The Owl and the Rose

A brief introduction to a Chivalry and Sorcery campaign

This is an synopsis of my Chivalry and Sorcery campaign set around Winchester in the High Chivalric period (see the rules page 7 for definition) based on the Rotherweird books by Andrew Caldecott.

The campaign starts 1147, but the story starts some years earlier, in 1140. One day in that year a nobleman, that presents himself as Wynter, arrives in Winchester, together with two male servants and 12 teenagers (5 women, 7 men). They take rooms in the city and Wynter himself soon pays visit to the abbot of Hyde Abbey. During the coming month they talk at length and the abbot writes a letter of introduction to the abbess of Romsey Abbey. Wynter with retinue travels to Romsey Abbey and after three weeks the abbess agrees to provide Broadlands Mansion for Wynter. The mansion has fallen in some disrepair due to neglect (I will probably move abbess Phillipa de Stokes to 1147, as the successor of abbess Hadewisa, as there is no record of who was abbess at that time, and she suits my purposes beautifully) and Wynter is allowed as tenant on condition that put the mansion to order on his own funds. This he agrees to, he is very wealthy and this is all according to his plans. He refurbish the house and builds an impressive library and cultivates social ties to everyone of power and influence in Romsey and Winchester.

This is what everyone outside sees.

His instructs his adepts in everything scientific, in the art of painting as well as in the art of magic. He also instruct them in intrigues, deceit and trickery. But above all he instruct them in loyalty to the grand plan. They are all scheming to be the power behind the throne, not only England’s throne but to build a society which would stand behind every ruler or notable nobleman and whisper … advice.

These thirteen are all evil, they plan this for their own agenda, for their own benefit. The 12 teenagers are all individuals and none is Satan-worshipping-evil, but their regard and empathy for others varies greatly between them.

Each one has their own area of research, something they are passionate about. One is passionate about strategy and war, another poisons, and a third about the manipulation of notable nobles. They experience and studies nature with both dissection and vivisection in their laboratory, but spend as much time in field studies sitting in a tree or in a hideout, studying the mating habit of some animals or their foraging techniques.

In their laboratory they do not only study nature’s animals, but with magic create their own; spies, messengers and assistants to their work.

Their motto and escutcheon is an owl under a rose; i.e. secret wisdom. The motto Ibis autem in rosa (”the owl under the rose”, according to Google Translate).


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