Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Songs of Albinor Introduction

By Marcus Pan

The Songs of Albinor has and always will be an experiment in poetic license. Originally intended for use in Albinor explicitly, they have since grown to encompass a little more.

Albinor, as you can probably figure out, takes place in a medieval-fantasy setting. A mixture of knights in armor with some ghosts and goblins thrown in, it is nothing more than you could expect to find in any other Advanced (or unadvanced for that matter) Dungeons and Dragons setting. However, known to take things to extreme, especially in the creative arena, I demanded a higher quality. When you play in Albinor, my goal is to bury you in the setting. Not just narrate or tell you about it as other DM's do, but surround you with my world.

In medieval times, the only form of news or knowledge came, at least for the common folk, from word of mouth. If you didn't hear it, you didn't know it. Add to this the fact that town pubs and inns are probably one of the best places for a character to find work, blow off steam and grab some ale; all while listening to the latest news from far parts. The people most-loved in these pubs were known as "bards," the men and women who would travel the world and gather news and stories of brave adventures and amazing things. These they would turn into stories much like the Albinor Chronicles, and poems much like the ones you will read in this compilation, the Songs of Albinor.

These poems were written mostly to further enhance the setting of Albinor. Descriptions of recent events, both exaggerated and truthful, are wound throughout the images I hoped to create with the poems. Players who've played in Albinor reveled in visiting the local pubs to hear of the latest. You'll notice some strong correlations between the Songs of Albinor and the Albinor Chronicles in many cases. Some are even poetic forms of the chapter series of fantasy stories. Others may have no correlation to other Chronicles, but were written to provide a wide and diverse pool from which I can draw the latest bard's tales.

Many of them are experiments with different styles. You'll see me crossover from freestyle, to sonnet-like form and throughout all I've tried to use old English words and imagery to provoke the fantasy and medieval setting I strive to create in my game sessions.

This is the first time I'm offering the entire series up as one bundle. Normally they show up one at a time, throughout issues of Legends Magazine or as pages on the Pan Pages. Nonetheless, even though re-reading of some of my work from the past has made the word "corny" flash in my head in bright, fluorescent colors, I've still not changed any of the poems and all are included, in full, for your enjoyment (or for kindling…whichever you prefer).