It is the year 1642. At the court of King Matthew, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth, the philosophers, poets, dreamers, courtesans, sorcerers, priests, merchants and ambassadors of Europe gather on the Island of Oxford to celebrate the dawn of a new Golden Age…

The Player Characters

The Player Characters (PCs - that's you!) are members of the court of King Matthew, the ruler of the Archipelago of Albion. These range from courtesans to Jesuits, alchemists to Inquisitors, soldiers to foreign ambassadors. There's a great deal of scope to play essentially anything that fits the setting, and a number of groups that PCs can belong to.

They will, in general, be powerful people, the cream of Renaissance society, and their actions will affect the gameworld accordingly. This doesn't mean that this is an exclusively political game, however - there will be room in the setting for a wide variety of character types; religion, magic, war and trade are just some examples of other areas with which the playerbase can engage.

The World

Gameplay in Albion will be focused largely around the Archipelago - the string of islands which used to be Great Britain - and specifically the court of King Matthew, although the political situation outside the Kingdom will certainly be a major feature of play for those who wish to engage with it. Albion is, at game start, peaceful, benefiting from a relatively laid-back King and decent relations with most nearby nations. There are tensions with some Catholic countries, particularly Spain, on issues ranging from religion to the role of women to the fact that we keep raiding their merchant ships. Albion, her monarchy and her subjects are, according to Papal dictates, fair game for any good Catholic who wishes to attempt assassination or war; this leads to an interesting political environment, kept stable by the strong presence of military and Magical defences.

Players can choose to play foreigners from other nations - members of an Embassy, or not, as they choose. Focus will be on Europe, but if a player wishes to play a character from further afield, the GM team can certainly discuss it.

Albion or England?

Officially, the country which King Matthew reigns over is referred to as the Archipelago of Albion, and includes territory in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Navarre. The term 'England', however, is still used, particularly by the older generation who lived in the country before the Flood, and the Church is still called the “Church of England”, though there have been moves to rechristen it the “Church of Albion”.


Magic is generally considered socially acceptable in Albion, although only a few highly trained or particularly talented individuals can practice it to any great extent. There are six formal Schools of magic, some of which are better organised than others; see the main Magic page for details.


The official state religion is, of course, the Church of England. Since the Civil Wars of 1607-1616, the support of the Rabbinical city-state of Prague has meant that Jews are afforded the same legal status as Anglicans. Catholics, Gnostics and other Dissenters are not tolerated; officially, Catholics may worship freely if they swear an oath of loyalty to the King above the Pope - in practice, it is impossible for devout Catholics to take this option. The Order of Arundel, the English branch of the Catholic “Secret Service”, is a highly illegal order, and membership is treated as High Treason and punishable by death.

Critically, the Recusancy Laws mean that it is illegal not to attend either Mass on Sunday or Shul on Saturday. Recusants are punished by a range of legal measures beginning with fines and ending with execution.

The religious tensions currently at work within Albion will hopefully provide fertile ground for plot, and PCs are welcome to play Church Clergy, Rabbis or secret Catholics. The two religious secret societies - the Rosicrucians and the Order of Arundel - have members within Court, and can provide an exciting and challenging game of espionage.

For more information, see the main Religion page.


One of the key differences between Albion's 1600s and the real-world 1600s is the position of women. For a variety of historical reasons, Albion is a nation with almost complete female equality; women are allowed to own property, vote, hold titles in their own right, stand for Parliament and be ordained in the Church of England and appointed as Rabbis. However, there is a certain amount of traditionalist resistance to this equality, and so a certain amount of political tension surrounding the issue. In particular, many of the Catholic countries in Europe object to this unholy imbalance of God's chosen plan, and do their best to maintain the old order.

The Executive Summary

Ultimately, we're trying to build a setting that feels a bit political, a bit secretive, a bit intellectual and a bit swashbuckly. Ours is the era of Kit Marlowe enjoying boys and tobacco, adventurous young seamen setting out to discover the New World, people dying in duels (and of the plague, and the pox), Protestants burning Catholics burning Puritans, Jesuits and Rosicrucians acting like the CIA in cassocks, exciting and excited young people taking the world apart with spanners and pens and swords. The world as we know it has been flooded, and dragons, witches and merchants seek to make their fortunes in the strange, watery landscape that is the Archipelago. These sceptred isles are home to scoundrels and heroes, villains and saints, demons and revolutionaries - and the court, and the Player Characters, are at the heart of the action.

setting.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/08 13:45 by innokenti