Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

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Post by thirtythr33 »

This thread is going to a compilation of game aids, references or resources for people to use for the game. Also included are some (historically inspired, not necessarily 100% accurate) things I have been putting together to flesh out the typical culture you can expect out of the setting.

Nothing here is compulsory reading or anything you have to memorise, but it is generally how I'll be running the NPCs in the world.

This is is a collaborative process, so feel free to post some things of your own, ask questions or PM me stuff and I'll add it into the list.

Laws, punishments & obligations

Hue and cry

A common European law was that anyone who sees a crime being committed must shout for aid (most often this applies to shoplifting or robbery). Anyone who hears the cry is obligated to assist in apprehending the criminal. Any who don’t assist are assumed to be an accomplice of the criminal and may share the same punishment as them (a common theme). In walled towns, gates and roads out of the town are closed when the hue and cry goes out.

Eye witnesses

Eye witnesses are everything. If nobody saw you commit the crime, you most likely got away with it. There is no such thing as a crime investigation unit. On the other hand, if someone did see you and is willing to testify, you are pretty much presumed to be guilty because of the laws about oaths. In general, eye witness value runs along class lines. Nobles swearing under oath hold far more weight than freemen, and freemen far more than slaves. This can only be pushed so far though, as it is still in the hands of the judge.

Swearing oaths

Swearing under oath (in the sight of God) is a big deal, so an eye-witness testimony carried huge weight. Keep in mind, that in this world God's judgement is an absolute truth.

Bearing witness was so important that character witnesses were often called upon. There is no such thing as misleading or irrelevant to a medieval court proceeding; anything and everything was relevant to trying to figure out what type of person you are... which was often more important than whether or not the crime was even committed!

Amazingly, anyone who testified (under oath) on behalf of the accused was bound to share the same punishment as the accused if they were found guilty.


Theft was disproportionately punished by today’s standards. It was the crime of greatest concern to the wealthy; the people who wrote the laws. The punishment was proportional to the amount stolen and NOT how much force or violence was used during the theft. First time minor theft might be a whipping. Stealing 10 shilling would cost you an eye or a brand on the face. Stealing 40 would be a hanging. To compare, 200 shilling is a roughly equivalent fine to spending 1 year is jail.

Where possible, crimes that could be immediately settled through fines and/or corporal punishment were (although maimings and disfigurements were relatively rare). The most common corporal punishments were whippings, floggings or being put in pillory stocks. In cases where fines could not be paid, jail time was used to make up the remainder after taking what wealth they could spare. This sometimes had the effect that the rich could sometimes pay their way out of crimes with little punishment. Maimings, branding or disfigurements were usually reserved repeat offenders or for crimes where it was felt that 'an example' had to be made for the rest of the community.

The punishment for rape is to pay the woman’s father/husband/brother the value of the woman’s dowry, based on her class. Assault or assault with a weapon is punished even less severely than rape. Often a small to medium sized fine. Treason, rebellion, poaching and arson are punishable by hanging. Murder will still always earn you the death penalty, but killing in self defence is justified (if you can prove it!).

Trial by ordeal

In serious cases that had no witnesses or confession (you are under Oath, remember?), a Trial by ordeal could take place. The judge and priests of the church would have great leeway is designing any kind of trial or ordeal they liked. Common ones were Trial by Fire, Trial by Water, Trial by Combat or Trial by Jury. Usually the common theme is that the defendant would have to perform some task that would usually bring harm upon them (like holding a red hot metal bar) and were found to be innocent if no harm befell them.

Usually the defendant would have to ask the permission of the judge to allow them to be trialed by ordeal, and they could refuse if they believed you were guilty and were just trying to escape punishment. The exception to this is that a nobleman may challenge another noble directly to trial by combat without a judges permission.


Although only noblemen could completely circumvent the judge and church by issuing direct challenges without permission, dueling was common among all free-men in the region. Many duels were 'settled' without the involvement of the judiciary and hinged on what each participant felt their honour could bare. Hans Talhoffer tells us that judiciary duels were sometimes used in absence of a witness, held exclusively for the crimes of murder, treason, heresy, desertion, abduction, perjury and rape. In fact, the famous Talhoffer two-handed judicial duelling shields seem to have been directly inspired by the popularization of the Bohemian pavise which rose to prominence during the Hussite Wars (p13).

The time between a challenge and the day of the duel could be many months. There were cases where the participants intentionally set a date very off away so that they could both learn to fight before the day came, or the court proceedings ground to a haul for months at a time.

And because modes of transport always seem to come up:

On foot, significant baggage ~3km/hr
On foot with no baggage ~5km/hr
Running marathon ~10km/hr (sustainable only by someone very athletic)
World record marathon ~20km/hr (requires rest after ~2hrs)

Horse with baggage or rider ~10km/hr (need separate horses for baggage and riders)
Hard riding horse speed ~20km/hr (requires changing horses each ~40km)
Emergency riding horse speed ~40km/hr (requires changing horses each ~15km)

Small boat ~7.5km/hr
Large sailing vessel ~10km/hr
War ship, rowed by 100 men ~15km/hr


Sword & Scoundrel stuff
the notion portal
the patreon fetchbook
Other S&S stuff


Modern regional names
Check out German, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and Polish for names closest to the region. Medieval Slavic is also worth a look.

And (User submitted) Medieval regional names:

15th C portraits
And more because I like them
Or make your own with AI I made this one in like 30 seconds with the renaissance style.
Same thing, but for OS/android

This video gives a pretty good overview of how things were moving at the time.
And here's a nice clean map of Bohemia during the Hussite wars. Keep in mind that most travel was done by, or followed, the rivers all the towns are on. The Capital is Prague.

I'm getting tired on making links, so you just URLs for the rest. It's all wikipedia pages anyway.

Folklore and mythology of the region! ... _of_Prague ... c_religion

Magic, humuors and stuff! ... ience.html (i lied, this isn't Wikipedia, but its very cool) ... ern_Europe

Prominent people of the time! ... ian_people

Groups/conflicts ... 80%931435) ... onic_Order
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

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Re: Resources

Post by thirtythr33 »

Major Factions in Bohemia

Sigismund, King of Bohemia & Pope Martin V
Born in and loyal to the Holy Roman Empire, Sigismund has never had real control over Bohemia. After inheriting the title after his brother's death, the people of Bohemia distrusted him for the betrayer of Jan Hus and took up arms in open rebellion. Sigismund aligned with Pope Martin V and the Catholic Church and gathered arms to prosecuted a crusade against Bohemia, intending to purge the heretical Hussites. Rumour has it that the Holy Lance (the spear that pierced the heart of Christ) is kept among Sigismund's relics in Prague.

Jan Hus (deceased) & The Hussites
A Bohemian priest, Jan Hus openly dissented the Catholic Church and was excommunicated and lived in exile. In particular, he spoke out against the practice of selling indulgences, that the pope was not infallible, and that the Bible should be taught in common language instead of Latin. Hus attracted a huge following in Bohemia, too big to ignore, so Sigmismund imprisoned him and tried him for heresy. Hus refused to recant and was burned at the stake, becoming a martyr for the Bohemian people. From his death, his followers became known as Hussites.

Hussite factions
  • The Utraquists (aka the Prague Party) are the largest Hussite faction, based in and around Prague and composed primarily of Bohemian nobility and merchants. They are moderates and most likely to compromise with Sigismund and the Catholic Church. While Bohemia in under attack from the Catholic Crusaders the Utraquists will align with the other Hussite factions, but they soon turn against the more extreme Hussite factions when not facing an external threat.
  • The Orebites & the Sirotci were closely aligned under the command of Jan Zizka and consist mostly of the East Bohemian Church, poorer burghers and lower aristocracy. After the death of Jan Zizka, the alliance together became known as the "Orphans", and rallied under the command of Prokop the Great. They have enjoyed a large amount of military success, from burning the Benedictine monastery and the batlte of Vysehrad.
  • The Taborites (aka the Picards) are an extremist faction of Hussites, based in and around Tabor. They are largely rural peasants and low-class clergy and practice social and economic equality and address each other as brothers and sisters. Supported by local gold mines, the the local peasants developed a communal society. The Taborites declared that there would be no more servants or masters, that all property would be held in common, and that there would be no more taxation. Even more extreme still, are the Adamites sect who take after the life of Adam and Eve in Eden. They practice social and religious nudity, free love and rejecting marriage and individual ownership of property, and often ritually dance naked around a fire.
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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