In-House Campaign: Anglo-Saxon England, Merrily Watkins, and Pits & Perils

Several years ago we had a Castles & Crusades campaign that involved my wife, my then-teen daughter (the family's most serious gamer), a friend, and the friend's two then-teen sons. It was a blast but came to end when the kids went off to college. Since then, my wife and I have occasionally talked about getting back to gaming as a couple. Nothing came of those conversations... we could not decide if it would just be the two of us or if we would invite others. We also were not sure what we want to play, although we had lots of ideas. One of those ideas was to base something on Anglo-Saxon England. We never did do anything with it. Until now.

Tonight, we were out for dinner and we talked again about gaming. We decided that Pits & Perils would be the ideal rule set for us. We both agreed that a setting based on Anglo-Saxon England would work well. The conversation drifted to other topics and my wife told me that one of her favorite authors, Phil Rickman, is going to have his Merrily Watkins novels made into a British television mini-series (actually, the series has been recorded already and will be released soon).

Phil Rickman describes Merrily Watkins in this way: Merrily Watkins has what is very much a night job. She’s Deliverance Consultant or Advisor on the Paranormal for the Diocese of Hereford. Or Exorcist, as it used to be known. It’s a real job; there’s at least one in every diocese in the UK. They work with psychiatrists, social workers… and also the police. Inevitably, in this series, this is the aspect of the job that predominates. The Merrily Watkins series is set in modern Great Britain and we wouldn't try to duplicate the setting or the characters, just the focus and style of play.

Our game would look something like this:
  • Rules: Pits & Perils, plus an infusion of GUMSHOE (maybe just a simple allocation of investigation points to used)
  • Inspiration From History: Anglo-Saxon England
  • Inspiration From Literature: Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins novels
  • Focal Points: Mystery, folklore, religion, and the supernatural