The Fanatasy Role-Playing Game of Medieval Germany



Gothic Germany




The Universal (Catholic) Church in Darklands is based on the historical Church as it existed in the 15th Century. The beliefs portrayed are appropriate to the people of this era. Of course, the Church and the beliefs in the game are nothing like the modern Catholic Church. In the late 1500s and early 1600s the Church underwent a dramatic change, a vast "house-cleaning" during the Counter-Reformation that cured many ills and created many new, vital institutions. Furthermore, modern man frequently approaches the role of religion in life quite differently from medieval man.

In fact, even during the 1400s many people regarded the Church as decadent and/or confused. By 1409 it had no less than three competing Popes (Benedict XIII in Avignon, Gregory XII in Rome, and Alexander Vin Pisa). In a series of great councils, this chaos was resolved, but the remaining "one" Pope was quite poor, and his city (Rome) was threatened by various invading powers. As a result, the Roman Popes of the late 1400s seemed more like secular princes than theological leaders. For example, in 1492 Rodrigo Borgia became Pope Alexander VI. His son and daughter (through a mistress), Cesare and Lucretia Borgia, are infamous to this day.

In addition to poor Popes, the Church suffered many other evils. Simony (the sale of church positions, usually to noblemen) was normal practice. Men who purchased these priesthoods, abbeys, bishoprics or archbishoprics could hold more than one, and frequently lived somewhere else entirely! They entrusted day-to-day affairs to rapacious subordinates who were expected to extract sufficient gifts, tithes, etc. to make the purchase profitable!

Despite the rule of celibacy, clerics from country priests to the Pope himself had mistresses. Excommunications were invoked and revoked to suit immediate political ends. "Indulgences" could be purchased that virtually pardoned any sin -- for a price. On the opposite end of the scale, priests in small villages and hamlets often were as poor as the peasants, ignorant of Latin, unable to say mass correctly, and all too often subservient to the local nobleman (i.e., strongman).

Many church ceremonies and beliefs were overlaid with superstition and ignorance. The trade in relics was so brisk that one cleric quipped that there were enough pieces of the "True Cross" to make a forest. He was answered that this was just one more holy miracle!

This confusion of altruistic theology and decadent reality led to a similar duality among the worshippers, the common people of the land. Clerics might be viewed with suspicion, but nobody doubted God's existence, nor His ability to reward or punish, either now or in the life hereafter. Belief in miracles and divine aid was commonplace. The concept that saints interceded between a worshipper and God was easy to grasp, especially if a saint was "useful" for specific things. Similarly, saintly relics might be expected to provide specific kinds of aid.

A practical person could see a practical value in all this. A miner would pray to St. Barbara, while an archer might choose St. Sebastian. Having directed their prayers correctly, each would confidently expect a little aid in their endeavors. Even those who doubted might still pray, if only as insurance. For similar reasons, clerics from friars to prelates were feared: they might command divine aid for themselves, or possibly visit divine displeasure on their enemies. The unspoken threat of this was enough in many situations.

Monasteries in this era were a great church institution, many dating back to the Dark Ages. Here monks or nuns supposedly retired from all worldly affairs and devoted their attention to God. In the darkest ages, monks kept alive the flame of knowledge. But in this era, many monasteries and convents became corrupt. Some were thriving businesses with vast lands, competing with guilds and merchants. Others were great political states, such as the Abbey of Fulda, itself a minor principality.

A new development in the Middle Ages was the mendicant friars, such as the Franciscans. Originally these were travelling preachers and pilgrims, men who lived on alms and helped those in need, emulating Christ's first disciples. Alas, by the 15th Century some friars were ignorant louts or lazy beggars, living from largess. Others were charismatic confidence-men, making wild speeches and soliciting donations for imaginary purposes.

The 1400s were the last and worst years of the "old" medieval Church. In 1517 Martin Luther posted his famous 95 theses, sparking the Protestant Reformation, which in turn sparked the Catholic Counter-Reformation. These twin events swept away the old Church. In its place evolved the modern Catholic Church, an orderly, carefully regulated, and far more altruistic institution.

MORALITY IN DARKLANDS: Ethics and morality in the Middle Ages was somewhat different from today. Violence was a common part of life. The general sentiment was that fighting, per se, does not affect virtue. The goal of the fight was the important thing. Virtuous goals made the fight acceptable, petty or evil goals made it wrong. Of course, people still treasured peace. Constant fighting was considered immoral too.

Direct, physical attacks against the Church, or pursuing heretical activities (such as worshipping Satan) were wrong. No matter what the situation or extenuating circumstances, it was never virtuous to attack or kill weak, defenseless clerics. Similarly, unprovoked attacks on the aged, the infirm, or the defenseless were reviled. However, should a Priest or Bishop attack with a sword, he could be fought without risk to one's soul.


Medieval Saints

In medieval Europe, saints were one of the most popular aspects of the Catholic Church. Their cults were many and varied. People with a simple concept of their religion saw saints as little more than demi-gods -- someone to whom you prayed for a specific goal. Of course, some churches, cathedrals, and monasteries encouraged a larger conception of saints, especially their own patron saint(s). Still, even their services and ceremonies promoted a sense of mystery, awe, and the miraculous.

A specific method for canonizing saints did not exist until 1638. In the 15th Century saints included those recognized by the Pope as worthy of veneration on their appropriate day, plus those popularly recognized in the region. Certain saints were extremely popular in some areas, while virtually unknown in others. Learning about all the saints was more than a lifetime activity for any man, and complicated by the fact that new people were hailed as saints at every turn.

The saints in Darklands include many popular during the Middle Ages. Many of these are no longer officially venerated by inclusion on the Papal calendar. For example, Barbara was a very popular medieval saint, one of the "fourteen holy helpers" and the patroness of miners. In the later Middle Ages artillery gunners chose her as their patron, while in the early modern period she was adopted by architects and builders. Today most scholars doubt that she even existed; her name was removed from the Vatican's Calendar in 1969.

SAINTS AND ADVENTURING: When praying to saints, the "skills" of virtue and religious training are invaluable. Every saint requires a certain level of virtue, so the higher your virtue, the more saints are available for prayer. Furthermore, if your virtue exceeds the required amount, there is a bonus to your chance of success.

The desirability of high virtue, and the requirement that a person know a saint before praying to him or her, might suggest that a party have just one "religious specialist." However, the divine favor (DF) cost for each prayer can be very high. Frequently a character will exhaust all his or her DF in one to three calls. Therefore, spreading saintly knowledge among the party can be useful, so all party members can pray to saints at various times, not just one or two.

The best way to restore exhausted divine favor is to spend time praying (while "staying here" in camp or at an inn), and to visit city churches and cathedrals for confession and mass. If you need to restore large amounts of DF quickly, large tithes or gifts to churches or cathedrals are appropriate. The rate at which DF is restored depends on a character's religious training.

The best way to learn about new saints is to visit monasteries and universities around the land. Needless to say, knowledge of Latin, as well as Reading and Writing, are crucial in researching information about saints. Good religious training doesn't hurt either!


Darklands Saints

It is quite unlikely that any one party will learn all the different saints known in Darklands. The sheer size of Greater Germany, plus the dictates of chance, suggest that at least some saints will remain undiscovered.

The reputed aid saints can provide is summarized below, along with minimum virtue required and their saint day. Actual aid may vary with the situation. Improvements to strength or endurance may be restoration of lost amounts, or true improvements. "Weapons" indicates an improvement in all weaponry skills. "Translation" is a theological term that means flying (moving through the air without visible support). See key to the abbreviations {original manual states, "For a key to the abbreviations, see page 93}.

Unless otherwise noted, the normal duration for saintly aid is one day.


ADRIAN (Virt 43) Dec 1; Chr, Weapons, End.
AGATHA (Virt 24) Feb 5; Chr, End (more if female).
AGNES (Virt 19) Jan 21; improves Local Rep, Chr.
AIDAN (Virt 23) Jan 31; WdWs; helps with animals.
ALBERT THE GREAT (Virt 39) Nov 15; Int, Per, SpkL, R&W,�Alch.
ALCUIN (Virt 44) May 19; Int, SpkL, R&W.
ALEXIS (Virt 28) Jul 17; improves Local Rep, Chr, provides a little money if extremely poor.
ANDREW (Virt 14) Nov 30; End, Chr, improves Local Rep in distant lands.
ANDREW THE TRIBUNE (Virt 37) Aug 19; most Weapons.
ANTHONY (Virt 35) Jan 17, Chr, SpkC, SpkL, R&W, Str, End; may banish a powerful demon.
ANTHONY OF PADUA (Virt 59) Jun 13; Str, Per, Chr, wImp, SpkC, SpkL.
ARNULF (Virt 18) Jul 18; Str, Per, Weapons, SpkL, R&W, StrW, Ride.
APOLLINARIUS (Virt 78) Jan 8; Str, End; frequently routs enemies.
BARBARA (Virt 32) Dec 4; wMsD, Artf; sometimes prevents death.
BATHILDIS (Virt 21) Jan 30; Int, Per.
BONIFACE (Virt 25) Jun 5; Chr, Weapons, SpkC.
CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA (Virt 46) Nov 25; Int, Chr, SpkC.
CATHERINE OF SIENA (Virt 33) Apr 29; Per, Chr, SpkC; sometimes senses evil or foresees future.
CECILIA (Virt 41) Nov 22; Chr, Improves Local Rep; can prevent suffocation or drowning.
CEOLWULF (Virt 23) Jan 15; Str, Int, Per, Weapons, SpkL.
CHARITY (Virt 40) Aug 1; End; may improve party armor against flame, greatly improves one person's armor against anything.
CHRISTINA THE ASTONISHING (Virt 54) Jul 24; Agl, Chr; sometimes allows translation.
CHRISTOPHER (Virt 31) Jul 25; Str, End, wBow, StrW, WdWs, Ride; improves travel speed for a week.
CLARE (Virt 33) Aug 11; Str, End; sometimes routs satanic enemies.
CLOTILDA (Virt 22) Jun 3; Str, End, Chr, Heal.
COLEMAN OF CLOYNE (Virt 34) Nov 24; Chr, SpkC, SpkL, R&W.
COLUMBA (Virt 36) Jun 9; Str, End, Chr, wEdg, wImp, wFll, wPol; temporarily lose some Per.
COSMAS (Virt 15) Sep 26; Str, End, Per, Heal; learn of St.Damian.
CRISPIN (Virt 28) Oct 25; improves non-metal armor quality, reduces enemy non-metal armor quality.
CYPRIAN (Virt 54) Sep 26; Int, Alch; may stop some satanic magic.
DAMIAN (Virt 30) Sep 26; Str, End, learn of St. Cosmas.
DAVID (Virt 30) May 24; Chr, Int, Per, Weapons, Ride.
DENIS (Virt 38) Oct 9; Str, End, Chr, SpkC; improves Local Rep in distant lands.
DERFEL GADARN (Virt 57) Apr 5; Str, End, Weapons.
DEVOTA (Virt 26) Jan 17; Str, End, Chr; improves Local Rep in distant lands; helps to escape or withstand torture.
DISMAS (Virt 53) Mar 25; Agl, StrW, WdWs, Artf, Stlh (for entire party); helps in prison escapes or dealings with thieves.
DOMINIC (Virt 29) Aug 8; Int, SpkC, SpkL, R&W; may help in dealings with Dominicans and inquisitors.
DOROTHY OF MONTAU (Virt 52) Oct 30; Chr, Per, Heal; improves Local Rep in NE Germany; helps to sense evil intent; may provide a longsword to the needy.
DROGO (Virt 59) Apr 16; Per, Heal, WdWs; improves travel speed for a week.
DUNSTAN (Virt 45) May 19; Per, Weaponry, StrW, Artf, Alch; may improve metal armor quality and reduce enemy metal armor quality.
DYMPHNA (Virt 21) May 15; Agl, Stlh, Heal, End; sometimes routs satanic enemies.
EDWARD THE CONFESSOR (Virt 5) Oct 13; End, Int, Per, Weaponry, Ride; if anyone in party has virtue less than 20, their virtue is raised, but party loses wealth.
ELIGIUS (Virt 29) Dec 1; Artf, Alch; certain weapons increase inquality.
EMYDIUS (Virt 31) Aug 9; Chr, SpkC; may purify or destroy a satanic site.
ENGELBERT (Virt 40) Nov 7; Chr, WdWs, Ride, SpkC; allows passage over water.
ERASMUS (Virt 32) Jun 2; Agl, Per; improves party armor against flame or lightning; may help in dealing with sailors or seamen.
ERIC (Virt 42) May 18; Str, Chr, Weapons, SpkC, Ride; improves Local Rep in distant lands; may help in dealings with nobility (especially evil nobility).
EUSTACE (Virt 41) Sep 20; Weapons except impact and flails, WdWs, Ride; improves travel through forests for a week.
FELIX OF NOLA (Virt 37) Jan 14; Agl, Stlh, WdWs; may help you escape from prison once.
FINBAR (Virt 17) Sep 25; Per, Chr, SpkL.
FINNIAN (Virt 24) Sep 10; Chr, Agl, StrW, SpkC, R&W; allows passage over water.
FLORIAN (Virt 17) May 4; Weaponry, Ride, improves Local Rep in Austria and Poland; allows passage over water.
FRANCIS OF ASSISI (Virt 10) Oct 1; End, Per, Chr, SpkC, Virt; lose some wealth with every successful prayer.
GABRIEL (Virt 56) Sep 29; Int, Per; may cause enemies to flee battle; can sometimes see a person's mind or heart.
GENEVIEVE (Virt 73) Jan 3; Str, End; can prevent attacks, or sometimes prevent further fighting.
GEORGE (Virt 23) Apr 23; Str, Agl, Weaponry, Ride; weapons and armor quality improves.
GERLAC (Virt 34) Jan 5; Str, End, Chr, Weaponry, Heal.
GERTRUDE OF NIVELLES (Virt 26) Mar 17; SpkL, R&W, WdWs, Ride; can help you to nearest city instantly; sometimes offers insights into the future.
GILES (Virt 45) Sep 1; Str, End, Stlh, StrW, WdWs; temporarily lose some Agl and significant Weaponry skills; provides some money if very poor.
GILES OF PORTUGAL (Virt 64) May 4; Int, Per, Artf, Alch (very large); suffer - 1 Virt and a 1 point wound to Str.
GODEHARD (Virt 39) May 4; End, SpkL, R&W, can prevent some natural disasters.
GODFREY (Virt 55) Nov 7; End, Artf, SpkC; may sense evil in clerics; may prevent a fight.
GOTTSCHALK (Virt 44) Jun 7; Weaponry; improves Local Rep in Wendish (NW) Germany.
GREGORY THAUMATURGUS (Virt 74) Nov 17; Chr, Alch, Artf, SpkC; may briefly improve all Attributes and Skills; useful in some desperate situations.
HEDWIG (Virt 16) Oct 16; Str, End, Heal; improves Local Rep in Silesia; may encourage nobility to reveal information.
HENRY (Virt 61) Jul 13; Int, Weaponry; helps in some dealings with nobility.
HERIBERT (Virt 30) Mar 16; Str, Chr; helps in some dealings with farmers.
HERVE (Virt 47) Jun 17; Per; may sense evil in people.
HILDEGARD (Virt 13) Sep 17; Per; improves Local Rep in W. Germany; may provide dreams or visions of the future.
HUBERT (Virt 34) Nov 3; wPol, wThr, wBow, wMsD, Stlh, WdWs; may prevent problems with woodland animals.
ILLTYD (Virt 63) Nov 6; Chr, Weapons, SpkC, Ride.
ISIDORE (Virt 21) May 15; Chr, SpkC, StrW, improves Local Rep in distant lands; may help in dealings with peasants.
ITA (Virt 85) Jan 15; Str, End, Chr, Heal.
JAMES THE GREATER (Virt 25) Jul 25; Str, End, Chr, Virt; temporarily lose some Int; improves Local Rep in distant lands.
JANUARIUS (Virt 66) Sep 19; prevents many animals attacks; with relic could prevent many attacks.
JOHN OF BRIDLINGTON (Virt 36) Oct 21; Str, End (both greater for females).
JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (Virt 37) Sep 13; Chr, SpkC, SpkL; temporarily lose some Per; unavailable during some festivals.
JOHN CLIMACUS (Virt 20) Mar 30; increases all skills proportionate to the prayer's virtue.
JOHN NEPOLMUCHEN (Virt 22) May 16; Chr, Int, SpkC, StrW; improves Local Rep in Bohemia, especially Prag; may force a person to speak the truth.
JOSEPH (Virt 27) Mar 19, Artf, StrW, sometimes Chr.
JUDE (Virt 15) Oct 28; improves attributes and skills, but some wears off quickly; may help in "hopeless" situations.
JULIAN THE HOSPITALER (Virt 61) Feb 12; WdWs, Ride; aids in crossing bridges, fords or ferries.
KESSOG (Virt 31) Mar 10; Str, End, Chr, SpkC, Heal, Ride.
LASDISLAUS (Virt 51) Jun 27; Str, Agl, Weaponry, SpkC, Ride.
LAWRENCE (Virt 20) Aug 10; End, Chr, SpkC, StrW; helps to escape or withstand torture.
LAZARUS (Virt 80) Dec 17; Str, End; may reduce the possibility of death.
LONGINIUS (Virt 49) Mar 15; Weaponry, improves weapons quality.
LUCY (Virt 77) Dec 13; Str, End, Per.
LUKE (Virt 17) Oct 18; Str, End, Heal.
LUTGARDIS (Virt 60) Jun 16; Chr, Per, Virt; temporarily lose some End; sometimes allows translation (levitation).
MARGARET (Virt 46) Jul 20; Str, End (both greater if female); some benefit to other attributes and skills for females only; gives one character superior protection from flames.
MARGARET OF CORTONA (Virt 52) Feb 22; Str. End, SpkC, Heal.
MARK (Virt 35) Oct 7; Agl, R&W.
MARTIN OF TOURS (Virt 69) Nov 11; Str, End, Chr, Per, SpkC, Ride; may sense evil in people.
MATTHEW (Virt 26) Sep 21; Int, SpkL, R&W, may help with bankers.
MAURICE (Virt 81) Sep 22; wEdg, Alch; improves quality of edged weapons.
MICHAEL (Virt 72) Sep 29; Chr, Weaponry, Heal, improves Local Rep; may improve quality of weapons and armor.
MILBURGA (Virt 71) Feb 23; Chr, Heal; sometimes allows translation (levitation).
MOSES THE BLACK (Virt 66) Aug 28; Weaponry, Stlh, StrW, WdWs.
NICHOLAS (Virt 49) Dec 6; Agl, Chr, Ride; improves Local Rep in Lorraine, distant lands; may save ships in storms.
NICOLAS OF TOLENTINO (Virt 31) Sep 1; Restores all Str, some End, improves Relg and Heal.
ODILIA (Virt 25) Dec 13; Per, improves Local Rep in Alsace.
ODO (Virt 47) Jul 4; Per, Chr, Weaponry, SpkC.
OLAF (Virt 18) Jul 29, End, Weaponry.
PANTALEON (Virt 56) Jul 27; Str, End, Alch, Heal; may discourage animal attacks; improve someone's armor against flame; allows passage over water.
PATRICK (Virt 22) Mar 17; Str, Chr, wEdg, wImp, wPol, SpkC, SpkL, R&W; may improve armor against missiles.
PAUL THE APOSTLE (Virt 19) Jun 29; End, Chr, SpkC, SpkL, R&W; improves Local Rep in distant lands; may prevent escape from prison or hostage situations.
PAUL THE SIMPLE (Virt 70) Mar 1; Str, End; temporarily lose considerable Int; may permit one to see into another's mind.
PERPETUA (Virt 16) Mar 7; Chr; may discourage animal attacks.
PETER (Virt 58) Jun 29; Str, Chr, wEdg, SpkC, SpkL, Heal; temporarily lose considerable Per; may allow escape from prison.
PETER OF ATROA (Virt 62) Jan 1; Int, Per, Ride, Stlh, Alch; but lose a little Local Rep permanently.
POLYCARP (Virt 19) Feb 23; gives significant flame protection to entire party.
RAPHAEL (Virt 75) Sep 29; Str, End, Agl, Per, Heal; may purify or destroy satanic sites.
RAYMOND PENAFORT (Virt 67) Jan 7; Int, R&W; helps with church law; allows passage over water.
RAYMOND LULL (Virt 29) Jun 30; Int, Alch, R&W; restores some Str and End if extremely low.
REINOLD (Virt 27) Jan 7; End, Alch, Artf; temporarily lose some Chr; helps in climbing stone walls, finding secret doors and passages.
ROCH (Virt 19) Aug 16; Str, End, Artf, Heal; helps deal with plagues.
SABAS THE GOTH (Virt 64) Apr 12; Str, End, Chr.
SEBASTIAN (Virt 28) Jan 20; Str, End, Agl, Weaponry (especially wBow); Ride; helps deal with plagues.
STANISLAUS (Virt 42) Apr 11; Str, End, Chr, SpkC, SpkL, improves Local Rep in Poland.
STEPHEN (Virt 27) Aug 16; Int, Chr, Weaponry, SpkC, Ride; improves Local Rep in Hungary (Pressburg).
SWITHBERT (Virt 25) Mar 1; Str, End, Chr, SpkC.
TARACHUS (Virt 50) Oct 11; Str, End, Chr; may stop animal attacks.
THALELAEUS THE MERCIFUL (Virt 62) May 20; Str, End, Heal.
THEODORE TIRO (Virt 38) Nov 9; Chr, Weaponry, Ride.
THOMAS THE APOSTLE (Virt 24) Jul 1; Str, End, SpkC, Heal, Artf, WdWs.
THOMAS AQUINAS (Virt 68) Jan 28; Int, SpkL, R&W, Relg; may help at universities or monasteries.
VALENTINE (Virt 48) Feb 14; Str, End, Chr, SpkC, Stlh, Heal.
VICTOR OF MARSEILLES (Virt 65) Jul 21; Str, End, Chr, Weaponry, SpkC.
VITUS (Virt 48) Jun 15; Chr, Agl; may dispel a demon; when travelling may get you to nearest city; success could cause person praying to collapse (End=0).
WENCESLAUS (Virt 44) Sep 26; Str, Int, Per, Weaponry, Ride; improves Local Rep in Bohemia.
WILFRID (Virt 25) Oct 12; End, Chr, Artf, SpkC, improves travel speed for a week.
WILLEHAD (Virt 35) Nov 8; Agl, WdWs, Ride; may cause enemy to hesitate during a fight.
WILLEBALD (Virt 50) Jun 6; Chr, SpkC, WdWs.
WILLIBORORD (Virt 43) Nov 7; Chr, SpkC, WdWs; improves Local Rep in N Germany.
WOLFGANG (Virt 24) Oct 31; Int, Chr, SpkC, WdWs, Ride; may improve relations with villagers or nobles.
ZITA (Virt 23) Apr 27; End, Per, StrW; may provide information from servants.




There are many holy relics in Darklands. The powers or abilities of relics are both uncertain and miraculous.

Generally, relics only aid the bearer, not the entire party. Some relics are weapons of miraculously high quality, which means that any hits the bearer scores will do exceptionally large amounts of damage. Some relics may aid a character in calling upon the related saint. Other relics may improve the effects of a saint once a successful call is made. A few relics can even improve the attributes or skills of whomever carries them. In rare cases, other members of the party may be affected as well.

To learn more about a relic's effects, pass it around among the party members, call upon any related saint, and try using it as a weapon.



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