Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Castle Caldwell Explorers 7.1 - The Map of the Realm

Finally! The map of the Realm!

Steve made this since it's his Realm. I had received a copy without a scale on it, but just Saturday he brought one with hexes overlaid, and then sent me the PDF.  I'm thrilled!

This little picture really doesn't do the map justice, so download the PDF and take a look!

The scale is 1 hex = 40 miles.  That means each hex from one flat edge to the opposite is 40 miles. One corner to the opposite corner is 46 and 2/3 miles.  Therefore the length of one side of a hex is 23 and 1/3 miles. Therefore the area of one hex is roughly 1400 sq. miles. That's a lot of territory! In fact, one hex is almost exactly the size of the state of Rhode Island- maybe a little bigger.

There are 17 x 11.5 of these hexes in this map. 195.5 hexes. Therefore the area of the map is approximately 276,000 sq miles, almost exactly the area of the state of Texas.

There is a river that divides the map roughly east-west, flowing from the highlands to the lowlands into Cisimins Bay. North of the river is the Kingdom of Weston. South is the Kingdom of Williamston. (I'm not clear on the names of the kingdoms, but those are the capitols.)

Right in the middle of the map you can see Castle Clifton, right between the West Wood and the East Wood, in Hex 1010. Sylvia is to marry Baron Frey over in 0704. The realm of East Reach (centered on 1310) are in the process of invading our Realm! They have established one outpost that we know about: a stockade with 100 men and one wizard between 1010 and 1110.

Examining the map, there are clear adventure hooks pulling us in several directions. 
  • The people of East Reach. Do we fight them? Join them? Stay neutral?
  • What about the stockade in East Wood? Should we take it or burn it down?
  • What happens when Sylvia has to go to Frey? Will we go with her, and why?
  • The Tabernacle of Frea is in 0611. I would personally love to visit to see what it looks like and what sorts enpeople it.
  • Why are the Wildelands called that?

What is that mysterious tower in 1305...?

Curse My Fat Fingers!

Darnit, I deleted the post of the weapons! Thankfully I have the info saved, but not the specific text of the post.

I'm working on armor today. The most interesting thing is that full plate armor didn't exist until perhaps the year 1400. The "plate" that existed c. 1200 was mail-and-plate or half-plate, with iron plates and splints supplementing chain armor. By 1400-1450, plate armor was steel and less expensive than chain because it was less labor-intensive.

So I think what I'll do is like this: 

Gambeson: AC 8
Brigantine: AC 6
Chain and Gambeson: AC 5
Half Plate and Gambeson: AC 4

Buckler: -1 AC
Shield: -2 AC in this narrow setting but -1 AC in other settings as normal.

Replica gambeson. I was unable to find a photo of an original.
For the record, here is our current Weapons table:

Click to enlarge

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Castle Caldwell Explorers VII - Some Lizardmen Peed In That

Saturday 10-28-17 6:30 - 10 PM
The DM was Steve.

Dramatis Personae: 
  • Everaxe, Level 3 Dwarf war Cleric of Odin, played by Nate.
  • Ronin, Level 4 Human Fighting-Man played by Ethan.
  • Faelin, Level 3 Human Ranger played by Simone.
  • Ældlin, Level 3 Half-Elf Druid played by me, Scott.
  • Vuvier, Level 3 Gnome Thief guy played by Julie.
  • Thane, Level 3 Human Magic-User played by Julie.
  • Meira, Level 3 Half-Elf bow Fighter played by Alexséya (AJ).

Our fellowship returned to Castle Clifton to find the assembled craftsmen to have reached numbers into the dozens. Clifton is moving ahead swiftly with the fortification and staffing of his new castle. He was harried and distracted and quite upset that we were back without his niece Sylvia. You might remember that she is to be wed to a Baron, the Baron of Frey, a hundred miles to the Northwest.     

Vuvier with wolf cap and ancestral hand axe
We told Clifton about the incursion of the men of the North, from the barony of East Reach by their heraldry. Despite getting little to no sleep, he was insistent that we set off again and not return without his niece.

Ældlin begged Clifton to replace Everaxe's plate armor. Lord Clifton vaguely agreed he would do it later, but probably just to shoo us back to the rescue attempt. I won't forget.

We did stop briefly at the pavilion erected to Freya on his grounds, presumably there to consecrate the land or something. It was unclear. For donations, they healed us. In addition they gave Everaxe a Cloak of AC +1 because of his misfortune, and due to his clerical devotion to Odin, a fellow god of Freya.

On the path back to the hole where we believe Sylvia was taken, we learned that Everaxe the Dwarf Cleric and Faelin the girl Ranger are in the employ of Baron Frey and were there in the first place to secure Sylvia's safety. (Actually Steve told me that he had already explained that but for the life of me I have no memory of such an exposition. Oh well, this is my story so I'll tell it my way!)

We also saw some Men of Eastreach on patrol, but were able to avoid the few groups we came across thanks to Faelin's scouting.

When we reached the cave entrance, we reconnoitered the area at Ronin's suggestion. We found no other entries. Ronin then suggested we trap the entrance. Ældlin cast Snare among the flora near the entrance and the fellows entered carefully.

Thankfully Eevraxe had point. His Dwarf senses detected new construction. Vuvier the Gnome Thief found a pit trap and directed us around it. There was a chair, but no guard. Perhaps we had slain them all?

We went this time to the Western passage and found ourselves face to face with three Lizard Men!

Give us a nice, wet lickery-kiss

...Three Lizard Men!

That's more like it!
Everaxe gallantly dashed in, tripped over his feet and fell flat! The sleestacks Lizard Men pounced and brought him low with their spears. In the mean time, Faelin and Ronin teamed up to bring two of the enemies near death. Ældlin charged in to protect the fleeing Dwarf! They slammed into one another and now it was Ædlin who found himself seated in the dirt!

The several heroes did make short work of the three Lizard Men, who had bupkis for treasure.

Backtracking then, we found another barracks room with three more Lizard Men!

Again, we took them out fast and again they had nothing good on them.

We found a small passage down a slope and into a room with a pool. It was completely dark, so Everaxe poked around. He considered drinking some of the water to see if it was magic, but decided against it.

File Photo
Up the hallway a ways we heard a loud obnoxious goblin. Those of us who speak goblin could hear he was moaning about having to peel potatoes and carrots. Everaxe had an idea! 

From the hallway in Goblin he said: "I'm here to take over for you! Your shift is over!"

The goblin asked, "Who you are? Where you come from?"

Everaxe said, "Who is none of your concern! We come from the pool at the end of the hallway with the Lizard Men!"

The goblin said, "Oh! You come from the Lizard Man rooms! They no have to cook! They get to fight! And they get their own bathroom! I HATE the Lizard Men! Okay! Come in!"

The pool was their bathroom. And Everaxe almost drank it!

Everaxe said, "I need help moving this cask of fine Orcish wine!"

The goblin squealed with delight and dashed out! Everaxe grabbed him and we tied him up!

His name was Whichgoblin and we negotiated his services as a guide and mercenary guard for three gold coins - more money than he had ever seen - as well as a promise that he would never have to cook for anyone else ever again.

He led us up to the next room, another kitchen with another goblin caterwauling away about making stew all day and night. It turned out this second goblin (whose name I forgot, darnit) was the brother of the first, and agreed to the same deal as before. They showed us a secret passage to where Oliver laired. Oliver was the name of the Man who ran the dungeon complex and presumably held Sylvia!

Vuvier figured out how to open the passage and we entered Oliver's study while the goblin brothers held rearguard. 

Our new mercs. Sculpts by WizKids

No sooner did we cross into his vast study then our two meat shields, Ronin and Everaxe hit the deck, victims of a Sleep spell! Worse, an owlbear picked up the hapless Everaxe and tossed him twenty feet across the room! Worse yet, Everaxe had no backup weapon and his morning star stayed on the ground where he had fallen!

Within the room we saw a laughing Man, likely a mad wizard of some kind: Oliver! 

In the back corner we saw a maiden in a chair: Sylvia!

We woke up the dudes, beat the Owlbear, but lost Oliver as he dashed out a secret door... followed, seemingly of her own free will... Sylvia! 

While we gathered ourselves, Ældlin and Ronin stuffed their packs full of rare books from a large bookshelf on the wall.

And that was the end of the session tonight!

Two thoughts: I cast Charm Person or Animal on Oliver - twice - and twice he made his Save. This might have been good luck, but it's making me think.

From 5e

Earlier on we had found the illusion of an Owlbear and a Maiden in the main common area. I wonder if Oliver and/or Sylvia were illusions? It seems odd that they were able to dash off, together, through a door we didn't see when we came in. And was the whole thing an illusion? Is that why we didn't see the door?

It remains to be seen!

Friday, October 27, 2017

In The Works

Stonegazer vs Boobgazer by KT Andersson

No finished product to share tonight. Tomorrow is our game night so I'll write an actual play report for Sunday or Monday.

The next couple of Welsh Marches posts I'm working on are

1) I am deciding which weapons and armor will exist in the Welsh Marches. It will be a narrower selection than in D&D, but not by much. I am also thinking about making all the hit dice and weapon damage d6 instead of the several polyhedrals.

2) Fixing a weapon type versus armor type table for those weapons and armor, starting with the tables from GREYHAWK and modifying them for our purposes.

3) Based on my terrible misadventure with Some King's Kent and the Yeoman class, the idea has been percolating that the several "units" for the wargames part of the setting ought to be outfitted with uniform armor and weapon types based on their country of origin and social class.

4) Then based on those unit types, making up several narrow fighting-man classes like the Knight we made earlier on.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

602 Years Ago Today


O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!


What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:

If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.

Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Writer's Block!


Monday, October 23, 2017

English Place Names

There's nothing like the real thing!

Here's a list of English place names.  The first one is alphabetical and the second one is shuffled. I took out just a few of the big cities.

How could you resist the town of Fridaythorpe??

Alphabetical list here.

Stowy, Twiston, and Piddleton at your fingertips!

A shuffled list here.

The reason you need this is that you don't want to be stuck naming your towns stupid names you pull out of thin air. Just print out one of the many, many, many pages and you instantly have all the names of cities, towns, villages and hamlets you will ever, ever need.

No need to attribute me on these either, they're just lists. No intellectual property. Use them however you like!

By the way... I have lists of place names from other countries as well. Not as voluminous as this one, but you could use these foreign names as the names of villages of elfs, dwarfs or gnomes as well as foreign Men. Let me know in the comments if you wanna see some.

Also, apropos of nothing, I need to show you this.

What Did You Use from Unearthed Arcana?

When I started we mixed and matched whatever books and modules we had. I had the BX basic box and the Basic and Expert Mentzer boxes. I evenutally got the 2e core books. My friends Matt and Doug loved Dragonlance so we mixed that stuff in too.

Unlike today where you can go to the kickstarter page, watch a video, and even fund every release, there wasn't much you could do to know what was out there except maybe go to Waldenbooks to see what they had. I didn't know about UA until maybe 1990? 1988-1990? Right before 2e. Before that I played BECM. Although I flipped through UA, I liked 2e better because it seemed newer. I wonder where the monk and barbarian went but it didn't bother me per se. The DMG even had a system to construct your own classes so if you wanted a monk or barbarian you could make one up for yourself.

I think I did play a one campaign 1-on-1 as the player where there was a Comeliness stat but it was qualitative, not quantitative. (That was a wild campaign - we were third level and ended up in the outer planes dealing with devils and angels. At the time it seemed stupid, but it was my own narrow interpretation. In retrospect it was a very good campaign.)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

When Do They Die?

Notorious killer DM Tim Kask in 2009

There's actually a couple of ideas that I'm throwing in this short post. One is about hit points, and another one is about an important idea to make things fun more generally.

I'm playing in a game where you die at -10 hit points. It seems like an awful lot of extra hit points in actual play. Truth be told, I would like to have seen my characters die more often because I feel like they deserved to die based on my play. I feel like, and this is a general comment and not directed toward Steve: The Referee should feel guilt for robbing the player of the agency of killing his own character through some blunder.

A more heroic mechanism than negative hit points: Maybe if the several characters hurriedly bring he who has been laid low back to the town, he can get a save versus death as he convalesces. Only if they do not tarry! It is likely this is the end. You don't count negatives; anything below 0 means you are on the clock and you have to get him to a stable situation.

On the other hand, there are situations that are not fun. F’rinstance: A player isn't feeling well. He shows up and you play. He makes unusually poor game choices that get characters killed or otherwise disadvantage the party.

That's when the Ref and players have to stop and say "this isn't fun. Let's try it again and make it more fun."

That's different than a -10 HP rule or whatever. That's stepping outside the game to fix a table issue.

In the game, characters should be allowed to die.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Alternate Druid Spell List, Level 2 Spells

Slowly working through the spell descriptions for the Druid spells. I really hate making lists with descriptions, such as spell lists and monster lists. I don't know why.

Here's the alternate Druid class from my Welsh Marches campaign.

Here's the list of alternate First Level spells.

Many, many thanks to Brian Richmond of Goatman's Goblet for the inspiration and sometimes text of some of these interesting spells.

Second-Level Druid Spells

R: Self                               D: Instantaneous

Plants and organic matter within 2” of the caster begin to rot, wilt, and sprout fungus. Plant creatures take damage equal to 1d6 per caster level, while normal creatures take 1d6 + caster level damage due to thirst.

Boreal Songs
R: 1” Radius                     D: Concentration

The air around the caster begins blowing strangely and harsh whispers speak on the wind. Those affected by the spell suffer -4 to their Attack Rolls, as though they were fighting in darkness. The songs speak to them of their deaths.

R: One Being                   D: Concentration

The caster shuts his mouth firmly and then doesn’t need to breathe. He may cast the spell on others by placing an object he owns into the mouth of the figure. So long as the figure’s mouth remains closed, he instead does not need to breathe.

Chill Steel
R: 3” Cone                        D: Instantaneous

The caster may painfully chill metal, forcing those hit with the spell to either drop what metal they are holding or suffer 1d6 + caster level damage.

Control Temperature
R: 3” Radius                    D: 1 Turn

The caster moistens his earlobes with a dash of cool water. The ambient temperature comes under his control, between slightly below freezing to very hot (110 degrees F / 43 C).

Create Water
R: 1” per level                  D: Permanent

Creates one cubic foot of sweet, drinkable water (about 8 gallons) per experience level.

Creeping Sickness
R: 3”                                  D: Several days

The caster makes a beckoning motion and the victim slowly has his vigor sapped for a number of hours equal to the caster’s level. Each hour the victim takes 1d6 damage and must Save vs Spell or become sickened for a number of days equal to the caster’s level. This is subdual damage and will not reduce the target below 0 hit points. Upon becoming sick, the victim no longer suffers damage from the spell.

R: Self                               D: 1 Hour per caster level

The caster falls into a state of hedonistic glee, becoming immune to spells that might otherwise alter his mind or purpose, but suffering the effects of being the life of a party. The caster cannot cast spells while debauched, attracts 1d6 people per caster level as revellers from the nearby wilderness or town (of all ages, kinds, and social classes.) Local animals may attend the revelry too. The debauchery lasts a number of hours equal to the caster’s level, after which the caster is fatigued, hung over, and has suffered ill-effects of carousing.

Exhalation of Purity
R: 2” Radius                    D: 1 Round per caster level

By exhaling sharply, the caster blows away any gasses, fogs, mists, dust, smoke, or poison clouds within 20 feet. The caster may choose instead to inhale these dangers, making a Constitution check, which upon passing allows the caster to exhale the content safely within a number of rounds equal to his level. If the check is failed, he suffers the woes of his folly.

R: Nearby Allies              D: Concentration

The caster pounds on his chest, rousing the fury of their compatriots. A number of allies equal to the caster’s level may increase the damage their melee attacks deal by one die increment (d6 to d8, &c.) This bonus exists for however many rounds the caster pounds on his chest, though he may shift to another loud act of percussion. Upon ending this drumming, those affected must Save vs Petrification or Polymorph or become fatigued.

Glance of Mendacity
R: 1”                                  D: Caster level in Rounds

With a subtle glance, the caster may charm a victim into acting in the best interest of the party; provided no violence will knowingly come to someone in the victim’s immediate charge. The victim remains charmed for a number of Rounds equal to the caster’s level. No Save is allowed.

Harvest Rations
R: 1”                    D: Permanent until eaten

The caster is able to make a single serving of rations feed a number of figures equal to the caster’s level. The rations bloat inside the stomach of those who eat it. Eating this way more than twice in a row requires a Save vs Poison to avoid being sickened.

Heat Metal
R: 4”                                   D: 7 Rounds

Metal goes from merely very hot, to blistering, to red-hot, to blistering, to merely very hot again. There is no saving throw.

On Rounds 2, 3, 6, and 7, metal so touched deals 1d4 HP damage. On Rounds 4 and 5, it deals 2d4 HP damage. Armor or weapons can be so heated.

Heat Shimmer
R: Self                               D: 1 Turn

The caster holds a hand outstretched and the air within 2” around the caster becomes balmy and tropical. Those who enter that space suffer -2 on attacks due to the heat, and if they remain within that space for more than 1d4 Rounds, they face a -2 on all rolls due to heat exhaustion until they sleep.

Hold Animal
R: 3”                                  D: 4 Turns

Holds 1d4 natural or dire creatures of animal intelligence transfixed and fascinated.

Locate Plants
R: 1”diameter/lvl            D: 1 Turn/lvl

The caster whispers into the wind and the wind whispers back. He is able to locate the nearest instance of a desired plant within range. The area of effect stays on the caster as he moves.

Mantle of Winter
R: Touch                           D: Caster’s Level in Hours

The caster imbues the essence of Winter upon a target, turning its mantle stark white. The figure gains immunity to cold and frost and a cold breath weapon dealing 1d6 + 1 Hits damage to all targets in a 1” cone before him. The target also suffers weakness to fire, which deals double damage.

R: 0                                   D: 4 Rounds /lvl

The caster draws on his pipe and exhales through his nose. A misty vapor scented with pleasant wood and leather notes reduces visibility and scent-based tracking to a range of 1 scale inch. The volume affected is a 30 foot cube at 3rd level and a cube of an additional 10 feet on a side per experience level above 3rd.

Produce Flame
R: 0                                   D: 2 Rounds/caster lvl

The caster crushes a stalk of rhubarb between his hands. A bright flame like a torch springs forth from the caster’s hand. One time the caster may hurl it as a missile to a range of 4”. It will inflame combustibles in the immediate area of impact. Against another figure, the flame deals 2d6 + 1 per caster level damage.

Protection from Lightning
R: Touch                           D: 12 Turns

The touched figure ignores up to 12 Hit Points of electrical damage per Round.

R: Touch                           D: Permanent

The caster may with a touch repair an object back to its original state. This will fix damaged armor, a hole in a boat, or a notched sword; but it cannot return enchantments back to items.

Screaming Mandrake
R: 3”                                  D: Permanent until activated

The caster can turn a root vegetable into a shrieking fetish which upon being touched by any mortal hands will begin screaming for a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level. The scream deals 1d4 damage per round to all who can hear it, and anyone who holds it is deafened for 1d4 days. After the plant is done screaming, it shrivels up to look like a shrunken head.

R: Touch                           D: 3 Hours

By outstretching a hand, the caster can bring forth a globe of golden sunlight which illuminates everything within vision as though it were daylight. Creatures weakened or harmed by sunlight suffer the usual effects. The globe is warm but utterly intangible.

Warp Wood
R: Touch                           D: Permanent

The caster may shape wood with their hands as though it were soft clay. He may order wood to splinter, shatter, rot, or blossom with new life.

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Silly Experiment

The same one that Jeff Rients just did on his blog. Only, I'm using a different browser and I'll only do six characters, because Mythical Journeys only has six classes, not seven.

What will the party look like if I simply take the first image from DuckDuckGo for each of the six Mythical Journeys classes?


Kyra the Cleric from Pathfinder. It's a good picture, if a little overexposed by now.


A... TV show? Boy band? What!? A Sinophile is going to have to explain this to me.



Oh cool, I used to follow this guy when I did DeviantArt. I love his work.


That's a good dwarf! He's the fellow you'd want out front of the party. Presumably, driving before him the hapless sods from the boy band into whatever traps and orcs they come upon.


Some sort of Photoshop of Ben Roethlisberger I guess.


Okay technically I cheated on this one: it was the second result. But the first one was the movie poster, and that would have been boring.

That was fun. Maybe I'll go back and do the Treasure Hunters races and classes? But probably not.

Prepping Names for Use: Norman Names

The Middle Ages featured prominently people with names you would never hear today. A lot of the names, especially names that don't have a good analogue in English, are hard to pronounce for Americans and presumably native English speakers. So at the risk of being scolded for cultural insensitivity, I want to boil a list of authentic names from each of our ethnic groups down to a list of 50 names that sound authentic, but are also easy to spell and to pronounce.  This is a game, not an historical dissertation. Stuff is going to be inaccurate, and that's OK!

I'm going to go through this process step by step for you, using Norman male given names as our example set. Wikipedia gives us a list of 188 names commonly given to Norman men in the Middle Ages. In the absence of such a list, I would have used one of the dozens of baby name websites to find a good substitute.

Here is the raw list of names. Click to enlarge:

That's a lot of names! So the first thing I will do is remove the names that are the hardest to pronounce along with names materially similar to others on the list. Obviously I will choose to remove different names than you would remove. I encourage you to do this yourself with your own list of names. See what you come up with! I'll mark those removed names in red:

Condensed, it looks like this:

That's 117 names.  So what now? I have to say, a relatively arbitrary culling. We're still looking to slash 67 names so I'm just going to go at it. This time I'll remove names that don't feel exclusively French, and names that sound too modern, leaving, I hope, a happy medium.

Now with cuts I can only describe as shameful and a butchering of the Norman list, I've gotten to 50:

The last editing step is to Anglicize the names. Again - I know - sacrilege! But here it is Anglicized and condensed:

Finally we can put this into a 1d50 chart so you can just roll a random Norman name when you're playing or when you're making up a Marquess. I also took the liberty of adding the Norman female given names next to the male names, because you never know when you'll need a beautiful French girl to throw a monkey wrench in your PC's plans!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Causæ ad Bellum

Actual Photo

We have a system for getting little wars churning in the background. Now we need to determine the causes of war. I'll also touch briefly on defining the belligerents but we will cover full generation of horrible Barons in a future post. This one is already long enough!

Causus Belli

Usually war is sought between nations for the same reasons people would seek conflict - pride, fear, greed, or the necessity of acquisition for personal (national) preservation. But "usually" isn't "always" and there were a lot of asinine reasons to send your people off to die.

1) Polities go to war for administrative reasons. They may need to maintain the status quo inside the borders or they may wish to enrich themselves through pillage. These are Practical Matters.

Practical Matters
  • Succession – to the Crown or other rank in the Second Estate
  • Revolt – putting down peasants
  • Treason – putting down a breakaway noble
  • Allurement – high banditry for fun and profit

High Banditry is a term I invented. It refers to a Company (gang) of knights from allied households or Outlaws who form up under one banner (gang colors) for the purposes of pillage and looting a neighboring territory (gang business.) Short excursions against the First and Third Estates were commonplace, good practice, and profitable. Unfortunately, there was always a risk of meeting up with a Company under a different banner and having to actually fight someone your own size.

2) Polities go to war whenever there is a conflict over a resource. Necessary Resources are constantly appearing (or in danger of disappearing) and therefore war is inevitable. Sometimes these resources are people, places or things and sometimes they are less concrete, such as strategic alliance. These are called Vices. They are split into two categories as shown below.

Vices of Guardianship

  • Nationalism – war to protect the borders
  • Preservation - war to preserve an inherent quality of a people like religion, race culture or species 
  • Consolidation – war to annex a key resource or location
  • Expansion – war to bring territory, people and wealth under control
  • Preemptive-Defensive – war to stave off invasion

Vice of Confederacy

  • Confederacy – aiding an ally, serving a Lord, preserving a vassal state, or fulfilling a treaty

3) Polities may also go to war for personal reasons, or for the same reasons that people would quarrel. These are called Sins. Many wars were caused by one or more of the sins of the belligerents, and then justified by a practical matter or vice.  For instance, a young King John II of England was invaded by an Irish King who had initially come to swear fealty. Little John’s affront? He’d yanked the beard of the older man!

Sins of Acquisition

  • Gluttony – succumbing to hasty acquisition
  • Lust – succumbing to acquisition of a particular person place or thing
  • Greed – succumbing to acquisition through evil acts

Sins of Self-Regard

  • Pride – self-overestimation
  • Vanity - the regard for self and disregard for others
  • Envy – covetousness toward the possession of someone else

Sins of Licentiousness

  • Sloth – allowing evil to prosper
  • Despair – sowing discord
  • Mendacity – demanding unnecessary assistance

Sins of Bellicosity

  • Vengeance – shedding blood in retaliation
  • Vainglory – devising wicked acts
  • Wrath – shedding innocent blood

Note well that I did not assign these causus ad bellum to a chart or table. It’s up to each player or Referee to establish his own reason for going to war.


On the Nature of Rulers

The third grouping, the Sins, is potentially useful in giving each Baron adjacent to your own Realm a basis for his personality. As we have discussed before, all Barons were horrible. By assigning each of the Barons one of these sins as the basis for his personality, you can get a good handle on how he acts and what might set him off onto the course of war.

Causus Pacem

However, sometimes there is peace. This is usually due to the hard work of a very few people. Usually peace is sought because there is a greater threat coming, or that threat is present. (e.g. Country A and B set aside differences to oppose countries C and D.) When those people die, retire, or are removed, then war comes again.