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King Richard ‘The Lion heart’ is dead and England suffered greatly in the wake of the crusade. The throne sat vacant, and all of England waited with anticipation for the next King of England to rise. The lands were in turmoil and times were hard. Yet none suffered so greatly as the shire of Nottingham. Their saviour, ‘Robin Hood’ and his most loyal friends have long since died, which left the people of Nottinghamshire to fend for themselves against harsh and cruel Lords. The Sheriffs death was still talked about among the poor folk, the last thing that Robin Hood gave them, their freedom from persecution against the harsh man that ruled Nottingham.
Yet hope remained!
Deep in the heart of Sherwood Forest a secret hid, a secret that bought the people hope once again. Robin Hood may be dead, but his legacy lived on. It was rumored that there remained a few, outlawed and banished, that dwelled within the boughs and strove to keep the legend of Robin Hood alive. Biding their time, preparing for that final battle to free Nottinghamshire once and for all! Only time would tell if ‘Robin Hood’ and everything he stood for lived on in the new generation!
But now, two years on, times were changing. The scent of succession grew strong upon the wind. Rumors were abound that a legitimate heir to the throne had been found. Somewhere in the holy lands a son of the late King Richard dwelled unknown and unknowing of the fate that awaits him. Youth sheltered him from the harsh realities of the world, as a dedicated group of men put every effort into making the boy obscure. But the secret became public and excitement thrummed through the country. Excitement and anger! For there were still those that benefitted greatly from the throne lying empty! Those that had pledged allegiance to the throne of England and its rightful ruler fought bravely against those willing to sacrifice the boy. And those that fought to keep a King on the throne were also those that had fought to keep Nottingham safe. Their Quest was an important one, one that saw the rise of not only Nottingham, but the entire country, and so they abandoned the internal wars that forever waged within the cities and towns of England, leaving them once more open and vulnerable to the harsh justice of the rich and powerful. Towns became ravaged with greed, the poor suffered greatly, and even those nobles with gentle dispositions felt the need to flee for their own safety. However, two years have passed since and those that sought to place the boy upon the throne, to save England, now returned with no head to wear the crown. Was their quest all for naught? Did they sacrifice their home, friends and family on a fool’s errand? Or is the secret of who the Boy King is still at large?
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This section is a simple guide to help everybody keep their roleplaying and characters realistic to the era the RP is set in.
What did they wear?
Ladies of high status: Remember that in this era women didn’t wear trousers, nor did they reveal their legs. So long skirts and dresses were the norm. Ladies of high rank would be sporting the latest of fashions, and could afford materials like silk and velvet as well as cotton. Their dresses were ornate, and mostly with a few layers. A bodice would be worn on top, with intricate lacing and detail to portray their status. The cut would be pretty simple and straight, but flowing at the bottom. The sleeves could be tight or extremely loose, often looking bell-like at the elbow and trailing to the floor. EXAMPLE
Noble men: Again we’re talking layers. The clothes are their outwardly display of their wealth. The more opulent their garb, the richer they appear and the more powerful they are. Billowy shirts and finely detailed tunics often trimmed with beading or even fur. Over the tunics a coat/waistcoat is often worn which hangs mid-thigh. Their trousers, or leggings, are fairly tight fitting normally with long, knee high boots or soft slipper like shoes. EXAMPLE
Common Woman: The female commoner’s dress would be very simple. Depending on how wealthy the family is of course will reflect in what they wear. Never would they be able to afford the splendid gowns of the nobility, but sometimes a little detail can be bought. The dress mainly consists of either a simple cut dress or sometimes a blouse beneath a lace up bodice and a skirt. Of course there is no ornate decoration, and the ties are mere bits of rope. EXAMPLE
Common men: Again this depends on how much money they have, but generally it’s a shirt overlaid with a plain tunic and trousers. Their footwear is less showy, more likely sack like material shoes or possibly cheaply worked leather. Neither the men nor the woman wear brightly coloured clothes, mainly browns, dark greens, greys and creams. EXAMPLE
Water and hygiene
During this era there was no hot and cold running water. They had to get water from a nearby well then heat it up on a fire (they had no stoves) for things like cooking etc. This also meant they rarely bathed for the sheer volume of water needed to fill a bath would take a lot of effort. Only those that could afford to pay someone to do it for them were given the luxuries of baths. So people would be dirty (especially the lower class), and smelly. There was no such thing as oral hygiene, so tooth decay and bad breath would be an everyday occurrence.
How did they get around?
Well the certainly didn’t have things like cars and trains. At this time horse was the fastest way to travel. Either on horseback or sat in a horse drawn carriage. These of course wouldn’t be gold gilded or anything, but wooden and rather basic. The majority of the time however people merely walked. Of course there were boats and ships, and travel from country to country was do-able. But you had to afford to do this, or be clever enough to stow away. Travelling in era took time. A 30 minute journey today could have taken them nearly half a day. The longer the journey, the longer time it took.
What weapons did they have?
Various types of swords and daggers would have been used, and even the poorer people would have more than likely had at least one crude dagger hidden somewhere. Hand to hand combat was pretty normal. There was also the bow and arrow (of course), again various types, some simple, some more elegant. There were no such things as automatic guns, or anything like that.
How tall were they?
The average size for a man in these times were about 5'5 - 5'6. A woman on the other hand averaged at about 5'0 to 5'3. Remember that people were a lot shorter in those days. Your characters don't have to stay within those parameters but I do ask for some realism. For instance, it would be quite unrealistic for a woman to be 6'0 for even the men barely reached that height. So just remember what era this is in, and what seems small to us now was actually quite tall in those times.