Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sandbox Fantasy: Kings List and your Campaign

One of the more common items found in archaeological digs are written or carved items that give the list of the kings of a realm. Their existence is an example of the earliest use of propaganda. Even to the point where a bit of Orwell's 1984 comes into play where a predecessor's name is chiseled off of the monument.

Frankly they are dry reading however I find the format incredibly useful as a short hand to cover thousands of years of history in different regions. I can lay two different region's kings list side by side and see what events were concurrent. The format is also useful when written as a time-line.

The trick to pick the dominant or most important cultures in your campaign. It may not be the most powerful but it should be the one that effect most of the polities in your campaign. In our own history the history of Europe and Middle East can be defined as the History of Rome. In the Far East China has a similar impact. Sure there will be stuff that happened before and afterwards but it that culture's history that is the central drama. For my Majestic Wilderlands the central drama is the story of the Ghinorian People.

The kings list I have for you is just one chapter of that story, the Overlords of the Dragon Empire. Arising out of one of the predecessor states that formed City-State, the Dragon was the dominant power of the Upper Padizan Peninsula even challenging Viridistan for a brief time.

You can download it from here.

I used to include these in the detailed handout that are available to players. I switched to using one paragraph biographies of important rulers. I could make those much more entertaining than the Kings List. One thing some of my players like was the inclusion of historical quotes that I made up for various people. It gave a feel for what these people were like

One of the central stories of the Ghinorians was their exodus from enslavement by followers of Set. They were led by the prophet Alcambras. When they reached land promised them...


For two more years, the Ghinorians followed the steadily sinking star. Finally the host crested a ridge of hills and saw that the star had set. Before them was a wide valley with a great river running down the middle of it down to the sea. Alcambras very old and gathered the people together.

For many years now we have journied together in a wonderous adventure and now we have come to it's end. Before you is our new home, the Valley of Ghinor it shall be called.

Alcambra gazed wistfully across the valley;

But I shall not complete the journey with you. My time comes close and Mitra calls me to final service. I appoint Loris as my successor, she will pick from you those who will continue Mitra's work. Of those remaining you shall be divided into seven tribes. Each will be granted a portion of the valley to settle. Let each of the tribes elect judges. The judges, under the leadership of Loris shall watch out for the good of all Ghinorians.

I am glad to have made this journey with all of you. May Mitra bless you and keep you from danger.

Alcambras then laid down to sleep and passed away from the mortal realm.