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The Three Paladins of the House of Este

Bradamante, Marfisia, and Fiordispina are the three matron paladins of the House of Este.

Bradamante, Ruggiero’s wife, now leads the Christian armies in Jerusalem against the necromantic power of Agolant, the eternal love from which the House of Este sprang set aside by Faith and Duty. Both fight for justice and to give the world a future. He remains in Ferrara to protect the banner of the House of the Silver Eagle.

Fiordispina, is secretly in love with Bradamante. She blinded herself to escape the lust of sodomy. Two meters tall, one hundred and forty kilograms, invulnerable to weapons of mortals, invincible in her silver armor, represents the endless power True Faith in the city of Reggio Emilia, to guard the banners of the House alongside the throne.

Marfisia, sister of Ruggiero, raised corrupted by the False Faith of the Saracens and now champion of the Cross, represents with her zeal the inevitability of Truth. She brings light and justice to the shadowy and eerie halls of the court of Modena run by the dark-hearted scion Niccolò III.

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Matilda of Canossa

Matilda of Canossa, better known as Matilda of Tuscany, marquess and powerful seer. No one has heard of the noblewoman for generations, her castle appears ghostly and uninhabited, and the roads leading to its walls are in disuse. The reality is that Matilda has made profound studies in the field of esotericism and thanks to the skull of her ancestor Sigifred of Lucca, a demilich, she has passed into a state of undeath that binds her necrotic life force to the dungeons of her castle, surrounded by dozens of portals. She can activate these portals at her will, each leading to the dungeons of all the palaces and fortifications in the previous lands of the abbey (most of the mountains and hills in Emilia and a lot of territories in the plains including some lands of Nonantola). There are countless lordly fortifications built on the ruins of the marquise’s castles, all of which form a network of powerful energy lines capable of interacting with the world of the dead. Matilda silently awaits the moment to raise the dead from the depths, the carnage that will ensue will be unimaginable. The skeletons of Montegarullo (Roccapelago, Modena) have been snatched into control by the powerful Obizzo, And the effectiveness of seeing skeletons in battle has been amply demonstrated.

In Carpi, in the Castle of House Pio, her influence has driven to madness the court noblewomen who provide her with young blood for her sacrifices. Matilda is now a black-boned skeleton, still dressed in the sumptuous robes of her court. Tiny flames of light glow in the depths of her skull’s eye sockets, and her knowledge increases daily. The birth of the antichrist has led her to move outside its halls, making recent contact with the pontiff…

Matilda consulting his ancestor the demilich Sigifred of Lucca
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The setting of Of Iron And Thorns focuses on the region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The region is divided into nine provinces each of which has determinate characteristics and is potentially the site of countless adventures.

The basic setting that will be released along with the rulebook deals with the province of Modena. Another 8 gazetteers will be released later that will detail all the lands, castles, villages, and inhabitants of the provinces of Bologna, Ferrara, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Piacenza, Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna, and Rimini.

In order to give a taste of what the nine provinces have to offer I publish on this page a brief incipit, starting with the great and learned university city of Bologna.

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Carpi, Domain of House Pio

Carpi is an important city north of the Estense territory of Modena. Originally a possession of the Abbey of Nonantola, it passed into the hands of House Canossa and finally, briefly, to the dark-hearted sanguinary House Bonacolsi. Carpi was lost in the hands of House Pio, powerful Ghibellines, several years ago. The Pios made Carpi their ancestral home and have since consolidated their power over other surrounding lands, including Soliera, Novi, Campogalliano, and San Prospero, the latter two through the minor lineages of House Roberti and House Castelvetri.
The Pio Castle is served by a host of Magyar slaves who are used as servants, denuded and branded on the forehead with the red bands of the Pio coat of arms. Magyar children who are born in the court are killed at birth and women placed in the service of the court where they are kept illiterate. Although they are not allowed to speak Hungarian (actually, not allowed to speak at all), prayer groups dedicated to the Dark One have been established among the women and girls. They meet at night in the servants’ halls to plot revenge for the death of their children.
The Castle of Pio is haunted by a mysterious ethereal figure known only as the White Lady, who seems to attend the meetings of the enslaved women, In reality, the White Lady is an ancient ally of Matilda of Canossa and maintains the dimensional portal that connects all the ancient lands of the abbey with the ruins of Canossa Castle where Matilda resides and plots in silent undeath. The Lady uses an ancient artifact to siphon off the energies of slain infants to power the Canossian Portal.
The castle contains the ancient Bonacolsi Tower and is a land of air and water, containing a splendid nymphaeum and a birdhouse that the noblewomen of the Pio use as a place of rest and contemplation.
The patriarch of the Pio is currently Alberto III Pio, grandson of Pico della Mirandola; he is young and energic, married to an Orsini by whom he had three children: two daughters and a stillborn son, whose miscarriage was caused by the White Lady. She kept the spirit of Alberto III’s son intact for matters that are unclear today.
Albert III’s father, Lionel I had been a condottiere in the service of House Colleoni of Piedmont against House Medici.
The Sienese artist, architect and war expert Baldassarre Peruzzi lived in the castle as court wizard, occultist, alchemist and sage, a direct adviser to Albert III.


In an area traversed by deep irrigation canals, stands on an embankment a massive lookout tower of recent construction. Originally burned by Passerino Bonacolsi (ce hm fighter 18), the castle of Budrione is directly administered by House Pio.

Gargallo, land of House Stoffi (Pio)

Gargallo is another terracotta lookout tower, with a base of about eight meters, in the hands of House Stoffi loyal to the Pio, who maintain a lookout garrison there as protection from the nearby House Este di San Martino, a cadet branch of the Este.

Locations, Uncategorized

The Roccapelago Castle

The undead in the service of Obizzo

💀 Domain of House Montegarullo, strongly independent and opportunistically Guelph, loyalists to the Pope and brutally effective ally of Florence and Bologna. The ancestral home of the House Montegarullo is the castle of Roccapelago, conquered by the ominously cruel and grim Obizzo da Montegarullo who held the castle in contempt of the disapproval of the Este family who repeatedly sent the people of Lucca to confront him with arms. Obizzo lost the first battle but reconquered the castle and made it impregnable thanks to the macabre help of decrepit undead troops that emerged from the foundations of the castle, bodies preserved in lime that provoked nightmares and madness in the attackers, which, in more than one case were locked up and condemned to burn at the stake for killing offspring and wives on their return from battle, prey to voices that they could not quell except with blood.

Also of interest in the territory of Obizzo Montegarullo is the boulder known as Sasso Tignoso: a lookout point, a source of ferrous material for invincible weapons, and a favorite site of sabbaths where young maidens are fed to the hirsute demons of the woods to generate monstrous offspring.

Young and powerful family commanded by the powerful Obizzo, born within the Guelph branch of the Montecuccolos. Important allies of House Da Montegarullo are Florence, whose strong allies it is, and the Guelph rebels of the Montecuccolos including Lanzalotto Montecuccolo, the lordship of Sassuolo and House Da Gombola. Obizzo made powerful enemies including the Este family and the lordship of Lucca. Obizzo’s current arch enemy is the petty Uguccione of House De Contari. He wields a black ancestral necromantic sword forged from the great rock called Sasso Tignoso for the founder of the House, patriarch Radaldino servant of the ancient mountain House Gualandelli. Obizzo guards the family sword Radaldia in an underground lake beneath Montegarullo Castle, where the corpses of the family’s Ghibelline enemies drowned in the Scoltenna River during the various rebellions have been revived to protect the heirloom in a ghastly form of undeath.