We had our first real game of Feudal Anarchy last night. I say real, because previously we had never managed to get beyond character creation. The lack of rules for female characters is still somewhat of a drain on the group, so I'm struggling with thoughts about how a female could be tied to the progression of a father or husband; it might make sense for said male to die just as the woman enters play, giving her some institutional freedom. Widows would make interesting characters, though so would the mistresses of parish priests and abbots, or even bishops.
First things first: there's a missing career in the rules. Alderman/Councilor is nowhere to be found, which was a shame because I had someone who had rolled into Guild Mastership. Rather than hastily concoct one, he chose to remain a Guild Master for the final term. Still!
Secondly: It's far too easy, for my tastes, to get into magical careers. Hell, if my players would have brooked it I would have done away with magic all together. Either way, I think I am going to set the entry bar much higher for warlocks and aesthetes in the future. Something like 1-30 instead of 1-60.
As for who we had...
Wulstan the Axe, a young boy from Tunmoss Manor who left home at an early age to join men seeking absolution in the Holy Land. Along with his friend, Darrel (you'll start to wonder where some of these names came from, certainly not an approved source, but I was too eager to argue~), he joined the forces of Roger of Salerno and exhibited extreme bravery at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis but minutes before he could be recognized and knighted, Roger himself was slain. Together, the two men (now hardened with violence and war) returned home. During his time in the Holy Land, Wulstan fell in love with and married a Copt named Aelethia who gave him a passel of daughters and a son.
Darrel of Tunmoss, Wulstan's companion, was a crossbowman and mercenary in Roger of Salerno's host.
Sambart the Hermit, was a commoner who took to the woods for peace and quiet and became a hunter. He went into the service of the Bishop of Hereford as the Forester of Peterchurch for a time, but eventually abandoned his duties to live as a simple religious aesthete in the wild.
Sir Edwart, a knight-bachelor's son and a household knight of Miles of Gloucester, the High Sheriff of Herefordshire. He works for king and country and loves good king Henry most of all.
Brian "le Grande", a base thief and a bandit, le Grande is the most experienced man with a bow in the whole group. He is a skulk and a killer, but has so far displayed remarkable uprightness and brutal honesty.
The game began as Wulstan and Darrel returned home to Tunmoss Manor (to discover it was paltry and shabby compared to their experiences in the great cities of the East). At the same time, Sambart arrived in fear of the local Welsh raiders while Sir Edwart came with a dispatch from the High Sheriff to secure the border. Brian le Grande, after watching his companions be hanged from the eaves of Mortimer Forest, had been skulking around for days seeking to hide out away from the High Sheriff's watchful eyes.
fitzWilliams, the knight who ran the estate, informed them that the Welsh had attacked the night before in numbers no greater than six or so. They were armed with clubs and spears, torches and caused a bit of havoc but harmed no one. After burning down a byre and the thatch of a few roofs, they vanished into the night.
At the same time as Edwart was receiving this news, Wulstan was confronting his father, Arnald who was less than impressed with the path his youngest son chose. After upbraiding him and telling him that his brother Aethelstan had gone on to become a canon priest at the cathedral in Hereford, Wulstan growled and left. Their relationship is not good, and the instant pathos created by real world history was deep and pretty amazing, I feel.
Eventually, the Welsh camp became clear when night fell: an old iron-age hill fort that the local Tunmoss residents thought was a barrow. A heated battle followed in which I used some very general stats for the Welsh. Four were wounded and several died after the battle of those wounds. They tended and saved the rest, bringing them back to Tunmoss in preparation for interrogation and possible ransom back to their lord, the Prince of Powys.
A riotous time was had by all.