Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Heraldry of Faussesflammes

I am a big fan of heraldry and intend to use it as a visual cue for players while exploring various levels of the Chateau des Faussesflammes. Thus, I spent some time putting together these designs as well as a brief explanation for each of the main characters of the Chateau:

Crimson King

I chose the image of a crow for a couple reasons. Firstly, it has pagan overtones, given their association with the Wotanic mythology. Secondly, it calls to mind the collective noun murder, as in a murder of crows. The color crimson is indicated by both the border and the crown.

Black Queen

I like the simplicity and starkness of this image. Since I plan on have the Black Queen being the most active of these background characters (by way of her various minions) I hope that the characters will be filled with dread when they see a black crown...

Purple Piper

The imagery here comes from the vestments of an Orthodox Christian monk. It represents Golgotha (the place of the skull) with the sponge of vinegar and the spear the pierced Christ's side. This is one of the most misleading of the images here. I plan to use the Purple Piper as a kind of patron — someone who passively directs the players and sends them on missions through hints and riddles; however, I don't necessarily want the players to immediately trust him. Thus, I have left off the Cross, which would normally be part of this image.


The three birds at the top are peacocks and the ermine below is one that could pass for feathers. In Orthodox Christian iconography, peacock feathers are used to represent the (many-eyed) Cherubim. I felt this angelic imagery (where angel means messenger) was very appropriate for the Pilgrim.


As I mentioned before, when King Clovis became Christian, he was granted the vision of an angel handing him a flower. I thought this image was quite apropos given this heraldic symbol is not only associated with French kings, but could pass for the symbol of a gardener as well.

Pattern Juggler

Coats of arms can get quite complicated, especially when trying to represent various lineages and individuals all at the same time (take a look at the heraldry associated with the English crown, for example). Thus, in order to represent the multiple personalities of the Pattern Juggler, I mimicked this heraldic trope of complicated patterns in quarters and the mini-shield in the middle.

Yellow Jester

Finally, this image pulls together some themes from both the Pattern Juggler (with the background pattern representing the chaos surrounding the last of the Merovingian Kings as well as their shrinking power) and the Crimson King (the crown, creating a visual bookend for the beginning and end of the line). The yellow lion is somewhat related to French heraldry and I thought it ironic that such a strong image should be associated with such a pathetic character.


John Matthew Stater said...

Very nice. With what did you make them?

FrDave said...

My old standby...an old version of Adobe Illustrator.

ERIC! said...


Alex Osias said...

they look great!

Roger G-S said...

The concept and execution of the Purple Piper is just great. Love the "Castle Amber" style adventure. Prognardia for the win!

Miranda said...

At first I wasn't sure whether or not this was a King Crimson reference, then I got to the Purple Piper.

I've been trying to figure out ways to drop references to that song in my own campaign. Glad to see you've done it, and in a project I'm very interested in.

Anonymous said...

These look great!

Miranda said...

Oh, just checked your earlier post. I feel dumb now.

FrDave said...

@Eric @Alexander @fictivefantasies
Thanks for the kind words.

Prognardia...I Love it!

Oh, just checked your earlier post. I feel dumb now.
No worries...I am just glad that you are as interested in this little project as you are.