The First Crusade

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Constantinus, Nov 21, 2014.

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  1. Hey, Iwaku. Here's what's going on.

    I would really like to play around in the First Crusade. It's a really interesting time in history, and there's been a lot of chivalry and romance that's built up about around the Crusades. They are a historical event in the Middle Ages that most people at least know of, even if details elude them. It is my goal to bring this fascinating little piece of our historical heritage to life in an entertaining fashion.

    I want to do this by inviting a small group of players (keyword being 'small'; I don't want this to be too hard to manage) to play as important figures in the First Crusade. No one will be playing as nobodies; all characters must carry with them some background as nobility. Or, at least, the character must have a reason to be in a position of leadership over his particular crusading forces. You, as a player, do not really need to know the history to play. Let me worry about that.

    We will be playing out the entire Crusading experience, from the swearing of the Crusading vows in 1095-96 to (maybe) the capture of Jerusalem, whenever that happens (if it happens). We will not be following the historical record exactly, as what the players do will obviously have an impact on events.

    So, interested? If so, then let's get into some details, so you have a better idea of what you'll be doing. But first, some background.

    The First Crusade was the response by Pope Urban II to the Byzantine Emperor's plea for aid. In 1095, the Emperor (Alexius) wrote a letter to the Latin pontiff, asking for military assistance against the Muslims in general and the Seljuq Turks in particular. Seeing an opportunity to both expand the bounds of Christendom and retake the Holy Lands, the Pope gave an explosively popular speech in France at Clermont in November, 1095. In it, he bade all willing Christian participants to take up arms and march to Jerusalem in return for remission for their sins.

    Not all of Europe rose to his call, but enough of it did for a massive expedition to be launched the following year. Four big armies left Europe, all of them heading East. It is in one of these armies (they all eventually consolidate into one force) that the players will play.

    But who are you going to play, exactly? That's the big question. Like I said, not everything is going to be factually accurate. You can obviously play an OC, who has a noble title, or you can try your hand as an actual historical figure. There are several positions that need to be filled. Any (and there will be some) that are not filled will be controlled by me. So, there's going to be a lot of NPC's, but the action will always revolve around the players. You can be from one of the following broad geographical areas.

    Papal Representative: This isn't a region, but it's something that someone needs to be (if not, I'll do it). Obviously the Pope needs to have someone representing his interests and reporting back on events as they unfold. Urban himself, like most Popes, was an old man and was fully unable to go on a protracted military campaign. This Papal legate holds all of the spiritual authority over the Crusade, and he was seen as a key advisor to the army.

    Northern French: This includes the regions of Normandy, Flanders, Vermandois, Blois, and others (lots to talk about here, but we'll discuss it if you want to be from here). Each of these individual polities were led by their own rulers, but they generally followed the orders of a single individual that was deemed to be their superior. As leader of the Northern French, you will have command over the Normans, who represented the best soldiers in Europe at the time.

    Southern French: The Southern French represented a large portion of the Crusading army (albeit their army was not as disciplined as say the Normans), led by the Count of Toulouse. Crusading fever was rife in France, and lots of nobility from all over the country flocked to the Crusading banner.

    Southern Italian Norman: Earlier in the century, a group of Normans packed up their bags and headed to Italy to see what trouble they could stir up. By the time the dust settled, they had created a nice little kingdom for themselves in Sicily and southern Italy. They were bitter enemies of the Byzantines and constantly harrangued them. Regardless, a number of these southern Italians went on the First Crusade, bringing more of the high-quality Norman soldiers to the battlefield.

    Germans: The people that live in the region that we would today call Germany did not heavily participate as a whole in the First Crusade. There were crusaders from Germany (and some important ones, at that), but not as many as came from France.

    These are all broad strokes, of course. And any details will be discussed when characters are actually being made. If you're interested in playing, then you need to say so and also throw some character ideas at me. Through discussion and negotiation, we will narrow down your exactly region/title/whatever.

    When we are done, everyone's first post will be an introduction where they take their crusading vows. Then we'll go through the painstaking process of actually getting your army to the Holy Land. Getting there is half the fun, and you'll be in the driver's seat, for better or worse. Please do try to make sure that as much of your army arrives intact as possible; the Pope is counting on you. After arriving in the Holy Land, you'll have to wheel and deal your way through Muslim and Byzantine power politics as you fight a brutal military campaign in an effort to take Jerusalem. Success is not guaranteed. Try not to die of disease or a random infection.

    I know this all seems vague, but I wanted to make sure that I actually had a willing audience before I pored over a laptop for several hours, going wrist-deep into the goings-on of the times. If you have any questions about how things will be or what to expect, do not be afraid to ask. Also, as far as to exactly how many people I want, I was thinking probably three or four. That's enough players to bounce you guys off of one another (hey; I need entertainment too) without bogging the narrative down too badly.

    One final note on the issue of attendence and post length. If you decide to leave or become an absentee, then that's no problem. We'll just assume you fell off your horse. Or died in a hunting accident. Or died of dysentery. It happens. Then, we'll scrounge up a new victim/player. As far as post length goes, I'm going to wind up putting a lot of energy into this (it's okay; it's what I want). But, I had better get as good as I give. This is going to be a lot of fun, as I don't think many people can offer you a chance to have a quasi-authentic Crusading experience. However, I will be really pissed if I go through all the effort of helping you craft a character, only for you to post three lines and smilie face for your intro. I'm not saying that you need to post full-length novellas for all your posts, but please don't make me feel like you are a waste of my time.

    Also, please don't be afraid to talk to one another. I am not playing four separate individual games with four separate individual players. I'm playing one game with four players (or three or whatever) in it. There will be times where the players will be directly driving the narrative with very little input from me, whether if it's because you're having dinner with the Byzantine emperor or discussing strategy behind the siege of Antioch or whatever. Other times, everyone will be reacting, like say if you didn't post sentries when you went to bed for the night and suddenly horse archers are riding you down. Everyone will probably have a relationship with or at least know of things everyone else has done. These backgrounds will be hashed out on an individual basis, but it's all public knowledge. Even if your characters don't know each other personally (an impossiblity, frankly), then you will all at least know of the others.

    Anyway. Any comments/questions?
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  2. Me and Tegan would have totally joined this if we weren't working on a novel right now.

    A roleplay where you have to actually do some research, deal with the perils of travel and physical health, engage in politics, and play someone who's not a detached loner mercenary.

    It's a shame something like this gets no interest.
  3. A grand undertaking, I shall post forth an interest.
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