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Friday 8 September 2017

Classic Rant: Dark Albion:The Church

So I thought I'd take a much-needed break from the OBS Censorship scandal, and get back to talking about Dark Albion!

So over at theRPGsite Q&A, someone has asked about just how much religion might have changed in Albion compared to real history, particularly given how significant the spiritual and political power of the Church was in this time.

Good question! Even though I've changed the religion from Catholicism to the "Church of the Unconquered Sun", the structure of said church is pretty much identical to that of medieval catholic church, with the exception of the existence of the Clerical Order (a militant order who are blessed with miraculous powers, and are answerable to the Pontifex but do not fit into the rest of the church hierarchy and instead have their own parallel hierarchy; this was created so that all PC clerics are Clerics and not priests, and so that priests, bishops, Pontifexes, etc. do not get clerical magic).

The rest of the hierarchy and influence of the Church is pretty much the same as it was in politics and society in the real world 15th century. The majority of the important religious NPCs in Albion are "Albionized" versions of the real world historical figures that were around at that time. The list of Pontifexes that reigned in that period (and their various actions, some pious and many many corrupt and sinful ones) were taken directly from the Popes of the 15th century.

Shall we take a look at some of these?

Eugene IV: Bribed his way to the papacy. Murdered two hundred associates of the previous pope. Issued a papal bull declaring Portuguese slave-raids on the African coastline as a "crusade".

Pius II: famous writer of erotic stories/poetry in his spare time.

Paul II: made a jewel-encrusted tiara for himself on his ascension. Created 'secret cardinals' to thwart his political enemies. Imprisoned and tortured the same. Forced city Jews to run naked through the streets during carnival. Died of a heart attack while engaging in sodomy with a page boy.

Sixtus IV: Embezzled the church to enrich his own family. Opened a papal whorehouse in Rome. Was infamous for nepotism at a time when papal nepotism was considered the norm. Gave attractive young men bishophrics in exchange for sexual favors. Re-affirmed the Portuguese right to enslave Africans.

Innocent VIII: Had sixteen illegitimate children. Took bribes from the Turkish Sultan. Issued a papal bull against witchcraft endorsing the beginning of the Witch Craze in europe that ultimately led to the death of thousands of innocents. Made de Torquemada Grand Inquisitor setting off the terrors of the Spanish Inquisition. Banned Pico della Mirandola's 900 theses and tried to have him executed as a heretic. Officially institutionalized Simony in the vatican bureaucracy to fund the construction of his summer house and hunting lodge.

So there you go; that was the qualities of the papacy of the 15th Century.

And finally for today, check out this great review of Dominique Crouzet's awesome Dark Albion adventure, "The Ghost of Jack Cade on London Bridge"!


Currently Smoking: Neerup Egg & Longbottom Leaf

(september 9, 2015)


  1. A few problems on your account of Innocent VIII.
    AFAIK he only had had two illegitimate children BEFORE he became ordained.
    His bull Summis desiderantes affectibus was not against witchcraft, but only supporting inquisitor Kramer in his investigations of witchcraft and heresies (which was standard by popes and did not meant support for the fact that the investigations would uncover any unholy plot!).

    He did not take bribes from the Ottoman Sultan! He was paid to keep the Sultan's brother captive and so, avoid having a legitimacy war in the Ottoman Empire.

    His appointment of Torquemada was not what set off the Inquisition or religious conflict in Castile (which was in any case always the blunt of the Spanish black legend and, without sugercoating it, in line with religious conflict of the era), this all stemmed from the peculiar character of Iberian society (different religious groups, warfare etc.).

  2. I haven't run through all the other popes' details, but the death of Paul II was only said to have happened during his intercourse with a boy by his detractors. It's not established as a historical fact and it's simply a rumour propagated by his enemies (which doesn't make it necessarily false, but one should be a bit wary of those).