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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I like the petty kingdoms of the north.

    Though if you don't mind my asking how large is the feudal japan part of Feudal japan/vikings?
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

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  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    Though if you don't mind my asking how large is the feudal japan part of Feudal japan/vikings?
    I picture vikings with a strict code of honor and extremely high-quality weapons.
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  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I picture vikings with a strict code of honor and extremely high-quality weapons.
    If I may, I'd like to humbly present this article. Take note of the sentence:

    European researchers have demonstrated that high quality swords with damask patterns were produced by various pattern welding techniques since at least the 3rd century BCE by the Celts and Germanic peoples.

  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotchland View Post
    If I may, I'd like to humbly present this article. Take note of the sentence:
    oooOOOooo What's a good descriptive term for that pattern? Grainy? Marbled?

    Also, my plan for that region is to combine frost giants with oni.
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  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    oooOOOooo What's a good descriptive term for that pattern? Grainy? Marbled?
    Umm...well, the proper term is damascene, but I would avoid using that in-game, since it refers to a city in the Mediterranean.

  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    The Wikipedia article uses water-like, which seems to fit the patterns very well. Flowing or twisting lattice patterns might be a better literal description...
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  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Rippled, perhaps? I feel like Frost Giants and Oni are a fairly natural fit. I'm curious to see more of this.
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  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyntonian View Post
    Rippled, perhaps?

    "A ripple blade." The words rang in the young man's ear. The finest steel to be found. Kings and heroes payed mountains of treasure or braved the most savage seas for such a mighty blade, and here was one laying in his hands.


    Hmm... I think I like it. What about you?
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  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Well actually I asked because I'm a bit of an amateur student of japanese history, culture... Etc.

    So, I wouldn't mind helping out a bit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

    Torumekian knight Avatar by Licoot.

    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I'll welcome whatever tidbits you have to give! For whatever reason, this particular series of projects are pretty personal to me, and I don't think I'll be doing any sort of major collaboration on them. That said, if I come up with an idea that seems inauthentic or anything, I definitely want to know about it.

    I'm also thinking about gearing the Petty Kingdoms specifically toward wargaming. I want to leave the door open for the more typical "adventure party" style of play, but I'd really like to see if I can create an atmosphere that would be good for a group of players controlling squads in an army instead of just individuals. Thoughts?
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  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Well as far as wargaming, I'm not sure about Vikings... But the japanese really had no real codified set of good and evil like the west did. They didn't have "sins."

    Mostly "Good" was doing as you were told, obeisance is the rule of the day. Essentially imagine a system that is all about snubbing and undercutting rivals, as long as you do so within the bounds of propriety and rules. You payed respect to your superiors more often because usually they had the right to summarily execute (Unless you were samurai, in which case you had to execute yourself) you for not doing so than because you actually respected them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

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    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    Well as far as wargaming, I'm not sure about Vikings... But the japanese really had no real codified set of good and evil like the west did. They didn't have "sins."

    Mostly "Good" was doing as you were told, obeisance is the rule of the day. Essentially imagine a system that is all about snubbing and undercutting rivals, as long as you do so within the bounds of propriety and rules. You payed respect to your superiors more often because usually they had the right to summarily execute (Unless you were samurai, in which case you had to execute yourself) you for not doing so than because you actually respected them.
    Were those two separate thoughts? I don't see how wargaming and "good and evil" are linked with each other.

    In general, though, I am a fan of the "shades of gray" mentality when it comes to alignment/motivation.
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  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Were those two separate thoughts? I don't see how wargaming and "good and evil" are linked with each other.

    In general, though, I am a fan of the "shades of gray" mentality when it comes to alignment/motivation.
    Well that was sort of my point. Since they didn't have that sort of unifying system, there would be wars between different factions that wouldn't tear the whole system apart. It was more about who was in charge than anything else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

    Torumekian knight Avatar by Licoot.

    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    Well that was sort of my point. Since they didn't have that sort of unifying system, there would be wars between different factions that wouldn't tear the whole system apart. It was more about who was in charge than anything else.
    Oh! Gotcha. I agree with you. I figured the idea of a viking band with a ship going off to raid and pillage lent itself to wargaming just as well as samurai armies duking it out on solid ground. Since I've got a mashup, it only seems appropriate.
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  15. - Top - End - #195
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Just jotting down these ideas for future reference:

    Petty Kingdoms
    • Gods
      • Sleeping World Snake as Earth God. The mountains and islands are his body.
      • Northern Lights are the hems of the Sky Goddess' royal raiment. She is the goddess of magic and the night.
      • Storms are the personification of the Nietzsche-inspired god of War and Truth.
      • The Kraken will be some kind of sea god, inspired mainly by this poem (coincidentally, I'm pretty sure Lovecraft read this before he wrote the Cthulhu mythos).
      • There needs to be a trickster god. Not sure in what way. Thought: "Alfred" means basically "wise elf" in Germanic naming conventions. Batman is pretty crafty. I'm tempted to make a Batman/Joker/Loki mashup for the trickster god.
    • Magic
      • Runes will be involved. I'm toying around with the idea of having "localized" magic, where it's very difficult to cast unless you're near a standing stone that's covered in runes. This is a baldfaced effort to indulge in all the delicious morsels Wyntonian has been offering.
    • Ideals
      • The afterlife is a direct reflection of your deeds in life. Live to the fullest and win the most treasure and glory, and you will enjoy the afterlife. Live the life of a coward, a miser, or a failure, and you are doomed to suffer for eternity.
      • This region is going to be all about conquering neighboring islands/territories. I want there to be room for both traditional tabletop and wargaming.

    I have ideas about how to integrate Japanese culture (honor is paramount, blah blah), but I think the most recognizable part will be the various monster mashups I intend to create (Oni/Frost Giant, etc).

    **Another thought**
    Odin has his ravens, Thought and Memory. According to wikipedia, they are related to shamanistic spirit journeys, because Odin sends Thought and Memory out into the world to discover things just like shamans use what is basically astral projection for their divination. I need to create a spell that allows a magic user to turn into a Tengu to quickly travel all over the world, gathering whatever knowledge they require. Naturally, this will be a difficult spell. In Warrior, Rogue, and Mage terms, it's definitely 4th Circle.

    Also, there seems to be a common thread between Norse games (such as wrestling) and Japanese martial art traditions. The idea of the unarmored, unarmed warrior in Japanese culture is also similar to the Norse berserker tradition, despite having obvious differences.

    I'm also dangerously close to getting rid of the kingdom of Koss, incorporating its ideas into the Petty Kingdoms. What will probably happen (since I've already created a little bit of stuff for Koss), is that it will change pretty radically, becoming a) much smaller, and b) more focused on Tibetan culture than anything. More and more like a Shangri-la equivalent.

    Cerai
    Heaven is a place of beautiful light and music, but it is hidden from the world by the cloud of those spirits who fled from Mareal Turiís Light. Heaven and Earth will be reconnected when all the stray spirits are either returned to the fold or imprisoned.

    This is inspired by the Ptolemaic cosmology used in the medieval times. It's appropriately divine for such a religious region, it's really stinking cool, and it provides an excellent reason for the Unified to proselytize as much as they do: every new ear that hears the Good Word brings the world that much closer to Heaven on Earth.
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2012-04-05 at 01:28 PM.
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  16. - Top - End - #196
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    So I've been doing a lot of reading on Norse mythology lately, which I guess means that I'm working on the Petty Kingdoms.

    Here's a link to a list of virtues that were highly-praised by Norse culture. Honor... fidelity... discipline... could it get any easier to relate Norse and Japanese cultures?

    .::EDIT::.

    In Warrior, Rogue, and Mage, I want there to be a Talent called "Iron Fist" or something, that allows you to roll 1d6 instead of 1d6/2 for unarmed damage. Let it be done.
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  17. - Top - End - #197
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Petty Kingdoms Stuff

    The Petty Kingdoms are situated on a long, thin island across a narrow, northern sea from the mainland. It stretches northeast up into lands of everlasting snow, from which come the Ice Giants. They are terrifying, horned creatures with razor-sharp claws that wear nothing but the pelts of sabre cats and wield huge, iron-spiked clubs.

    The folk of the Petty Kingdoms--known collectively as northmen, icemen, and several other names--are heirs to a cyclical, volatile culture. Once every hundred or so years, something drives the Ice Giants through the Frost Gate in the North. They have no cohesion amongst their ranks, but they reap destruction and death all throughout the Petty Kingdoms.

    To combat this, northmen have a developed a complex feudal society. The protection of the people is the most important part of life in the Petty Kingdoms. Ice Giants trickle down through the Frost Gate, while resources on the island are never as great as they should be. To that end, Jarls and Thanes protect the realm, Karls serve as craftsmen, traders, and priests, Thralls toil as slaves, and all pay homage to the High King. For all this order, however, the Petty Kingdoms are rife with infighting and conflict.

    Jarls
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    The island is carved into several kingdoms, each ruled by a hereditary jarl. Jarls are lords over extensive lands. They command several mead halls, and those mead halls pay tribute by spending one year in four in the jarl's hall. All mead halls make up a jarl's army, but when a mead hall's warriors attend a jarl's hall, they make up that jarl's honor guard. Jarls require standing armies because they must defend not only their lands, but also the honor of their families.


    Thanes
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    Mead halls are founded, maintained, and serve as a place of training and lodging for the thanes. Members of this warrior caste begin their service at a young age. They train extensively in the use of the Water Blade--a lightweight bastard sword of remarkable quality, named for the ripple patterns along its length--and gain renown by collaborating with their brethren. Each mead hall is known for a particular skill, talent, or advantage, and the greatest halls become the sworn thanes of a jarl, to serve him and no others until death. Honor, skill, and will to power make up the full scope of a thane's life.

    Most thanes are known as Ox Thanes. They must toil for their warrior art, and they must serve their elders. Even the most well-respected leader of a mead hall or champion of a jarl is an Ox Thane.

    When a thane feels that obedience no longer serves his will, he strikes out on his own and becomes an Ice Thane. The least of these are sellswords and bandits, whereas the greatest of these are legendary terrors. Their cause--their own will to power--is highly respected, but they must be cast down. Ice Thanes see this constant opposition as the perfect way to rise to true greatness, whereas all others seek to destroy Ice Thanes because they threaten the established order. Some Ice Thanes are good, some others are evil, and many more have no clear loyalties, but all are bound by a common cause: acting out their will at all costs.

    Those Ice Thanes that rise to true greatness attract a large number of followers, and inevitably seek to overthrow a jarl and become one themselves. Many jarls inherit their position through their sires, but these Shining Thanes gain land and title through force of arms and all the wisdom or tyranny that comes with it. It is said that Shining Thanes arise only once per era, and many of them go on to become the High King of the Petty Kingdoms.


    High King
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    The High King is a hereditary title solely because the Shining Thane who rises to High King is too honorable a figure to be revered for only one lifetime. They command the finest Ox Thanes, occupy the largest and most fertile lands, and only the mightiest of the Ice Thanes can hope to challenge their rule.


    Karls
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    Karls make up the bulk of the population of the Petty Kingdoms. These are all the free workers of society; no other class is so diverse. A karl might be a simple farmer, a craftsmen, a priest, one skilled in the working of magic runes, or even a successful trader with a fleet of ships and a large estate, but they are all considered to be "merely" free laborers.

    Karls are welcome to pursue any craft or trade they desire, but some paths are not as easily walked as others. For example, a karl could enter into the service of a mead hall as an Ox Thane, but it is unlikely that they will begin their training early enough to possess a comparable skill at arms.


    Thralls
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    The lowliest position amongst the people of the Petty Kingdoms are the thralls. These are slaves bound to the service of any of the previous groups. Thralls are often taken from raids on the mainland or after defeat in battle, though it is possible (and somewhat common) to be born into thralldom. It is also possible for a free man to enter into thralldom for a time to pay off a debt. Aside from their position of dishonor, there is no widespread discrimination against thralls, and it is not unheard of for a thrall to be rewarded with freedom after a time.
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  18. - Top - End - #198
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Any thoughts on this? I've tried to make it as Norse as possible, with hefty portions of Japanese stuff as well. Everything is in rough draft stage right now, so everything is open to change.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Well, I quite like them alot. As for the Trickster god, whats more tricky than something thats not entirly native to the land all yet has managed to blend in as any other northern god? Prehapes, to go along with the general idea that all myths are true, some moreso than others, there is a single trickster god, but he has many faces, one for every land under the sun. (Or not.)
    Sometimes you hear his tales of trickery told by a Woodsman on a hunting trip to amuse his childeren, while in the far north a strangly similer tale is told, albet perhapes a bit cruder and with more drunken maids and bald men.


    Well, besides that, may I suggest that there be a sort of Skald sort of caste for them? They are not mearly well-trained Karl: it is they who record the bloody history the priests care little about and it is they who keep the beasts away from the war-camps at night. The strange notes that the most skilled among them can disorient newcomers, and they know secrets and stories about the land that the priests like to keep to themselves.


    Also, was there ever a final decision about th nature of Trolls and Fey and the like? There not on the first posts anymore, and it seems that I have missed something.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Any thoughts on this? I've tried to make it as Norse as possible, with hefty portions of Japanese stuff as well. Everything is in rough draft stage right now, so everything is open to change.
    Just a stylistic comment. Clearly, the Ice Thanes are meant to be analogous to rōnin. In Japanese, rōnin means "wave man" and refers to the rootlessness of the lordless samurai, who is cast about by the waves of fortune, as it were. Keeping with the Nordic theme, a better name for the concept might be Drift Thane (or drifthegn), referring both to driven snow and the wandering nature of the unaffiliated warrior.

  21. - Top - End - #201
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I would change mead halls to meethalls, because mead might lead to jokes about drunkeness and such. Also, the Ice Thanes -> Drift Thanes I'm good with. But I like what you have.

    Also, I just remembered. The Rogue game in my signature might interest you, since you like WRM. They have similar feels.

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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I'm sorry I don't have anything more constructive to add, but I heartily agree with the above two suggestions.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    First off, sorry for the Wall O'Text!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokonic View Post
    Well, I quite like them alot. As for the Trickster god, whats more tricky than something thats not entirly native to the land all yet has managed to blend in as any other northern god? Prehapes, to go along with the general idea that all myths are true, some moreso than others, there is a single trickster god, but he has many faces, one for every land under the sun. (Or not.)
    That's a good idea! Trickster heroes can be found in every culture, and they are treated with different levels of esteem/infamy in each. Because of the "fill in the dots yourself" philosophy I'm adopting with this series of mini-settings, I wouldn't set that sort of information in stone, but I will definitely remember to leave hints sprinkled throughout.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokonic View Post
    Well, besides that, may I suggest that there be a sort of Skald sort of caste for them? They are not mearly well-trained Karl: it is they who record the bloody history the priests care little about and it is they who keep the beasts away from the war-camps at night. The strange notes that the most skilled among them can disorient newcomers, and they know secrets and stories about the land that the priests like to keep to themselves.
    I agree that skalds need to play a large part in this setting. I think they're too large a part of Norse culture to exclude. That said, I developed this class system based almost entirely on real-world Norse culture, with emphasis placed on the Thanes to evoke a more Japanese feeling. While the skalds are important--and will even have a kind of magic all their own--they're not a distinct social class.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pokonic View Post
    Also, was there ever a final decision about th nature of Trolls and Fey and the like? There not on the first posts anymore, and it seems that I have missed something.
    First, they're not in the first post because--now that I'm running a campaign--I don't want to post the stats of these creatures just yet. As my players encounter the various monsters, I'll be updating the opening posts with stats and flavor text for the creatures of the world.

    Second, the final decision about trolls and elves is that--mechanically--they are distinct creatures. As far as flavor is concerned, they appear to be different, but then again many of the creatures that are considered to be "elves" appear pretty radically different as well. Whether trolls are their own race or another offshoot of the elves is something I'm leaving to each GM to decide for themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by arkham618 View Post
    Just a stylistic comment. Clearly, the Ice Thanes are meant to be analogous to rōnin. In Japanese, rōnin means "wave man" and refers to the rootlessness of the lordless samurai, who is cast about by the waves of fortune, as it were. Keeping with the Nordic theme, a better name for the concept might be Drift Thane (or drifthegn), referring both to driven snow and the wandering nature of the unaffiliated warrior.
    Thanks for the advice! Ice Thanes are indeed intended to be rōnin expys, but I've tried to include a few other elements too. I've been rereading Thus Spoke Zarathustra (one of my all-time favorites), and the Thane class in general is roughly analogous to Nietzsche's ideas about the Three Metamorphoses. The Ox Thanes are equivalent to the Camel, who piles all the work and hardship onto his back to grow stronger. The Ice Thanes are the Lions, who decide that service and labor no longer suit them, and they have to learn to say no to "thou shalt" commands. Finally, the Shining Thane is equivalent to the Child, who has come to see the fruition of his journey, who no longer struggles for or against his will, and can come back into the fold of society because he is a creator and a beacon. The god in this setting that draws from Odin and Thor also draws a lot from Nietzsche, and basically tells the northmen that this path is the only way to fulfillment.

    Name-wise, I'm drawing from the Elder Futhark. I've been reading a lot about the Elder Futhark lately, and I think it's completely amazing. Not only is it an alphabet, it's also a system of magic, and it basically tells the story of the Monomyth.

    "Ox" Thanes refer to the first two letters of the Futhark, Fehu and Uruz, which are basically the basest drive for creation, manifesting itself as domesticated and wild cattle cattle: animals of burden and labor.

    "Ice" Thanes are taken from the rune Isa (third rune in that link), which basically points to the trials and obstacles that lie in one's path toward spiritual wholeness and achievement. Conveniently, it's also a nice hat-tip to the Ice Giants; once I get more information posted, I think people will see a lot of similarities between the Ice Thanes and Ice Giants.

    "Shining" Thanes are taken from the rune Dagaz (second to last rune in that link), which is annotatively the shining light of day, and connotatively the fulfillment of the journey that all the previous runes lay out.

    So in a roundabout kinda way: I want to stick with the foundation I've laid. That said, I think that "Drift Thane" and "Wave Thane" both sound really cool, so well done!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    I would change mead halls to meethalls, because mead might lead to jokes about drunkeness and such. Also, the Ice Thanes -> Drift Thanes I'm good with. But I like what you have.
    I'm actually thinking about changing them to "halls," dropping any other descriptors entirely. If I remember my history correctly, bands of Norse warriors (and even kings) used mead halls as a place of rest and refuge in between their adventures. To put an Asian spin on things, I imagine them being a cross between dojos and tea houses.

    I had originally used "Mead Hall" because I wanted to distinguish it from a Jarl's or King's hall. That said, what do you think of "Thane Hall," "Jarl Hall," and "High Hall," as replacements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    Also, I just remembered. The Rogue game in my signature might interest you, since you like WRM. They have similar feels.
    I've been reading up on it every now and then (thanks to your sig, actually!), and I really like what I've been reading. I'd like to make a card game that's the same idea, and is basically a combination of Bang! and Fluxx.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    What if you instead called it a Hall, but each hall is named after the Thane in charge. So Rutgarhall, for example, would be the hall that Rutgar is in charge of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    What if you instead called it a Hall, but each hall is named after the Thane in charge. So Rutgarhall, for example, would be the hall that Rutgar is in charge of.
    I like that idea a lot, but I was looking for a way for someone to know what "tier" one is referring to in casual conversation. Do you think that's even necessary?

    Also, does my explanation of the Thane system make sense? It's a lot of elements thrown together--and I think all of it fits--but I want to make sure that's the case across the board.

    My next post will be detailing the gods of this setting. I've got 9 right now. I should probably think about starting a new thread for this... nah. Not right now.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    One question: whats stopping some potent Jarl from becoming High King? I mean, yes, they might be considered kings in there own right, but it seems odd for such a title to only be taken by a single guy without any fussing from a hardy lord.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pokonic View Post
    One question: whats stopping some potent Jarl from becoming High King? I mean, yes, they might be considered kings in there own right, but it seems odd for such a title to only be taken by a single guy without any fussing from a hardy lord.
    I didn't relate it very clearly, but essentially, the High King has the allegiance of all the Jarls (though the Jarls may fight amongst each other from time to time), and the Jarls have the allegiance of a good many Thanes, Karls, and a host of Thralls in their service. The reason for all this unity is because the Ice Giants have a sort of mass exodus (I need a name for this) from their northern lands, where they descend on the island and basically kill everything that's not prepared. It's impossible to tell when the Ice Giants are coming (there have been times where their great attacks have come one year after another, and other times when there have been a century between attacks), so unity amongst the people is essential to the survival of the culture.

    Anyone that seeks to overthrow the High King will have to face off against the entirety of the Petty Kingdoms to do so. The ascension of a new High King is always a period of turmoil for the Petty Kingdoms, because all allegiances to the old High King are severed (since he's dead), and all the old grudges come to light, even if only for a few years. All the Jarls and loyal Thanes will rally to the cause of the High King, because if he dies then the social order is upset, putting them all in danger of annihilation at the hands of the Ice Giants.

    Also, it's entirely possible for a Jarl to become an Ice Thane and challenge the throne. Most Ice Thanes that attempt it have already gathered a fair number of followers, anyway, because to assault the High King alone is pretty insane. It's probably even the case that the Ice Thane in question would gather a number of Jarls to his cause, sparking a sort of civil war.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Ah, understandable. Also, while you mention the Ice Giants ( whose great migration for a lack of a better term might be called the Frost Reaping), it seems that there is potential in other sort of pesudofey for them. A few off the top of my head include:

    Horrid fox-spirits (Horfoxes?) that take the form of beggers to take advantage of the kindly oriented, and might be tricked into marrage by those most cunning of Thanes. Of couse, they always managed to wiggle out of such situations.

    Drunken bear-like humanoids that wait until spring to awake from there frozen caves to shapeshift into burly men and mingle with mere mortals while always offering there fighting ability (better known as half-drunken rampaging) to those who can outdrink/outeat/outfight them.

    Frosted maidens that wait outside combat to, according to lore, seek the souls of the dead to shuffle them off to the spirit realm. Of course, others say that they are the ghosts of the wives of dead Thanes and Jarls, but what do they know?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I like that idea a lot, but I was looking for a way for someone to know what "tier" one is referring to in casual conversation.
    An easy solution (and very Japanese-influenced) is to simply make rank a part of a lord's name. If you want to avoid super long names, a person can take a new name upon achieving their position (not an uncommon practice in Japanese history, either). The "lord names" could work with a personal prefix or suffix added to a root determined by rank. Of course, if you name places after their living owners, you'll have a really confusing system that is hard to keep track of through history. It's also pretty much certain that common folk would just make their own name for the places to save themselves the hassle.

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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    One other idea for an easy way to figure out the relative status of each person is to say that your rank in society determines the number of sylables in your name. So you have King [very long formal name here] Who is known as King Mathias, because that's the start of his name.

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