Stockholm Bloodbath

Basic Information

The Stockholm Bloodbath took place in Stockholm between 7th and 9th of November 1520. It started directly after the coronation of Christian II of Denmark as the King of Sweden. Roughly a hundred people were executed, many of whom had specifically been given amnesty just two months before.

When Christian II captured Stockholm on September 7, one of the conditions of the surrender was that he grant a general amnesty to the leaders of the resistance and all who had rebelled. Two months later, he celebrated his coronation (November 4) by 3 days of feasting and partying, followed swiftly by 3 days of rounding up those he'd recently pardoned and having them beheaded, burnt at the stake, buried alive or drowned. He even exhumed the body of the previous Regent of Sweden (who had been slayed during the rebellion) and had the body burnt at the stake.

Christian II's justification for these actions was that those he had pardoned had not only committed crimes against himself and Denmark, but against God. They had deposed an archbishop (who had been allied with Denmark), an act for which he had them all arrested for Heresy. His point of view on the matter was that as King he could pardon them for rebellion or even treason, but that he had no authority to pardon them for crimes against God, so any promises he'd made about amnesty clearly didn't include amnesty from God's punishment.



Game and Story Use

  • In a historical campaign, the PCs could be mercenaries in either the Swedish or Danish army and become involved with these events.
  • The PCs are travelers who happen to be in Stockholm when Christian invades. Perhaps they have NPC friends who are among those rounded up to be slaughtered. Do they collaborate with the new rulers, oppose them, or just keep their heads down?
  • In a time travel campaign, the PCs must rescue an important person, possibly a historically significant noble or possibly a fellow time traveler doing research, who has been seized by Christian and is in danger of execution.
  • The event can be used as a model for a situation where a government is seized by another power which at first promises amnesty, but soon starts looking for enemies to make examples of.
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