#TTRPG – Wightchester Preview – The Early Modern Period

YOU CAN READ ALL OF THIS ON MY PATREON, FOR AS LITTLE AS $1 A MONTH

The Early Modern Period

The Early Modern period runs from around 1500 CE through to around 1800 CE. It encompasses a period of great change, the earliest aspects of industrialisation, the widespread use of gunpowder and the advent of genuine science as a discipline. Wightchester is set in 1667, the year after the ‘Annus Mirablis’, a time after The Restoration and The English Civil War, a year after the last major gasp of the Black Death, a time that was already one of upheaval, even without the interference of the supernatural.

Our timeline combines these real events with our fictional city, and the powers of the supernatural alongside the ever-advancing capabilities of science.

Military Tactics

As we are concerned with England, we are primarily concerned with the advances in tactics that came about during The Civil War. A large part of what won the war for Parliament was Cromwell’s creation of The New Model Army and these innovations would last beyond Cromwell and the Commonwealth, and would spread beyond England.

The New Model Army was a professional, full-time military. It was not connected to any single, particular area and was expected to travel anywhere in England, Ireland, Wales or Scotland. Its leadership was based upon merit, not station, and lords and nobles were banned from being officers within it. It was recruited from military veterans, and filled out with conscripts who shared certain political or religious points of view, allowing them to unify in common cause. Without loyalty to Crown or to Parliament the New Model Army was unfettered, but also free – as it happened – to prop up Cromwell’s dictatorship.

Standard gear and centralised planning meant that the New Model Army was (relatively) well paid, equipped and fed. Especially when compared to the patchwork levy deployed by the Royalists. At the same time a common man, who was brave and clever, could advance in the ranks, while amateurs of ‘good breeding’ were often removed from positions of leadership. The rough, common, and frequently drunken, nature of the army had the added bonus of scandalising the nobility.

The New Model Army made extensive use of elite horse troops, with regiments of horse acting with extreme discipline and dragoons armed with flintlock carbines at the very cutting edge of the technology of the time. This cavalry could move fast, reload at speed and was able to hold their nerve far more stongly than the royalists.

This cavalry was supported by massed ranks of pikemen and matchlock-armed soldiers, who could unleash devastating volleys of fire.

The footsoldiers were, in turn, supported by artillery.

Beyond their elite and technologically advanced regiments of horse and their common cause and professionalism, the main advantage of the New Model Army was in its logistics. Provisioning and pay was seen as paramount, and on extended campaigns each man carried seven days of rations and one sixth of a six-man tent (six men forming a ‘file’).

This professional, disciplined military would dictate the shape of the small, professional, meritocratic nature of the British military, though the leadership would be replaced by ‘donkeys’ in the intervening years up to the first world war.

Religious Upheaval

In England in this period, and before, religious upheaval was more the norm than the exception. The Church of England emerged in the same period Protestantism was rapidly expanding and, perhaps, made England more receptive to reformation and democratisation of faith.

Part of the reason for the English Civil War was the perception of Charles the First as being a ‘papist’ and revulsion and hatred for Catholicism ran rampant. Catholics were blamed for the Great Fire of London, Jews were subjected to abuse and pogroms and anything more exotic was simply misunderstood or dismissed as heresy.

The gilded nature of the Catholic Church and the dissolute nature of the monarchy in the time of Charles the First led to a serious backlash. Wealth was looted, radical protestants formed the core of the proto-socialist revolutionary movements and during the Commonwealth era dancing, theatre and other forms of ungodly behaviour were banned under the aegis of puritanical religion.

With The Restoration came a backlash to the backlash, a riot of colour, noise and celebration. Many who had fought in the Civil War were still dour and disapproving, many of them leaving to form their own, more godly communities in the New World.

It was a time of cults, heresies, the wedding of political and spiritual concerns and of terrible religious hatred. What witchcraft and heresy went on in the shadows must have been truly extreme, given what went on in public.

Political Upheaval

Ever since the arrival of The Black Death, Europe was subjected to political upheaval. Lords were forced to allow serfs to travel and settle, craftsmen were able to demand more in exchange for their services and more power was devolved. Not to the people, of course, but to lesser nobility and aldermen from amongst the expanding middle class. The horrendous truth was that the mass death of their fellows was of great benefit to the survivors.

This trend continued with each return of the plague, the rise in literacy and education, the democratisation of religion and the ever-expanding middle class, finding its ultimate expression – at the time – in the proto-socialist, agrarian movements and religious cults that arose. Some of these persist, even today, in radical and puritanical sects of protestantism.

This would, perhaps, culminate in the French Revolution, but in our period the greatest expression, and the greatest disappointment, was the rise of Cromwell and the Parliamentarians. Cromwell successfully united various radical groups under his banner, and those who supported Parliament over the Crown.

Combining this unified movement against privilege and domination, Cromwell – like so many revolutionaries – failed to live up to his promise or the radical demands of many of his followers. Instead Cromwell would set himself up as a dictator and would attempt to create a new dynasty by installing his son as his successor. That did not go well, resulting in The Restoration and the ascent of Charles the Second to leadership of Britain.

As with the much earlier Magna Carta, while the King returned to the throne, royal and noble power was never as strong again, setting the stage for the constitutional monarchy system that rules the UK even today, with the Queen reduced to a purely ceremonial role.

Even so, in the period that Wightchester is set, many disaffected radicals remain, along with religious and political communes.

Baptists

The Baptists were a radical religious movement at the time. Today we associate them with established, fundamentalist churches – primarily in the United States – but at this time they are mostly still to be found within Britain. The Baptists began from a seed of Puritan separatists from Holland. Their beliefs were primarily centred around the practice of baptism, and the idea of a general and universal possibility of redemption stemming from faith, rather than works.

Despite their fellow radicalism, the Baptists were soon divided between Calvinist (Particular) and non-Calvinist (General) factions. Both expanded rapidly through a period of religious liberation in the 1640s, finding many new members amongst artisans, farmers and in the New Model Army. Both were virulently anti-tithing and against education.

The Particular Baptists hove to Calvinist predestination, and were absorbed in a desire to be respectable and well-regarded, whereas the General Baptists were more strongly evangelical and anti-clerical. The Baptists – both wings – ended up being more moderate and cooperating with Parliament, but this moderacy did not save them from repercussions in the post-Cromwell world…

#DnD – EroTech Gazetteer 004 RELEASED!

Exclusive PDF available ONLY at Post-Mort.com

The EroTech Gazetteer series expands on the world from the Tabletopless streams on Plexstorm. A – sometimes tongue-in-cheek – D&D setting of magical technology and stultifying order, where rebellion and sexuality go hand in hand.

In this issue you will find out more about the mysterious city of Vimana, learn the lore of the Khatsi (and how to play them) as well as facing a bevy of monsters, many of which have a bit of a naughty streak to them.

Check out our games almost every Wednesday, at midnight UK time, over on Plexstorm.

#DnD – The Nauga

The nauga are a rotund, waddling creatures about the size of a bear, with pointed ears, wide saucer-eyes and pointed, twitching, cat-like ears atop their heads. Their tongue constantly lolls out of their terrible jaws, tasting the air like a snake, hunting for berries, fruit, mushrooms and carrion. Dark brown in colour, and with a bald, leathery hide, the nauga is found in temperate, deciduous forests, sheltered by mountains where the high humidity helps keep their hides flexible and hydrated. In winter they hibernate, but it is not the deepest of sleeps and if roused they can be frenziedly hungry.

This foolish looking creature is almost extinct, having been hunted relentlessly for its hide, which serves especially well for making armour and waterskins.

Naugahyde Armour
Uncommon, Mundane item
Leather or hide armour made with naugahyde has +1 AC and confers resistance to cold and water effect magic. It is not considered a magical item and does not need to be attuned.

Nauga

Large monstrosity, unaligned
Armor Class: 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 66 (7d10 + 28)
Speed 40 ft.
STR 18 (+4) DEX 12 (+1) CON 18 (+4) INT 4 (-3) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 7 (-2)
Skills: Perception +3
Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages: Understand Common
Challenge: 3 (700 XP)

Special Traits
Keen Sight and Smell: The nauga has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight or smell.
Resistances: Cold (and wet, damage from the impact of water spells or effects is halved).

Actions
Multiattack: The nauga makes two attacks: one with its jaws and one with its constricting arms.
Jaws: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 10 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage.
Arms: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (1d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage. The target is grappled (escape dc 14) Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the nauga can’t constrict another target.

#RPG – Wightchester Preview 2 on Patreon and Subscribestar

The second (very rough) preview of Wightchester is up, in the form of some important and relevant information about the radical political and religious forces at work in England in the 1660s. That period being the (approximate) setting and time period for the book.

Think of it as a ‘bluffer’s guide’ to the Levellers, Diggers, Ranters, Fifth Monarchists, Quakers, Baptists and others at work during the English Civil War and its aftermath.

Patrons and Subscribestars get access to such exclusive previews and material, and access to me for questions and help with their games – or anything else I can help with.

Plus you get to help and support a struggling game designer, writer, videographer and all around lovely chap – me! Hard times have meant some of my larger patrons have had to cancel their support, so I’d really appreciate even a dollar a month to take the rough edges off.

Nobody wants me to start an Onlyfans, trust me.

#RPG – Grimdark: Deadly, Nasty Rules for the World’s Most Ubiquitous RPG RELEASED!

BUY IT HERE!

(Hardcopy will be available soon, technically you can buy it now at Lulu, but I’m waiting on a quality check).

Many fantasy games, if not all of them, follow the lead given by Dungeons & Dragons, and rapidly become superheroic parodies of themselves. This has been especially true of the newer editions, since AD&D Second Edition. It’s great, but it’s not for everyone.

At least not all of the time.

There are many kinds of fantasy, and Dungeons & Dragons’ increasingly sanitised, fluffy, generic, high-escapist fantasy – dripping in magical weapons and character invulnerability, isn’t necessarily what people want.

A Grimdark game is in part made from difficulty. In this context, that has to come from encouraging the players to play tactically and carefully. To do everything they can to swing advantage in their favour. 

It’s also as much about encouraging players to deal with difficult and horrifying role-playing and decisionmaking consequences, all with less resources and power than they might be used to. It also encourages them, when necessary, to run away. 

We need to take that, lustrous, heroic, ‘fantasy-Portland’ edge off 5th Edition’s default rules-set, to amp up the difficulty and make people play more carefully. At the same time, we don’t want to just turn it into an unfair meatgrinder. 

So why not a game designer, literally known as ‘Grim’, to do it?

BUY IT HERE!

#RPG – Grimdark Playtest Open!

If you’d like to playtest my Grimdark rules for 5e, the rules that are intended for use with Wightchester, please get in touch.

grim@post-mort.com

There’s a few things I’d like you to do with it, including running a little mini-scenario, generating a character and converting a monster. Deadline is mid July (17th)

Those who complete the full playtest will get a PDF of their choice, free, from the Postmortem Studios collection.

#RPG #DND Stock Art – New Brad McDevitt Collections for Sale

Collections of fantasy and historically themed stock art for you to use in your personal and professional projects, subject to the attached license.

Note that some pieces are repeated in other collections, where they suit multiple genres. Even so, these are cheap at half the price!

Historical Collection 5

Fantasy Collection 12

#RPG #DnD – 5e SRD Audiobook Project is COMPLETE!

MP3 Zip File can be downloaded HERE.

#RPG #DnD – 5e – The Pseudointellectual Dragon

Tiny dragon, neutral good

Small, drab dragons who hoard unconventional (meaning wrong) lore, and expound loudly and at length on subjects they know nothing about.

Some perversely masochistic magicians have them as familiars, enjoying the opportunity they provide to hone their rhetorical skill. Other pseudointellectual dragons find productive employment as journalists, sages, loremasters, cultural critics, Inhuman Resources department heads and sensitivity readers.

These roles will suffice until Talk Radio or social media are invented in whatever fantasy realm they find themselves.

Challenge: 1/4 (50 XP)
Armor Class: 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 5 (2d4)
Speed:15 ft, fly 60 ft.

STR: 6 (−2) DEX: 15 (+2) CON: 10 (+0) INT: 10 (+0) WIS: 10 (+0) CHA: 15 (+2)

Skills: Deception +4, Any Intelligence Skill +2
Senses: blindsight 10 ft, darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 11.
Languages: Understands Common and Draconic, and can bullshit in either.
Ripe Bullshit: The pseudointellectual dragon has advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks that rely on the spoken word.
Magic Resistance: The pseudointellectual dragon has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Limited Knowledge: The pseudointellectual dragon ignores any roll higher than 10 on an Intelligence-based roll, taking the 10 instead.

Actions
Bite: Melee Weapon Attack:+4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.
Bullshit Breath (Recharge 5-6): The pseudointellectual dragon utters a confusing babble of nonsense in a 15 ft cone. Any creature within that area that can comprehend Common (or draconic) must make an Intelligence Save against a DC11 or suffer one of the random effects of the Confusion spell.

#RPG – Open Art Call – Comic Cover

Art only, text will be handled, so a bit of space will need to be left at the top to fit in a title.

Looking for a 300 dpi, A4, basic colour (shade and highlight) at around ~$200, but this is negotiable. Digital delivery required and payment via Paypal upon delivery, with the artist retaining rights to resale or re-use the art.

The cover is for an introductory comic, to explain RPGs as a concept to new players, parents, friends or children. Perhaps to become part of a series, depending on reception.

As such I’d like the cover to evoke the basic wish-fulfilment quality and appeal of games. Perhaps fantasy archetypes bracketing a d20, perhaps a player, looming about their character like a god while their character faces some peril. Those are my two main ideas, but I’m open to pitches.

Apply at grim@postmort.demon.co.uk, preferably with a link to any online portfolios or similar.