Saxon Wars Interest Check (Historical PF Game)


Recruitment

1 to 50 of 51 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Game Background
The year is 782 AD. Karolus Magnus (Charlemagne, Charles the Great) is King of the Franks, and Lombards, and ruler of most of Western Europe. He is well on his way to becoming the first "Emperor of the Romans" since the fall of the western Empire in 476. Frankish society is flourishing under his rule. He has instituted reforms in monetary policy, education, writing and the Church. In his mid thirties, he is a victorious conqueror and one of (if not the) most powerful men in the known world.

His campaign to conquer and Christianize the Saxons has been raging on and off for a decade. The last two years (780-782) have been peaceful, with the Saxons under Frankish rule. Charlemagne was away in Itlay, on campaign. Upon his return to Saxony he instituted a new code of law and appointed new Counts (Grafs), from the ranks of both loyal Saxons and Franks. The laws prescribed death for pagans who refused to convert to Christianity. Under the draconian laws, conflict flared up again. In autumn of 782 Widukind, the former war leader of the Saxons returned from his exile in Danemark to lead a new revolt. They burned Frankish churches, and slew the priests.

A graf named Theodoric, a relative of the king, as well as a force of lesser nobles and their army were dispatched to deal with the rebels. Theodoric's army and the nobles' army met up and arrived at the Süntel mountains together, where the Saxon rebels were camped. Theodoric set up camp with his men on the south side of the Weser river, while the nobles' army set up on the north side. The nobles were on the same side as the Saxon camp. They were worried that if they stuck to Theodoric's plan and waited for him, all the glory would go to him. So, instead of waiting for Theodoric they attacked alone. The results were disastrous. From the Revised Annals of the Kingdom of the Franks:

"....Each individual seized his weapons and charged with as much speed as he could muster, just as fast as his horse would carry him, upon the place where the Saxons were drawn up in battle-array in front of their camp; they acted as if their task was to pursue a fleeing foe and seize booty rather than to take on an enemy standing marshaled to face them. Since the approach had gone badly, badly also went the battle; for when this was joined they were surrounded by the Saxons and killed almost to a man. Those who were able to make their escape even so fled not to their own camp, from which they had set out, but to Theodoric's, across the mountain. The loss to the Franks was greater than numbers alone, however, for two of the legates, Adalgis and Cailo, four counts and as many as twenty other men of distinction and nobility were killed, as well as others who were in their followings and chose to die at their sides rather than survive them.

When the king [Charlemagne] received news of what had happened, he judged that there must be not a moment's delay; swiftly collecting together an army, he entered Saxony and questioned the primores of the Saxons, all of whom he had summoned to attend him, as to who was responsible for the rebellion which had taken place. And since they all declared that Widukind was the author of this wickedness but were unable to deliver him up in view of the fact that he had taken himself off to the Northmen once the deed had been done, no fewer than 4,500 of the others, those who had fallen in with his promptings and committed such a gross outrage, were handed over and at the place on the river Aller called Verden, at the king's command, all beheaded in a single day. Thus was punishment executed; and the king then retired to winter-quarters at Thionville, where he celebrated both the Lord's birthday and Easter in the customary fashion.

The result of the bloody day was to galvanize Widukind and his followers. It would be total war with the Saxon rebels. This is where you step in. You are a member of a newly formed unit of knights (for lack of a better term). War was a yearly occurrence for the subjects of Charlemagne, each spring he gathered an army from across his empire and attacked someone. According to law, Freemen with three or more manses* are required to join the army as knights. If you have two manses, you are to partner with another two-manse landholder and equip one of you to represent both. Three one manse landholders must choose one from their number and equip him. For those with only half a manse, 6 men select one of their number and help to arm him. You are from one of these poorest of landowning families. You control half a manse. Your lord has clumped you together with five other half-manse owners. The others chose you to represent them, and paid for your armament. The law requires that every knight have a shield, lance, sword, dagger, bow and quiver with at least 12 arrows. There is no requirement that one fight with all the weapons, merely that they posses them.
*A manse is an estate which encompasses approximately 135 acres.

With winter coming, proper war cannot be waged. However that will not stop the Saxon rebels from burning every church they can get their hands on. You are under the command of Graf Theodoric in what is current day Minden in Nordrhein-Westfalen. You will be trying to protect the loyal Christians of the area until Charlemagne can return with an army in the spring and wipe out the rebels.

The feudal system is only just beginning to form, and there isn't yet a codified system of nobility and titles beyond King, Margraf, Graf (Count), and Lord. The knightly class is emerging as a way for free peasants to move into the lower nobility, and granting of hereditary lands to successful knights is becoming commonplace. You inherited your half manse from a male relative, and are only the second one in your line to hold it. The recent adaptation of the stirrup from the Moorish Muslims in Spain has allowed for the development of the devastating cavalry lance charge.

8th Century Culture
Your character is a Frank or a member of one of the ethnic groups conquered by the Carolingian Empire before 782. They are Roman Catholic and medieval in outlook and belief. There is no magic, but they believe in magic. They believe in the literal truth of the bible as dictated by the Church and Pope. They cannot read, and have no conception of a scientific worldview. Medicine is primitive and largely ineffective. Women are inferior and cannot participate in politics, war or public life in general. They can marry, become nuns or become prostitutes. There are no other paths available to them. Non Christian peoples are viewed as dangerous devil worshiping barbarians who are worthy only of conversion or death.

House Rules:

Piecemeal Armor
Wounds and Vigor
Healing Surges - A number of times per day equal to 1/2 a character's level plus their Constitution modifier a character can take a moment to rest, refocus and regain some vigor. With one use of this ability, a character can heal 1d6 hit points of damage for every two levels they possess. Using this ability is a swift action that requires no free hands. A character may only target themselves with this ability.
Treat Deadly Wounds:Modify the "treat deadly wounds" use of the heal skill as follows:
Treat Deadly Wounds
Note: You must expend two uses from a healer's kit to perform this task. You take a –2 penalty on your check for each use from a healer's kit that you lack.
When treating deadly wounds, you can restore wound points to a damaged creature. Treating deadly wounds restores 1 wound point per level of the creature. If you exceed the DC by 5 or more, add your heal skill rank to this amount. A creature can only benefit from its deadly wounds being treated within 24 hours of being injured and never more than once per day.
Time: 1 hour.

Character Crunch:

Level - 1st (The most bad ass person on earth might be level 5 or so. See Calibrating Your Expectations).
Ability Scores - 20 point buy. You guys are way cooler than normal people.
Classes - Fighter, Barbarian, All the Tripod Machine Classes
Traits - Two from different categories, reflavor to fit Earth as necessary. Earth appropriate drawbacks are also fine.
Starting Wealth - 300 GP. You must buy a lance, shield (any), sword, dagger, warhorse (light or heavy), bow (any) and arrows.
Here are the Armor and Weapons available at that time (if it's not here, you can't buy it):
shields - wooden large and small (no tower)
armor- leather, hide, chain, or scale (nothing else)
weapons - gauntlet*, dagger, club, shortspear, longspear, quarterstaff, spear, sling, throwing axe, handaxe, short sword, battleaxe, longsword, scimitar*, greataxe*, greatclub, lance, longbow, shortbow
*These weapons are new technology, or rare, thus they are double price.
other gear - Many technologies didn't exist at the time. Try to keep your gear simple, if there's something that wouldn't have been around I'll let you know.

So, all that said, this is an INTEREST CHECK, not a recruitment. Do not make a character. If you would be interested in a game like this, tell me. I'm thinking it would revolve totally around the Saxon Wars, and possibly involve mass combat later on. Depending on interest, I may or may not go forward with it.


I am interested! I like the concept and would like to play as a Frisian landowner from somewhere in what is now The Netherlands.

May I suggest to also include the ranger (without spells) and cavalier as allowed characters? Equipment wise I also would like to see the bastard sword.


Ranger and cavalier roles can be covered by the knight, scout, hunter, or bounty hunter Tripod classes. I might consider cavalier, but I don’t like the orders. Such things didn’t exist quite yet.

I need to do some research to double check but I’m fairly certain there weren’t blades of bastard sword length at the time.

Edit:Yeah, swords available at the time were something between a viking sword and the high medieval arming sword. Both of which were firmly one handed. Those longer blades didn’t evolve until closer to the Renaissance.


OK, I did not dive into the tripod classes yet. Forget the question about cavalier and ranger then.

I also quickly checked the swords. You are right (off course). That is one of the reasons I would like to participate: it gives me a real incentive on learning more about this period.


I would be very 100% interested in this. I've always wanted to try Tripod Machine's Scholar, but it definitely doesn't seem to fit with this. I'd likely roll up a Knight.


If you guys want to learn some more about the period (and the time leading up to it) in an entertaining way check out this podcast. I'd start from 1:50:00 if you don't want to listen to the whole thing. That's where he starts talking about the Franks that lead up to Charlemagne.


If I could play as Saxon (the opposing side), than I'd be interested :-)


You could play a Christian Saxon, but not one of the rebels.


Nah, thanks. For some reason, I'd find much more satisfaction in burning churches and spreading paganism. However, your game seem very well thought out, should you decide to run it, I believe both you and your players will have a very good time. I really like your approach in terms of equipment available and "Calibrating your Expectations", however I have to little precious time to read and learn Wounds and Vigor rules, and add both Piecemeal armor and Healing surges on top of that. I wish you guys a wonderfull game.


This looks very different from standard fare. I would like to try a third-son of a Frankish family. He was sent off to become a priest and studied for several years until word came that his father and eldest brother died from disease. Shortly after returning home, his other brother was killed in a Saxon raid. He has little military training, but knowledge of medicine and lore (scholar class from the Tripod list). The other five half-manse folks intimidated him into being their nomination, partly because they are cowards who knew they could convince him of its nobility, and partly so they could scheme in his absence and steal his lands while he was gone to war.

I assume all the scholar secrets relating to magic are out?

I studied medieval history for awhile at university (many years ago), and think it would be really fun to try out a game in that culture, especially without "fantasizing" it (i.e., adding actual magic spells).


Nazard wrote:

This looks very different from standard fare. I would like to try a third-son of a Frankish family. He was sent off to become a priest and studied for several years until word came that his father and eldest brother died from disease. Shortly after returning home, his other brother was killed in a Saxon raid. He has little military training, but knowledge of medicine and lore (scholar class from the Tripod list). The other five half-manse folks intimidated him into being their nomination, partly because they are cowards who knew they could convince him of its nobility, and partly so they could scheme in his absence and steal his lands while he was gone to war.

I assume all the scholar secrets relating to magic are out?

I studied medieval history for awhile at university (many years ago), and think it would be really fun to try out a game in that culture, especially without "fantasizing" it (i.e., adding actual magic spells).

Yeah, anything related to magic is out. I haven't read all the tripod classes 100% yet. I'll do that more if I decide to move forward.


Hey Jelani, how have you been?

How do you feel about classes that have all magic removed? The ranger has the trapper and skirmisher archetypes, and there is also the expanded spell-less ranger. I have info available if you desire to see more about the spell-less variant.

I am interested in this. I was recently trying to get into a game set around the 800's, but the game fell through. I don't know what I would pick for a concept yet.


Ackk! Jelani! Now, you did it to me. This game looks great! I hope I get to play.

Let me know if I can help with your game mechanics.
To give some character diversity, I would suggest adding the cavalier and spell-less ranger. I'm not terribly familiar with all of the orders, but they appear easily reflavored to personal codes. Maybe specify how many drawbacks you can take for additional traits. Maybe specify chain armor as chain shirt, chain mail, or both. People will ask about languages and Human racial traits. You may want to specify no alchemical creations are available, too.

cheers


Dot


What about alchemy? Not the alchemist class, of course, but things like smokesticks and tanglefoot bags. Given the type of adversaries we'll be facing, even at "high" levels, a dedicated alchemical crafter could be quite viable.


Jubal/GMV - What can you do with a ranger that you can't do with one of the Tripod classes? Cavalier has a more powerful argument due to the mount class feature, but I need to think about it more.

Jubal - Only one drawback. Since we're using piecemeal armor, any piece called chain is in. For example, you might have the chain arm piece and leather leg piece. There is no "chain shirt/chainmail" either way, both would be available (though most people definitely couldn't afford full armor). I'll add the languages when/if I take it to recruitment. Should be Latin, German, Italian, Czech, Dutch, Frisian, French, Slovene, Sorbian, and Polish. That's not exactly right for the time period, but whatever. It'll work.

Nazard - Alchemical items that have real world counterparts would exist. Smokesticks? yes. Tanglefoot bag? No. Acid? Yes. Etc, etc. Also, anyone doing alchemy should be fully prepared to be treated like an evil witch, and probably practices in secret.


DM Jelani wrote:
Jubal/GMV - What can you do with a ranger that you can't do with one of the Tripod classes?

Maybe it's more comfort level about allowing the ranger, because I'm not familiar with the tripod classes. Glancing at them, I still see a spell-less ranger as competitive.

The knight has the Signature Mount feat effectively giving an animal companion at level-2, would you make that available? What about other tripod feats?

Interesting maps:
carolingian_empire 770-814
older names
with bishoprics

cheers


I've got a map too. All in good time.

Edit: Yes to the mount feat, maybe to other tripods feats. Thanks fr sharing the older names and bishoprics. The name can be really confusing so I'll need to choose one language that we're going to use.


Concerning other tripod feats, there is a feat chain that focuses on improved use of the Heal skill to restore health without magic, eventually being able to raise someone who has died. They fit very well with the scholar class.


It looks like you have at least four serious expressions of interes, and an actual recruitment thread would probably bring one or two more out of the woodwork. Any further thoughts on whether or not you'd like to try running a game like this?


Maybe/prolly. I'm on vacation right now, and also running another recruitment currently so it'll be a while if I do.

I was honestly hoping for more like at least 10 people to show interest so that I'd have some variety to choose from in characters. But I might still push forward in a few weeks. We'll see. Historical games just aren't as popular as "I'm going to run X adventure path with a 25 point buy and all races available". :/


Very interested and eager to put some pagan swine to the sword in the name of Our Lord, etc.


We dine well here in Aachen. We eat lamb and jam and bacon.

On second thought, let's not go to Aachen. 'Tis a silly place.

I like the class options. This will be like Iron Heroes.


Sounds very interesting. I've always been interested in the reign of Charlemagne, I enjoy the thought of a historical PF game, and you've pinged some Favorites list sites (Calibrating Your Expectations, Dan Carlin). Count me as interested.

What sort of posting schedule/frequency are you considering?


Well, there would be a week-ten day long recruitment period where I put up the final rules, and let people make characters. Then I'd probably select 4 or 5 depending on how I like them. After that the hope would be a post per day from each player. However I've been DMing PBP long enough to know that that almost never happens. So I usually end up settling for one post every 48 hours or so. Less than that and I start to get bored/frustrated at the lack of participation and either kick the slow player and recruit a replacement or close the whole game if no one is posting enough.


I would be interested. The Alexandrian/Dan Carlin one two punch in the first post drew me like a moth to flame.


Will we be able to make full use of our horses and of the Mounted Combat family of feats as the terrain allows? Is mounted archery socially acceptable? Are we allowed to use composite bows?


Sean Weasley wrote:

Will we be able to make full use of our horses and of the Mounted Combat family of feats as the terrain allows? Is mounted archery socially acceptable? Are we allowed to use composite bows?

1) Yes, as the terrain allows. Saxony has no towns or cities at this time, very few things that could even be called villages. It's mostly small farmsteads and giant forests. The Saxons made their living hunting, raising livestock and raiding their neighbors.

2) Archery is fine. Obviously, since the law literally requires a knight to have a bow and arrows. Some might consider it unmanly, but that's an old fashioned view.

3) No, there are no composite bows on the list. Which means if you want to use a bow mounted it'll need to be a short bow.

The technology of the time was fairly limiting to archery, especially when translated into PF rules. You'd have more luck with thrown weapons as far as effective damage goes. Franks were famous for their throwing axes.


DM Jelani wrote:
Sean Weasley wrote:

Will we be able to make full use of our horses and of the Mounted Combat family of feats as the terrain allows? Is mounted archery socially acceptable? Are we allowed to use composite bows?

1) Yes, as the terrain allows. Saxony has no towns or cities at this time, very few things that could even be called villages. It's mostly small farmsteads and giant forests. The Saxons made their living hunting, raising livestock and raiding their neighbors.

2) Archery is fine. Obviously, since the law literally requires a knight to have a bow and arrows. Some might consider it unmanly, but that's an old fashioned view.

3) No, there are no composite bows on the list. Which means if you want to use a bow mounted it'll need to be a short bow.

The technology of the time was fairly limiting to archery, especially when translated into PF rules. You'd have more luck with thrown weapons as far as effective damage goes. Franks were famous for their throwing axes.

I'd totally forgotten about Frankish throwing axes!

Mounted combat should be very viable in a game like this. No dungeons in the fantasy sense, no flying monsters (or monsters of any kind), just humans and an occasional wild animal.

If I do go with a scholar, some of their abilities make use of the favorite enemy mechanic. Obviously humans are the way to go, but would you want to subdivide? Human-Saxon versus Human-Moor, etc.


Also, for Knowledge skills, I could see Religion, History, Nature, Nobility, Engineering, Geography, and Local being the only applicable ones...agreed?


I would probably break down favored enemy by ethnicity, yes. I agree that those would be the applicable knowledge skills.


Are we allowed barding for our horses (of the same types available to us) or would that be anachronistic?


This still open? Was thinking of a Christian Saxon Corbie... perhaps supporting one of the more knightly members of the group?

Saxon Warrior as inspiration.

But if easier to validate I can make him Frankish or a Wend (perhaps a former criminal or exile)?


Sean Weasley wrote:

Are we allowed barding for our horses (of the same types available to us) or would that be anachronistic?

No barding. Armored cavalry was just becoming popular, and there's still a large historical debate raging as to how big a role horsemen played in Charlemagne's armies. As I said before the introduction of the stirrup to Europe made lance charges possible, and that was the catalyst for that change.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Black Dow wrote:

This still open? Was thinking of a Christian Saxon Corbie... perhaps supporting one of the more knightly members of the group?

Saxon Warrior as inspiration.

But if easier to validate I can make him Frankish or a Wend (perhaps a former criminal or exile)?

Haven't even started recruitment yet. This is still an interest check thing. Christian Saxon is totally doable. You could have been a kid when Charlemagne originally conquered your clan, and then grew up under Frankish authority. If you were a true convert, then Widukind and a his rebels would be your enemy too.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nazard here.

I know you said don't bother making characters for this yet, but I had background ideas I needed to write down before I forgot them, and they dictated trait and skill choices, so in the end, it was just easier to build a character and put him in an alias.

Needless to say, I'm very interested.


That is an interesting choice going with a human character, Reolus of Fulda. I may play a human character as well. I am thinking of naming him "Frank".


Sean Weasley wrote:

That is an interesting choice going with a human character, Reolus of Fulda. I may play a human character as well. I am thinking of naming him "Frank".

We should all keep in mind the Gothic time period. Therefore, all characters should wear black leather, black lipstick, have multiple nose rings, and frown a lot.


Could this be an opportunity to revive Berengar of Bernhild?!

Actually this appears to be a few hundred years later, and now we're on the Frankish side. Not sure how a Bear totem, skin changing Barbarian would play out in Christian Europe.

You didn't list Cavalier, but I've been dying to play the Huntsman/Houndmaster archetype.


I'm still considering the cavalier. I've got a lot on my plate at the moment, so this game is on the back burner until I get some more time.


I have a question for all you guys interested. Would you rather have the Knight or the Cavalier class available. If I did make cavalier available, all the order stuff would be re flavored as personal abilities since knightly orders didn't exist yet.


Selfishly, I would choose Cavalier to make the Huntsman archetype available. However, the Huntsman is a significant (near-total) change to the Cavalier, so I'm not picking Cavalier for any specific love of the class. We might be able to figure out something else with the Knight too.

Or you know, I could just play something else.


Berengar of Bernhild wrote:

Could this be an opportunity to revive Berengar of Bernhild?!

Actually this appears to be a few hundred years later, and now we're on the Frankish side. Not sure how a Bear totem, skin changing Barbarian would play out in Christian Europe.

You didn't list Cavalier, but I've been dying to play the Huntsman/Houndmaster archetype.

I think the campaign Jelani's going for is a completely historical world, with no fantasy at all, so the only things available are things that actually existed. Nothing supernatural at all.


Yes, that's true.


I like the knight over the cavalier, but I'm a sucker for different classes helping me "get in the mood" of an alternate setting.


Understood. Mostly I liked the idea of reusing an alias.

I'm still interested even if there's no Cavalier or their archetypes. Not sure what I'd play though. Beastmaster doesn't have the right tone to me.


A game like this is a once-in-a-blue-moon chance to play a thrown weapon specialist and stay effective. No DR to deal with, no insane ACs to beat. Quick Draw, PBS and a set of Frankish throwing axes sounds like a blast.

A mounted combat character will also play well, as there are none of the standard foils to mounted combat: flying creatures and dungeons. Aside from some encounters in a local tavern, most fights will be outdoors.


This seems like a cool campaign, and I'm ready to fight for the lord Charlemagne.


This is a great opportunity to learn about Dark Ages history. Just a question: is human the only race we can play?


Do you have science based historical evidence of another sentient race living on Earth in northern France or western Germany in the year 782 AD?

1 to 50 of 51 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Online Campaigns / Recruitment / Saxon Wars Interest Check (Historical PF Game) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.