Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Before I Sleep: Ancién

 Continuing with my plan to post "side dishes" to my megawildernesscrawl project, here go my notes about the troubled kingdom of Ancién. It is the most direct spiritual successor to Astos, my first attempt at a country-as-dungeon. This side dish includes a procedure for its typically inconclusive civil wars, as well as some notes and notable items.


A "prosperous" "nation" that claims to be the oldest remaining kingdom in the world. It belongs to the Kisic culture, which means people here have French or Norman or Arthurian names, sleep standing up, and love to wear gloves all the time. Soldiers of the crown wear tabards of quartered blue and white, because they're good guys. Therefore, people of Ancién are some of the least aware that they live in a collapsing state.

The queen, now at the age when she must worry about throwing off an entrenched regent, is kept at the sidelines as two massive theological movements have suddenly become listless and reckless following the coincidental(?) death of their respective leaders. Between the Urbanites, who are worldly, and the Furious, who are violent adherents of the fundamentals, there are many would-be martyrs looking for someone to direct them.

If you're making a PC in Ancién, you can make them an assassin instead of one of the base classes. This is a bad omen.

from the Adventures of Peter Peterkin

Civil War Procedure

  • A war is always initiated by a pretender faction, traditionally with some flashy coup attempt that goes awry. Each faction has a claimant with a Legitimacy somewhere between 2 and 12 based on how much people think you deserve your war goal, traditionally the Ancient Throne.
  • Specific regions contribute War Points to the side they swear to. Extra factors like foreign armies can add WP too.
  • At the start of a season, each side comes up with a plan, then rolls a d20 and tries to get under their Legitimacy. If they fail, check the Region Loyalty Table for the result of that roll and if the named region is part of their faction, it goes rogue or switches sides.
  • If the legitimacy roll failed, repeat the last step.
  • If a rogue region is about to get their goose cooked, they can scramble and try to start or join another faction.
  • While this is happening, PCs and major NPCs might be going on a little adventure or something else that will be factored in.
  • Make opposed d20+WP rolls for each part of a faction’s plans that results in a battle or contest. When the aggressor fails, they can’t advance that part of their plan for the rest of the season. You can divide your forces, but that should reduce the size of the dice you roll or something. DM figure it out.
  • The default result of a civil war, by the math, is a stalemate. A faction can keep a full army fed, supplied, and mobilized for about [22 minus WP] seasons before they have to start eating each other. If all factions fall into this before making a peace agreement, we fall into the time of warlords, all fought on the skirmish level with normal D&D rules.

Region Loyalty Table (and WP contribution)
  1. Togea Lowland (1 WP)
  2. Chauce (1 WP)
  3. Invraisem (1 WP)
  4. Uradel (3 WP)
  5. Eungaine, the City of Smoke (1 WP)
  6. Vortinham, the Prison-City (1 WP)
  7. The Broadwoodland (1 WP)
  8. Guertomb (1 WP)
  9. Ashmarch (2 WP)
  10. Galefir Hills (2 WP)
  11. Benevale (1 WP)
  12. Eastern Levett River (1 WP)
  13. Feuilponwood (1 WP)
  14. Sarat (1 WP)
  15. Benevale (1 WP)
  16. Western Levett River (2 WP)
  17. Serpent Ridge (1 WP)
  18. Benevale (1 WP)
  19. Ashmarch (2 WP)
  20. Gwynedure (3 WP)

War Relics

  • Starblood Mantle: slowly shapes your mind into that of Nemesis.  Save each season or get -1 WIS and +1 cleric level. You may choose to fail the save. Losing the Mantle turns you into a wretched hunter seeking to recover it. +3 Legitimacy and +1 WP and your last region will never go rogue.
  • Fawrion Forte: first sword of the first killer of Ancien. A humbly made +1 starmetal arming sword. When its wielder would be damaged by a weapon or projectile, they roll a d12. If they get above their current HP, the sword deflects the harm, be it matter or magic. No scabbard can encompass the weapon. +3 legitimacy, but if the wielder fights for another’s claim, that claimant gets -1 legitimacy.
  • The Book of Opposites: write the name of your enemies in its endless pages, and keep writing them. +1 WP, somehow...
  • Wand of Rivaval’s Pox: worn, blackened cedar handle. Leaves an ashen stain on anything it touches. Magicians can use it to fire a spray of clear, shoe-polish-scented drops. Those touched must save or lose 1d6 maximum HP and 1 Legitimacy. 2d6 charges. Multiple uses on the same person have more dire effects.
  • Avaburn Stone: a flat, chalky rock. Place it on the seat of a throne, and the Avaburn Maidens will come. Do as they say, and they will fight for you; the region over which the throne presides will get +1 WP. Defy them three times, and they will take you away.


  1. Enjoying the strong pre-Tolkein fantasy vibes here. More campaigns should centre around civil wars, really--it's a good time to be a wandering adventurer!

    1. Thank you! It's sort of funny you mention pre-Tolkein vibes. I totally see what you mean, but a lot of those came in while I was flailing around on autopilot in designing the overview of the setting. What I meant to add deliberately were tropes and featuers of the most post-Tolkein stories imaginable, fantasy doorstoppers like the Wheel of Time.