Sunday, November 26, 2017

Blood, Thunder, Beer, & The Hundred Years War - Campaign Commentary Set up

So I've been spending some time with a friend today at a local watering hole discussing of all things B/X Dungeons & Dragons & The Hundred Years War.
So between beers & conversation we began to pick apart & overview the Hundred Years War with parallels to B/X Dungeons & Dragons's adventuring conditions. First of all let's do a quick overview of one of the most complex & bloody wars in Europe's history in a quick nut shell via Wiki;
"The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England, against the House of Valois, rulers of the Kingdom of France, over the succession to the French throne."
This is a complex, three sided & force sided war with far reaching economic, sociological, & even cultural wars.These conflicts bankrupted nations & led directly too the War of The Roses in England & this led to entire generations of families having to eke out a living however they could. Sounds suspiciously like adventurers doesn't it? The one thing that 'Morley the wizard' never told you was that your adventurers were going to have to keep crawling for that gold in those dungeons & the ruins of those classic adventures.

All of this relates to the dawn of Original Dungeons & Dragons when war gaming miniature clubs were all the rage back in the 60's & 70's across the United States & Europe. See Gary Gygax &  David Lance "Dave" Arneson were movers & shakers in the late Sixties war game scene which actually gave rise to original Dungeons & Dragons.
So flash forward to the beers & the tonight's discussion over an old '95 issue of Strategy & Tactics which contained one of the best paper war games of the Hundred Years War described by Board Game Geeks;" The game recreates the wars fought between England and France between 1337 and 1453. Each game turn represents 1 year. Each unit represents leaders or 1-2000 soldiers. The units are either English (red), French (blue) or independent (white). The map is divided into areas not hexes and comes with 280 counters.
Victory is determined by comparing each major powers victory point total with its initial resource value."  This was a fantastic war game & its been trotted out over the years getting lots of air play at our various tables. It does exactly what it says on the tin. So how does the Hundred Years War apply in B/X Dungeons & Dragons? Hmm a lot easier then you might think. The Battle of Castillon marks the end of the Hundred Years War & is a transition & end battle clearly with a victory for the French. 
 This was a very weird time in France especially at the borders of the country. There's lots of rumors going around, backwater villages & towns need to be secured. There's also that backwater castle & the trading post that needs to be taken care of but the war has stretched thin the army perhaps your band of adventurers can help. Yes I'm speaking of B2 Keep Of The Borderlands by Gary Gygax.

This walk into the back water part of the French 'victory' could highlight the need for adventurers intervention as the extent of the witchcraft of the location begins to manifest though out the countryside. The horrific elements could be stuff straight out of nightmare & mythology.  There are several elements of The Battle of Castillon that make it an interesting match up. First of all the use of guns, gunpowder, matchlocks, and long bows all had their time on the battle's stage.

So talking about the Hundred Years War I can help but bring up Rpg Pundit's Dark Albion & Cults of Chaos. Because the outcome of that real world take on the war has a very different outcome for France. The whole place becomes over run with French demon worshiping frogmen. Something went very wrong during 
The Battle of Castillon allowing the Frogmen to consolidate power in the region.

There is a long history of witchcraft, chaos worship, & worse within the hills surrounding this region allowing a DM to situate an entire campaign centered around these events especially if they happen to be using a B/X Dungeons & Dragons game or a retroclone engine of the same type. Dark Albion is unique in that allows the DM to customize it based upon their DMing & player's preferences in D&D edition's gaming engine.

Once again there's actually little that's going to change with the introduction of Keep On The Borderland in a Dark Albion campaign. The Keep & its environs are going to be knee deep in avoiding the Inquistion & keeping ahead of the local people. The Frogmen might not have made that many in roads into this unusual back water location. This could be why they are contacting the PC's. This is so they can free up other on the ground assets. The Hundred Years war makes an excellent prequel to a classic module and the adventure backdrop of Dark Albion.
For now keep em rolling folks!

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