The Warwickshire Challenge
The year is 1600. You are a Serf, eking out a hard existence from the soil. Though your life is hard, you love your country and your King, and believe that your place in the Natural Order of things is ordained by God. If He wills it, a Serf who is hard working may be smiled upon by Divine Providence and given a higher place in the Natural Order of life, though it has never occurred to you, until now, to question your place in the system. However, the world is changing. Everywhere, the foundations of feudalism are crumbling. New possibilities are arising for those who are enterprising enough to seize them, but these people, many believe, threaten the Natural Order and create chaos. Still, others maintain that man’s destiny is not written in the stars, that one must seek opportunity and advancement where it presents itself—that a New World is emerging, one which favors free thought and trade and which rewards those who seek to better themselves. These self-made men rationalize that the ends justify the means, and that Nature’s laws reveal that there is a Divine plan for all of creation, but one which rewards those who study her mysteries and who exploit her resources for personal gain. For these new thinkers, Knowledge is Power, and the keys to power are through Intrigue and Cunning. Nature, according to them, is a vast repository of resources, ripe for the taking, and they are not willing to sit contentedly by in their “rightful” place and accept their place in the “Natural Order.” Such antiquated thinking is for them a nuisance, a foolish belief of their elders. For you, you’re not sure about all of this. There have been wild moments, when working the soil or fishing in the Lord’s ponds, that you’ve fancied yourself a Duke, but such nonsense didn’t amount to much of a real concern. Now, as you see the world changing about you, you consider whether you’d like to change your position in society. This is where the challenge begins.