Today, I thought I’d throw out some of my notions on the colonists who are settling in the Virgin Woode. I like, if possible, to relate things back to classic D&D tropes and concepts – in the vein of “D&D is always right” – and thus pair a bit of historic fact or fancy with the reality suggested by the rules. Recently, I’ve been reading Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America to get some ideas, and it’s certainly been a great help. Currently, the three main groups of colonists are the Pilgrims, Cavaliers and Traders, with a sub-group of Agitators.
The Traders: You’ll recall “trader” as a monster type in Basic D&D (or Expert – one of them). Here, it refers to venturers (a’ la the class I worked up in an early issue of NOD), rangers and their ilk who settled the Dweomer Bay seeking riches in the Virgin Woode. The “traders” are made up of folks from Antigoon (i.e. Holland), Tremayne (i.e. Elizabethan England), Lyonesse (medieval France), Blackpoort (Dickensian London) and, well, just about anywhere there are men and women who want it all and want it now. The patron deity of Dweomer Bay is Atlas, the “god of exploration”, who has a pretty level-headed and casual cult in the city. The other gods and goddesses of the Motherlands pantheon are here as well, of course. I want Dweomer Bay to be a sort of melting pot of alignments, nationalities, classes, races, etc – like a D&D tavern writ large. Ultimately, an easy place to start a band of adventurers out. A peg-legged old fighting-man will probably serve as the city-state’s elected prince.
The Pilgrims: Inspired by the “monster” in the AD&D Monster Manual, the pilgrims in this case refer to religious exiles from Tremayne. Tremayne is ruled by the Faerie Queen, Gloriana, and has as its patron deity Diana. I wanted Tremayne to have a druidic religion that was very formal and, well, “Church of England”, I suppose. The pilgrims are the religious folks who want a return to the more “primitive church”, and they’ve settled to the north of Dweomer Bay in a town called Trinity after the notion of the triple goddess. For all intents and purposes, these folks are pagan puritans, witches who hunt clerics (and demons and such – hey, even if you’re neutral, you know that Chaotic Evil represents more of a threat than Lawful Good). They dress like the puritans in russets, browns and other “sadd” colors, wear steeple hats, venerate their elders – the big change being that these pilgrims are ruled by their women rather than men.
The Cavaliers: Inspired by the name of the class from Unearthed Arcana and by the identity of the Anglican settlers of Virginia and the Chesapeake, the cavaliers are dandies and monarchists loyal to Gloriana that are seeking to recreate Camelot in the Virgin Woode. Their names are based on the knights of Arthurian romance and the Faerie Queen and they adhere pretty closely to the feudal concept so common in fantasy games. Like the real cavalier settlers of North America, they speak with a drawl (which originates in SW England – the Southerners of America didn’t make it up) and are all about gallantry, nobility, power, lust and a love of gambling.
The Agitators: The agitators are the Son of Liberty in Dweomer Bay, determined to found a true republic and cast off the chains of monarchy. They’re devout worshipers of William Blake’s pantheon, especially of the Sons of Los, the gods of revolution. They’ve founded their own version of Penn’s Philadelphia, called Golgonooza. They’re recruiting an army and plan to cause trouble!