Tuesday, July 7, 2020
So I just had an interesting idea about the Border Princes, and I think this is how I'm going to pursue them.
I'm going to basically do an older version that I had considered in the past, previously titled the Marcher Baronies but now called the Borderlands. The Borderlands will, in fact, be very similar to the Border Princes but with a few caveats. For example, there are established kingdoms in the Borderlands - not many, but they are there. Further, the Borderlands will basically combined the Border Princes and the Badlands into one thing - parts of the Borderlands will also be inhabited by goblinoids come over from the Land of Darkness (a new area I'm going to detail), but I'm not going to delineate it into south v. north.
Where does that leave Osmanli? In relatively the same place, but I'm going to move it west to where Warhammer has Araby. This will also fill out my desire to kind of do the whole Mediterranean region. My not-Egypt isn't going to get a region, as I do not really want a Tomb Kings analogue - they will instead be one of the many kingdoms that has risen and fallen in the Borderlands. Basically, the Borderlands will be more SE Europe than purely the Balkans
What It Is
Norsca is fairly clearly supposed to be Viking Age Scandinavia. Much like the rest of the Old World, it's kind of in the wrong time period - the Viking Age was almost half a millennium before the Early Modern Period. Norsca is very much displayed as being ruled by barbarism and barely functional at all, basically home to Chaos Warriors and not much else. The game doesn't even really mention too many heroic Norscans - except, as normal, in WFRP 1e. In early Warhammer, Norscans were definitely heroes - though still painted as barbarians, the WFRP 1e World Guide explicitly states they helped the Old World during the last chaos incursion and not the other way around. Much more Conan the Barbarian instead of wildmen of the north.
The Real World
Early Modern Scandinavia is weird because they aren't really much of a major player, at least on the surface. The end of the High Middle Ages saw Sweden, Denmark and Norway forming the Kalmar Union which lasted a little more than 150 years. After that, they split into Denmark-Norway (which was pretty stable) and Sweden. Early Modern Sweden was insane - Gustavus Adolphus basically modernized the whole country, won countless wars for the Protestants, and was by some accounts a murderous madman. Before Adolphus, Scandinavia was widely considered a backwater.
Drakenlanda (aka my not-Scandinavia) is hard to divorce from the whole viking thing because honestly vikings are interesting from an RPG perspective. However, Drakenlanda is going to be much like the Kalmar Union than something like Sweden - jarls and princes led by an elected king, similar to how Iceland had. They will basically be coming out of the viking age, partially Christianized but not unified and still mysteriously pagan. Basically imagine the Vesten from 7th Sea
This is just a small update post, but I was thinking about my last post regarding the Border Princes and Khazaria, and I had a very small revelation.
Basically, I'm not sure I like Khazaria too much. I don't know too much about Scythia or the Huns, plus they are also in the wrong time period as well. Hungary, which I cited, was basically at the time a fully Westernized empire with little left of the steppe nomad influence. Steppe nomads did exist however, and most of them lived in parts of Russia as cossacks. Plus like I said, the Balkans were possessed by the Ottomans at this time too so there wasn't really a Border Prince analogue
So I'm going to roll Khazaria into my not-Russia, known as Ruthen. Kind of similar to Kislev in all honesty, plus the Border Princes are so non-cultural it's not a huge loss. To keep with the number of nations though, I plan on doing something fun basically involving a not-Caribbean or not-Sartosa of tropical pirate isles off the coast of Europe.
Monday, July 6, 2020
The Border Princes is Warhammer's analogue to the Balkans - but with really near zero relation to Earth's Balkans. Warhammer doesn't have a Byzantine Empire expy, so the Border Princes is basically just a borderland to separate 'civilization' from the Badlands. The Balkan analogy is really found in the Prince's beginning as crusader states, a kind-of Constantinople in Barak Varr, and just the concept of balkanization. Really, it's just an excuse to give a region for players to establish a little kingdom should they get to such a high level.
The Real World
During the Early Modern period, the Balkans were going through a really rough time. The Balkans were the seat of the Byzantine Empire for literal centuries, but with the sacking of Constantinople most of it fell under the suzerainty of the Ottomans. You just need to do a glance at history to see what a terrible time this was, especially with the oppression of Greeks and Jews. What wasn't controlled by the Turks was basically controlled by Venice. The only thing kind of going for the Balkans was Hungary, who was actually pretty powerful at the time (until they got eaten up by the HRE).
I'm going to make my Border Princes something less violent and oppressive, and it fills a niche that Warhammer lacks to an extent. Khazaria (working name) is going back to the earlier Balkan history of nomadic steppe cultures such as the Huns, Bulgars, Yakuts, Magyars, Cimmerans, and Scythians - a nation of horse lords lead by khans/khagans. I was mostly inspired by this by games like Mount & Blade, the Ninth Age's Makhar Steppe, and settings like Artesia. A similar region exists in Warhammer in the Eastern Steppe, but I'm going to strip out all the Hobgoblin Khanate stupidity and make it purely human.
Khazaria is made of steppe people, but it's NOT Mongolia. Mongolia is not really the focus of the setting, but you can assume it's 'over beyond the mountains'.
Sunday, July 5, 2020
What It Is
Bretonnia is fairly obviously Early Modern France - kind of. Bretonnia is if France and Arthurian Legend had a child, which is honestly not too far off from reality. Early Bretonnia, as in WFRP 1e Bretonnia, was far more explicitly JUST France without much of the knightly attitude or even the Lady of the Grail. In fact, the Lady of the Grail isn't even mentioned in the early days of Warhammer - it only came about when they became a fully fleshed-out army.
The Real World
Funnily enough, the France/England crossover has basis in real history - just look up the Angevian Empire and the Norman invasion of England. Again, like Araby in the last post, that kind of thing was roughly 300 years before the height of the Early Modern period. In real life, France was doing fairly well for itself despite them being one of the only nations in Europe still practicing extensive feudalism. Good ol' Louis XIV would fix this and help usher in the Ancien Regime, which was the height of France's imperial power until that little 'revolution' happened.
Couronne, as my not-France is called, would hew a little closer to what original WFRP had - explicitly Early Modern France without the mysticism/fairy-tale angle. They are keeping their rivalry with Aquilla (my not-HRE) and their decadent nobles and knights and feudal fiefdoms, but no 'fantasy Space Marines' here. Religiously, I'd keep France not-Catholic instead of forcing in a weird local hero cult type thing.
Well, I couldn't stay away from Age of Iron, turns out. Good thing is however that I think I have an interesting way to do it/look at it. My goal is to go back to the very EARLY days of the setting when it was called the 300 Years War and keep the setting focused on Early Modern Europe.
However, I have a different approach. I'm going to take the dozen regions I consider in the Old World in the Warhammer setting, discuss their origins, and then discuss what their REAL WORLD counterpart was like during the 15th-17th century - and make the region closer to that in the Age of Iron setting.
The first place I wanted to focus on was The Badlands.
What It Is
The Badlands are ostensibly the 'goblinoid' area of the Old World. Though there are more goblinoids running around in the Dark Lands, that region has really been overshadowed by the Chaos Dwarves. Geographically, the Badlands is roughly analogous to the Middle East, though not really in a cultural sense. The Marshes of Madness and Morgheim don't have a real direct analogue as far as I know aside from something resembling a Romani homeland, but they could be considered similar to Judea or the Kingdom of Israel at a stretch. Again, that's mostly historical rather than cultural.
The Real World
By the Early Modern Period, the Ottoman Empire had basically conquered all of the Near East aside from Persia - even claiming ownership over Arabia. The Ottoman Empire does exist in the Old World, but 'Araby' is in the region the Almohad Caliphate was roughly 300 years prior (being northwest Africa). It's also reduced to a minor player, when in reality the Ottoman Empire was the most powerful empire in Europe.
My Badlands would thus be replaced with Osmanli - a fairly straightforward Ottoman Empire perhaps mixed with some Arabic and Persian elements to resemble caliphates of old. The goblinoids in the Badlands would basically disappear. I like the idea of goblinoids being a spread out, unconcentrated force of nature rather than a force of 'othered' barbarian invaders. When greenskins appear, it should be less like an invasion and more like a plague.
Friday, July 3, 2020
The Borderlands is kind of system agnostic, but I am kind of leaning towards it being playable in most Old School-type games. Obviously Zweihander has a lot of qualities for this already, but I also wanted to flex some design muscles with other systems. I am going to be using the great Old School Essentials as a mechanical base, but these should work with most OSR (eugh) games with little issue.
Thanks to TheChaosGrenade for some good names for some of these!
The Borderlands is a disgusting, disease-filled place. The streets are full of half-rotten food and midden heaps, the Witchweed Swamp is full of disease and bile carrying vermin, and one wrong step in a sewer slough can end up with you losing a foot.
When exposed to a disease of any sort, the character should make a Save vs. Death or Poison (modified by the disease's virulence) or else contract the disease. The disease effects take place after the listed incubation period passes and they last for the listed duration.
A parasite inflicted by spores inhaled from some breeds of giant fungi. Highly dangerous if untreated
Remedy: Drinking a pint of vinegar a day for 2d4 days
Effect: -1 to all ability scores/day. If a score reaches 0, you die and become fully consumed by fungus
Better known as gangrene. Doesn't always happen in the foot, but its common enough to get the name.
Remedy: Applying maggots to the area for 1d4 hours
Effect: -1d6 DEX. Prevents natural healing until remedied or its course is run
A venereal disease that turns genitals purple and distended. Disgusting and painful.
Remedy: Draining through painful incision
Effect: -1d6 CHA while indisposed. Extreme difficulty urinating, can often lead to bladder infections
A type of blood infection, usually brought about through improper use of Scratch.
Remedy: Application of hot tar on wound site
Effect: Lose -1 CON per day. Recovers at a rate of 1 per day once recovered.
Usually obtained from working in coal mines or spending too much time in the Badlands.
Remedy: Eating a pound of sawdust
Effect: -1 from CON scores/day. While afflicted, can not move faster than a walking pace.