Thursday, 7 September 2017

Castles of the Marcher Lords

The Marcher Lord (roll twice)

  1. Extremely proud of his big bushy uncombed food-stained red beard
  2. Coddles his hounds, kicks servants around like they were mongrels
  3. Compulsively cracks his knuckles and hums ballads under his breath
  4. Likes to prove his toughness by breaking stuff over his bald head
  5. Laughs very loudly at inappropriate times. Loathes the humourless
  6. Launches arrows at birds and beasts from his bedchamber window
  7. Absolute stickler for the law. Punishes even the pettiest crimes
  8. Assumes everyone's trying to outwit him. Second-guesses everything
  9. Alcoholic. Cruel when sober. Melancholy and regretful when drunk
  10. Loves chess. Harbours secret hatred for anyone who beats him
  11. Searches chronicles for evidence of crimes against his ancestors
  12. Knows the name and face of every last one of his subjects
  13. Gaunt and sinister. Vomits up two-thirds of everything he eats
  14. Always remodeling the castle. Can't make his mind abut it
  15. Disgusted by his own sexual impulses. Self-flagellates a lot
  16. Gets splitting headaches that confine him to bed for weeks on end
  17. Eats more than should be possible for any one man. Missing teeth
  18. Absolutely devoted to his wife. Gives her anything she wants
  19. Loathes his children and beats them on the slightest pretext
  20. Completely sane. Pretends to be mad for political reasons

The Marcher Lord's madness

  1. He is a beast of the field. Shuns society, sleeps outside, eats grass, lets his hair and nails grow
  2. He is an actor who accidentally killed the lord and must now impersonate him. Nobody can find out
  3. He is dead and in hell. Being a marcher lord is his punishment and his subjects are demons in disguise
  4. His wife has many secret lovers. All of them must be killed. Her children are not his and can't be trusted
  5. His demesne is only real while he is awake. He owes it to his subjects to stay awake as much as possible
  6. He has been living in the castle for more than a thousand years. His current wife is his great-granddaughter
  7. All the stones of the castle can talk. They have feuds with each other and complicated political opinions
  8. All the animals of his demesne are intelligent and plot against him. They hold councils in the forest
  9. All the world's problems can be solved with pure reason. His universal theorem is almost complete
  10. If he disguises himself as a commoner, his subjects won't know who he is and he can spy on them
  11. Invisible giants persecute him. Only small spaces are safe, which is why he lives in the castle's walls
  12. If you know somebody's true name you can control them. His subjects know this. Every name they give is false
  13. There are secret witch numbers in between the regular numbers and secret witch hours between the normal ones
  14. The date of the apocalypse approaches. He must prove himself worthy before Christ returns to reign on earth
  15. The cold is alive and hates him. Huge fires must be built in every room of the castle to stop it getting in
  16. The ghost of the previous lord follows him everywhere. If he stays still for too long it'll catch him
  17. There is nothing beyond his demesne's boundaries. Anyone who leaves dies. Anyone who returns is a phantasm
  18. The prophecy has decreed that he can only die under highly specific conditions, and is otherwise immortal
  19. This statue is his first wife, turned to stone because he didn't love her enough. One day she may come back
  20. There is no such thing as magic. Anything that looks supernatural is some kind of clever trick

The Marcher Lord's current wife (roll twice)

  1. Has an idiot son by her first husband. Plots to make him heir
  2. Still mourning her first husband. Weeps and wears black veils
  3. Plagued by rumours that her first husband died at her hands
  4. Ambitious and cold-hearted. Encourages lord to kill people
  5. Loves her garden of poisonous plants more than her children
  6. Reads too much romantic poetry. Can't comprehend real suffering
  7. Always ill. Spends long hours abed. Doctors compete to treat her
  8. The finest archer, hunter and wrestler anywhere in the demesne
  9. Alcoholic. Cruel when drunk. Melancholy and regretful when sober
  10. Vain and jealous. Plots to disfigure anything prettier than her
  11. Despises lord's madness but can't bring herself to kill him
  12. Devoted to charity work. Personally washes the feet of beggars
  13. Shockingly young. Was kicked in the head by a horse as a child
  14. Loathes all children. Screams and screams at the sight of them
  15. Humourless ascetic. Expects subjects to pray and do penance
  16. Inhuman blood. Disappears at night to run naked through the forest
  17. Has seizures. Foams at the mouth, speaks riddles and prophecies
  18. Thinks anyone she can hear laughing must be laughing at her
  19. Wants to kill herself. Never left alone by her servants
  20. Completely mad. Roll on madness table

The Marcher Lord's children (roll 1d3 times. the entry number is their age. oldest is heir)

  1. Changeling. Clean and quiet. Speaks in adult voice when it thinks nobody's watching
  2. Frail and sickly. Coughs up bloody phlegm. Wasn't expected to survive this long
  3. Screams eight hours a day.Never lets go of the dagger they got for their birthday
  4. Still can't speak. Clings to their nurse's skirts, sucking their thumb and staring
  5. Thinks they're a dog. Sleeps in the kennels, treated by the hounds as a pack member
  6. Precocious. Likes reading. Looks conspicuously different from their alleged father
  7. Wets the bed. Starts fires. Tortures small animals. Frames servants for petty crimes
  8. Plans to be a saint when they grow up. Talks to God and tells people what He said
  9. Small and sulky. Keeps running away from home, getting dragged back and severely beaten
  10. To prepare them for power, has been assigned the job of managing the demesne's finances
  11. Eager to inherit power. Openly plotting the deaths of his parents, who think it's cute
  12. Still being breastfed. Goes into hysterics if you try to take away their dolls
  13. Insufferable know-it-all and pedant. Doesn't believe in God and loves to argue about it
  14. Hunts peasants through the woods for sport. Lavishly rewards the ones who manage to get away
  15. Madly in love with a village swineherd. Follows them around, writing them awful poetry
  16. Fat, bookish and cowardly. Flinches when anyone talks to them. Faints at the sight of blood
  17. Crippled in a hunting accident. Lies in their chambers all day feeling sorry for themselves
  18. Bumbling, sodden, red-faced oaf who spends all their time carousing with the peasants
  19. Identical twins. Beautiful, pale, incestuous. Matching scars carved into their bodies
  20. Married with kids of their own. Roll once on wife table and 1d6 on children table

The Marcher Lord's court (roll 1d3 times)

  1. Panicky charlatan astrologer who's in over their head and making it up as they go along
  2. Grizzled, weather-beaten sergeant who tells stories of wars that no-one else remembers
  3. Nursemaid who treats everyone like stupid children, has banal anecdotes for all occasions
  4. Elderly hedge wizard who everyone treats like Merlin, even though they're clearly senile
  5. Obese, pompous, corrupt bailiff. Sole arbiter of the lord's justice. Easily bribed with meat
  6. Obsequious, masochistic dogsbody. Will obey any order, the more demeaning the better
  7. Autistic falcon-keeper. Treats their birds like people and seems to understand what they say
  8. Court jester. Terrible stutter. Face blotched with purple birthmark. Visibly underfed
  9. Stable keeper. Unshaven, always drunk, has a far too intimate relationship with a stallion
  10. Naive, flustered young chaplain. Sincerely wants everyone to love Christ like he does
  11. Blacksmith. Hands unsteadied by the early stages of a terrible palsy. Staunchly denies it
  12. Dungeon-keeper, executioner and comic gravedigger. Entertains prisoners with awful puns
  13. Absent-minded bishop. Forgets half the sermon, fills gaps with accidental blasphemies
  14. Gardener and herbalist. Only cares for their plants. Secretly cultivating mandrake roots
  15. Insufferable minstrel. Hangs around under windows with lute trying to serenade people
  16. Barber-surgeon. Collects tumours and interesting teeth. Cure is always more leeches
  17. The Marcher Lord's mother. Roll once on wife table
  18. The Marcher Lord's sister. Roll once on wife table
  19. The Marcher Lord's mistress. Roll once on wife table
  20. The Marcher Lord's bastard. Roll once on child table

The Marcher Lord's castle

  1. Built into a dam that holds back a mountain lake. Leaks must be constantly patched
  2. Built on a storm-lashed promontory. Wind always howling. Slowly crumbling into the sea
  3. Built in a swamp. Slowly sinking. Flooded dungeons breed toads, biting flies and foul air
  4. Built on an island in a misty lake. Only accessible by creepy ferryman with very small boat
  5. Built around a huge, ancient, structurally integral oak tree. Squirrels everywhere
  6. Built on a flat-topped hill, over the earthworks of a prehistoric race. Commands a fine view
  7. Built into the stony side of a mountain. No-one knows how deep the caverns beneath it go
  8. Built on both sides of a rushing river. Castle's halves connected by rickety rope bridges
  9. Built on a rocky island off the coast. Storms isolate it. Thousands of gulls roost in towers
  10. Built in the heart of a deep forest. Buried under ivy. Questing roots disturb the flagstones
  11. Built on a island surrounded by perilous sandflats. Causeway can only be crossed at low tide
  12. Built into a deep, shadowed valley. Rarely exposed to full sunlight. Always freezing
  13. Built atop cliffs overlooking a steep-sided ravine. Skeletons hang from battlements in cages
  14. Built atop a huge, precariously balanced boulder. Accessible by stairs carved up the side
  15. Built on top of a spring that bubbles up from deep within the earth. Strange fish in it
  16. Built on the peak of the highest mountain around. Sometimes snows even in summer
  17. Built in a valley that floods with snowmelt every spring. Bedchambers atop very tall towers
  18. Built overlooking a fine natural harbour. Caves below formerly used by smugglers
  19. Built into a secluded pocket between mountains. Somehow always raining. Dozens of waterfalls
  20. Built atop riverside cliffs. Clay foundations are rapidly being eroded. Floors collapsing

The Marcher Lord's demesne (roll 1d3)

  1. A giant in a cave, bound with chains of adamant
  2. An earthen dyke. No iron can pass across it
  3. An order of nuns who can turn into birds at will
  4. A saint's grave. Blesses those who weep on it
  5. A flooded forest with porpoises hunting birds
  6. A stagnant lake, home to slimy sedge-nymphs
  7. An abandoned village, overrun by toads and owls
  8. A natural fountain of diseased, bubbling blood
  9. Hot, sulphurous springs that sweat away illness
  10. A foul-smelling cave called "The Devil's Arse"
  11. Wrecked ships. Barnacles that hatch into geese
  12. A druid bound in a tree by their elven lover
  13. A village that pays its taxes in live wolves
  14. An island that breeds harvest mice from the soil
  15. A stone circle where druids gather at midnight
  16. A forest that attracts imbeciles and lunatics
  17. A quarry where the bones of giants are mined
  18. Thousands of corpses mummified in a peat-bog
  19. A three-breasted saint whose milk grants wisdom
  20. A raving, naked hermit who sleeps on hillsides

The Marcher Lord's problems (roll 1d3)

  1. A giant is gathering noblemen's beards for a cape. Only cutting off its beard can slay it
  2. A knight challenges those who cross a bridge. Only those who know his name can beat him
  3. The water is home to a venomous addanc, which can only be seen through a hole in a stone
  4. A cannibal hag with iron teeth forces men to choose between being her dinner or her husband
  5. A huge, mad boar is digging into dungeons with its tusks and unleashing the inhabitants
  6. The peasant rebellion claims a scarecrow as their leader. the scarecrow must be destroyed
  7. A witch is making the harvest fail. she must be discovered by trial and burnt alive
  8. The plague is God's punishment, and will stop when the demesne's worst sinner is slain
  9. The lord's favourite child has been kidnapped by elves and dragged off under the hill
  10. The Questing Beast has been spotted nearby, and is attracting too many filthy huntsmen
  11. The orks of Neptune are raiding the shore and dragging people into the sea as slaves
  12. A travelling prophet told the peasants the end of days is nigh, so they've stopped work
  13. A black hound with burning eyes appears to travellers at night, frightening them to death
  14. Livestock mounted by an elven sire give birth days later to fast-growing, aggressive babies
  15. A border dispute with the marcher lord in the next castle over is flaring into violence
  16. The devil is granting peasants' wishes, making them harder for the lord to control
  17. The wind carries every spoken word to the ears of a dwarf, who sows mischief with them
  18. The hideous shrieks of two wrestling dragons drive men mad and make women fall barren
  19. A water-nymph has given a child a magic sword and named them the demesne's rightful ruler
  20. A tribe of merry bandits rob from the rich and give to the peasants, who help protect them

Sources: Shakespeare, Poly-Olbion, Welsh mythology Wikipedia, Game of Thrones

1 comment:

  1. I think this is one of your best posts yet. But I've always had a weakness for this sort of thing.

    Congratulations for reading Poly-Olbion. You should get a medal or something for that!