Campaign of the Month: August 2016
Oath of Crows
So you want to get married
Marriage in the times of King Arthur is a complex and tiresome affair. Most marriages are made to ensure alliances or acquire wealth and even in the Romance era few marry for love. The following system is meant to expand and partly replace the existing rules in Pendragon in order to make the system for marriage more interactive, more interesting and more balanced.
Finding a wife
Finding someone to marry is not difficult for a knight but finding the right maid is very hard. The knight has to take in consideration not only his own status and needs but also his liege’s opinion, the current state of the realm, the maids family, his advisers and his own family. Basically everyone gets to speak their mind making the knight decision a delicate rope walk. The knight can always try to ignore the wishes of his liege and family but this is likely to ruin relationships and sour moods.
If a knight goes out of his way to marry the ‘’wrong’’ maiden the GM should consider giving the knight a check in Selfish or even reducing the knights Homage or Love (Family).
There are two ways of finding a suitable maid: either let you liege decide (using the base system in Pendragon) or the expanded version detailed below.
The first way
Simply roll on the random wife table and apply suitable modifiers.
+1 for each year not married.
+X/£X (maximum +3.)
+/-X Situational (war, famine, Liege ire etc.)
Since the knight allows the liege to decide who he is to marry he receives a check in Homage Liege. The downside with this method is that the liege takes some prestige in finding the knight his maiden halving the amount of glory gained and halving the dowry. When a liege decides who you marry he will simply choose what’s best for him and merely adequate for you.
The player might decline the offered maiden but that will surely draw the liege’s ire.
The second way
Now this is where the fun begins: let’s create a wife! The biggest problem with the randomized wife table is that it lacks character. The wife is not a living breathing person but simply stats on a piece of paper. Even though this quite well simulates how noble women were viewed during the Middle Ages it’s not very engaging. This system will attempt to give the players a better chance at choosing who to marry. Please note that this does not mean that the players should design perfect wives but rather interesting wives. If the GM or the rest of the players feel that the system is being abused the offending player should be informed and the wife redesigned.
The first step in designing your wife is choosing which social class she belongs too:
|Social class||Dowry||Glory||Skills||Starting betrothal|
Note that these values are not set in stone. At the GMs discretion bonuses can be moved around to create wives with different background. IE a famous but poor vassal knight’s daughter might give 5d6*20 Glory but only 1d6£ in Dowry.
Next up comes a Pendragon classic: Tables! Roll twice on the table below to determine your wives special qualities. Not happy with you roll? There is a way out! If you have given your wife a name, background and outlined family you may reroll one d20. The second roll stands. If there is a duplicate roll the player knight may also choose to re-roll.
|1||Childbearing hips||+1 on Childbirth|
|17||Beautiful||Roll APP with 12+3d6 (add 1d6 if rolled twice)|
|18||Famous father||+1d6 Glory|
|19||Rich as a Tarren||+1d6 in Dowry|
|20||Huge tracts of land||+1 lot of land|
Note: Some people might say ‘’Hey! Those are all good thing!’’ and that would be correct. At this point the intended wife has only good traits but that will soon change. For roleplaying reasons simply imagine that this is what people say about the fair maiden but these words might not necessarily be reliable…
The last thing you do is to choose three skills from the wife skill list as your wives primary skills and two traits to be you wives defining traits; these start at 14. These Skills and Traits should start defining your future wife.
Getting betrothed and married
Now that you have formed the baseline for your wife you’ll have to choose if you want to pursue the marriage or not. If you choose to attempt to marry your intended maiden your character makes an official declaration of intent to seek her hand in marriage. Otherwise the maid is discarded and the player might attempt to find a new maiden next year. A knight word to seek a maiden’s hand is not as serious as a betrothal but does carry some weight. If the character later decides to not further pursue a maiden he loses one point in honor, symbolizing his broken promise.
New stat: Betrothed
Betrothed not only symbolizes the knight’s dedication to seek a maid’s hand in marriage but also the different political and social circumstances affecting him. The stats starting value depends on the intended maid’s social class. The stat might be checked and increased by roleplaying or other actions.
Every year the knight must roll his Betrothed to determine if circumstances allow him to formally become betrothed using the following modifiers:
Smootching +X/£X (maximum +5)
Your family agrees +1
Your mother agrees +1
Her family agrees +2
Your advisors agree +1
Your advisors disagree -1
Your advisors fervently disagree -2
Wrong religion: -5
You are distantly related: -5
You are blood-related: -15
Your lord disagrees: -1-X
If you succeed: Congratulations; you will soon be married! If not: try again next year! A critical success signifies that the betrothal for some reason is exceptionally accepted; the GM should give appropriate bonuses. A critical failure means that the maid’s family is getting tired of all the constant inquiries; lower betrothal by 1 or find some other suitable penalty.
As betrothed the knight is expected to marry the maid as soon as possible but matters such as war or the maiden’s age are all acceptable reasons to postpone the marriage slightly. Please note that breaking a betrothal is a serious insult towards the maid and her family which also tarnishes the knight’s reputation. If a player ever breaks a betrothal lower his honor by 3.
The Ugly Truth
No family would ever speak ill of their daughter; even if it means withholding some information from the player knights. Once betrothed roll twice on the table below to find out what her family has kept from you. More shrewd knights may opt to roll Intrigue to find out one of the Maidens truth before the betrothal.
|1||Bad, bad things, Roll again on Bad, bad Table||-|
|10||Thin Waist||-1 Childbearing|
|11||Not that sharp||Your wife might be nice but she’s quite dumb. The GM decides how this affects you.|
|12||Boring. Nothing happens… what a boring wife!||-|
|13||Outspoken||+10 Reckless (Speak Too much)|
|14||Jealous||+10 Suspicious (Other women)|
|15||Doesn’t like guest||Hospitality -3|
|16||Family is not famous||-1d6 Glory|
|17||Family is poor||-1d6 dowry|
|18||Not that beautiful||Roll APP with 3d6|
|19||Good News! Roll again on positive trait table||-|
|20||Exceptional secret, Roll again on the Exceptional table||-|
Bad bad Things
|1||Sickly||Roll a d20 every winter. On 1-10 your wife is sickly.|
|3||Big spender; your wife likes the good things in life||To keep your wife happy you must spend 0.20£ every year|
|4||Impaler||Re-roll Cruel with 2d6+12|
|5||She hates your Family||Reduce Love Family with 10|
|6||Possessed; the maiden often speak in tongues or otherwise acts bonkers. Some say she’s possessed by the devil.||GM decides.|
|1||Beautiful voice/Nimble as a faun/Skilled musician/Muse||Re-roll singing/Dancing/Play/Compose with 3d6+12|
|2||Gentle; your maiden has for some reason become an expert in treating passion madness.||Recives +2 bonus when helping mad knights.|
|3||Sharp||Raise Recognize, Heraldry and Distaff by +5|
|4||Saintly||Raise two good wife traits to 16|
|6||Irresistible beauty; The maiden has been covered and hidden from prying eyes.||Roll app with 4d6+14|
Penalties for several marriages
No one likes when Knights marry too much, it creates political instability and makes the knight family look bad. Therefore glory and dowry is reduced if the knight marries to soon after his last wife’s demise.
|Years since last wife||Penalty|
|1||80% of dowry and glory lost.|
|2||60% of dowry and glory lost.|
|3||40% of dowry and glory lost.|
|4||20% of dowry and glory lost.|
|5||0% of dowry and glory lost.|
Clarification: Order of reductions.
This system introduces several penalties to Dowry and Glory gain. Here is an example of how to calculate gained glory:
Maelgwyn has killed another wife and is getting married 2 years later. The player lets his liege decide who he marries and rolls on the random wife table. He is lucky and gets a wife that gives 5d6×20 (roll: 360) Glory and 36£ in dowry.
First the values are halved due to his liege netting 180 Glory and 18£.
Since its only been 2 years since his last marriage he loses 60% of the dowry and glory ending up with 72 Glory and 7.2 £.