The Little Game
The players start the game as villagers in an extremely isolated area called the Village of the Vale. They will know almost nothing of the big wide world around them.
The game system will be a custom collection of charts and mechanics aimed at being a very small amount of stuff. Role playing will be rewarded with experience as will hack&slashing.
What you know
Vale is a village which has 4 hamlets and a collection of 20 or so farmsteads surrounded by a forest. Gingal, 'Dandan, Kubelo, and Jenkins. Each has 5 to 10 buildings. There are about 500 people in the Vale and PCs will know every single one of them, young and old.
Hamlets are a market and community center or Long Hall for nearby family farms. They provide locally needed services like surplus storage. Each Hamlet will have a mill for grinding flour. They will have a blacksmith able to shoe horses, repair and make tools, and tinker pots. Each hamlet will have brewing skills for making meads and beers and wines. Hamlet elders oversee much of the "community" activities and do so for a cut of local produce for themselves.
Each of the hamlets has some specialties:
- Gingal has a lumber mill for planing boards.
- Kubelo has a large number of pepper trees and olive trees. They produce olive oil used locally and with peppercorns, provide one of the profitable exports that benefits the whole vale.
- Dandan has a lot of fruit trees. Traded whole the fruits are a staple of local diets. They also brew various liqueurs for local consumption. They also produce a great deal of jams and jellies and canned fruits. Dandan also has a great many beehives and produces honey and meads..
- Jenkins, the largest, has a traveler's Inn and an attached brewery. (The inn is cleverly called the Inn at Jenkins) The brewery produce a large amount of beer much of which is exported. Jenkins also has a large structure near the Inn that is used for storage of local produce for export where the elders of Jenkins oversee local provisions for trade and againt hardship.
Farmteads are miniature hamlets themselves but interact with the various hamlets. For an idea of a active Farmstead think about Faldor's Farm in the Beleriand series.
Also part of the Vale economy are several families of hunters who specifically hunt for wild game found abundantly in the forests. Foremost among them are the Grieeg family comprised of nearly 20 members. The Grieeg family has a farmstead near Gingal that serves as a curing, smoking and drying place for their meats. The family, like all the hunters, also trade in bone, antlers and other animal byproducts. The Grieeg family refuses to hunt rats or spiders though the others will.
Vale is surrounded by forest on 3 sides with rolling hills and the beginning of a gorge to the south. To the west is a range of mountains topped by two great mountains; the Tooth directly west and White Spire to the south of the Tooth. Vale is a wet region with many creeks and streams all flowing to the gorge which flows south. The fast growing and renewable pine trees are prized for construction.
A Village called Belwing is to the south someplace. Most adults have been there from time to time during their lives. The Village of Blue Rock is to the northeast, farther away. Only a few people have been to it in their lives. The City and castle of Arrow is near Blue Rock and the Duke of Arrow lives there. The City and Castle of Redfoot is far to the south and the Duke of Redfoot lives there. Only the Village elders have been there and not in the last decade.
It seems that the Village of Vale lies on the border of Redfoot and Arrow and it is unclear who ultimately has authority over it. Tax collectors, a yearly occurrence, come from both, and get taxes in kind from the region for both, a situation that the Village Elders have let go for over a decade and is a source of much community argument. But the elders claim it is easier to pay both a little then to alert either to their prosperity and find them both sending soldiers to claim the village.
Traders travel between these villages and the cities of Redfoot and Arrow carry out what amounts to a modest exchanges of staples and a few luxury items. Redfoot has glass workers and the trade is practiced in Gingal as well. While fabric arts are common in village life rare fabrics like silk can sometime be found in Redfoot and is carried by traders. The City of Arrow is rumored to produce weaponry, especially archery equipment, which is prized throughout the land. Traders from Arrow often have exotic spices though the Hamlet of Kubelo has pepper and olive trees nearby that often produce enough to export pepper and both olives and olive oil.
Minstrels come through the vale on occasion and are met with eagerness and suspicion. They know many song and tales and somewhat about the outside world. But they also create tall tales.
The Inn at Jenkins sometimes has visitors from Belwing or Blue Rock, rarely from Arrow or Redfoot. It also often serves as a meeting place for the Vale Elders.
In many ways, the village of Vale, comprised of its hamlets and farmsteads, is a typical social arrangement for all village life across the world.
Player Character Origins
None of the PCs will have left the vale. They will know each other but may only have dealt with them a few times each year. So PCs may know each other well, or may have heard of each other. (This is because i may start a couple different groups of players in the same Vale)
Most normal animals are common.
Giant Spiders and Giant rats are common foes. The spiders are about the size of a pug. The rats often as large as a corgi and are fierce. Growing up, Vale kids were encouraged to hunt and kill these pests, as well as regular rats. They are told not to fight wolves, but to tell adults if they see wolves. Legends of Koblolds and Orcs are the stuff of scary campfire tales but elders of the tribe assure the young they exist. Relics from some ancient battle adorn the walls of the Inn at Jenkins.
Giant Rats provide meat and fur. A soft fur, when treated, provides cloak linings and blankets. Giant Spiders are often mixed in fertilizer providing exceptionally helpful nutrients. Youths often get treats and trinkets and toys for killing giant rats and spiders. Sometime even coppers.
The game begins with a hunt for spiders.
Each player will begin with an extremely rural background. Farmer, woodsman, miller, innkeeper. Blacksmith. Hunter. One PC will be a Blacksmith’s son or apprentice. One will be an Innkeeper’s son or ward. The GM's Pc/Npc will be a Bard's Apprentice whose master has died, or may die in an early game.
PCs will have been raised in a nature oriented religion with a sufficiently complicated theology they are only barely knowledgeable about. Consider it like knowing the holidays, marriage, death rituals, and little else. A class of nature priest similar to druids or friars travel among the land performing needed ceremonies. A PC might be an apprentice of such a person but would never have left the Vale.
PCs will have a personal knife, mostly an eating utensil, and a small collection of other items such as fire-starting kit. Salt & pepper bag. Ball of twine. There will be a few small bows. A skinning knife. PCs will have rural skills.
System and Skills
I am not sure what game system i will use. Probably a mixture Warlock and other things. I will give players a copy of the "Game Book." I have a copy of Warlock as a doc file to clip from. The rules will be trimmed down to a bare minimum and
Players will start as fighters and use the warlock fighter exp chart and skill chart. Skills will draw from a collection i will put together including fighter and thief skills.
Players will start with some general rural skills and a few ones they were specially trained in depending on background.
Common: things nearly everyone has: fire starting, basic cooking, animal tending, farming, very basic medical first aid.
Practiced: trap setting, farm repair, very basic herb-lore.
Accomplished: tracking, hunting, animal rendering. Healing teas. brewing. vinting.
Expert: construction. Midwifery.
Magic users and clerics.
True wizards and clerics will be extremely rare to start. True wizards and clerics rarely are found in humble rural places, but that's just a guideline. At the beginning of the game no wizard or evoking priest has been to the Vale in the lifetime of the oldest native. Most wizards and clerics will be found in cities.
Not all priests will be evoking priests. Certain to be a sore point among them.
Hedge wizards will be rare but well known and the Vale will have a couple. These practitioners will be sort of a mixture of herbalists, midwife, alchemist, and charlatan. At best a 3 level mage making a rural living. Most will have traveled to learn more their trade but may enlist youths to collect local supplies. They may provide medical help.
Friars are something akin to a parish priest, druid, and a monk. Well versed in nature lore, knowledgeable in stories and myths, they perform rituals, marriages, funerals, and blessings. The usually have medical skills.
I will be using the distinctions of magic items, enchanted items, and crafted items.
Magic items are extremely rare and almost impossible to destroy.
Enchanted items have a spell causing the magic and the it maintains its usual strength.
So a magic spear can be used to lever a large bolder from the ground easily. An enchanted spear can be broken like a normal spear.
Crafted items are made by experts and master craftsmen. Few crafted items will be better then +3.
A common enchanted item, among the hedge wizards spells to cast will be a variety of Continual spells that create useful but very minor enchanted items such as fire stones, ice stones, chill stones, warming blankets, and the like.
There will be less then 1000 magic items on planet. The vast majority of these will be arrows, followed by +1 weapons and shields, then +2 weapons and shields. A small collection of powerful items are known to exist but are mostly the property of the Dukes.
There are legends of magical stones found throughout the land that have a wide variety powers. These legends have the stone appearing in widely different environments and conditions. These conditions include grown into trees, found in lakes and streams, on mountain tops, and embedded in living creatures. "Troll stones" are these magical stones when they are found in the foreheads of misshapen and dangerous creatures loosely called trolls.
There are legends of magical stones that when touched grant magical powers.
Known Magical Items
- There are known to be 5 Arch-mage staves.
- There are known to be 3 Magical harps.
- Legend says that the Duke of Flatter has a bright silver blade that glows when lies are told in his presence.
- Folklore claims that some type of orcs use magic whips that leave black wounds that are unable to heal.
- Its is said that the King's Crown is a coronet of 5 points, each topped by a magical gem. The King's Crown was lost with the last king.
- The Rangers treasure magical bows and often have quivers of magical arrows.
Knowledge of the world
At the beginning of the game the PCs will know little beyond the Village of Vale except place names. The Villages of Belwing and Blue Rock are well known as are the Cities of Arrow and Redfoot.
Beyond that the cities of Candle, Buckle, Flatter and Regal are known.
Each of these is ruled by a Duke, though Regal is ruled by a Grand Duke. There is no king currently, and the players will not know why.
Comments on Cosmology and Mechanics
- Just so its written down. This is a separate marble and will not contain any characters or influences from previous games, characters, or universes except to the degree that the GM repeats himself while trying to remember his craft.
- Everything I have written up for this game is on this wiki page, or fits on one side of one page. There is one map, sections of which the PCs will get a bit at a time. The exception is the notes i am getting together for game rules