I'm fascinated by a tension in our imaginings of the European Middle Ages ~ the so-called Dark Ages, specifically.
On the one hand, we think of them as the Dung Ages, as a time period when essentially everything we modern people consider necessary for good mental health (proper nutrition, free time in which we have a choice about what to do, vacations, something non-alcoholic to drink, choice of occupation, etc.) are simply unavailable. We suppose these to be dirty times that broke people.
But on the other hand, this is the time when the Holy Grail chose to make itself known. In amidst all of these dung-covered traumatized people was the desire to be more than human, the aspiration towards Heaven. Chivalry and monasticism and political uprisings all seem to come from that same desire to be perfect and incorruptible within a corrupt world.
That first hand is a time full of stories in which people use their brokenness to gain power, whether that's the brutality shown in melees and pillagings or the mindgames of the court. Blood ends up on the floor either way.
The second is a time when virtue brings power and the literal Hand of God blessing your endeavours and cursing your enemies'.
I've been trying to bash these two ideas together to recreate D&D from the ground up, stitching together bits of Unknown Armies and bits of Pendragon and bits of Legend of the Five Rings to create a system in which ability flows from the intersection of damage and virtue. In other words, I'm writing a Fantasy Heartbreaker resting on changing the core mechanic and ability scores of Dungeons and Dragons.
At the moment, it's still very early days, with a good amount of copypasta in order to get the system idea out for review and commentary, but I would simply adore it if you might have it in your heart or other circulatory organ to look it over and provide that review and commentary.
You can find it in a series of posts on my blog, starting here
Thank you for taking a look!