Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cocanha Playtest Campaign

I've obviously stolen the format from Chris Kutalik, but here are the notes for the setting I'll be using for my playtests of our medievalist game.

This map is a rough draft.

This campaign is centered around the Cocanha, a fictional island in the Mediterranean off the coast of France.  Much of the island is covered in a mix of farm and scrubland, though its southern portion is home to both a mountain range and a dense forest.  Cocanha is strongly tied to both Occitania and Catalonia, though it also possesses a Muslim past and a small tribe of Basque-like people known as the Yaones.  The people of Cocanha speak a dialect of Occitan known as Cocanhat.

PCs are likely to be members of the same knightly household.

Local Names
Medieval Nicknames

Bishop Uc has formed a militia known as the Brotherhood of God with the express purpose of enforcing the Peace of God and eliminating heresy.  He has asked both of the barons to join him, but neither seems interested in stopping their petty squabbles or rooting out Cathars.

Sangriu has been the site of a number of raids by Xabier the Snake in recent weeks.  Folquet is looking for mercenaries to help reinforce his own forces and for stout men willing to find Xabier’s camp.  The knight believes that the infamous bandit is testing the border for weaknesses.

A man claiming to be the bastard son of Baron Ramon has captured the village of Ervesa with the aid of a band of Yaon mercenaries.  It seems they have slaughtered the manor’s holder and captured the maiden Anor, daughter of Baron Bernatz.  The Wolf has offered a large purse and a small manor to anyone able to rescue his daughter.

Father Perrin, chaplin to Baron Bernatz, seeks pious men to investigate the death of his brother.  Many claim that the man was slain by God on High - or one of His saints - but the priest is convinced that his death is the work of the Devil.

Boamundus, a legendary giant said to live in the mountains on the southern side of the island, has been sighted again for the first time in one hundred years.  He has reportedly been stealing cattle from the villages closest to Castel de Calanha.  Several of the manor lords seek champions to win the cattle back.

Baron Bernatz The Wolf is the lord of Ezorre.  It is well known that he has ambitions on the continent, and he has left the island at several points to fight on behalf of his liege lord, the count of Toulouse.  

Baron Ramon is the lord of Calanha.  He is the scion of a cadet branch of the Trencavel family, and like the Trencavels of the continent he is an ally of the King of Aragon.  Ramon fancies himself a troubadour of some skill.

Bishop Uc d’Alcazar is the head of the diocese of Cochana.  He is officious, petty, and fiercely anti-Cathar.

Xabier the Snake is the leader of a small group of Yaones that act as bandits operating out of the forests and mountains in the southern part of the island.

Sir Folquet of Sangriu is a banneret to Baron Bernatz and the man usually tasked with leading any of the baron’s forces left on the island while the Wolf is fighting his wars on the continent.

Father Perrin is Baron Bernatz’s chaplin and also serves as secular ruler of the barony while his lord is away.  

Saints of Cocanha
St. Cecilia
St. Foy
St. Martha
St. Sergius Paulus
St. Sebastian


The Barony of Ezorre
Castel d’Ezorre
The seat of Baron Bernatz and the center of government for the entire barony, Castel d’Ezorre is a stone castle of modest sized on the northernmost tip of the island.  Ezorre was originally a timber castle built in the ruins of an old Roman fort, Bernatz’s father had it rebuilt and incorporate much of the Roman architecture into the new structure.

Banneret Manors

The Barony of Calanha

Castel de Calanha
This keep acts as the center of the Barony of Calanha.  It is of fairly recent construction, having been built to protect against raids by Mediterranean pirates.

Banneret Manors


The Bishopric of Cocanha
Alcazar was the center of government on the island during its occupation by the Moors.  It still acts as both the commercial and religious center, and is the easiest place to find passage to the continent or to the island monastery of Lampisors.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sgt. Udo's Howling Kommandos

Recently the party in my weekly Nightwick game has become the head of a small mercenary company.  They've named it after their official leader, played by Jeremy Duncan.  The first group of six bandits was encountered in a refugee camp outside of Lychgate.*  They were originally in the employ of a strong boss known as Big Jean, which the party slew.

Toothless Tom Smiler (deceased) was a younger man with a tangled black hair.  He had all of his teeth and often smiles big, broad smiles.  When asked why he was called "toothless," he produced a small pouch filled with teeth and gets another big grin on his face.  He met is end during an attempted mutiny.

Fingers is a medium built man with a large mole, a scraggly beard, and a scar over his left eye.  He is missing the index and middle fingers on his right hand, and you notice that he often attempts to favor it until he remembers that he's missing his fingers.  He personally strangled Tom Smiler to death during the mutiny.

Dunderheaded Mutch is an enormous man with a greasy mop of curly, red hair.  His face is blunt and imbecilic.  He often moans to himself, and though he seems capable of conversation, Tom Smiler noted 
that Big Jean always kept him under supervision.

Dwardie the Fool is a short man with a pot belly whose nose has clearly been broken several times.  He occasionally sings strange, nonsensical songs and dances around like an idiot; however, during times when silence is of the essence you note that he grows quiet and still as a mouse.

Brother Odo claims to have at one time been a priest, but he is also the bandit who believed that the Sun is the God of Law and that demons come from the moon.  He is a rough-looking man with salt and pepper hair and pug nose.

Wamba Big-Member is a boastful Karslishman that makes his fellow bandits uncomfortable.

From left to right: Fingers, Wamba Big-member, Nalla the Lad

It turns out these men were members of a group of bandits living in a ruined manor house south of Hommlet. While passing through the ruins of Hommlet** - and desperately trying to avoid pig-men - they found a number of other bandits in the company of a devil-man.  After slaying their diabolic leader, they added the following miscreants to their band:

Mumbling Marion is unintelligible to everyone in the party except for the other Kommandos.  He is a dirty man with a square head and few teeth.  He enjoys hitting things, which he does with a noiseless intensity.

Nalla the Lad lacks a tongue, so it is difficult to know much about his life story.  He is a thin man who carries a banjo, but you have not seen him play it.

Little Jean looks very similar to Big Jean, but is much smaller.  The other bandits assert they were both from some overly inbred village in Averoigne.  He did not seem saddened by the news of Big Jean's death.

Red Bill is a portly man with a mean snarl.  He can be a bit hot headed, but Fingers assures you he has no love for his former masters and will likely be a loyal - if ornery - companion.

Handsome Jack is missing his noise, and has a prominent brand on his face marking him as a heretic.  When asked about his heresy, he says only that he "stood up to a noble."  It is unlikely that he was handsome before his punishment.

Darbus and Dunbar are twins, and they would be identical if their faces were not both hideously scarred in completely different ways.  Darbus has a scar running across his left eye and his chin has a cleft from an old sword wound.  Dunbar's nose seems to have been broken several times, and his ears are both swollen and cauliflowered.  Or perhaps it is the other way around...

*The Dark Country has seen some really rough times lately, with the White Lady's awful pig-men destroying most of the farmland around Lychgate, a peasant revolt in the south, and a looming invasion by Arnawald, the Black Eagle of Waldheim.

**Hommlet, which lay near Lychgate, was destroyed a few weeks ago by pig-men.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In Fair Narbona Where We Lay Our Scene

As Chris mentioned over at the Hill Cantons, he, Mike D., and I have started working on a medieval RPG - with quite a bit of help from the nice folks over on G+.  As he mentions in that post, I'm going to be running a playtest game set in the Languedoc.  Below is the map I made for the region between Toulouse and Montpelier.

Click to Embiggen

I'm currently working on a map that will blow up the 24 mile hex containing Narbonne to serve as the main focus of the playtest mini-campaign.  PCs will be starting in the city of Narbonne (Narbona in Occitan) in the year in 1191.  I plan on doing a full write up like Chris did for his Ulfland game, but for right now here are the hooks I'll be using for my first playtest session:

The Archbishop of Narbonne, Ramon Berengar, is upset by the news that his cousin, who held a manor between Narbonne and Perpignan, has died.  Word on the street is that his cousin was struck down by the Almighty Himself - or at least one of His saints - but Raimon is convinced that he was murdered by heretics.  He seeks honest men to investigate the matter.

A man claiming to be the bastard son of Raimond I Trencavel has seized east of Carcassonne and has begun raiding merchants traveling between that city and the coast.  He has captured the daughter of Roger Trencavel, the current ruler of Carcassonne, and holding her ransome for what he believes to be his inheritance.  Ermengarde, the ruler of Narbonne and faithful friend to Roger, has offered a manor and a large purse for any who can return the maiden.

Baldwin, the lord of Ferrals, has sent an emissary to recruit armed men in Narbonne.  Apparently there has been some trouble with the serfs at his manor.

So far, the players seem to be leaning towards rescuing the princess - an old cliche that I've never actually used before now.


Now for a general update - I recently moved back to Hattiesburg, and I've started running the Dark Country again on G+.  I'm using WFRP 1e, so my sidebar is still correct.  I'm really liking the way WFRP makes me think about certain aspects of the setting, such as careers, and I may do some posts about that in the future.