Baltzer the Bold takes "taxes" from BlacklegBackground
The Bishopric of Lychgate is one of the Seven Cities established in the Dark Country in the wake of the destruction of the Sword Brothers. It contains the southeast quadrant of the Dark Country, making it the largest in terms of land but also one of the smallest in terms of population. It is also notable for holding the ruins of Nightwick Abbey and Nightwick Village.
Lychgate, like all of the Seven Cities, relies a great deal on migrants from the Realm of Man and other Western kingdoms to provide a Lawful population. Native descendants of pagans who have "converted" make up the majority of the rural population, but are usually amenable to the Law because of its efficacy in fighting the horrors of the Pit; however, this relationship was shaken with the arrival of a mysterious rebel named Yim Yimsley, who championed either the Lawful heresy of Solarism or flat out paganism depending on who you ask.
Lychgate is set up as a very important step in the resource extraction goal of the modern Seven Cities, controlling an area full of forest products and the portion of a river system where the Little Dark and River Deep merge to become the Dark River. It also controls the mines of Blackleg which provide the iron used in most of the armies of the Seven Cities.
A few years ago this migration and trade was disrupted when the White Lady sent armies of Pig-men into the area south of the city of Lychgate, burned the Hamlet of Vollage, and closed the southern section of the Long Road off from the northern section. During this time, Arnawald the Black Eagle of Waldheim, prince of Lychgate's chief rival city, brought an army of men down the Dark River and began "restoring order" along the southern section of the Long Road. He ostensibly did this in Bishop Notker the Unshaven's name, but it was clear to all that it was an attempt to isolate Lychgate and bring it under Waldheim's control. Arnawald seized the villages of Road's End, Frogguts, and Knightpath, and the town and mine of Blackleg. While attempting to move his army north to engage Lychgate itself, unseasonable weather - freezing temperatures in the middle of summer - killed many of his men and he was forced to retreat back to Waldheim, leaving only his governors and a token force behind still under the fiction they were helping the bishopric.
This established a brief status quo where Bishop Notker was frustrated with his ability to rule his appanage but had pretended he was working along side his interlopers for diplomatic relationship reasons. Then came the rebellions.
Father Winter, a possible pagan analog of St Santa Claus, observed by beings from the Future/Past
A series of "Yimsleian" revolts began to break out across the southern portion of the Long Road, seemingly becoming a yearly occurrence. Many of these seemed genuinely inspired by Yim Yimsley's ideas - a kind of Dark Country nationalism - but more often than not they were acts of banditry in disguise. One was actually done to restore the proper veneration of St Santa Claus, which Arnawald's son had outlawed due to its "pagan associations," and perhaps in retribution for the winter weather that thwarted his efforts to take over Lychgate.
The most important of these rebellions, politically speaking, occurred when "Yimsleians" killed Arn, Arnawald's son who had been placed in charge of Blackleg. Bishop Notker wasted no time in assigning Baltzer the Bold, a knight in his employ, to be the new governor of Blackleg and place Anne, Arn's wife, as Baltzer's Ward. The seemingly surgical strike against Arnawald's hold of the south and the Bishop's quick response, made many feel that this was not truly a Yimsleian rebellion at all but a job given to the infamous Brotherhood (of Thieves and Assassins) by the Bishop.
After this conflicting reports came out of Blackleg for some time - some saying that Anne had been slain by Baltzer, some saying the inverse, and some saying that Baltzer had been killed by the vengeful ghost of Arn. Baltzer does seem to be the one that was slain, because Sir Albrecht, Lord of Nightwick, had been tasked by the Bishop with offering Abraham Nermal, a member of the Howling Kommandos, Anne's hand if he would sell out Stavros and Kozel, to heretical members of the same mercenary band.
During this time, Marta the Black, one of Arnawald's chief lieutenants who had been left in charge of Knightpath, was slain. Most reports say this was by Yimsleian rebels, but some whispers assert it was done by members of Badder's Boys, a mercenary company in the pocket of the Bishop.
A final Yimsleian rebellion began in 1394, centered around the village of Road's End, and Sir Albrecht was forced to take a number of Badder's Boys south to deal with it before anyone could act on the attempt to try Stavros and Kozel for heresy.
Badder's Boys trade fire with Elves at the Battle of Vollage
The Battle of Vollage
After years of seeming dormancy, the White Lady returned with an army of pig-men to once again harry the sons of man. The resulting battle between her forces and Bishop Notker is described in this post.
The Bishopric of Lychgate
- Bishop Notker is likely alive and possibly in Lychgate. If this is true he is the only noble in charge of any settlement in his appanage.
- Nightwick is without a lord. Sir Albrecht is captured and his possibly pregnant wife is the only non-mercenary authority figure in the village.
- Knightpath is without a lord.
- Frogguts is without a lord, and is effectively abandoned after a brief period of resettlement started by the Howling Kommandos.
- Blackleg is without a lord, but the lordship is most likely to be transferred to whoever marries Anne. The town is divided between guards loyal to the Bishop who served Baltzer, and guards loyal to Arnawald who served Arn.
- Road's End is probably almost completely depopulated based on what reports say of the number of "Yimsleyans" hanged along the southern edge of the Long Road. It also is without a lord.
- This huge power vacuum is likely to look very appealing to other members of the Seven Cities, most notably Waldheim.
- The Bishop, if he is alive, is likely to be looking for a new mercenary company to serve as his loyal dogs and is almost certainly going to ask for a new wave of settlement, likely using the treasure in Nightwick Abbey as an incentive.
- If Sir Albrecht is alive, he is likely to be held in the Witchfort, which once guarded against the White Lady until she seized it and burned down Vollage years ago.
- Yim Yimsley was originally the alter ego of Slimey, a rogue in the Knoxville group. He called his movement the Pagan Liberation Front. I had not intended the Bishop to be as antagonistic a figure as he ended up being, and I think this was largely because the player conflated him with a certain extremely religious Tennessee politician who had removed his pension.
- The events were mostly generated using the tables in the original Oriental Adventures, which can be very brutal in the wrong hands. At one point the village of Nightwick was in danger of starvation because of how thoroughly trade was disrupted.
- Other events represent the actions of the players, such as Arnawald's having to retreat because the players awoke Father Winter/St Santa Claus from his tomb in the Fog-bound Forest.
- I had originally generated that the Bishop would win the Battle of Vollage, but decided to play it out with myself as the Bishop and my wife as the White Lady this week because I've been doing lots of miniature building and painting (for a variety of projects) but very little playing. She soundly defeated me, and thus what I thought was going to be a stabilizing of the Bishop's power has become an anarchic vacuum. The oracular power of the dice/