Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Ulfland Playtest Mini-Campaign

Yesterday I pulled back the current on my recent medievalist game project. I mentioned that I was running a mini-campaign that "ports elements of 13th century Brittany into the strife-torn South Ulfland setting dress of Jack Vance's Lyonesse trilogy." 

For spectators and those interested in getting into the playing pool for one of the Google Plus playtest slots (or face-to-face if you fancy a drive to San Antonio), here's the background run down and starting situation on my little barony. 

Ulfland Mini-Campaign Notes
The mini-campaign is centered on Fian Gosse, a petty barony on the marches that divide South and North Ulfland. The region is a somewhat remote and wild place of rugged, grassy hills punctuated by wood-choked vales, lush river-bottom meadows, heather-covered moorlands, weathered megaliths and ancient, time-worn ruins. Arable plots are small and divided by dense bocage (hedgerows often overgrowing a crude stone wall) and herds of lean, rangy cattle and wooly mountain sheep dominate the wider open pastures.

Local Male Names
Local Female Names

Medieval Nicknames (note such wonderful entries as “Catherine de' Medici Jezebel, the Barren Wife, the Black Queen, the Eclipsed Consort, the Italian Duchess Without a Duchy, the Maggot from Italy's Tomb, the Merchant's Daughter, the Monstrous Regiment of Women, the Mother of the Modern High-Heeled Shoe”)

Hoel, Lord Bodwy’s last remaining son was found a fortnight ago nailed to the old Roman watchtower two hundred paces from the boundary stones of Lord Govran’s demense. His corpse was so riddled with arrows that it was difficult to identify the teen heir. Lord Bodwy remains bedridden and despondent to this day. Sir Paol, Bodwy’s castellan, is looking for “rough men” to help revenge the honor of the baron.

The Hot Fair of Maure will begin next week. Already the village is packing in wine merchants, harlots, pedlars, vinters, thieves and other ne'er do wells.

Sir Gralon and Sir Taran, twin nephews of Bodwy’s currently serving in the court of King Gax in Xouges are said to be on the road to Fian Gosse. Their mutually-contested status as heirs to the barony surely is prompting their sudden sense of homesickness.

Sir Paol has offered a one Libra (240d) reward for the slaying of the dreaded Hound of Blacken Moor. A shepherd had his throat torn out near the moors just a night ago.

Sir Kavan, the more martial of Bodwy’s bannerets, is looking for the fleet of foot and stout of arm to help in a return of his prize bull from a local banneret. Interested parties should seek him at Three-Pines Hall.

Jakez the Woodward has been breathlessly spreading in the village a chilling tale of coming upon a black rock altar deep in the center of Kaugh Forest. The blood staining in it was hot and fresh to the touch and he could hear the howls of Hell itself when he lifted his hand. The tale grows in the telling.

NPCs of Note
Lord Bodwy, the petty baron. Bed-ridden and despondent since the deaths of his three sons

Sir Kavan “Rooster”. Strutting proud banneret of Bodwy’s.

Sir Ranulf “the Cuckolded” (weak chinned and fat) and his wife Ysabel of Konche, raven-haired beauty of an “amazon”. Bodwy’s other banneret.

Sir Paol, Bodwy's Castellan. Old lean and a bit myopic.

Sir Tristan, knight bachelor holding a small manor two miles NE of Maure Keep. Two household knights and mercenary leader are PCs.

Surrounding Baronies:
Lord Govran, sadistic fucker who holds the barony of Caroth to the northwest.

Lady Mebille of Gelsme. Stewarding the barony to the south for her son. Eerily depopulated fief with bramble-covered ruined villages and wood-choked fields. Dark rumors abound about the lady.

Four “Founder” Saints of Ulfland (each grants specific powers under our divine magic system):
St. Tudwal
St. Christopher the Lesser
St. Padarn
St. Kaourintin 

Click to Enlarge
Barony of Fian Gosse
920 Serfs (15 square miles of cultivated land)
110 Freemen (2 square miles)

Maure Keep
An old pink-granite Shell Keep with 25-foot walls. Seat of Lord Bodwy. Currently houses five knights (including the Castellan), 14 sergeants, and 47 footmen. The demense is also backed by the two fortified manors of Bodwy’s vassals, Sir Kavan and Sir Ranulf.

Large village of around 750 that holds a royal market charter (and is thus growing into a town). Three mills, a smithy, two weavers, a tannery and most recently Kernun’s Antler, an inn.

Three Pine Hall
Venerable oak-trunk manor house known for the three massive ancient pines in its courtyard thought to have once been used in the worship of a pagan god.

Abbey of St. Christopher the Lesser.
Premonstratensian abbey run by the Abbot Fransez the Fat, a venal and grasping man.

Village of 238.

Village of 258.

Sinister little hamlet of around 50 herdsmen near Bracken Moor.

Teach tac Teach
Mountain range, three closest peaks are called the Cloudcutters.


  1. Your local male names link has some extra frew-frew at the beginning that makes it not work so much.

    But thanks for the links. Now I just need to have some kids-or get a cat so I can use them.Although I could just play an RPG. bit disappointing though, kind of had my hopes up for a moment there.

  2. Looks and sounds very cool. If only I lived in your timezone, I'd be on my hands and knees begging for a regular google+ slot.

  3. Haha, stolen prize bull hijinks!

  4. Sorry if I just missed this in the post: what scale is that map?

    1. We have been jokingly calling it a "Harnic potato mile" (guess you had to be there). Basically a mile per hex.

    2. In other words, the entire barony occupies less than half of an 8-mile hex? That's a welcome change from the strange rules common to almost all D&D hexcrawling and domain clearing, where the scale seems much more based on the totally empty American Midwest than on any region that traditional knightly fantasy is based on.