Introduction

Blackmoor Gate is a pastoral town at the north-western coast of Dunland, and has for the past twenty years had Lord Cornelius Erasmus Augustus as caretaker. A purer ideal of Dunnish dignity and nobility cannot be found; he and his family lives in genteel fashion, talking walks across the verdant grounds, hosting dinner parties for visiting dignitaries, and, on holidays, visiting the capital or the eastern continent. All, that is, except for Lord Cornelius’ brother, Percival, whose adventuresome ways resulted in two things: the spark of wanderlust in children of the Augustus family, and the unexpected end of Percival’s own life.

As one of the scions of House Augustus, you grew up hearing the wild tales of Percival. As such, the horizon is a captivating image that speaks to the heart of you. To the north, the fens and groves of Caestland beckon… you have heard of the faerie that live there, and the late Percival’s widow has told you of slipping into the realms of fey as a child. So do the bluffs of Senland to the west. Senland houses the Republic, an old kingdom that was only recently subjugated into the empire. The continent to the East is yet stranger. Humans live there, but they’re hardly anything like you. Then there’s the Scaled, the Northers, the Steiners and their clockwork creations… You hope to see them all.

You’ve heard the whispers, tinged with fear or excitement – the world is changing. National tensions are a part of it, but it’s more than that; things long held sacred are now profane, the revelations of science are changing the face of society, and elves are starting to take part in the government and culture of the United Kingdoms en masse. You have only a sense of what the coming upheaval might look like. Whether it worry or enliven you, the air is charged with change. It has momentum, and despite the many voices that mutter in fear or call out against it in anger, it has long been inexorable. It will hit like a storm, and after the maelstrom… who knows what will be left standing?

THEMES

“The Lilies of Blackmoor Gate” is meant to be many things. It’s meant to be a coming-of-age story for your bright-eyed Augustans. It’s meant to be a story of stratified classes crumbling down around the ears of the aristocracy, of the last gasp of the imperialistic ideal, of the shrinking of an Empire’s influence, of the quiet recession of magic from the world. It’s a story of evenings, a story of endings… but also a story of what you, with your young hands and big dreams, can build.

It won’t start off like that, though; your young characters have to get some experience, first. With Percival’s example, you might take to tomb-raiding – but that comes with a “rough and tumble” world with no shortage of criminals. Of course, as you learn more about the world and get enmeshed in its politics, I expect the focus to shift away from tomb-raiding, but you’ll certainly get your start as adventurers.

CONTEXTUAL TALES TO SET THE MOOD

I’d suggest watching Downton Abbey and reading/watching Remains of the Day to get a slice of Edwardian life, which your day-to-day life closely mirrors. Of course, there is a bit of divergence; women are a little more active in the world than in the Edwardian era, even if total equality hasn’t yet been reached (read: females can fight goblins, too, and I’m more interested in examining issues of class in this particular game), and the world as a whole is a bit more magical, a little less populated, and considerably more gentle(wo)man-adventurer friendly within the Kingdoms. Even on the islands, frontiers yet exist; unpopulated forests and cliffsides that might be filled with non-human entities, monsters, or even a dragon or two. The United Kingdoms is a half-civilized world, not quite the “points of light” setting but not 1905 Britain, either. It’s what Britain might be if technology advanced while barbarians still threatened.

The national status of the United Kingdoms is roughly analogous to the period, so brushing up on pre-WWI history wouldn’t be a terrible idea. The Steiners play our resident Germans, and you probably shouldn’t be surprised if a sudden assassination plunges the world into armed conflict.

Remains of the Fey

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