Book I - Introduction.   Posted by The Bard.Group: 0
The Bard
 GM, 4 posts
 Singer of Songs
 Teller of Tales
Thu 29 Mar 2018
at 01:20
Book I - Introduction
Herein is told the story of the Knights of Bastogne, and the rise of King Charlemagne of the Franks.

For several centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, the rival Germanic tribes made war against each other and petty kings rose and fell.  The Frankish kings of the Carolingian Dynasty began to reunite the different Frankish domains of Austrasia, Brabant, Champagne, Cologne, Flanders-Artois, Liege, Lorraine, Mayence, Burgundy, Anjou, Berry, Ile-de-France, Normandy, Orleans (modern northern France, the Low Countries, and eastern Germany).  The Frankish expansion continues under the latest of the Carolingians, King Pepin III.

Called Pepin the Short (on account of his short hair, unlike the previous kings who had long hair), he continues his family tradition of territorial expansion and deepening religious devotion.  There is little division between Catholic religious authority and secular power; this is most visible in the Prince-Bishop of Liege and Prince-Bishop of Cologne where the vested clergymen hold complete secular power, including the ability to wage war.

However, King Pepin grows old, his short hair changing to silver.  His two sons, Prince Charlemagne and Prince Carloman, both are poised to take up his mantle.  The Frankish succession rules are such that the realm will be divided evenly between both of Pepin's sons.  This looming succession crisis, combined with the vast size of the realm, causes no small worry to the nobles of the realm.  Now it falls to the young knights to take up the deeds and shape the future of the Franks.

Crunchy bits
  • The game starts in the year 768 A.D.  The players start as 21 year old squires under Duke Thierry of Ardennes
  • Best Armor: Chain mail and helm (10 pts)
  • Best horse: Charger (6d6)
  • Code of Courtesy: instituted by King Pepin III, this dictates that knights and nobles at least treat each other with civility and not attack one another outright simply because they can

The Nobles

Duke Thierry the Boar - So named because his personal heraldry has three boar's heads, and coincidentally he is an avid hunter.  A no-nonsense warrior, he is fierce and loyal.  He was chosen by King Pepin to be the personal tutor of Prince Charlemagne.  He holds the Duchy of the Ardennes, a heavily forested and rocky area but centrally located among the Carolingian's holdings.  The capital is the large city of Bastogne, located in the middle of the giant forest.
  • Duchess Richilde of Hainaut (APP 14) - The wife of Duke Thierry.  She is known for being very generous and is beloved by the people.  She snubs the uncivilized "boars" in the court and longs for the more refined courts of the princes.
  • The duke and his wife have three children: a daughter Rissende (762); a young healthy boy, Berard (764); and a sickly baby, Galopin (766).
  • The most favored knights at court are five "Knights of the Gates" (i.e. one for each city gate): Egier, Garin, Grimold, Radehart and Yvorin and Sir Garin acts as Duke Thierry's stead if the Duke is abroad.
  • Below the Knights of the Gates are the also prestigious "Knights of the Towers": Adalhart, Baldric, Bernier, Chrodemond, Egduin, Guidolf, Odo, Radehelm, Thurold and Widochar.
  • Father Jerome is the duke's personal chaplain and treasurer.
  • Altogether, the Duke's army contains about 70 knights and many hundred men-at-arms.
  • The main local clergy include:
    1. Assuerus, the mystic Abbot of Prüm
    2. Beornrad, the austere Briton Abbot of Echternach
    3. Fulcaire, the erudite Prince-Bishop of Liege
    4. Gerbert, the pious Abbot of St. Hubert
    5. Remaclus II, the powerful lay Abbot of Stavelot-Malmédy. His battle shield is “or per fess Saint Remaclus et un loup de gules.” (a yellow field, with St. Remaclus in the top half, and a red wolf in the lower).
  • Eligible ladies in the Duchy of Ardennes include:
    1. Lady Ermeline: The young heiress of three demesne manors near Amblève is a very troublesome child and therefore kept under strict surveillance of her uncle, Sir Egier of the North Gate. (Born 752, APP 13, Chaste 4, Reckless 17)
    2. Lady Giselinde: This extremely beautiful and haughty young woman is reputed to be inaccessible to men. Her younger brother, Sir Odo, is actively trying to find her a suitable husband.  The young lady’s dowry consists of Lavaux Castle and two allodial manors. (Born 746, APP 18, Chaste 19, Proud 17)
    3. Lady Machteld: Kind and gentle, though not gifted with great looks. She holds two enfeoffed manors near Bastogne as her dowry. (Born 749, APP 7, Chaste 13, Forgiving 16)
    4. Lady Rolinga: The rich and mature widow of late Sir Norgast of Arlon has a very pious nature, and a pronounced taste for luxury. She holds no less than five demesne manors near Arlon. (Born 735, APP 11, Chaste 14, Indulgent 17, Love [God] 16)

*Much of this information taken directly from the Paladin core rulebook

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:41, Thu 29 Mar 2018.

The Bard
 GM, 29 posts
 Singer of Songs
 Teller of Tales
Sun 10 Jun 2018
at 19:08
Book I - Introduction
The Duchy of Ardennes

  • Amblève - On the road from Bastogne to Cologne, a little town has developed around a strong square castle on top of a spur along the Amblève river.
  • Arlon - This small Roman town on the road from Trier to Reims has stone walls, ancient baths, and a stone church dedicated to St. Martin.
  • Bastogne - This ancient Roman town is the current home of Duke Thierry. It is situated at the junction of five Roman roads leading to Dinant, Liege, Cologne, Trier and Arlon. The town’s earthen ramparts are reinforced by five wooden gate towers and ten other defensive towers. Each tower is the home of a ‘tower knight’ (see The Duke’s Retinue below). The central market place is frequented by Lombard and Frisian merchants. Next to the main square stands the church dedicated to St. Peter.
  • Rochefort - An ancient Roman town with a small stone castle, situated on a rocky spur. Many natural caves exist under the town, and a few tunnels dig deep into the rocks.

Castles and Fortifications
  • Autelbas - A stone tower built by Charles Martel. One of Prince Charlemagne’s personal hunting residences.
  • Bouillon - High on a steep spur in a bend of the river Semois, the strong stone castle of Count Aymon controls the river trade.
  • Bourscheid - A wooden fortress dominating the small river Sûre.
  • Durbuy - A stone tower along the Ourthe.
  • Eltz - A wooden castle on a steep rock spur near a small river.
  • Herbeumont - A small stone castle on the steep banks of the Semois.
  • Hotton - A mysterious knight holds this wooden tower in the middle of the forest. His shield is “sinople à doubles fasces d’argent” (two silver fasces on a green field).
  • La Roche - Literally ”The Rock.” This large stone keep is the duke’s most formidable stronghold, held by Thierry’s bastard brother, Count Hugo. The garrison is composed of three knights and ten soldiers.
  • Lassus - A stone guard tower along the Ourthe river.
  • Lavaux - A wooden guard tower with wet ditches.
  • Montessor - The ruins of this hidden hilltop castle are secretly being rebuild by Renaud and his brothers.
  • Neufchâteau - A village with a tall stone tower at its center, often used as a prison, belonging to Sir Maugis.
  • Oridon - A tall stone tower on the rocky banks of the Semois.
  • Reinhardstein - A small stone hilltop castle, guarding the duchy’s eastern border, which Renaud inherits from his father Aymon.
  • Reuland - A fortified manor.
  • Vianden - An important wooden stronghold on a rocky spur.

Royal Palaces
Within the duchy of Ardennes, the royal family owns the following residential manors, or palaces: Amberloup, Bas Bellain, Bihain, Bullange, Chassepierre, Cherain, Chevigny, Lierneux, Longchamps, Manderfeld, Mellier, Neundorf, Orges, Ortho, Paliseul, Thommen, Villance, Wattermal, Waimes.

Some of the more prestigious palaces can be found in the north of the duchy, like Aachen, Attigny, Chevremont, Herstal, Jupille, and Thionville. Later, Charlemagne gives some of these villas to the abbeys of Stavelot-Malmédy, St. Hubert or Prüm, and many others as fiefs to worthy vassals.

Because of its considerable size, the Duchy of Ardennes counts quite a few manors. Most of these are crude, simple estates, centered around a simple stone manor hall without any further fortification. Here is a list of such manors which can function as a starting home for player knights: Auw, Baillamont,  Barvaux, Beauraing, Bellefontaine, Bièvres, Binsfeld, Biwisen, Boeringen, Boeur, Bouvrey, Bra, Buchenborg, Chevetonge, Chéoux, Chicheron, Chiny, Consthum, Corbion, Cugnon, Durbuy, Ettelbrück, Feschaux, Feulen, Folkendingen, Fremay, Gegen, Graide, Grand Han, Heisdorf, Homiville, Hosingen, Huldange, Humain, Ingeldorf, Lenzweiler, Libin, Libramont, Lignières, Louette, Lullange, Moirey, Naomé, Odeigne, Parette, Remagne, Revin, Roumont, Sélange, Sonlez, Timon, Vinche, Wampach, Weiswampach, Wellin, Wilwerwilz and Wilz.

  • Prüm - This richly endowed royal abbey was founded by Queen Bertrada in 720. Its abbey church, however, is still under construction and will be consecrated by Pope Leo in 799.
  • Saint Hubert - The Benedictine abbey founded by Queen Plectrude in the middle the Ardennes Forest has become one of the main intellectual centers of the duchy. Saint Hubert (727) is buried here cured of diseases transmitted by animals, like rabies.
  • Stavelot-Malmédy - The paired Benedictine monasteries of Malmédy and Stavelot lie in the middle of the Ardennes Forest and are famous for their hospice and hospital.

Christian Sites
  • St. Apollonia’s Fountain - Along the Meuse, east of Charleville, there is a fountain that heals tooth aches.
  • St. Barbara’s Well - South of Bastogne, in the middle of the forest, is an inexhaustible well whose water cures skin ailments.
  • St. Fursy’s Fountain - A curative spring in the forest near Bièvres.
  • St. Gangulf’s Source - Gangulf was a warrior-saint who fought against the pagans in Frisia. When he retired as a hermit to a cave near Vielsalm, he created a healing well. However, unfaithful husbands or wives burn their hands or lips if they touch the water.
  • St. Gaussai’s Chapel - In the middle of the woods near Ortho, a small stone chapel marks the spot where once a holy hermit lived. The nearby fountain heals blindness.
  • St. Hubertus’ Cross - The cross indicates the spot where the famous saint received a holy vision of a white stag with a crucifix between its antlers.
  • St. Monon’s Hermitage - The empty home of a late Irish monk, whose cenotaph is visited by worshipers in need of good advice.
  • St. Remaclus’ Cave - The saint lived with his companion, Adelin, in three caves in the hills near Cugnon, along the Semois river. Pilgrims pray St. Remaclus for help against wild animals.
  • St. Theobald’s Well - This abandoned hermitage is built next to a spring which cures fever and malformations. Pilgrims sometimes visit the well, praying for a miraculous healing.
  • St. Willibrord’s Well - North of Arlon; this healing well is reputed for curing madness.
  • Virgin’s Chapel - Between Moircy and Remagne there is a chapel dedicated to the Holy Virgin. Its water cures afflictions of the eyes.
  • White Lady’s Chapel - Near Amberloup, this abandoned hermitage of a holy woman is a place where widows come to pray for aid and counsel.

Enchanted Sites
  • Black Man - South of Christnach, the black silhouette of a man without a heart is carved out in the granite rock. Here witches gather to worship the Devil.
  • Crying Trees - Three birch trees can be found in the middle of a small clearing west of Corbion manor, which used to be young girls who were tricked by the devil. The trees now cry out and shed tears whenever someone whose soul is in danger passes by.
  • Devil’s Stone - Rumor has it that locals come to this large horizontal rock with a slit on top in order to make blood sacrifices or pacts with the Devil.
  • Faerie Caves - Along the meandering Semois river, several natural rocky cavities are the entries to an underground faerie palace. Its inhabitants are very discreet and do not like to be observed while
    dancing under the full moon.
  • Faerie Rock - East of Cugnon manor is a high rocky terrace split in two halves. At its bottom is a cave which is the entrance to a faerie home. When humans climb the rock, it slowly starts revolving,
    going faster and faster until the climber falls off.
  • Faerie Table - Along the Semois, south of the Tilman manor, a large square rock formation lies hidden in the forest. Anyone who observes the dancing faeries unseen gains a fertility blessing.
  • Faerie Tower - East of Cugnon manor stands a secluded tower where White Ladies are known to appear at times.
  • Haunted Hill - On stormy nights, this steep rocky hill near Berthomont is haunted by the ghost of a knight who was slain by Saxon plunderers long ago.
  • Nutons’ Caves - A natural cave near the manor of Wilz is a home to some inhospitable nutons. Other such caves are located in the woods halfway between Roumont and Longchamps and east of Givet.
  • Nutons’ Pit - On top of the rocky hill called Bérisménil some nutons live at the bottom of a well. They are said to guard an ancient treasure.
  • Nutons’ Rocks - In the dark woods near Villance stand several great rock formations. The small caves and cracks are doors to the realm of the nutons. Likewise in the woods south of La Roche, where a gigantic black rock called the Givroulle lies covered in moss.  A small crevice opens up under the rock, giving entrance to a nutons’ dwelling. A third fissured rock stands in the forest south of the abbey of Stavelot.
  • Giant’s Tomb - Centuries ago, Roman troops killed a giant who was buried here.
  • Haina’s Rock - This giant vertical rock sticking out of a hilltop marks the entrance to the lair of a devil named Haina. On stormy nights, Haina moves the rock and comes out to hunt wandering souls. He always returns underground before dawn.
  • Roc de la Tour - In return for his soul, a poor knight asked the Devil to build him a castle for his daughter, who was ashamed of her father’s poverty. The Devil accepted and promised to finish the castle
    within a single night. But when he had almost finished, the repentant knight’s prayers were heard. A rooster crowed and the sun rose early. Seeing he had been betrayed, the furious Devil smashed the castle, which fell to ruins.
  • Roman Stones - Scattered throughout the Ardennes Forest are numerous large blocks of stone with Roman gods sculpted on each of their four sides. They once formed a magical column used for divination
    and sacrifices.
  • St. Martin’s Mount - There used to be a village called St. Martin on top of this hill. It was utterly destroyed by Saxon raiders a long time ago. On All Saint’s Day, the invisible church bells
    toll in memory of the victims.
  • Turning Stones - Near Graide manor two huge superposed rocks start moving whenever the church bells toll. At Wellin, two large altar-shaped superposed blocks turn around when a cock crows. Similar stones can be found in the forest south of Echternach.
  • Witches’ Leap - This rocky crest north of Cugnon is the home of a witch or wicked faerie, who assails travelers with blood-sucking horseflies the size of falcons. Seven of these can kill a horse!
  • Witches’ Rock - On a dark rock in the woods north of Villance dwell two female hermits who sometimes come down to a nearby manor asking for food or clothes. In return they predict the future. Some consider these hermit ladies to be witches, others think of them as saints.