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Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« on: August 23, 2010, 10:22:59 PM »
This thread will be a collection of resources for playing characters from the Gothic Earth.

The first offering is the Gothic Earth Timeline through 1650:

Be warned, this contains spoilers for a variety of Earth-based RPGs such as d20 Modern, Dark*Matter, and Call of Cthulhu.

9/6/10: Timeline updated/expanded

Explanation of the Timeline (or, what are UFOs, Freemasons, Cthulhu, and Conan doing in the Gothic Earth?)

In 1995, TSR produced a book for the AD&D 2nd edition rules titled Chronomancer, by Loren Coleman. Chronomancer introduced time-travel via magical spells in D&D, and a new wizard class, the chronomancer, to wield those spells. An appendix in the back of the book gave details on using time travel in all of the official settings, including one for the Historical Reference campaign, based off of the seven Historical Reference books. According to Chronomancer, the Ravenloft: Masque of the Red Death campaign is the same "magical Earth" of the Historical Reference campaign, only much later in time, specifically the 1890s.

After the book was published, Roger E. Moore wrote an addendum to this appendix on TSR's AOL page. Of particular interest is the following line added:

In the MYSTARA(R) adventure Mark of Amber (page 62), a wizardess from the fantastic French province of Averoigne is said to have invented potions of time travel, with which she explored Earth's history for her own amusement. She now lives in Glantri, maintaining her youth with other magical potions. Averoigne could be part of a magical Europe around AD 1600 in HR4 A Mighty Fortress, and this wizardess could be met at various times through Earth's history prior to her move to the world of Mystara.

Averoigne was also featured in the classic D&D adventure module X2: Castle Amber. The fictional French province of Averoigne was created by Clark Ashton Smith, a friend and contemporary of H.P. Lovecraft, and many of Smith's Averoigne tales are considered part of the Cthulhu Mythos canon. Thus, the Gothic Earth also has the Cthulhu Mythos (or at the very least it can have them).

Since the Cthulhu Mythos can be a part of it, that also includes the works of Robert E. Howard, another friend of Lovecraft and contributor to the Cthulhu Mythos. Thus, the Gothic Earth also has Conan the barbarian, King Kull, Bran Mak Morn, and Solomon Kane.

Flash forward to 2002 and the release of D20 Modern, a setting of 21st century Earth in which magic has returned and various fantastic creatures are masked by the Plane of Shadow. While the D20 Modern core rulebook made no immediate connection to the Ravenloft: Masque of the Red Death setting, many of its supplements did.

The D20 Modern Menace Manual, under Chapter Three, factions, listed a faction called The Six-Fingered Hand. This group was listed as a qabal in the MotRD product The Gothic Earth Gazeteer. The Menace Manual even makes mention of the Red Death. So, the D20 Modern setting, with Urban Arcana, Shadow Chasers, and Agents of PSI can also be considered the Gothic Earth, just set in the 21st century.

But that's not all! Many of the monsters and factions in the D20 Modern Menace Manual were also taken from an Alternity setting known as Dark*Matter. This setting took it's cues from shows like "The X-Files" and abounded with UFOs, Bigfoot, and conspiracy theories about such groups as the Templars or the Freemasons and combined them altogether. And in 2006, Dark*Matter was given an official D20 Modern conversion as well. So that setting, too, can be considered part of the Gothic Earth.

Another D20 Modern Product, D20 Past, had a section set in the 1870s titled "Shadow Stalkers." This subsetting recaputured a lot of things from Ravenloft: Masque of the Red Death, and even brought back another qabal, the Order of the Crimson Dawn. It even had workable versions of some of the classes from MotRD, as opposed to the broken and unworkable ones from Arthaus' 3.5 edition MotRD remake. The other two settings from D20 Past: "Age of Adventure" and "Pulp Heroes" can also be considered to be part of the Gothic Earth as well, but from 1667 and 1920s-1930s, respectively.

So there you have it, a blend of history, horror and science fiction rolled into one, and related to Ravenloft as well!

RPGs that exist on the Gothic Earth:
d20 Modern
d20 Modern: d20 Past
d20 Modern: Urban Arcana
d20 Modern: Dark*Matter
Call of Cthulhu (d20)
Boot Hill
Top Secret/S.I. (Agent 13 and Orion/Web scenarios, F.R.E.E.Lancers is a possible/alternate near future)
Metamorphosis Alpha (possible/alternate future)
Gamma World (possible/alternate future)
Star Frontiers (possible/alternate far future)
d20 Modern: d20 Future (several possible/alternate futures)
Conan the Barbarian

Works of fiction that exist on the Gothic Earth (not an exhaustive list):
 :arrow: Bram Stoker's Dracula
 :arrow: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus
 :arrow: Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
 :arrow: Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories
 :arrow: Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World
 :arrow: Robert E. Howard's Conan, Kull the Conquerer, Bran Mak Morn, and Solomon Kane stories
 :arrow: Various Cthulhu Mythos stories by H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, August Derleth, Robert E. Howard, and others
 :arrow: Edgar Allen Poe's The Masque of the Red Death
(I chose to mainly list works directly referenced in Masque of the Red Death products; the timeline posted above has many more works)

Games/books/other media that do NOT exist on the Gothic Earth:
 :arrow: The X-Files (the "gray" aliens are too different physiologically from Dark*Matter's grays)
 :arrow: X-COM (sectoids, the game's grays, are too different from Dark*Matter's grays, not only physiologically, but culturally and psychologically as well.)
 :arrow: White Wolf's World of Darkness (vampires and werewolves, among other creatures, are too different)
 :arrow: Assassin's Creed (I had hoped to include this, but the monolithic Templar conspiracy conflicts too much with the qabals from Masque of the Red Death and the illuminati from Dark* Matter)
 :arrow: Ghostbusters (supernatural stuff is too obvious to anyone and everyone--this conflicts with the "hiding in plain sight" aspect of d20 Modern, Call of Cthulhu, and Dark*Matter)
 :arrow: Marvel Super Heroes RPG (backstory too complicated, magic works too differently, too hard to keep up with continuity, too many "world-shattering" events, etc.)
 :arrow: Kolchak the Night Stalker (origin of Jack the Ripper conflicts with Masque of the Red Death canon)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 01:50:38 PM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2010, 09:34:24 PM »
Gothic Earth Characters - General conventions:

 :arrow: Languages: The Gothic Earth does not have the Common Tongue. Gothic Earth characters must use a language slot to learn Common. Additionally, despite the similarities of Ravenloft's languages to real world languages, they aren't the same. This means a character who speaks french does not speak high mordentish and vice-versa.

 :arrow: Religions: Earth-based religions are detailed in the Religion Resource Thread. Clerics should adhere to the rules listed there. For convenience they are:

Earth-based Religions:

 :arrow: Classes, Skills, Feats: Recommendations for various class/skill/feat combinations will be listed by eras, time periods, and/or cultures.

:arrow: Races: Generally speaking, 99% of Gothic Earth characters will be human. Demihuman races exist, but they have arrived on the Gothic Earth through the Shadow Plane (see the d20 Modern core rulebook and d20 Modern: Urban Arcana for details on Shadowkind), and thus are rare.

The Tide of Shadow

The Plane of Shadow touches all Prime Material game worlds such as the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk, as well as the Gothic Earth. Unlike traditional D&D worlds, however, the Shadow Plane washes up against the Gothic Earth like an ocean, ebbing and flowing in tides. These tides wash up Shadow Plane travelers from other D&D worlds like so much flotsam and jetsam. These beings, now trapped on the Gothic Earth, are known as the Shadowkind.


Humans cling steadfastly to the reality that they wish to be true, resisting every piece of evidence that suggests that the world isn’t the way they believe it to be. Only a relative few make up the “aware minority,” those humans who have experienced a Shadow event and seen it for more or less what it was. The majority, the mundanes, find comfort in translating kobolds with swords into knife-wielding muggers and malicious spirits into tricks of the light. A magical effect might be fireworks or a weather peculiarity. Never underestimate the human mind’s power to deceive itself and maintain a level of comfort.

Those who subconsciously delude themselves do so for the sake of their fragile sanity. Those who know and understand at least some aspect of the Shadow tide maintain the secret to avoid ridicule or investigation, as well as to protect the public illusion of a sane, mundane world.

Most characters who are not native to the mundane world hail from a place beyond Shadow, and they are known to “mundanes” as Shadowkind.

You can also play characters native to Earth who are the offspring or descendants of Shadowkind.

Characters who enter the Gothic Earth through Shadow retain only a few hazy memories of the place from whence they came. Shadowkind refer to this phenomenon as "The Gift of Lethe," and it results in the dimming and outright elimination of memories. Close details are not forgotten -- name, relations, closely held beliefs, as well as personal experiences all remain. However, a great deal of education and raw information is expunged -- legends, tales, geography, politics and other bits of nonessential secondhand knowledge disappear forever.

As a result, an elf likely remembers her name, her family, her profession, the nature of elven life (traditions and customs she believed in, ancient enmities with orcs, and so on), and the existence of magic. She likely won't remember who her clan's leaders were (unless she was related to or worked closely with them), the geography of her homeland, the names of other kingdoms, or any other matters concerning her former life and world.

Many of the Shadowkind do not remember how they fell into Shadow in the first place. Some speak of passing through doorways, others of fog rising in the middle of the night. But most can do no more than acknowledge that suddenly appeared on the Gothic Earth with no memory of where they were or what they were doing mere moments earlier.

The loss of so much knowledge has different effects on different individuals. Some take the loss well and adapt quickly to their new environment. Others seek to rebuild their homeland, gathering together individuals of similar species, temperament and motivation. Still others spend their lives trying to find a way back home, away from the madness of this very different world. So far, the trip through Shadow is only one-way.

Known Shadowkind on the Gothic Earth are: elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, half-orcs, drow, aasimar, tieflings, and even humans

Shadowkind characters share several traits, as noted below.

Shadowkind can see other Shadowkind for what they are; they have no need to deceive themselves as "mundanes" do.

Creatures brought to the Gothic Earth by Shadow are reclaimed by the tides of Shadow after they die. As a general rule, a creature of Shadow vanishes 1d4 rounds after it dies (drops to –10 hit points), leaving behind no trace of itself other than its clothing and equipment. Shadowkind heroes have stronger ties to our world than other creatures of Shadow; they fade away 1d4 hours after they die. Before they disappear, slain Shadowkind characters can be raised from the dead as easily as mundane characters can. Slain creatures of Shadow that are transformed into undead creatures remain on our world in their undead state and are not reclaimed by Shadow until they are destroyed.

Characters can be nonhuman natives of the Gothic Earth—the children of one or more Shadowkind parents, born and raised somewhere on Earth—or they can be new arrivals to the Gothic Earth, having recently come through Shadow. In the latter case, Shadowkind characters suffer the disadvantages of being “strangers in a strange land.” They are restricted to a handful of starting occupations at 1st level, they have no wealth to speak of, and they speak bizarre languages unknown to the majority of Earth’s population (though they also acquire the common language of the land they arrive in as a function of passing through Shadow).

Shadowkind that are brought by the Mists to the Demiplane of Dread lose all connection to Shadow and revert to their normal D&D race. They are not claimed by the Shadow tide when they die and can be seen for what they are by all inhabitants of the Land of Mists. They do not regain any of the memories lost by traveling through the Shadow plane.

A character who begins play as a newly arrived Shadowkind knows one or more languages, most of which are not spoken on Earth. Such languages include Celestial, Draconic, Elven, and Goblin. However, they all share a common language (called Common) that has striking parallels to the predominant language spoken in the area where they arrived. Shadowkind characters born and raised in our world gain languages as human characters do. In addition to one or more local languages, they may know one or more languages of Shadow (taught to them by their parents and elders).

Creatures who reach the Gothic Earth through Shadow gain an innate knowledge of English, Spanish, Russian, or whatever the predominant language happens to be in the area in which they arrive. To them, the language resembles Common, a language that was used in trade or other negotiations between different species in the world of their birth. Whether this is mere coincidence or part of some great design remains a mystery.

“Languages of Shadow” are languages brought to the Gothic Earth by creatures of Shadow. Like Earth languages, these languages can be grouped together in families. Languages that belong to a single family share the same root alphabet. However, knowing one language in a family doesn’t enable characters with the Smart hero’s linguist talent to automatically speak, write, and understand the other languages in that family.

Natives of the Gothic Earth—human and Shadowkind alike—can learn new Shadow languages only after they are exposed to them; they can’t master them spontaneously. To learn Draconic, for example, a character must spend time with creatures that speak Draconic or find someone with access to the written language (Draconic “books on tape” or ancient texts written using the Draconic alphabet, for example). Certain Shadowkind know languages commonly spoken among members of their species, and all characters may study and learn new Shadow languages, investing in the appropriate Read/Write Language and Speak Language skills as they advance in level.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 02:03:43 PM by EO »

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2010, 03:15:26 AM »

Vikings primarily hail from Norway, Denmark and Sweden and were active circa 820-1030 CE. As the Vikings were explorers and conquerors, they also established colonies in places such as the Orkney Islands, the Hebrides, the Faroe Islands, Iceland (after 870), Greenland (after 986), Vinland (present-day New Foundland in Canada, after 1000), and carved out new territories in Ireland (after 820), England (the Danelaw after 865), Russia (after 870) and France (Normandy after 911).

 :arrow: Races: Predominantly human. A few nonhuman races have become stranded on Earth through Shadow incursions (see d20 Modern core rulebook) and formed communities in Viking lands.

Dwarves are known as Dverge and typically lived in remote places such as Permia, Karelia and Gardariki (all in modern-day Russia). Dverge are known for their magical craftsmanship and dwarven-made magic items are legendary. Another race of dwarves, known as Maahiset, live in Finland and Russia and tend to be barbarians or wizards specializing in elemental earth magic.

Elves are known by a variety of names: Huldre, Huldufolk, Alfar, Vattar, Hidden People, Underground Folk, or People of the Mounds. They are aloof towards humanity and tend to be NG or CG. Huldre live on the fringes of Viking society in mounds and barrows near farmsteads. Huldre are fascinated with humans of the opposite sex and will sometimes trick humans into becoming their paramours.

Drow are known as dock-alfar and usually live in remote regions of Norway and Sweden. They tend to be NE in alignment and have little in common culturally with drow of typical D&D worlds; they live in undeground communities organized much like normal human communities.

 :arrow: Typical Viking Classes: Fighters are the most common Viking class, followed by rogues. Viking bards, known as skalds, are well-known, though they tend towards poetry than song. Clerics are uncommon and rarely adventure; those that do must worship one of the Norse gods. Barbarians typically live on the fringe of Viking society. Wizards are rare, as Viking runes do not suit standard wizard magic (runes have their own magical rules), so those wishing to learn arcane magic must travel to other lands such as Finland, Scotland, or Ireland. Upon their return home, these wizards were often treated with suspicion and fear by their fellow Vikings. Sorcerers are slightly more common than wizards, but no less feared. Monks, paladins, druids, and rangers are not found in Viking culture.

 :arrow: Languages: Primary - Old Norse; Secondary - Gaelic (Ireland), Saxon (England), Slavic (Russia), French (Franks), Latin (the Church), Arabic (Moors), Greek (Byzantium).

 :arrow: Recommended Skills: Discipline, Antagonize, Parry, Spot

 :arrow: Recommended Feats: Alertness, Armor Proficiency (all), Blind-Fight, Bullheaded, Called Shot, Dirty Fighting, Disarm, Great Fortitude, Luck of Heroes, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (greatsword, longsword, battleaxe, greataxe, halberd, spear, shortbow, dart).

 :arrow: Viking Names: Vikings only went by one name, a personal name. Surnames were very rarely used. To differentiate, most would add patronymic --"father's name"--to the end of the name. Thus, Thorolf, son of Harald, became Thorolf Haraldson. Women tended not to carry their father's name. On occasion, the person was indicated by his home, i.e. Thorolf of Trollwood, but this was not as common. Another popular method was to give the person a descriptive nickname based on some quality or deed. Judging from nicknames, Vikings apparently had quite a sense of humor. Nicknames were also sometimes ironic, entirely opposite from the truth. As is true with all nicknames, the person bearing the nickname generally has little choice in what he is called.

Men's Names:
Aella, Agdi, Agnar, Alrek, An, Angantyr, Aran, Armod, Arnfinn, Arngrim, Asmund, Atli, Auda, Bard, Barri, Beiti, Bild, Bjarkmar, Borgar, Bosi, Brand, Brynjolf, Budli, Bui, Drott, Eddval, Egil, Einar, Eirik, Eitil, Erp, Eylimi, Eyolf, Eystein, Fafnir, Finnbogi, Fjolmod, Fjolvar, Fjori, Franmar, Freki, Fridleif, Frithjof, Frodi, Frosti, Fyri, Gardar, Gauk, Gauti, Gautrek, Geirmund, Geirrod, Geirthjof, Gilling, Gjuki, Glammad, Gothorm, Granmar, Grettir, Grim, Grimhild, Gripir, Grundi, Gudmund, Gunnar, Gunnbjorn, Gust, Guthorm, Hadding, Haeming, Hafgrim, Hagal, Hak, Haki, Hakon, Halfdan, Hamal, Hamdir, Harald, Harek, Hauk, Havard, Hedin, Heidrek, Heimir, Helgi, Herbjorn, Herthjof, Herverd, Hildigrim, Hjalm-Gunnar, Hjalmar, Hjalprek, Hjorleif, Hjorvard, Hlodvard, Hlodver, Hlothver, Hodbrodd, Hogni, Hoketil, Holmgeir, Hosvir, Hraerek, Hrafknel, Hrani, Hreggvid, Hring, Hroar, Hrodmar, Hroi, Hrolf, Hrollaug, Hrosskel, Hrotti, Hunding, Hunthjof, Hymling, Idmund, Illugi, Imsigull, Ingjald, Ivar, Jarnskeggi, Jokul, Jormunrek, Ketil, Kjar, Knui, Kol, Krabbi, Kraki, Leif, Melnir, Neri, Odd, Olaf, Olvir, Orkning, Orr, Otrygg, Ottar, Reavil, Raknar, Ref, Rennir, Rodstaff, Rolf, Runolf, Saemund, Sigmund, Sigurd, Sinfjotli, Sirnir, Sjolf, Skuli, Skuma, Slagfid, Smid, Snaeulf, Snaevar, Snidil, Snorri, Sorkvir, Sorli, Soti, Sorkvir, Sorli, Soti, Starkad, Steinthor, Storvirk, Styr, Svafnir, Svafrlami, Svart, Svidi, Svip, Thjodrek, Thord, Thorfinn, Thorgeir, Thorir, Thormod, Thorstein, Thrand, Thvari, Tind, Toki, Tryfing, Ulf, Ulfhedin, Vidgrip, Vignir, Vikar, Visin, Voland Yngvi

Women's Names:
Aesa, Alfhild, Alof, Arnora, Asa, Aslaug, Aud, Bekkhild, Bera, Bestla, Bodvild, Borghild, Borgny, Brynhild, Busla, Dagmaer, Dagny, Edda, Edny, Eyfura, Fjotra, Freydis, Galumvor, Geirrid, Gjaflaug, Grimhild, Groa, Gudrid, Gudrun, Gullrond, Halldis, Hallfrid, Hallveig, Hekja, Helga, Herborg, Herkja, Hervor, Hildigunn, Hildirid, Hjordis, Hjotra, Hleid, Hrafnhild, Hrodrglod, Ingibjorg, Ingigerd, Isgerd, Kara, Kolfrosta, Kostbera, Lofnheid, Lofthaena, Lyngheid, Nauma, Oddrun, Olvor, Ragnhild, Saereid, Sigrid, Sigrlinn, Silksif, Sinrjod, Skjalf, Svanhvit, Swanhild, Sylgja, Thjodhild, Thorgerd, Thorunn, Throa, Thurid, Tofa, Unn, Vaetild, Yrsa

Absent-Minded, Arrow-Odd, Bag-Nose, Bare-Legs, Belly-Shaker, Berserks-Killer, Black, Blind, Blood-Axe, Bold, Brave, Breast Rope, Bull-Bear, Buttered-Bread, Crow, Deep-Minded, Dueller, Easterner, Fair, Feeble, Fetter-Hound, Finehair, Fish-Hook, Flat-Nose, Flayer, Fosterer, Good, Gossip, Grey-Cloak, Hairy-Breeks, Hairy-Cheek, Hard-Mouth, Hot-Head, Hunter, Keen-Eyed, Lean, Little, Long-Leg, Lucky, Mansion-Might, Night-Sun, Noisy, Old, One-Hand, Peaceful, Peacock, Pilgrim, Pin-Leg, Powerful, Proud, Prow-Gleam, Red, Serpent-Tongue, Showy, Silk-Beard, Skinflint, Skull-Splitter, Sleekstone-Eye, Smooth-Tongue, Snake-in-the-Eye, Southerner, Stout, Stubborn, Tit-Bit, Unruly, Wealthy, Wartooth, Whelp, White, Wry-Mouth, Wry-Neck, Xxx's-Bane, Xxx's-Killer, Yeoman

 :arrow: Gender Roles: In Viking society, men were expected to be warriors and explorers, while women were expected to stay at home and manage the property. Because of this, women warriors and adventurers are rare in Viking society. This isn't to say Vikings felt women weren't capable of being effective warriors, just that they weren't supposed to in their society. Truly exceptional female warriors usually became compared to valkyries and are viewed by many Viking men with superstitious awe. More common female adventurers in Viking society are priestesses and wizards.

Under Viking tradition, women had many rights. They could own property and inherit lands. Women were expected to manage everything in the household, and wives often supervised the estates while the husband was gone. With such a warlike people, there were many widows, who kept the family farms and made the prosper. A woman had the right to divorce her husband (he, of course, also had the same right).

 :arrow: Social Rankings: At the bottom rung of the social ladder was the thrall or slave. The Vikings did practice slavery, although not to its cruelest extremes. Thralls did much of the heavy farm work. They were not without some rights, though these were few. Thralls' lives were counted as no more than those of cattle under Viking law. Thrallry was not inescapable; the thrall's master could grant the thrall freedom, another person could buy the thrall's freedom from his master, or the thrall himself could buy his own freedom (thralls were allowed to own a little property and livestock and engage in business).

The largest social class in Viking society are the free farmers, the karlykn or freemen. Unlike most of Europe, the farmers of Scandinavia were truly free. Their farmland was owned outright. Earls and kings had no claim on a man's land. A freeman enjoyed full protection under the law, although lawsuits at the time depended on power and alliance. Most freemen were farmers. Others were retainers, smiths, warriors, merchants, shipwrights, skalds, woodcarvers, and any number of other trades.

Above the freemen were the men of authority -- local chieftens and earls. These were the men who kept retainers (freemen house-carls or huskarlar). They were the commanders in battles, had influence on the selection of the local lawspeakers, collected tribute, tended the king's estates, and enforced the king's decrees.

 :arrow: Warriors in Viking Society: The warrior was the central part of the Viking culture. One of the ways a man earned respect was through his sword. Combat was not the only way, but it was perhaps the easiest. It did not require special study, inborn talents, or even a heavy investment for equipment. Anyone with a club could become a brave warrior. Most, though, preferred a stout shield and good sword. A warrior could follow his occupation in a variety of different ways: as a duelist, a house-carl or member of a warrior socitey.

 :arrow: Law: For all their warlike behavior, the Vikings were a very legal-minded people. Although they had a king and nobles, the people founded semi-democratic assemblies virtually everywhere they went. These assemblies existed to hear disputes between men and to pass laws concerning the governing of the district. An assembly was known as a thing. Things were composed of freemen; the nobility were barred from participating. The things existed to hear lawsuits.

 :arrow: Trade: Raiding and warfare were not the sole occupations of Vikings. Indeed as time passed, prime raiding targets became places for settlement and trade. Trade was vital for the Vikings because their homeland was poor in many necessary goods and skills. Trade was conducted for both useful and luxury goods. Although poor in some things, Scandinavians had many desirable resources to trade: thralls, iron, horn, furs, walrus ivory, honey, ropes, fish and timber. What they wanted in exchange were silver, glassware, swords, wool, salt, spices, silk, and wine.

 :arrow: Religion: Few men worshipped only a single god. People worshipped a variety of gods depending on the need and situation. There were few proper temples ot the gods in Scandinavia. However, there were many sacred sites out-of-doors. These included mountains, islands, groves, fields, rocks and trees. Ceremonies would sometimes be conducted at these sites and other times at a farmhouse that also doubled as a local temple.

There were generally three main ceremonies each year: one in the spring, one at mid-summer, and one in the fall. These ceremonies were marked by sacrifices of animals (and sometimes humans) and ritual feasting. All were intended to ensure fertility for the farm. Sometimes the summer festival included prayers for victory in war and raiding. Oracles were consulted and offerings to the gods were made.

Not all Vikings were a fiercely devout group. Worship was something like a bargain. In exchange for devotions, the gods were supposed to give something in return. If they did not, the pact was broken. The Norsemen did not create religious institutions like the Church or the temples of Rome. In general, each man was responsible for his own faith in the gods.

Source: HR1 Vikings by David "Zeb" Cook. TSR, 1991.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 03:19:54 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 01:30:02 PM »
The Elizabethan Age (1550-1650 CE)

This era of Europe goes by a lot of names: The Elizabethan age, the Shakespearean age, the Counter-Reformation, the pike-and-shot era, etc. All of these terms can be used interchangeably. For simplicity's sake we'll call it the Elizabethan age, even though that era technically ended with Queen Elizabeth I's death in 1603.

This was a time of tremendous change in the Western World. Society was changing from the old, feudal, medieval ways to the modern. The mounted warriors who formed the backbone of the feudal system were no longer masters of the battlefield. A handful of peasants armed with muskets and pikes could defeat the heaviest knights. As the nobility's military power evaporated, so did its usefulness. The middle class was emerging, and it wielded a new kind of power: mercantile trade. Along with that came a new kind of identity called nationalism, which ultimately replaced religious unity and feudal loyalty. Science and discovery began to clear away superstition and mysticism. It was a time of conflict, upheaval and chaos: just the sort of atmosphere where bold adventurers thrive.

To understand this era, one must understand that it was greatly shaped by two events preceding it: [wiki=renaissance]The Renaissance[/wiki] and [wiki=reformation]The Reformation[/wiki].

 :arrow: Races: Predominantly human. A few nonhuman races have become stranded on Earth through Shadow incursions (see d20 Modern core rulebook) and formed communities in remote regions of Europe.

Wood elves inhabit many forests of Western Europe at this time. They are not well disposed towards humanity. Encounters between humans and elves tend to end badly; elves have little use for humans, and many harbor considerable animosity toward humans. They tend to have strong tendencies towards evil alignments.

Duergar can be found in many caves throughout Europe. Mostly unchanged from their original culture.

 :arrow: Typical Elizabethan Age Classes: Fighters and Rogues are the most common. Rangers and Bards are also well represented, though not quite as common. Clerics can be found, though not in abundance; they were an influence on the Thirty Years' War. Paladins and Barbarians are a dying breed in this era, and would be extremely rare. Druids are almost unheard of, and would likely be viewed as witches. Monks are only found in Asia. Wizards were not unknown by the 16th century, but they were often unwelcome; those wizards who wish to avoid trouble must prove that they are morally pure and do not traffic with evil spirits. Sorcerers are almost always seen as agents of evil and are persecuted.

 :arrow: Class "Packages": It is recommended you create a character that fits one of these roles.


Gentleman Adventurer: Recommended for Fighters. A gentleman adventurer is a soldier of fortune. He can be found anywhere in Europe at this time, and all around the world in the colonies and trading centers. Anyone who makes his way with the musket or sword as a soldier, mercenary, bodyguard, or officer can be a gentleman adventurer

Requires: STR 9+
Special Hindrances: A gentleman adventurer is bound by the restrictions of honor (see below).
Wealth: Every month a gentleman adventurer must wager 4gp.

Sea Dog: Recommended for Fighters. The sea dog is the bold sea-faring adventurer who sails the oceans in search of plunder and derring-do. The great treasure fleets that carried the wealth of east and west to Spain and Portugal were targets for raiders of every nationality and background. Privateers carried letters of marque from their governments, licenses to attack and loot the ships of specific enemies. Pirates, on the other hand, had no nationality and no loyalty to any flag but the skull and crossbones. Brave explorers also brought new knowledge of the world, its continents and coastlines, to the cartographers of Europe. Men like Hawkins, Drake, and Raleigh left a wake of daring exploits circling the globe.

Requires: STR 9+, CON 10+
Weapons: A Sea Dog must know how to use a cutlass, knife, and gun
Recommended crafting skills: woodworking, cooking
Recommended Feats: Tumbling
Special Hindrances: The character is out of place in extended land adventures. Beginning at 3rd Level he is bound by the restrictions of honor.
Wealth: Every month a sea dog must wager 3gp

Forester: Recommended for Rangers. A forester is a man of the woods and glens, a tracker and hunter. He may be the gamekeeper on a nobleman's estate, a poacher on that same estate, or even a bounty hunter working for a magistrate or independently.

Requires: CON 14+, WIS 12+
Weapons: Must be able to use guns (if the character is English and is from before 1600, he may take longbow instead).
Recommended crafting skills: leatherworking, woodworking, cooking
Recommended Feats: Endurance
Required Skills: Hide, Move Silently, Listen
Special Hindrances: Foresters are often illiterate and lack knowledge of social customs and etiquette.
Wealth: Every month a forester must wager 2 gp

Clansman: Recommended for Barbarians. This rough character comes from the fringe of civilization. He was raised doing things the "old way" and knows little about the modern world. But that does not mean he isn't interested or can't learn -- many clansmen rise to positions of authority and respect in the military and government. But their ties are with the simple folk of the hills.

Requires: STR 11+
Weapons: A Scottish or Irish clansman can use longbows or crossbows anytime, even after 1600. Clansmen may not use guns until they reach 4th level.
Recommended crafting skills: leatherworking, woodworking, cooking
Recommended Feats: Endurance, Blind-Fight, Iron Will
Special Hindrances: Illiterate, lacks etiquette. Superstitious -- all Horror and Fear checks are at -2
Wealth: the amount a clansman wagers each month depends on his ethical alignment: Lawful - 1gp, Neutral - 2gp, Chaotic - 3 gp


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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2010, 09:52:16 PM »
Elizabethan Era Continued


Vagabond: Recommended for rogues, but can be used by bards. The vagabond is the ever-present beggar, pick-pocket, courtesy-man, jack-man, and ruffler; in short, a thief with a specialty. Throughout this age there was a tremendous disparity between the upper and lower social classes. Social programs for the down-and-out were not only nonexistant but practically unthinkable, so once a man fell into hard times, getting back on his feet was extremely difficult. Thus many honest men were driven to lives of desperate crime just to get by. These vagabonds lived on the edges of established society which generally considered poverty a sign of laziness. But they were a part of a vast underworld society with its own rules, its own hierarchy, and its own language.

You may choose to have your vagabond character modeled after one of the following categories of thieves. This is not a requirement, but it does add to the Elizabethan atmosphere of the time.

Abraham Man - A beggar who wanders, barely clothed, pretending to be crazy (lunatics were both feared and respected at this time).

Courtesy Man - A con man who claims to represent honorable soldiers, recently returned from war and unable to find work but unwilling to turn to begging.

Dummerer - A beggar who pretends to be mute.

Fingerer - This well-dressed rogue befriends a gentleman and then involves him in gambling with an accomplice who is presumed a stranger. Both men lose to the stranger (who is cheating, of course, with the help of the fingerer). The fingerer and his accomplice split the winnings later.

Jackman - a forger.

Patriarch Co - A vagabond who arranges and performs false marriages.

Prigger of Prancers - A horse thief.

Prigman - A vagabond who appears to wander aimlessly but in fact steals drying clothing from hedges.

Ring-Faller - This con man plants a cheap but expensive-looking ring on the street and then pretends to spot it at the same time as an honest gentleman. He claims half-part of its value but finally agrees the victim keep the ring in exchange for a cash payment of half its value. They may even take the ring to a jeweller for appraisal, but the jeweller is, of course, an accomplice of the ring-faller who will greatly overestimate the value of the ring.

Ruffler - A man who pretends to be a soldier seeking employment, but who chiefly robs travelers and traders.

Whip-Jack - A man who begs with a counterfeit begging license or testament of maritime loss of the type often carried by retired or discharged soldiers.

Requires: DEX 9+
Special Benefits: A vagabond is never bound by honor.
Wealth: Every month a vagabond must wager an amount of gp equal to his/her character level.

Picaro: Suited for either rogues or bards. The picaro is a romantiic rogue, a wandering scoundrel who lives by his wits. He is of low birth and generally seeks his fortune by serving a variety of masters. To a casual observer, the picaro is a servant or lackey. In many cases he is both more honest and more intelligent than his master and often gets the better of him. His honesty is largely an honesty of observation; he sees things for what they are and is rarely taken in by appearances.

The picaresque hero was a popular figure in fiction of the time, the best known picaro being Sancho Panza, Don Quixote's faithful companion.

The picaro, always of low birth, is a frank commentator on the foibles of the upper classes, which were exemplified by the picaro's masters. His role is to poke fun at those above him, but without offending or even appearing to poke fun.

Requires: DEX 9+, WIS 12+, AL good or neutral

Recommended Skills/Feats/Crafts: Any which are useful to a servant, such as cooking or singing, or which may help him get along in the world, such as setting snares or fishing.

Weapon Proficiencies: Standard rogue.

Armor and Weapons: The picaro has no real use for armor or weapons. He can wear any armor normally allowable by rogues or bards, as long as it is obsolete, damaged, and has been discarded as useless by its previous owner. After reaching 4th level he can carry weapons allowed by rogues or bards, if his master allows it; before 4th level he can carry no weapons except a knife or a staff.

Special Benefits: Until he reaches 9th level, a picaro must always serve a master. The picaro can change masters when he gains a new level, but is not required to. Whenever possible, his master should be another PC. The arrangement must be mutual; a picaro cannot serve a master who does not want him.

The picaro must serve his master loyally. The PC master can treat the picaro however he likes; he may be kind and good, impatient and demanding, cruel and stingy, or whatever else he chooses as long as it is in keeping with his alignment and personality. He need not pay his lackey anything, but it is customary to allow him some food at least occasionally.

Picaros gain experience bonuses whenever they get the better of their master, innocently make their master look foolish, or outperform their master in some significant way, as judged by a DM. The standard bonus is the picaro's level x 100 XP. The DM can increase this if the picaro was especially clever or the master was especially foolish, and vice versa. The picaro can do the same thing to other characters who are not his master, but the reward is the picaro's level x 25 XP.

A picaro is not bound by honor.

Special Hindrances: Pretty much the same as his benefits, depending on how one looks at it. A picaro cannot have an evil alignment.

Wealth: A picaro is not required to wager any of his money.

Note: The picaro is a tricky character to play. Any player who opts for a picaro character must be interested and motivated to play the part. This character type is intended to be fun. The picaro is essentially comic relief. He must play off the other characters' weaknesses, bedevil them with riddles, innocently reveal the flaws in their plans, and foil their schemes through good intentions. His most effective gibes are questions which seem perfectly reasonable but cannot be answered without looking foolish.

Courtier: Recommended for bards. The royal courts of Europe were filled with flatterers, dandies, fops, and other hangers-on whose chief desire was nothing more than to fraternize with the rich and powerful. Their dress was stylish, their speech clever, their intrigues tangled and complex.

The courtier is a swashbuckling dandy, a messenger for the prince, or one of the cardinal's ferrets. She may be handmaiden to the queen. Intrigue and flattery are the courtier's chief stocks in trade.

Requires: DEX 12+, INT 13+, CHA 15
Weapon Proficiencies: Can use any weapons, but most courtiers prefer rapiers, daggers, and guns
Required Skills: must have at least one rank in Move Silently and three ranks of Influence
Recommended Feats/Skills: Any which could make him more useful as a tool of the powerful, such as additional languages, riding, disguise, reading lips, etc.
Armor: Can wear any sort of armor
Special Benefits: A courtier has the usual benefits of the bard class.

Courtiers have the ability to flatter outrageously and ingratiate themselves with other people. This only works on very small groups -- one, two, or three other people (this only works on NPCs). The listeners make a Will Save with a DC of the Courtier's total level, starting with the character with the highest social standing. The courtier gets a +1 bonus for every 3 ranks of the Influence skill he has, and an additional +1 for every other character in the group who has already failed their save. Anyone who fails the save takes an immediate liking to the courtier, regardless of how he feels about other members of the party.

In order to use this ability the courtier must be able to talk directly to the people he is trying to impress in a comfortable, personable way; he cannot do this while being lashed to a rack or while staring down the barrel of a musket (though he could try influencing reactions in those situations).

The effect of NPC's fondness for the courtier is similar to a charm spell, but less hypnotic. If, for example, the courtier suggests that the general stay behind and hold off the enemy soldiers pouring through a breach while everyone else slips away, the general will not be fooled into thinking this is a good idea. But he won't be offended; instead he may laugh at the courtier's clever joke. Under the right circumstances, he might consider the suggestion and then order someone else to stay behind and defend the breach (but not his friend the courtier).

Wealth: A courtier must wager 5gp every month.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2010, 10:40:02 PM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2010, 10:38:39 PM »
Elizabethan Era continued


Preacher: Only allowed for clerics. The preacher is most likely a wandering priest or minister. He can serve any relgion. His goal is to spread his faith, whether to non-Christians in the New World or heretics in Europe. He also confronts evil with the power of his faith and strives to protect the divine order in all things.

Requires: WIS 9+, non-evil alignment
Weapon Proficiencies: While preachers are not generally expected to fight, they can learn any weapon proficiencies.
Recommended Skiills: Spellcraft
Required Feats: Warding Gesture: Fey, Warding Gesture: Outsiders, Warding Gesture: Shapechangers, Warding Gesture: Elementals, Warding Gesture: Magical Beasts, Warding Gesture: Aberrations (these may be taken incrementally but must be taken whenever possible)
Armor/Weapons: A preacher can wear any armor and use any sort of weapon, but carrying anything other than a dagger or pistol is considered odd and unusual.
Domains: Healing, Knowledge, Protection, Good

Special Hindrances: Preachers are forbidden from casting Hold Person

A preacher is never allowed to conceal his religion or deceive people about it. He must tithe to the closest church of his religion. If he is Roman Catholic, he must do what he can to alleviate suffering and poverty. He must never take a life except in self-defense.

Wealth: Only chaotic preachers must wager 2gp per month.

Protector of the Faith: Only available to paladins. The protector of the faith is a soldier who fights only for the cause of his church. Religious faith is the propelling force in his life. He is single-minded, driven, pious, righteous, and honest.

Protectors of the faith are found in armies throughout Europe, but usually in units composed almost entirely of other protectors. They may accompany missionaries into dangerous territory. They fight only for religious causes, never joining in secular conflicts. They are disciplined and courageous. Many Calvinists are drawn to this role.

Requires: WIS 9+, STR 12+
Weapon Proficiencies: There are no weapon restrictions for protectors of the faith
Armor/Equipment: A protector of the faith can use any armor or equipment. Whenever possible he must carry his Bible or prayer book with him.
Special Benefits: Normal paladin benefits.
Special Hindrances: A protector must tithe to his church. He can never use, own, or willingly allow himself to benefit from a magic item or arcane magic.
Wealth: Protectors of the faith do not gamble.


Scholarly Mage: Only available to wizards. Scholarly magic was an attempt to obtain magical power through intellectual means. Its practitioners used astrology, cabalism, study, and magical paraphernalia ("bell, book and candle") to gain access to extraordinary powers. Because his power is based entirely on external accoutrements, the scholarly mage's soul is free of dealings with evil. What he really seeks is knowledge, not power. Without his books and wands, he is nothing but a scholar. An excellent example of this type of mage is Prospero of The Tempest.

The scholarly mage is an experimenter and academician. Many can be found serving as counselors and advisors to rulers, from kings and emperors all the way down to barons and burgomeisters. Diviners, in particular, are prized as consultants.

Requires: INT 9+
Weapon Proficiencies: as standard for wizards, and martial weapon proficiency (see below)
Required Skills: at least one rank in spellcraft and lore.
Recommended crafts: herbalism, alchemy

Armor/Equipment: The normal wizard restrictions on armor and weapons apply for the most part. However, the scholarly mage must own a sword (longsword, scimitar, or rapier) which he uses in magical rituals. He can carry this sword and even fight with it. A scholarly mage dresses in academic robes and usually carries books and scrolls with him.

Special Hindrances: All scholarly mages must be specialist wizards; they can specialize in any school except necromancy and transmutation.

Wealth: Scholarly mages are never required to gamble.

Note: Scholarly mages should never have an easy path to follow. No one will ever entirely trust a wizard. There will always be suspicions that he is a sorcerous necromancer in league with evil spirits. Most scholarly mages prefer to keep their magical researches and powers secret. Many people cannot understand the difference, or refuse to recognize the difference, between scholarly magic and black magic. And the progressive, enlightened thinkers no longer believe in magic at all. So the wizard finds it best to keep to himself, telling others that he is an astrologer or an apothecary to allay their suspicions.

This is not so in the East. Among the Ottomons, the Persians, and the Chinese, wizards and sorcerers are respected. If a player is looking for a real role-playing test, he can play an Oriental wizard in Europe.

Wizards must be extremely rare, even rarer than necromancers. Like the picaro, this package is a role-playing challenge and should be selected only be experienced players.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2010, 10:40:31 PM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2010, 11:09:00 PM »
Elizabethan Era Continued

The Sexes

The 16th and 17th centuries where male-dominated and chauvinistic. Men fought wars; men held public offices; men were scientists and artists and philosophers and merchants. Women were wives and mothers, with one exception: they could also be queens.

The obstacles that littered the path of an ambitious woman assured that those women who achieved any degree of power tended to be strong, intelligent, and determined. Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, and Maria de'Medicis are three outstanding examples of women who ruled countries and dominated the age.

There are very few queens, however, and many women. Rather than sticking to pure history or disregarding it altogether, the best course is to assume that female adventurers are exceptional characters. History is full of cases of women disguising themselves as men and joining the army, or even of women joining the ranks of male-dominated society without deception. Anne Bonney was a notorious pirate of the period. Queen Christina of Sweden abdicated her throne to pursue a life of adventure. Why not a lady musketeer? In this setting such characters are outstanding, and will always be treated as exceptions; if a lady strolls by in doublet, breeches, boots, and baldric, she will draw unabashed stares and attention. This take was popular in swashbuckling films like At Sword's Point and Against All Flags.


Obviously, in an era called "the age of the wars of religion," a person's religious beliefs could be a bone of contention.

Modern readers must understand that from the Dark Ages through the middle of the 17th century, religion was much more than a system of beliefs and faith. It impacted every aspect of life. Religious activities and observances were part of the daily routine. The bond of religion was a unifying force much stronger than language or culture or national identity. Most people believed that it was more important for the citizens of a country to all be the same religion than to speak the same language.

The Reformation broke that religious unity. By the time of the Council of Trent in 1555, six major religious groups existed in Europe: Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, Jews, and Muslims. Anabaptists and Jews were minorities everywhere; Muslims only lived in Ottoman Turkey and the Levant, though Islamic merchants visited Venice and other Mediterranean ports. Pockets of the Eastern Orthodox church still existed within Ottoman territory.

Religious intolerance was the norm. Allying or trading with heretics was likely to get a person or country shunned, but it could be done carefully.

This does not mean Catholics and Protestants regularly brawled in the streets like gangs or drew their swords whenever they met. They rarely had the opportunity because, for the most part, they lived separately. Spain, Italy, and France were Roman Catholic; England, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands were Protestant; the Holy Roman Empire was a mix of both.


Literacy at this time was common among the well-to-do, not so common among the peasants. Most people in the middle classes could at least read painstakingly and slowly.

Grammar schools existed mainly to teach Latin. Universities and learned societies taught civil and ecclesiastical law, philosophy, arithmetic, and rhetoric. Notable by their absence are history and science. People interested in these subjects had to do their own research and teach themselves or find a suitable tutor.


Licenses to practice medicine were granted by the church. Medical education, however, was undertaken by universities, the best being those at Padua, Heidelburg, Leyden, Basle, and Montpelier. There was no official internship but most aspiring doctors began their careers by working with an established physician.

In spite of all this, mankind's understanding of real medicine was woeful. Superstition played a larger part than real science. Some folk remedies had real recuperative properties but most were useless, if not actually harmful.

The prevailing view was that a person was composed of four "humors": blood, phlegm, choler (urine), and melancholy (feces). An imbalance made a person sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, or melancholy, and a serious imbalance made a person sick. The cure, logically enough, was to restore balance: a sanguine person would be bled, a melancholy person would be given laxatives.

Physicians specialized in treating illnesses and humor imbalances. Surgeons, on the other hand, dealt with those cases where blood would be spilled. They were generally held in lower regard than physicians because dissection was considered vulgar and impious, but dissections led surgeons to be scientific in their research, a definite step forward. Many barbers were also licensed to pull teeth and bleed sanguine patients.

Apothecaries mixed and sold drugs and medicines. They were generally honest, but who's to say what might be found at the bottom of the back shelf?

Remedies for diseases and ailments can range from the simple (rest and quiet) to the absurd (breathing the vapors of burning dill and feathers while closed inside a pickling barrel). It seems nothing was too outlandish.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2010, 11:36:56 PM »
Elizabethan Era Continued


During this period science struggled valiantly to overcome the traditional beliefs and superstitions which ruled men's thoughts. Astounding things could be learned by carefully observing the simplest phenomena. The real obstacle was not the scientific method, which was well understood, but the closed minds of men.

The most startling discoveries were made in the fields of astronomy (Copernicus's theory that the earth and planets revolve around the sun) and physiology (Harvey's discovery that blood circulates). But other sciences and psuedo-sciences were also active: astrology, chemistry, alchemy, mathematics, and botany were practiced by learned men and taught at prestigious universities.


From the 2nd Century all astronomy was based on the theory of Ptolemy, that the Earth was the center of the universe and all other heavenly bodies revolved around it, fixed to transparent, concentric celestial spheres.

In 1543, a polish student named Copernicus lay dying. From his death-bed he sent off the manuscript for a landmark book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, in which he accounted for the observed motions of the planets by assuming the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the Solar System.

Copernicus knew that this idea bordered on heresy, so he couched it in very tentative terms, calling it only a "hypothesis" and stating "It is not necessary that hypotheses should be true, or even probable: it suffices that they lead to calculations which agree with observations."

Ultimately, this is what happened. The Ptolemaic system could not explain the observations of men like Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo, and the Copernican system could. Gradually it won over men of science, even though it was officially opposed by Rome.


Belief in astrology was still common, although it was regularly attacked by pamphleteers and learned men. (When Gustavus Adolphus was born, his father Charles IX of Sweden asked illustrious astronomer Tycho Brahe to produce a horoscope; Brahe, a man of science, cautiously responded that there was a chance the boy might someday become king.)

Astology was divided into three branches: horary, judicial, and natural. Each branch dealt with a different aspect of life and required a different sort of observation. Horary astrology answered questions about immediate concerns and business. Judicial astrology predicted upcoming events months, or sometimes years, in advance. Natural astrology foretold a man's destiny from the planets' configuration at his birth.


Chemistry as we know it today did not exist at this time, but alchemy was well-established. Its underlying assumption was that everything, everywhere, is made of primary matter, a sort of universal stuff which can take on a multitude of forms. These forms were classified according to whether they were hot or cold, dry or moist. The four conditions could join together in four ways: hot and dry, hot and moist, cold and dry, cold and moist. These four combinations corresponded exactly to the four elements from antiquity: fire, earth, air, water. But these were not considered elements in our modern sense of the word. They were simply conditions in which everything existed.

If the elements were balancedin a substance, that substance was perfect and its elemental character was hidden. If one element predominated, that substance was imperfect and had elemental characteristics. Metals, for example, were considered to be nearly perfect, being a balance of earth, fire, and air. Gold was the most perfect metal of all.

Alchemical reasoning was by analogy. Thus:

 :arrow: When the elements are balanced in a human body, that body is well;
 :arrow: when the elements are imbalanced in a human body, that body is ill;
 :arrow: among minerals, the elements are perfectly balanced in gold -- gold, therefore, is like a healthy body;
 :arrow: among other minerals, the balance of elements is not perfect;
 :arrow: if the balance of elements in base minerals could be perfected, those minerals would "heal" like a human body and become gold.

This type of analogy guided the search for all sorts of "cures." The two most powerful were the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life. Both, through their powerful attractive properties, could impose perfection on imperfect but purified matter: the philosopher's stone on mineral matter, the elixir on living matter.

It must be stressed that transmuting base metals into gold was not the sole purpose of alchemy. It was a scientific discipline aimed at understanding the nature of structure and existence. Until sufficient knowledge had been gathered to construct the periodic table of elements, alchemy was a well-reasoned alternative.

It was also fertile ground for charlatans. Many of the best-known alchemists were nothing more than con-men who duped wealthy patrons into subsidizing their research with the promise that they would share in the riches and glory which would surely result.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2010, 12:12:12 AM »
Elizabethan Era Continued


Among the nobility and gentry, certain leisure activities enjoyed great popularity: hunting, partcularly with hounds on the chase; falconry or hawking, which was phenomenally popular among country folk; coursing (dog racing); fowling (hunting and trapping birds); angling (fishing); fencing and swordplay of various types and schools; riding; bearbaiting and bullbaiting (pitting a single bear or bull against a half-dozen or so fighting dogs); cockfighting, dancing (much to the concern of the Calvinists); athletic games (running, jumping, swimming, wrestling, gymnastics, ball games); and card games and gambling.

Among ball games, tennis deserves special mention. It was particularly popular in France and England, but was played everywhere. It was a game which could be played by both gentlemen and adventurous ladies. Even the Three Musketeers enjoyed an occasional match of tennis.


Gambling was a way of life for Elizabethans. While it was discouraged or even condemned by certain people and religious groups, it thrived among the masses of gentlemen, adventurers, commoners, and soldiers.

Diceplay was the most common gambling game, with card games a close second. But anything with an uncertain outcome was fair game: cockfights, bearbaiting, wrestling matches, tennis matches, duels, battles, the weather, even romance.

Most Elizabethan PCs must gamble a certain amount of cash every month; exceptions are noted in the character package role descriptions under "wealth."

Nationality and Relgiion

England: [wiki=Anglican]Anglican[/wiki], [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki], [wiki=Calvinism]Puritan (Calvinist)[/wiki]

France: [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki], [wiki=Calvinism]Calvinist[/wiki]

Ireland: [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki] (Calvinists can be found in Ulster and Anglicans in Leinster)

Holy Roman Empire: depending on the region:

 :arrow: [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholics[/wiki] are found in Alsace, Augsberg, Austria, Bamburg, Bavaria, Carinthia, Carniola, Cologne, Franche-Comte, Liege, Lorraine, Lusatia, Luxemburg, Moravia, Munster, Parma, Piedmont, Salzburg, Savoy, Swiss Confederation, The Milanese, Trier, Tuscany, Tyrol, Valtelline, and Wurzberg.

 :arrow: [wiki=Lutheranism]Lutherans[/wiki] are found in Anspach, Bayreuth, Brandenburg, Brunswick, Holstein, Moravia, Oldenburg, Pomerania, Saxony, Silesia, and the Upper Palatinate.

 :arrow: [wiki=Calvinism]Calvinists[/wiki] are found in Berg, Bohemia, Bremen, Cleve, Hesse-Cassel, the Lower Palatinate, Mark, Mecklenburg, Nassau, and the Swiss Confederation.

Italy: [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki]

The Netherlands: depends on the region:

 :arrow: The "Spanish Netherlands" (Hainault, Cambresis, Artois, Flanders, and Brabant) are [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki]

 :arrow: The Unitied Provinces (Gelderland, Zealand, Holland, Utrecht, Overijssel, Drenthe, Friesland, and Groningen) are [wiki=Calvinism]Calvinist[/wiki].

Spain: [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki]

Denmark: [wiki=Lutheranism]Lutheran[/wiki]

Hungary: [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki]

Ottoman Empire: [wiki=Islam]Islamic[/wiki] and [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki]

Poland: [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki]

Portugal: [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki]

Scotland: [wiki=Catholicism]Roman Catholic[/wiki] and [wiki=Calvinism]Calvinist[/wiki]

Sweden: [wiki=Lutheranism]Lutheran[/wiki]

Transylvania: [wiki=Lutheranism]Lutheran[/wiki] and [wiki=Calvinism]Calvinist[/wiki]

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2010, 12:28:56 AM »
Elizabethan Era Continued


In spite of the fact that the armored knight with his feudal trappings was a dying breed, his code of honor and chivalrous ideals were very much alive. Anyone who considered himself a gentleman (which had more to do with perception than actual social condition) was bound by a code of honor. As mentioned in the character package role descriptions above, sever of the character types must abide by the code of honor. In addition, any character born into the upper classes is bound by honor.

The code of honor demands that a character:

 :arrow: must be devout to his lord and loyal to his sovereign
 :arrow: may not suffer himself to be insulted, slandered, or mocked
 :arrow: may not allow a lady to be insulted, slandered, mocked or mistreated
 :arrow: must be discreet in all dealings with the opposite sex or when trusted with a secret
 :arrow: must pay his debts honorably
 :arrow: must abide by his word
 :arrow: must never falter in courage or resolve
 :arrow: must carry out his duties to his fullest ability

Any transgression of this code results in the character being disgraced (see below).

Insults: A gentleman may take offense at the slightest off-center remark or action, especially if it comes from someone of lower social standing. Likewise, a gentleman will rarely back down or step aside in favor of someone of lower social standing for fear of what may happen to his reputation.

Deulling: Many disputes of honor can be settled immediately with a duel. This is, in fact, the preferred method among most gentlemen. Such duels can be formal affairs at an arranged time with seconds, but most often they are impromptu; insults are exchanged, tempers flare, and swords are drawn.

Duels are rarely mortal. Most often, the fight lasts only until the first wound is inflicted. The wounded party apologizes, everyone's honor is satisfied and the affair is at an end.

It sometimes happens, however, that the duellist who suffers the first wound is not willing to surrender. He may feel that he was struck unfairly or that the wound is negligable. He may simply be unwilling to admit defeat. Occasionally a duel will even be fought to the death, though this is rare.

Duelling is discouraged, if not illegal, in most civilized places. Offenders are usually fined or jailed for several days, if caught. By the 17th century, killing an opponent in a duel is generally considered murder and self-defense is difficult to prove.


A character is disgraced if he violates the code of honor: allowing himself to be insulted, compromising a lady's reputation, breaking his word, running in fear from a fight (retreating is okay, running is not), failing to pay his debts, etc.

A disgraced character is shunned by his friends, his business acquaintances, even strangers on the street seem to whisper and jeer behind his back. While disgraced, his CHA score is effectively halved and he is a pariah.

To regain his honor, the character must do something outstanding: be conspicuously brave in battle, risk his life to defend a lady, undertake a dangerous sea voyage, rescue the crown jewels, uncover a plot against the queen, etc. The general guideline is that the deed must be on a scale similar to the misdeed.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2011, 12:27:09 AM »
High (or "Classical") Middle Ages (c. 1087-1154)

From the Medieval Player's Manual by Green Ronin Press:

The Middle Ages were the time of knights and castles, of quests and troubadours, of dragons and giants. In many ways, they are the period most familiar to fantasy roleplayers. In other ways, they are less familiar.

Everyone in Western Europe was a Christian, Jew, or Muslim, and religion played a central role in every day life. Bishops ruled extensive lands, church courts dealt with sexual offenses and debt, and the greatest wars were launched in the name of religion. On the other hand, there was no Inquisition, and heretics were required to burn only their books. Strong-minded scholars and bishops could challenge the Pope and get away with it, and most of the time it was the church that called for aid to the poor and justice for the weak.

There are other differences as well, some of which are quite surprising. For many offenses, swearing to your innocence was enough to secure an acquittal, particularly if your family and friends were prepared to agree with you. Saints not only healed the sick, they cursed people who refused to give them money. The crown did not pass from father to son, but to anyone related to the previous king who could make and maintain a claim. People would queue for hours to kiss a centuries old corpse.

The Middle Ages lasted a thousand years, roughly from the fall of Rome in 476 to the fall of New Rome (Constantinople) in 1453, and things changed a great deal in that time. This book concentrates on the period from 1087 to 1154, what we call the “Kin of the Conqueror” period, although much of the material here could be applied to both earlier and later periods. Europe is a fairly big place, with very diverse cultures; this book concentrates on England, but, by necessity, also includes a significant amount of discussion of northwestern France.

In 1066 William, Duke of Normandy, invaded and conquered England. This Norman Conquest was one of the most important events in English history, transforming the nation’s relations with the continent and entirely replacing the ruling class. William died 21 years later, after completing the survey known as Domesday Book, and that is where this book takes up the story. The next seventy years were occupied by the fi ghts over William’s realm, first between his sons, Robert, William Rufus, and Henry, and then between his grandchildren, Stephen and Matilda. In the end Matilda’s son, Henry, became king of England and lord of western France, and with his accession this book ends.


Pseudo-historical roleplaying inevitably raises more issues than pure fantasy roleplaying, as it touches on topics about which people still have strong opinions. It is better to discuss the more obvious of these issues with your group before the campaign starts, so that you can handle them in a way that makes everyone comfortable.

Historical settings also present problems of historical accuracy, which, while they are unlikely to offend anyone, can make people feel the need to do a lot of research on the subject.


The most controversial topic is religion. This book covers the period when the Crusades were launched, and when the Christian forces had the most success. There is no way to write about medieval Europe without making religion central; remove the Church, and you have a fantasy world with familiar names.

Accordingly, this book deals extensively with Christianity, overwhelmingly the largest religion in its area of focus. The assumption is that medieval Christians were roughly right about what God wanted, and that the Church is basically a good institution. There are a few important points of deviation. First, the church’s exclusion of women from the priesthood is treated as a matter of human politics, not divine will. This is reflected in the ability of women to enter, and gain spells in, the priest class. Second, this book assumes that Jews and Muslims are also right, that they are basically good, and that they receive miraculous powers from God, not from demons. There are paladins on both sides of the crusades.

At times, the text draws attention to areas of medieval Christian practice that seem strange to modern tastes. This is not intended to mock them. Rather, it is intended to help the GM make the players feel that they are in a different world, with different cultural attitudes, rather than at a Renaissance Faire.

The book has very little to say about Islam or Judaism. This is a matter of space, focus, and expertise. More information about medieval Judaism can be found in Kabbalah: Mythic Judaism, a supplement for Ars Magica, and more information about medieval Islam can be found in Blood and Sand, a supplement for the same game. These take a base date of 1220, but neither religion changed enormously over the time in question.

Historically, there were no pagans in Western Europe at this time. As a result, the book does not deal with paganism. Historically, there were no spell-slinging priests, either, so this is not an entirely consistent position. If you want to introduce hidden pagans into your games, there is no problem with that. You should, however, avoid portraying the Church as evil, merely as misguided. Christianity deserves the same respect as any other religion.


Women did not have a prominent or equal social role in medieval Europe. Again, there is no way of changing this without writing about a fantasy world rather than a historical one. However, this is less restrictive than it might initially appear.

While women, on the whole, had a lower social status and fewer opportunities than men, there were a number of exceptional women who did reach high rank and made a significant difference to the course of world events. Player characters are supposed to be exceptional, and thus can certainly be among their number. As a result, there are no restrictions on female player characters, but they will be even more unusual than their male counterparts.

Women adventurers or politicians will encounter some prejudice. However, medieval people seem, on the whole, to have dealt with powerful women as their power merited, rather than on the basis of sexual prejudice. Sexist men should therefore be used as an
occasional complication rather than as a constant barrage.


Racism per se is not really a problem in medieval England, because everyone is white. There are ethnic tensions, between Norman and Anglo-Saxon in England, for example, and religious prejudice is rife. There is no racism, because non-white people are too rare to be anything but a curiosity.

The exception to this is anti-Semitism, which is almost universal among Christians. This book chooses to play that aspect of medieval culture down, as it was not central, unless you were a Jew. It is treated properly in Kabbalah: Mythic Judaism (mentioned above), and any player considering a Jewish character is strongly advised to pick that book up, particularly if they are not Jewish themselves.

Medieval Culture

The medieval world was very different from the twenty-fi rst century, but also very different from the image of the time gathered from pseudo-medieval fantasy. This chapter falls into two parts, the fi rst of which covers the culture of the time in enough detail for it to serve as the backdrop to adventures. This is a superficial look at a complex period, but as the player characters are likely to be killing monsters or creating great works of art, the details of merchant regulations are of little importance.


Nine-tenths of the population are peasants, people who make a living through agriculture. They live in small villages of a couple of hundred or so people each, scattered fairly evenly across most of the landscape. There are very few places where you could walk for a day without passing at least two villages; even in the twelfth century northwestern Europe simply does not have large tracts of wilderness.

Agricultural Life

Grains, mainly wheat, are the most important food source, although other vegetables are grown. Potatoes, tomatoes, and maize are all unknown, but barley, apples, onions, and beans are all important secondary crops. Horses, cows, sheep, pigs, and hens are the main animals raised. Horses are kept for riding and labor, cows for milk, sheep for wool, and hens for eggs. All of these animals are eaten when they have outlived their usefulness, but only pigs are kept primarily for meat, and this is because they can forage in woodland, rather than using the resources of arable fields.

Peasants are busiest between mid to late spring and the beginning of winter, planting, weeding, and harvesting crops. It is probably not a coincidence that most of the major Church festivals fall between advent, at the beginning of winter, and Easter, in mid- to late spring. As a rule, people are not supposed to work on Sunday, but if the harvest must be gathered even the sternest priest would overlook this, the more so as Christ explicitly condoned harvesting on the Sabbath.


Most peasants live in crude houses, and own very few portable goods. Many own animals, from a few chickens for the poorest to cattle for the most wealthy. Most peasant families raise enough food to support themselves, after paying the tithe, rent, and taxes, and most women make clothes for their family. Thus, peasants buy very little, and thus have little need for, or contact with, money. This is not to say that they are completely ignorant about it, as most villagers travel to local markets fairly frequently, and buy things there. However, money is a small part of their lives, and a peasant who refused to handle it would not be at much of a disadvantage.

Legal Status

The most important distinction among peasants is that between serf and free. A free peasant is at liberty to go where he wants, do what he wants, and marry whom he wants. A serf must work a certain number of days on his lord’s lands, without pay, may not leave the village without his lord’s permission, and needs his lord’s permission to marry (although the idea that the lord has the right to deflower a serf ’s wife is a myth). Free peasants may seek justice in the King’s courts, while serfs are restricted to appealing to their lord.

Status is inherited, so that the children of a serf are also serfs. However, it also goes with land, so that land can be held by free or servile tenure. It is possible for a peasant to hold some land by free tenure, and other land by servile tenure, and this sort of situation can lead to long court cases over his true status.

The distinction between serf and free is not a distinction of wealth. Many freemen are free to starve, while not a few serfs are required to continue farming a large area of rich land. However, wealthy serfs do, in general, want to become free, and can often manage to buy grants of freedom from their lord. The role played by serfdom in society is decreasing already in the twelfth century, although it will be centuries before it loses all its significance.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2011, 12:27:34 AM »
High (or "Classical") Middle Ages (c. 1087-1154) continued

From the Medieval Player's Manual by Green Ronin Press:

The Nobility

The nobility rule, by hereditary right and military force. The feudal system is structured around military service, and the main duty of a lord to his vassals is to provide military protection. Accordingly, the nobility is strongly dominated by men. Women can hold noble rank in their own right, but only if there are no male heirs available. Even then, they are expected to marry to provide a man to actually fight; they are not expected to fight themselves. This bias against female nobles is a very important factor in the politics of the period, as Henry I’s only legitimate heir is his daughter, Matilda. Stephen’s claim to the throne is supported because many nobles do not want Matilda, or her husband, Geoffrey of Anjou, to rule over them, and from this a civil war develops.


The nobility get their wealth and their power from land, and engaging in any sort of craft or manual labor draws the strong disapproval of your peers. This land is normally held from a higher noble, and ultimately from the King. It is possible for a noble to hold land from more than one lord, and indeed the King of England, while sovereign in England itself, holds his French possessions as a vassal of the King of France.

A vassal is required to provide his lord with a certain amount of military service, generally serving for forty days in a year. If he holds a lot of land, he is expected to provide more than one knight, and so most nobles enfeoff other knights as their vassals, so that they can help provide the necessary service. Nobles almost invariably perform their military service in person, although it is possible to supply the money to pay a mercenary instead. Women or children who hold fiefs always send someone to fight on their behalf.

Nobles do have responsibilities towards the inhabitants of their fiefs. They are supposed to protect them from attack, which includes both military defense and enforcing the law. Scholars argue about whether it is permissible to rebel against a lord who fails in this respect, but this is an academic dispute as such rebellions have never succeeded. The nobility simply has too much more military power than the peasantry.

Manors and Castles

The nobility live in better houses than the peasantry, as you would expect. Most live in manor houses, which take the form of a large hall with private quarters in a tower at one end. The kitchens are often in a separate block to reduce the risk of fire, as few
manors are built of stone. Almost the whole of life takes place in the main hall. Meals are served there, it usually contains the only fire, and most of the inhabitants of the manor sleep there. The lord and his lady usually have a private chamber in the tower, where they sleep, and they may also have a private living room, called a solar. The lord’s daughters, if any, also sleep separately, although his sons may well sleep in the hall with everyone else.

Some of the higher nobility live in castles. In theory, a royal license is needed to build a castle, but in times of chaos or civil war, anyone who can afford one can build one. Most castles take the form of a wooden tower on top of an artifi cial hill, or motte. At the base of the motte is a fortified compound, called the bailey, and again the walls are usually wooden. Sometimes the tower contains the lord’s living quarters, but often a hall is built in the bailey and the tower is used purely for defense, as it is often quite small.

A few castles, those belonging to king or to richer nobles, have stone fortifications, and the main tower of such castles may be very impressive. The White Tower of the Tower of London is probably the most impressive castle tower in England.


Nobles have, comparatively, extensive resources, and their culture requires them to spend them on spectacular display. It is important to realize that there is not, in the end, a great deal to spend money on in medieval Europe.

Buildings are one major expense, as described above. A castle is beyond the reach of the minor nobility, but most would want to build as impressive a manor house as they could manage. Furnishing the buildings is less of a concern, as fine furniture is rare. Wooden tables and chairs, chests for valuable property, and possibly screens for the doors exhaust most manor’s furnishings. The walls may be painted, but the floor is almost always simply strewn with rushes.

Textiles are another major expense. Fine clothing for the lord and his family heads the list, but a lord would also provide liveries for his followers, to make it clear whom they serve. This would also cover tapestries to decorate the walls, but these are very expensive.

Armor and weapons for the lord cost a great deal, to the point that it is very common for them to be passed from one generation to the next. The most minor lords, who might have an income of only ten pounds (2400 pennies) per year, might not even be able to afford a full suit of armor and a sword.

Followers are the final major expense. All lords support a household, consisting of their family and a number of servants. The size of the household is one of the major indications of the status of the lord, so not everyone so employed has a well-defined job to do. Men who are capable of fighting are popular, even if the lord cannot afford to arm them.

Gold and silver plate are popular purchases, but this is not really an expense. Plate of this sort is used as a way of storing excess capital in good years, so that it can be used in bad years. Thus gold and silver heirlooms are very rare; things of this sort are normally bought to be sold again.


The primary entertainment for noble men is killing things, preferably other people, ideally each other. In some part of Europe, and during civil war, this gets out of hand, but most of the time lords avoid wanton slaughter. Tournaments, formalized occasions for nobles to fight each other with at least some rules, are becoming popular in the early twelfth century, although they make some rulers quite nervous, as they are, essentially, large gatherings of excited armed men.

As a substitute for killing people, many nobles turn to hunting, particularly deer and boar. Major Lords have parks or forests, which are areas set aside for their game animals. Peasants have certain rights in those areas, but may not harm the lord’s game. The penalty for doing so is often death. The King has the largest forests, to the extent that the whole County of Essex is royal forest, in addition to extensive tracts elsewhere in the country.

Since hunting requires a large area of essentially idle land and a significant number of horses, dogs, and followers, it is a very expensive business. This makes it an ideal way for nobles to show off their wealth and status, and thus it is extremely popular. Many nobles are realistic about their chances of dying in a fair fight, and thus avoid tournaments, but game animals have little chance against an armed and mounted human. This is not to say that hunting accidents do not occur; William Rufus was notoriously killed in one, and some people doubt whether it was truly an accident.

Less bloodthirsty entertainments include feasts, often after a hunt to provide an opportunity to eat what was caught, music, and storytelling. Traveling entertainers are often welcome in noble houses, as they can provide a break from the monotony of talking to the people who have always lived there. Male nobles also tend to father a significant number of bastards.

Noble women are expected to entertain themselves with needlework and other practical activities, while remaining largely secluded from the rest of the household. Needless to say, some entertain themselves with members of the household, particularly if the lord is away for a long period.


Nobles think of themselves as warriors, and specifically as knights. The ideals of chivalry are first articulated in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, and the ceremonies are much less elaborate than they become in later centuries. Nevertheless, the essential core of chivalry is established quite early.

Chivalry is based on four virtues: valor, loyalty, piety, and love. Valor is physical bravery in combat, and obviously necessary to a warrior like a knight. Loyalty is more than obedience to your superiors; it involves putting their interests ahead of your own even in the absence of direct orders. Piety requires the knight to submit to the Church and lead a good Christian life, while love demands that he have a lady to whom he dedicates his exploits. There is some tension between these virtues, particularly between piety and
the other three, but this complexity simply makes for more interesting characters. For more details on chivalry, see Love and War, a Penumbra book published by Atlas Games.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2011, 12:39:15 AM »
High (or "Classical") Middle Ages (c. 1087-1154) continued

From the Medieval Player's Manual by Green Ronin Press:


Although less than a tenth of the population lives in towns, they are still of great importance. They are centers of trade, and generally also of government. Most castles and cathedrals are surrounded by towns, which have grown up to serve the nobles or clerics resident there. The practical difference between a town and a village is that, in a town, many residents do not make their living from the soil. There may be legal distinctions as well, but in the twelfth century this process is only just beginning.

Towns are small, ranging from five hundred people up to ten thousand, with most large towns having around five thousand inhabitants. This small population is often crammed into an even smaller space, generally surrounded by a wall, without any sewerage. Thus, towns are crowded, stinking, unhealthy places to live. If it were not for constant immigration from the countryside, most towns would die out within a few decades.


Money is important in towns, and much trade is carried out using cash. The coins in use in this period are all silver pennies, with two hundred and forty pennies to a pound of silver. The shilling (twelve pennies), mark (thirteen shillings and fourpence), and pound
(twenty shillings), exist only as accounting units; there are no corresponding coins. In England, only the King is allowed to mint money, and the silver is very pure. In Northern France, many magnates have minting rights, and the silver tends to be about half the purity of English money, with the result that French pennies are only worth about half as much.


Most towns are ruled by the local lord, just like any other part of his domains. A few have charters from the king or some lesser lord, allowing them to govern themselves to some extent. In many cases, the town is required to pay a fixed sum of money every year, keep order, and supply certain military forces as required, and in return it gets a free hand in governing most of its internal affairs, and residents in the town get a monopoly over trade within its walls.

Everyone in a town is a freeman; there are no urban serfs. A serf who becomes a legal resident of a town, a process that involves holding land by so-called burgess tenure and paying an entry fee, ceases to be a serf. This means that runaway serfs are a significant source of town population. In addition, the larger towns are about the only places it is possible to lose yourself in the crowd, as most places do not have crowds to lose yourself in.

Many towns have a castle. The castle is not there to defend the town; it is there to control it. Thus, the castle is always easily defended against attackers from within the town as well as from outside. The larger cities in England all have royal castles, the most famous of which is the Tower of London, but in northern France these castles often belong to the ruling duke.

Trades and Crafts

As the residents of towns do not support themselves by agriculture, many support themselves by some trade or craft. Important craftsmen include carpenters, stonemasons, and other people involved with construction; leather workers, including cobblers and harness makers; and metalworkers, particularly iron work. Bakers and other food suppliers are also important, and can be among the wealthiest citizens. Brewing is notable as one of the few trades that is often practiced by women.

The most important crafts, by a substantial margin, are the textile crafts. These include spinning, weaving, dyeing, and tailoring. Cloth is one of the few products that is produced in signifi cant quantities and is suitable for long-distance trade, and thus it forms an important part of many economies. Women in villages generally carry out spinning, as a sideline to looking after their families, so a peasant woman is rarely without her spindle. The further stages in the process are usually carried out in towns, closer to the market.

Craftsmen are just beginning to form themselves into groups, called gilds, to regulate their affairs and restrict competition, but these groups are not universal, and only in the very largest cities, such as London, are there gilds for different crafts.


Fairs are much like temporary towns, where merchants gather from miles around to trade. The amount of raw commerce that goes on at such events is staggering, with goods usually not available to the common man there for the purchasing.

There are only a few great fairs in a year, and they last for about a week. Important English fairs include St. Ives, Boston, and Winchester, but these are small compared to the great fairs of France, particularly the Champagne fairs.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2011, 12:52:05 AM »
High (or "Classical") Middle Ages (c. 1087-1154) continued

From the Medieval Player's Manual by Green Ronin Press:


Most law in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries is customary law, the way that things have always been done. Even when kings and other great lords make new law, they often claim to be doing nothing more than codifying the good practices of the past. There is a tendency, increasing throughout this period, towards codifying the law, and writing everything down. Indeed, the Domesday Book, compiled in England in 1086, is one of the most important examples of this trend: it lists all the fiefs in England, together with their holders and the amount that they must pay to the king for them.


In England, the main courts are the county courts. This court meets in the main town of each county, officially twice a year but in practice, more often to deal with all the necessary business. The King’s Sheriff presides over it, and in most cases fines are royal revenue. If the county has an earl—most do not—one third of the fines go to him, and the rest to the King.

The counties are divided up into smaller areas called hundreds. These vary greatly in area, but tend to cover about the same number of people (far more than a hundred). A hundred court can only deal with minor offenses, such as stealing turves from an abbey’s land, and must pass pleas of the Crown, such as homicide, on to the county court. Some hundred courts are controlled by the King, but many are controlled by landowners or religious houses. The Abbey of St. Edmund, for example, controls the hundred courts in eight hundreds of Western Suffolk.

Feudal lords also have their own courts, where the lords hear cases between their vassals. In theory, these courts also hear disputes between a lord and his vassals, but as the lord presides most vassals would prefer that such cases were heard in the royal courts. The smallest version of the lord’s court is the manor court, where the lord of the manor deals with petty crime and minor disputes between the people on his manor. Access to royal justice, in the hundred and county courts, is a disputed privilege; knights have it, peasant serfs don’t, but the location of the dividing line is unclear.

The canon law courts (below) are in addition to this system, and independent of it.


Medieval courts rely much less on evidence than modern courts. Certainly, if everyone in a village saw a murder, the criminal will be convicted, but most crimes are committed in rather more secrecy. Instead, the power of God is invoked to determine innocence and guilt.

The simplest way that this is done is through oaths. The accused swears, on the gospels or holy relics, that he is innocent. For some crimes, this is sufficient for an acquittal. For more serious crimes, the accused might have to find a number of compurgators; other men who will also swear that he is innocent.

An alternative is the ordeal, which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. There are two forms; fi re and water. For fi re, the accused must carry a heated iron bar a fixed distance. The burned hand is then bound, and inspected after three days. If it is healing cleanly, he is innocent. For water, the accused is thrown into a pool or pit of cold water. If he sinks, he is innocent (and quickly fished out), while if he floats he is guilty. The ordeal is hedged around with religion: for fire, a priest exorcizes the iron bar, keeps it on the altar during Mass, and fi nally blesses it against magical interference. Similar precautions are taken in the case of water. Accused women and free men may take the ordeal of fire, serfs the ordeal of water.

The final alternative is trial by combat, which was introduced by the Norman conquerors. The accuser and the accused fight, and the victor is in the right. The combat uses staves or clubs, rather than more dangerous swords or spears, but it is still possible, if rare, for a combatant to be seriously injured or killed. The parties are expected to fight for themselves, but in exceptional cases they may nominate a champion. Generally, this privilege is limited to women, children, cripples, and clergy, although the clergy can usually get the case transferred to canon law courts, which do not use trial by combat, anyway. This system is occasionally abused by the physically strong, but not as often as the cynical might think.


For minor offenses, the standard penalty is a fine. This money goes to the owner of the court, so fines are sometimes levied for major offenses, at least against the rich. At the extreme, wealthy nobles are often merely fi ned for rebelling against the King and trying to kill him, but they are fined very heavily — the King might confiscate their lands, and then restore them after a couple of years, which is equivalent to fining them two years’ income. While fines may be heavy, they are usually within the criminal’s means, as the intent is that they be paid.

More serious offenses, such as theft or poaching, are punished with fl ogging and mutilation, such as cutting off a hand or ear. Blinding and castration is regarded as a very serious penalty for men, just under the death sentence. Death by hanging is the penalty for murder, rape, robbery, and other very serious offenses. Occasionally death is inflicted by other means, but this is unusual.

Imprisonment is very rare, but not completely unheard of. It is most commonly used to hold people awaiting trial, and sometimes people are imprisoned until they pay their fines. Imprisonment for a fixed period as a penalty is extremely unusual, and imprisonment for longer than a year and a day is invariably politically motivated.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2011, 01:27:42 AM »
High (or "Classical") Middle Ages (c. 1087-1154) continued

From the Medieval Player's Manual by Green Ronin Press:


Theology, the beliefs of the Church about God, virtue, and the place of man in the universe, is a complex subject, but it is impossible to understand the Middle Ages without some idea of the basics of Christian doctrine. The summary that follows is extremely brief, and glosses over distinctions that people have died and killed for. It also tends to pick one position from medieval theology, even when, historically, there was some dispute.

A fairly common concept is that of the mystery. A mystery in this sense is a theological belief that cannot be truly understood with merely human reason. Most mysteries appear to be incoherent, but God can see how they fit together and make sense.

[Note: these are the beliefs of people at this time, not necessarily a DM statement of the actual metaphysics of the Gothic Earth setting!]


There is only one God. He is eternal, existing without beginning and without end, and depending on nothing but Himself for his existence. God made everything that exists, and keeps it in existence. The world only persists because God chooses that it should.

God is absolutely simple. That is, He has no attributes. God is not large, or wise, or loving, if these are conceived of as things added to God. Instead, God is simply God, and being God he is also ultimate wisdom, ultimate love, and all the other perfections. While these perfections are different when they are found in imperfect humans and other creatures (things created), in God they are all the same, and all God.

As God is simple, He cannot change in any way. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As a result, God is outside time. He knows everything, as knowledge is a perfection, and thus God is perfect knowledge. He knows the future, but to Him the future is no different from the present.

Although God is one, simple, and has no attributes, He is also three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Son is begotten by the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, but all three are one, and simply God.

The nature of God is the greatest of the theological mysteries. No human intellect can hope to understand how God can be as He is.

(Note that, strictly speaking, God is neither male nor female, but in the Middle Ages He is almost without exception referred to as male. There are occasional exceptions, but they are very rare indeed.)


In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. He created the angels, and the highest of the angels was Lucifer, the light-bringer. Then He created time, and the world. In six days He made the world, and on the seventh day, He rested. Thus all Christians rest one day in seven, on Sundays.

Man was created on the sixth day, and the fi rst man was Adam, made from the dust of the ground. God placed him in the Garden of Eden, and brought the animals to him to be named. No animal was a suitable companion for Adam, so God placed the man into a deep sleep, took one of his ribs, and from it fashioned the first woman, Eve.

At the center of the garden were two trees, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life. God forbade Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge.

The Fall

Lucifer was the fi rst creature to sin. In his pride he desired to be like God, and so he fell from heaven. One third of the angels listened to his voice, and fell with him. In his sin and wickedness, Lucifer wanted to corrupt others, so he returned to the world and
tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. She fell to the temptation, and ate, and then gave the fruit to Adam, who also ate. For this sin, Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden.

The Fall is responsible for many of the miseries to which human beings are subject. Most significantly, humans are incapable of acting well by themselves. Only when God infuses them with his grace can they act in a meritorious way. Thus no human can earn any merit, and all humans are tainted by the original sin of Adam and Eve.

Further, the ailments of the human body and the imperfections of the mind are all due to the Fall. Before the Fall, the world served man willingly; now the rest of creation turns against him. None of the evil in the world is God’s fault; all of it is due to the actions of men, the actions of demons, or the lingering effects of the Fall.

The Incarnation

God did not leave human beings in sin and damnation, however. God the Son was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary and incarnated as Jesus Christ. Christ was wholly God and wholly man, perfectly human but no less perfectly divine. The nature of Christ is another of the great mysteries, for, as God is unchanging, Christ was truly human before the universe was even created. God the Father and God the Holy Spirit were not incarnated, and so are not human, but nevertheless God the Son is exactly the same as God the Father, and has no properties, not even the property of being human.

It is, as said before, a mystery.

As a human being Christ preached his message through Judea, in the time of the Roman emperors. After three years he was arrested, charged with treason by the chief priests of the Jews, and crucified under Pontius Pilate.

On the cross, Christ took upon himself the just punishment for all human sins, and thus redeemed the human race. Through Christ, all human beings can become worthy of heaven once more.

On the third day after his death, Christ rose from the grave, and promised his followers eternal life before ascending into heaven.

Sin and Forgiveness

Human beings, since the Fall, are naturally inclined to sin. The seven deadly sins, which bring damnation, are Pride (the greatest sin, and the sin of Lucifer), Wrath, Envy, Sloth, Gluttony, Avarice, and Lust. It is the sin of lust to have sex with your wife because you enjoy it, just as it is the same sin to commit adultery with every woman in town. Irritation with someone who is walking too slowly ahead of you is wrath just as is a rage that drives you to kill thousands. All sins are evil because they are rebellion against God, and their consequences for other people are of relatively little importance.

At birth, all humans are stained with the original sin of Adam and Eve. Baptism washes this stain away, and also cleanses the stain of any sins that the person has committed. A baby who dies unbaptized is damned to Hell for eternity by the stain of original sin, so all Christians are baptized as quickly as possible. Baptism can be performed by anyone, even a non-Christian, as long as they intend to baptize in the way that the Church does.

After baptism, Fallen humanity commits more sins. If a person truly repents of her sins and asks for God’s mercy, she can be forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice, and become without sin once more. Only those who are without sin can enter Heaven; anyone whose soul is stained with the slightest sin is damned to Hell where she will be tortured for all eternity. The problem is that Fallen man cannot truly repent, so no one can repent unless God grants his grace to them.

There are many mysteries here, such as how eternal torment is compatible with perfect love, or how it can be just for God to punish those to whom he has freely chosen not to offer his grace. God understands, and the saints understand in God, but those on earth cannot.

The Sacraments

The seven sacraments are central to Christian life in this world. They are essential for salvation, and the Church tries to maintain a monopoly on them. The sacraments work regardless of the intentions or state of sin of the person performing them, so that ordinations performed by a devilworshiping bishop are still valid.

Baptism washes away sin, and is performed by dipping a person in water, or anointing them with water, while saying “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”. As noted above, this can be performed by anyone, even a non-Christian.

Confirmation is a repetition of the baptismal vows made once the child reaches adulthood. Only a bishop, who is supposed to ensure that the child understands the Christian faith, can administer it. In large dioceses, this tends not to happen.

Penance is the demonstration of remorse for sin. People confess their sins to their priest, who then assigns a penance, based on the severity of the sin. Prayers, the saying of Psalms, and pilgrimages are all common penances. The penance does not “earn” forgiveness, but rather demonstrates that the sinner is truly sorry. The priest is not allowed to repeat anything that he hears in confession to anyone, not even his superiors in the Church. Only a priest or bishop can administer this sacrament.

Ordination confers a special grace on a person. There are four minor orders (acolyte, lector, exorcist, and doorkeeper) and four major, or holy, orders: sub-deacon, deacon, priest, and bishop. Men are ordained to the minor orders in a simple ceremony that involves giving them the tonsure, shaving the hair from the top of their head. Holy orders are more serious, and there is a growing movement in the church to require all men in holy orders to be celibate. Ordination can only be performed by a bishop.

The Church does not knowingly ordain women, but God has no objection to women priests, and such ordinations are effective.

Marriage binds a man and woman together for life. Any couple can perform it, and all that is necessary is that they both freely declare that they are now married to each other. If they have promised that they will marry, they automatically become married if they have sex. However, marriage is usually performed in an elaborate Church ceremony, with lots of witnesses, because that avoids later disputes.

A couple may not marry if one is already married, if one or both are too young to understand, or if they are too closely related. Otherwise, there is no way to reverse a marriage. The Pope does grant annulments, but these are simply official recognition that a couple was never married in the first place.

Extreme Unction is given to the dying, and involves anointing with oil. It is not essential for passage to heaven, but it gives a person a chance to confess any remaining sins, and thus improves their chances of salvation.

Eucharist is the highest of the sacraments. In imitation of the Last Supper before Christ’s crucifixion, a priest blesses bread and wine, and then distributes the bread to the congregation. The clergy also drink the wine. In the Eucharist, also called the Mass, the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. They still appear to be bread and wine, but their underlying substance is the true body of God. This is a common argument for why priests should be particularly pure: their hands will touch
the body of God. For the same reason, people are required to confess all their sins before receiving the Eucharist, and as a result, most lay people only actually participate once a year or so, generally at Easter, although they attend Mass most weeks. The consecrated bread is referred to as the Host, and popular superstition attributes many powers to it.


There are two main festivals in the Christian year, Easter and Christmas, and each has a cluster of lesser festivals surrounding it.

Easter is the most important festival, commemorating Christ’s death and resurrection. Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection, is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. This means that it is on a different date every year, and one of the main uses of astronomy and mathematics is working out the date of Easter.

The preparations for Easter start nearly six weeks beforehand. Lent consists of the forty days before Easter, and is a period of abstinence in which Christians remember the forty days that Christ spent fasting in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry. The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday, on which people confess their sins, and are marked with ashes as a sign of repentance. During Lent people are supposed to abstain from sex, meat, and most fats. It is an inappropriate season for any sort of celebration.

The Sunday before Easter Sunday is Palm Sunday, commemorating Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. This is often marked with a procession to the church, carrying some local substitute for palm branches. The week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday is Holy Week, because it commemorates many important events.

The Thursday of Holy Week is Maundy Thursday, marking the Last Supper, when Christ instituted the Eucharist. The Friday is Good Friday, marking the crucifixion. This is a very solemn festival, and in many churches the Host is symbolically buried, as Christ was buried. Demons and other spirits are much freer to act than usual between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday commemorates the resurrection, and is a joyful celebration. People who only receive the Host once per year usually do so on this day.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, and happens on the 25th of December. The preceding four Sundays mark the season of Advent, when people prepare for God’s incarnation. Christmas celebrations last twelve days, from Christmas day to Twelfth Night, January 5th, which commemorates the arrival of the magi to worship the Christ-child.

The year is also peppered with saints’ days, which commemorate particular saints. The importance of these days depends on the local importance of the saint, so that the saint to whom a church is dedicated gets particular attention.


Saints are dead Christians who have entered heaven. From heaven, they can watch over earth and intercede with God for living human beings. As they are pure, their intercession is particularly effective, and so it is common for living people to ask saints to intercede with God on their behalf. This seems a lot like praying to saints, but it is not the same as praying to God; saints are never worshiped, only asked to take the petitioner’s request to God.

The living do not, in general, know the fate of the dead, and the Church acknowledges that there are many unknown saints. However, some people live lives of exemplary holiness, and many people are sure that they are among the saints. If prayers to this person result in miracles, the Church confirms that this individual is among the saints, in a process known as canonization. During the twelfth century this process becomes more formal, but in the early years many saints are accepted in a local area with no intervention from the wider church.

Important saints include the twelve apostles, particular Saint Peter and Saint John, the four Evangelists (authors of the gospels), Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (the apostle), John the Baptist, Saint Paul, the apostle to the gentiles and author of much of the New Testament, early martyrs, including Saint Alban, the first British martyr, and the archangels Michael and Gabriel. More important than all of these, and second only to the Godhead, is the Virgin Mary, the mother of God. She is no more worshiped than any other saint is, but she is believed to have particularly strong influence with God who is, after all, her son.

The Last Judgment

Time will come to an end, when Christ returns in power and majesty to judge the living and the dead. This Last Judgment will be preceded by the coming of Antichrist, who will lead many people away from God. But Christ shall return, Antichrist shall be defeated, and the sinners shall be cast into the lake of fire for eternity while the saved enter the New Jerusalem to enjoy a perfect vision of God for eternity.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2011, 02:21:04 AM »
High (or "Classical") Middle Ages (c. 1087-1154) continued

From the Medieval Player's Manual by Green Ronin Press:

The Church

The Church is the body of Christ’s faithful. The Church Militant is the Church on Earth, as opposed to the Church Triumphant, which is composed of the saints in heaven. The Church Militant, then, is also a human institution, with all the politics that entails.

It is, on the whole, a good institution. The men in positions of power have the interests of their inferiors at heart far more often than the nobility do, and the Church often acts to defend the poor and weak. It is not perfect, however, and is capable of misjudging the best thing to do in a situation. In addition, there are a few selfish or positively malicious individuals who manage to rise through the ranks. God does look after his faithful, however, and no one truly evil has ever risen to the highest offices.


Everyone in Western Christendom is a member of a parish. A parish is centered on a single church, in which a priest, called the rector, is supposed to serve. People are supposed to confess to their parish priest, and receive all the sacraments from him. The parish church is one of the main meeting places, and often the largest and highest quality building in the area. As a result, it sometimes gets used for storing furniture or supplies, a practice on which the Church frowns.

All laymen (Christians who are not clergy) are expected to go to their parish priest with any religious problems. Wealthy and powerful individuals may get permission to have a personal confessor, or chaplain, and people who are traveling are allowed to go to the local church, but otherwise people are not allowed to choose their priests.

Parishes vary considerably in size, from a block or two in London to large parishes covering substantial areas of Yorkshire. They are still being organized in the early twelfth century, and in some parts of England the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon style of a large church, with multiple priests, serving a large area survives. These areas are slowly being broken up into smaller parishes.

Many different people appoint rectors. The default position is that they are appointed by the bishop of the diocese, and he must approve any appointment made by someone else. Many parishes are under the control of monasteries, and in that case the abbot appoints the rector. In other parishes, local lay lords have the right to appoint whomever they wish, subject to the bishop’s agreement. This is often seen as a good career for younger sons, who will not inherit the lay position.

A rector need not oversee the parish by himself. He should reside there, although not all do, but he may appoint a curate, another priest to assist him, out of his income. The rector may choose his curate freely, as long as he has been ordained a priest. In addition, the rector may pay deacons and subdeacons to assist him with those parts of the role that do not involve administering the sacraments.

Bishops and the Diocese

The bishops are, in many ways, the highest authority in the Church. Even the Pope is primarily the Bishop of Rome. They have authority over an area, called their diocese, which varies enormously in size. Dioceses in England and Wales are very large by European standards; those in northern France are more typical. In the course of the late eleventh and early twelfth century, some reorganization of dioceses, and creation of new ones, takes place, removing some of the very largest.

In principle, the bishop is responsible for investigating the behavior of all Christians in the diocese. In practice, the bishop concentrates on the clergy, relying on parish priests to keep an eye on the laity. Bishops investigate their dioceses through visitations, when they visit a parish church or monastery, and make sure that everything is in order. Often there are minor problems, and occasionally the bishop finds things in such disarray that he has to take radical action, including suppressing a monastery and sending its monks elsewhere.

Bishops are supported by archdeacons, who are their main deputies. In the largest dioceses, such as Lincoln and York, there are many archdeacons, who achieve almost the authority of the bishop within their area.

Archbishops (Canterbury and York in England) are responsible for coordinating the bishops in a particular area, called a province. Each archbishop has a diocese for which he is the bishop, but outside that area he does not usually have the authority to perform visitations.

This picture is complicated by many exemptions and privileges. There are a number of monasteries which are exempt from all ecclesiastical authority other than the Pope’s. There are others which are exempt from the authority of the local bishop, but which are under the archbishop. The same applies to some parish churches. A few monasteries, such as Glastonbury in the west of England, are even exempt from the authority of the King, in particular, limited respects and areas. For the most part, these exemptions are respected, but they can lead to lengthy court cases when people disagree about the details.

Bishops are nominally chosen by the members of their diocese. In practice, this means that they are elected by the chapter of their cathedral. About half of the English cathedral chapters are made up of monks, the other half of secular canons (see next section). The King must approve the elected bishop, because he is a powerful noble of the realm, but the King is not supposed to impose bishops on reluctant chapters. This does, of course, happen.

Regulars and Seculars

The clergy is divided into two groups, the regulars and the seculars. The secular clergy, which includes all parish priests and most bishops, is responsible for dealing with the world, helping laymen and women to live holy lives and ministering to the sick and needy. The regular clergy are supposed to follow rules that restrict their contact with the world, helping primarily through their prayers.

Regular clergy typically take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They swear to own no personal property, abstain from sex, and obey the head of their monastery. Most regular clergy also promise stability, agreeing to remain in one monastery. They move, or leave the monastery grounds, only if the head of the monastery commands it.

Secular clergy are generally required to be chaste, but they do not take vows of poverty, and they are expected to spend much of their time involved in the world. This leads to a split in attitudes towards the regulars. On the one hand, the regulars take more severe vows, and are thus holier than the seculars. In addition, most people have little contact with regular clergy, so they do not see their faults and foibles. This tends to create a picture of monks and nuns as superior to seculars. On the other hand, many monasteries are extremely rich, and tales of monastic corruption are far from uncommon. In addition, monasteries are often harsh landlords, showing little compassion for their tenants. Thus, it is quite common for people to think that monks in general are good, while thinking that the local monks they have actually met are all corrupt.

The Tithe

The Church is entitled to one tenth of everything of which God gives the increase. This, essentially, means agricultural products, and as the economy is overwhelmingly agricultural, this means that the Church gets about a tenth of the wealth. The tithe is not a voluntary donation, and many churchmen are harsh in collecting it. In theory it always goes to the rector of the parish, who is supposed to give a third to his bishop, a third to the poor, and keep a third for himself.

In practice, many factors interfere with this. First, some rectors do not live in their parishes, instead putting a curate into the position and paying him out of the tithe. This means that the person in the parish gets much less than one third of the tithe, while an absentee gets most of the benefit. Some absentee rectors hold more than one parish, which makes them quite wealthy. This is called pluralism, and is not popular with Church reformers.

Second, many parishes are controlled by monasteries. The monastery is the rector, and gets the tithe. The monks pay a curate to look after the parish, and thus act much like an absentee rector. Many monasteries hold many parishes, but this practice is not as unpopular with the reformers as is pluralism.

Third, the poor rarely get their full third of the tithe. In some cases, this is because the parish is too poor to support a rector, let alone give alms. This often happens with urban parishes, because the tithe covers few urban activities. In other cases, it is because the rector simply refuses to pass it on. In still others, it is because the resources are nominally passed to the poor, but actually go to a wealthy monastery.

This is not to say that the poor usually get nothing. Most parishes do support the destitute, just not to the full extent that they should.

The money that goes to the bishop normally disappears into diocesan administration and supporting the bishop’s household; the poor rarely see much of it.

These factors mean that most people resent paying the tithe, and indeed much of the tension between the Church and the people can be traced back to this.

Ecclesiastical Wealth

The tithe is not the only source of ecclesiastical wealth. Many monasteries and bishoprics also own manors, and collect the income from those just as mundane nobles do. Wealthy churchmen risk becoming corrupted and falling from their high calling. Many abbots, in particular, fail to live up to the standards expected of monks. While they do not, technically, own anything, they have complete control over the use of very large amounts of money.

Many radical priests preach against the extreme wealth of the higher clergy, and a few believe that all clergy should be truly poor, just as Christ was. This is not, however, a common view at this time. Most reformers simply want greater simplicity, enough wealth to support the clergy and give them time to carry out their spiritual duties, but not enough to pay for fine clothes, feasts, and great retinues of servants.

Canon Law

The Church has its own law, canon law, and members of the clergy are, in theory, immune from prosecution under the law of the state. Any ordained man is a member of the clergy; nuns fall under the jurisdiction of canon law as well. Many scholars are in minor orders, and a certain degree of learning is supposed to be a precondition for ordination. Thus, it is not uncommon to check for benefit of clergy by seeing whether someone can read.

Canon law is set by Papal pronouncements, and interpreted by canon lawyers. In theory canon law cases are judged by bishops, but most bishops appoint deputies to hear cases for them. Canon law procedures are complex and not entirely clear, and a case can be spun out for a very long time. In addition, canon law does not hand out physical punishment, as the Church should not shed blood, and does not allow ordeals or torture. A common punishment is to strip someone of their clerical status, but this is much less serious
than being hanged. As a result, people accused of crimes often try to get clerical status, if they can, and kings try to restrict the application of these privileges, to stop people literally getting away with murder.

Non-clergy also fall under canon law, but for more restricted offenses. Most sexual offenses are tried by canon law, including adultery and fornication, and disputed wills come before the bishop’s court. Heresy is also within the remit of the ecclesiastical courts.


A heretic is a Christian who does not believe as the Church believes. Jews, therefore, are not heretics, as they are not Christians. Heresy is an offense under canon law, and grounds for excommunication: expulsion from the community of Christians. It is also, technically, grounds for execution, but that penalty is rarely applied. In addition, only contumacious heretics are punished. A contumacious heretic is one who refuses to admit his error when confronted with it by the Church. Any heretic who admits that he was wrong and swears that he rejects his former errors is forgiven, and escapes punishment. The Church does not punish mistakes, only refusal to correct mistakes.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2011, 02:49:19 AM »
High (or "Classical") Middle Ages (c. 1087-1154) continued

Class and Race information

From the Medieval Player's Manual by Green Ronin Press:

Clerics and Paladins

The militant focus of the cleric class means that it is not generally appropriate for priests, or indeed for other clergy. Most men of God are expected not to fight, even under provocation. There are, however, exceptions: the militant orders such as the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller. These groups are founded around the beginning of the twelfth century, and are dedicated to fighting the enemies of the Church, primarily the Saracens.

Clerics function well as the priests of those orders, with extensive military training but emphasizing prayer and miracles. Such characters do not have a natural place in the lands of Northwestern Europe, but this makes them good player characters. Without a natural role, they are much more free to follow up on adventures, and this is the
sort of thing that Knights Templar would be expected to do.

Christian clerics must be of good alignment, and be ordained as priests (see the priest class, above, for details on this). As God is the source of all things, they may choose any two domains which have no evil domain spells. Christian clerics always channel positive energy and cast cure spells spontaneously. As for priests, player character clerics may be female, as long as they are pretending to be men. The social consequences of being found out are the same as for any woman ordained to the priesthood.

Paladins, as holy warriors, fi t well into the Church in this period. Pope Urban fi rst preaches the Crusades in 1096, and, as mentioned above, the Knights Templar and Hospitaller are founded in the early twelfth century. While the Church expects all such warriors to be formally affiliated with it, God has no such requirements, and player character paladins may be free agents. Such holy warriors are not ordained, and thus only come under canon law (above) if they are members of some order. On the other hand, while a female paladin would have to pretend to be male, the social consequences of being found out would be somewhat less severe.

Holy warriors, particularly paladins, face the problem that fighting is, in itself, sinful. Thus, strictly speaking, any paladin who engages in combat could lose his status. While this is unplayable, it is important to retain the idea that God disapproves of most violence. God approves of warriors defending the helpless, or even the apparently helpless, and self-defense is not a sin, although it is not a virtue. Aggression is much harder to justify. Rescuing prisoners is, effectively, defending the helpless, but attacking someone because they have the capacity to attack you, appear to be evil, and seem likely to attack you in the future is not. Sometimes, God commands His servants to attack without waiting to be attacked, but this is rare, and pretending to hear God’s command is an even greater sin than violence. In general, then, paladins should not initiate violence unless they have a direct and unmistakable command from God.


Fighters are relatively unchanged. Most are either knights in the service of a feudal lord or mercenaries, though sometimes they are soldiers in the King's armies.


Most rogues are bandits living in the wilderness, robbing travelers unlucky enough to encounter them. They tend to have more wilderness-type skills than urban ones, but are otherwise unchanged.


Most rangers are groundskeepers for the King's forests. Few have the magical powers of other D&D rangers, though this changes once they leave the Gothic Earth and enter the Demiplane of Dread.


Sorcerers are rare but otherwise unchanged. Most people from this time period assume that sorcerers gain their powers from demonic heritage and are feared and resented. Their powers hampered by the Red Death's corruption of the world's magic, but this restriction is lifted upon entering the Demiplane of Dread.


Wizards of this time must have a scholarly pursuit such as astrology or alchemy, as the scholarly mage of the later Elizabethan era (listed further above). Like sorcerers, their powers are greatly reduced due to the Red Death, but this no longer applies once they enter the Demiplane of Dread.


Most bards of this time were traveling performers who were often employed by feudal lords to entertain during feasts or festivals. Their magic is as sorcerers above, though most bards try to hide their magical ability.


This class is not appropriate for this time and place


While there were many ecclesiastical monasteries during this time, the monks at these monasteries did not train themselves physically like the ascetics of this classic D&D class. Any monk-class characters from this time period would be from the far east, such as India or China or Japan, though there was virtually no direct contact between East Asia and Europe during this time period.


Druids during this period of Europe were very few and highly secretive, and are unlikely to reveal themselves for fear of being persecuted as witches.


As is normal with any period of the Gothic Earth, the overwhelming majority of characters will be human. Nonhumans do exist, though they are Shadow-kind (see the d20 Modern rulebook). Nonhuman races during this period are much the same as those listed for the later Elizabethan Period listed above.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 09:02:15 PM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2011, 04:12:40 AM »
The Crusades (1095-1192)

This material covers the first three Crusades, when the future outlook for Outremer (Christian Palestine) seemed brightest. Although early Crusades were often marred by episodes of brutality and religious intolerance, they also produced tales of lofty ideals, courage, chivalry, legendary relics, and divine visitations that are absent from later Crusades. Adventurers could thrive in a strange and alien land, and people fervently believed in the power of miracles and the supernatural.

The historical and cultural backdrops of the Crusades would be very lengthy to describe in detail. Below will only be summaries. Players making characters from this time and place are strongly advised to read up on the history of the Crusades:

From HR7: The Crusades

The Crusaders

The Crusades comprise eight major holy wars and countless lesser conflicts from the 9th to 11th centuries. Christians of Western Europe tried to conquer or maintain possession of Jerusalem and the lands of the Bible, held at that time by the forces of Islam. The Franks (western Europeans who were once a part of Charlemagne’s empire) captured the Holy Land and established the first Crusader States. These conquerors easily adopted the idea of a holy war, not only because of religious arguments but also because their popular culture and proud history embraced warfare. In the modern age, politics and religion have split into separate issues, but at the time of the Crusades these two aspects of life were inextricably intertwined.

Though there were certainly a few exceptions, the vast majority of the Crusaders were genuinely motivated by religious idealism. They believed that they were fighting a just and holy war, officially sanctioned by the Pope. The terrible hardships of the grim, 3,000-mile journey from Western Europe to Palestine required not only the strongest of religious faiths, but also a considerable amount of material treasure to complete; many knights sold or mortgaged their lands to go. The Crusades were sponsored by the
wealthiest members of medieval society the church and state-for religious, not temporal, gain.

When Urban II called for Christendom to take up the cross and liberate the Eastern Church from the ”barbarians,” he invoked the concept of a holy war. Acting as the successor of St. Peter, and claiming the direct authorization of Christ, the Pope supported
the First Crusade like no war before it. Following the example of their spiritual leader, bishops and priests across Europe portrayed the Crusade as an honorable and Christian act of love and liberation.

By the time of the Crusades, the Latin Church had already developed a theological basis for sacred warfare. The devout knights and warriors of Western Europe found a moral justification for violence extremely important, inasmuch as Jesus was clearly a pacifist in word and deed. As recorded in the New Testament, Jesus exhorted his followers to love their enemies and to turn the other cheek when they were attacked. When arrested for heresy and treason, Jesus did not verbally defend himself -- he even rebuked one of his own disciples for attacking the authorities with a sword. St. Paul, who spread the religion to the Roman Empire, reaffirmed the pacifistic tenets of Christianity.

The Greek Orthodox Church regarded violence as deplorable and unchristian. During war, Byzantine warriors were forbidden the holy sacraments. The Empire further distanced its citizens from violence by hiring foreign mercenaries for its defense. The Eastern Church had the luxury of developing behind the shield of the powerful and stable Byzantine Empire. The Western Latin Church, however, faced several barbarian invasions during the Dark Ages and developed a theology permitting warfare in order to save itself from extinction.

As early as the 5th century, St. Augustine reasoned that violence was a morally neutral act, shaped by the attacker’s intent into a good or evil deed. Violence committed out of anger, hatred, or animosity was sinful and evil. The same violent act, committed in the
spirit of Christian love, was morally justified, just as when a father punishes his son for his own good, or when Jesus drove the moneylenders from the temple of Solomon. Although St. Augustine considered a war against Christians wrong, he found a holy war against pagans perfectly justifiable. The Christians, who believed (at first) that the Saracens were all pagans and heathen barbarians, could thus fight a holy war against them.

It is unlikely that most of the knights in Pope Urban II’s audience would have understood the convoluted and complex reasoning of St. Augustine. Instead, the Pope appealed to the Norman knights of France in simpler terms that they could understand. Urban spoke of a vendetta, calling on the knights to avenge the dishonor of Christ and the greater family of Christianity. The knights of Europe still clung to their primal views of honor and revenge at the start of the First Crusade, although they were exploring a new identity which embraced both Christianity and the noble values of their antique, warrior heritage.

While the clergy pondered theological justifications for violence, the typical knight of the Crusading period looked increasingly to the ancient legends of Charlemagne and Roland for role models. At the time of the First Crusade, a common knight did not look to
the romantic ideals of chivalry and courtly love for inspiration; the knights and militant nobility of the late 11th century were only beginning to develop a formalized code of ethics, due mostly to urgent prodding from the Church.

After the disintegration of Charlemagne’s empire in the 8th and 9th centuries, the political structure of France fragmented into increasingly small domains and fiefs, each dominated by a strong, centralized family. Knights owed fealty and homage both to their liege lord and to their family. They swore to uphold the family honor, and their lord’s, at the cost of their lives. Bloody feuds between noble families were extremely common during this era. These vendettas tended to escalate in an ever-widening cycle of violence and could span many generations. The unfortunate commoners suffered as well, when their plowed fields became a recurring battlefield. Agricultural yields plummeted, and peasants starved.

During this violent time, the Church desperately tried to convince the vengeful knights to adopt more ethical, Christian behavior. The knighthood slowly began to seek a new identity, and looked back in history to the glowing legends of Charlemagne. Around the time of the Crusades, medieval troubadours composed chansons de geste, songs of epic feats or heroic deeds about Charlemagne and his legendary Peers, the first paladins.

The Song of Roland, composed in Europe just after the fall of Jerusalem, vividly captures both the Crusading mentality and portrays a chivalric ideal that contemporary knights were to admire and emulate. During 778, Charlemagne’s rear guard was slaughtered
by Gascons and Basques as the emperor withdrew from Spain across the Pyrenees. In the Song of Roland, however, the archenemy becomes the Saracens, the hated enemy of the Crusades, and the poem becomes an epic struggle between Christianity and paganism.

The hero of the poem is Roland, a paragon of knightly virtues: A knight should have such valor, who bears arms and sits astride a good horse. In battle he is strong and fierce, or else he is not worth four pence. Roland may not be terribly bright, but he is definitively strong and fierce, slaying Saracens by the score on the battlefield with Durendal, a holy sword of terrible destruction. The poet takes great pains to describe how Durendal’s hilt is inlaid with Christian relics: Saint Peter‘s tooth and some of Saint Basil’s blood; some hair from the head of my lord Saint Denis and part of the raiment of the Blessed Virgin. In the poem, the Archbishop Turpin fights side by side with Roland, dealing a thousand blows or more to the Saracens. When the priest’s lance shatters, he takes out his sword, Almace, and continues to hack at Saracens until the tide of infidels finally overcomes him. The Song of Roland portrays the union between Christianity and violence, in language that even a dim knight could comprehend.

Eventually, Lady Eleanor of Aquitaine, and her son, King Richard Lionheart, added the romantic dimensions of artistic grace and courtly love to knighthood during the Second and Third Crusades. Richard displaced Roland as the new paragon
of knightly virtues, not simply because of his legendary military prowess but also for his talents at poetry, dancing, singing, and the lute. In Lady Eleanor’s tradition of courtly love, a true knight regarded his beloved lady like a porcelain statue and worshiped her from afar. The Crusades played a pivotal role in the transformation of knighthood from a ruthless and vengeful aristocracy into a more noble, religious, and somewhat romantic caste of warriors.

The Crusades affected all elements of Western society. The Church mobilized to morally justify and spread news of the expeditions across all of Europe. The aristocracy embraced a new ethical code, based partly on Church teachings and partly on the romantic legends of the Carolingian dynasty. The most lowly peasant became a soldier in Christ’s army.

From the outset of the crusading movement, Pope Urban made it clear that everyone (except monks) could participate in the liberation of Jerusalem and save the Holy Sepulcher from the Saracens. Pilgrims were as numerous as soldiers on the first crusades. In some cases, such as the ill-fated People’s Expedition of 1096, pilgrims even outnumbered soldiers. Impoverished and sponsorless, the majority could not hope to make the long, difficult journey without the constant charitv and almsgiving of the aristocracy.

Parish priests and traveling preachers spread news of the Crusade everywhere in Western Europe. The Crusades became extremely popular among the common elements of medieval society, because every member of the Christian community felt as though they could contribute to this glorious cause. Even if they did not make the journey themselves, villagers might pool their resources to send a single member of their tiny hamlet. At the least, they showed generous hospitality to Crusaders who traveled through their village. They donated their wealth to the Military Orders, the defenders of the Holy Land.

By participating in a Crusade, even a humble serf could ensure the eternal salvation of his or her soul. Pilgrims from as far away as England and Norway left the nameless villages of their birth and traveled thousands of miles to a magical and legendary country heralded
in the Bible. Unless they came from a large town or city, the majority of pilgrims had never strayed more than a few miles from home. They had no concept of the vast distance separating Europe from Palestine. Despite the hardships and uncertainties of travel, thousands of men and women traveled the entire distance on foot, upholding this holy enterprise.

People clearly thought about the Crusades in many ways. Some sought a papal indulgence,a document that absolved the bearer from all Earthly sins and crimes. Others were convinced by secular debates. Some preachers used a feudal argument in favor of the Crusade: Just as serfs were obliged to fight in their lord’s service, so too could Christians be called to fight for Christ. Some viewed the Crusade as a feudal obligation to God.

Those living in Europe had difficulty distinguishing between the physical Jerusalem in Palestine and the spiritual capitol proclaimed in the Bible. Many embarked on the Crusades envisioning a rich land of flowing milk and honey, where bread fell from Heaven, far away from the famine, disease, and misery at home. To the naive peasant, the Holy Land of the Bible promised a new beginning for both their spiritual and temporal lives.

Before the expeditions to the Holy Land, Europe was struggling to shake off the stagnation, decay, and destruction of the Dark Ages. With the Crusades Europeans became the Champions of Christendom and the Defenders of the Holy Sepulcher. Perhaps the key to this startling transformation lies in the creation of an archenemy: the Saracens.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2011, 05:52:48 AM »
The Crusades (1095-1192) (continued)

From HR7: The Crusades

The Saracens

Many accounts of the Crusades either downplay or completely neglect the Islamic perspective on the conflict, focusing entirely on the Frankish plight in Outremer. Europeans had great difficulty in distinguishing between Muslims of Turkish, Arabian, or Moorish lineage. To most Westerners, the Muslims were all heathen Saracens, whether they lived in the Middle East, North Africa, or Spain. They seldom overcame their ignorance, for even after the unprovoked Christian assaults on northern Syria and Palestine, most Muslims rarely encountered these blond, fair-skinned warriors -- these Franj.


Islam is one of the three great monotheistic religions of the world, along with Judaism and Christianity. The word islam literally means "submission"; its followers the Muslims, submit themselves to the will of Allah the omnipotent God. The first tenet of Islam is that there is no god but God. Islam is  founded on the monotheistic traditions Judaism and Christianity, and Muslims regard Allah as identical to the Christian God. In the Book of Genesis, God promised Abraham that He would make his son's progeny into a great nation. Arabs believe that they are descended from Abraham's son Ishmael, and even today still refer to themselves as the Sons of Abraham.

Islam also maintains that Muhammad is the Prophet of God. Muhammad ibn Abdullah founded the religion of Islam in the early 7th century A.D. Muslims believe that God contacted Muhammad in a series of overwhelming revelations. The Prophet learned these
revelations by heart, and afterward recited them to his followers. During the mid-7th century Muhammad's literate disciples transcribed these accounts into the Qur'an ("recitation"), the holy book of Islam.

About two centuries after Muhammad's death, his followers compiled accounts of the Prophet's life, including all his words and actions, in a body of work known as the Sunna ("the way"). Together with the Qur'an, the Sunna forms the foundation of an ethical personal life for a pious Muslim. In addition to guiding the personal life of a Muslim, Islam also provides a complete guide for societal interactions, a body of holy laws known as the Sharia.

During his life, a pious Muslim should uphold the five Pillars of Faith. The first is a profession of belief. ("There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the prophet of God.") This is all that Islam requires for official conversion; it does not practice baptism or similar initiatory ceremonies. The second Pillar stipulates that a Muslim should pray five times a day (45 minutes to an hour before dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall), facing the direction of the holy city of Mecca. Worshipers must wash their head, hands and feet before prayer, and they must pray in Arabic. Traditionally the sick, travelers, warriors awaiting battle, and pregnant women are exempt from the obligation to pray.

Other Pillars require the devout Muslim to give alms to the poor on a regular basis (a religious and legal tax called zakat "purification"), and devote the first month of the Muslim lunar calendar (Ramadan, ”the scorcher”) to ritual fasting between dawn and sunset.
Finally, a Muslim should make a pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca at least once during his or her life, if personal health, finances, and circumstances allow.

Muslim doctrine forbids idolatry and the consumption of wine and pork; as usually interpreted, the former prohibits artistic representation of living creatures. It details a complete way of life, not just spiritual life but also practical matters such as criminal law, contracts, banking practices, evidence, manners, and deportment. Islam recognizes no distinction between the religious and the secular.

Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem are the three holiest cities of Islam. Muhammad was born in Mecca (c. 570) and lived there until his new religion’s growing political influence gradually drew the antagonism of local authorities. In 622, the Prophet and his followers emigrated to Medina, where Muhammad lived in exile and built an Islamic society free from religious persecution. This exile, or hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. Muhammad returned to Mecca in 630, under truce with the rulers of the city. When the Meccans broke the terms of their own truce and attacked Muhammad’s followers, the Muslims conquered the city and soon reconsecrated Mecca’s pagan shrines to Islam. The Great Mosque of Mecca became the center of the Muslim faith.

Jerusalem was first considered a holy city to Islam, simply because of its association with the Judaic prophets and Jesus. (Islam recognizes a line of prophets before Muhammad, including Jesus, whom the Muslims revere as “Aysa bin-Miriam.” Muhammad is considered the last and greatest of the prophets.) In 620, Muslims believe that Muhammad flew from Mecca to Jerusalem. From the Rock in the old Jewish Temple, he stepped into Heaven and consulted with Moses and Jesus. Muslims thus consider Jerusalem to be the third holiest city of Islam (after Mecca and Medina), for its association with Muhammad’s mystical Night Journey.

The Muslim World

By the time of the Crusades, the Islamic age of conquest in the 8th and 9th centuries had long ago burned itself out. During that time the armies of Islam swept across the Middle East, Persia, North Africa, and Spain. Provinces in this vast empire were ruled by
sultans, according to the authority of the Caliph-the descendant of Muhammad and the central political figure of the Islamic World. Perhaps the greatest and most celebrated Caliph during this era was Haroun al-Rashid, immortalized in the fantastic tales of The Thousand and One Nights.

By the end of the 11th century, however, the Muslim world was deeply divided. A rival Caliphate had arisen in Egypt, whose descendants were related to Ali ibn Talid, Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin. The Fatimid Caliphs of Egypt based their rulership on this premise, revolting against the authority of Abu Bakr, the first Caliph of Baghdad. The supporters of the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt were called Shi’ah i-Ali (”the followers of Ali”), or Shi’ites. Supporters the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad were Sunnis, because they (in their view) followed the Sunna (”the way”) of Muhammad. These sects were bitter rivals, but their rivalry was political, not religious. Members of both political factions were Muslims, observing the Qur'an, the Sharia, and the Pillars of Islam.

Whereas the Fatimid Caliph retained its sovereignty, the Caliph in Baghdad was essentially a puppet of the Turks. The Seljuq tribe of Turks had swept down out of East Asia and conquered much of Persia. In 1055 the Seljuqs captured Baghdad, and in 1071 they decisively crippled the Byzantine army, resulting in the dialogue between the Byzantine emperor and the Pope that spurred the First Crusade.

The Seljuqs converted to Islam and preserved the Caliph in Baghdad, but the chief sultan of the Turks held the true reins of power in the Sunni Muslim world. The Seljuqs allowed the Caliph to retain the symbols of his rank and prestige -- the palaces, the respect, the harim -- but completely excluded him from all political and military decisions. The majestic city of Baghdad slowly fell into ruin and disrepair. Hordes of drunken Turkish soldiers wandered the city streets by night, contributing to the mounting urban chaos. By the time of the Crusades, the Caliph of Baghdad had become a living symbol of the decay in the Arab world and its irretrievable past glories.

The Turkish princes were generally a cruel and ruthless lot. On gaining power, a Turkish lord quickly sought to exterminate political rivals, who might seek to overthrow him at a later date. Usually this included his late father's harim, his half-brothers, and sometimes even his blood relatives. This custom did not foster close relationships between rival princes. Given the brutality of succession battles, the Turks developed the role of atabeg to protect and care for a young heir until he reached majority and could fight for himself. Sometimes an atabeg refused to relinquish his power, and in this case, the former servant or slave could found his own ruling dynasty.

Although the sultan of Baghdad theoretically controlled all the Turkish lords in his empire, in reality provinces were practically independent of any centralized authority. In each province the Turkish princes were caught up in their own petty, dynastic squabbles. Barkiyaruq, the Turkish sultan of Baghdad, was no exception; when al-Harawi arrived at Baghdad in 1099 to protest the loss of Jerusalem, the sultan was engaged in battle north of the city, fighting his own brother Muhammad. During this conflict, which the Arabs watched with bewildered amusement, Baghdad changed hands between Barkiyaruq and Muhammad eight times in less than three years.

The political situation in Egypt was hardly better. There, a corrupt administration of advisors, known as viziers, mismanaged the government under the theoretical authority of the Fatimid Caliph. For years the Egyptian viziers sent massive invasions to reconquer Jerusalem. Each time, the invasion was blunted by too little courage, decisiveness, or proper planning. Though the resources of Egypt were staggering, and it sometimes defeated the Franj on the battlefield, the inept government of the Fatimid viziers never reconquered Jerusalem.

During the First Crusade, the major political powers of the Muslim world were either impotent or incompetant. Throughout Syria, Persia, and Anatolia, Turkish princes fought their siblings in constant, bitter feuds. In Baghdad the Turks forced the Abbasid Caliph into the perfumed pleasures of his harim. The viziers in Egypt bungled the administration and military operations of the Fatimid Caliph. In short, the Muslim world was fragmented, in chaos, and ripe for conquest by the Franj.

In the early 12th century, the Muslim world had largely forgotten about the Jihad, a religious war against the enemies of Islam. The explosive expansion of their religion during the 8th century had faded to a dim memory of greatness. After the fall of Jerusalem, many prominent religious leaders, like qadi (judge) Abu Sa'ad al-Harawi, tried to convince the Abbasid Caliph to mount a jihad against the Franj. Not until nearly two decades later, however, did the Turkish sultan appoint a prominent military figure, an atabeg named Zengi, to deal with the Franj.

After the First Crusade, morale among the Muslims reached its nadir. The Franj enjoyed a fearsome reputation among Turks and Arabs alike. Following their spectacular successes at Antioch and Jerusalem, the Franj seemed almost unstoppable. They humiliated powerful Egypt on a yearly basis, and they raided enemy lands with impunity. Except for the vassals of Egypt, most of the nearby, terrified Muslim leaders paid them a handsome tribute to secure the peace. Zengi began the long, slow process of reversing this Muslim perception of the Franj.

Originally given dominion over the lands surrounding Mosul and Aleppo, Zengi began a campaign against the Franj in 1132 with the help of his chief lieutenant, Sawar. Over five years he reduced all important castles along the Edessene frontier and defeated the Franj army in pitched battle. In 1144, he captured the city of Edessa and effectively neutralized the first domain established by the Crusaders.

Zengi was the first Muslim leader to stand up to the Franj and not only survive, but triumph. He proved that the Franj could be stopped. The leadership in Baghdad approved of Zengi's success, and soon a long string of titles preceded his name: The
Emir, the General, the Great, the Just, the Aid of God, the Triumphant, the Unique, the Pillar of Religion, the Cornerstone of Islam...Honor of Kings, Supporter of Sultans...the Sun of the Deserving...Protector of the Prince of the Faithful
. Zengi took delight at this flood of praise, and he insisted that his heralds and scribes use the entire honorific name in his correspondence.

Although Zengi was a great military hero, he was simply too ruthless and cruel in his campaigns against Damascus to motivate his fellow Muslims in a religious war. One drunken night in 1146 he found fault with his personal eunuch, Lulu ("pearl"), and promised to have him executed for incompetence. That evening, while Zengi slept in a drunken stupor, Lulu grabbed his master’s dagger, stabbed Zengi repeatedly, and fled under cover of darkness.

Zengi’s heir, Nur al-Din, and his successor, Saladin, were both extremely pious. They rigidly observed the Sunna and the Pillars of Islam in both their personal and public lives. Each surrounded himself with religious scholars, theologians, and men of learning. In
addition, each pursued an active campaign to spread religious fervor and propaganda among his Muslim subjects. With his sterling religious example, Nur al-din began-and his successor, Saladin, cultivated a religious war, a jihad, against the Franj. Whereas Zengi could rely only on his own soldiers, the call for jihad attracted Muslim soldiers from all across Arabia, Egypt, and Persia. This massive army let Saladin smash the Franj at the Battle of Hattin and blunt the force of Richard Lionheart’s Third Crusade.

The fire of Saladin’s jihad burned out in 1193 when he died. The sultan’s brother, Saphadin, had no more stomach for war. Once the Lionheart left for Europe, the military might of the Franj was effectively neutralized and there was no need for further
bloodshed. For the time being, Saphadin believed that peaceful coexistence with the Franj was still possible. Many decades later, a jihad would finally purge the Franj from Syria and Palestine. Until 1291, however, faithful Muslims still shared a small part of their homeland with the Franj.

Arab Culture

Though somewhat lacking in resolve on the battlefield, the Arabs enjoyed a rich cultural tradition that far surpassed that of the comparatively barbarous Franj. This section highlights the major differences between Arab
and Franj culture.

Intellectually, Ayab scientists of the 11th century far surpassed the erudition of western scholars. The Arabs translated the great works of the Greeks and built on this legendary body of knowledge. Arab mathematicians invented algebra, accurately measured the Earth’s diameter, and determined the exact length of the year long before Western Europe attempted these feats. Arab alchemists searched for the key to turning base metals into gold while Western witches mixed herbal medicines in cauldrons.

Arab physicians were recognized as the best healers of the world, far surpassing the barbaric barber-surgeons of the West. Though the Franks regarded their Hospital of St. John as a major accomplishment, to the Arabs it was a terrifying charnel house. Once the Franj invited an Arab physician to practice in one of their hospitals. The latter treated a knight who had an arrow wound that had begun to fester in his leg. The Arab physician cleaned the wound and placed a poultice to help it drain. The Franj doctor, appalled at the treatment, told the knight: “A demon has infected your leg, and it must be exorcised.” When the pious knight agreed, orderlies held the unfortunate down while a sturdy young lad brought up a battle axe. They hacked off the infected leg, and the knight died on the spot. After the Arab physician witnessed the Franj‘s equally horrifying treatment for a head wound, he stopped visiting their hospital and advised his Arab brethren to do likewise.

Finally, the Arabs were astounded by the Franj’s treatment of women. No self-respecting Muslim would allow his wife to walk around unveiled in public and talk to other men. According to the Qur'an, a man could have up to four wives, so long as he treated each wife fairly and provided for them equally. Though Arab women enjoyed far greater freedom during the Golden Era of Islam, by the 11th century their position in society had been restricted almost entirely to the household. This revolved around the
harim, an inviolable sanctuary where a man kept his wives from the lecherous grasp of others. The Sharia had strict laws condemning adulterers: decapitation for the man, death by stoning for the woman. Nevertheless, Muslims guarded their wives very carefully, often appointing eunuchs for this duty.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2011, 05:53:12 AM »
The Crusades (1095-1192) (continued)

From HR7: The Crusades

The Assassins

The Assassins were a dangerous and fanatical sect of Shi’ite Muslims during the 11th-12th centuries. Members of this quasi-religious cult supported the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt and furthered their own political agenda by acts of terrorism and murder. The Assassins ruthlessly eliminated or intimidated their opponents. Even the great Saladin dared not publicly confront them.

The Assassins were founded around 1090 by Hassan ibn al-Sabah, an Arab of great intellect and refined education. According to legend, Hassan enjoyed the company of scholars like Omar Khayyam, a renowned Arab astronomer, mathematician, and poet. When Hassan was born, around 1048, Shi’ism had expanded across the Muslim world from Egypt to include most of Syria. Decades later, after the Seljuq Turks had conquered Baghdad and become supporters of Sunni orthodoxy, Shi’ites quickly grew unpopular outside Egypt. Hassan detested the Seljuqs and the Sunni movement they upheld. In 1071 he moved to Egypt, the last bastion of Shi’ism. There he witnessed the sad impotency of the Fatimid Dynasty under its viziers.

Hassan completed his religious education in Egypt, and soon he adopted a militant and heretical theology. Like conventional Islam, it held that there had been 11 great Prophets in history, including Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad; but according to Hassan’s view, a secret, twelfth Prophet would soon be revealed. The “hidden imam,” as this Messianic figure was called, would lead his faithful in a militant revolution, quickly overturning the Seljuq oppressors of the Arab world. Because this cult believed in the coming of a twelfth great Prophet, they were known as the Twelvers. Hassan’s followers kept their religious convictions a closely guarded secret, as they were rigorously persecuted by the Seljuq authorities.

Throughout his life, Hassan remained devoted to the idea of reforming the Fatimid Caliphate and destroying the Seljuqs. He established a base of operations in the wilderness near Aleppo by 1090, in an impregnable mountain stronghold called Alamut (”eagle’s
nest”). Soon, Hassan became known as the ”Old Man of the Mountain,” and a cloud of secrecy descended on the violent organization. The cult’s Seljuq detractors maintained that they used hashish to induce a state of narcotic bliss, which made them fearless in
the face of death, The name “Assassin” comes from the Arabic phrase hashishim, ”users of hashish.’’

According to Seljuq legend, Hassan would have initiates to his order drugged with hashish and taken to a beautiful secret garden in Alamut, filled with exotic foods and beautiful maidens. When the young initiate awoke, still under the effects of the narcotic, the maidens easily convinced him that he was in a garden of earthly delights in Paradise. Then Hassan would appear and inform the would-be Assassin that only he-the Grand Master, the Old Man of the Mountain-held the key to the gate of this Garden. The initiate
was drugged again (perhaps by a lovely maiden’s glass of wine) and returned to his austere chambers elsewhere in the stronghold. On awakening, the Assassin easily became convinced that he had visited Heaven, a wonderful Paradise that awaited him should he perish in the pursuit of the cult’s ideals.

Assassins did not fear death. Rather, they welcomed it, for death would bring a return to the Paradise they longed for. Hassan enjoyed near fanatical obedience from his followers. Many decades later, when a Grand Master wanted to impress the Franj with the
Assassins’ fanatical loyalty, he invited a prominent noble to his secluded mountain stronghold. As the horrified Franj looked on, the Grand Master ordered his followers to hurl themselves from the highest parapets, one by one, until the Franj begged the Old Man of the Mountain to stop the gruesome display. As a gift, the Grand Master promised the Franj a favor, should his visitor ever require his services in the future. Of course, the only “favor” a Grand Master could arrange was murder.

The Assassins never realized their goal of reforming the Fatimids, for Saladin deposed the Caliph in Cairo and established the sovereignty of the Sunni majority in Egypt. Thereafter the Assassins spent much of their energy trying to eliminate Saladin. On three separate
occasions, Saladin fortuitously avoided the Assassins’ blades. Though he gave praise to Allah for his miraculous survival after each incident, Saladin also probably thanked the armorers who fashioned his concealed suit of mail, which he wore to bed every night while
campaigning. When opposing the Assassins, even the great Saladin lived in fear.

After the third attempt on his life, Saladin marched his massive army to the Assassin stronghold, determined to raze it to the ground. A few days later, however, Saladin abruptly changed his mind and broke the siege of his own accord. According to legend, on the night after he besieged Alamut, Saladin awoke after hearing a small noise in this tent. Despite his extensive security precautions, the story goes, Saladin found a poisoned cake on his pillow, along with a threatening note: You are in our power. Regardless of what actually happened in the sultan’s tent that night (some whispered of a secret truce between Saladin and the Grand Master), after this incident, the Assassins never bothered Saladin again.

As the declared enemies of the Seljuq sultan in Baghdad, the Assassins were usually on good terms with the Franj. Like the Franks, the Assassins opposed all Muslim Sunnites and their leaders as a matter of policy. They sometimes arranged temporary alliances with the Franj, and they paid the Franj a handsome tribute. Though the Assassins murdered a few Frankish lords in rare, isolated incidents, in general the cult menaced the Seljuq Turks much more than it threatened Christians. Assassins only occasionally
eliminated impertinent Franj, the fools who insulted or publicly opposed the Assassins-such as the Lord of Tyre, who captured one of their merchant vessels and refused to pay reparations.

Along with the Military Orders, the  Assassins were one of the most influential power groups in Outremer (Jerusalem) at the time of the Crusades. Though some members of the Military Orders clearly detested the Assassins and their brutal methods, records of the Templars indicate that they accepted regular tribute from these terrorists. Perhaps the connection between these organizations was closer than can be discerned from historical records. At the least, some kind of truce existed between the holiest orders of Christian
chivalry and the infamous Assassins.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
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The Crusades (1095-1192) (continued)

From HR7: The Crusades

Crusades Characters

Race and Sex

The world is predominantly human and extremely xenophobic. The world religions are dominated by humans who view all other races as a threat. Consider the elf, for instance. In human society, the traditional forest-dwelling elf--or fairie--is a hated race that steals human infants and hides them in their magical realm, leaving behind a horrid and sickly changeling to torment their mothers. Elves are evil monsters, like gnomes and dwarves, completely opposed to human society and all it stands for. From childhood, humans during this era were taught to hate and fear elves, dwarves, and gnomes. Elves steal children. Dwarves and gnomes (like their cousins, trolls) live under bridges and devour helpless travelers. In a Crusades campaign, the rare demihumans are held in contempt and fear by the vast human majority.

Society during the Middle Ages was

Society during the Middle Ages was not only xenophobic, it was incredibly sexist by modern Western standards. Frankish society in Outremer tended to be more egalitarian than Europe, but it was still predominantly a man’s world. In the Middle Ages the woman’s role was to get married, tend the home, work in the fields (or shop), and raise children. That’s about it. Heroic women from this era had to transcend a stultifying, restrictive, female stereotype. During the Crusades, many women surmounted these considerable
hurdles to success or notoriety. They helped defend their cities and castles along with their husbands, and they ruled domains while men were away on campaigns.

Female clerics may become Hakimas (wise women). As warriors, they may only become Peasant Heroes or Outlaws. A female rogue may choose between a Bandit, Spy, or Merchant. As a wizard, a woman may be either a Sorceress or a Witch (Sha‘ir). These restrictions may be waived in a fantasy campaign, but this may cheapen or (worse yet) completely neglect the historical struggle of women to succeed in a male-dominated society.

Religion and Culture

Religion was the driving force of the Crusades. If people did not take religion extremely seriously, the Crusades would never have begun. Religion governs the kits available to the players. It is not possible, for instance, to role-play a Christian Faris, for instance, or a Muslim Monastic Warrior. In the kit descriptions that follow, religious restrictions follow the kit name in parentheses.

Religious choices are further complicated by factional differences from culture to culture. A Christian PC, for instance, may belong to either the Latin (Roman Catholic), Greek Orthodox, or Armenian Church.

Characters from Western Europe belong to the Latin Church by default. In Outremer, native Christians belong to either the Greek Orthodox or the Armenian churches. Historically, members of different Christian churches distrusted, resented, or directly opposed each
other. Certain kits are only available to a few Christian sub-groups (e.g., warrior priest, monastic warrior).

The Islamic world was much more religiously unified than Christendom at the time of the Crusades. Two political factions-the Sunni and the Shi’ite sects-vied for temporal power, but this did not affect the practice of Islam. Only the name of the Caliph mentioned in the prayers changed between a Sunni and a Shi’ite mosque. At the time of the Crusades, the Shi’ite sect was in decline and restricted almost entirely to Egypt. The majority of Muslims belonged to the Sunni sect. A Muslim PC must choose a sect at the start of his career, but this does not limit his selection of kits as it would for a Christian PC.

Class packages (kits) by Religion and sub-culture:


 :arrow: Franks - Priests: Nobleman, Pacifist, Peasant, Scholar, Warrior Priest
 :arrow: Franks - Warriors: Cavalier, Peasant Hero, Monastic Warrior, Pirate/Outlaw
 :arrow: Franks - Rogues: Bandit, Beggar, Buccaneer, Gallant, Jester, Thespian, Herald, Pardoner
 :arrow: Franks - Magicians: Witch

 :arrow: Italians - Warriors: Myrmidon, Pirate/Outlaw
 :arrow: Italians - Rogues: Bandit, Beggar, Buccaneer, Herald, Merchant-Rogue, Pardoner

 :arrow: Byzantines - Priests: Pacifist
 :arrow: Byzantines - Warriors: Cavalier, Myrmidon, Noble Warrior, Pirate/Outlaw
 :arrow: Byzantines - Rogues: Bandit, Beggar, Buccaneer, Gallant, Thespian, Herald

 :arrow: Syrians - Priests: Pacifist, Peasant, Mystic
 :arrow: Syrians - Warriors: Pirate/Outlaw
 :arrow: Syrians - Rogues: Bandit, Beggar, Buccaneer, Scout, Spy

 :arrow: Armenian - Priests: Pacifist, Peasant, Mystic
 :arrow: Armenian - Warriors: Pirate/Outlaw
 :arrow: Armenian - Rogues: Bandit, Beggar, Buccaneer, Scout, Spy


 :arrow: Sunnis - Priests: Scholar, Moralist, Hakima, Mystic
 :arrow: Sunnis - Warriors: Pirate/Outlaw, Askar, Desert Rider, Faris, Mamluk
 :arrow: Sunnis - Rogues: Bandit, Beggar, Buccaneer, Scout, Spy, Barber
 :arrow: Sunnis - Magicians: Sha'ir

 :arrow: Shi'ites - Priests: Scholar
 :arrow: Shi'ites - Warriors: Pirate/Outlaw, Askar, Desert Rider, Mamluk
 :arrow: Shi'ites - Rogues: Bandit, Beggar, Buccaneer, Scout, Spy, Barber, Holy Slayer
 :arrow: Shi'ites - Magicians: Sha'ir

 :arrow: Turks - Warriors: Pirate/Outlaw, Desert Rider
 :arrow: Turks - Rogues: Bandit, Beggar, Buccaneer

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002


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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2011, 03:49:22 PM »
The Crusades (1095-1192) (continued)

From HR7: The Crusades, PHBR3: The Complete Priest's Handbook

Feat/Skill packages (kits) for Priest classes (clerics, druids, and monks):

 :arrow: Nobleman

This package is only suitable for clerics.

This priest was a member of a noble family and entered the priesthood. But even as a priest he keeps his opinions about the superiority of the ruling classes and his tastes for the finer things in life; he doesn't abandon his love of good food, good furnishings, comfort, the arts, intellectual stimulation, and so forth.

The Nobleman Priest prefers the company of nobles and is often appointed as an advisor to a noble family, a ruler, an important local governor, etc. He has less concern for the lives and welfare of commoners. When pressed, he will perform any and all priestly duties for commoners, but he usually seeks to avoid these duties; when he is a low-level character, he'll keep himself away from common folk as much as possible in order to avoid these inconveniences, and when he is higher-level he will assign a subordinate or a follower to attend their needs.

The Nobleman Priest is not necessarily evil or a bad person. In fact, he often adheres to a code of chivalric behavior much like a knight's. But he does have strong social prejudices which color his thinking. If a Nobleman Priest PC ever decides that he is wrong in his attitudes, he can abandon this role. If he does this, he will be ostracized by most of the nobles who were previously counted as friends; he may even be exiled by his own family.

Role: In the campaign, the Nobleman Priest is an aggravating snob (though he might not be aware of his snobbery). He is a fun role to play, but he'd better have redeeming features if other PCs are to continue associating with him.

Recommended Weapon Feats: Martial Weapon Proficiency
Recommended Skills: Lore, Influence
Recommended Feats: Artist, Silver Palm
Recommended PotM Background Selections: Artist or Diplomat

Equipment: The Nobleman Priest may spend his gold as he chooses -- but he has certain minimum standards he cannot violate. Before starting play, he must buy:

1. A suit of armor. He cannot buy armor less protective than brigandine or scale mail
2. At least one weapon larger than a dagger

Special Hindrances: The Nobleman Priest is expected to live well. If he has enough money to to so, he may only buy high-quality goods, and so must spend at least two times the minimum necessary money for anything he buys. He can't save money by having a friend or follower buy cheaper things for him; he's just not satisfied with anything less than good-quality merchandise. If the priest is broke and cannot spend this extra money, he can then settle for lesser goods...but the other nobles of his culture, if they see him with shabby accoutrements, will mock him.

 :arrow: Pacifist

This package is only suitable for clerics during the Crusades, although, with DM approval, it could be used for visiting monks from the Far East (a very rare, almost unheard of occurrence at this point in history).

This priest is devoted to the cause of peace. He is a champion of passive resistance, of achieving one's ends without resorting to violence of any kind.

There are no special requirements to be a priest of this sort. Nor are there special rules for abandonment of this package, if the character eventually feels that he needs to be wielding force to achieve his ends.

Role: This priest can be a real aggravation to the more combat-oriented PCs. Note, though, that just because the priest demands peacefulness of all around him, his allies don't have to obey.

Recommended Skills: Concentration, Heal, Influence, Lore
Recommended Feats: Silver Palm, Soothing Presence, Willbreaker
Recommended PotM Background: Artist, Diplomat, Historian, Nurse

Weapons: Pacifist priests may only use bows and darts. They can only use these weapons in competition.

Special Hindrances: This priest may never wear armor, and may never use weapons, spells, or other tactics to harm a human, demihuman, nonhuman, or monster. If he ever violates this decree, his god will not punish him (because the pacifist's oath is one he took for himself, not for his god), but his own guilt will deprive him of spell use for a month.

 :arrow: Peasant Priest

This package is only suitable for clerics.

The Peasant Priest is the antithesis of the Nobleman Priest above. He's a champion of the common man, and prefers serving the commoner to any association with nobles. He has taken a vow of poverty; he believes he should sacrifice his worldly goods to the glory of God.

Note that the Peasant Priest need not have been born a peasant; he could have been born a nobleman and later abandoned that lifestyle and the privileges of his class.

There are no special requirements or rules for abandoning this package.

Role: The Peasant Priest devotes himself to the needs of the common man. If he's part of an adventuring party, he won't support any plans which endanger or exploit the peasants or serfs, and will try to recommend plans which advantage them. He'll insist that treasures be shared with the locals of the area where the treasure was found.

Recommended Skills: any
Recommended Feats: any
Recommended PotM Background: any

Special Hindrances: The Peasant Priest has restrictions on the way he spends money. Other than weapons, with which he has no monetary limitation, he may own only one object worth as much as 15gp, and other than that one object may own nothing more than 10gp. He may never own more than 75gp worth of non-weapon property at any one time. If he receives money or gifts which put him above that limit, he must give away money and possessions until once again he is within the 75gp limitation.

 :arrow: Scholar

This package is only for clerics.

This character is a researcher. He's most at home when he's poring over books, scrolls, papyri, clay tablets and other old writings. He's not forbidden from fighting, but is more likely to try to straighten out a bad situation with reason, personal charisma, or even trickery than with a weapon. His life is dedicated to the assimilation of knowledge (and, usually, the transmission of that knowledge to new generations).

A Scholar Priest must have an Intelligence score of 13 or better.

This package cannot be abandoned. A scholar can break off correspondence with other scholars, can choose not to teach, can decide not to do any studying or writing for as long as he likes, but he can always re-enter the academic world.

Role: This priest is motivated by his desire for knowledge. He'll often be tempted by adventures where he's likely to be able to learn something. If an adventuring party is going to a ruin where a famous library once stood, he'll eagerly join on the faint hope that some scrap of that library still survives. He'll be a part of expeditions to visit famous sites or ancient beings who might tell him stories of the past or solve old mysteries. He might be part of an adventure just so that he can chronicle it and preserve its events in history.

Recommended Skills: Lore, Appraise
Recommended Feats: Silver Palm
Recommended PotM Background: Historian or Scholar

Equipment: The Scholar Priest must always have writing material, quill, and ink with him. If he ever loses them, he must regain or replace them as soon as possible, and in the meantime will be recording his experiences in any fashion he can find. Other than that, this package makes no demands on the way he spends his money.

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2011, 04:01:08 PM »
The Crusades (1095-1192) (continued)

From Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures

Feat/Skill packages (kits) for Priest classes (clerics, druids, and monks):

 :arrow: Moralist

This package is only for clerics.

The moralists of the Muslim world are the heart and fire of Islam, the keepers of the true faith, the sword of God's vengeance, and the protectors of their people. They are the most militant of Muslims as well as the most fervent, zealous in pursuing the goals of their faith. At best, moralists cannot understand why anyone would choose not to share their beliefs. At their worst, they seek to convert others by fire and sword.

Requirements: Moralists must be Lawful. They must take vows of celibacy and chastity. Their lives are highly structured by their religion.

Role: Moralists are the most zealous of all the clerics of Islam. To many Muslims, moralists are also the most dangerous. (Of course, to those who embrace compatible ideals, moralists can be charismatic role-models.) Each moralist believes his faith is correct. While other Muslims may be equally devout in their daily lives, few are as intolerant of other religious beliefs as the moralists. To moralists, all correct actions are dictated by God, and all life is encompassed by the worship of God alone. While they accept other priests of Islam, they still look down upon them and are little more than civil. Priests from other faiths are openly disliked, as are hakimas and mystics. Characters using arcane magic are openly despised.

Unless sanctioned by God, distractions of earthly concern are pronounced counterproductive, to be avoided at all costs. While moralists are permitted to go out among "ordinary" people, they may do so only when they have specific missions in mind, never for simple pleasure or relaxation.

A stern face and a closed mind are the hallmarks of moralists; lightheartedness and an easygoing attitude are not. To others, it often seems that they derive no joy from their faith, or perhaps that their only "pleasure" stems from attempting to remain joyless themselves while squelching joy in others. Even actions encouraged by God may conducted in a grim and serious manner. Moralists can never go too far in the service of God; to them excess in the name of faith is no sin.

Moralists are excellent and profuse record-keepers, since they feel they may be called upon to offer proof for anything they say or do. They are expected to communicate early and often with their higher-ups. That suits the more powerful moralists just fine. But moralists also continually submit long, verbose reports to all higher-ranking clerics in their mosque, which drives all the non-moralist priests to distraction.

Moralists are most comfortable with other moralists of the same gender, race, and faith. They realize that they can't help those who are cursed by the "wrong" gender or race. But faith is another matter entirely. Moralists are enthusiastic in their attempts to convert others to their beliefs. They are equally spirited in encouraging those of their own faith to live closer to the "true" tenets of their moralist faction. A moralist can provide lively debate and a bit of fun (for others) in mixed groups -- at least until a rival holy slayer drops an adder into the pontificating moralist's sleep roll.

Recommended Skills: Heal, Lore
Required Feat: Extra Turning
Recommended Feats: Any that are general or priestly in nature, others are forbidden. (Explains one moralist, "If God had wished for us to know blind-fighting, he would have given it to us at the outset.")
Recommended PotM Background: Guard, Military Trained, Scholar
Allowed Domains: Good, Healing, Sun, Protection, War, Strength

Equipment: Moralists are always found in their official vestments. Vestments include the following: robes of a sanctioned solid color (dark colors are usually acceptable); a matching turban and veil; sandals; and the priest's holy symbol. Beneath the vestments, moralists usually wear chain mail armor. If other types of armor are required, they must look appropriate -- that is, creating no confusion as to the priest's moralist nature.

Special Benefits/Hindrances: Clout. The moralist can give orders to lower-level moralist priests and expect those orders to be followed to the letter. Likewise, he must follow any orders he receives from a higher-level moralist with the same exactitude. Those who fail to do so are outcast from their religion.

 :arrow: Hakima (Wise Woman):

More than a few tales from the Arabian Nights portray intelligent and outspoken women with mystical abilities. The hakima package is modeled after such extraordinary characters. A hakima's gaze can penetrate the veils of magic and lies to perceive the underlying truth. Although her other abilities are highly limited, the hakima's insight is highly valued both in the desert and the cities of the Middle East.

Requirements: Hakimas (hah-KEEM-ahs) must be female clerics, and they must have a Wisdom of 15 or higher. They may be of any alignment, though most are good or neutral (an evil wise woman may perceive the truth, but bend it to her own ways).

Role: Wise women are not fighters or aggressors by nature, but they still know how to defend themselves. They are the keepers of the home fires, the protectors of the family, and the unifier of tribes. They may rise in power to be leaders themselves, or guide others along the path to greatness. A wise woman does not normally contest others directly; instead she opposes them more subtly, more cleverly, with champions and feints and challenges. A sultan could choose no one better than a loyal hakima to be the leader of his household, as well as his favored confidant and domestic spy.

Weapons: Wise women are limited to the following weapons: club, staff, dart, short sword, dagger, sling, war hammer, and mace.

Recommended Crafting: leatherworking, bowyer/fletcher, seamstress/tailor, herbalism
Recommended Skills: Heal, Spellcraft, Appraise, Lore, Spot, Search
Recommended Feats: Courteous Magocracy, Silver Palm, Strong Soul, Soothing Presence, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Spot), Skill Focus (Search), Alertness, Great Fortitude
Recommended PotM Background: Child of the Wild, Historian, Diplomat, Hunter, Nurse, Scholar, Scout, or Watchman
Required Domain: Knowledge
Recommended Secondary Domains: Sun, Healing, Protection

Equipment: The hakima may not purchase any form of armor with her initial gold, though she may buy it later. Most hakimas don padded armor when anticipating a battle.

Hakima dress ranges from ordinary to spectacular. Most women wear veils in the Middle East, especially in settlements. In the city, a short, diaphanous curtain serves more as a fashionable custom than as a restriction. In many areas of the hinterland, veils are optional, serving only to keep the wind off one's face. However, a few tribes do require their women to hide their features behind a dark, heavy mask. In such tribes, the hakimas follow suit.

Special Benefits: A wise women's greatest power is the ability to perceive truth -- both in word and appearance. She can detect lies, discern alignment, and see polymorphed, disguised, or otherwise hidden or concealed objects (note that these abilities are affected by Ravenloft just as any other spell-like ability: moral alignment cannot be determined, and natural shapechangers, such as lycanthropes and vampires, cannot be discovered). She must first be able to see, hear, or otherwise sense the target in order to use this ability. Next the hakima PC must state that she is attempting to use her extraordinary perception. Finally, she must make a Wisdom check according to the list below:

Reveal truth of spoken word: DC 10
Reveal truth of class and social status: DC 10
Reveal concealed objects: DC 15
Reveal Illusions: DC 20
Reveal Enchantments: DC 25

 :arrow: Mystic

Lone figures who stride out of the desert, mystics are strange and flamboyant Free Priests whose words have moved armies and are said to have moved mountains. They require no conventional church to hear God's words and they shun the ‘convenience’ of an orthodox hierarchy. At times they are allies of hierarchical clerics, but just as often they are foes. Mystics bring new revelations and new ideas -- often gained through euphoric dancing, meditative trances, and other exotic means. At best, organized Islam finds their ideas difficult to accept.

Requirements: Mystics can be either gender. While any alignment is allowed, most mystics lean toward a chaotic ethos.

Role: Mystics are Free Priests, and while they are either Muslim or Christian, they follow their own agenda, one which may be at odds with that of the ordered faiths. For that reason, the extremely conservative moralists have no love of mystics of any stripe, and the feeling is mutual.

There are as many types of mystics as there are mystics themselves, all of whom receive their revelations and priestly magics in a different fashion. Dervishes receive spells after inducing euphoria or a higher level of consciousness through wild and energetic dancing. For anchorites and hermits, solitude and meditation open a pathway to God. Some mystics sing, engage in simple work, take long walks, or employ some other means to receive their spells. In this way, the mystics gain their spells much as standard priests gain enlightenment, with similar time requirements.

Weapons: any

Recommended Crafts: Herbalism
Recommended Skills: Heal, Spellcraft, Lore
Required Feats: Martial Weapon Proficiency, Exotic Weapon Proficiency
Recommended Feats: Weapon Focus (any), Toughness, Divine Might, Divine Shield, Strong Soul
Allowable Domains: Healing, Knowledge, Protection, Sun, Earth, Fire, Water, Air
Recommended PotM Background: Child of the Wild, Hunter, Magical Scholar, Scout

Special Hindrances: Mystics can only receive spells through the method they've chosen (see above). If a mystic is prevented from attaining that state -- e.g., hobbled so he can't dance, harangued so she can't meditate -- no spells can be gained.

« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 12:14:30 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Gothic Earth Resource Thread
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2011, 12:13:19 AM »
The Crusades (1095-1192) (continued)

From HR7: The Crusades

Feat/Skill packages (kits) for Priest classes (clerics, druids, and monks):

 :arrow: Warrior Priest

This package is only for clerics.

Unique to the Crusades, members of this fanatical priesthood adopted a militant philosophy to defend Christianity against the perceived evil of the Saracens. These priests not only advocated war, they practiced it themselves, fighting alongside the knights and soldiers during the Crusades. Classic examples of this package are Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, the spiritual leader of the First Crusade, and Turpin, the legendary archbishop from the Song of Roland.

Requirements: Obviously, pacifistic inclinations are antithetical to this priestly vocation. Like all members of the ordained clergy, Warrior Priests swore oaths of celibacy and chastity. Because of the rigors of this package, they must have minimum Strength 14 and Wisdom 12.

Canon law strictly forbade the shedding of blood by priests. During the Crusades, clerics sometimes abandoned this restriction. The Latin hierarchy permitted this so long as the Warrior Priests fought only against the Saracens, or in a just and holy cause that would
benefit all of Christianity: for instance, liberation of the Holy Sepulcher, or recovering a lost holy relic.

Shedding the blood of a fellow Christian, however, remains unthinkable for these clerics. Faced with such a dilemma, the priest must revert to using a blunt weapon, such as a mace or flail. Misuse of violence for personal goals results in an immediate loss of all priestly powers (including spells) until the errant priest has suitably atoned for his misdeed, as determined by the DM.

Role: A Warrior Priest is a spiritual lead of the Crusades, responsible for the cleric needs of soldiers and knights in his company. This priest celebrates mass at dawn and before every battle. He discusses tactics with the aristocratic leaders and fights in combat against the Saracens, just like any other brave warrior. This priest has no place in the established hierarchy of the Church. He belongs in an army, military company, or in castles along the frontier, always fighting against the Saracens. A Warrior Priest sees himself as the
defender and liberator of Christianity. He is also an ideal member of a Military Order, such as the Templars or the Hospitallers.

Weapon Proficiencies: Members of this package  may take any weapon allowed to the priest class. In addition, for every six levels they attain, Warrior Priests may choose an additional edged melee weapon, such as the sword, lance, spear, or battle axe. They can never learn to use an edged missile weapon, such as a bow or crossbow.

Recommended Crafts: Metal-smithing (armor and weapons)
Recommended Skills: Concentration, Discipline, Heal, Lore, Parry, Influence, Antagonize
Forbidden Skills: Disable Trap, Hide, Move Silently, Open Lock, Pick Pocket, Set Trap
Required Feats: Martial Weapon Proficiency
Recommended Feats: Divine Might, Divine Shield, Expertise, Iron Will, Strong Soul, Combat Casting, Mobility, Weapon Focus (any)
Allowable Domains: Knowledge, Protection, War, Animal, Protection, Healing, Sun, Good, Air, Fire, Earth, Water
Recommended PotM Backgrounds: Guard, Military Trained, Nurse, Historian, Scholar

Equipment: The Warrior Priest wears only sacramental robes when celebrating mass and performing the daily religious services. On the battlefield, however, he wears the best armor available, along with his vestments.

Special Hindrances: Like Monastic Warriors (see below) these priests are intolerant fanatics and the declared enemies of all Saracens. From their viewpoint, these evil pagans must all be destroyed or, even better, converted to Christianity at the earliest opportunity.
A Warrior Priest never trusts or accepts the word of any Saracen except a convert.

Because of his fanaticism, the Warrior Priest rarely works alongside Saracen allies willingly, unless he is convinced that such a compromise will positively benefit Christianity or Outremer as a whole. Official treaties with the Saracens are permissible, but only until the army of Christ has gained enough strength to fight them effectively once again. In game terms, this narrow-minded, religious chauvinism results in a -5 penalty on reaction roles with Saracen NPCs and effectively poisons all their long-term relations with Muslims.
This greatly restricts their use in campaigns with Muslim PCs.

Wealth Options: Like paladins, Warrior Priests are expected to tithe 10% of their income (gained in battle, adventuring, or inheritance) to a charitable cause, established Church, or religious institution such as a monastery or a convent. Aside from this almsgiving, the priest may keep as much wealth as desired.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 12:16:07 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002