21 July, 2012

The Riddle Game

I finally decided to go ahead and play Questions with my Nicodemus/Anglia setting. Anthony and Robert from G+ offered a few great questions about the campaign yesterday, and I've done my best to answer them below. If you, dear reader, have more questions, feel free to ask!

1) Are there any notable examples of folks leaving Anglia and traveling to Europe? Anybody famous?
Names bandied about among caravan luminaries include Pythagoras, Iamblichus, Abaris the Hyperborean and Merlin. More recent guesses include Merovech and Charles Martel.

2) Same question as #1, but moving in the other direction.
Ultimately, all the humans of Anglia trace their dim past back to the migrations of the many Germanic peoples of Europe, but via an apparently one-way rift somewhere on the far-away continent of the Old Empire. The ‘shift’ in which Migellito’s Caravan often finds itself is said to be a develpment of only the last couple of years. Bridgewater freeholders speak of only a handful of travellers from ‘The Other Woods’, and none that did more than pass briefly through their little hamlet.

3) Does the gypsy lady ever leave her wagon? How long has she been with the caravan? Does Migellito consult her?
None claim to have seen her more than a dozen steps from her colourful vardo, nor to know her name. She is a relatively recent addition to Migellito’s pan-European caravan, apparently joining up about two weeks before the first adventuring types found themselves exploring the castle ruins. It is assumed amongst the grooms, porters and outriders that she travels with the caravan for simple security in order to ply her trade along their route. That trade is believed to largely consist of fortunetelling, with a substantial side-business in mystic apothecary and uncanny curios. Migellito, in the opinion of the caravan’s rustic worthies, would never deign to consult her, but seems to have with her a very tense business relationship.

4) What demons do goblins worship?
According to Shank the goblinsmith, the statue in the Dungeon Temple is one ‘Orcus.’ This is a constant source of contention between the two goblin men, as Og stridently professes his faith in Demogorgon. Well, faith might not be the most expressive term. Fearful obsequiousness is probably more accurate. For her part, Fap the goblin woman is apparently content to leave spiritual matters to the men.

5) Do gnome/druid/elf territories overlap, or are they separate? How do the 3 groups relate to each other?
Gnomes and elves have a pleasant understanding, rarely engaging and never conflicting with each other. To call them insular, they would need to have some sort of desire for outward interest. They don’t. As far as a sense of ownership, this extends only to the structures they’ve actually built. A gnome would not see the tree he lives in as ‘his,’ only the comfortable dwelling made within it.
Druids are a relatively new addition, arriving soon after and in conjunction with the Anglish settlers, beginning a little over two centuries ago. They have begun to learn the ins and outs of the forests here, but often unwittingly violate little forest customs they don’t even know exist. However, the most negative of elf and gnome opinion of the druids ranges only to ‘exasperation.’
Druids are wont to interpret a great deal of mystic importance in the activities of the forest natives, especially the elves, but for the most part these are misconceptions.

6) Whose territory is Castle Nicodemus on? Is some lord gonna roll in eventually and tell us we're squatting on his land and stealing his treasure?
Ultimately, the land might be construed to belong to Stephen, King of Anglia. He is less than popular among the nearby freeholders and rustics, apparently mostly because his name is “one of those Latin things.” (It’s Greek in origin, of course, but only the most learned sages of the Old Empire would realise those threads existed within the fabric of what they think of as Latin)
The locals appreciate the influence of Baron Meligor of Croyden and Duke Osric of Norchester-and-Norwich even less, despite the fact they revere the individuals themselves at near heroic status. The freeholders are, understandably perhaps, a bit paranoid about nobles trying to turn them back into serfs.
Functionally, however, the influence of these rulers doesn’t extend far enough from their seats of power to affect Nicodemus. This may be in flux, however, in light of the ongoing military invasion.

7) Is the orc invasion a concern across the land, or is Bridgewater just particularly unlucky in this regard? Are there bands of soldiers opposing them at all?
Both rumour and rationale have it that the northern fortified city of Norchester-and-Norwich is completely besieged. The fate of the mountain border fortress of Croydon, to the Northeast, is unknown.. however, no reinforcements or Anglish troops have been seen from there (or at all, for that matter.) The columns of orc footmen seen marching South on the nearby road are clearly headed somewhere, and that way lie both the large fortified city of Cooperton-on-Wythern and eventually the Capitol, Freeport.

8) What's the nearest non-Bridgewater population center?
The nearest settlement other than Bridgewater is the village of Haverhill, about a day’s ride to the South. It is just slightly larger than Bridgewater, or at least it was the last anyone knew.

9) Is there any continuity between Morvalian and Anglian societies, or are they totally separate? Are there Anglians with Morvalian ancestry?
Completely separate, as far as anyone knows. The ruins attributed to the Morvalians were already centuries old, at least, when the Anglish first arrived from the Old Empire and founded Freeport in this new and unexplored country. Ruins like Castle Nicodemus dot the countryside, and Freeport itself is said to be built atop the legacy of an ancient Morvalian city. The bas reliefs, in fact, are the only evidence the Morvalians were humans at all.

10) Are there recorded instances of large migrations of beings from worlds other than Earth?
The oldest and most obscure of extant Morvalian texts make brief mention of a people known as Olnivernians. Only three facts are known about them: their skin is green; their men wear ornate turbans; their women are unparalleled dancers.

11) Is Castle Nicodemus a ruined version of Castle Amber?
In spite of its relatively large footprint, the ruins seem to indicate an edifice far less complex than Castle Amber. Additionally, the geography of the area would have had to undergo sweeping changes.

12) Is there any way for a PC to walk that pattern that is hidden beneath?
Only a blood-descendant of Amber can walk the pattern and live.

13) What is Oberon's master plan?
A system of ordered chaos throughout the multiverse, obeying his hand’s careful influence.

14) Who is Migellito, really?
A retired Italian freebooter with experience in the trans-Saharan gold caravans. Maybe.

15) Is Castle Nicodemus a post-apocalyptic ruin of Amber, one of the "false Ambers" that hold broken patterns, or Corwin's Amber born from his fever-dreams of France when he wrote a new pattern?
Probably not, but I like the France idea!