Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sandbox Fantasy: Kings List Example

In this post I talked about how useful Kings lists are in organizing the background history of your setting.

This is an example from one of my background documents for the Majestic Wilderlands. It not well edited as I wrote it for myself. I don't explain a lot of the context but it should illustrate what I am talking about.

It is the record of the first four kings of Antilla the actual document goes on for 5 more pages describing each king up to the present (4433 BCCC) You can read the full document here. It takes place in Antil in the northwest corner of the Barbarian Altanis (Map 2/Map 8) and western half of City-State (Map 1/Map 5) if you want to look up the place names. Remember in my Majectic Wilderlands each hex has 12.5 miles and a lot more settlements than the ones marked on the originals.

I admit it is pretty dry reading. If you are into making a background with a Tolkien level of detail for your setting this format really helps.

Overlords of the Dragon Empire
House of Romaill
4122-4125 Talsha the Elder
4125-4147 Talsha the Younger
4147-4162 Cormas I

Kings of Antil and Overlords of the Dragon Empire
4162-4210 Talsha III

House of Romaill

4122-4125 Talsha the Elder
Between 4100 and 4130 the Dragon Empire was in state of constant Civil War. Fought between the House of Caelam and the House of Lovaron, the issues were over between the supporters of Viridstan and the enemies of Viridstan. The southern extents of the Dragon Empire were mostly Elessarians descended from Old Romaillion Empire. For hundreds of years they dreamed of their independence but the strong hand of the Dragon Overlords had kept them in check.
In 4118 the forces of Anarin the Pretender was able to control much of the area around the Romaillion Sea. The Overlord sent Marshal Talsha, a loyal Elessarian subject, to regain control of the area for the empire. In a three year campaign Talsha was able to defeat the Pretender's forces in the province by 4121. While pacifying the province, Talsha became disgusted with the actions of the Church of Mitra's inquisition. In 4122 he expelled the inquisitors and declared himself Overlord of the Dragon Empire. However Talsha the Elder was a old man and used his remaining years to consolidate for his son, Talsha the Younger.

4125-4147 Talsha the Younger
Talsha joined the forces of the Dragon Empire when he was a young man. Although having a well-placed father helped, Talsha rapid rise in the ranks was due more to natural ability, then his father's position. In 4419 Talsha was assigned to accompany his father on the campaign to retake Romaill.
With victory, Talsha watched the inquisitors of the Church of Mitra brutalize the population. Disgusted he convinced his father to make a bid for the throne of the Dragon Empire. His father declared himself Overlord and Talsha helped him to consolidate the lands around the Romaillion Sea as a springboard to take the throne.
In 4125 Talsha the Elder died and Talsha the Younger assumed his father's position as Overlord of the Dragon Empire. The rival Overlord Anarin VII sent a force to confront Talsha. At the battle of Landmarch, in 4126, Talsha defeated Anarin's army. Talsha won victory after victory triumphing in the capture of Werewood in 4131. However Anarin VII was able to defeat the forces of Anarin the Pretender and reunify the rest of the empire.
The period from 4135 to 4145 was of slow retreat from the forces of Anarian VII. By 4138 Werewood was recaptured by the Overlord Anarin, by 4140 Talsha was pushed back to his original strongholds around the Romaillion Sea. In 4144, the Anarin had to withdraw forces to protect the northeast frontier from the Orcs of the Majestic Mountains. In 4145 the forces of the Tharian Barbarians swept across the remaining Dragon troops guarding the north west frontier. By 4146 nearly all of the Dragon Empire's territories north of Werewood was lost.
From 4146 to 4147, the forces of Talsha surged north again taking all of the Dragon Empire territories south of Werewood. Anarin controlled Werewood, and Omen as the northern frontier and Fornost, and Anquiken as his western frontier. The rest was controlled by the Tharians or Talsha's forces.

4147-4162 Cormas I
In 4147 Talsha the Younger died at his capital, Actuan. His son, campaigning in the north, was proclaimed Overlord of the Dragon Empire. Cormas immediately consolidated his control over his father's forces. In 4148 Cormas marched on Werewood. In a six month siege Cormas was able to seize control of the town from Anarin. But in 4149 the Tharians renewed their attacks with Cormas' territories as their target. From 4147 to 4150, Cormas' forces lost Lakenheath, Stonewood, and Werewood to Tharian attacks. Finally in 4150 at the second battle of Landmarch, Cormas was able to defeat the Tharians and hold his remaining territories.
With economy of the Dragon Empire in total disruption, Cormas was forced, because of the money shortage, to grant public land to his retainers and allies, Antillian feudalism dates from this time. In the years after the Battle of Landmarch Cormas was forced to focus more on his realm's economy. One of Cormas's more important projects was the settling of the lands south of the Romaillion Sea. In 4158 he founded the City of Antil as a gateway into the new lands. From 4158 onward, Cormas conducted yearly campaigns to subjugate the Sarnic tribes to the south.
In 4153 Nermar the last rival Overlord of the Dragon Empire died. Cormas started to plan for a grand scheme to liberate Caelam and reunite the Empire. In 4155 Cormas marched on Fornost and Anquiken, in a series of pitched battles the Tharian clans forced Cormas back. With the pressing problems of his realm Cormas was never able to mount another serious expedition. This expedition seriously depleted Cormas' treasury and forced him to rely even more on his barons.
In 4162 Cormas died of old age in the City of Antil.

Kings of Antil and Overlord of the Dragon Empire
4162-4210 Talsha III
When Cormas died, The barons and Cormas' son, Talsha, agreed to revive the old kingship of the Romaillion tribes. It was decided to call the new kingdom Antilla after Cormas' city. In 4162 Talsha was crowned Talsha III King of Antillia, Overlord of the Dragon Empire. Each of Cormas' grants was reaffirmed, and the policy of southern settlement was given new vigor. Trade with Viridistan was also emphasized.
From 4168 to 4185 was a time of raids and small skirmishes along the Tharian-Antillian frontier. By 4185 Talsha was able to conclude a peace with Clan Laknost, the largest clan bordering Antillia. From 4185 trade grew between the two and Antillian merchants used Clan Laknost as a gateway into the rest of Tharian lands.
In 4193 Talsha concluded a agreement with the Lord's Alliance to conduct trade through the Windhorn pass and construct a trail connecting Antillia to the South Road through the pass. The demands of Cormas for the Lord's Alliance to recognize Talsha as Overlord of the Dragon Empire was conveniently forgotten by both sides.
In 4210 Talsha died of old age after reigning for 48 years.


redbeard said...

It seems to me that time lines like this can have their barebones generated randomly. The name of a dynasty, name of a ruler, the length of their reign, prosperity and general events could all be generated with a bunch of tables. Then the DM steps in to draw connections and give life to the bones - somewhat like Traveller sector generating.

I'm a big fan of having distinct "past empires" and such which have their specific architecture, gods, lore, etc.

Robert Conley said...

might be something to that idea. Thanks.