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Saladin's Victory at the Battle of Hattin 1187
Saladin's Victory at the Battle of Hattin 1187



Player Characters


  • Saladin: Leader of the Saracens, Sultan of Arabia, he is a powerful, charismatic leader who has united Shia and Sunni Arabs under one banner in a holy war against the Crusaders.
  • King Richard I: aka. King Richard the Lionheart. Has come to the holy lands to retake Jerusalem from the Muslims.
  • Temujin: aka. Genghis Khan. Powerful warlord who has conquered more territory than anyone else in history. Has sent spies into the holy lands to prepare for his conquest.
  • Anna of France: Ex-princess consort of Byzantium.
  • Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-din: Saladin's first born son: one of seventeen. Poisoned and murdered by his elite guard, Umar.
  • Lord Allomar: A crusader who was unfortunate enough to happen upon Lord Hawthorne's estate and met a somewhat unfortunate end at his hands.


So the basic premise is this; it's 1190, the beginning of the third crusade. England and France have sent their forces to the holy land in response to Saladin's conquest of Jerusalem. In this setting, clerics, paladins, and fighters are the PC classes that are most common. They routinely perform the miracles that they say they can do. The church has it's own agents which are very powerful. Knights Templar would be paladins or skilled fighers. Feudal Knights would be fighters. As for magic, it's considered heresy to perform magic, and thus is punishable by burning at the stake and whatnot. The Arab forces also have its own clerics, paladins, and fighters. In the Holy Lands, and throughout arabia and europe, magic is rare and practiced by only a few and in secret. As for other races, such as dwarves and elves and whatnot, they exist, but if I were to run this, I'd make it so the PCs can only be humans.

I had this nugget of an idea for a campaign all before Chris issued his "challenge" for an evil campaign. However, the middle ages were full of lots of weird things. People slaughtering and pillaging in the name of god, etc etc. We consider it evil today, but back then it was perfectly legit. What I'm trying to say is that the setting has room for interpretation. And it's a perfect license for me to be LAZY in world building since I can just point to a history book and view that as my source material.



Because there is no common trade tongue and most people who traveled as much as the characters would be at least bilingual, all characters are entitled to take two languages. One should be their "racial" language which is the one spoken by their people. The other should be their "trade tongue" which is whatever relevant language they would use to communicate with people from the greater region around their home.

By 1190 the romance languages have split though they are somewhat similar to each other having only split from the Vulgar Latin dialects a few centuries earlier. The North Germanic languages were still largely unified as Old Norse which was just beginning to fracture into Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish. The West Germanic languages while still similar had split into version of low and high German as well as Dutch.

The important languages in the crusades are in bold.

  • Romance
    • Latin: The primary means of discourse for the educated and the clergy.
    • Old French: Arguably the most common language for crusaders to speak.
    • Old Spanish
    • Old Portuguese
    • Old Italian
    • Romanian
  • Germanic
    • Middle English: Spoken by the lower-class and less educated crusaders from England. The upper class spoke Old French.
    • Old Norse
    • Middle High German: Spoken in the central Holy Roman Empire; centered in southern Germany.
    • Middle Low German: Spoken in the northern Holy Roman Empire; centered in norther Germany.
    • Middle Dutch: Spoken in pockets along the northern coast of Europe nearer to Scandinavia.
  • Medieval/Byzantine Greek: Spoken throughout the Byzantine empire.
  • Farsi (Persian)
  • Arabic


  • Be Careful Where You Sleep: Wherein Lord Hawthorne acquires a new bodyguard and is forced to deal with unwanted houseguests.
  • Keeping the Outside Out: Wherein Lord Hawthorne is forced to once again deal with unwanted houseguests and also discovers a spy.
  • The End of Obscurity: Wherein yet more largely unwelcome houseguests bring Lord Hawthorne to (at least temporarily) ally himself with Saladin.
  • The Charge of Gods: Wherein Sverrir has an encounter with Odin, which sets Hawthorne et al on a quest.
  • The Battle of Acre: "This was supposed to be a simple trip. Get some artisans, and get out! Not help an invasion!!" - Hawthorne


Fiefdom of Hawthorne

Containing the small city of Arsuf, Lord Hawthorne secured this area through military might. It is a small territory that is anomolous in that it is not associated with either Saladin or the Crusaders. Currently the Lord resides within a modest manor for a man of his stature, but there are already plans to build more impressive fortifications.


Map of Saladin's empire circa 1190.
Map of Saladin's empire circa 1190.
Europe circa 1190.
Europe circa 1190.
Israel circa 1190.
Israel circa 1190.
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