Campaign Basics and Unnecessary Detail


My campaign is going to be set in a likely northern area, filled with moor and fen and fir. Something like what you think of when you picture the wilderness from The Hobbit, listen to the lyrics to Dire Wolf, or if you’re me, first hear the name ‘Blackmoor’ without any real context. The main location is going to be a dungeon, maybe ten levels, more or less, underneath an old castle. To help me with this, I’m using some Python-based Markovian name generators. I take the base code (found online), and input a list of names and it will output names that sound plausibly like them. I changed a couple things, like having it generate 5 names at a time, run infinitely, and request input between generations. Wikipedia has provided me with the lists for the first two (based on Norse and Greek mythology, respectively), though I still have to manually input each name and format it right (that’s pretty much all the python I know). I’m making one based on Tolkien, since he makes great names and I happen to have a copy of Lord of the Rings with an index of people and places in the back- unfortunately, I didn’t realize the sheer amount I would have to transcribe. I’ve just gotten through the E’s, testing as I go, and it generated one name that really stood out. It looked kind of like ‘beetledome’. So that’s what I named the castle: The Beetledome. Strangely, I feel no desire to come up with backstory for this name, but I do feel like listing the lords and ladies of the Beetledome in order. Here they are. I used a last name mostly of my design (Varghare), but stole the given names from the Brandybuck family tree in the back of my book.

Marmadoc, son of Rufus (1134-1236)
First lord and founder of the Beetledome from 1161-1197

Once I had already written down the span of this guy’s life, I realized this would put his dying age at 102 (hobbits living longer than mere men). I decided that one of the many peculiarities of this line would be their mysterious longevity.

Gorbadoc, son of Marmadoc (1162-1251)
Second lord of the Beetledome (1197-1221)

I decided that Gorbadoc died without heir, and so was succeeded by
Merimac, son of Dodinas Gorbadoc’s brother (1191-1221)
Third lord of the Beetledome (briefly, 1221)

Ahh, time for intrigue.

Doderic the usurper, son of Dodinas (1185-1229)
Fourth lord of the Beetledome (1221-1229)

Who is then vanquished by a forgotten, illegitimate heir.
Obviously, an illegitimate child is, more or less by definition, not a legitimate heir, but the people don’t really care- they let those lords do what they want over there in their castle.

Madoc the vengeful, son of Merimac (1205-1312)
Fifth lord of the Beetledome (1229-1312)

Orgulas, son of Madoc (1248-1323)
Sixth lord of the Beetledome (1312-1323)

Now, here’s a story that I quite like, but that will never be heard by the players unless they read through the library for fun or talk to a ghost. The strange people of Fennario and their strange lords have never answered to the king in any but superficial manner- occasionally they may send a handful of slingers to help in some minor war or another, and some tax money is sent, but the lord Varghare never attends councils (nor is he missed) and the money sent is always either slightly less or conspicuously more than it should be. No one is sent to audit, few knights request lodgings in the Beetledome. They could almost be an independent city-state, save that A) they have no city, just a smallish village, and B) the lords Varghare have always referred to themselves as ‘Baron’, so as to avoid confrontation with their ‘liege’. Marmadoc, and later Madoc referred to themselves as ‘Knights of the Beetledome’. Until, on the day when his father Orgulas dies and the title passes to him, Seredic gathers the people in the town square and foolishly declares himself the Emperor of the new Independent Empire of Fennario. The crowd turns on him, and shoves the still bloody crown onto the head of his younger brother. Thus we have

Seredic, son of Orgulas (1277-1324)
Seventh lord of the Beetledome and first Emperor of Fennario (very briefly, 1324)

Doderic II (‘the humble’ and ‘the nervous’), son of Orgulas (1281-1362)
Eighth lord of the Beetledome (1324-1362)

Milo, son of Doderic (1303-1394)
Ninth lord of the Beetledome (1362-1394)

Milo published the infamous ‘Proclamation of St. Antwelm’ in 1369, which declared that
1) no longer would Fennario honor the saints of the traditional canon, who were largely rather embarrassing, but instead make up their own (starting with one named ‘St. Antwelm the Drunken’)
And 2) founded a yearly feast in St. Antwelm’s honor, during which there would be drinking and smoking and silly hats and silly games like ‘hunt the wocket’.
He also, at the seventh feast of St. Antwelm, set the castle stables on fire to fool the citizenry into thinking that a dragon was attacking. None fell for it, but to this day you can hear the neighing of the horses on cold winter’s nights.

And finally
Dinodas, son of Milo (1348-1400)
Tenth lord of the Beetledome (1394-1400)

Who does not yet have any significant quirks associated with him.

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