So, felt like answering Jeff’s 20 questions today for the game I’m spinning up.
What is the deal with my cleric’s religion?
Very few pagans survive in the “civilized” parts of the world. Most “savages” are Neutral shamanists and animists (revering the spirits of the land, beasts, and the dead), or rigidly Lawful polytheists (frequently with rigid ritual taboos).
The Lawful modern religions are in vicious conflict in this age, having split away from one another after defeating the Orientalists’ once very real threat.
Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
In cities, stores scattered about various neighborhoods collect the produce of this and other lands. Exotic materials – drugs, spices other than the basics, gunpowder, silk – are the province of specialist merchants, and may be out of stock.
Rurally, most equipment is acquired by barter. Expect to trade a day’s labor for same.
In the Colonies, you wait for a ship or trade with the natives. Getting exactly what you want, on the other hand, is gonna take several months if it’s not right there.
Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
It depends on the shape of the monster, but if you’re willing to wait a month or two the smiths in the East Mark could make pretty much anything you want, engrave it with tiny hands making obscene gestures, and add the ass of an ostrich to the crest.
Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
That is the subject of immense, if underground, speculation and intense competition. The “chief alchemist” to the Orange Queen is believed to traffic with powerful daemons, and several Continental men of letters are suspected to be advanced Chaoticians as well.
Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
“Greatest warrior” means a lot of things to a lot of people; the best General is probably Halat the Tvertian, the best man in hand-to-hand is a Moorish fencer named Venetti the Black, and the best shot is Anne-Marie d’Tours.
Who is the richest person in the land?
Well, it’s someone in a merchant quarter. Probably one of the bankers, likely Italic. They tend to hide their actual wealth, so you never quite know.
Where can we go to get some magical healing?
Local saints and miracle workers, orders of Knights Hospitalier.
Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
The Church covers most of these. You can also attempt to enlist the local Goodwives, whose varied and usually herb/hedge-magic based charms may even work.
Lycanthropy and Polymorph? Good luck. There’s usually a fairy-tale cure condition for it, if you can figure out what it is.
Undeath: Quick bath in holy water or burning at the stake.
Alignment change: Penance, scourging, oaths. Maybe it’ll work. Keep in mind, Alignment is a measure of what supernatural forces are helping you, not your religion; the VAST majority of people are and will stay Neutral.
Death: Try a saint, there’s always a few somewhere.
Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
Legally? No. See “Johnny Law” and “secret societies” below.
Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
Make enquiries about town. The local monasteries will always have experts (as long as the king hasn’t confiscated them yet), but they will probably take a dim view of certain questions. The quality and sanity of meddling sages will vary wildly, but apothecaries are a fixture of most towns bigger than a farming hamlet.
Where can I hire mercenaries?
Send a messenger with a letter of introduction to a company commander, or visit one of the many hiring halls and public auctions of mercenary service all over the Continent. Be forewarned, though, if you treat mercs badly you’re not going to hire any but the most desperate and disloyal in the future.
Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Every city has a Byzantine layer of sumptuary and arms laws. Open carry of knives and light swords is not only legal, but expected. Concealing guns is usually treated harshly, but professional soldiers and others whose arms are a badge of their profession will need to disarm only in the biggest and most hidebound of cities. Some kingdoms will literally require you to carry a bow or crossbow.
Magic is technically outlawed, but hedge magic is practiced pretty much everywhere as long as you pretend it’s in the name of whatever religion is currently holding sway over the area.
Wearing armor in town is dreadfully out of fashion and generally treated as being prepared to start some shit by the Law. Passing through a town while armored will generally earn you a discrete escort from the guard. If you are planning to start some shit, say in the catacombs, try to stay off the high streets.
Which way to the nearest tavern?
Look up. See that sign? Yeah. There’s another thirty in this quarter alone. Ask a local or you might wind up in a den of thieves or other unsavory place. Also, Ella down the street can’t cook a pie to save her life. Poor girl. Can’t cook, and a face that’d stop a clock. Have I told you about the time she…
What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
The Medici. Seriously though, bandits, rogue mercs, and upstart nobles are the most common threats on the Continent, and wiping out any one of them will get you a healthy ransom and a handshake. Maybe even some land.
Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
Pretty much constantly. The entire Continent has been at war for about 130 years now, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Picked a religion? You’ve got a side in the wars.
How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
Deulists and sword-schools have constant competitions all over the Continent and beyond. A well-known duelist can establish his own school as long as he’s willing to take on the (many) challengers that come with the position.
Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
Thousands. The most prominent are colleges of Magi, frequently using tattoos and secret signs visible only to those with the “evil eye”. There is rumored to be a group of mercenaries manipulating the course of wars all across the Continent for their own profit. Dedicated Secularists are pushing for a world without gods or kings, and the humorously inbred scions of royalty are pursuing their own intrigues across every continent.
What is there to eat around here?
Choose one from each category to be the local specialties. Most of the rest are available, but may be harder to find or badly-prepared.
Meat: Salt beef, smoked pork, sausages, spiced fowl, salt-cod, dried herring, goat, mutton, beans for the really poor.
Cheese: Sloppy, hard, semi-soft; moldy, fresh, white, tinted, salted, marinated
Starch: Bread, hard red wheat or Rye (north), white wheat (south), amaranth or maize (colonies), flatbreads, potatoes (everywhere), Parsnips.
Booze: Beer (anywhere with wheat or rye), aqua vitae, wine, cider, brandy.
Vegetable: pickled cabbage (north), random other brassicae (pretty much everywhere), dried peas, root veg. There’s a lot more variety in the summer and fall.
Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
The City of Gold, anything magical, lost swords of dead heroes, and the savages in the Colonies are pretty much dripping with legends about precious metals, magical realms, and the hidden treasuries of damned kings.
Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
Dead these hundred years. Now, if you want to knock over someone for it, I hear the Merchant quarters are lovely this time of year. Pray you can get to the border fast enough, and hire a taster. And of course, anything is possible in the Colonies.