Posted on February 20, 2019
Resources for the Weird Fantasy English Civil War
As mentioned in earlier blog posts, my Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign is set during the English Civil War, starting as it did with the excellent England Upturn’d module published by LotFP by Barry Blatt. I thought I’d post here a collection of online resources which I have found very useful for my campaign. I hope it is useful and/or informative to people who might be interested in using the setting as the basis for their own campaign.
Barry Blatt’s England Upturn’d is a great module and campaign resource for any English Civil War campaign. Even if you don’t intend to start your campaign with the adventure in this book, you should start your planning for an English Civil War campaign as the referee with this book. Its appendices alone are filled with great material about alignment, religion, equipment, etc. I happen to think that of all the LotFP modules published since the publisher decided to go with the “Early Modern” era setting, England Upturn’d does the best job of actually showing how to merge D&D into history.
Get it in print or in PDF from the LotFP store: http://www.lotfp.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=232
The author of the module, Barry Blatt, has a blog with numerous helpful blog posts with resources and the like. I link to a few posts here and you can dig around and find others (mostly made during 2015 and 2014):
- The Book Women of Westminster
- Daniel Axtel: Bastard at Large
- Freeborn John
- King James’ Submarine (!!!)
- 101 Uses of a Hanged Man
- Verum Jesuitarum Libellus
- Sir Kenelm Digby (who has become a “quest giver” of sorts in my campaign)
Other Adventure Modules
I have used quite a few other adventure modules which are either explicitly set in the English Civil War, or require trivial adaptation to make them set during the English Civil War:
- Sirenswail by Dave Mitchell (buy it on Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/dave-mitchell/sirenswail/paperback/product-22828699.html) is explicitly set during the English Civil War
- Forgive Us by Kelvin Green (PDF from DriveThru via my affiliate link) is set in England two decades before the war – easy to update
- Tales of the Scarecrow by James Raggi IV (PDF from DriveThru via my affiliate link) is easy to drop into any field in England
- The God that Crawls by James Raggi IV (PDF from DriveThru via my affiliate link) is set in England several decades before the war – easy to update (just watch that you update the page on monarchs and Archbishops of Canterbury if your players actually thumb through these papers in detail)
- The Tower of the Stargazer by James Raggi IV (PDF from DriveThru via my affiliate link) can be incorporated too. I include it here because my own campaign was heavily influenced by it not because it is necessarily particularly English Civil War themed.
Some of the other LotFP adventures may be “OK” as well, but I am unconvinced about their viability to be set in England in the early 17th century largely for religious grounds. For example, No Salvation for Witches seems to me to require a convent and nuns and is set in England in 1620, but these should be mutually incompatible from an historical perspective. Other modules which are not specifically set in early 17th Century England but which incorporate religious orders have the same issue. You might want to go with these modules anyway in your campaign depending on how much attention you’re paying to those details, or just modify the religious orders to something lower key to suit the Laudian Church of England.
There are a good number of period maps available for free online which will look good at your table, whether it is virtual like mine, or physical.
My main source of campaign kingdom and regional maps was recommended to me by Barry Blatt: John Speed’s maps (circa 1610)
I also make heavy use of historical city maps from other sources which I mostly retrieved on Google:
- Maps and views of London and Westminster and surrounds
- British History Online has lots of floor plans of historic buildings from all around England. This particular example page has the floor plan of Kimbolton Castle (recently looked up when my players decided they wanted to kill the Earl of Manchester)
- After England Upturn’d your players might want to travel north to Hull to witness the first (albeit abortive) military action of the Civil War.
English Civil War Readings
I’ve used a variety of sources about England in the lead up to and during the Civil War. Wikipedia is great if you know exactly who and what you are looking up, but not so great to get a general sense of events and areas. These are more useful resources to familiarise yourself with the Civil War itself, and with topics like the treatment of magic in Early Modern England:
- Cavaliers and Roundheads – I have it in paperback. It’s a good overview of the war.
- Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms – Another book, bigger and broader and covers Ireland and Scotland too, in case your campaign goes beyond England.
- BCW Project – probably the best overall layman’s resource I have found online for the Civil War
- Gaskill, M. (2008). The Pursuit of Reality: Recent Research into the History of Witchcraft. The Historical Journal, 51(4), pp1069–1088. Retrieved from URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20175215
- Kassell, L. (2006). “All Was This Land Full Fill’d of Faerie,” or Magic and the past in Early Modern England. Journal of the History of Ideas, 67(1), pp107-122. Retrieved from URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3840402
My Own Resources
I’ve already posted some of my own resources developed for my Civil War campaign, which I link to here for convenience:
- Coins of the English Civil War in LotFP
- Races of the Hollow Earth: Demihumans (this is based on the premise of the England Upturn’d module that the world is hollow and filled with magical creatures – I use this to justify the inclusion of the demihuman classes in my game)
- Races of the Hollow Earth: Fomorians (enemies of the elves inside the Hollow Earth)
I have developed some other things too which I am still working on and will post as they are completed.