Monday, April 21, 2014

Playing Servants, Part the Second: The Squire

The idea of playing servants springs from the medieval omnipresence of people serving other people in some capacity or other. This post is a sequel to the first part, which contains the Groom kit.

Warrior Kit
Description: Squires are proto-knights. This kit might also be called the 'knight' kit, but that would make it sound a lot more glamorous and not really give the player the notion of just what exactly was going on in the first few levels of being a squire. Essentially, they are this: a squire is generally noble (taking this kit from a non-noble background is possible but requires some forethought and explanation, working with the DM). Around the age of eight, noble boys are generally fostered off to serve as a Page to some lord or overlord that their parents want to form a bond with. While this is most often someone of higher social standing, it may also be someone of equal social standing (indicating a horizontal alliance), or perhaps of equal or less standing but with greater resources. Either way, when that Page turns 14 he becomes a Squire.

Squires generally expect to be knighted after serving on at least one campaign. They begin play as younger than most PCs (14+1d4 years old rather than 16) indicating their tendency towards a lower age range. They are also in the service to a knight or lord, and generally amongst a number of other squires doing the same. If the DM and player cannot decide on the number of other squires present serving the lord, feel free to simply roll 1d6-1 to determine the compatriots the squire has. The DM will have to generate personalities and alignments for all these characters by whatever means he deems suitable.

The PC will be directly subservient to a knight or lord, responsible for cleaning weapons and armor, serve as a cupbearer at meals, and otherwise kowtow in the hopes of establishing a lasting bond.

Weapon Proficiencies: Squires under 16 may not begin play with specialization. They are required to take a weapon proficiency in dagger, arming sword, and lance. Their last slot is theirs to choose.

NWPs: Squires generally learn etiquette and heraldry first and foremost; they spend no time learning reading and writing in general. However, individual squires may vary in their appetites and thus there are no required profs here except riding.

Equipment: Squires are taken care of by their lord. They receive 5d6x10gp to buy equipment and must return everything unspent over 25gp after purchase.

Special Benefits: Squires can reasonably expect to be knighted after showing valour on the field or achieving the 3rd level, whichever comes first. Those who are not heirs to their patrimony (generally anyone who is not 1st in the birth order, though the laws of certain kingdoms may allow partible inheritance or selection of an heir outside of the primogenetic one) can also expect their services with their lords to continue indefinitely if they establish a good relationship. By the time they are knighted (becoming a "Sir," or "Sieur" in the Third Empire and most surrounding lands), if they retain a good relationship with their lord and are not the heirs of their land, they will be granted 5 hides of land (which supports 20 or so peasant families) as a knight's fee to retain their service.

This territory generates, on average, 750sp/house (for a total of 15,000sp/annum) or 3,000sp/hide/annum if there are enough men to work it. Of course, these men are assumed to work their own fields for 3-5 days a week. This income (1,500gp/annum) is expected to pay for all weapons and harness (medieval term for armor) of the knight as well as for him to outfit and equip 5 or so peasants from his territory to serve as a levy in case they are called. This fee or duty is to serve his lord in an army for up to 40 days without pay (save food). If the year is better or worse, the soil better or worse, adjust the income appropriately.

A knight in service to his king may expect a fiefdom at level 9 if he has performed well, served as good counsel, and otherwise made himself indispensable to his king. Knights of other lords generally will not receive land at level 9, but may be given important posts before that. Once knighted they can be named seneschals, stewards, or bailiffs of any territory their lord rules. A count or baron generally holds between one and ten towns (possessing 200-500 people each) and at least one central village (possessing around 1,200 people, or 300 households).

Knighting Ceremony: This is generally a brief ceremony and can be performed just as easily on a battlefield as in a temple or a castle yard. Knights in the 10th Age are made by kneeling before their lord, placing their hands within his, and swearing to be his leal servant. The knight is then slapped or cuffed hard enough to bruise him to remind him of his duty and asked to rise. There is no temple involvement, as the 10th Age is still very much in the early medieval/late classical mode and the ceremony remains one of the military elite, not something controlled by the crown.

Special Hinderances: Squires, unless they serve the king, never get land grants at level 9. They must obey their lord in all things and tend towards the Lawful alignment (though this is by no means required).

They are saddled with a master who may be of any alignment the DM chooses, or his alignment and rank may be rolled on the following weighted tables. The increased rank of evil characters takes into account the desire of one's parents not to send the child to a bastard—thus, if the character is evil, there is generally some other consideration at play, such as increased power of a patron.

Lordly Tables

Alignment (d20)
1-8. LG
9-10. LN
11. LE (add +1d4 on the rank table)
12-13. CG
14. CE (add +1d8 on the rank table)
15-17. NG
18-19. TN
20. NE (add +1d6 on the rank table)

Rank (d20)
1-5. Lowly Baron (1d4 towns, 1 village)
5-8. Baron (2d4 towns, 1 village with a 20% chance of a second)
9-10. Count (2d8 towns, 1d4 villages)
11-13. Great Count or Duke (2d10 towns, 1d8 villages)
14-15. Counsellor of the King (holds a court title, roll again for rank, do not add alignment bonus)
16-17. Key Land (holds an important fortress or march, roll again for rank, do not add alignment bonus)
18. Great Counsellor (holds a court title, roll again for rank, do not add alignment bonus, add +1d6 instead)
19. Heir to the Throne (as a Great Count or Duke, plus he will be king someday)
20+. The King (you know)

Races: While any race may become a knight, only Wind Elves in Arunia have a comparable practice of knighting and knighthood in their own culture. Generally, races will only serve their own as knights, though the smallfolk (being well-integrated in pastoral life) may serve either elves or humans with some frequency.

No comments:

Post a Comment