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Pike & Shotte Punk

A Faux-Early Modern European Setting for RPGs

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Milieu

The Importance of Appendix I: Dungeon Dressing

Appendix N receives a great deal of (justifiable) accolades.  The list of suggested reading is essential in understanding the rationale behind Dungeons and Dragons.  A few pages before that though, page 217 to be specific, is a tool invaluable to dungeon masters of all levels of experience: Appendix I: Dungeon Dressing (Miscellaneous Items and Points of Semi-Interest for Corridors and Unpopulated Areas or to Round Out Otherwise Drab Places).

Aside from displaying some wonderful Gygaxese, this collection of charts and lists forms an increasingly important resource for my dungeon creation, and for my other writing.  We have intellect-prompts for air currents, odours, unexplained sounds and weird noises, the furnishings of a torture chamber, and the contents of all sorts of containers, and many more.  I’d give these lists priority on my DM screen (if I used one) above the likes of movement rates or equipment lists.  They work equally well when preparing a dungeon, or when filling in detail on the fly.

Recent history

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The reign of Agnes I impacted heavily on matters of politics, society, and religion.  The daughters of aristocratic families were now educated, alongside their brothers, at the universities of Cragfast and Temple Lux, and as a result a new wave of young thinkers challenged the philosophical establishment.  Women now assumed positions of power, and within a few decades of Agnes’s death, any lingering dissent from an aging patriarchy dissipated.

Charles VII augmented his mother’s half-century of unopposed rule, and the nation increased its reserves of intellect and endeavor by 50%.  Stable gunpowder technology meant firearms began to replace the pike as the most effective means of waging war, and the army recruited women into its ranks in ever-greater numbers.

Secular science is now vital to the modern world, although the traditions of alchemy, magic, and religion still dominate.  Superstition and ignorance continue to hold back those living outside large towns, and the wildest parts of the countryside are still prey to creatures of the underdark, particularly the Drow.

The aristocracy is as entrenched in power as it always has been.  The enlightenment of Agnes did not reach beyond the ruling classes.  The majority of the people are still under continual threat from starvation, plague, and raiding beasts.

Most religious sects are tolerated, and the majority of the population continue to serve a pantheon of deities, although the influence of the monotheistic True Light of Albion (which split from the  continental Imperial Creed) is spreading.  Many foresee civil war.

It is a world in flux.  And everything is under threat.

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