Adventures in the Anglo-Saxon Migration

When I consume media of any sort, I get inspired and think about how I could apply it to either my fiction or my gaming. Since my gaming is the creative endeavour on which I spend most of my time these days, it tends to default to gaming. This happened when I listened to the most recent episode of the Fall of Rome – and, as a side note, if you like history or just Rome, you need to be listening to this podcast.

Episode 20: “The Anglo-Saxon Migration, the North Sea World, and the Birth of England” got me thinking of Great Britain in the fifth century. Now, this period has been mined pretty extensively, but generally as it relates to King Arthur. Patrick Wyman, the host, had previously mentioned Riothamus, a possible candidate for the historical Arthur, but other than an offhand reference to this being the period of Arthur, he focuses on the much more interesting – for me – topic of the Anglo-Saxon culture and the history and process of migration.

What I really loved was the discussion of a hypothetical Saxon family, their first introduction to Britain through the father’s work as a mercenary in a Romano-British aristocrat’s armed retinue until his grandchild has carved out a “kingdom” for himself. This is something that could work with Kiss My Axe, which does discuss the Age of Migrations but doesn’t look at the Germanic migration into Great Britain. In Kiss My Axe, all Vikings are linked by the Quality of “Sailing” – the term Viking likely refers to seaborne raiders – and I think for an Anglo-Saxon migration game I’d change that to “Honour.” This would work as a pretty common modifier, mostly to the benefit of the characters – providing them with courage in battle and defence against deception – but also as a Weakness, as that honour can easily be used against them in many situations.

I’m thinking of a game in which the PCs arrive in post-Roman Britain around 420 or so, and follow this group of mercenaries as they rise to positions of power and prestige. This version of Britain would include the supernatural aspects that we now consider superstition, and I would be interested in referencing the religious friction of the heathen Saxons vs. the Christian Romano-British.

Right now, I have a fantasy and a modern spec ops campaigns happening, but there’s nothing stopping me from mapping this campaign out for possible later usage. Perhaps backburner until it comes Kiss My Axe’s turn for revision.

You can find the episode in question here.

You can find the excellent the Fall of Rome podcast here.

You can find Kiss My Axe here.

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