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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Castles, Crusades and Feudalism!

Greetings!

I present below some thoughts on and quick tables for determining the type of castle encountered, the nature and motivation of a crusade, and brief detail of European feudal titles.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

CASTLES

Castles are an essential and greatly-enjoyed aspect of most campaigns. Castles provide some iconic and rich imagery, and inspire numerous tales of glory and adventure! Naturally, castles are a focal point for innumerable wars, sieges, and of course, lots of espionage and skulking about in the shadows! Rebellions are often plotted within such walls, evil villains are brought down, and great champions are rewarded and celebrated! Sadly, actual support in game books for them, while occasionally and periodically interesting and helpful--is often few and far between and seldom really supported in much detail in most of the base rules--or even much of the supplemental rule books. I believe that castles--their construction, defense, and continued presence in any campaign can provide a great deal of richness, depth, and development to the campaign.

What Kind of Castle is Encountered?
01-20% Fortified Monastery
21-70% Border Keep
71-90% Mighty Fortress
91-00% Glorious Citadel

CRUSADES

Crusades are great wars inspired by mighty religious authority and leadership. Crusades may indeed have many goals--political, military, economic, and cultural--much like any other kind of war. However, Crusades also have a potent religious or spiritual motivation for everyone involved, from the greatest priest, nobleman and soldier, to the most humble peasant conscript, merchant, or squire--at least to some degree. Naturally, there are individuals that may participate in the Crusade for entirely personal, worldly, even selfish reasons, and who could care less about any sort of religious motivation at all. However, for the most part, the majority of the people involved in a crusade have some level of sincere religious and spiritual motivation for participating--this too, can be seen through both official pronouncements and purposes--but also include deeply personal spiritual motivations as inspiration for an individual's particpation in the crusade.

What Motivates the Crusade?

01-10% The Infidels have arrested, enslaved, or attacked traveling pilgrims of the faith that seek to reach shrines, temples and holy places sacred to the Crusader's faith that are located in border regions, or in distant, foreign lands.

11-20% The Infidels have siezed and occupied shrines, temples and holy places sacred to the faith that are located in border regions, or in distant, foreign lands.

21-30% The Infidels have attacked, burned and destroyed shrines, temples and holy places sacred to the faith that are located in border regions, or in distant, foreign lands.

31-40% The Infidels have attacked shipping belonging to the Crusader's faith, and proceeded to kill, enslave, or forcibly convert all passengers and crew to the Infidel's faith at swordpoint. Such passengers and crew that are thusly converted are not released to their freedom, but rather, they are essentially enslaved as well, and taken far away from any border regions, where they are isolated and forced to live and embrace the Infidel's religion.

41-50% The Infidels have attacked and invaded lands belonging to the Crusader's, or lands and peoples allied to the Crusader's, where they have burned, raped, and established their foreign rule by force of armies, tyranny, and oppression.

51-70% The Infidels are not merely content to be different from the Crusader's faith, and remain in their own lands practicing their own faith and minding their own business--but rather, they are not content to do this; instead, they seek conquer and convert all lands and peoples that their armies can reach; and for those lands and peoples that the Infidel's armies cannot reach--yet--they still seek to influence, intimidate, and subjugate by cultural influence, political intimidation, and economic competition--always backed up by the knowledge that military conquest and domination may come at some future time if such lands and peoples do not submit earlier.

71-00% The Infidels have committed one or more of these terrible deeds--or all of them.

Nature of the Strange, Foreign Faith of the Infidels

01-20% The Infidels are zealous followers of a strange, foreign religion that is somewhat different in many ways from the Crusader's faith--and seems entirely evil and wicked, embracing theological and philosophical ideas, customs and practices that are seen as hateful, evil and wicked on every level by the Crusader's faith.

21-40% The Infidels are zealous followers of a strange, foreign religion that is distinctly different in many ways from the Crusader's faith--and seems entirely evil and wicked, embracing theological and philosophical ideas, customs and practices that are seen as hateful, evil and wicked on every level by the Crusader's faith.

41-00% The Infidels are zealous followers of a strange, foreign religion that is radically different from the Crusader's faith--and seems entirely evil and wicked, embracing theological and philosophical ideas, customs and practices that are seen as hateful, evil and wicked on every level by the Crusader's faith.

FEUDALISM

Feudalism is the medieval social and political system of government that pervades the lands of a medieval society. Feudalism is essentially a complex pyramid of interlocking political alliances between both individuals and families, insuring a chain of command, a reasonably-unified sense of common purpose and general foreign and domestic policies, as well as a greatly enhanced network of force both to prosecute offense against a common enemy, but also as a form of defense against any common enemy that seeks to pose as a threat.

In a standard Medieval European milieu, Feudalism contains the following heirarchy of nobles, each having the loyalty, allegiance, and service of nobles under them, and in turn, providing their loyalty, allegiance, and service to nobles ranked above them.

King/Queen
Arch-Duke, Arch-Prince, etc.
Duke
Count
Great Baron (Also Great Lord)
Lord (Also Baron)
Knight (Also Squire, Esquire)

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