25 August 2012

Echoes of Averaigne

My two boys, aged 4 1/2 and 2, now have their very own sets of 'gem' polydice so their full geek conversion nears completion mwahahaha!

When they are a little bigger, I hope they'll enjoy playing Swords and Wizardry with me (although I doubt darling wife will ever join in). By that time I hope I'll have a well-developed 'world' for them to adventure in. I've made a start on the first part of it: the northen Marches of the Kingdom of Averaigne. Given my overwhelming attraction to all things chivalric, it'll come as no surprise that Averaigne (and its neighbouring kingdoms of Lombria, Calthus and Ferrand) are inspired by western European countries of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

I haven't drawn a map yet (although I have the outline in my head) but I have written a couple of imagined overheard conversations of the folk who scratch out an existence in the Marches. Here's the first, from a pessimistic old fellow, deep in his cups.

Life in the Marches can be hard. 

Not like in the broad vales and wide, gentle plains of the Near Shires with their abundant harvests. Nor like the peaceful Forests in the Earldoms and Baronies of the Founding Families, with their common grazing and the security of the King’s Law. Nor yet like the river and coastal towns, brash and wealthy, fat on trade and the bounty of the sea. Up here the winters are hard and long, the soil scarcely rewards its ploughing and the forests are dark and unwelcoming.

We may not have to worry about armies marching under the banners of other kingdoms during the short-lived wars that flare up around the border towns and fortresses but, nevertheless, we are under constant siege. Too far from the King’s palaces to be considered a prize, we are also too far to attract much notice or concern. Out of sight of the rich and powerful, monsters thrive. In the mountains and the forests, the caves and long abandoned ruins, they make their lairs and strike when bold or desperate enough. It has always been so.

Kings and kingdoms have risen and fallen down in the plains but, whatever flag has fluttered above the seats of power, their writ has never truly extended here so it has ever been a place for the desperate, the mad, the monstrous.

Oh yes, life in the Marches can be hard.


  1. I'm currently running a little campaign for Cavern Crawl (my own dungeon crawl rules) and am basically making the world up as I go along. Nothing sensational: just some fluff to link the delves and give a sense of 'greater purpose'. It's rather fun, though. My UK road atlas has proven invaluable for name-inspiration. The Highlands are the best for this, where there are hamlets with names like 'Balvarran' or mountains called things like 'Finowie'.

    Averaigne sounds like a great place for adventure and I look forward to pouring over a map in the not-to-distant future!

  2. Cheers Gareth. I haven't had a chance to do more than skim your rules, but I like what I've read so far; a good balance of quick play and 'crunch'.