One section has struck me as particularly interesting:
Luckily you can port some of the best ideas from 13th Age to your own OGL campaign. Our one unique thing, icon relationships, and background mechanics could fir in well in a typical campaign. The same goes for the campaign map, the icons, and the world description. Increments, the escalation die, recoveries, and full heal-ups are portable as well. Help yourselves.
Well, one idea that I do like from 13th Age is the icons mechanism. Icons are extremely powerful, campaign-defining NPCs that the player characters tend to establish relationships with. These relationships then have an influence on the GM's campaign. It's a simple and cool way to give players agency whilst remaining in an 'Old School' rules framework.
As a result, I have spent the week-end thinking about campaign-encompassing NPCs for Lamentations of the Blood Countess, and here are the results.
For all his support for True Faith, the Emperor has always protected the Alchemist and his strange experiments, which have enabled the Empire of the One Faith to remain at the cutting edge of weapons and (so it is rumoured) magic technology.
The Dracul has only one aim: to defend True Faith against its enemies, no matter the price that must be paid. The Dracul sponsors the Order of the Dragon, a powerful chivalric order, but also controls less savoury agents, because the Dracul firmly believes that the end always justifies the means.
The Emperor is the most powerful nobleman in Europe; he rules Europe's greatest kingdom, known as the Empire of the One Faith because of its temporal and spiritual nature. In the past, the Emperor and the Pope used to be in conflict for supremacy, but since the appearance of the New Way and the conquests of the Empire of the Crescent Moon, they have been co-operating to defend the Old Way.
The Erlking is the king of the Faeries. Although humans have been encroaching his lands for centuries, and although True Faith has cancelled any trace of Heathenry, the magic of the Erlking is still powerful, and it will remain so as long as the stars shine and men dream.
Frau Perchta is the spiritual and magical head of the spirits of nature and the covens of witches. She is the cold and pale virgin of the moon, the protector of animals and of their fertility. She is also the leader of the mysterious Wild Hunt.
The Great Boyar
Across the foreboding range of mountains on the eastern borders of the Fair Kingdom lies a vast and obscure steppe-like territory divided into squabbling petty kingdoms of ill repute. Shrouded in mystery, a figure has recently emerged from the squabble to unite them all under his iron rule. The last time a similar event happened, almost all of Europe fell before the Tartar horde. Will history repeat itself?
The Occultist is a loner without loyalties who works both for the Emperor and the Sultan. He does not really care as long as his forbidden researches get funded. The Emperor and the Sultan hate him but do not really have the choice if they do not want the latest sorcerous artefact fall in the wrong hands. It is rumoured that the Gipsies are his agents, which may explain why he is so well informed without ever leaving his tower.
The Pope is the supreme pontiff of the Old Way branch of True Faith. As the leader of the oldest and most prestigious branch of True Faith, he still commands various orders of knights that he relentlessly uses to fight against the Empire of the Crescent Moon.
As both the temporal and the spiritual ruler of the southernly Empire of the Crescent Moon, the Sultan commands the loyalty of millions of faithful subjects. In Europe, he is viewed as a dangerous tyrant intent on conquering the Empire of the One Faith; at home, he is considered the embodiment of all the virtues of the Way of the Crescent Moon.
One of the big differences between the Old Wayers and the New Wayers is that the latter have rejected the centralised and hierarchical way the Pope has been managing the church; the New Way faithful only obey God, their bishops are elected, and no bishop holds sway over the others. However, the New Wayers have realised that they do need a single spokesman; since his election by the New Way Synod in 1564, the Superintendent has been maintaining a careful balance between the two empires.
When the Pied Piper leads away the children of Hamelin, when Till Eulenspiegel plays his practical jokes on the burghers of a city, when a knight has a picaresque behaviour instead of a chivalric one, the Trickster is at work. He has been plaguing Europeans since Antiquity, and he always will be. Sometimes, as in the case of Mattie the Goose-boy, he is a welcome figure. It is said that vagrants are his agents.
The Turul is the totemic bird of the ancestors of the Plains People. Even tough they converted to True Faith centuries ago, some of them still dream of the Tree of Life and of the Turul bird that perches on top of it, and that grants magical powers in dire times, as when King Matthias was saved from the Empire of the Crescent Moon by a pauper who breathed fire and ice.
The Mountains People are a proud and aloof people who guard the mountain frontiers of the Fair Kingdom. They are ruled by the Warlord who, despite his name, loves and protects peace. But woe to him who should cause the Warlord to choose war rather than peace, for his battle rage is immense and he is only placated when all his enemies are slain.