Borders Drawn in Blood
Interior of small courtyard, Scala Castle in Verona – currently called Castelvecchio
“Do you know your letters?
Then carve it into his chest so that all might know the cost of deserting me.”
-Cangrande Della Scala, Podesta of Verona
It is 1150ad. In the 250 years since the death of Charlemagne and the formation of the Holy Roman Empire it has become increasingly unstable. The influence of the Empire has dwindled. Territories have rebelled and formed their own independent nations. Other local Lords vie for control of land, money, and power as they wage war and continually redefine political boundaries. The map is redrawn time and time again as countless people die in the name of one leader or another. The Empire built by Charlemagne has eroded into a collection of semi-autonomous states.
The Church is torn. The normal refuge for the people is governed by two opposing Popes, one elected by the college of Cardinals, the other appointed by the Holy Roman Emperor. The empire has besieged the Vatican with the hopes of permanently installing just the one.
It is a time of violence and chaos. It is also a time when nobility was not just determined by birthright; it could be gained at the tip of a sword. And, with constant political unrest and nobles backstabbing one another, ruling is just as dangerous as soldiering.
Everyday people live their lives navigating this landscape of violence and intrigue. Everyone has a choice to resign themselves to a fate determined by others, or to challenge the powerful. Perhaps, with some luck, one might even be able to carve off a piece of the map for himself.
This campaign is a pseudo-historic narrative taking place in Medieval Italy. Major events and characters in the campaign are based upon the historical record. Events and characters are taken from anywhere between 1150ad and 1350ad as a way of providing a context to the story. Dates and locations are altered to provide a complex, but easily understood environment within which the player characters might interact. This campaign is a Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 game.