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Angevin Empire

Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1993 01:00:10 -0600

From: Saxon.George.Brenton
Sender: TORG (The TORG mailing list)
Subject: Lord Darcy, part 1 of 2
X-List: The TORG mailing list

Hello fellow alt.games.torgers,

Now that I have finally finished my exams, but before I have
to split for the christams/summer break, I thought I would
inflict on, um, share with you an adaptation of a fictional
reality I have been working on. It's a bit rough, but hopefully
it'll fill the need for something to read on the newsgroup.
Consider it a christmas pressie.
[Share and enjoy - Sirius Cybernetics Corporation motto]

This is the world depicted in the fantasy detective series

of Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories. This fictional world
might be a bit obscure, as it's my understanding that most of
it is out of print. Nevertheless, I think it should make a good
juxtaposition against the Victorians of Gaea, and more generally
all fantasy realities. This is because the Angevin Empire is a
place superficially like Victorian England, but where magic
exists in society as commonly as technology. Yet at the same
time society is neither falling down around the inhabitants'
ears (as on Gaea) nor is magic used as an alternative to
technology for weapons, as on Tharkold, and even Aysle. But
if your players think they can ride roughshod over a cosm where
magic is possible but no-one has offensive spells, don't
hesitate to let them feel both the full effect of their powerful
defensive magics and the full power of the Theory of Ethics.
The latter world law is the reason why magic isn't used as a
weapon, and this makes this cosm very alien to the standard
fantasy genre.

Garrett's stories are always murder mysteries of some type,

ranging from short whodunnits to longer adventure-mysteries
and spy thrillers. They are investigated by Lord Darcy, chief
investigator for the Duke of Normandy, and his associate Master
Sean O'Lochlain, an Irish Master of the Guild of Sorerers and
a specialist in the field of forensic sorcery. Darcy, although
unable to use (or even learn) magic, never fails to solve the
most baffling crimes in ways that his fellows consider near
magical, but which we would think of as Holmesian.

Finally, two warnings. First, this adaptation hasn't been

playtested to any degree, so I can't guarantee it for play
balance. Second, I have been unable to get ahold of all the
short stories mentioned in the bibliography,and consequently
may have missed some fact relevant to the setting. Thus, if
there are cases where my description is seriously at odds with
Garrett's works, you know why.

Part 1 of 2,

This cosm corresponds to the world described in Randall
Garrett's Lord Darcy series of fantasy detective mysteries.
It is an alternate Earth where European culture resembles
the Victorian age of Core Earth, but with the addition of
the use of magic in everyday life.

Historically, this world has two points of divergence from

Core Earth's history. The first was in the 12th century when
Richard the Lionheart did not take an arrow through the eye
in 1199, but instead suffered a non-fatal wound to the
shoulder. After a period of convalescence during which time
he was able to meditate on his style of leadership, he returned
to rule as a far more just and righteous king, mostly abandoning
his pursuits of war and indulgences in cruelty. Under his
successors (the 800 year old Plantagenet line - the oldest royal
family in Europe) much of Western Europe has been ruled as one
empire, the Angevin Empire, right up into the 20th century. The
Angevin Empire extends from Scotland in the north, to Gascony
in the south, from the German border in the east all the way
across to the continents of the New World of New Engalnd and New
France (North and South America), and is now larger than the
Holy Roman Empire at its height.

The other point of divergence was the systematic study of the

mathematical relationships between magic and healing begun by
the Stephanite monk Saint Hilary Robert in the 14th century in
his _Mathematicka Manticka_. Today magic is just as much a part
of everyday experience as technology is, although the healing
arts were the first to be investigated and are still the best
understood today.

The interaction of these two occurances has had an interesting

cumulative effect on European civilisation in general and on the
Angevin Empire in particular. To put it bluntly, they are
slightly more civilised than the equivalent societies on Earth.
Western Europe has had an extended period of political stability;
there have been wars, especially as the Angevin Empire has
expanded, but there have been no times of outright political
anarchy. Combining with this has been the use of magic by the
church to reveal corrupt individuals who were abusing their
priveleges. Under this situation the feudal social system
actually had a chance to work in the Angevin Empire the way it
was claimed it should; that is, with the aristocracy actively
looking after the interests and well-being of the classes under
them, rather than the whole feudal system just being an excuse
for those in power to oppress others, as is the case in Earth's
and Gaea's histories.

Thus, although the political/social system of the Angevin

Empire is as rigid and stratified as can be expected from a
feudal system, it is surprisingly just. Without poor working
and living conditions there was no development of a large
underclass who were forced to turn to crime in order to
survive, and consequently there was no need to set up foreign
penal colonies. In fact, there was no rush to develop overseas
colonies at all as occured on Core Earth; Angevin ships did not
reach the continents of the New World until 1569, and have had
pretty much total control of it to date.

Also, with the church able to ferret out corruption, including

within itself, there was no impetus for the 16th century
Reformation that developed Protestantism; certainly no
opportunity for the deveopment of the Church of England.
Consequently, the official church of Angevin Empire is Catholic,
and the pope is English. Circumstantial evidence about the
relative knowledge of the average Angevin citizen about Italy
implies that the seat of the papacy remains in Avignon.

Finally, the emphasis on the use of magic for healing and

the relative absence of the need to use magic for warfare has
caused the development of the Theory of Ethics. This unique
world law defines magic used for deliberately destructive
purposes as "black" magic, which corrupts, and will
eventually destroy, the individual using it.

In recent times the Angevin Empire has turned to colonising

the New World. Angevin ships arrived in Mechicoe in 1569, and
the colony of Nova Eboracum (New Borkum) was founded in 1883.
New Borkum stands on Saytchen Island, where Manhattan Island
and New York are on Core Earth. The Angevins are on relatively
good terms with both the tribes that make up the Fifteen
Nations, and the Azteque Empire. Most of the Fifteen Nations,
on the other hand, still hate the Azteque Empire because it
subjegated them when it was at its height. The Azteque Empire
is now dwindling, and withdrew from Northern New England
around 400 years ago.

Meanwhile, the Polish Empire has also undergone expansionist

aims for most of the 20th century. In 1914 King Sisimund III
expanded into Russia, as far as Minsk in the north and Kiev in
the south; but in recent years the Poles have had to withdraw
somewhat in the face of a loose coalition by the Russian states.
Poland took control of the Baltic states up into the 1930s.
The Polish have no desire to tangle with the Turks to their
south, so they have turned their attention to the Germanic
states to their west. Although the Germans nominally owe fealty
to the Angevin Empire as part of the old Holy Roman Empire,
in practice they maintain their indepenence by playing the two
empires against each other. The Polish are trapped in the
Baltic Sea by the Angevins and their Scandanavian allies,
although they did try, disastrously, to fight their way out in
1939. Since then King Casimir IX has developed his s's right
arm") to undermine the Angevin Empire by stealth rather than
direct confrontation.

While the Angevin Empire appears to be at the forefront of

social justice practices for its Social axiom level, the same
is not true of the Polish Empire, where apparently the engine
of government is oiled by graft.


Magic 13 Social 18 Spiritual 13 Technological 18

Magic 13.
This world has a significant amount of magic ingrained into
it. All four types of magic are possible, and are used
regularly just as much as technology is. For instance, food
is kept fresh in a magically enchanted unit called a
preservation box, which is more convenient than casting a
preservation spell on each piece of food. Communications
between major public buildings is by a telephone-like device
called a teleson, which uses two vibrating discs connected by
symbolic copper wire. Most houses have simple privacy spells
to prevent magical intrusion by both spells and talents like
clairvoyance. A report from a licensed forensic sorcerer is
evidence legally admissable in court. Weather wizards can
predict future weather to within several minutes, although
they cannot control the weather; rain dances take a lot of
preparation, and only work about 30% of the time.

No one person can possibly know everything in the fields

of magic, since there are many speciality areas, both pure
and applied, just as with science. Moreover, although magical
products are in common use, few people in the Angevin Empire
pay much attention to the methodology of sorcery, and are
pretty much ignorant about its function and limitations. For
this reason many people are still mired in superstition, and
consult witches and hedge-wizards instead of accredited
sorcerers or priests.

The Angevins actively search for people with magical ability,

encourage them to take up the blue robes of the Sorcerers Guild,
and train them to make the most of their abilities in socially
responsible ways. This training includes explanations of the
differences between black and white magic under the Theory of
Ethics. By comparison, in the Polish Empire the opportunity to
use magic is subject to cronyism and bribery.

Also of note is the way that the society of the Angevin

Empire has affected the way magic has been developed and the
spells that exist there. They have few of the more esoteric
spells for magical combat, and those that exist are primarily
defensive in nature. An Angevin who inspected _Pixaud's
Practical Grimoire_ would find a host of martial spells that
would make her think she was among barbarians, and the spell
repetoir of the cybermages of Tharkold and the occultists of
Orrorsh would horrify her. For the most part magic has been
developed towards socially useful functions, not for
aggressive combat. Even when they go to war they do not use
magic, since spells used to destroy the enemy would constitute
black magic and imperil the souls of the users, as per the
Theory of Ethics. The Polish navy tried, and failed, to use
spells of destruction against the Angevin navy in the war in

This world has not developed invisibility as yet. Instead,

the Tarnhelm Effect causes people to instinctively look away
from the recipient of the spell, although it cannot prevent
them from seeing him in mirrors. While teleportation and
transmutation of metals are theoretically possible, they are
also beyond current abilities.

For the purist GM who wants to follow this world as closely

as possible, there is a major limitration to magic in that it
will not operate on or across an open body of water. This
includes streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. This makes
magical communications by teleson ineffective over long, and
even medium, distances. Have fun when Storm Knights disconnect
for the first time in a situation where this limitation applies.

The fauna of this cosm is identical to that found on Core

Earth. There are no enchanted kindred or fantastic creatures
like dragons that require magic to survive.

Social 18.
Culturally the Angevin Empire is much like that of
Victorian England. However, the stable political situation
that has existed since the 12th century means that they are
comparatively more civilised than the Victorians of Core
Earth, and certainly more civilised than the Victorians of
Gaea are. Thanks to the use of psychic inspection to detect
corruption, particularly from the effects of black magic,
the Angevin Empire's system of government, courts, and
church are extremely honest, just, and equitable. The use of
magic for healing, psychic inspection, and rehabilitation
also kept social conditions from deteriorating to the point
where overseas colonies needed to be set up for the
transportation of convicts. Moreover, the church has used
its magics and miracles to determine to its satisfaction
that all humans possess souls, and has influenced the
Angevin government into following this principle in its
foreign policy. This has kept the "superior" Angevins
from officially adopting a policy of assuming foreign
natives to be soulless animals to be exploited, as happened
on Core Earth with the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and the
initially papally endorsed institution of slavery. A degree of
racism still applies in everyday society, however; few citzens
of any nationality travel widely outside of their home country
or empire.

The Angevin Empire is a parlimanentary government run on

feudal lines, with the Houses of Parliament being resided
over by King John IV, who has a far more control of how the
empire is run than does comparable royalty on Core Earth.
The government of the Angevin Empire is paternal but usually
fair, so there is little if any dissatisfaction with the
political situation that would create the agitation necessary
for further development of democrtatic principles that would
in turn raise the Social axiom.

The capital of the Angevin Empire is London, from where

all decisions are implemented, although the seat of government
itself moves with the king. Court dress lags behind modern
fashion, and is still 17th century dress. The language of the
Empire is Anglo-French. A large part of the Angevin Empire's
wealth is created from trade, particularly the importation of
tobacco, sugar, and cotton from the southern duchies of New
England. The currency is one gold sovereign to fifty silver

The Polish Empire also has a feudal government, controlled

by King Casimir IX. Their government is run by factions. High
German is the language of the Polish court.

The Azteque Empire is remarkably like the Aztec Empire of

Core Earth, within the limitations that the Azteques weren't
corrupted by an amnesiac Darkness Device and didn't get the
opportunity to develop their own axioms and world laws. The
Azteque and Angevin Empires' first and only war was the
Battle of Three Prisoners in 1789, when the Azteques were
decisively defeated by Angevin magic that turned out to be
the more powerful of the two, despite the fact that the
Theory of Ethics limited the Angevin cultural use of magic
but not that of the Azteques. The two empires have been at
peace since then, and the Angevins have beem weaning the
Azteques away from human sacrifice - although it still
flourishes in remote parts of the Azteque Empire. Today the
Azteques practice sacrifice in private, and usually use
their own blood. There is some resentment in Azteque society
towards the meddling of the Angevins, both in the area of
religious sacrifice, and through the practice of the Catholic
church creating local diocese controlled by converted
Mechican nobles.

Spiritual 13.
The divine is known and regularly invoked in this world,
although in Europe the miracles that are accessed are usually
for healing or protection of some type - including exoricisms,
psychic inspection for possession and the spiritual decay that
marks the use of black magic.

Technological 18.
The technological limits of the Angevin Empire are similar
to those of the Victorian England of Core Earth or those of
the Victorians of Gaea. Steam engines exist, and are used for
steam trains, but are not as yet efficient enough to replace
sail for shipping. The rail network in the Angevin Empire is
not so extensive that horse riding couriers aren't still used.
Carriages are horse drawn, although pneumatic tyres and spring
suspension have become common. Lighting is by gas; electricity,
in the form of flashlights, is known but is limited to being a
secret used by government agents. Wristwatches are in common
use. Apart from the teleson, which is limited by its inability
to work across running water, the main methods of long distance
communication are by semaphore and heliotelegraph, both of
which require line-of-sight towers.

Law of Talent.
This world law determines that some people are born with
innate abilities at working magic, which is similar to the
situation in Aysle where everyone is born with innate magical
skills under the Law of Magic. In this case the liklihood of
ability depends on bloodlines; Celts and Magyars are likely
to have the power, Frisians less so, and Normans and Poles
tend not to at all. The GM should determine the incidence in
other races, but as a general rule no race should have all
members endowed with magic, and none should be absolutely
prohibited from having it. Only a small proportion of the
total population have the ability to use magic, and it needs
to be trained for years to work properly and efficiently.

Characters who can use magic automatically gained one add

in one of the four magical skills at birth. If a person is
not born with this first add of magical ability, then he or
she is blocked by this world law from ever developing magic
use to any extent.
Additionally, tied to the spell casting ability is a pulp
power-like magical talent, perhaps more than one. However,
unlike the pulp powers of Terra, these talents are almost
always psychic in nature, and are never powerful abilities.
Truth sensing, the evil eye, and detection of tampering are
all possible. Priest exorcists must always be sensitives,
able to read the psychic aura of a person or place. People
who are perceptives can sense the personality(s) of another
in toto, and so make excellent healers for their ability to
sense mental disorders, multiple personalities, and
possessions. Clairvoyance, clairaudience, witch-smelling,
and precognition are amongst the rarest talents.
Witch-smelling is second only to precognition in rarity,
and is the ability to psychically sense spiritual decay
caused by black magic. Precognition is almost always limited
to natural events (acts of God) rather than human initiated
events. In any case, the mathematics involved in perceiving
the future are poorly understood, so there is no effective
training for precognition as yet.

Pay for these talents by either placing an attribute limit

on them, or an adventure cost.

Theory of Ethics
This governs whether magic is "white" or "black". This
world law has arisen from the fact that magic was first
systmatically studied for its use in healing, and has been
reinforced by the comparative social stability that Europe
has benefitted from since then. For both these reasons
there has never been a perception of a need to use magic
for war or other destructive purposes, and as a result
spells of lethal intent and intensity have never been
created or put to use on a wide scale.

It is because of this that the Theory of Ethics is able

to define magic that causes harm to others as black magic,
and non-destructive magic as white. White magic may be
used for "defensive attacks" that incapacitate an opponent
without harm, but any form of magic that deliberately harms
someone is black magic. Intent is the defining factor in
determining black magic, so that a spell deosn't have to
be officially described as black magic to cause corruption;
clever uses by sneaky players will count as well.

While black magic is more powerful, it inevitably destroys

the user. Black magic causes actual spiritual corruption,
which is detectable by psychic examination by various spells,
miracles, and talents. Since part of the process of renewing
a license every 5 years to be a practicing sorcerer involves
inspection by the church, it is very hard for an accredited
mage to conceal the use of black magic for long. Those who
are found guilty of having been corrupted by black magic
have their magical abilities removed in a process called
"thrumming", which is made possible by this world law. Ten
of the corrupted individual's sorcerous peers join together
to psychically overpower him and strip him of all adds in
the four magical skills to prevent him ever using magic
again. A person who is so relieved of his magic adds is
prevented from ever relearning them again by the Law of
Talent even though other arcane skill adds and spells remain
to him, as if he had never been born with them in the first
place - the Law of Talent prevents him from ever regaining
the first add after which all others follow. The state of
having lost one's power is quite traumatic, and most of
those subjected to it fall into despair and chronic apathy.

The corruption caused by the use of black magic is akin

to the corruption that is gained in both Aysle and Avalon,
and for the purposes of game mechanics the same system of
corruption adds is used. Note, however, that there are
several differences to the gaining of corruption in this
reality. Firstly, corruption is gained only by people who
use magic. This means that black magic is an addictive
activity that draws the user into using more black magic,
but non-magical evil is not and also is not as destructive
to the individual in the long term. Usually corruption is
gained by using magic to deliberately harm others (whether
the attempt was successful or not), or by people who over a
prolonged period of time seriously consider using magic to
harm another person. It is also possible to be corrupted
through magical acts that are profoundly counter to publicly
accepted morality, such as conjuring demons, unprovoked taking
control of another's mind, etc.

Secondly, the gaining of corruption adds does not give the

individual the powers of corruption that would be gained in
Aysle and Avalon. However, the powers granted by corruption
would become automatically available if the corrupted individual
were to transform to Aysle or Avalon reality, or could be
used as a one case contradiction if the corrupted individual
were present in an area of Aysle or Avalon reality. People from
this cosm can gain honour adds and additional corruption adds
when in Aysle or Avalon as normal for those two realities.

Thirdly, there is no corresponding way in this reality to

gain honour adds. This is now realised to be particularly
unfortunate on two counts: firstly because the corrupt cannot
redeem themselves with honourable deeds as they could in Aysle
or Avalon; secondly because those who have been corrupted by
black magic are more powerful in these other magical realities
than those who are not corrupt. Fortunately, most of those
corrupted by black magic are caught and thrummed, and as a
result usually have little motivation left to seek that power.

The existence of the Theory of Ethics affects magical

domination of others, so that it is impossible to
instantaneously take over anothers mind (or use magical
paralysis or holdings) if it is an initial attack. By
comparison, this limitation does not apply if one is
defending against such an attack, and spells such as
modified versions of Spell Bouncer are used to reflect
back the attacker's power. In cases where an attempt is
being made to magically enter or control an unconsenting
individuals mind, the minimum time to suceed is always the
value of the target's Spirit in minutes, regardless of what
the spell's cast or activation time is.
The mindset of the character's intentions determines the
definition of whether an act is black magic, so that
accidental, unintended damage does not accrue corruption.
Interestingly, this means the definition of black magic can
be different in different cultures. Thus, in Azteque Mechicoe
the rituals of sacrificing humans to the gods was not
considered black magic, whereas in Europe it most certainly
is. Sorcerers travelling to the New World must sign a
statement affirming that they understand the differences in
magical use.

This world law only applies to the use of magic, and so only
the evil use of magic can earn corruption adds. Other evil
acts will not earn corruption adds per se, and hence are not
as destructive to the individual in the long term, but the
effects on the psyche will still be detectable by psychic

End of part 1 of 2 parts.

Saxon Brenton
Canberra, Australia

Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1993 01:00:12 -0600

From: Saxon.George.Brenton
Sender: TORG (The TORG mailing list)
Subject: Lord Darcy, part 2 of 2
X-List: The TORG mailing list

This part 2 of 2 of the desription of the reality adapted

from Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy series of fantasy
dectective mysteries.

Cosm attribute limits: 13 for all attributes.

All starting charcters must decide whether they have the

innate ability to use magic from birth. A character who has
this ability must allocate at least one skill add to a magical
skill, even if the character has not yet trained in casting
spells. A charcter that does not start out with at least one
add in a magic skill may never learn magic thereafter.

All characters with some degree of magical ability also

gain a minor psychic talent. At the GM's discretion a player
charcter may be created with two psychic talents. These talents
may be paid for with an attribute limit or a adventure cost.


Tarnhelm Effect (variant on Facade of Normality)

Axiom level: 9
Skill: alteration/living forces 16
Backlash: 18
Difficulty: 11
Effect value: 18
Bonus number to: duration
Range: touch
Duration: 15 (15 minutes)
Cast time: 15 (15 minutes)
Manipulation: control

This focused spell acts as a variant on the Facade of

Normality spell. When cast it causes the person affected not
to be noticed by others. The person affected is subject to a
subtle form of aversion which causes others not to focus on
the place where the recipient is; it is so subtle that they
will usually not notice that their attention is being kept
from that place. However, it is possible to notice the
recipient indirectly in reflected images on mirrors and the
like, since the aversion effect only applies to the person it
is cast on, not to the items that reflect the image.

However, it is not impossible for observers to notice

that their attention is being kept from the particular
place that the spell is affecting. The smaller the area,
the fewer other places there are for people to look away
to, and so the more likely it is for the aversion effect
to be noticed; in extremely small areas it is virtually
impossible not to notice. An observor may roll using her
Perception value to notice the aversion effect. The
difficulty number to beat depends on how enclosed the
space is, and thus how likely the GM reckons the observer
is to notice her attention is being forced elsewhere.
This can be further modified if the recipient of the
spell carries out activities that are likely to attract
attention under normal circumstances.

However, recognising the effect will not end the spell;

that will occur only with the end of the spell's duration
or by dispelling it. Observers will know that something is
afoot and may attempt to deduce the whereabouts of the
aversion effect, but will still be unable to fully focus
on the area and so will be unable to properly determine
what is there. They may even attack that place, but the
recipient of the spell gains a +5 bonus modifier to defences
because of this inability to be seen properly.


Randall Garrett.
Too Many Magicians, New York?, Ace?, 1966

Short Stories,
The Waiting Game, 1951
The Eyes Have It, 1964
A Case of Identity, 1964
The Muddle of the Woad, 1965
A Stretch of the Imagination, 1973
A Matter of Gravity, 1974
The Sixteen Keys, 1976
The Ipswich Phial, 1976
The Spell of War, 1979
The Napoli Express, 1979
Lord Darcy Investigates, New York, Ace, 1979
Murder and Magic, New York, Ace, 1981
Lord Darcy, New York, Doubleday, 1983
The Best of Randall Garrett, ?

Micheal Kurland.
Ten Little wizards, New York, Ace, 1988
A Study in Sorcery, New York, Ace, 1989

And that's it.

Saxon Brenton
Canberra, Australia

Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1993 13:48:37 -0600

To: TORG@cool.khis.com
From: fiacha@prism.nmt.edu (Michaael Cantrell)
Sender: TORG (The TORG mailing list)
Subject: Re: Lord Darcy, part 1 of 2
X-List: The TORG mailing list

I think the spiritual axiom might be a bit high. From what I recall,
of the stories, and it _has_ been a while since I read them, there
is nothing to justify a spiritual axiom that high. (BUT, I could be
wrong.) From what I recall, a Spiritual axiom of 9, would seem to
be in order, i.e., miracles are possible, but rare and somewhat