Quick flavor question about Brevoy


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

Scarab Sages

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Sorry if this is in the wrong thread/forum

Coming up with a character concept and I was wondering how Brevoy’s set up politically. Is it a kingdom with a nobility and a ruling class? Can one attend a school to be a swordlord? Can ANYONE attend that school or do you have to be nobility? Or is it an apprenticeship thing? Is there a king/queen? Barons?

Acquisitives

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VampByDay wrote:

Sorry if this is in the wrong thread/forum

Coming up with a character concept and I was wondering how Brevoy’s set up politically. Is it a kingdom with a nobility and a ruling class? Can one attend a school to be a swordlord? Can ANYONE attend that school or do you have to be nobility? Or is it an apprenticeship thing? Is there a king/queen? Barons?

Brevoy is a medieval, feudal state. Thematically, it's Game of Thrones, 100 Years War, etc.


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Brevoy is currently ruled as a Monarchy. It was two regions combined under Choral the Conqueror before he went and disappeared. There is currently a King, I believe, and the family that rules is from the Issia half of the country.

The Rostland half was ruled by the Swordlords until conquered by Choral. The Rostland region provides most of the food of Brevoy which gives the swordlords a bit of power, but its a big mess overall.

Pathfinderwiki wrote:
Those who wish to become a swordlord must take the last name of Aldori, swear to the Aldori swordpact, and demonstrate skill at swordplay by winning a duel using only a sword in the presence of an Aldori swordlord or experienced exile.

There are styles of swordplay fashioned after the Aldori swordstyle as I don't think any secret techniques stay secret for long if they're used, but to be a Swordlord, yeah, you gotta sign on the dotted line.

Acquisitives

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Brevoy has no king, currently. The royal family vanished 20 years ago. The various noble houses compete against each other for supremacy.


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OP, lore queries are best in the Lost Omens subforum.

Yakman wrote:
Brevoy has no king, currently. The royal family vanished 20 years ago. The various noble houses compete against each other for supremacy.

Hasn’t House Surtova been ruling for decades? LOWG mentions a king of their line leading the country.

Everything I can find seems to say that House Surtova has reigned since the disappearance of Choral’s House Rogarvia, and that Brevoy is a feudal state with Surtova at the top, other noble houses beneath them, and then the common folk lower still.

Radiant Oath

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keftiu wrote:

OP, lore queries are best in the Lost Omens subforum.

Yakman wrote:
Brevoy has no king, currently. The royal family vanished 20 years ago. The various noble houses compete against each other for supremacy.

Hasn’t House Surtova been ruling for decades? LOWG mentions a king of their line leading the country.

Everything I can find seems to say that House Surtova has reigned since the disappearance of Choral’s House Rogarvia, and that Brevoy is a feudal state with Surtova at the top, other noble houses beneath them, and then the common folk lower still.

That's a big point of contention: TECHNICALLY Noleski Surtova is the King-Regent of Brevoy, and some of the noble houses have made it ABUNDANTLY clear that they will not recognize him as Brevoy's true ruler while there's still a chance the Rogarvias may be recovered (House Orlovsky in particular, followed by Houses Garess and Medvyed who'd possibly join an Orlovsky-led rebellion against Surtova if it came to that).

And as far as Brevoy's political makeup, yes, as others have said it's your old-fashioned fantasy feudal monarchy. Of note is that there's ethnic divides as well as class ones: When Choral conquered Issia and Rostland, and forced them together to make Brevoy, the Issians were put on top because they fell in line behind him quickly, whereas the Swordlords pridefully fought against him to the end, meaning the Rostlanders they ruled got the worse part of the bargain. Every named noble House in Brevoy is of Issian descent, and they rule the majority of Brevoy's lands. From what I can tell, the Swordlords have very little influence outside Restov itself, and most Rostlandic peasants instead have to send their tithes to Issian lords they view as dishonorable exploiters.

Another thing to note about Restov itself is the Aldori Dueling Academy is only the most FAMOUS one in the city: there's multiple schools there teaching many different styles. And yes, to become a Swordlord proper, you have to be a skilled duelist and abandon previous family names and holdings to prove your loyalty to your brothers and sisters in the Swordpact, but that offers much better social mobility than the rest of Brevoy. It's even accommodating to non-human ancestries who otherwise would be viewed with suspicion like half-orcs. The Swordlord's problems largely extend from the fact that the deck is stacked against them while Choral's Issian-led hierarchy holds most of the land, titles and military power, especially in lands that are rightfully Rostlandic because they're much more fertile and profitable than the ancestral Issian lands, and...because they're so prideful and stubborn they spend just as much time arguing and dueling with each other as they do trying to stand up against Issian dominance.

If Noleski Surtova tried to upgrade his status by dropping the "Regent" part of his title and prompted Poul Orlovsky to lead his House along with Garess and Medvyed in revolt against him, the Swordlords would waste time fighting both of them because even if they don't like Noleski as King (nobody like Noleski as king, really), the Orlovskys are just as Issian and therefore just as much their oppressors in their eyes.

Scarab Sages

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Thanks for the info. I was thinking of making a character who was a noble that wanted to be a swordlord, but her father forbade it. Sounds like that’s entirely possible if she was an Issan noble who grew up fascinated with the swordlords, but her family doesn’t want her to deal with those ‘dirty Rostlanders.’ Sounds possible?


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That seems perfectly plausible, even probable of a character concept. The swordlords have a history of sabre rattling dissent toward the king-regent if I recall, which could be bad business for any family politically affiliated with him, and Issians in general

Radiant Oath

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Very plausible indeed! There are also a few Issian houses who practice with the Aldori dueling sword even though they can't learn the Swordpact-specific techniques (officially, at least, but there are some Swordlords who break their oaths and teach the uninitiated). Of note would be House Khavortorov, one of House Rogarvia's vassals that is now trying to play with the big-name houses as an equal. Their crest is a white dragon (contrasting Rogarvia's red) with a helm embedded in its chest, and their motto is "We Won't Be Saddled."

Of the big-name houses there's House Lebeda, which has always been considered the most "Rostlandic" of them due to having strong Taldan features, a love of finer things and swordfighting. They're in a bit of a rough spot right now, as their eldest daughter, Elanna Lebeda, was on track to marry Noleski Surtova, which would have been seen as a symbolic union between Rostland and Issia, but that fell apart when the King-Regent's sister, Natala Surtova, accused the lord of the House, Lander Lebeda, of treason. There's a lot of debate surrounding this, though, as while Lander Lebeda DID harbor revolutionary sentiments in his youth, he hadn't expressed any since taking over leadership. Some believe the accusations, while others (like House Orlovsky) claim it's just more propaganda to disguise another Surtova power-grab. Some even think Natala made the charge specifically to prevent the marriage from occurring, so she could maintain her power in her brother's court (many have argued she's the TRUE power behind the Surtovan throne, with Noleski largely following her recommendations). ,

Complicating this even FURTHER is if you came from Kingmaker, you've MET Lander Lebeda, and depending on how you played it, he actually DID try to commit treason ...against YOU, the ruler of the Stolen Lands, to try and claim them for himself. There's admittedly some discrepancy between Lander's depiction in the books and the PC game (his illustration in the books has a beard, but he's clean-shaven in the game, in the books his alignment is listed as LN while in the game it's CN leaning towards evil). He can even be killed and resurrected depending on your decisions in the game, so what exactly is going on with the Lebedas may require a bit of work on the part of your GM.

And speaking of the PC game, one of the companions, Valerie, is herself an Issian noble scion who went to Restov after she quit the Shelynite paladin order she'd been practically raised in, but she decided the path of the Swordlord ultimately wasn't for her either, as she preferred taking hits with heavy armor and a big shield instead of dodging them, so she worked for them instead, which is how she gets involved with your party.

Acquisitives

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VampByDay wrote:
Thanks for the info. I was thinking of making a character who was a noble that wanted to be a swordlord, but her father forbade it. Sounds like that’s entirely possible if she was an Issan noble who grew up fascinated with the swordlords, but her family doesn’t want her to deal with those ‘dirty Rostlanders.’ Sounds possible?

definitely.

maybe he's got her lined up for an arranged marriage? that way you have at least 2 key NPCs in her background you can play with... the father and the proposed groom.


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Worth noting that the videogames aren’t canon to the tabletop, and Owlcat definitely clashes with Paizo on some things - but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to mine for inspiration!

Radiant Oath

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Besides, the idea of the marriage between Elanna Lebeda and Noleski Surtova making peace easier in Brevoy doesn't really work in the context of the Issia/Rostland divide, because it isn't very clear what side of that divide the Lebedas actually fall under in terms of origin: Rostland was ruled by the Aldori Swordlords and they primarily take "Aldori" as their surname when swearing the Swordpact, and they're infamous for their stubborn pride, so if the Lebedas ARE ethnically Rostlanders, the Swordlords wouldn't respect their authority or worse, may consider them traitors for kissing up to Issians and trying to advance in the heirarchy of Brevoy instead of helping break it back up into Issia and Rostland. Otherwise, the Lebedas are just Issians and therefore just more oppressors marrying other oppressors.

Can you tell the particulars of this plot hook have bugged me for a while? :P

Acquisitives

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

Besides, the idea of the marriage between Elanna Lebeda and Noleski Surtova making peace easier in Brevoy doesn't really work in the context of the Issia/Rostland divide, because it isn't very clear what side of that divide the Lebedas actually fall under in terms of origin: Rostland was ruled by the Aldori Swordlords and they primarily take "Aldori" as their surname when swearing the Swordpact, and they're infamous for their stubborn pride, so if the Lebedas ARE ethnically Rostlanders, the Swordlords wouldn't respect their authority or worse, may consider them traitors for kissing up to Issians and trying to advance in the heirarchy of Brevoy instead of helping break it back up into Issia and Rostland. Otherwise, the Lebedas are just Issians and therefore just more oppressors marrying other oppressors.

Can you tell the particulars of this plot hook have bugged me for a while? :P

nah... can you explain further?

Radiant Oath

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See, the writing about the Surtova-Lebeda wedding suggests it was intended to stabilize Brevoy by marrying the Issian regent to a representative of Rostland as a symbolic gesture of unity. The writing also says that the Lebedas are the most "Rostlandic" of Brevoy's houses, but it isn't clear if that's because the family originated in Rostland or if that's just where their holdings are and they absorbed the neighboring culture.

That matters because Rostland was founded by and for the Aldori Swordlords, who lost almost everything when Choral the Conqueror forced them to yield. Issia's lords surrendered to Choral almost as soon as he made himself known, while Rostland fought to maintain their independence. Choral crushed the Swordlords and almost wiped them out (it doesn't matter how many skilled swordsmen you've got, without at least a cleric and a wizard you're not going to win against two red dragons at once!), and further humiliated them by giving the majority of their conquered lands to his Issian cronies as rewards for so swiftly and easily falling in line.

So either House Lebeda is an Issian family who recieved Rostlandic holdings at the founding of Brevoy and just kind of adopted a lot of the culture of their lands, or they somehow have a Rostlandic origin distinct from the Aldori Swordlords that doesn't match the rest of the area's written history, since to be a true Aldori swordlord, especially back when they actually ruled Rostland, you adopted Aldori as your own surname to symbolize the abandonment of all previous claims to land and title outside of the Swordpact. Either way, I find it likely that the Swordlords would view the idea that House Lebeda represents them laughable or insulting, so the intended marriage between Noleski Surtova and Elanna Lebeda wouldn't have healed the Issia/Rostland divide at all. If it was having Noleski marry an Aldori Swordlord proper, like say, Jamandi Aldori, that might carry more symbolic value, but then it also probably wouldn't mean much to the actual Rostlanders because the Swordlords are (on paper at least) meritocratic, the only determinants of power and social standing are how many duels you've won, and ties of blood are supposed to be meaningless.

This whole scuppered Surtova-Lebeda marriage plotline seems to forget Rostland operated completely differently to a traditional feudal structure prior to Choral forcing that model on to it after his conquest, and that it's the Swordlords who'd need to be courted if they actually wanted to try and heal the conflict between Brevoy's two peoples, and as written elsewhere, the Swordlords aren't interested in anything less than Brevoy as a nation ceasing to exist to facilitate the rebirth of independent Rostland.

Liberty's Edge

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Or the Swordlords could be the jingoist extremists and the Lebeda representative of the more moderate Rostlanders.

Radiant Oath

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That thought HAS crossed my mind a few times...it's not like peasants would really care how many sword duels their lord has won or how much honor they have, especially if that means who's in charge changes every few months or so because they keep picking fights or other lords keep picking fights with them. That was part of why Choral was able to beat them so easily: they spent so much time and effort squabbling over who was actually in charge that it delayed their ability to present a united front.

If that IS the case, however, it's not explicated very much in the text, leaving the implication that the politics of Rostland's common folk DO align with that the Swordlords, that for all intents and purposes, the Swordlords ARE Rostland.

That's honestly a problem Brevoy inherits from its ASoIaF inspiration: a tendency for the average person and daily life to be forgotten about while the focus is all on the bickering nobles and their drama, and that war is BAD, no matter what it's in service of. Even if the Swordlords won their independence a lot more people than just the Swordlords themselves would have to suffer to get it.

Liberty's Edge

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

That thought HAS crossed my mind a few times...it's not like peasants would really care how many sword duels their lord has won or how much honor they have, especially if that means who's in charge changes every few months or so because they keep picking fights or other lords keep picking fights with them. That was part of why Choral was able to beat them so easily: they spent so much time and effort squabbling over who was actually in charge that it delayed their ability to present a united front.

If that IS the case, however, it's not explicated very much in the text, leaving the implication that the politics of Rostland's common folk DO align with that the Swordlords, that for all intents and purposes, the Swordlords ARE Rostland.

Well, the victors (or the survivors really) do write history.


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The way I see it, Paizo wrote the perfect place to have the whole political noble playground, while still leaving it open for a table to create an insurrectionist storyline. With there being a whole less chance of the whole thing devolving into another Galt "permanent revolution" thing.


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Temperans wrote:
The way I see it, Paizo wrote the perfect place to have the whole political noble playground, while still leaving it open for a table to create an insurrectionist storyline. With there being a whole less chance of the whole thing devolving into another Galt "permanent revolution" thing.

A Brevoy (Brevish? Brevic? Brevoyan?) civil war AP is such a slam dunk that it feels like a when, not an if.


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keftiu wrote:
Temperans wrote:
The way I see it, Paizo wrote the perfect place to have the whole political noble playground, while still leaving it open for a table to create an insurrectionist storyline. With there being a whole less chance of the whole thing devolving into another Galt "permanent revolution" thing.
A Brevoy (Brevish? Brevic? Brevoyan?) civil war AP is such a slam dunk that it feels like a when, not an if.

Given the dragon prophecy aspects, it might be awhile to separate the dragon APs...except it kinda has been awhile, hasn't it? Hmm...

(And it wouldn't be the center arc anyway, though worthy of an AP module)

But yeah, a war of houses, hopefully with a sandbox Kingmaker spin as PCs have a selection of factions to support/betray/usurp. It seems there'd be similar enough mechanics. And the tensions exacerbated by a dragon cult plus neighboring kingdoms looming, perhaps with some to the east getting fleshed out simply to add fuel. Now that the Worldwound's been closed, there's no unifying enemy (not that that had been helping much). Heck, one module could focus on a land grab on the fringes of the Worldwound, the aftermath/resolution in Mendev (a valuable ally one would think), and a quest-race into the Sarkoris Scar vs. rival Brevoyan factions (w/ maybe Irrisen, etc. tossed in). And the sea has potential too. And one would see the Numerian aftermath too, yay...
And now I'm starting to think we're running out of countries for APs!


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I think to some extent the resolution to the issue is to just ignore the swordlords. From the perspective of a Brevoy Unionist, the swordlords as an organization are intractable, their desires are completely at odds with the Unionists. The fact that hardliners aren't going to look favorably upon a Surtova-Lebeda wedding is a given, so it's not really relevant to the ambitions of the Unionists, at least in the sense that appealing to them was never going to be on the table.

Castilliano wrote:


And now I'm starting to think we're running out of countries for APs!

There are over a hundred kingdoms in Vudra! Plenty of space.


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Castilliano wrote:

And the sea has potential too. And one would see the Numerian aftermath too, yay...

And now I'm starting to think we're running out of countries for APs!

It took them until this year to get around to Galt, the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, and Alkenstar for the first time each of any substantial adventure support; I'm not worried.

Even once they get around to all the spots in the Inner Sea (and there's plenty more - Nex and Jalmeray are /begging/ for some love) and all the sequels, there's still all the nations of Tian Xia to flesh out, to say nothing of the setting beyond that. I won't know peace until we get something in Razatlan.


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If wasn't worried, if only because of James Jacobs. :-)
The resurgence of The Whispering Way has shown Paizo can stir up conflict in interesting, epic ways. Plus, yes, Tian Xia (and maybe the other places though those seem a bit clumped together).

What struck me is how Brevoy's neighbors have most (all?!) had APs centered around them which would be interesting to follow up on. Lots of action in the NE quadrant.

Liberty's Edge

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Man, swordlords are so cool to me. I just wish they had more feat support. The archetype had the misfortune of coming out before the APG, so both the Duelist and Swashbuckler archetypes eat its lunch.

Scarab Sages

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After seeing the Rules Lawyer's review of the psychic, I think I have it:

So some Issian noble girl is obsessed with attending the school of swordlords, but her father (family?) forbade it. They said 'No daughter of mine was allowed to touch dirty Rostland steel!"

Dreaming and practicing in secret, reading about it, and generally obsessing over it lead her to unlock her psychic abilities, in particular the wandering dream which gives her the cantrip to make a sword (in her case it looks like a dueling sword) out of psychic energy. So she entered herself into a tournament and thought she had the upper hand when she showed her parents that she had learned how to swordfight without "Touching Rostland Steel." They were not amused. Probably disowned her. Now to find a campaign that she fits into.


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VampByDay wrote:

After seeing the Rules Lawyer's review of the psychic, I think I have it:

So some Issian noble girl is obsessed with attending the school of swordlords, but her father (family?) forbade it. They said 'No daughter of mine was allowed to touch dirty Rostland steel!"

Dreaming and practicing in secret, reading about it, and generally obsessing over it lead her to unlock her psychic abilities, in particular the wandering dream which gives her the cantrip to make a sword (in her case it looks like a dueling sword) out of psychic energy. So she entered herself into a tournament and thought she had the upper hand when she showed her parents that she had learned how to swordfight without "Touching Rostland Steel." They were not amused. Probably disowned her. Now to find a campaign that she fits into.

Gatewalkers seems to be a Broken Lands-trotting story with a lot of psychic/mental weirdness in it, if you're willing to wait for the AP after Blood Lords - Brevoy isn't /that/ far of a walk from Sevenarches, where the first book is set.


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VampByDay wrote:

After seeing the Rules Lawyer's review of the psychic, I think I have it:

So some Issian noble girl is obsessed with attending the school of swordlords, but her father (family?) forbade it. They said 'No daughter of mine was allowed to touch dirty Rostland steel!"

Dreaming and practicing in secret, reading about it, and generally obsessing over it lead her to unlock her psychic abilities, in particular the wandering dream which gives her the cantrip to make a sword (in her case it looks like a dueling sword) out of psychic energy. So she entered herself into a tournament and thought she had the upper hand when she showed her parents that she had learned how to swordfight without "Touching Rostland Steel." They were not amused. Probably disowned her. Now to find a campaign that she fits into.

Love the "technical compliance" in this concept. Another option to achieve the same backstory beats with a different Conscious Mind would be that new cantrip which allows wielding a weapon at range. In this case she has a physical sword she needs to hide, but still doesn't actually wield it by hand.

Most delightful concept.


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keftiu wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

And the sea has potential too. And one would see the Numerian aftermath too, yay...

And now I'm starting to think we're running out of countries for APs!

It took them until this year to get around to Galt, the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, and Alkenstar for the first time each of any substantial adventure support; I'm not worried.

Even once they get around to all the spots in the Inner Sea (and there's plenty more - Nex and Jalmeray are /begging/ for some love) and all the sequels, there's still all the nations of Tian Xia to flesh out, to say nothing of the setting beyond that. I won't know peace until we get something in Razatlan.

I don't think there's anything wrong with hitting a location again in later APs anyway. It certainly didn't stop them with Varisia! And I always love seeing an adventure directly address how the events of prior APs affected the world.


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Personally hoping the ap after Gatewalkers is Brevoy, either the civil war conflict or the return of a warlord and his dragons...ideally as another high lvl 3 parter


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As someone who doesn't really like Brevoy at all, I was quite delighted by the brief bit in Knights of Lastwall about how the feuding families are so messy that a single road can have multiple toll booths because numerous families all claim it as their own, so all the commoners hate moving around because it's expensive.

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