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The party are the retinue of a dissolute wreck of a governor, dispatched with him to a distant colony to solve its impossible problems or die in wretched obscurity far from the comforts of hearth, home, and civilization. Bearing the Crown’s Writ, the Governor’s Retinue has broad jurisdiction in the execution of their duty to bring the wild lands the rightful law and order of a Crown Province.

The tasks ahead seem insurmountable. Strange disappearances, tangled and foreboding wilderness, cannibal plagues, even rumors of heretical cults are just a few of the problems which stalk the land. To say nothing of the strange ruins in the mountains that give headaches and nightmares to any who wander to long near them, or the bizarre slimey shapes that occasionally are brought up in local fishermen’s nets.

Despite the enormity of the task at hand, the Governor is too lost in his own disillusion to be of much help. To succeed you have only yourselves and the determination bourne of the knowledge that there can be no return to the blessed light of civilization except through success.
Themes: Gothic Horror, Cosmic Horror, Gothic Romance, Forbidden Knowledge, Alienation


THE SETTING:
The Retinue will be arriving at a desolate crumbling colony on the coast of a largely unexplored island. Little to nothing is known of the island’s history, and the colony has been a failure almost from day one – outlandish tales of setbacks and madness were dismissed by the Court as excuses for incompetence, yet one governor after another has failed and retired in disgrace.

It is a land of dark tangled forests, gloomy marshes, stormy coasts, and towering mountains – barely hospitable at the best of times. The colonists who have settled in squalid hamlets are criminals, outcasts, and refugees, all struggling together to carve out their little bit of freedom far from the reaching grasp of the Crown.

The game will start with the Players taking the role of the Retinue of the most recent arriving governor, tasked by him to solve all of the problems he can’t muster the energy or care to solve (which is all of them).

THE WORLD:
The Known World pays tribute to The Crown and Court, a sprawling empire of tributaries and vassals to a strong central authority of decadent nobles and sprawling bureaucracies. The Court is distant, but its influence can be felt everywhere, and many yearn for freedom far from its reaching grasp and fickle laws.

TECHNOLOGY / ERA:
Firearms, culture, and style draw heavily from the Age of Sail in the real world, as well as the Pre-Revolution French Monarchy. Longcoats, pistol, and sword are the stylistic underpinnings of the setting, with some anachronistic elements – armor is heavier than it was at this era historically, with plate armor still holding a function and bladed weapons being a bit heavier as a result. Fashion and technology are generally Georgian Era (1700’s), with arms and armor appropriate to the 1600’s.
Note: For those of you without the knowledge or passion to research, think of Pirates with occasional breastplates and you’ll be close enough.


CHARACTER BACKGROUNDS:
This is a non-exhaustive list, meant to give initial character seeds and provide a little more setting detail about the types of people who might be sent as part of a colonial governor’s retinue.

The Church
The Atheistic Church of the Light is a harsh and puritanical religion that believes nature is ordered by a divine and guiding light which holds back primal evils constantly seeking to pervert reality through corrupt action. Their doctrine of harsh self-discipline, castigation of sin, and purity of purpose has found a widespread following among the downtrodden masses of the world. Clerics and missionaries spread far and wide to preach the Truth of the Light to those dark places most in thrall of darkness and ignorance.

The Court
It takes a sprawling and byzantine bureaucracy to order the world-spanning network of tributaries and corporations that make up the Crown Holdings. Academics and nobles seek higher standing or advancement by distinguishing themselves in far-flung colonies, hoping their efforts will be rewarded with recognition and positions within the court itself.

The Soldiery
A sprawling empire requires a vast military to maintain order and the Crown’s Peace. Soldiers from across the known world find themselves in lonely posts on distant shores, often as punishment duties to keep troublesome underlings far from where they can do any real harm to a superior’s standing or reputation. Such soldiers run the gambit from skilled veterans of foreign wars, to green recruits barely out of training before they stepped on an officer’s toes and found themselves effectively banished to a desolate rock in the middle of nowhere.

The Citizenry
Merchants seeking fortune in unexplored lands and criminals seeking to escape the consequences of their crimes all find their way to the distant colonies. Such places are sold by colonial governors as excellent places to start anew; crimes pardoned, debts forgiven, scandals forgotten – all are possible in the Colonies. The reality is different however, and such settlers often find themselves slaves to the land and seasons, free, but bound by the harsh necessities of survival. Nevertheless, the Citizenry of the Colonies are as diverse as the empire itself, if a little more hardened and battered by their experiences.
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SYSTEM:

NWoD – Modified*
The base rules system will be NWoD / CofD with the following immediate changes:

Character Background Requirements:

  • Why is your character a member of a retinue to a disgraced governor, effectively banished to a hopeless colony out past the edge of civilization?
  • What does your character have back in civilization that they would go through hell to get back (or return to), including a reason that they cannot simply return to it or bring it with them?
  • What social class does your character belong to?
  • How did your character gain their starting Derangement / Flaw and what effect has it had on their life?

General:

  • No trait at character creation may exceed 4 dots
  • A character may have no more than 2 traits at 4 dots, excluding derived traits (health, will, etc)
  • All characters must choose a Derangement / Flaw to begin the game with
  • We will be using the Doors and Investigation systems from Chronicles of Darkness (2nd Edition)
  • We will loosely be using the Reason & Insanity system from Mirrors (p. 28)

Skills:

  • Computer is replaced by Enigma – Used for understanding codes and complex systems or deliberate mysteries
  • Drive is replaced by Ride
  • Archery uses Firearms, but suffers a -3 penalty without a specialty
  • Performance uses Expression, but suffers a -3 penalty without a specialty

Merits:

  • Sanctity of Merits is not a given.
  • No supernatural Merits are allowed at character creation
  • Merits from non-Core books are allowed only under full vote by the party, with final storyteller Veto
  • Anyone requesting a non-Core Merit must also suggest a non-Core merit that another Character might benefit from for their own use (Which must be voted on as usual).

The Supernatural:

  • The Supernatural does exist, but will be unavailable to starting Characters – expect gaining it to be even more madness inducing and corrosive than in standard NWoD.
  • Exposure the the Supernatural is always a breaking point, unless the character has already lost a point of Integrity through exposure to that specific supernatural occurrence.
  • Exposure to the Supernatural automatically adds (1d10 – Integrity, minimum 1) Insanity

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