The Winter Crusade
A Campaign for Castles and Crusades
The King of Avignus takes his knights and barons on crusade against the Goblyn Queen, whose hordes terrorize the holy eastern lands. His kingdom is left under the stewardship of his only son, who is also the High Cleric of the Rolls Sable. The young prince struggles to protect Avignus from northern barbarians, orcs and goblins pouring down from the eastern mountains, and from upstart lords who see this time as an opportunity to expand their own territories.
Old knights refer to conflicts that are futile, or may have results whose costs are not worth the effort, as “Winter Crusades.” A Winter Crusade is a fool's fight, a battle that isn't worth fighting. In recent days, the prince's efforts to collect taxes and church tribute from returning knights' war chests are being called a Winter Crusade. Armed soldiers in the service of the church visit knights' castles and manors, collecting tithes from newly-returned lords. The knights, who have survived war against the Goblyn Queen, resent this additional tax on their hard-won war chests.
The Winter Crusade takes place in a kingdom that is struggling like a flower breaking through early-spring soil. When the empire receded and closed its borders, it left behind provinces and other lands that were forced to fend for themselves. Some, like Avignus and Vinlund, have grown and thrived into potent kingdoms. Others, like the mountainous Ghent, crumbled without the security and support of the empire. The empire itself has receded back to its homeland of Vitare. There, the ancient dynastic Imperial houses attempt to live as they did when the empire was at its highest. They reside in crumbling manors, overlooking vast estates that they've held for a millennium.