country. The area of Middlesex is littered with small towns and villages that are satellites to the city of London, making it by far the most urbanized area of the whole land.


B. THE EASTERN COAST:


The eastern coast is a region consisting of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent; the southern half of Albion's eastern coastline. It was where the Anglemen first arrived on the island over a thousand years ago, and is full of places of historical and religious significance, as well as modern economic and strategic import.

The limits of the eastern coast region are at its northernmost point the bay known as "The Wash", an estuary region with tricky tides and bordered by swampland known as "The Fens" (a wild area, commonly inhabited by bandits and more than a few swamp creatures), and at its southernmost point the White Cliffs, huge natural cliffs of chalk that provide an excellent natural defensive position against invasion from The Continent.

1. NORFOLK:

The northernmost county of the eastern coast, historically known as Angleland, it was one of the first regions occupied by the Anglemen when they arrived in Albion. Today it is the most populous county in the east coast, and holds the populous and important city of Norwich, as well as the important port of Yarmouth. Caister Castle overlooks Yarmouth, and is the manor of the legendary knight Sir John Falstaff, hero of Agincourt. This portly knight fought alongside the great Henry V (father of the Mad King), and later used his plunder from Frogland to build this mighty keep. He is now 76 years old, though still an imposing figure, and he favors the claim of Richard of York. The Duke of Norfolk, John Mowbray, likewise supports York.

2. SUFFOLK:

South of Norfolk, this smaller county features the port town of Ipswich and a few historical sites of note. It was ruled by the Duke of Suffolk (William De La Pole, also known as "Jackanape" for his foolishness and incompetence), who was largely blamed for the recent disastrous losses of most of Albion's holdings in Frogland, was imprisoned and later murdered by Yorkists en route to exile on The Continent. His son John De La Pole is only 12 years old, and has been disinherited.

Aside from Ipswich, Suffolk also features the pilgrimage site of Bury St.Edmund, where the Angleman king Edmund was buried alive by Cymri barbarians after being defeated in battle; Edmund is considered a martyr of the church of the Unconquered Sun. Not far from Ipswich there is also the site known as Sutton Howe, the burial mound of Raedwald, first king of the Anglemen to invade Albion, and founder of Ipswich, his ancient capital. The area has of late become a haunted place, through dark sorceries or as an omen of the current troubles of the kingdom. It is said that ghosts or ghouls of ancient anglish raiders with axes and horned helms can be seen at night, stalking the area.

3. ESSEX:

The third county in the eastern coast, Essex contains the peaceful quinqueroi forest, and the town of Chelmsford. It is ruled by the 50 year old Earl of Essex, Henry Bourchier, a Yorkist married to Isabella, one of Richard of York's daughters. His brother, Thomas Bourchier, is the Bishop of Ely and Henry is campaigning strongly on his brother's behalf to have him succeed the "Cursed Cardinal" Kemp as Archbishop of Canterbury on the latter's seemingly inevitable demise from the magical wasting disease he has long suffered.

4. HUNTINGDON AND HERTFORD:

Further inland, the regions of Huntingdon and Hertford are governed by the knightly Devereux family, also Yorkists. Huntington is the site of Cambridge Collegium, the second and lesser of the universities of Albion, which has nevertheless produced many a noble Magister, using magecraft for the service of law (and of course, a few chaos-worshipping heretics and evil sorcerers). Hertford has the town of St.Albans, an important pilgrimage site featuring the tomb of Albinus, the first great saint of the Unconquered Sun in Albion.

5. KENT:

The southernmost county of the eastern coast, this is the site of the White Cliffs, and the important "Cinque Ports", five port cities which receive the largest amount of trade from the Continent, as well as one of the most important bases of the Anglish fleet. The title of Warden of the Cinque Ports is a very important office in the land, currently held by the Duke of Buckingham, Humphrey Stafford, a strong supporter of the Mad King. The two most important ports in Kent are Dover (right on the White Cliffs) and Sandwich. These form the supply lifeline to the fortified city of Calais, the last of Anglia's holdings on The Continent.

Kent is also where the town of Canterbury can be found; this is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest ranking priest of the Unconquered Sun in all of Albion, in direct line of episcopal descent from Augustine of Canterbury, the first Bishop of the Unconquered Sun in Albion. This town of about 3000 inhabitants features the incredible Canterbury Cathedral, which has been engaged in a constant process of construction for the last 400 years. It is a sprawling massive temple to the glory of the Unconquered Sun, and it is finally nearing completion (it is thought that the Great Bell Tower will finally be complete in another 50 years or so). It also features an abbey, a nunnery, and a Clerical Temple and priory.

The current Archbishop of Canteruby is the ailing 74 year old John Kemp, known as the Cursed Cardinal. A lancastrian, he was a deeply political and corrupt clergyman who profited greatly in the past 16 years of his holding the see; in the last two years he has been suffering from a horrific wasting disease that most agree is of a supernatural nature. His allies claim it is a sorcerous curse brought about by Yorkists, his enemies claim that it is the Unconquered Sun punishing him for his wickedness. The "Cursed Cardinal" has sought desperately for some cure, but to no avail, and is has been the last several months lingering in his deathbed, his body already looking like a rotting corpse.


C. THE SOUTHPORTS


The region of the Southports includes the counties of Sussex, Hampshire, and Dorset, as well as the Isle of Wights. This is an important and wealthy region of Albion with a long history; it was a powerful center of the Cymri tribes that once ruled the island, then a major center for the Arcadians when the island was one of their farthest-flung provinces, and eventually a center of power for the Anglemen once they had conquered it in turn.

The region features two important forests: the tame Forest of Windsor (which is in this territory as well as Berkshire county), which is a property of the King and used as his hunting grounds as well as to provide timber for the Fortress of Windsor in Berkshire; and the wild "New Forest" in Hampshire. The latter was in fact an old forest (the Arcadians considered it a cursed place, and named it the "Forest of Spinoii"); later, during the reign of the legendary king Arctur, it was known as the Forest Camelot, as it was near his capital city of Winchester, then named Camelot. It was during this period that much of the forest was cut down by druids and warriors, who cleared it of much of its monsters. However, some four centuries ago William the Bastard wished to restore that area as a hunting ground, and evicted no less than 36 villages from that land to reforest it (hence "New Forest"). Peasant magic-users among the villagers took their revenge by awakening ancient evils within the forest, and today it is considered a cursed place again. No less than three of William's royal descendants died in the forest: his son and then heir Richard died killed by a monstrous creature of mist within the forest; 20 years later Richard's younger brother King William II "Redface" died in the forest while on an adventure there, shot through the lung by an arrow from his close friend Lord Tyrell when the latter was deceived by an illusion, and William's grandson Richard Henry "Shortstockings" was likewise killed there, said to have been strangled by a living tree. There are no less than 250 different barrows there, burial grounds of ancient Cymric chiefs; dangerous places of the dead, but said to still be filled with treasure.

1. SUSSEX:

One of the old Anglemen kingdoms, and at one time the most powerful of these, the area of the town of Hastings in Sussex was the site where William the Bastard invaded from Normandie (today part of Frogland), and defeated Harald the Unready, uniting all of Albion under his rule and establishing the Plantagenet dynasty. Today the site is commemorated by the Battle Abbey.

This county is mostly a peaceful place these days, but it was recently the site where the rebellion of Jack Make-Amends began, and the local peasantry are still in a state of vicious unrest against what they see as corrupt and despotic noblemen. They generally blame the nobility, and not the Mad King himself, for the poverty and ills of Albion.

Sussex is governed by the Earl of Arundel, William FitzAllan, who is married to one of the daughters of the Earl of Salisbury, and is a supporter of the Yorkist cause.

St. Leonards forest is an ancient and foreboding place with many ill-fated rumours surrounding it. About half-way between Horsham and Pease Pottage are the Lily Beds, an area of the forest carpeted in Lily-of-the-valley. The plants grow where St. Leonard's blood spilled during his battle with the Dragon of St. Leonards forest during the 6th century. Reports of serpents persist to this day and they are curious in that their approach can often be predicted by an offensive smell. Tales also tell of the ghost of Squire Paulus, whose headless ghost leaps up behind riders, gripping them fast around the waist until they leave the forest edge. Deep within the forest is Mick Mill's run - a half-mile track on the forest floor where plants and trees alike will not grow. The legend states that a woodsman met the Devil in the forest and ran for his life, the fiend close on his heels. Where the Devil's feet touched the earth, plants refuse to grow. A crumbled tower now overgrown was said to be the abode of the St. Leonard's vampire. A sad creature with a rotted nose and maudlin manner. Brave souls who venture into the heart of the forest report strange lights coming from the crumbling edifice but refuse to investigate. The previous Sherrif lost both his own life and those of his 2 mastiffs whilst near this place.

2. HAMPSHIRE:

This region is part of the County of Sussex, and includes the port towns of Chichester and Portchester, as well as the major port town of Southampton. It is also the location of the town of Winchester, which was once known as Camelot and was the capital of the kingdom of Logrys during the reign of the legendary Cymri King Arctur, who of all the Cyrmi came closest to unifying the whole of Albion under his rule. Today the town of Winchester is only a shadow of its former glory, and almost nothing remains of its legendary history; it is however the site of Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest and most impressive cathedrals to the Unconquered Sun. The most important nobleman in this region is possibly Sir John Howard, a brother in law of the Duke of Norfolk and staunch supporter of the Yorkist cause.

3. DORSET:

This county is the territory of Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Sommerset, Constable of England, a descendant of John of Gaunt and thus cousin to the royal family, and the stalwart ally of Queen Margaret and the Lancastrian cause. Somerset was deeply impoverished at the time of his ascension and has managed to work his way up to tremendous wealth, mostly through political maneuvering. He is one of the chief causes of the complaints against the Mad King's counselors, accused of severe corruption. He has a personal feud with the Neville family, and particularly the young but brilliant Earl of Warwick, with whom he has had multiple disputes at court. It was Somerset who replaced Richard of York as commander of the forces in Normandie, and instead of capitalizing on Richard's successes there, he led a string of defeats that culminated in the loss of all of Albion's possessions on the Continent except for Calais, making him one of the most hated men in the land. What's more, he enriched himself at this time to the gargantuan sum of over twenty thousand pounds. When Parliament was convened and named York as Lord Protector, York managed to have Somerset imprisoned, but he was freed earlier this year when the King seemingly regained some lucidity and ordered York's protectorate overturned. The Mad King and Queen Margaret's support of Somerset has been one of the chief causes leading to the increased hostilities and the likely outbreak of civil war.

The largest (and darkest) part of the New Forest is found in Dorset. Aside from that, its only significant town is the port of Weymouth.

4. THE ISLE OF WIGHTS:

This cursed and haunted isle was feared by the Cymri as a place where the veil between the worlds was particularly weak. The Arcadian legions, unaware of this, established a fort there. They were eventually besieged and slaughtered by dark monstrosities, and the isle remained unpopulated by humans until the time of William the Bastard, when that king attempted to purge the island of its evil. He established the Castle of Carisbrooke in the northern end of the Isle, in a relatively peaceful area known as the Fair Valley.

Though the castle and surrounding village have remained populated since then, it has passed from one noble family to another, all meeting grisly ends to their dynasties over the centuries. Some 70 years ago it was invaded by Frogmen, but they were held off by the castle's inhabitants, and the monstrosities on the rest of the island eventually forced them off. Some 40 years ago, in the time of King Henry the Great, the local Abbey was discovered to have been entirely subverted to the worship of Chaos; Henry's men purged the place and burned it to the ground. The Mad King gave the Isle to his childhood friend Henry Beauchamp, whom he personally crowned King of the Isle of Wight; but Henry died less than two years later.

Now a Crown Property of Albion again, and administered by a castellan, the village of Carisbrook has recently been disturbed by a spate of disappearances and very recently by the discovery of a series of tunnels underneath the village and castle, as well as signs that some of the local population have taken to dark witchcraft; this is all believed to be connected and that a cult of witches have been kidnapping men, women and children to torture or sacrifice for dark rituals. The rest of the island aside from the castle and village is mostly wild, the inland parts of the isle being exceedingly dangerous. Its name makes it clear that there are obviously undead on the isle, as well as creatures of chaos, and it is said that there may also be temporary or permanent gateways to other planes here. There are also many rumours of great treasures and objects of power hidden away in the forests of the isle, tempting the incredibly brave or foolish.


D. DEVON, CORNWALL, AND SOMERSET


Devon and Cornwall have always been their own special part of Albion, that for a long time resisted being incorporated to the customs and ways of others. The men of this region are neither Cymri nor Anglemen of descent, but Gallic, the peoples who occupied Normandie before the Anglemen. It is not the most hospitable of territory, much of the inland areas consisting of hilly moors most notable for fog and damp. The Dartmoor in Cornwall is the largest of these, and the Exmoor in Devon comes close thereafter.

1. DARTMOOR:

Dartmoor is a vast untamed region of central Cornwall of high cold hills, with very acidic soil, making it difficult for anything to grow. Even up until just 400 years ago, these moors were crawling with goblins, who had long since driven out humans who were there before them. But around the time of William the Bastard, Cornishmen decided to take back the moors, slowly encroaching on goblin territory and killing the foul creatures where-ever they were found. Today, much of the moors is in human hands, though goblins are still seen in the least hospitable areas, ready to slaughter anyone they come across. The humans here may not be much better; these fiercely independent men live almost like barbarians, in small villages composed of longhouses where they have no chief and share resources, they recognize no lord and mostly want to be left alone; though if a winter is particularly difficult, it is not unheard of for a desperate band of dartmoor men to go raiding some of the more civilized areas outside the moors.

Aside from the Goblins and the Dartmoor men, the Fae are often found in these hills, pixies in particular, as well as ghosts of different varieties. The church attempted to erect a series of stone crosses to mark the routes through the moors and offer some protection to travelers, but unfortunately many of these, while still useful as landmarks, have themselves become haunted, enchanted by Fae, or used as a place of ambush for bandits.

2. EXMOOR:

The Exmoor is a coastal moor that the crown reserves a right to as hunting territory. It is much less rugged than the dartmoor, featuring an important castle and a number of pleasant towns whose population earns their livelihood by sheep farming. The lonelier parts of this rather vast natural territory feature old ruins, of ancient settlements of almost all the people who ever lived in Albion; ancient bridges of stone that still stand, even a few stone circles, places of druid magic. The most notable legend, however, is that of the Beast of Exmoor, a monstrous creature that is said to have the body of a huge cat with black fur that may or may not have any of the following: wings, a scorpion's tale, tentacles, two or three heads, fiery breath, an eagle's head, a man's head, horns, a serpent's head, etc. Whatever this creature is, it certainly seems to be real, having killed many sheep from the time men dared to settle in Exmoor. There may even be more than one of it.

3. SOMERSET:

In Somerset, you have hill country and forest, as well as considerable swampland all over the coast of the bristol channel. In the latter, you will often find bandits and other lawless men hiding out. The Minedeep hills are limestone hills in the center of the region, that have been excavated and tunneled since time immemorial. There are ancient and abandoned mines from Cymri times (and perhaps even farther before), Arcadian mines of lead and silver, and of course, modern mining continues, under the control of various Abbeys in the region who have been granted mining rights by the crown. From time to time, they attempt to re-open old mines, needing brave men to venture in and secure them. Aside from that, there are countless barrows and natural caves in these hills as well. Finally, the forest of Westbury is an extension of the Forest Camelot, but far less dangerous.

4. CORNWALL:

The far southwestern tip of Albion, according to legend Cornwall was once a powerful kingdom in its own right, of Galic men who ruled both Cornwall and the part of Normandie known as Bretonie. Cornishmen have always been fiercely different, fighting historically with both the Cymri and the Anglemen at different moments, though they favored the Anglemen who were of the same blood as them. When William the Bastard conquered all of Albion, he deposed the last Cornish king, Cadoc, but made him Earl of Cornwall as compensation. That line has since died out, and Cornwall is now a Crown Duchy, traditionally given to the eldest son of the king. Currently, the one-year-old Crown Prince Edward is the Duke of Cornwall. Apart from a few smaller port towns, the most important port town in the Duchy is Plymouth, often an important port for the royal fleet.

5. DEVON:

This divided Duchy is a scene of much conflict in this troubled time. The highest lord of the region is Henry De Holand, Duke of Exeter; a nephew of the Mad King through his mother's side. Henry Holland is known to be savage, cruel, unpredictable in temperament, and fanatically Lancastrian. He despises Richard of York, in spite of (or more likely because of) having married York's daughter some 7 years ago. The relationship is not a good one. So famous is Henry Holland for his cruelty that the popular torture device known as the rack has been recently nicknamed "The Duke of Exeter's Daugther". He controls the important port town of Exeter.

After him comes Thomas Courtenay, the Earl of Devon (based in the town of Okehampton), also Lancastrian but someone far more caught up in local problems. The Courtenays have a long-running feud with the Bonville family of Devonshire knights, who have struggled to wrest power over the Devon countryside away from the Duke by political means. Since Courtenay has failed to one-up the Bonvilles, who are Yorkists and aided by Richard; the Courtenay family has taken to open violence instead. Thus Devon has a micro-version of the same bloodshed being seen now in the north between Percy and Neville. Finally, the Bonnville family themselves are new nobility, the current Baron Bonville obtained his minor title from a mere knighthood because of his heroics on the Continent. The Bonville family have allied themselves to the Yorkist cause, hoping to take advantage of chaos to rise to new social heights, and displace their hated betters, the Courtenays.

6. SOMERSET:

Like Dorset, this territory is ruled by Edmund Beaufort, the powerful (and incredibly corrupt) Duke of Somerset. The most notable features of this county are the pilgrimage towns of Bath and Wells, and the abbey of Glastonbury. The latter is a mystical site of great antiquity, and now a Cleric's Abbey for those clerics who seek out retirement from the world's affairs. Wells features a number of healing springs that were once sacred to the old druid religions and that some believe in to this day, though for the most part it would seem the "real" springs have lost their power, dried up, or been misplaced. On the other hand, Bath features the great Aqua Sulis, the waters of healing, a place sacred to the Cymri, Arcadians, and later sanctified by the Church of the Unconquered Sun alike.

The old baths have been built over by a massive Cleric Temple, and the Clerics control access to the baths. It is said that to this day, those who are gravely ill, injured, cursed, blind or lame, and receive the Cleric's permission to bathe in the waters, will either be purified (if so chosen by the Unconquered Sun) or they will be released into a quick death. Bath is the headquarters of the Clerical Order in Albion, and its High Commander Thomas Beckynton can be found here, when not at Calais fighting the Frogs; and there is always a relatively large concentration of Clerics to be found throughout Somerset.


E. WILTSHIRE AND BERKSHIRE


Wiltshire (often called Salisbury on account that this city dominates the county) and Berkshire (sometimes called Oxford) are two land-locked counties in the southern center of Albion. They both have a long history of influence and are major populated areas. That doesn't mean that they aren't without their places of adventure. Much of the New Forest and some of the Windsor forest spill over into Salisbury, and the southern tip of the Rutland Forest (once known as "The Savage Forest") spills over into Oxford.

1. WILTSHIRE:

The area of Wiltshire was once the central spiritual capital of the religion of the old Gods, the Neutral nature gods, and many unusual centers of spiritual power can be found there. There are considerable old Cymri barrows in the region, including the massive Silbury Hill, the largest burial mound in Albion (130 ft tall), located near the town of Avebury. This is said to have been the burial place of King Sil, a legendary Cymric king said to have ruled the entire south 4000 years ago. It is apparently protected by ancient pagan magic; and all attempts to tunnel into the hill have met with disaster; with those entering in never coming out, and the tunnels they dug seeming to disappear overnight.

Salisbury also features the White Barrow, the longest barrow in Albion, 240 ft long at the surface, but believed to be only the top level of an extensive underground complex; the area near White Barrow has periodically been plagued by excursions of Goblins, leading some to believe that there is a Goblin city under that barrow. Berkshire also features the White Horse Hills, notable for the immense white chalk horse carved into one hillside; which are said to be dotted with ancient tombs; and are certainly home to both bandits and rebels as well as supernatural dangers.

The territory of Wiltshire includes the major city of Salisbury, the town of Devises, and a variety of villages including Avebury. It is also the site of the Stonehenge, the ancient circle of menhirs that was the epicenter of the old pagan religions. Salisbury, a major city, was once known as Sarum, and was a stronghold of one of the last major Cymri kingdoms east of Wales. It was in Wiltshire that the last major battle between Anglemen and Cymri was fought, 800 years ago, for dominance of the area. The city is still divided into two parts called Old Sarum, which is on the Sarum hill, and New Sarum, which is the richer area around which the Salisbury Temple is located. This temple was built in the reign of King Henry of Winchester (Henry III), during a period in which the town experienced massive growth and became one of the major cities of Albion. The only other significant center of population (that is, with more than 1500 people) is the town of Devises, which is renowned for its fine ales; but Salisbury is also dotted with huge numbers of villages, as it is one of the most populous farming regions of Albion.

The area having once been a major center of the old religion, all of Wiltshire (and to a lesser extent, the counties that border it) is dotted with menhirs, large magical stones that were essential to the magic of the pagan Druids, now extinct. Even now, any arcane magic-user casting a spell within close proximity to a menhir will cast the spell as though he were 1 level higher in power. Most of these menhirs stand solitary in fields or forests, but there were some that were arranged into complex circles; in most cases those are now mostly rubble (and grant no additional bonuses), but there are two that are noteworthy. The first is the Stonehenge, the circle of stones most holy to the old cymri pagans.

No one knows how old it is, but Cyrmi lore states that the stonehenge was made by the Fae, in the time when the Cymri were but brutish slaves of this immortal and terrifying race. Lore has it that the Fae used the henge as a portal from which they could travel to anywhere in the world or in the fae realms. The knowledge of how to do this, if it is even still possible, has long since been lost.

In the time of the Druids, the site was used for human sacrifice in the solstices and equinoxes, and to power mighty sorceries. The Druid order as true organization was destroyed by the Arcadians when they held the isle; and after the Arcadians left, the remnants of the Druid religion used Stonehenge primarily as a burial place for kings. According to legend the King Uther Pendragon (father of the greatest cymric king, Artur) is buried here, as well as several other cyrmic kings of note. The Stonehenge today is part of the property of the Amesbury Abbey, and the monks actively and violently discourage anyone from approaching the site; from time to time powerful wizards have still attempted to access it and make use of its power, thus the Abbey usually has a handful of Clerics stationed there to guard against such an incident. For summoning purposes, Stonehenge still acts as a +10 thaumaturgic circle, and grants double the usual bonus for sacrifices if any sacrifices are made there; as well as treating any other spell cast within the circle (arcane or clerical!) as being cast by a character three levels higher than the caster.

The other major circle is perhaps even more unusual. It is quite a bit larger than stonehenge, so large in fact that an entire village rests WITHIN the circle, the village of Avebury. The Avebury henge consists of a huge outer circle, with two inner circles contained therein. The village is within the whole of the outer circle. According to legend, Avebury was the oldest village of free Cymri, and the circle around Avebury, though probably constructed by the Fae, was used to make it impossible for the Fae to attack the village. On account of this the local villagers, though all apparently faithful adherents of the Unconquered Sun, were reluctant to do any harm to the stones.

In the time of King Edward III, a particularly zealous cleric named John de Hoby convinced the local lord and the peasantry that the stones were blasphemous, and began an effort to tear down the stones and bury them; but at the start of this venture there were a series of accidents, and later horrific deaths that seemed to happen in the night (de Hoby himself disappeared one night, the parish house where he was staying showing signs of a terrible supernatural attack the next morning and the local priest found completely insane and incoherent), sightings of fae, and finally, Salisbury became one of the first regions of Albion struck with the Black Death. On account of this, the King himself ordered that the stones be restored and no further means be taken to harm them.

Unlike Stonehenge, the stones of Avebury do not seem to be of any major use to human magic-users (aside from the usual bonus a menhir grants), or at least not any known special use, so there have been few problems related to that, though there will often be Magisters from Oxford or Cambridge present in the village, studying the stones.

Richard Neville (senior), the powerful Yorkist leader and Earl of Salisbury, is the theoretical ruler of this region; however, he is by ancestral ties based in the north, having obtained the Earldom of Salisbury through marriage, the last of the old earl's line being Neville's wife Alice. As such, the Earl does not spend much time in this region. In order to counterbalance the influence of the Nevilles in this county, the Mad King (or more accurately, Queen Margaret) granted the competing title of Earl of Wiltshire to James Butler, called "The Eireman"; a semi-barbarian chief of the Ormond tribe of Eire who has shown great loyalty to Albion and the King in helping to maintain Albion's power in Eire. Butler happily abandoned his native land and the life of a powerful savage chief in order to live the much more comfortable life of an Anglish noble, bringing along his younger brother John (who is, incredibly, training as a magister in Oxford!), leaving the rulership of the Ormonds in Eire to his youngest brother Thomas. James is fiercely fanatically loyal to the Lancastrians, and generally resented by the locals, who are mostly Yorkist. The city of Salisbury's council of aldermen are entirely Yorkist in their sympathies.

2. BERKSHIRE:

This is a mostly rural county (well known for its farming as well as a booming wool trade), on the other side of the Thames river from Wiltshire. It is notable only for the college town of Oxford, the oldest university in Albion, and still the most prestigious. Oxford university was founded in the town by King William Rufus (William II), and later expanded by King Henry Curtmantle (Henry II). It produces the greatest lawyers, scribes, doctors, and theologians of the kingdom, but is probably best known for its school of Magisters, developed as a means to train and at the same time establish certain levels of qualifications and state controls over the practice of magic among the upper classes. At any time there are hundreds of students of magic in the town.

The current Magister Chancellor of Oxford is George Neville, who is a powerful though very young magician at only 21 years of age. He was discovered to be gifted at a very young age, and has quickly outstripped his contemporaries in both knowledge and ability at magic; though certainly his ascent to the Chancellarium at such a young age is in part a political act based on the influence of his powerful family.

Berkshire was historically part of the territory dominated by the powerful De La Pole family; the Dukes of Suffolk, but this lineage has been disinherited after William De La Pole, also known as "Jackanape" for his foolishness and incompetence, was largely held to blame for the recent disastrous losses of Albion on The Continent. The Star Chamber had ordered his arrest and he had been sentenced to banishment, but he was murdered while still on the ship crossing the channel of Albion. His young son John De La Pole would be his heir; only 12 years old, John already hates the memory of the father he barely knew, for the humiliations and suffering he's been made to endure; and he hates the King who he holds responsible for his father's death (when others were at least as responsible for the losses on the Continent as his father was). The young lad is determined that one day, whatever the cost, he will regain his family's title.


F. THE SEVERN RIVER AND THE COTSWOLDS


The area around the Severn river includes three counties of note: Gloucester, Hereford, and Worcester (often called Warwick). It is a region dominated by the port city of Bristol, one of the most important cities of the kingdom. A second major city is found in Worcester, the city of Coventry. There are likewise several major towns: Gloucester (in Gloucester, obviously), Worcester and Kenilworth castle in Worcester, an the towns of Hereford and Shrewsbury in Hereford. There are a great deal of villages as well; as a whole, this area is rich in commerce and population and is sometimes called "The Heart of Anglia". North of where the Severn river meets there can be found a region of low rolling hills known as "the Cotswolds".

The cotswolds are rich in a particular type of yellow stone just under the soil, and many villages in the region are full of houses built of this material. The hills themselves are quite peaceful and heavily populated, with a strong church presence and a conservative attitude; but those digging in the stone quarries have found a great number of huge bones, mostly of dragons, suggesting that at least at one time long this region was part of a kingdom of Dragons, though none has been seen in the hills in at least two or three centuries.

1. HEREFORD:

This county is the most rural and least populated of the "heartland counties", party dominated by the forest of dean, and bordering the Welsh Cambrian mountains. It is sometimes victimized by monsters, giants, or barbaric cyrmi tribes attacking from those mountains. The Mortimers, the descendents of Prince Lionel, a younger son of Edward III, were based in Hereford; this is the family of the mother of Richard of York. As such, this county is very firmly Yorkist. Despite this, the other important family in the region, the Talbots (earls of Shrewsbury) are Lancastrian.

Hereford has a rich forested area known as the Forest of Dean, believed to be one of the oldest forests in the land. It is a crown forest, used as a hunting ground for the king (the forest has a great number of particularly large and ferocious wild boars). The Forest of Dean area is rich in coal and iron mines, as well as limestone quarries (these are worked by the Brotherhood of Free Miners, a company granted the exclusive right to mine here by the great King Edward Longshanks (Edward I), when the men of Hereford proved of great valour in his wars against the Scots Men.

One of the largest mining complexes is known as the Clearwell caves, a series of natural caves with several underground lakes that run deep into the earth; and the higher levels of which have been extensively used for mining iron as well as ochre; the lower depths of the cave are unknown, and the miners fear to go too deep, having sometimes had mysterious disappearances and heard terrible noises from the depths of the caves' lower regions.

The forest itself is full of huge trees, dark and deep areas of vegetation where few humans go; ancient barrows can be found in the depths of the forest. It is said that somewhere deep in the center of the forest is a sacred spring where the Arcadians, when they ruled this land, built a huge temple to the old Arcadian god Nodens (one of several deities they worshiped before turning to the faith of the Unconquered Sun). Abandoned when the Arcadians became followers of the light of the Unconquered Sun alone, the ruins of the temple may still be filled with unknown riches.

2. WARWICK:

This county, also called Worcester, is truly found in the heart of Albion, and is a vital region of trade. Its primary local industry is wool and textiles, and Coventry grew from being an important market town for these products to becoming one of the major cities of Albion. It is the newest of the major cities, and was only granted a charter as a free city in the time of Edward III. The city is famous for its perfect blue cloth, and the term "true blue" is used to describe cloth that has been authentically made in Coventry, as opposed to a counterfeit. The city also features massive (10 foot thick and 15 foot high) walls, with 32 towers and 12 gatehouses, making it the best-defended city outside London. The city of Coventry is dominated by Lancastrian influence, and would serve as a safer base of operations for the lancastrians than London.

The rest of Warwick is under the rule of Richard Neville (junior), the Earl of Warwick. The eldest son of the Earl of Salisbury, he is only 25 years old, having inherited the earldom at the age of 6. He has spent considerable time in Warwick since his teen years, as a way to gain a name for himself outside of his family. He is already well known not only for his personal power and wealth, and his family connections, but for being famed to be one of the most brilliant young nobles of the land. He has been quite politically active, and has become a hated enemy of the corrupt Duke of Somerset, using his intelligence to try to oppose the man at every turn; this has put him in direct conflict with Queen Margaret, and has made him (and all the Nevilles) the staunch ally of Richard of York. It is suspected that Warwick will be every bit as intelligent in battle as he is at politics, though he has not had the opportunity to have this put to the test as of yet. With the conflicts between Yorkists and Lancastrians growing worse daily, the Earl of Warwick has been raising a large army in the name of Richard of York in Worcester.

The area of Warwick also has a large forest, the Feckenham Forest. The crown has hunting rights here, and the forest is rich with deer, and wild boars (though not as large as those of the Dean forest), and some huge wild cats are said to hunt in the depths of the forest. The most problematic creatures in this forest are the wolves, however, which exist in great numbers and show considerable ferocity and intelligence. Since the time of Edward Longshanks, a bounty has been paid to hunters in the town of Worcester of 3 shillings for each wolf's head they bring back from the forest. The Clerical order suspects that some evil forces (possibly Werewolves) may be behind the presence and power of the wolf population, and have tried at times to investigate this. While the local population has certain forestry rights, the hunting of deer is strictly prohibited without the King's express consent; the forest Keeper (usually some prominent local knight, currently a member of the prominent Talbot family) is charged with preventing poaching, and the penalty for anyone caught poaching is 500 pounds or execution!

Also in Warwick there is a complex of stone circles, known as the Rollright Stones; these were said to be the petrified remains of an old Cymric king and his knights, turned to stone by a witch when the king sought to conquer all of Albion. The local peasantry still believe the place is a holy site, believing that touching the King Stone on the Summer Solstice brings protection, and warn visitors off from the area; attempts to destroy the stones has resulted in curses and misfortune. Legend has it that once in a generation, the stone king and stone knights come back to life for one night, slaughtering any they can find before returning to their place.

3. GLOUCESTER:

This county is the beneficiary of the majority of the trade coming into and from Bristol, as well as being a center point in the borders between southern Anglia, central Anglia, and Wales. In old Cyrmic and Arcadian times, the capital of this region was Cirenster, which today is barely a village; by the time of William the Bastard, the most important city in the region was Gloucester, after which the county is named, but since then its influence has steadily declined in favor of the port of Bristol, which has now grown to be one of the major cities of Anglia.

Bristol's prominence is due to its being the most important port city f
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The Butcher

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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2011, 06:04:56 PM »
Good stuff.

I'd be peeved if I was French, though. :D

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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2011, 06:22:47 PM »
Is there an alternative to Albion?

I think it is somewhat over used in an RPG context.

Commonwealth of Shires perhaps?
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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2011, 08:01:11 PM »
Cool stuff. I also think the name Albion is very appropriate.
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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2011, 09:09:37 PM »
It was either that or Angleland.

Anyways, as to the French, they can basically go fuck themselves anyways, but I should point out that the setting makes it pretty clear that the majority of people who live in most of "france" of that setting are in fact humans, and the monarchy of England (the Plantagenets) are descendants of the legitimate human rulers of that realm (like they were in real life).  Only the current "ruling class" of "Frogland" are inhuman monstrosities; which is something I suspect the average frenchman might have agreed with anyways.

I note with some amusement that you don't suggest that the welsh would be pissed off at being half-elves, or the Scottish or Irish at being savages.  

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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2011, 09:24:02 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;466232
It was either that or Angleland.


might i suggest "loegria" instead?

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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2011, 09:35:20 PM »
Quote from: ICFTI;466235
might i suggest "loegria" instead?


Not recognizable enough, except to historians or Pendragon players.

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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2011, 12:33:09 AM »
And Loegria doesn't roll off the tongue like Albion.

I like this a lot, Pundit, but I think I would rather see the historical figures used more as a basis for the characters in your setting than brought in whole cloth. My preference, at least.
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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2011, 03:01:06 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;466232

I note with some amusement that you don't suggest that the welsh would be pissed off at being half-elves, or the Scottish or Irish at being savages.


The nations of Britain and Reigions of England are always taking the piss out of each other and if anyone gets offended they're called humourless.

It's a cultural thing.
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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2011, 04:56:10 AM »
Good stuff, Pundit. Keep the ideas coming :)
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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2011, 05:11:40 AM »
Quote from: Kaz;466245
And Loegria doesn't roll off the tongue like Albion.

I like this a lot, Pundit, but I think I would rather see the historical figures used more as a basis for the characters in your setting than brought in whole cloth. My preference, at least.


Well, the way I see it, rather than take a historical figure and then make a second-rate imitation out of it; I think its cooler to take the historical figure and push him into exaggerated overdrive.  Henry VI is full-on batshit; Warwick is and Amber-level evil genius, etc etc.

Rather than start with something less than historical reality, start with historical reality and dial it up to 11.

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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2011, 07:07:12 AM »
I would be tempted to do something more historic with Scotland than just writing them of as barbarians. If anything, in this time period they are more civilised than the English.

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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2011, 11:27:26 AM »
You absolutely need the place to be overrun by jug eared weak jawed inbred nobles, with random behaviours driven by their monochrome genetic heritage, stretching from porking the livestock through to full blown bathing in intestines psychopathy. There's historical reality pushed to 11.
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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2011, 01:14:29 PM »
That's not just history that's the present ;)
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Dark Albion: the Origin Thread
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2011, 01:47:44 PM »
Quote from: jadrax;466263
I would be tempted to do something more historic with Scotland than just writing them of as barbarians. If anything, in this time period they are more civilised than the English.


I don't see why.  Frankly, its far more useful to have Scotland as the ultimate "savage frontier".  And I mean, there can be all kinds of little kingdoms from one clan or another there, but the main gist of it is that once you're north of Hadrian's Wall, there's no safety-net of civilization, however illusory, that you get when you're in, say, Salisbury.

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