Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Questions about the Dark Country Part 1

The concept of this post is stolen entirely from Jeremy Duncan.  I told my players to each ask me ten questions about the Dark Country they would like to see answered.  This batch comes from Zzarchov.

1. How is marriage/bachelor(ette)hood viewed?
In the West, bachelorhood would be viewed much more negatively than it is in the Dark Country itself.  The Dark Country is a frontier land and it's incredible wildness and barbarity make it the sort of place that a single man with little prospects back West, perhaps a second son or a bastard, could make a name for himself without a marriage.

Well, that's the way it is among the gentry.  The peasantry largely favors married men and women because they're less likely to be the sort of violent freebooters robber barons like to hire to fight pagans.

2. How do folks view founding new settlements (forts)?
If you can clear the land and find the people who settle it, any land in the Dark Country could be yours as long as you swear fealty to one of the Seven Cities - unless of course your settlers are numerous enough and your army large enough to match one of the cities.  The Seven Cities are ultimately colonies and the "crusades" are ultimately a colonialist enterprise, even if it's one that lacks the central authority of High Imperialism.

3. How is debt handled?

The Church frowns upon debt and usury.  In the West, froglings provide those sorts of economic services to those who need them, but this practice is highly regulated and earns froglings an ill-deserved reputation as cheats.

However, the crusader-state nature of the Seven Cities makes local authorities considerably more lenient on the subject.  Since most of the settlers in the Dark Country are assumed to be on a state of permanent crusade, any stain that the sin of borrowing money would cause on the soul is immediately washed away.

Most money lenders in the Dark Country are froglings, though some of the more powerful nobles in Palewater and a few of the other cities will render similar services.  Froglings typically hire Brotherhood mercenaries in order to make sure debts are payed, while nobles typically rely on their household guard for the same task.

4. What does it take to become a recognized noble?
The short answer is "make yourself one."  This is typically done by clearing away land that is in the grip of devilry or by capturing pagan settlements.

Exceptional service rendered to a lord, particularly one in the upper echelons of one of the Seven Cities might land you a preexisting title.  This service is usually going to be military in nature.  Ultimately though there is considerably more social mobility - in both directions - in the Dark Country than there is in the West.

5. How much money is it to be "rich" (ie, not need to work again)?

This is a difficult question to answer.  Those who do possess money in the Dark Country typically must fight to protect it or employ others to fight to protect it from both worldly and otherworldy threats.  Retiring is not something that comes easy.

Land is a great deal more important than actual money, and people to protect that land are even more important still.

6. How would you describe the "Gonzo" limit?
It depends one what one means by "gonzo."  The Dark Country is a great deal less gonzo than some of the settings I've made in the past, and it certainly pales in comparison to some of the other FLAILSNAILS campaigns.  However I did once let a player play a pig.

7. Would you prefer if PC's didn't go trapezing about the multiverse?
Not really, as long as they have some idea of what's going on in the Dark Country and can make decisions based on that knowledge.  Remember though that just because you got something in the multiverse doesn't mean that it works or even exists in the Dark Country.

8. Do you have a current level cap for PC's from Nightwick?
The limit for PCs coming from outside of the Dark Country campaign is 2 until I get more dungeon levels drawn.  There is no limit if the PC was made specifically for the Dark Country.  Despite my having a lot of ideas about how the setting functions in a broad sense, I still have a lot of fleshing out to do.  I only know the names of two of the Seven Cities!

9. What are you current travel limits (ie, "don't head to Zenopolis")?

Right now I'd prefer it if you didn't leave the Dark Country, and if you're going to an area outside of the jurisdiction of Lychgate I'd like a little advanced warning so I can fill it out a bit.

10. Is there anything that should be understood as "Meta-impossible", ie, if you actually did do such a thing that would really end the setting?

I'm not entirely sure what Zzarchov means by this question.  If he clarifies it I'll post the answer here.

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