As i may have mentioned in my last few posts i am redoing my aborted 'not the 30 years war' steampunk pike and shot campaign from last year:
So i thought it would be good to collect some of the background material i bodged together from various finds from the period to kind of relaunch the whole thing. So this post is basically an introduction to the land of Olde Albilande and a very basic overview of the situation as it stands at the point we join the war. Each of these pieces of (not really) history has been taken from the source material of the time, the original source has been validated by various non-historical authorities as genuine. Other included pieces are taken directly from works produced about the period by mock historians, experts in this field.
The first piece is taken from th Olde Albilande tourist board leaflet: 'How to best avoid a stabbing or other forms of painful death in Albilande', first produced in 1643. This surviving copy donated kindly by Geoff Cribbadge, son of the noted mock-historian sir Norman Cribbadge jnr.
YE OLDE ALBILANDE; A VISITORS GUIDE
A warm welcome traveler to the wonders of Olde Albilande, where dreams really do come true*.
be it the beautiful landscape
or are friendly locals
or the local cuisine
The purpose of this leaflet is to help familiarize you, the visitor with the places to visit and activities available to you during your stay across the highways and of course byways of this (not very) green and sometimes even pleasant land.
First some history. Olde Albilande was established by a combination of Francenlande, Douchmarken and Russavacian invaders who all landed on these 'lush' shores over four hundred years ago. At first they were content to kick the living poo out of each other and the indigenous savages they found here (you may know those savages today as Lamavicians, who the invaders chased off to their own belt of isles to the north of Olde Albilande, where they remain to this day being as smelly and unrefined as ever). The invaders each claimed sections of the land for their own and for a while an uneasy peace held sway. Of course as we all know each of the groups of invaders abandoned the land out of sheer boredom, leaving behind a few of the stubborn, sick or lack-witted from each party that missed the boats as the settlers returned from whence they came. These people form the ancestors of the population of Albilande today.
But enough of the past, what wonders are here for you today?.
As you may be aware the land is divided into four counties, each as different from each other as chalk and dairy waste products. Lets take a closer look at each:
Located in the south is Royal Crivenshire, so called because it is the seat of the royal family of Albilande. The residence of the king being Crivens Castle in Royal Cravenly. The shire is noted for its fantastically windy coastline and vibrant trading towns such as the always busy Spillage and the slightly lop sided Gibblet, these walled river towns are home to many refined folks due to the traders guild making their home in each settlement to take advantage of the fine transport links and easy commute to the capital. If its shopping and commerce you want, Royal Crivenshire is the destination for you!
With the coast to the west the western most shire is the home to fine sunshine (up to 14 days a year) and the busy port towns of The Fences (the seat of the Earl of Offenhammeshire) and Allen-on-quey which are thriving hubs of trade and high fashion. It is said that the finery of the rich of these towns puts even the royal court to shame. This county is well known for its imported goods, it is said you can buy almost anything there if you don't ask too many questions!. The shire is home to some of the most ruthless criminal gangs in the history of the world, each not only partaking in vicious turf wars (each thursday at 3, tickets available at most 'reputable' ale houses across the shire) but also offering authentic tours of their safe houses to tourists and of course 'travel insurance' that will be a must have to all who traverse the shire.
If its more rugged scenery your after you could do worse than a trip to Tuttinghammeshire. Split east and west by the Crippled Jaw mountains and home to the dark pine forests of the northern peat bogs this is a haven for wildlife (most of which may attempt to kill and devour you). The people of Tuttinghammeshire mirror the terrain but are friendly in their own way. The land is home to many walled city states that due to the lay of the land function with a large degree of autonomy. Cities like Obbleholmme (the Earls seat) and Oopidge supply the quaint northern settlements surrounding them. Also of note is the hill town Phuckenmere, where the famous Whatsinitt sausage co make the countries best selling snacks and the village of Stubbin, where the famous coopers of Stubbin will allow you to observe them plying their age old trade, all while being told to 'piss of out of it' in their characterful northern tounge.
The gateway to the east, Burkshire, also known as 'the wet shire,' has had rain for a record 122,000000 consecutive days!. Legend has it that it was cursed by a witch who was sick of locals making fun of her impressive wart collection. Today it is known for being the countries largest producer and exporter of quality mud and of course is home to the famous Drizzlemere cabbage, produced only in the hamlet of the same name. It is also quite famous for its region of the Middenlands, also known as 'the arse of Albilande', where the 'waste collection' barons of Albilande deposit their stock (known locally as 'brown gold'). Tourists are greatly encouraged to visit** this beautiful area before the new fangled 'plumbing' craze destroys this wonder for good.
Those of you that want to get back to nature may wish to visit the vast and mysterious Phlippinooge forest that runs through the center of Albilande. Its home to fine camp sites and hidden rivers and some of the most stunning scenery the land has to offer.It also provides many important roads linking the shires. It is worth noting that you will need a permit to travel and stay within the forest boundaries that can be obtained from the closest nymph office, failing to do so may lead to being squashed to death very slowly by angry Dryads.
So that's just a small selection of what this fantastic land has to offer (we have not touched on the famous pie makers of Offal or the steel smiths of Ikky for example). All of us at the Olde Albilande tourist board wish you a fine stay free from cutpurses, bandits and mobs of ruffians......er.......ignore that last sentence.
* if you happen to be rich or of noble birth.
** Tours run each monday and tuesday, four free nose pegs with each family ticket.
Below is one of the only surviving transcripts of the regular daily news caste 'Today's happenings today', It was unearthed in the collection of keen hoarder and petty criminal Keith 'fingers' Flaniggish of Uxbridge. My thanks to Mr Flaniggish for allowing me to reprint it in its original condition here.
And here's your host;
And not forgetting Spludgeerton Fitch with the sport!
Heres whats happening where you are........TODAY!.
'Hello, my names Barron S Ramsholme, and this is what happened upon this day.
It has been confirmed that the entire royal line were indeed murdered!, the death of the entire line of succession upon the traditional feast of StCackendale has been confirmed by the sheriff of Crivenshire to have been caused by a poisoned pudding!!, heres Miss Cravenlly Cabbes with the details, Miss Cabbes'.
'Ooooo fank oo Barron R, it as been confermed by royal tasters 'at a poisoned Damson Duff were all to blame for fha nasty deafs. It were found to be laced wiv a 'eavy dose of a substance called 'fha yawnin' deaf' also called 'fha watermaker' which targets fha tummy and arse. It turns out fhem royals actually pooed emselves to deaf!. Fha hunt for all them what were 'sponsable as begun in earnest but fha sheriffs men ave so far......got nuffin to go on!!!!'.
'Thank you Miss Cravenlly, gives a whole new definition to 'throne room'. So with no successor what happens now?, we sent Tweek Mincelley to find out, we are now going over live to Crivins Castle where the aforementioned is waiting with a special report. Mr Mincelley can you here me?'.
'Yes Barron i can hear you loud and clear, as i stand here upwind among the many vegetable tributes of half chewed turnips and potatoes and the odd dead rat left in touching wastefulness here at the main gates of Crivins Castle it appears the royal record keepers have been toiling night and day to work out what should occur to resolve this unprecedented issue. Never before has there been a dearth of royalty. No successor means no King which of course means no successor!. Its anarchy Barron, pure flippin madness!!. However i can now conform that the head legislator has found an ancient law for such an occurrence!, its known a..'
'Can you tell us what this law is called Tweek?'.
'Yes, yes Barron i can indeed conform it is known as Wazzcocks law and it dates back to the first kings, it states that, and im quoting here, er, 'Do notte be allarmmede if upone ye deathe of yonder monarch no sucessor shalle to be founde, calle forthe ye earls to determine as one manne the next ammonge theme to rule'. So it appears th'
'It seems the law is stating that the existing earls shall decide which of them will be the new king'.
...'quite right Barron, it shall be the earls th'
'The earls will be the deciders of the crown, thank you Tweek'.
'Tweek Mincelley there, reporting from the capitol, nice to see him free of the pink eye aye Cravenlly?'.
'Cerainly is Barron, ees quite the looker under all that puss!'.
Also in the happenings today; Miss Cravenlly?.'
'Fhank oo Barron. fha King of Douchmark is still surchin for fhat rebel rabble leader Lucas Bitchenmarken, oos writings on fha foodal system and fisical equalitee between fha rich and fha poor as gon an caused several violent peasant uprisins. It is beleived fha dissident fholosefa was spotted fleein on a skiff offa fha east coast an could be edding fhis way, the king of Douchmark as stated ee will 'kick fha ooly shit out a any nation fhat would ide such a melovolant turd as Bitchenmarken.'
Bitchenmarken, an artists impression, keep them peeled folks.
'Ee looks like a lovely batato. Also in fha occurrences its been almost two monfs since fha dissaperence of Lady Grace Ballant from Ballant Keep. Eer farva Lord Ballant as promised free undred gold marks for...'
..'IM SORRY I'LL HAVE TO CUT YOU OFF THERE MISS CRAVENLLY, WE ARE GOING BACK TO TWEEK WITH SOME BREAKING NEWS, TWEEK'
'Thank you Barron, yes exciting news indeed, i have been given a statement from the estate of Glinric Pallenbrooke, the 26th Earl of Crivenshire. it reads th..'
'Exciting indeed what does it say tweek?'
'...yes thank you Barron, it reads thus:
'During this time of national mourning and sadness it is clear that we need strong leadership to ensure we keep moving forward in the selection process of the next king. No one misses the last king with his harsh but fair taxation laws and fondness for tourture more than myself but it is essential we move in the right direction. With this in mind i, Glinric Pallenbrooke, 26th Earl of Royal Crivenshire here by name myself king in the interim, to rule while a perminant monarch is to be found. my first act as king is to set a date for the election of the new king, which will be held five years today, the 27th of meatember, the year of our gods 1654'.
'This means that the earl of..'
'The earl of Crivenshire has named himself temporary king!, thank you tweek. Tweek Mincelley, live from the royal seat. Here's Spludgeerton Fitch with the sport. Spldgeerton'.
'A thank you Barron..errrm...its been an exciting day in the 157th annual..errrm....'kick the inflated badger corpse between two villages while people beat the hell out of each other cup'...eerm....So far Latherfordde in-unison lead Knottesridge neveracademicals 7 deaths to 4...errrm.....the badger has been burst and trampled underfoot during the first half...errm.....leading to some first rate pummeling by...errm....the Leatherfordde back 78, although Knottesridge did have a late stabbing ruled out for offside by the etching assisted referee. It looks to be Leatherfordde's game with sundown fast approaching...errm...however the after game punch up between the teams...eerrm....will be worth sticking around for...errrm....'
'Thank you Spludgeerton. well thats the happenings for today, join us upon the morrow for more. Until then its a fond good bye from me, Barron Stemphage Ramsholmeme and the rest of the Crivenshire news team....goode night!'.
The following is quoted with kind permission directly from Dr Quentin Templeton-Smidglys' seminal study on the war of the four kings entitled 'A study into the war of 1654, what the f*$k was that about then?'. In chapter four of this learned tome Dr Templeton-Smidgly details the letters, notes and decrees, both official and unofficial recorded and recovered from records of the Estates of the Earls of the Shires. It gives a full and detailed view of the events that lead directly to the conflict that almost drove Olde Albilande to its knees.
CHAPTER 4: THE LION AND THE FERRET
Following the decree under Wazcockes law given by Glinric Pallenbrooke, 26th Earl of Crivinshire on the 27th of Meatember edition of 'Todays happenings today', Crivenshires best (and only) topical community events telecast, the reaction was swift. A public declaration from Osewrenne Cobbenhamme, 19th Earl of Tuttinghammeshire was issued that read as follows:
'the young Earl of Crivenshire seems to have made an error of judgement. It is plain to all that you cannot simply declare yourself king, in the interim or otherwise. This err can be forgiven due to the large amount of stress we are all under at present and the grief we are all feeling. I am sure that the young man will come to his senses in no time and we can allow him to forget his childish notion. Besides, if we were to have a king in the interim it would need to be a man of knowledge and experience such as myself not some wet babe fresh off the tit.'
The first to respond to this was Alben 'the gov'nr' Alfenshe, 23rd Earl of Ruckinghammeshire who sent this personal message to Cobbenhamme:
'Your 'avin' a flippin' larf ant 'ya' granpa?, you, a fit king, do me a favour!. Gorden bennit we need a fella that at least is gonna make it to the election without kickin' the bleedin' bucket!.
Its worth noting this letter was sent in a chamber pot, also containing a pair of fur lined slippers and a tartan blanket. To Pallenbrooke he sent:
'Cor wot are you like?, you cant jus' go around namin' yourself king, you need plannin' and finkin'. For what its worth i reckon you would be a bettah bet than that old pissy britches up north but you got to start usin' your 'ed. By the way, you still on for this ship full a' Francenlande brandy?, yours for 'alf a chaffinch as were mates an all'.
The response from Tuttunghammeshire to Ruckinghammeshire was fast:
'Sod off you curr, if you ever send such letters to my estate again you will see that this old man still has arms enough to deal with the likes of you you grubby little spiv. Just remember i hung your Grandfather for the fence and racketeer he was and when that royal investigation into your taxes is finished i will personally see you suffer the same at my own two hands'.
The earl of Tuttinghammeshire also released a public statement as follows:
'I, Osewrenne Cobbenhamme, 19th Earl of Tuttinghammeshire do decree that i name myself king for the period until such a time that a new king is elected in line with wazzcockes law. I feel as the most experienced and long serving Earl it is my duty before the gods to accept this task to ensure the country keeps on progressing during this difficult time.'
Before sending his own answer to this aggressive act the Earl of Crivenshire sent a private note to
Alben 'the gov'nr' Alfenshe which has just been unearthed which sheds some new light on the relationship between the two:
'I trust after your last statement i can rely on your support in whatever actions may come?, it may transpire that a report of a financial nature may not be finished after all if your help can be assured. I would ask you to declare your support publicly if this is the case. As far as the brandy goes please send a sample and then deal direct with my 'head scribe'. Mums the word'.
He then issued a statement to the Earl of Tuttinghammeshire:
'The statement given by the honorable Earl of Tuttinghammeshire is not accepted by Royal Crivenshire nor recognized by our allies. You are being given five days to retract the declaration and offer a recognition of the interim rulership of king Glinric Pallenbrooke until such a time as a true king can be declared. If you fail to do so you will be named an enemy of the crown and such actions as deemed appropriate will be taken to remove you from your seat.
While this exchange was happening the 25th Earl of Burkshire Ribbille Ribbensholme pitched in to the debate, sending an open letter to each earl.
'During this time it seems to be a backwards step for us to be bickering among ourselves. This time should be used to govern together and join as one mind to further the fortune of every Albilander not just to furnish our own ambition. We can make a difference to each and every serf and smallholder, smith and cooper to make the people of this nation strong once more.
and mum says if you all get to be king i should have a turn, your being really, really, rreeeaaallllyyyy unfair.
This letter was roundly ignored by the other three earls. Before the Earl of Ruckinghammeshire could declare his alliance with Crivenshire he had time to send a private note to Cobbenhamme, thus:
'Ere, mate, i know we ant on the best terms but i want you to know that i think you may be the right bloke to sit on the fancy chair while we decide on the next king. I may be makin' a statement soon but pay it no heed, no word of a lie if the lead starts flyin' it wont be Ruckinghammeshire that will be firin' 'em your way.
Its not known if the last known letters sent before the outbreak of hostilities were sent before or after the Earl of Tuttinghammeshire took receipt of this note but he sent two last massives, one to his trusted general Sir Phillibridge Physs which read as follows:
' TAKE AS MANY MEN AS YOU NEED AND MARCH SOUTH, LET THE SOFT SOUTHERN FERRETS FEEL THE CLAWS OF A PROUD NORTHERN LION.'
To Pallenbrooke he sent a two line note which simply stated:
'to the false king of the south, i retract nothing.
Just two days after these notes Sir Physs crossed the border into Crivenshire with an army at his back sparking the first battle of a protracted campaign. The battle of Phlemm Valley, where the advanced guard of Physs' column were met by the combined patrols of sir Crowesfell and Sir Finnagree the clenched. A full study into the battle can be found in the next chapter: 'A Trial at Phlemm'.
Well i'm sure you agree we owe a debt of thanks to Dr Templeton-Smidgly for allowing the inclusion of his most detailed works on these humble pages. I for one cant wait to find out what actually happened on that hallowed ground of the Valley of Phlemm.
The final snippit is taken from the book 'Technology and Warfare in 17th century Olde Albilande, what a F&*%in' mess' by Dr Webbingtonne Oldstone-Quelling. The seminal work has provided a great insight to all mock historians seeking to delve into the era and to understand what the flip was actually happening. The following was taken from the chapter 'Pikes vs Tanks, are you bloody mad??!!' and is reproduced without permission, the good Dr wants fifty quid, he can go bury his head in a choice and very dark orifice as far as i care!.
'........it is widely believed that the horse and musket era followed the pike and shot era before the discovery of steam. In most places this was true and it is because of one invention: the bayonet. This simple blade attached to the barrel of the musket allowed each musketeer to be his own pikeman. This single fact allowed for massed ranks of men to fire and move at a far greater rate now the slow and heavy pike was not needed. Most people think this simple advance was simply missed as Albilande moved into its age of steam, this was not the case.
On seventeen occasions the patent office of Olde Albilande had a patent request From the small scale weapons producer D. isembowler and sons regarding a small blade to be fixed under the barrel of a musket. Each time this request was ignored without reply. Why would this be?, The answer was clear, the head of the patent office, one Sir Rillington Pike, one of the four hiers to the Pike company of weaponsmiths to the King had more than a vested interest in the continuation of the use of the weapon with which he shared his name, indeed his Farther and two uncles ran the company!. It is even reported the company performed an extremely hostile take over of D. isembowler and sons (the sons were never herd from again) later in the year. Thus the madness of blocks of men holding long sticks facing off against the newly invented heavy tank (est The Pike Company) was made real. Its highly ironic in this writers mind that the major advances in steam technology brought about by the work of the genius Leonard Dubruinvinchi not only in the area of industry but also in warfare with his rtanks was in direct opposition to the thinking of the industry he produced his designs for. Again Olde Albilande just beggers belief!.