So, Rob (my husband) and I have been using roll20.net to play D&D with some folks we met online for a while now. Crazily enough the DM was from PEI (where Rob’s from). Unfortunately that gentleman had to bow out after a few sessions and hasn’t been able to return.
Well, Rob stepped up and has been running a fine campaign. A couple of our original gamers are still in with us, 2 are folks we met in World Of Warcraft that live out in the western US I believe. One is a streamer I invited late one night (he’s from England), another is his buddy from Ireland.
The streamer Tribizzle has started streaming our Sunday night (8EST) games. It’s loads of fun, we draw (terribly) our encounters. This is a flying ship we were using for a while:
It’s been interesting to see the variety of reactions to it. Some folks are like what the HELL is this?! and leave, others get nostalgic for when they used to play tabletop RPGs (I’m sure we have contributed to some boost to use of Roll20.net), and some people have become interested enough to seek out and find their own games. One of those people is playing IRL now, and joining us online this week!
Anyhow, there’s a handful of stream followers who are actually looking forward to watching us now. I’m posting now to get them some info, and get it to others who are asking a lot of questions in the stream chat about the world we are playing in and what has happened so far.
I don’t use this blog much, so pardon me if the formatting is lacking.
The Veil Keepers speak of a Time before legend, when the gods walked among us. Great wars were fought in this time, making modern battles between distant kings seem as a RestDay tavern brawl between friends. In time, the gods were gone, from murderous intrigue, or cataclysmic battles, or for some, the ennui of eternal life and great power. Some looked upon The People as chattel, food for their unknowable depravities and appetites, some saw us as children, to be nurtured like a beloved pet. Some of the lost gods took no notice of us at all, instead turning their attention to the wild things of the forest or seas.
We live on the Land, they tell us. What the gods left behind was barren in places, hospitable in others. Nothing but the stories of the Keepers marks their passage, or that they were ever here. Were they? Or are they simply stories told to make children behave, and old men feel better about their waning years, that even the strongest beings eventually end.
We mark the seasons with festivals. These festivals are less to honor these beings from myth, and more to keep our traditions, to maintain the bonds of community that help us all survive. When the snow melts, the planting begins. As the sun loops its way to the top of the sky on the longest day, we tend the fields and livestock, watching the forests for signs of the wandering herds, to know when they have reached maturity, so that as we hunt, we know they will return next year. When the last leaf has fallen from the trees in the great wood, our harvest is done, and we take stock of our labours for the oncoming frostfall. And through it all, we train in the tools of the hunt, in weapons to protect our peace.
On the coldest, darkest day, we battle. Wrapped swords, padded maces and blunted arrows are used in a grand melee, observed in each village in The Land. Bruises and cuts are plentiful, broken bones occasional, more serious injuries rare, but all are treated. With this the Keepers help us remember that our peace is fragile.
We are a small village about 30 families strong, settled in a medium sized plain. There are several other neighboring towns two or three days walk, and the nearest cities are a TwentyDays ride, but we have little need of travel to those places. The Keepers send their acolytes at each Battle of FrostFall, to take their taxes, and the strongest of our young adults for a year of study at one of their temples. The children always return, with new knowledge to help our crops grow, or to forge stronger hunting tools, or to smelt better steel. The children return as better fighters than before they left.
We do not resent the Keepers, for they work for the benefit of The People, and the nourishment of The Land. And so the years flow on, from Snowmelt through Skytop to Leafshed and onto Frostfall, year after year, and we live our lives.
There are three capital cities: Shadeveil, Feyveil and Weaveveil. Each is ruled by a Watcher of the Veil.
Each winter, the three congregate in one of the capitals on a rotating basis, to discuss happenings in the Land, and how they should be dealt with. Beyond the capital cities, there are some smaller cities scatterd around the Land, and numerous villages and towns. A network of roads and trails connect the cities and towns to each other, maintained primarily by the folks that use them. Main roads are kept up by the Keepers.
The government is a benignly aloof Beurocracy, run by the Keepers of the Veil, an ancient order of traditionalists who educate the People in the Ways of Living. They emphasize education, industriousness and simplicity in life. Weapon training is taught as matter of tradition, and is used primarily at the Annual Battle of FrostFall, in which a grand melee is held in each town, using padded and blunted weapons.
There have been no external threats to the Land since the time of legends, and no conflicts within The Land since the rise of the Keepers, after the last Great Kingdoms fell into decline, many generations ago.
The Watcher is the head of his or her order of Veil Keeper.
Leader of the order. Has absolute authority over his or her order.
Military force of the Order. Each Order maintains a 3000 strong military force. Each rank and file member of the military force is chosen from the strongest of the Young Adults at each village’s Battle of Frostfell and serves for one year. Upper ranks are served on a voluntary basis, from older members of The People, for a period of their choosing. Service in the military is not resented, as most military activities involve peace keeping within the Land, patrols for dangerous animals that threaten the towns and villages, and aid in times of disaster. All of the People train in simple weapons from childhood, as part of Tradition.
The travelling beaurocracy, who visits the villages and towns around The Land each winter and brings their charges back to their Capital. They are also responsible for collection of annual taxes.
Gender is unimportant to the Keepers, so men and women have equal opportunity for any position.
Centreholm (where the party started)
Play starts around Centreholm, a medium sized village of about 30 extended families at about the middle of the continent that makes up the known Land. It is run by a council of elders, with the head of each family having an equal vote on village wide decisions. Day to day matters are handled by a 5 person leadership, elected annually from among the council. Men and women are eligible to serve as head of household, as well as on the 5 person leadership group. The permanent population is approximately 500.
Centreholm, being at the middle of the continent, has three main roads leading outward toward the three capital cities. These roads are maintained by the Keepers. Despite its position at the junction of the three main roads, it hasn’t grown much beyond a large village. During the travelling season, the population of the town grows to an average of 2000.
The primary industry is, of course, providing lodging and acting as a central marketplace to travellers between the capitals. There are several large inns and taverns in town, as well as a large cleared field for the Leafshed harvest bazaar and annual Battle of Frostfall Festival. Beyond accommodations and facilities for the bazaar, the citizens work together to raise enough food to supply the inns and taverns, materials for cloth and repairs, and ingredients for beer and wine. Metals are largely imported, though there is a small mining operation to the south west, which supplies enough ore and coal for the local residents. The forests to the north give enough game and hides so that the locals have enough to eat and wear, so that the fruits of their labours can be used to support the travellers as they pass through. Centreholm has a reputation for fine traveller’s fare, and some of the best ales and wines in the Land.
Since everybody trains in basic combat from an early age, the permanent residents of the town provide security when trouble rarely occurs. The People are largely peaceful, but in trade and taverns, passions can run hot and sometimes the peace must be kept with staff and shield. There is a small garrison of Wardens, about 50 strong, to help the locals maintain the facilities and hold the Keeper’s Peace.
There is a Sage’s College, permanently staffed by volunteers which maintains a library of discoveries. Marwhen, the granddamme of the Bindersen family, acts as Head of the College. She is in her 6th decade, and her mind is as sharp as her tongue. The Keepers maintain a position of two Custodians, rotating in and out every two years, alternating.
The Bardic College is also based here in Centreholm. It is led by Byrddhrim, Keeper of Songs. People travel from all parts of the Land to study with him and his colleagues. The College acts as the central place where news from all parts of the Land is exchanged.
There are also guildhalls for healers and apothecaries, and hunters.