Heirs to Heresy is a roleplaying game of historical fantasy from the talened author Alan Bahr. As Templar Knights, your skill at arms is unquestionable, but it is the potential access to gnostic spells, unique powers, or intensely powerful faith sets you apart from your compatriots. Can you tap into your potential, guarding the mysterious Templar treasure on this last quest you will take for the order and find the answer to the burning question: are the Templars Heirs to Heresy?
Your quest starts October 28th.
Heirs to Heresy is a bit of a different beast when it comes to worldbuilding. As it’s set in a historical-fantasy version of our own world, certain elements are already done for you! France is still France, even if monsters prowl the woods near the Rhine.
However, one of the hurdles for any historical RPG to overcome is the sheer amount of detailed knowledge of history you might need to know to participate in the game. Anything that makes a game harder to play is no good in my book, so Heirs to Heresy has a chapter early on that’s intended to give a high-level overview of any needful information. This section includes a brief timeline of the setting, an overview of the state of Europe, and the history of the Templar Order. At a breezy ten pages or so, players and GMs can quickly be brought up to speed on the world in which the campaign takes place.
Where Heirs to Heresy truly requires you to contribute to fleshing out its world is in the nuances of the Templar conspiracy. In that endeavour, the GM will likely need some extra help to craft the depths of the mystery! We do this by defining the Campaign Structure, and I wrote several toolkits that can be modified or combined to create a baseline campaign experience and alleviate the work on the GM.
First, we have Length. Length represents how long the campaign is supposed to go in real time, and posits the goals the Templars work for:
- Short: Secure the Templar Treasure. Almost no use of the Travel rules or worrying about food or shelter.
- Medium: Secure the Treasure, maybe reach Avallonis. Light use of the Travel rules, dealing with supply concerns when dramatically appropriate.
- Long: Reach Avallonis, with heavy use of the Travel rules, plenty concerns about food and supplies, and lots of side adventures.
By setting the goal of the campaign from the start and knowing what rules you’ll be using, you can pace the game appropriately!
Next, we talk about your Destination. Knowing where the Templars are going helps you pace the game, as well as determine how far they have to travel. I posit three key destinations, though GMs will likely add more. These are tied to Length, though all these dials can be turned independently:
- England is best suited for short campaigns.
- Portugal is best suited for medium campaigns.
- Malta is best suited for long campaigns.
Then, we talk about Esoterica. This represents how mystical, magickal, and extraordinary the game is:
- A Mundane campaign takes a purely historical approach. No unusual monsters, abilities, relics, or special powers exist in the world. It’s a game of religious warriors on the run with great wealth.
- An Infused campaign means magickal enemies and monsters appear, but the Templars themselves don’t have special powers.
- A Mystical campaign means all the gloves are off. Magick, special powers, and mystical enemies run rampant under the veneer of medieval Europe, and the Templar contend with them with powers of their own.
Finally, we have Scale. Scale represents the reputation, impact, and power level of the Templars. It’s a storytelling tool to help determine how NPCs react to them.
These tools join many others I have created for GMs to run a campaign that suits the players and shares the burden of building the world the players inhabit, such as rules for mass battles, a list of mysterious relics and powerful blessings, and a discourse on the conspiracies surrounding the Knights Templar. There’s of course a lot more than that, but you’ll have to discover that for yourselves!
- Alan Bahr