Category Archives: Dawn of History

The Court of Mary, Queen of Scots

Take a job at the royal court of Mary Queen of Scots and experience the flourishing ‘Scottish Renaissance’ of her reign up close and personal. Work hard to meet her expectations, strive to be noticed and become a royal favourite, protect her person and reputation from the manipulation of foreign powers, and become caught up in the great events and vicious politics of Queen Mary’s eventful reign.

The Court of Mary, Queen of Scots
In the Court of Mary Queen of Scots set of adventure Vala Games explores the life and times of Mary Queen of Scots, the influences and figures directing events in her court, and the influence and access to the powerful that medieval servants often enjoyed, as well as teaching skills of cooperation, decision-making, and observation.

Chapters:

  1. The Favourites of Queen Mary
  2. The Murder of Lord Darnley
  3. Coming Soon
  4. Coming Soon

The Favourites of Queen Mary

Leaping into action as the spring season of royal parties and councils begins, the Court of Mary Queen of Scots find themselves at the heart of the ‘Scottish Renaissance’ as nobles return to Edinburgh and foreign visitors arrive.

The Court of Mary, Queen of Scots

Moving through the palace and catching glimpses of deadly politics, foreign espionage, and even open treason against the crown, the members of her Court will find themselves very busy as they compete to become The Favourites of Queen Mary.


The Murder of Lord Darnley

Shock and suspicion rock the Court of Mary Queen of Scots when an explosion one night after midnight proves a clue in the abrupt murder of her husband, Lord Darnley.

The Favourites of Queen MaryFinding themselves at the mercy of the gathering political storm as nobles exploit the situation to their own goals, the members of the Court must be cunning, be trustworthy, and be very careful indeed if they are to avoid misplaced blame and punishment over The Murder of Lord Darnley.


The Rise & Fall of Lord Bothwell

Recently widowed and confounded in her sovereignty by rebellious Lords of all persuasions, it seems that the Queen of Scots needs must settle on a new husband or face a challenge to the throne. Few in her court are prepared however for the events that rapidly unfold as the ambitious and brave Sir James Hepburn literally sweeps the Queen of her feet and sets the Kingdom on a course towards disaster or redemption.

The members of Mary’s Court need to decide one and for all where their loyalties lie during the meteoric rise and fall of James Hepburn, Lord Bothwell.


Coming Soon

Priests of the Ancient Nile

Study and worship among the priesthood of Ancient Egypt during one of the most dramatic periods of religious upheaval in ancient history. Guide the people through bad omens and great changes, protect the legacy of the many gods of Egypt from book-burners and defilers, learn to survive the rigid rule of the fanatical pharaoh Akhenaten, and watch the rise and fall of the supreme sun-god Aten and the Amarna Heresy.

Priests of the Ancient Nile

In the Priests of the Ancient Nile set of adventures Vala explores the rich religious life of the Ancient Egyptians, the everyday lives of their priesthood, and the period where Egypt was caught between its faith in the old gods and the new beliefs of the fanatical pharaoh, as well as teaching skills like teamwork, critical thinking, and empathy.

Chapters:

  1. The Beast in the Sands
  2. Aten Ascendant
  3. The Book of Going Forth by Day

The Beast in the Sands

Praying for the recovery of one of Egypt’s co-ruling pharoahs, the old and gravely-ill Amenhotep III, the priests of the ancient nile – and the Temple of Amun – are rocked by news from the nearby villagers of a grave omen discovered out in the desert.

The Beast in the Sands

With the locals in a state of panic, the priests must go among the people to calm them and give them all the protection and reassurance that can be spared. But at the same time, deep in the temple sanctum, they must ritually struggle to protect the sickly pharoah’s very soul from the demonic force of chaos represented by The Beast in the Sands.


Aten Ascendent

Carrying out their duties to the gods and making their prayers for people, pharaoh, and country, the priests of the Temple of Amun are shaken by news from the capital that Amenhotep IV has renamed himself Akhenaten and banned all worship in the kingdom save that of his new singular sun-god, Aten.

Priests of the Ancient Nile

With the arrival of a new royally-appointed district governor forcing their hand, the priests must apply all their wisdom to preserve what they can of the old ways of Amun and help reassure the local people through this transition to Aten Ascendant!


The Book of Going Forth by Day

Years have passed and the temple at the Faiyum Oasis, like all other temples throughout Egypt, now worships the new sun-god Aten. But there are some among the people and the priesthood who still hold out worship of the old gods, and defy the pharaoh in secret.

Priests of the Ancient Nile

As winter arrives following a poor harvest, the priests must plunge deep into this landscape of shifting faith as they help the people survive the cold hungry winter, appoint a new high priest who all can agree on, and sadly perform their funereal duties according to the old Book of Going Forth by Day.


4.

Masters of Wind and Wave

Book a berth aboard one of the daring ships that worked the dangerous and lucrative cod-fishing trade along the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in the colony’s early days. Challenge great storms, hunt for valuable seal and caribou meat, haggle with greedy fish-merchants, and brave death and disaster to scrape by and maybe even build a family legacy amidst the blustering weather and icy chill of northern Canada.

Masters of Wind and Wave

In the Colonial Newfoundland: Masters of the Wind and Waves set of adventures Vala explores the most dangerous frontier of the late 18th Century, where men and women came to pit themselves against the elements to make their fortune, as well as teaching skills like teamwork, self-reliance, problem-solving, and determination as they strive to become Masters of Wind and Wave.

Chapters:

  1. The Hunt
  2. Wave Over Wave
  3. Rant And Roar
  4. To Beat the Winter Wind

The Hunt

As Spring frees the seas for conquest, the Fishermen of Newfoundland are gearing up for their first chance of the year to ply their dangerous trade. Making a profit against the potential of a poor season, reconnecting with the community, and discovering strange maritime creatures and monsters, the Masters of Wind and Wave prepare for a hard year on the sea.

Masters of Wind & Wave

Gather your equipment and set out across the ice to hunt seal and cod alike, when they discover a leviathan of the deep – the Giant Squid. It will take all their wits and fortitude now that they’ve begun The Hunt.


Wave Over Wave

Community spirit is strong and anticipation running high among the fisherfolk of Newfoundland as the warm days of late summer draw in, signalling that the fishing season is finally here. Outfitting their ship, the Windrider, they set out along the Grand Banks in search of a fisherman’s fortune in Atlantic cod, daring savage winds, high seas, and the treacherous weather.

Wave over Wave

But they may not even reach shore in time to preserve their catch against the lingering summer heat, though they race desperately Wave over Wave for home.


Rant And Roar

Cultural tensions in the town are running high again after the fishing season, due to competition over yields and accusations of poor conduct out on the high seas. The fish merchants have arrived from England and America with a mandate to change their financial relationships and require exclusive contacts, and the town is nervous over the risk of being beggared.

Masters of Wind & Wave

The locals must negotiate the tension between the town’s ethnic communities to put up a strong front and negotiate a better deal from the fish merchants. Then they must pull together to survive the devastating impact of the 1775 Hurricane as it drowns thousands and ruins houses to expose the vulnerable (children, grandparents) to the storm.


To Beat the Winter Wind

Coming Soon

Freedom of the Bush

Explore the tangled wilderness of colonial-era Tasmania and learn how convicts lived and thrived there before the harsh tyranny of Governor Arthur. Range the bush hunting for valuable kangaroo and emu, make friends and allies among the Big River Tribe of Palawa Aboriginals, party and carouse down in Hobart Town, and meet the infamous Michael Howe before the heyday of Tasmanian bushranging comes to an end.

Freedom of the Bush

In the Early Colonial Australia: Freedom of the Bush set of adventures Vala Games explores the rich bushranging tradition of Van Diemen’s land, the freedom enjoyed by convicts before the arrival of Governor Arthur, the culture and struggles of the local Palawa Aboriginals, as well as teaching skills like good judgement, teamwork, and logical thinking.

Chapters:

  1. The Camp
  2. The Rise of Michael Howe
  3. Governor of the Rangers
  4. Coming Soon

The Camp

Leaving the world they knew far behind and embarking on an eight-month sea voyage in cramped and miserable conditions, a group of convicts are shipped down to the bottom of the world to help establish a settlement in Tasmania.

The Camp

Following in the wake of Colonel Collins as he works to establish a British colony, the convicts search for good hunting grounds, make contact with the local Aboriginal people, build the town that will become Hobart, and investigate the secrets of the nearby Bowen settlement to consolidate the position of their town: “The Camp”.


The Rise of Michael Howe

Living wild in the forests as hunters with the permission of the British government, our group of convicts make a visit to Hobart Town to sell kangaroo meat and enjoy the charms of civilisation.

The Camp

Prices are not what they hoped for, but a chance encounter with an older convict plants the seed of an idea: establish ties with the Aboriginal people to improve their situation. Sounds simple enough, if it weren’t for the government ordering them back to town, the strange ways of the Big River Tribe, and getting caught up by bushranger history with The Rise of Michael Howe.


Governor of the Ranges

Years have passed since our group of convicts first heard the name Michael Howe, and now the legendary bushranger is the topic of conversation all over, from convict drinking-halls to the dwellings of the rich and powerful. After an attempt to fire the farm of a landowner who won’t pay his debts, the convicts have a front row seat as the legend of Michael Howe begins to collapse.

Contacted by powerful figures in search of vengeance, they find themselves drawn into an investigation to find out what really happened that fateful day to the Governor of the Ranges.


Coming Soon

The Age of the Buccaneers

The Age of the BuccaneersAge of the Buccaneers

Discover for yourself the buried treasure which is the truth of the history of the famous Pirates of the Caribbean. Set sale under the flag of the Brethren of the Coast and participate in their greatest victories under the command of Captain Henry Morgan, King of the Buccaneers!

Chapters:

  1. Brethren of the Coast
  2. The Treasure of Porto Bello
  3. Classic Enemies
  4. Escape from Maracaibo

Brethren of the Coast

Captain Henry Morgan, the charismatic ‘Admiral’ of the piratical buccaneers, sails into the disreputable island of Tortuga with a plan and a promise that all those who sail with him will be rich men before it’s done. The best and boldest of the buccaneers leap to join him, duelling and quarrelling over positions and privileges, before setting out to sea to raid Spanish ships and the port of Puerto Principe. 

Brethren of the Coast

But between the vagaries of the stormy Caribbean weather, an unexpected run in with possible allies, and the undisciplined nature of the drunk and rowdy crew will there end up being any riches at all to be had for these Brethren of the Coast?


The Treasure of Porto Bello

After drunkenly allowing a prisoner to escape and forewarn the town of Puerto Principe, the buccaneer’s gained gained little when they took the city. Unable to pay their debts they cannot return to port, but Captain Morgan has a new scheme: sacking the wealthy city of Porto Bello. 

Age of the Buccaneers

Riches beyond imagining stand before the crew, but rumours of foul play during the fall of Puerto Principe breed strife among the ranks and whispers of the three heavily-armed fortresses that guard their target fill even the boldest heart with caution. They must come together and rise above fear and bickering if they hope to win their prize: the Treasure of Porto Bello.


Classic Enemies

Despite a recent peace treaty between England and Spain, buccaneering in the Caribbean continues apace. Spain refuses to acknowledge the treaty as binding beyond Europe, so despite Crown disapproval Captain Henry Morgan and his men plunder on with the support of Port Royal.

Assembling a fleet of buccaneers, Morgan is forced to grapple with the explosive consequences of a drunken celebration and the disastrous impact of gusty weather before he even reaches the lakeside town of Maracaibo to go raiding once more against the buccaneers’ Classic Enemies.


Escape from Maracaibo

Foiled in his ambitious attempt on famous Cartagena by bad weather and worse luck, Captain Henry Morgan and his crew have turned to Lake Maracaibo instead, raiding its waterside towns and acquiring plenty of plunder to fill their ships. But greed has distracted them from caution, and as they prepare to depart they discover that beyond the single path out of the lagoon wait a Spanish Vice-Admiral and three warships bristling with cannon.

 

They will need all their cunning, courage, and camaraderie if they are to pull off this daring Escape from Maracaibo.

First of the Bushrangers

Near Sydney, New South Wales / Bidjigal, Cammeraygal, Wangal, & Cadigal Countries

1788 – 1802

Before there were any wild colonial boys or daring rogues of the bush preying on the traffic between country towns and goldfield settlements, there were the very first of the bushrangers- runaway convicts as foreign at first to the bush as were the soldiers and gaol-keepers whose irons and lash they fled. What opportunities does their new found liberty present? 

Joseph Lycett, View upon the Napean

Discover for yourself where difficult decisions will lead. Maybe a handful of such people even found a way to live a life in the bush while Sydney Town itself hardly looked beyond its garrison walls?

Chapters:

  1. Escape into the Bush
  2. From Bolters to Bushrangers
  3. Bushrangers & Blackfellas
  4. The Battle for Vinegar Hill

Escape into the Bush

Moved from the struggling Sydney settlement beyond the outskirts of the colony to construct a road that will connect Sydney to the farms at Parramatta, a group of convicts take advantage of the situation to slip their shackles and vanish into the depths of the wilderness.

Escape into the Bush

 

But as wounds fester and food supplies rapidly dwindle and then run out the convicts are forced into desperate and dangerous action to escape starvation in the wilderness. Before their attempts at raiding and resupply are done they may come to rue their reckless decision to Escape into the Bush.


From Bolters to Bushrangers

The band of convicts who escaped the Parramatta roadworks have made their escape from British justice, vanishing into the deep bush. But they are learning that escaping was one thing, but surviving in this hostile landscape will be quite another. Driven by their inability to live off the land they have been forced over the months into ever-riskier action to maintain their supplies. 

From Bolters to Bushrangers

But after their latest raid ends in tragedy their situation becomes clear: if they are to find a way to thrive outside British society they must transform themselves From Bolters to Bushrangers.


Bushrangers & Blackfellas

The bolters have cut their ties with society entirely, turning their backs on their longings for British civilization and throwing in their lot with the local Aboriginal people. Through their connection with these ‘Eora’ and with Pemulwuy, a leader of the growing resistance to British expansion, the bolters are drawn into increasing outright conflict with the world from which they have fled. 

Bushrangers & Blackfellas

As Pemulwuy plans a major raid on the settlement of Parramatta, he takes the bolters ever-deeper into his confidence and begins to form an allied warband of Bushrangers & Blackfellas.


The Battle of Vinegar Hill

Three years have passed since the disastrous Battle of Parramatta, where British guns laid waste to the bushrangers and their Aboriginal allies’ resistance to the Sydney colony. Down in the town the convict population is swollen with large numbers of Irish men and women, political prisoners sent to Australia after the failed United Irishmen Rebellion.

But failure has not dampened the spirit of these newcomers, and from their fastness in the outback the bushrangers see in the Irish another chance to stop British expansion into their bushland home at The Battle of Vinegar Hill.

Merrie Men of the Green Wood

Merrie Men of the Green Wood

Barnsdale (then Barnsdale Forest), South Yorkshire, England

Circa 1222 – 1227 (immediately post-Fifth Crusade; Henry III is King of England)

Daniel Maclise - Robin Hood and his Merrie Men Entertaining Richard the Lionheart

Chapters:

  1. The Gallows & The Greenwoods
  2. The Merry Green Wood
  3. The Death of Guy of Gisburne
  4. The King in the Green Wood

The Gallows & The Greenwoods

On their way to the gallows at Tyburn in late summer, a wagonload of criminals and unfortunates take advantage of a broken wheel to stage an escape attempt and find themselves at large once more. Tirelessly pursued through the trackless Dales and over the fields and hills of Yorkshire by the bounty-hunter Guy of Gisburne and his murderous band of mercenaries,

The Gallows & The Green Wood

the outlaws desperately seek refuge with the legendary spirit Robin o’ the Hood in Barnsdale Forest as they flee the deadly consequences of their choice between The Gallows & The Greenwoods.


The Merry Green Wood

Having left pursuit far behind them as they vanished into Barnsdale Forest, the outlaws must quickly learn the skills of the forester – foraging, hunting, stealth, shooting, firemaking, craftsmanship – as they race against the approaching winter to make a home for themselves.

The Merrie Green Wood

But Guy of Gisburne, humiliated by their escape, has not given up on recapturing them and seeing them hanged. And as the weeks pass  the outlaws feel the weight of unseen eyes among the trees and come to suspect they are not alone here beneath the shade of the Merry Green Wood.


The Death of Guy of Gisburne

The outlaw band of Merrie Men and women has passed the winter safe within the depths of Barnsdale Forest, learning the secrets of the woodland spirits from their new mentor Robert Hode – the Robin in the Hood, the King of the Greenwood. But as the first flush of spring causes snowdrops to blossom and ice to melt, it also brings word from the smallfolk that their families have been thrown into the dungeons of York.

The Death of Guy of Gisburne

A cunning plan and plenty of courage is needed if they are to free their families and revenge themselves on those responsible by bringing about The Death of Guy of Gisburne.


The King in the Green Wood

Spring has given way to high summer in Barnsdale Forest, and the outlaw band are enjoying the warmth with their rescued families. But even as they make merry after robbing a corrupt bishop, their fate is being decided in York Castle.The King in the Green Wood

Driven on by the furious churchman, the sheriff sends a small army into the woods to put an end to their humiliating defiance. Fleeing with a badly-wounded Robert, the outlaws must decide if they can possibly rebuild after this devastating attack and choose what becomes of the legend of The King in the Greenwood.

 

The Fall of the Aztecs

The Fall of the Aztecs

Experience the heyday of the Aztec Empire, the mightiest kingdom in their known world, and feel their pain as their ancient culture comes toppling down and is trodden beneath iron-shod feet. From the first omens of ruin and disaster to the conquest of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital that lies beneath modern-day Mexico City, take a stand against the invading Spanish and preserve as much as can be saved so at least something of the Aztec culture can survive!

Fall of the Aztecs

Chapters:

  1. Aztec Omens
  2. Aztec Dusk
  3. Montezuma and Cortes
  4. The Fall of Tenochtitlan

In the ‘Fall of the Aztecs’ set of adventures Vala explores the diverse cultures of Aztec-ruled Central America, the chain of events that led to their conquest by the Spanish, the moments on which history hinged where things could have turned out radically different, and the inevitability that at-times is the nature of history, while also teaching skills of strategy, cooperation, and good judgement.


Aztec Omens

At the height of its power as tribute, slaves, and sacrifices pour into Tenochtitlan like rivers, the Aztec Empire faces mysterious signs of doom: balls of fire streaking through the sky; lakes catching fire, and ghostly voices crying out at night. As whispers and panic begin among the people and rumours spread of strange pale-faced foreigners visiting the Gulf of Mexico and the nearby Mayan Empire,

Aztec Omens

The priests and nobles of Tenochtitlan must appease the angry gods and discover what threat could be so dire as to provoke these Aztec Omens.


Aztec Omens

Omens still bedevil the Aztec Empire as spies and scouts bring reports that the silver-skinned strangers from across the sea have made alliance with the rival state of Tlaxaca. To combat this atmosphere of uncertainty the Emperor sends a group who impressed him during recent ceremonies to solidify the Triple Alliance, the foundation on which the Empire rests.

Aztec Dusk

Venturing through the jungle and facing not only its native dangers but Tlaxacan and Spanish interference, they must be fearsome, cunning, and wise if they are to avert the looming Aztec Dusk.


Montezuma and Cortes

Emperor Montezuma has made alliance with the pale-skinned Conquistadors, hosting them at his palace and giving them gifts so they will end their friendship with the Aztecs’ enemies. But he does not trust them, so when their leader Cortes travels out of the city, the Emperor sends a group to secretly follow him and turn whatever circumstance they discover to the advantage of the Aztec Empire. But disaster strikes the city while they are away, and when they return the group are sucked into the chaos and violence caused by these two men:

But disaster strikes the city while they are away, and when they return the group are sucked into the chaos and violence caused by these two men: Montezuma and Cortes!


The Fall of Tenochtitlan

Disaster abounds in the capital of the Aztec Empire as terrible omens warn that the end of their dominion may have come. The Emperor and the citizens fall sick with a foreign disease, food and even water cease to arrive in the city, the pale-skinned Conquistadors plot with the Tlaxacans, and even their faithful ally Texcoco betrays the Triple-Alliance.

84438-aztec-gold

As the Conquistador armies march on the Aztec capital, swollen by their traitorous former subjects, all that is left for our group is to decide how they will spend their lives to stop The Fall of Tenochtitlan.

Realms of the Renaissance: Games of Power

Realms of the Renaissance: Games of Power

Embroil yourself in the wild world of the Italian Mercantile, where Assassinations, Twisted Words, Burglary, Duels, and All-Out War abound in this contest for power throughout the Renaissance-Era City-States. The introduction of new banking systems and the rising speed of communication have combined to form enormous opportunity. 

Realms of the Renaissance

Chapters:

  1. War and Peace in Old Venice
  2. The Genoan General
  3. Florence Falls
  4. Rise of Rome

Great factions move and shift – The Borgias, The Medici, The Grimaldi, The Pope, The Protestants, The Scholars, and The Soldiery all vying for dominance throughout Italy as Cheap credit and the Printing Press combine to shake Old Money influence to the very core during this rapid rediscovery of ideas new and old.


War and Peace in Old Venice

Join a small coalition from a variety of backgrounds and business interests in order to carve out a chunk of Venice from the crowd of other interests. Games of power abound as the city pushes back against your interests, so be prepared to play dirty, to defend your honour, follow the money and find your foes. Accomplish all this to rise as a successful influence in the Mercantile Venetian City-State.

War and Peace in Old Venice

The year is 1515, and the long-established traditions of Venice are being shaken to their floating foundations. Upstart merchants, devious thieves, and doughty mercenaries all come together to carve a chunk out of the greatest merchant empire ever to touch the European world. Keeping their wits and weapons honed they must slice through this cut-throat game of class-act gentlemen and rough-hewn street warriors, while a syndicate of long-established families all try to send them to the poorhouse, to the prison, or to perish forever-more.


The Genoan General

The coalition of La Novo Mercato (New Market) have found themselves in the employ of the formidable Genoan General, and to help him must topple the powers of fair Verona at a time where tension is sweeping throughout Europe; in the lead up to the Italian War of 1521.

La Novo Mercato VictoriousUsing all their wits, the New Market must find a way to discredit, deceive, and even depose the corrupt cardinal of this barracks citadel. On their side stands a disgraced preacher, an army of thieves, and a printer just trying to do the best for their family.

Rallying against them stands this corrupt Cardinal and his forces, the Old-Money of aristocracy, and the populace of Verona, all ready to stamp out any opposition to the status quo.


Florence Falls

Having continued campaigning with Andrea Doria, the Genoan General, for the entirety of the Four Years; War, la Novo Mercato have become a rich and powerful influence indeed, and have learned of a fragility in the power structure of Firenze (Florence). The people are dissatisfied with Medici rule and are already on edge. La Novo Mercato is good at using that.

 

La Novo Mercato is ready to stand forward and carve out their own significant market – their interests in Venice and Verona, along with Geona and most of the north, are not big enough to carry much clout with the serious names – Medici, Grimaldi, or Borgia – so to expand the group must look to the horizon of Firenze. Florence is ruled by the Medici at this point, and they have made many enemies. One of these enemies is political writer Machiavelli, who has been involved in Florentine politics for some time.

The Term Ahead! Vala’s Drama program in Term 3

We’ve been busy little bees for the first week, planning ahead for the term to come.

The Schedule!
The Schedule!

In Vala Dramatic Adventures we’re jumping from Britain under Roman occupation, to the arrival of Vikings in North America (It was better than expected, for everyone involved), to to the Knights of the crusades. We’re super keen to see where the story goes with each week, and how our participants get involved in shaping the story.


Roamin' Romans

This week in drama to start us off we’re getting involved in the life of a legionary in Roman Britain. Life on the frontier is hard work, full of training and discipline, and Carrawburgh’s Fort Brocolitia is just a stone’s throw away from several Pictish encampments – something the Roman Legion must be constantly vigilant of.

PoseidonNext week, we’re excited to step out of the cold wet of Northumberland and into the sunny Mediterranean with the Crew of Odysseus, following the tales of that legendary hero and his crew through all the mishaps that come of a two week journey turning into a decade long epic.

Fantasy Skyline

The story goes on into fantastical forays of the Elf Towers of Dawn, and back to the true stories of the Viking Voyages in Norse America. Before long, we’ll leap through the Prehistoric Paleolithic, the ever formal Feudal Japan, the calamitous Crusades, and then leap thousands of years into the future for Arena 9000’s return.

As we go forward, we’re welcoming new graduates from Sparks, prepped and ready from their drama interfaces last term,  are all set for the challenges ahead – and some old faces returning to the dramatic adventures of Vala.