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  • Britain, Forsaken by Rome

    Well I was going to wander off-topic and into deeper historical weeds on another thread, but would really prefer to be fair to the topic there. So... Here's another topic.

    Forsaken by Rome is set just prior to the Roman invasion of Britain (43 AD), which they proceed to reduce to bloody form and rule so thoroughly that by the time the legions leave in 406 AD the British spend the rest of that century trying to "be Roman" without the military or economic ties to keep things together, complaining to Rome about barbarians and begging for assistance. They get none (probably). Eventually, it all gets washed away and the Romano-British are what we now call the "Welsh".

    nikink kindly provided this bookend.

    Originally posted by nikink View Post
    There's always gonna be change and variation. Different cultures bring different ideas to conflict. By the time the Roman Empire fell, some 400-500 years after FbR, the Urdeshga were no more, the Iron Masters having split/been kicked out of the Council of Eagles and Lightning. The Ivory Claws, Firetouched and Predator Kings had likely come together in some form. The Marisi Uratha maybe tentatively allying themselves with Iron Masters from outside the Empire to help bring it down.

    Lots of possibilities I'd love to write about if I ever got the chance.

    Yeah, assigning certain tribes or factions (Forsaken/Pure) to the movement of barbarians and their impact on Rome and Europe is an interesting shell game. I wish it could be done semi-officially as that might be enough to define a historically set game outside of a Dark Era publication.

    For example: Britain. Was it primarily Forsaken or primarily Pure before the Roman invasion? Was the Urdeshga intact in 43 AD or had it already torn itself apart (I doubt it... that sounds like a Crisis of the Third Century affair).

    So if Roman Britain was primarily X or Y, were the Scotti (Irish) and Picts mostly Forsaken? Or Pure?

    Then the Saxons? --First Roman foedorati and later invasions by A) Saxons, B) Angles and C) Jutes (primarily) were... what? Pure? These Germanic peoples were still sufficiently tied back to the continent that when Attila subjugated the Germans he included Britain in his (not really inflated) boastings to Roman visitors....

    And! Then around 527 there were further invasions that targeted the Germanic lands instead of the British, bringing Scandinavians (Geats, Wuffings [Little Wolves]) and a new batch of Saxons under Oisc--who went on to establish the lasting dynasty, there.

    So who gets to be Forsaken, Pure or a Protectorate? I could see a Forsaken Protectorate (including an interesting mounted Sarmatian pack that literally worships a sword totem...) kicking out the remnants of Roman Pure tribes in 406 AD, then suffering invasion by Pure tribes under the main triumvirate of Germanic peoples, then Forsaken counter-invasions that weaken most of the Pure. The exception being the Ivory Claws of the Angles, who stay sufficiently on top of the dog-pile of British history (we still have the Frisians, Danes, then Vikings, Normans...) that it ends up being called "Angle-land" or... England.

    So... help me understand what happens when Britain is Forsaken by Rome.

    --Khanwulf

  • #2
    For what it's worth, my conception of the British Isles during FbR held them home to Hunters in Darkness, Predator Kings, and Bone Shadows (arranged roughly south, north and west but with plenty of overlap). Some Iron Masters in areas of heavy peat and mining.


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    Freelancer - Shattered Dreams, Dark Eras Companion - Forsaken by Rome

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    • #3
      You may want to check out Shadows over the U.K.; admittedly a first edition source of information but it does cover a rough history of the territory. You can extrapolate from there.

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      • #4
        Thanks nikink, your conception is certainly more informed than mine!
        ‚Äč
        Originally posted by Malus View Post
        You may want to check out Shadows over the U.K.; admittedly a first edition source of information but it does cover a rough history of the territory. You can extrapolate from there.
        Thanks for the reminder. I do have Shadows over the UK but haven't looked at it for this question yet. Will do.

        --Khanwulf

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        • #5
          Interesting tidbit - when I first heard about Forsaken by Rome as a setting (and was offered the chance to write for it), I actually assumed it would be set in the British Isles.

          And although I absolutely love the tale of the Varian Disaster, I would kill to write a setting set along Hadrian's Wall, too. My focus would undoubtedly be on playing the British soldiers patrolling the edge of the empire, dealing with increased Pictish attacks and the fact that Maximus took all their best men south to fight for him on foreign soil. As it goes on, we pan out to see the general weakening of the entire empire, the internal squabbling back in Rome itself, and eventually the uprising in Britannia. I feel like it would be the other end of the spectrum from Germania: a society at the *end* of being Romanised, struggling to connect with a land that doesn't know them anymore, trying to reclaim their Old Ways when they need them, and learning how to cope when the Empire that dominated their lives lets them down.

          (Of course, I later came to learn that a time-travelling George R. R. Martin totally stole all my best ideas, but whadayagonnado)

          As to splats, etc., I haven't given it too much thought. But I wouldn't want to split things up along Tribe lines too much again. It felt good to buck ChroD trends on RfR, but I love that - particularly in WtF, the dividing line is the pack or the Lodge, not the Tribe.

          Although, could be interesting to see what you could do with Auspices? A number of Cahaliths band together, perhaps, united by visions of Something from beyond the Wallwaiting for the legions to be weak enough? Hmmm.


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          • #6
            Aaaaaaand I just saw the latest blog post, which mentions KING ARTHUR'S BRITANNIA. O.o

            Depending on how it skews (historical vs..."not so historical"), it could be a very useful resource.

            (Especially if someone wanted to ask me to write it *fingers crossed* *not actually expecting anything*)


            Freelance OPP. Dark Eras, Shattered Dreams, and counting!

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            • #7
              The Uratha tribes in Britannia probably have their own names and are not called, "Predator Kings". In fact, they probably their culture probably pre-dates the Celts (the Foresaken knew what Stone-Henge was made for). Romans? The Uratha are probably more concerned with the spirits than with what happens with Rome or even with the Picts. Empires rise and fall; the Foresaken and the Pure survive.

              Also, at that time, Britannia was kind of wild with an aboriginal-tribe (barbaric). Things that despise civilization (Here Be Dragons), would dwell their.

              And: Yes, I too have thought of Foresaken in GoT.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Iguazu View Post
                The Uratha tribes in Britannia probably have their own names and are not called, "Predator Kings". In fact, they probably their culture probably pre-dates the Celts (the Foresaken knew what Stone-Henge was made for). Romans? The Uratha are probably more concerned with the spirits than with what happens with Rome or even with the Picts. Empires rise and fall; the Foresaken and the Pure survive.

                Also, at that time, Britannia was kind of wild with an aboriginal-tribe (barbaric). Things that despise civilization (Here Be Dragons), would dwell their.

                And: Yes, I too have thought of Foresaken in GoT.

                I think we can all agree that the local representation of the Tribes have names meaningful for them. However their names are in the First Tongue, er, first, and local language second. This, plus the fact that the Pure in particular are tied to totems that are far older and perfectly remember Father Wolf, means that you have all the makings of a bulletproof oral tradition--from their point of view of course. The echo chamber effect is real.

                On Britain.

                ...

                Um, wild? No, not really. The Romanized part of it, which means everything south of the Wall (the first one, Hadrian's, not the Antonine Wall) was heavily settled and extensively cultivated. There were forests, of course, but the overall population is now estimated at more than 3 million--a level not to be reached again until the late middle ages! Agriculture even moved up into the Welsh hills reaching areas that are marginal at best with modern techniques.

                All this means that between the peak of the mid-fourth century and the Danish invasions Britain lost two-thirds of its population. Some to out-migration across to Brittany (Little Britain), and the rest to all the usual side-effects of war. Things crept up a bit by the Norman invasion, but by then we're only talking about 1.5 million (IIRC).

                --Khanwulf

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                • #9
                  Arthur 400-500?!?

                  ... need a moment. Ok.

                  Having spent the last year self-educating and building a historical/CofD timeline for exactly that period let me make a standing offer to anyone working on it to share my notes, if interested.

                  There.

                  Originally posted by NateD View Post
                  Interesting tidbit - when I first heard about Forsaken by Rome as a setting (and was offered the chance to write for it), I actually assumed it would be set in the British Isles.

                  And although I absolutely love the tale of the Varian Disaster, I would kill to write a setting set along Hadrian's Wall, too. My focus would undoubtedly be on playing the British soldiers patrolling the edge of the empire, dealing with increased Pictish attacks and the fact that Maximus took all their best men south to fight for him on foreign soil. As it goes on, we pan out to see the general weakening of the entire empire, the internal squabbling back in Rome itself, and eventually the uprising in Britannia. I feel like it would be the other end of the spectrum from Germania: a society at the *end* of being Romanised, struggling to connect with a land that doesn't know them anymore, trying to reclaim their Old Ways when they need them, and learning how to cope when the Empire that dominated their lives lets them down.

                  (Of course, I later came to learn that a time-travelling George R. R. Martin totally stole all my best ideas, but whadayagonnado)

                  As to splats, etc., I haven't given it too much thought. But I wouldn't want to split things up along Tribe lines too much again. It felt good to buck ChroD trends on RfR, but I love that - particularly in WtF, the dividing line is the pack or the Lodge, not the Tribe.

                  Although, could be interesting to see what you could do with Auspices? A number of Cahaliths band together, perhaps, united by visions of Something from beyond the Wallwaiting for the legions to be weak enough? Hmmm.
                  Britain at this time is fascinating and there's both enough material to piece together a narrative, yet little enough that you won't be called out for homing in on alterations done for narrative effect. Plus, sufficient contradictions it's not hard to weave in the actions of supernatural denizens to great impact. Plus you have a civilization collapsing and, as you say, trying to re-discover itself after having been pretty thoroughly Romanized in much of the island.

                  And then there's the barbarians. Ones inside, and ones outside.

                  I've deleted my text on Arthur, Merlin and what I hope is or is not done with a Dark Era regarding the period. There's lots to work with and little to hang speculation on

                  Back to WtF: Forsaken by Rome focuses on the Tribes as movers in the organization of Rome, and this seems natural not the least because the Ivory Claws are selected as the Pure representation. They are the most cohesive of the Pure, and the Pure are (or seem from the books) the most cohesive of the Urathra. That's... why there's so many of them, among other points. So while a given pack of Forsaken may represent several tribes, their Pure counterpart tends to be uni-tribe and will split itself to form multiple Packs (still the same tribe) when they get too large. The second pack goes and gets new territory, and the cycle repeats.

                  While the game's focus is on the pack, you pretty quickly end up with a situation that LOOKS like it deserves tribal politics and approaches. *Shrug*

                  --Khanwulf

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
                    ...there's both enough material to piece together a narrative, yet little enough that you won't be called out for homing in on alterations done for narrative effect. Plus, sufficient contradictions it's not hard to weave in the actions of supernatural denizens to great impact.
                    And that is exactly where I like to play! Seriously, Powers-esque alt-history is my all-time favourite genre. Dark Eras is pretty much perfect for me.

                    Regarding pack vs tribe, etc. - I actually do agree. As much as I really like NOT splitting things by Tribe, my current WtF (Home is Where the Bones Are, somewhere in this forum, and due for an update shortly!) is ALL ABOUT single-tribe packs (or formerly-single-tribe packs, now). It's also all about single-family packs, too, which is another thing that I'd never say "should" be done but it's an area I personally love to play in.

                    Really, for me (and this is all just personal preference, after all), I really like that WtF is often a lower-tier, street-level, pack-scale game. THAT'S what I really enjoy, and it also allows the PCs to be movers and shakers, because minimal vertical heirarchy + maximum inter-pack politics allows for a lot of agency.

                    Sorry, I'm just game design-rambling now.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NateD View Post

                      And that is exactly where I like to play! Seriously, Powers-esque alt-history is my all-time favourite genre. Dark Eras is pretty much perfect for me.

                      Regarding pack vs tribe, etc. - I actually do agree. As much as I really like NOT splitting things by Tribe, my current WtF (Home is Where the Bones Are, somewhere in this forum, and due for an update shortly!) is ALL ABOUT single-tribe packs (or formerly-single-tribe packs, now). It's also all about single-family packs, too, which is another thing that I'd never say "should" be done but it's an area I personally love to play in.

                      Really, for me (and this is all just personal preference, after all), I really like that WtF is often a lower-tier, street-level, pack-scale game. THAT'S what I really enjoy, and it also allows the PCs to be movers and shakers, because minimal vertical heirarchy + maximum inter-pack politics allows for a lot of agency.

                      Sorry, I'm just game design-rambling now.

                      Likewise, alt-history is an enjoyable pastime. Another good British period is the Norman invasion. That was a hoot to live through! Or, if you want to go back a generation, the Norman invasion of... Italy! (And Sicily.)

                      One of the things I appreciate in the CofD line is the purposeful effort to draw the players' attention back to the focus of "living" as a supernatural. There are responsibilities. You have to eat. And sleep. Time passes. There are huge distractions! Life gets busy, fast. This is pretty much how life really is, for everyone, in fact--and that often seemed lost in the oWoD lines. Though the haze of the 90s is real....

                      So. Related question. In a 5th-century Britain how many packs do you think would be active? What is a normal Urathra-to-human population given medieval life?

                      --Khanwulf

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
                        Life gets busy, fast.
                        If you don't stop and look around every once and awhile, you could miss it.

                        So. Related question. In a 5th-century Britain how many packs do you think would be active? What is a normal Urathra-to-human population given medieval life?
                        There is none! It's what your setting requires. But you can work off a few things. Remembering packs are bigger, now, not just three to twelve werewolves. They incorporate wolf-blooded and humans and occasionally other things. I'm thinking Iguazu has the right of it, Predator Kings might not be called that but there would be some sort of similar name, and at the least you would go with their First Tongue name, Ninna Farahk. Groups like them and maybe Blood Talons would probably eschew humans in their packs, maybe even wolf-blooded. Hunters in Darkness, Ithaeur and Fire-Touched would incorporate more wolf-blooded to assist in their rituals and because their duties tend to require a lot of extra eyes and hands. Folk like Iron Masters and Ivory Claws would probably be bigger in human settlements.

                        Britain's a huge area, with people scattered across it, even at that point. Deciding on a number for packs would be easier if you picked a specific area, like London or something.

                        Apparently the population fluctuated a lot after the Romans left. There was a smallpox epidemic, called the Plague of Justinian.

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                        • #13
                          Is not Forsaken By Rome equating Celts with Hunters in Darkness and Storm Lords? And as Picts are Celts...


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                          • #14
                            Eh... there wasn't supposed to be a direct relationship. For example, there are latin Iron Masters, Carthaginian Iron Masters, Germanian Iron Masters, and Celtic Iron Masters etc etc etc. Of course, the text is what it is.

                            Trivia! I spent some idle whiles working on Proto-Latin, Proto-Germanic and Proto-Celtic Tribe names. Wasn't especially relevant to the setting though - the space required to explain the new names was basically wasted when the word count was so limited.


                            Open the gates of Hell: Random Demon Generator.

                            Shapeshifting Historian
                            Freelancer - Shattered Dreams, Dark Eras Companion - Forsaken by Rome

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                            • #15
                              Yeah, I definitely didn't mean to suggest that the Germanic Night Tribes were only Storm Lords and Hunters. I can't remember whether it made it into the text explicitly, but the Mothers (the pack who claimed the Teutoborg forest, and who were my little shout-out to 1st ed's Bale Hounds) were mostly Bone Shadows in my head.

                              And the... ugh, can't think of their name now, but the former foederati pack who turned independent - in my head, at least, they were a mixed-tribe pack who even had some non-Roman Iron Masters.

                              In my personal canon, a number of Storm Lords *did* take positions of power in the revolutionary army, but that was because a) they were the first Night Tribe folk Arminius made contact with, and b) they used their Weather Gifts en masse to help ambush the Legio, and parlayed that early success into some serious political clout.

                              (Again, not too much of that made it into the actual text, but that was the setup in my head when I wrote it )


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