The Historical Truth

There is none. Just because someone believes something to historically have been the case it does not mean it was. This is not a hard history game and relevant timelines, snapshots or details shall be contained in the player's briefing material. It may be that broad brushstrokes may be correct, ie the list of english kings previous to the current, but the view point that the crusades history is written from in the 21st century is with an eye that has had 800 years to judge and assess it all. It may look very different standing much closer to the ground.

Because of this we would like to make it clear that feel and theme are more important to us; that “getting it right” in CRUSADE! means carrying the emotions of the game and concepts through rather than focusing on the historical detail or reality.

There are however two marked differences that we will discuss separately, below.

A note on women and their role in society

It is not our intention to repeat the historical misogyny that existed in this period. Women are considered the physical and emotional equivalents of their male counter parts in the World of Crusade, as opposed to the prejudices that were evident in the real world period. Chivalry therefore has evolved around the concepts of the protection of the innocent and is as likely to call for the defense of a man as it is a woman. All children are considered innocents.

In the case of inheritance the matter is more granular and based on individual cultures. Some maintain paternal and other maternal inheritance and these will be listed in the cultural briefs.

A note on magic and its role in society

Like the role of women in Crusade there is a notable difference between the real world and the world of Crusade when it comes to magic. First of all magic is real. All those superstitions and old wives' tales about magic could be true, or at least rumours. Stories about Egyptians distilling elixirs of life and European Wizards summoning fire from the sky are widespread and can be viewed as both far-travelling truths or obvious lies meant to scare the idiotic. Tales of Witches curing wounds and tricksy Gypsies are slightly more believable, and are taken as fact - especially if you've met a village's Wise Woman or a duplicitous bandit.

In Short: Feel free to believe or disbelieve magic, although it's much harder to deny when your country has been practicing it for generations.

Themes in Game


This will be a game that requires resolution of issue between opposing party. There will be wars. There will be subterfuges. There will be clever twists of diplomacy. Only history will know the winners. Conflict is sure to happen, and like the actual Crusades, it will be brutal. If a player chooses to personally lead his army into battle, accepts a one-on-one duel, or falls prey to a plot that his men and constitution are unable to save him from, there is the possibility of them dying. However, this is not to say that every loss ends in death - in fact, the above are possibly the only broad examples. Conflicts are much more likely to involve the control of resources such as armies, territory and cities. The death of one General is likely to be a blow, but one which can be easier recovered from than the loss of an entire army.

In short: Conflict is inevitable in a game about Wars, but please don't let this scare you! Death is far from certain.

Discovery and Introspection

Instead of mapping the world this is a game of discovery of a more internal kind, of fundamental truths about the nature of humanity and of ancient mysteries lost. The known world is a very specific, if not dangerous, place, consisting of Europe, The Middle East and some of Africa. The rest of the world is there, but as out of bounds and unknown to you as it would have been to a Lord or Peasant in the 1200's. There are no Americas to discover, Australia to ravage or Asia to obtain to invade. Instead you have the Holy land to obtain, a thousand relics to rediscover, the Arabian Desert to plunder, magic to control and the very nature of faith to pin down. Characters, groups and factions will be rewarded for acts of Faith, Philosophy and Theory as much as they will for discovering a lost city, obtaining the Holy Ark or founding their own city state.


Faith is the most important, binding factor in the world of Crusade. This is not an age like now where religion is an optional factor in making your personality - Faith is an overriding principle that has formed the world around itself, led many to discoveries of Faith and Theory and led many more to Glory on the battlefield in the name of Their Beliefs. Whether you are Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Muslim, Heretical or Iconoclastic, the Faith (or lack thereof) of you (and your people) is something that can lead to inspiration, self-discovery, private Wars, subtle Victories, ascension or even eternal damnation.

In short: In a Game based around Religious Wars, actively performing and acting your Faith, divine or otherwise, is an important part of the setting that will be rewarded and treated with respect.

The Scope and Role of Player Characters

Every session of Crusade will be set within a temple or meeting place for representatives of the Crusading nations to meet, discuss, diplome and trade. For this reason, any Player Character must be someone with a good reason to attend these meetings.

This is quite simple - perhaps you an army's leader, a city representative after lucre, an ambitious merchant, relic hunter, knowledge hungry scholar, Faith-fuelled zealot, wise desert guide, hardened ship's captain, street-rat with uncanny reflexes trusted as an “aide”, etc.

As long as a character can justify regularly visiting this war-torn, diplomacy-heavy atmosphere every 12 months, there is no reason they should not be there.

notes_on_theme_and_historical_truth.txt · Last modified: 2009/03/26 15:28 by ivan
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