Saturday, May 16, 2015

Make your own List of Kings

So I've been looking at the length of reigns of the Kings of Wessex/England through to 1139, the first year of the Wessex campaign.  There's about 50 monarchs in that period and a little math shows they reigned on average for about 13 years, with a breakdown something like this:
  • 16% of Wessex monarchs reigned less than 2 years
  • 30% of Wessex monarchs reigned 2-7 years
  • 26% of Wessex monarchs reigned 8-19 years
  • 12% of Wessex monarchs reigned 20-29 years
  • 12% of Wessex monarchs reigned 30-38 years
That doesn't add up to quite 100%, which is why I work in literature and not math.  But it allows me to make a chart for randomly generating the length of a reign of a monarch.  I cracked open my first edition DMG to pages 13-15 to look at the ages of demi-human races and cobbled together this chart:

rollmonarch reign
1d100 weeks
22 or 3 years (50/50 chance)
3d6+3 years
4d6+9 years
5d12+15 years
6d12+28 years
7d20+40 years
8d20+60 years
9d30+80 years
10d30+110 years
11d30+140 years
12d100+170 years
13-15d100+270 years
16-17d100+370 years
18-19d100+470 years
20d1000+570 years


Humans roll d6 on this chart, halflings d8, dwarves d10, gnomes d12 and elves d20.  The basic idea is that longer lived races can have longer average reigns, but the normal vicissitudes of war and politics can also cut them short just as readily as they do humans.  If you are big on alignments you might use the better of two rolls for lawful societies and the lesser of two rolls for chaotic ones.

You can also grant each monarch on your list a 1 in 6 chance of something really memorable happening to them.  Here's a draft chart for that:

d12 roll....deal
  1. Ruler either establishes a new dynasty or reestablishes an old one.
  2. Ruler has the same name as a previous ruler.
  3. Ruler introduced significant religious innovations (1-2), a fundamentalist revival (3-4), or an entirely new religion (5-6).
  4. Ruler known by some epithet like "the Great" or "the Bald" (1-3 positive epithet, 4-5 neutral, 6 positive)
  5. Ruler's reign split by a temporary ursurpation by another monarch.
  6. Some (1-5) or all (6) of reign spent in contention with a noble with a better claim to the throne.
  7. Ruler married into dynasty, leaves another branch with a strong claim to the line.
  8. Reign ends with vaguely-reported scandal or ridiculous accident.
  9. Reign ends by assassination.
  10. Reign ends by abdication.
  11. Ruler under some sort of magical curse or affliction.
  12. Roll again twice
Someone else can probably expand that to a d20, d30 or d100 table with a little work.

If, like I do, you want to map these rulers to a real-world timeline, just throw d% to find out how far a monarch is into their reign at the start of your campaign history.  Example: The Wessex List of Kings begins in 519AD.  The first gnome king I generate has a reign of 45 years and I roll 23%, so his entry in the Gnomish List of Kings would begin 45*.23 or 10 years before the first Wessex king.  Not that the gnomes have their own monarch in my campaign world; they're all vassals/slaves of the immortal Crimson King.  That's why they wear the red hats.

But the elves and dwarves of Wessex have their own monarchs.  Using my own dwarf name generator and this elf name generator I googled up, here are my lists for them.

recent Kings of the Upper Dwarf Realm (the one closest to the surface)
Oyfur, r. 388-503, founder of new dynasty
Gili, r. 503-503
Ori, r. 503-515
Thwalin, r. 515-521
Dworin, r. 521-653
Fombur, r. 653-750
Bili I, r. 750-817
Bili II, r. 817-819, founder of a new dynasty
Gin, r. 819-822 [starting now in my world the drink is named after this guy!]
Doin, r. 822-874
Owalin, r. 874-888
Bhorin, r. 888-917, spends part of his reign fighting a descendant of Bili I
Nori, r. 917-993
Bili III, r. 993-994
Thifur, r. 994-1026
Korin, r. 1026-1129, reestablishes dynasty of Bili I [Is this the guy who fought Bhorin, or maybe his son?]
Gifur, r. 1129-1132
Bwalin, r. 1132-1136
Oomdur, r. 1136-present

Thanks to creatively interpreting some randomly generated stuff, I now know that two dynasties have fought for the dwarven throne since at least the year 817 and that the present king of the dwarfs has only worn the crown for a few short years.  Neat stuff!

recent Queens of the Elvish Realms
Tûr, r. 71BC-421AD, reestablishment of old dynasty
Mindonel, r. 421-434
Ceven, r. 434-474
Lagorúthes II, r. 474-519
Bronwe, r. 519-866, accursed & abdicated in favor of Cerendelil
Cerendelil, r. 866-956, also accursed 
Hithfaerphen, r. 956-964
Melil, r. 964-present

The two cursed queens in a row is super interesting.  Could this be the work of that spooky jerkwad the Crimson King or is some other treachery afoot?