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More fantasy conspiracy

As it's med-fan France, around the Eastern Edge of the Massif Centrale, the landscape is deep gorges separated by plateaus, sparse vegetation on top, fast rivers down below.

It's late Autumn and it's been raining a lot. It does that round here. It'll be cold with snow by the end of the month but it's not too bad at the moment, just very wet and muddy.

The big town round here is Zerdo. 10,000ish inhabitants squashed in behind a town wall left over from a previous civilisation. It was put up to keep out raiders from the south and sea raiders who made their way the 300 or so miles from the sea. The big cathedral forms part of the city wall and has partially collapsed on the inside of the walls. Some say it was the raiders, others, the malign influence of Casimir, the precursor deity to the current god in favour, Pentateuch.

In the North, the Cathars (i.e. pure ones) worship Pentateuch directly and individually. He has 5 facets which are recorded in the 5 books. Each facet has a name but these are seen as aspects of Pentateuch rather than individual deities.

In the South, where the religion is Sympathetic, Pentateuch is worshipped indirectly through 5 saints. Some southerners also have companions, magical creatures attunded to their owners which they claim are derived from Pentateuch but which Cathars claim are evil demons. Ostensibly this was the reason for the recent civil war which split the country, altough secular trade interests undoubtedly had some bearing. The casus belli was a caravan of Southern pilgrims that was massacred by overzealous Northern witchunters.

Two Northerners, war veterans caught far behind enemy lines, on whatever mission, when the war ended were making their way back home when they became embroiled in local politics. It seems that their are some actual demons at work, or at least a 175 year old woman who was some kind of goblin factory. Her bloodline has not died out and the count on whose lands this took place is worried, worried enough at least to have his daughter oversee the investigation with the help of the foreign witchhunter. Of course, the fact the the witchhunters friend is languishing in his cellars, subject to an inquisition also might have twisted his arm.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 1st, 2005 10:18 am (UTC)
I like it; takes me back to my days of reading Rene Nelli and studying the origins of the Albigensian Crusade when I was living - appropriately enough - in Toulouse. I like the mix of Descartes, Pullman, Catharism, the Pentateuch and what I think may be a veiled reference to Simon de Montfort.

Actually, wasn't one of the pretexts for the crusade the murder of a papal legate ..?

And wasn't Casimir a large spotted dinosaur in a children's programme?
Nov. 1st, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC)
I'd forgotten about Casimir.

Our choice of names for deities comes from one of our players' 20 year old D&D campaign. Most of the background was made up on the fly with some post hoc justification.
Nov. 1st, 2005 10:19 am (UTC)
Also: the witchhunter's name wouldn't be Dominic, would it?
Nov. 1st, 2005 01:47 pm (UTC)
Actually no. It's Sgt Jance.

My knowledge of the Albigensian Crusade is rather sketchy although I did read a great book given me by Balbinus about Montaillou, the last bastion of the Cathars.

Originally I'd intended the background for a Dark Ages Call of Cthulhu game. I've run the first scenario as such at a previous SteveCon in which jholloway played. So the setting is C10 Rodez (hence Zerdo), with a fantasy veneer.

The game as played so far has had a lot of investigation into family trees, something which would be much harder in C10 Rouergue given the low literacy levels and the probable paucity of public records. In Zerdo I've been able to include tight record keeping in the lawful aspect of Pentateuch.

There have been a few demonic encounters which, to me at least, are fairly obviously Mythos related, indeed the deep background is very Mythosy. I think on the whole I'd rather run the game as Call of Cthulhu but that's not what my players wanted.
Nov. 1st, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC)
If I can find them, I have a good number of books by Rene Nelli, long considered the primary expert on the Cathars in France. They're in French, of course, but that shouldn't be a problem for you ...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )