Shadowrun: Dark Ages
A general overview of Scottish history in the high middle ages is available here and in the details of the rule of one of the previous Scottish Kings, Davis 1st. History has run its recorded source right up until the events of 1189 and the appearance of the comet. Below is a brief account of event since, centring on the growing port town of Dundee.
The current King, William the Lion was crowned in Scone on the 24 December 1165. Aside from a defeat to the English at Alnwick in 1174 (leading to the Treaty of Falaise and the occupation of many High offices and castle in Scotland by English lords), the next few decades were a time of relative peace and plenty for the Scots. In 1179, dominion over Dundee was granted by the king to his heir David of Scotland who began the construction of Dundee Castle (never completed) and the town continued to grow in prosperity. Then, in 1189, the comet appeared and within a week of its first appearance was shaken by the first earth tremor it had experienced in more than a century. Dundee and the surrounding lands were as heavily hit as the rest of the land with the birth of metahumanity, and initially saw its fair share of brutality, however many of those who goblinized were able to flee to the relative wilds of the Sidlaw Hills immediately to the north of Dundee, and beyond into the Cairngorms and Highlands. The lands between Perth and Dundee remained relatively civilized (although not as safe as it had been), but the land to the North became a wild Frontier and land trade with several of the Northern cities virtually ceased. Sea trade burgeoned (as did piracy and smuggling) providing a safer link to those cities.
It was two years, of increasing tremors before catastrophe struck and the Law erupted in 1191. It wasn’t a large eruption, but it was explosive – blowing a large chuck of the north side of the hill out, spewing lava, smoke and ash into the sky for eighteen hours before quieting down. Many in the town died (mainly because much of it caught fire), the cathedral burned to the ground with an entire congration within it as the preyed to god to save them and the in-construction Dundee Castle collapsed. Rumours persist that the eruption ended with the appearance of a creature described either as a Winged Devil, or Dragon clawed its way out of the heart of the volcano and took to the air, flying north. These tales appear to have little direct evidence as eye-witnesses are scarce and chaos ruled the night. Noone has seen David of Scotland since that day and he was presumed to have been killed by the eruption (possible being crushed beneath the stones of his beloved Castle).
Leaderless, the town turned to the Scrymageur’s hereditary Constables and Baillies of Dundee to lead them in the aftermath. Henry Scrymageur proved a wise and brave man and he led the townsfolk in salvaging what they could from the fires and wreckage. Many tales of heroism persist from that day and surprisingly many of the hidden metahumans featured strongly – saving the lives of their fellow townsmen who, but days before, would have seen them persecuted and slain. To aid in its reconstruction, Dundee was grated a Royal Burgh by King William a month after the reconstruction, and he even visited it for a time. Although the stain of prejudice remained, the heroics of the metahuman population of Dundee during the eruption were not forgotten and Dundee became known as for its (marginally) more tolerant attitudes towards metahumans as it rebuilt over the next two decades. Interestingly, this gave the town a slight competitive advantage in many aspects (despite prejudice from nearly towns and cities) causing it to grow faster, recover quicker and to develop more than expected. A scant seven years after the eruption the thriving population was back at pre-eruption levels and Henry Scrymageur, now Earl of Dundee, began construction of Dudhope Castle on the south side of the Law as a symbol of the towns prosperity and resilience (completed in 1201).
In the intervening years, the Holy Roman Church had also rebuilt the cathedral, declaring those who died within martyrs and the Bishop that led them a Saint (Saint Epon). Although the church regained much of its importance and influence, and the cathedral was rebuild, the Churches stance on metahumanity sat ill with many in the town and the Church never gained the same all-controlling foothold in Dundee as it has in other towns. With the declaration of Magic as a gift from god in Dundee saw heavy use of magic in its reconstruction and now has one of the highest incidences of mages in the Isles.
Banditry, piracy, smuggling, gambling and prostitution and the like remained rife, however and as the towns population grew to nearly 4000 it became increasingly difficult for Earl Henry to maintain control. The incidence of fell beasts was also on the rise and the town saw several wandering beasts wreak havoc in the years that followed the eruption. As before, Earl Henry turned to magic to aid him in dealing with Dundees problems and 1204 saw the first monster hunters employed by the Royal Burgh to seek out these beasts in the wild and slay them. With its higher than usual population of metahumans and magic, many lept at the glory, wages and relative prestige this offered – not to mention the tales of heroism that resulted. As they found and slew the beasts, many returned with trophies and Dundee began to develop a trade in the unusual pelts and pieces of these beasts. By 1212, the first Augmented people grace Dundees streets.
This is a great wikipedia page on the levels of society and their roles in Scottish Medieval life. Whats missing is a rough idea of how rich they are:
Nemed (sacred person, highest rank) (Luxury Lifestyle)
- Ard rí (High King) – 1000’s-10,000s Groats (10-100M nuyen) per year
- Rí ruirech (King of overkings) – 100’s – 1000s (1-10M nuyen) Groats per year
- Ruiri (Overking) – 96-312 Groats (276,480-898,560 nuyen) per year
- Rí Túaithe (Local king) – 48-96 Groats (138,240-276,480 nuyen) per year
- Flaithe (Lord, prince) – 36-72 Groats (103,680-207,360 nuyen) per year
Nemed non-rulers (High lifestyle)
- Ollam (master of some knowledge or skill) – 24-48 Groats (69,120-138,240 nuyen) per year
- Knights – 24-48 Groats (69,120-138,240 nuyen) per year
- Clerics – 12-24 Groats (34,560-69,120 nuyen) per year
- Fili (poets) – 12-24 Groats (34,560-69,120 nuyen) per year
Dóernemed (lit. Base-Nemed) (Middle lifestyle)
- Brithem, tradesmen, harpists, etc. – 1-12 (2,880-34,560 nuyen) Groats per year
Freeman (Low lifestyle)
- Bóaire (Cattle lord) – 12 sheckles – 1 Groat (1,440-2,880 nuyen) per year
- Ócaire (Little Lord) – 12 sheckles – 1 Groat (1,440-2,880 nuyen) per year
- Fer midboth (semi-independent youth) – 1-6 (120-720 nuyen) sheckles per year
- Fuidir (semi-freeman) – 1-12 sheckles (120-1,440 nuyen) per year
Unfree (Squatter lifestyle)
- Bothach (serf) – 6 pennies – 2 sheckles (60-240 nuyen) per year
- Senchléithe (hereditary serf) – 6 pennies – 2 sheckles (60-240 nuyen) per year
- Mug (slave) – few pennies (10’s nuyen) per year