Druidic Lore.   Posted by The Warlord Eternal.Group: 0
The Warlord Eternal
 GM, 6 posts
 The Iron Fist of
 the Iron Age
Thu 31 Mar 2016
at 12:40
Druidic Lore
Herein lies special game information and house rules relating to the setting, as taught by the wise elders upon Inis Mon, the mystical isle of druids, far to the north of Dumnonian lands.

TO THOSE THAT SEEK...

Here I will attempt to answer important questions I receive about how the game will be run:

  • The game will be set in the late Iron Age, before any Roman invasion or occupation. Although Caesar's legions are close by in Gaul, it is unlikely that the Dumnonians will interact with the Romans during the course of the game. However, there may be opportunities along the way for your character to engage with the Romans in a number of ways, if you so choose...

  • Although the game is historically based, there will be many historical inaccuracies evident to those familiar with the history. This is by design, in order to enhance the playability of the setting as part of a 3.5-based strategy game. For example, the main town of each holding probably didn't really exist prior to the Roman occupation, and even if it did, it would certainly not have been as large as the towns in the game are. The names of many of the towns and villages are not necessarily historically accurate either, with many of them deriving from the Roman period, or later. However, I have attempted to restore everything to as much of a Celtic feel as possible. Also, there is no historical evidence that gangs of marauding sorcerers roamed Devon and Cornwall in the first century BC, but hopefully that doesn't really need to be pointed out to anyone!

  • The definition of "low-magic": All spellcasting (and psionic) classes are capped at 8th level, thus restricting such classes to a maximum of 4th level spells/powers. This includes only classes for whom spellcasting/psionics is their primary focus (ie, rangers and paladins, for example, are exempt from this rule). Such classes may not advance beyond 8th level, but due to the character building processes in play (which I'll explain later), this should not dramatically affect a player's character concept. Classes that gain spells as more of a secondary class ability (eg, bards) have no level cap on their class advancement, but they may not gain spells higher than 4th level, even if their class progression would normally permit them to do so.
    Magical items are extremely rare, and most that do exist require the user to be a spellcaster in order to take advantage of their powers, as the majority simply enhance the casting options available to a magic-user. While divine magic, controlled by the druids, is both revered and embraced by the people, the use and study of arcane magic is viewed by the local populace with extreme fear and suspicion, and opposition is almost always violent and large in scale. This popular attitude is partly fomented by the druids, who hold a special place in society and see sorcerers as a threat to both their power and the prestige of their divine magic. Few warlords have anything other than distrust for arcane magic, due largely to the efforts of their druid advisors to have their lords stamp out such groups of casters wherever they are found.
    All of the above notwithstanding, it is theoretically possible to generate spell effects the equivalent of magic greater than 4th level, if one knows how. There are two known ways to achieve this, and neither is particularly simple:

    Realm magic: Enterprising warlords can expend their resources to build improvements to the druidic centres of power within their realm. Such sites of power, when harnessed by a congregation of druids, may allow for the casting of "realm spells", many of which greatly exceed the potential of a single spellcaster working alone, and may affect entire districts.

    Ritual magic: For those who know the secret rituals, achieving great power can be a simple matter of having a few friends come to visit. Working on the same principle as realm magic of "many hands make light work", arcane or divine rituals generally employ multiple spellcasters working in concert at certain places of power, certain auspicious times, or with certain special materials to create effects that might ordinarily be unattainable. Working with the energy at a focal point of Britannia's ley-lines, a mass casting at midnight under the full moon, and glittering sapphires drenched in the blood of wolves are just a few of the many ritual conditions under which spellcasters can overcome the gaps in their knowledge to invoke powerful magic. Most spells in the game have alternative ritual requirements, allowing those who don't already know the spells some chance to call forth their effects, and giving those who do know them a chance to greatly enhance the power of their castings. It is whispered that spell effects beyond 4th level can be achieved, with the right ritual, but such castings are costly indeed, demanding much time and sacrifice. Ritual requirements are a closely guarded secret, and each included spell has its own unique conditions. This is a practice not for the weak or faint of heart...

  • Generally speaking, the classes that appear in this setting are as follows:
    • Barbarian
    • Bard
    • Druid
    • Fighter
    • Ranger
    • Rogue
    • Sorcerer
    Of these classes, the barbarian is by far the most common. It would be extremely unusual for a warlord to possess class levels in druid or sorcerer, or any other class not mentioned in the list above, but certain exceptions could be made (within reason). The only available PC race is human, as no demihuman or other humanoid races exist. There are a few in this land, however, for whom the definition of "human" is slightly blurred...

  • Each warlord will begin the game in sole command of his own clan holding. This will consist of a number of districts (each represented by a single hex on the game map), with a fortified town as their capital and a small number of villages. Some settlement improvements will be pre-existing, others will have to be purchased/upgraded during the course of play. On the whole your realm will not start out well-equipped for war.
    Armies are a different matter. The nature of Iron Age Britain was such that the concept of a standing army was all but unheard of. Men were farmers; when it became necessary to fight to defend their homes and families, they simply picked up their battered old spear and shield, probably handed down to them by their father and his father before him, and went out to meet on the field of battle. At the start of the game, the units available to you will be fairly simple. Generally units can only be raised at the start of summer, after the crops have been sown, and must be disbanded when autumn comes, so that the men can return home to gather the harvest. Having men play at soldiering through the autumn while their crops rot in the field is a foolish notion to the Britons. Thus it is generally agreed that a campaign season ends when the weather starts to cool. As such, the productivity of a unit's home district may suffer penalties if the men are prevented from returning home in time to help with the harvest.
    Cavalry is not common, as horses are rare, valuable assets, and few would risk losing them in battle. That said, there are those among the nobility who can field small cavalry detachments when called upon. Archery is not at all a common practice in Britannia at this time, the sling being a much more conventional weapon for hunting, and by extension, warfare. The tribes of east Albion make much use of simple chariots in battle, but, perhaps on account of the differences in terrain, this practice is much less common among the Dumnonians.

  • With regard to pacing, I expect that the game will slow down after the initial salvo of play, but I am quite okay with that, and I hope you will be too. It is very much my intention to keep the game moving, even if very slowly, as the grand scope of the game lends itself well to a "slow-burning" campaign that grinds ever on as seasons and years roll by in the game world. That said, while the realm-level portion of the game has each turn lasting an entire season, there will be plenty of opportunity for faster-paced, smaller-scale activities within a 13-week realm turn, both in troop movements and miltary engagements, and individual role-playing, exploration, or combat adventures. I do however wish to employ a degree of "real-time" in the larger scale, meaning each season will have a set duration within which players can post - no good having four players sitting on their hands waiting for spring for weeks on end while the fifth player explores a mine on his own! If the pacing of the game seems to grind to a halt at any point, the most likely explanation is that one of your fellow warlords has unfinished business for the season - I will do my best to keep up the communication on this front, so that any who are waiting a while do not think I have simply abandoned the game. There may be periods when little seems to be happening, at least in your own thread, but something will always be happening somewhere! Nonetheless, it is important that the chronology remain consistent for all players, so individual "side-missions" must either be kept short, or be resolved in a quick flurry of posts. I will do my best to keep up so that this is possible, but players must do the same, otherwise they will find themselves having to return to their capital and finish their adventure next season, after dealing with more pressing matters of state!

  • Most of you will die. You will be killed by other players, or, less likely, by an NPC faction. Please accept this fact from the outset, and understand that this is just a game. Do not take personally any attacks from other players. If it seems that another player is continually picking on you in particular, chances are they are simply role-playing their character, not expressing some real-world dislike of you - after all, the point of the game is to beat the other players! If anyone has a particular problem with something happening between players in the game, bring it up with me in a PM, but rest assured that I have little patience for whining or complaints that amount to "I'm losing the game, fix it so I can win". I want to make very clear from the start that there will be winners and losers throughout the entire game, so try to think of it less as D&D and more like an aggrandised and extended game of Risk or Warhammer.

The Warlord Eternal
 GM, 7 posts
 The Iron Fist of
 the Iron Age
Thu 31 Mar 2016
at 12:41
Druidic Lore
A note in response to further queries: the classes listed above are not intended to be a hard and fast limitation on classes available to players. They simply show the classes that occur "natively" in the campaign setting.

As mentioned, warlords are most likely to possess classes from this list (excluding druid and sorcerer), as any warlord needs the support of his warriors (ie, the common people), and the superstitious commoners are unlikely to follow a warlord into battle who displays strange mystical abilities. Warlords rule by sword-right, taking and holding their lands through strength of arms, and few warriors would willingly be led by a leader who disposed of his foes with magic or stealth. Above and beyond the prevalent fear and hatred for any arts viewed as arcane, such methods are seen to be cowardly, and no true warrior follows a coward into battle.

Druids are also highly unlikely to become warlords. The druids are a class apart, a social caste unto themselves, owing allegiance to none. While druids serve warlords and warchiefs as advisers, magistrates, scribes, and other roles, they ultimately swear fealty to neither clan nor tribe. Druids are the only class of society that are exempt from military service as a civil duty, though they may choose to serve if they wish. As they are a hierarchical organisation of their own, they will very seldom go against a druid in a rival warlord's hall. Far more likely both will remain aloof from direct conflict. Even the nobility treat druids with the respect their position accords, and the spilling of a druid's blood is generally held to be taboo. Even the most powerful king would hesitate to risk incurring the wrath of the entire order of druids, for he would at best lose their service forever, and at worst find himself dragged away in the middle of the night to Inis Mon to be "experimented" on...

That said, exceptions can always be made. Clerics, wizards, and paladins do exist in the setting, but practically all of them would come from foreign lands where such things are more common (eg, Rome, of course). This would, obviously, seriously hamper their ability to rally enough support to ever become a warlord among the Britons!

So mostly the limits exist to give you a sense of the setting, and to force out any truly fantastic class choices (say, samurai or the astral deva racial class from Savage Species), but anything not too outlandish will probably be permitted.