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Sunday 25 May 2014

A Publisher for Dark Albion? Plus: The True History of Frog Men and the Paris Swamp!

So for the first time in a while there's been some interesting news regarding the possibility of some kind of publication of quality being made out of my awesome homebrew campaign, Dark Albion.   As you can see if you click the link, you can already get a ton of info for this setting for free, on the thread dedicated to it. But I have quite a bit of extra material that is not out there, and that plus a professional look plus a hopefully affordable PDF or PoD would I think make Albion a really great addition to the stable of OSR fantasy settings.  While I have run the Albion campaign for LotFP, I would make any actual book system-neutral for use with any OSR-type game.

The news, in any case, that after a long period of languishing, the author of the Fantastic Heroes & Witchery RPG, a fairly gonzo-sided OSR game, is looking to make Dark Albion happen.  He's even made a few same mock-ups of what a cover might look like, which you can see on the Albion thread.

The irony is that "Albion" may end up being published by a Frenchman.  Have the English lost all their pride?  Some might actually ask if the French have, mind you, given how the Albion setting portrays the area we'd know as France as "Frogland", ruled by vicious and evil chaos-worshiping Frogmen!

Strangely enough, this hasn't really seemed to bother most French fans of the setting.  Whereas the Scottish consistently get worked up about how they're kilted barbarians.  I guess we see which of the two have the better sense of humour.

Keep in mind that much of Albion is not just a fantasy but a fantasy based on popular perceptions of the English; so Ireland is a kingdom of barbarians and faeries, Scots Land a frigid land of kilted brutes, and France of course is literal Frog-men.  While England itself is a classist land of serf-oppression and corrupt feuding power-mad aristocracy.

Over the course of the campaign "Frogland" has been somewhat developed and elaborated upon; for example, it became clear that the Frogmen are only the inhuman minority who rule over a Frankish human majority that are treated like slaves.  Their chief territory is Paris. They govern through the help of their advanced (chaos) magick and human collaborators.

(the "Paris Swamp", a term which apparently has confused some of the French fans, is a play on  "Lutetia", which in Latin means "city of swamps or mud")

But before the Frogmen emerged from the Paris Swamp and conquered most of those lands, there were human kingdoms there, of Frankmen, some of whom were ancestors to the Anglish Kings by marriage (hence their claim of rule over Frogland and their constant wars with them these past 150 years).  The lands of Burgundy, and Burgundy's vassal Lorraine, are still ruled by humans.  And later in the timeline of the campaign, the lands of Brittany rise up in human rebellion against the Frog overlords, and with the help of Albion and Burgundy gain their freedom (or rather, they did in my campaign; in yours things might go much worse).

As to the Frogmen's origin, I would hearken them back to ancient times, before humans dominated the world.  We know from Albion's prehistory that when humans were created as slaves for the ancient Elves, it was the Elves and the Dragons who ruled over most of the world, the two not always friendly with each other.  I would like to think that things like lizardmen and frogmen were created by Dragons in the Dragons' image, to act as slaves and ground troops to oppose the humans and goblinkind that the Elves had created.

You'll note that in The Wash, Albion's own swamps, there are also Frogmen, who are primitive and degenerate, rather than the sophisticated variety that rule Frogland.  They were probably left over there from the time of the Dragons.

Anyhow, even if it will take a Frenchman to make Albion a reality, I'm excited by the prospect.


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