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Ithura & Porthaven

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Most fantasy role playing games use elements of the Middle Ages in their background ... but almost always in ways that are anachronistic, misleading or downright wrong. This is then compounded and multiplied … made far, far, worse in the way the already compromised material is presented in their attempts at providing actual specific setting related material. Towns, Villages, Noble Estates, Manors and the like.

Ithura & Porthaven is intended to provide Game Masters and Players with a realistic (well, more realistic) idea of how a real medieval noble estate, a Barony, and the Manors which comprise it (and the Villages and Hamlets which comprise them), are organised and work. It provides detailed information on the political, military, social and economic realities of a typical medieval region … the real nitty-gritty rather than some mashed up hodge-podge of modern realities imposed on the worst and most unrealistic aspects of most of the available fantasy role playing game systems.

As with The Marketplace (which covers the down low on the economics and prices of the period, including extensive price lists based on real world costs not arbitrary and unrealistic game mechanic reinforcing designer fiat), the background is provided for the late 12th through to the late 14th centuries (roughly 1175 to the 1390’s) within the overall range covered in Orbis Mundi2 (the overall Background Sourcebook, which covers the 11th to the 14th centuries).

Also covered is the Town of Porthaven, a small, but important coastal port heavily involved in what passes for ‘international’ as well as internal trade; Castle Porthaven, Baron Ithura’s seat and Forcythwyru Abbey, an important centre of religious power and learning.

Porthaven has a realistic population of ~2500 people (few medieval Towns has much more than this, even in wealthy and peaceful states) and coverage of the Town includes many of the important business, government and religious institutions found therein as well as some information about those people who are involved in them. You’ll also get a pretty good guide on what you can buy and sell – or order in from elsewhere – at the Town’s Markets and businesses.

Castle Porthaven is also covered in some extensive detail – and is the sort of castle that a real world Baron of slightly more than average means is likely to have been able to afford. In other words, it’s more a fortified residence than a Krak des Chevaliers or Chateau Gaillard. There are extensive floor plans provided for the GM to use as needed.

Forcythwyru Abbey, a Dominican institution, is also described in some detail.

Finally, there is an extensive section with medieval style ‘strip maps’ showing the major roads and other routes which run into and through the Barony with extensive notes on all the main estates, villages and hamlets and the natural features such as rivers, fords, woods, hills and forests those routes pass by.

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Jonathan L June 28, 2019 7:49 pm UTC
I like this. The realistic depiction of an English medieval barony with a map of 16x20 miles appeals to me. This would be a great resource for those people playing Chivalry & Sorcery or Ars Magica with their focus on Europe in the Middle Ages. The wealth of detail provided makes it ideal for a Game Master who wants to run a game in a more realistic medieval neighborhood - especially if their characters settle down between adventures. There are many illustrations and pictures that help visualize the period. Kudos!
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File Last Updated:
March 07, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on March 10, 2019.
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