Oddly enough, there’s content here in spite of the odd niche feel of the forest as subject matter. The weird thing about the period covered within The Dee Sanction game is that it’s at a transition point on so many levels.
During the 16th century, the rich got richer as the poor became poorer still; driven in some measure by the private holding of common land, the rural population were forced to seek employment rather than having the option to grab some scrubland and fend for themselves.
Religion fragmented, becoming a tool of politics more often than not. Both the Anglican and Lutheran perspectives in Europe had their impact on the Church of Rome and the power of the Pope. The weakening of the Church had a rolling impact across the whole of Europe throughout the period and beyond.
And deforestation became a thing. As populations flourished and urban centres expanded, the demand for wood in construction and for fuel skyrocketed. Even as coal gathered popularity, wood remained a necessity and shortages became a thing. Protests about deforestation across Britain increased.
Now, that’s all very real—the unreal challenge arises from the forests as home to the Fae, notably the more bestial sorts, like goblins and boggarts, who occupy the woodlands as a source of food and refuge. Most higher Fae simply use the woods as a means to access their otherworldly homes, but even they rail against the destruction.
In this period, the old traditions fade and humanity begins to forget the ways of their ancestors, pressured by modernity and the threat of heresy. What was wisdom became witchcraft. Hierarchy generated pressure downward on the masses to conform to new wave thinking, the upper echelons acquiring knowledge from books published in English and the infancy of science. The century generated both structure and rebellion, and in the midst of it, the old traditions became dangerous. In turn, that weakening of antiquities wisdom allows the entities of the supernatural to gather strength—oddly, the monopoly of the Church in Europe had had a positive effect on keeping otherworldly entities in check and now that force was fading.
The time is ripe for the supernatural to flourish; enter Safety Lies in Fear during the 40s/50s and The Dee Sanction from the 50s onward, following the travels and travails of John Dee’s career.
Every day during August, I’ll be writing something new on The Dee Sanction and aim to connect the word prompt of the day with the development of the game. Check out the concept, the list and the graphics over at AUTOCRATIK.