Ars Magica : Golemsburg
This Ars Magica setting is based in a fictional alternate earth based on medieval folklore and gothic imagery. It is a world in which darkness and evil have gained a large foothold and the general populace lives in fear of the monsters in the shadows. It is a world corrupted by the hubris of powerful mages and fallen saints. Players take on the roles of mighty mages, capable of reshaping reality with their spells and arcane practices.
The game is set in a country known as Albion, the national language is English although the setting is rather more like a cross between medieval england and the romantic gothic versions of Transylvania. The weather is gloomy and the sky constantly crowded, even summer rarely allows the full force of the sun to breach the clouds.
The nation of Albion is currently ruled by King Alric III, who rules from the capital city of Cathedradei. The rest of the kingdom is split into various fiefdoms each ruled by nobles of varying power, with the following hierarchy:
Note that all Lords are knights and not all lords are hereditary, although the vast majority are. All land is owned by the nobility, or by the church, the peasants live on that land and work the land for the owners and in exchange the nobility is entrusted with protecting the common people.
Religion and The Church
Whilst there are several pagan religions across Albion, mostly worshipping various spirits of nature, the predominant religion is the worship of the Absolute, a creator deity. Belief holds that the Absolute has abandoned mankind as a failed experiment, following the acts of the Dread King when he attempted to breach heaven. The Church holds that the only way to win back the favour of the Absolute is by acting in accordance with the doctrine of the church. It poses that people should live lives devoid of sin, avoiding temptation and living lives of hard work and toil.
Angels exist in the setting, at least as far as the Order of Hermes is aware, but they are not beings of peace and healing, rather they are as alien to mankind as the fae are (and some heretical mages believe that they actually are faeries). Angels care little for mankind, but believe strongly in enforcing order across the world, they disapprove of change. Angels particularly disapprove of most magi because they can disrupt the world in more dangerous ways than any other being.
There is no devil, nor demons in this religion, evil is a very human act and the church does not allow that blame to be passed on to supernatural entities. The corruption of the soul finds its origin at human hands. Because of this, the church’s laws can be strict and brutal, and they will only aid anyone who follows their beliefs. Instead of demons the church has a number of ”Black Saints” that it references in its fables. The black saints were people who attempted to subvert the laws of the Absolute in some manner, turning themselves into terrible dark entities and corrupting the world in the process, most famous of these is the Dread King, a powerful archmagus who attempted to wrestle control of heaven from the almighty directly and in doing so brought a terrible corruptive form of magic into the world. This is the origin of the Abyss a sentient force of corruptive magic that twists reality where it is used, although it offers great power to the user.
Note: For ease, the general setup of the church is thematically similar to the Catholic church, including all the recognised beliefs with the exception of Transubstantiation in communion.