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The Kingdom of Durnham pt 2: The Chapel

Here is another installment of my describing a post apocalyptic fantasy setting called God Thrones.  This is the ruins of Chapel Hill, which is pretty different in the world I am describing. It is a stop on on the way to the capital of Durnham.  If people like these, please let me know. I will keep writing more.

After taking a day to rest, our caravan made its way east. The old road was better maintained as we approached the capital. The land became more pastoral as we left the swamp like Fear behind. The rolling hills are maintained by tenant farmers. They are given lands and assistance in building a home, in exchange they pledge allegiance to the local baron and provide a 40 percent of their crops or slaughtered livestock. They can feed themselves, and sell any excess on their own.

My guide explained that this mainly left the farmers will little money, but they certainly were not starving. The baron is expected to provide defense and law to their lands. In the previous 30 years, only one baron was brought before the king for failure in their duties. Goodman Canwick explained that the western farm baronies were not considered particularly prestigious. Ambitious nobles sought lands closer to the coast or on the frontiers of the kingdom to the north and south. Those are places with greater influence or at least a greater chance for glory.

As we moved closer, the smoke I associated with cities could be scene in the distance. The caravan did make a brief stop as we approached. We diverted to the village of Chapel. Our caravan leader felt the hamlet would be of interest. Chapel is on the ruins of a prefall city and around the ruins of an even older prefall church. Chapel is also the home of the book production in the kingdom. The south end of the town features several paper production facilities. There is also a tannery dedicated to making parchment. Needless to say, the south end of town did not smell particularly good.
From those suppliers, the paper and parchment are sent to the scriptoriums at the north end of town. These produce copies of books from all over the kingdom. There is also an early attempt at a printing shop. We know books in the golden age may have been printed, but the techniques are being rediscovered. Chapel has interesting new take. They use the traditional wood cut prints, but they have a Druid by the name of Bryce on staff. He uses his mystical arts on the wood blocks to maintain their quality. This means the woodcut can be printed more than a 1000 times, instead of only a little over a couple of hundred times. The process is still labor intensive, but much more efficient than many places.

I asked the head of the scriptorium, Master Galian Veneti, what his most demanded book was. It turns out to be a grammar text. There is a high demand for literate people in the capital. Between raiding old ruins and the number of merchants who make their home in the city, the need may never have been higher. Their printing facility was mainly used for royal decrees, broadsheets, and and other small bulk jobs, but the books are still done in the scriptorium, as they should be.
I gladly traded some volumes of my own for a range of books. I also ordered some grammar texts for home. There are some minor differences in the language on this side of continent and a grammar text will help track those differences.

A sample list of books found at the scriptoriums of Chapel

The Rise of Durnham (a 30-page illuminated history of the 200 years leading up to the rule of the current king)
Anatomies of Borgs (a 20-page tall tome detailing the various cybernetic parts and how they connect)
The Travels of Cpt Ardelous Frank (An account of a rich merchant and his travels to Cymru reborn, the Chrome Coast of Africa, and braving the Maelstrom around the Ocean Queen)
The Atlas of Ailments (45-page of common ailments and prescribed treatments)
The Common Book (a compact book detailing proper grammar and basic spelling)
Faith of the Fallen World (a liturgy of common prayer and stories for the faith)

The Church of the Old World is quite prominent in Chapel. This religion is an amalgam of prefall faiths changed by 800 years of human hardship. The doctrines vary throughout the continent, but a few things are similar. They worship a single monotheistic god not tied to the Space God giants. They revere charity, mercy and forgiveness. They seem to quote from a range of prefall religious texts and pray often. Their clergy, like others of their ilk, can access a form of magic often referred to as divine. This does seem to fly in the face of the theories proposed by Faran March who proposed that the divine casters call their power from the Space Gods in a sort of psychic link. The fact there are casters praying to different gods would seem to call this into question. Whatever the source of their power, The Church of the Fallen World is well loved in this region. They are not a church militant, though I have seen some older histories that suggest that in the ancient past they probably were.

Note: Yes, this is loosely based on a Judeo-Christian faith. It is my intention that it is far enough removed from the original to be very different, incorporating a range of sources. Some people are uncomfortable putting real world religions in a game, and if it doesn’t work for you, don’t use it. I just felt like I would be remiss if I pretended that some form of it would not survive an apocalypse if enough people did.

The Temple of the Wild Mother does have a presence in the area. The leader of their Temple is Luciana de Huaraz. She is an elf and a remarkably old one at that. She may be one of the first or second generation born during or after the fall. I had a pleasant conversation with her and I feel she may interesting stories to tell. She would not say how she came to be so far from Southhome, but she did say she had visited the Mountain once before and knew of our work. The Temple is quite popular with the farmers in the region, which makes sense as they rely so heavily on growing things. The Temple protectors are all elves, as well, but there at least one human Treekeeper Druid who lives and works in the temple ground.




Note: Faiths found in the Kingdom of Durnham. These are the ones that there are enough worshipers to constitute a faith.  There is some cross over in Domains and that is normal.




Church of the Fallen World

Peasants, healers, The Royal House

Life, Light, Charity

Temple of the Wild Mother

Farmers, Woodsmen, Druids

Nature, Life

The Church of the Ocean Queen

Sailors, Fishermen, Ocean Salvagers

Tempest, Nature

The Army of the War God

Soldiers and Mercenaries

War, Tempest

Academy of The Machine God

Tinkerers, craftsmen, cyborgs, Mechanicals

Forge, Knowledge

The Burning Lord

Thieves, psychopaths

Fire, trickster

The outskirts of the town has many sites that may require follow up. This whole area had a history of research and scholarship in the time before the fall. There are many ruins with the arcane remnants of the golden age of men. Many of them only offer more mysteries, and few of them offer real dangers beyond imagining. There is a ruin called Ratcoro. It is largely underground and entering it is often challenging. Few adventurers who enter the place return, and those that do bring tales of creatures made of glass and shining metal that are deadly.  The few things brought out are tantalizing and valuable. Caran and Gustov both wanted to dare it’s depths, but I convinced them to hold off for another time. We have yet to make it to the capital proper and meet the King.

Note: A lot of the “ancient tombs” in this setting are ancient research facilities or military bases.  The robot soldiers theorized in the 21st century became actual reality in the 22nd  century.  Constructs are usually explained as mystical in most settings, but here they are the results of the technology that existed before the fall. Genetic engineering came up with other horrors that were left unattended for centuries in these places.  Add in the mystical weirdness caused by the coming of the Space Gods and all sorts of monsters may be found in these “tombs” of the fallen world.




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