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Month: November 2016

A Slice of Murrad: Treatise on the Governments of the Grey Elves of Renser

A Slice of Murrad: Treatise on the Governments of the Grey Elves of Renser

An excerpt from Communities Governments: A Primer on the Many Ways Sentient Races Organize Themselves by famed historian, Arkko Vrunn, High Tomekeeper of Biirocrittis- Orcan God of Ministry and Government


On The Class Structure of Old Erevor

The feudal system of Old Erevor is still practiced in several of the Marches, most prevalently in the northern Marches where the incursion of Neuran technocratic magocracy has had less influence. In several of the southern Marches (especially the heavily Nueran-influenced Inlet-sim-Cthal, Merschelmerre, and Marque-sim-Monte) the barriers between these classes have blurred in various places.


It is interesting to note, however, that all of the Marches have kept some form of Marchion and Viscouncil as their governing bodies- although each body, over the course of time, has been allocated different amounts of power in March society.


Citizen- These are the common folk, they do not own land or a business and hold little political power in most areas. Some of the Marchions have implemented a more democratic system by which to grant political power to all citizens regardless of economic power.


Tradesperson- A Tradesperson owns land or a business, sometimes purchased through savings, other times gifted by a noble. In some parts of Renser there is little distinction between Citizen and Tradesperson, in others the distinction imparts more political power to the elevated Tradesperson, offering them a say in local politics or increased access to government officials and services.


Knight/Baron- The lowest levels of noble Knight and Baron are equivalent classes distinguished by the nature of the noble’s service to the March. A Knight, obviously, is most often a military title while a Baron is a for civilian functionaries. Both titles confer the same level of nobility, although being a Knight is often seen as the more honorable moniker.


Warden- A Knight or Baron who can provide at least 3 Realmsworn [see below] to the defense of Renser gains the title of Warden and is eligible for Viscountcy. This restricts the number of Wardens, and the type of people who can ascend to this level of nobility as it is a person of unique ardor that can convince nobles to forfeit their titles, lands, and inheritances. Again, in the southern marches Wardens often have no additional political power assigned to them and are given the title as a matter of tradition.  


Viscount- A Warden can be elected or appointed Viscount, depending on local custom, to obtain a seat in the Viscouncil and the Keep associated with the position. Viscounts, in addition to their seat on the Viscouncil of the March, are responsible for governing a region of their March, though most delegate this responsibility down to the lower noble classes.


Marchion- Once the title for the regional lord in the different Marches of Old Erevor, Marchions are now essentially kings in their own right. Marchions in the Northern Marches hold absolutel power, while the three former Rebel Marches treat their Marchion as more of a figurehead, meant to represent the people of the March in negotiations with other realms.


On The Realmsworn and the Oath of Old Erevor


After the fall of the Nueran Magocracy to the Horror of Simthal as the survivors and refugees poured onto the coast in droves, new coasts created by the sudden water rise- the result of an entire continent being dragged into the Southern Sea. Countless hamlets and fishing villages had been destroyed, two major cities lie in ruins, castles crumbling into memories far off the shoreline.

In the wake of this great tragedy Queen Elviir II called the 8 Marchions together to decide how they were to proceed. It was at this Great March Council that the Order of the Realmsworn was created. Donning the sky-colored tabard, adorned with a black gauntlet, Captain Grenwald Elviir (nephew of the Queen) was the first to take the Oath of Old Erevor:


My heart, my shield for the Realm- We stand in the face of Horror. Empty, the hands that wield the Shards of Nuera. Without name, without house, legacy in song We are the Swords of the Wardens Aegis of the Realm. With ardor, grit, and iron, We’ll stand in front of hell.
My heart, my shield for the Realm-
We stand in the face of Horror.
Empty, the hands that wield the Shards of Nuera.
Without name, without house, legacy in song
We are the Swords of the Wardens
Aegis of the Realm.
With ardor, grit, and steel,
We sing and stride to hell.

Captain Elviir gathered the Houses with the largest stores of magical armaments and saw to outfitting the first Realmsworn regiment. It was decided shortly before the First March War, as internecine conflicts began to reach a boiling point, that each House should have their Realmsworn close at hand, a tradition that persists to this day in most places. This tradition, that each Realmsworn be pledged to a local Warden rather than to a centralized structure of officers, is seen by many to have set the conditions for the March Wars and the eventual dissolution of the Kingdom of Erevor and the beginning of individual March governance.

    However, it is this author’s contention that (despite leading to a pair of brutal civil wars, irreparable infrastructural damage, and total political upheaval) the tradition of swearing Realmsworn to the Wardens that outfit them is a concept that has led to a net gain for Elvish culture of the last two thousand years. Since the Realmsworn must sacrifice their own inheritances and titles (even taking the last name Realmsworn) a sort of benevolent feudalism has emerged, as those who nakedly seek for their own gain and power seldom inspire loyal followers. In addition, the “buy-in” of magical items, though high when counted in terrium bars, is attainable for even the lowest commoner in any number of ways- from pure luck to arduous adventuring…


[The bottom of the page has begun to smudge slightly as the young bard-in-training begins to drool in his sleep, the light of a rising sun just beginning to catch his golden hair]


Greetings and Salutations

Greetings and Salutations

Greetings electronic people. My name is Nicholas, and I am The Notebook GM. Some of you might already know me from my work on Nat One Productions (both as a player and GM), as @NatOneNicholas on twitter, or because we’re friends in real life and I’ve hectored you enough that here you are. No matter your provenance, I welcome you.

The Notebook GM title stems from my obsession with notebooks and my complete ineptitude with technology. I’ve always preferred to hand-prep for games, usually even filling out character sheets by hand (except for 4e because… 4e). Much to The Iva’s chagrin I have dozens of notebooks languishing about our apartment filled with crazy ideas, schemes, projects that never happened, podcasts never recorded, theories I never got to test or refine.

I’m going to be honest here, it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to commit to doing this site. Between puppy, Nat One, a girlfriend, a full-time job, and a 5e campaign I wasn’t sure that I wanted to put myself out there in this way. Recent events, however, have convinced me that we all need a little more magic and adventure these days and so I’ve decided to take the plunge and move The Notebook GM from being only a twitter persona and into a full internet presence. Luckily for me, it is relatively easy to run a website from a cell phone once one of your old high school friends swoops in and does all of the hard work.

So here’s the plan:

~I have already begun work on a full fantasy world but I’ve decided it will be more fun if we do it together. So- every week I am going to bring you a little slice of that place, The World of Murrad.

Murrad as depicted by Alfonsi Pirranni, Orcan cartographer.
Murrad as depicted by Alfonsi Pirranni, Orcan cartographer.

Every Monday I will post A Slice of Murrad; these posts will be vignettes from the world, excepts from in-world texts, descriptions of characters and places, legends, information about monsters, and various other little pieces meant to help the reader get a glimpse into my creative process and hopefully to spark some of your own ideas.

~I’m also working on my own RPG system, an (hopefully) extremely easy d12 system meant to focus on character development and story over raw mechanics (yes, another one); the starter rules to which I will be posting as soon as I write them in terms someone that doesn’t live in the churning cauldron of confusion and inebriants that is my mind might be able to decipher. If anyone cares to playtest it and write me about the experience I’d be happy to post the letters and any response I might have.

~If you’ve been following @TheNotebookGM you may have seen references to Duardh and Xirr. My intention is to have a scene or two of their adventure be released every two weeks, but that may depend entirely on my ability to write interesting prose over a long period of time.

~I will also be contributing my own proverbial two cents to the vast repository of articles floating around about GMing, game prep, worldbuilding, game design, pacing, story structure, and all of the other dead horses prancing around the nerd wide web.

~In keeping with my oeuvre I will be doing a series titled “Notebook Porn” which will feature my incomprehensible handwriting shot provocatively on a cell-phone camera.

Stocking a dungeon with carrots and sticks. #NotebookPorn #DicePorn
Stocking a dungeon with carrots and sticks. #NotebookPorn #DicePorn

~Occasional Periscope broadcasts updating viewers about what I’m working on, how cute my dog is, how maps are coming, and what is going on with my 5e group.
Thanks again for stopping by, I’m all out of spaghetti for this post, but I hope you decide to come through again and see what is coming out of the Notebooks.