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Overage squires

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Yes, if Governal in the Tristram legends is a thing (he was older than Tristram was!). Some squires never become knights. Squires old enough to hit their age should be regularly statted characters in their own right, as Governal assuredly was. He retired, of course, after a while, to be a household steward and later was knighted many years later.

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Yes, it is possible, but it is not the default. Rules for this are in Book of the Entourage, p. 15. It is not unheard of, but it is up to the GM to allow it (a lot would depend on the story, especially who the squire is and how he has been treated so far) and there is a growing chance that the squire will find something else to do. But if it makes sense storywise and the GM allows it, sure. The obvious advantage for the PK is that the squire is more experienced and hence has higher skills. The disadvantage is that it means the PK doesn't have a squire slot free for a new squire, who can be a son of a friend/ally, and hence foster more connections and favors between knights.

Book of the Entourage also does away with Squire Skill = Age. Instead, Squire Skill starts (normally) at 15, and after that improves with a yearly roll of 6 on 1d6 until 20, after which it improves on a roll of 20 on 1d20.

Edited by Morien
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On 8/13/2019 at 7:54 AM, Morien said:

Yes, it is possible, but it is not the default. Rules for this are in Book of the Entourage, p. 15. It is not unheard of, but it is up to the GM to allow it (a lot would depend on the story, especially who the squire is and how he has been treated so far) and there is a growing chance that the squire will find something else to do. But if it makes sense storywise and the GM allows it, sure. The obvious advantage for the PK is that the squire is more experienced and hence has higher skills. The disadvantage is that it means the PK doesn't have a squire slot free for a new squire, who can be a son of a friend/ally, and hence foster more connections and favors between knights.

Book of the Entourage also does away with Squire Skill = Age. Instead, Squire Skill starts (normally) at 15, and after that improves with a yearly roll of 6 on 1d6 until 20, after which it improves on a roll of 20 on 1d20.

Since a squire is supposed to be a training period I also agree that an older squire is a rarity. 

But this may change when becoming a knight becomes more expensive and is hard to do. Remember that even the great knight William Marshall only became a knight later in live. He did however command armies before that, so the position of knight was more ceremonial at that point.

In my game most squires get a position of power within the household of a family member. Positions like steward/bailiff, reeve, huntsman, etc.So they end their training as squire.

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1 hour ago, Cornelius said:

Remember that even the great knight William Marshall only became a knight later in live. He did however command armies before that, so the position of knight was more ceremonial at that point.

I think you have William Marshal (who was knighted in 1166, when he was 18-20 years old, didn't lead armies until later in life) confused with Sir Robert Knolles (b. ~1325, knighted 1359, so about 34 years old), who was a famous English mercenary captain even before his knighting.

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5 hours ago, Cornelius said:

But this may change when becoming a knight becomes more expensive and is hard to do.

Yup, or if the squire's circumstances change. For instance, a squire whose family loses the manor to Saxons  could find himself without the means to become a knight. Or a liege lord going through tough economic times (such as during the anarchy) might not be able to maintain as many knights as before, meaning fewer openings for household knights.

5 hours ago, Cornelius said:

Remember that even the great knight William Marshall only became a knight later in live. He did however command armies before that, so the position of knight was more ceremonial at that point.

Uh, no. Marshall was knighted before he was 21. He didn't get landed until much later.

5 hours ago, Cornelius said:

In my game most squires get a position of power within the household of a family member. Positions like steward/bailiff, reeve, huntsman, etc.So they end their training as squire.

That seems off. Since you agreed earlier that squire is basically "Knight in training" then it doesn't make sense for most squire to end up in a non-knightly position -especially one that has less status than being a squire. Positions like Steward or Huntsman are only really of higher station than squire when the holdings are large and/or the landholder is of high status. I would expect most squires to end up knighted, with those who cannot staying on as a squire. or becoming mounted sergeants with hopes of improving their fortunes in battle. No small percentage of squires die in battle too. 

 

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I agree that MOST of the household positions in a normal vassal knight's household would not be esquire positions. However, the steward (if the knight is lacking a wife) might be one, and if the vassal knight is supporting a valet or another such esquire to show some extra class... But most of the land is held by the King and his Barons, not by Vassal Knights.

If we look at BotW, p. 47 and take the average £300 Baron as our touchstone, we can see that his court hosts about 10 esquire-level officers. This is about one-third of the knights that he has. However, on p. 171, we also see example court positions, some of which would be esquire-level as well, like valets and heralds. Many would be of the clergy or scholars, and come up a different, non-squire career path. So we might end up with maybe 15 esquires in the court of a Baron, in addition to the 30 squires currently.

However, each of those 30 knights is likely to have 3 or more squires during their lifetimes. To simplify things, let's assume that each knight has 3 squires, one of whom replaces him at the end of his life. This leaves 60 ex-squires. Those 15 esquire-positions need filling, so that is 45 ex-squires left. If we assume that 30 of those become mounted sergeants (one per knight), then we are only left with 15 ex-squires. And these squires would vanish if instead of 3 squires per knight we'd have just 2.5 squires per knight. Or to put it in other terms, every other knight would have one squire to pull a double shift of 14 years instead of just 7 years. That would be one way to do it. Or to make it a bit simpler, you could imagine one of four current squires being a careerist*, serving the same knight till the end. This means that out of 4 knights, you would get 9 'regular' 7-year squires (4 of whom would continue to knighthood), and 1 career squire.

(* Entourage rules encourage, however, just keeping a squire for a few extra years until he gets his affairs in order and then switching to a new one, rather than keeping one life-long squire. I could see the latter happening especially with commoner squires, or squires to a famous knight: more prestigious to stay as a squire to Sir Gawaine than a valet to Baron Whosit.)

Furthermore, some squires might switch 'classes' to become clergy (although that choice might be made even prior to going through the squiring) or even marry into a wealthy merchant family and take over that business, especially if they were the Nth sons of their own family with little hope to progress into knighthood.

 

EDIT: You may have noticed that I don't get into the combat deaths so much, since that muddies the issue somewhat. I have sorta just averaged that into the lifespan simplification. If squires die more commonly on the battlefield than knights, this obviously would push down the number of surviving squires. However, the opposite is also the case since those dead knight's armors need filling, too. It becomes quite complicated.

Edited by Morien

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Because I have a tendency to make things more complicated, I came up with a way to randomly determine what happens to a squire; basically, every year starting at 21, they accumulate a score (can't remember what I called it since I'm at work right now... Squire Departure or something), which is (Squire Age - 20) + (Squire Skill - 20) + Modifiers (generally determined by their background, so say, the son of a vassal knight has like + 5 or 10, whereas a peasant squire has something like - 15), this becomes a score that the roll against every year, on a failure, they stay on, on a success, they leave. Fumble subtracts 1 from their Departure Score, crit means they will stay only if you give them an extra 1 Libra per year (not completely sold on this to be honest).

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9 hours ago, Call Me Deacon Blues said:

Because I have a tendency to make things more complicated, I came up with a way to randomly determine what happens to a squire...

There already is such a rule in the Book of Entourage. Every year the knight rolls the age of the squire, as if it were a skill, and if the result is a critical the squire moves on. So most NPC squires tend to move on in a few years.

Personally I'm all for applying modifiers to this roll, and I could see rolling from age 14 instead of 21, too, in order to account for those squires who get knighted early or who move on for other reasons. 

 

9 hours ago, Call Me Deacon Blues said:

 they will stay only if you give them an extra 1 Libra per year (not completely sold on this to be honest).

It sounds far to mercenary for me. I'd suggest replacing it with a opposed roll vs. Loyalty (Lord). But then that y\would require us to generate a Loyalty (Lord) passion for squires. Still I could see just rolling age vs Loyalty (Lord) once a squire hits 21. 

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

There already is such a rule in the Book of Entourage. Every year the knight rolls the age of the squire, as if it were a skill, and if the result is a critical the squire moves on. So most NPC squires tend to move on in a few years.

I think you are still quoting some even older, unrevised version, Atxgtx. :)

The rule (at least since v.1.2, current one is 1.3) is that you roll 1d20 vs. extra years (over 21), and on a success, he leaves. It is almost the same as rolling the age and looking for the crits, offset by one year. And yes, this should be modified by the GM depending on the squire's background.

That being said, I do like the idea of just rolling the Age and looking for crits. Maybe start rolling from 18 or 19 onwards, and that would occasionally give a chance of the squire being knighted early. If you start at 18, you'd get about 15% squires who would leave service early, and 85% who'd leave at 21 or later.

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56 minutes ago, Morien said:

I think you are still quoting some even older, unrevised version, Atxgtx. :)

Sorry. More likely an inadvertent house-rule. ;)

Quote

The rule (at least since v.1.2, current one is 1.3) is that you roll 1d20 vs. extra years (over 21), and on a success, he leaves. It is almost the same as rolling the age and looking for the crits, offset by one year. And yes, this should be modified by the GM depending on the squire's background.

Yup. I misremembered it as rolling age and the squire moving on if you get a 20+.😁

Quote

That being said, I do like the idea of just rolling the Age and looking for crits. Maybe start rolling from 18 or 19 onwards, and that would occasionally give a chance of the squire being knighted early. If you start at 18, you'd get about 15% squires who would leave service early, and 85% who'd leave at 21 or later.

How about Age with a modifier for father's class? With +1 per 1000 Glory the squire has. 

The modifier to the starting squire skill seems about right (with lucky commoners being the ones most likely to be career squires), with perhaps an additional modifier for higher ranking nobles (+3) to reflect the greater likelihood of their being knighted at 18. Swiping the starting skills table (which is similar to the Stewardship mod for wives). Something like: 

 

Estate Holder, Baron: +3

Officer: +1

Knight: +0

Holy Man: -4

Foot Solider: -5

Commoner: -7

 

Edited by Atgxtg

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45 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

How about Age with a modifier for father's class?

I'd rather not, since this actually keeps the possibility the same for a commoner squire and a knight's heir. Or rather, I would not be rolling for the commoners (including foot soldiers) at all: they stay as squires until they die or the knight takes pity on them (sponsors them some old armor and horse to at least qualify as a mounted sergeant) or dismisses them. For Holy Men (by which I would assume Clergy), these guys are likely illegitimate, but daddy might be diverting some church funds to get them knighted or trade favors to get their son knighted, so using normal chances seems OK.

The Baronial (and Estate holders') offspring having a higher chance* I would be fine with, and with them and landed knight heirs, I would knight them at 21, no buts. They wouldn't languish as mere squires.

* +3 is not too bad, I don't think... This leads to chances of: 18 = 10%, 19 = 15%, 20 = 20%, 21 = 100% (bit over 60% of the squires left).

 

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3 hours ago, Morien said:

I'd rather not, since this actually keeps the possibility the same for a commoner squire and a knight's heir. Or rather, I would not be rolling for the commoners (including foot soldiers) at all: they stay as squires until they die or the knight takes pity on them (sponsors them some old armor and horse to at least qualify as a mounted sergeant) or dismisses them. For Holy Men (by which I would assume Clergy), these guys are likely illegitimate, but daddy might be diverting some church funds to get them knighted or trade favors to get their son knighted, so using normal chances seems OK.

I could go with that. I figure commoner squires would need to slay a dragon or something to get knighted. 

3 hours ago, Morien said:

The Baronial (and Estate holders') offspring having a higher chance* I would be fine with, and with them and landed knight heirs, I would knight them at 21, no buts. They wouldn't languish as mere squires.

* +3 is not too bad, I don't think... This leads to chances of: 18 = 10%, 19 = 15%, 20 = 20%, 21 = 100% (bit over 60% of the squires left).

 

I would let them get knighted earlier, as there are plenty of cases of such people being knighted at 18 or even 15. It ends up being more a case of politics.

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12 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I would let them get knighted earlier, as there are plenty of cases of such people being knighted at 18 or even 15. It ends up being more a case of politics.

Yes. Given how rare it would be to have a baronial son as a squire, I probably would leave it fully to the story rather than a random roll. For instance, in default GPC, it makes sense for Robert to insist being knighted in 509; there is no one else to take charge of Salisbury. Whereas in our campaign, Prince Mark (married to Countess Ellen) wasn't keen on losing the regency of Salisbury and hence was insisting on Robert completing the whole squiring period.

Skill-wise, I would see the higher nobility getting knighted as soon as they qualify. With knightly backgrounds, I'd see it more common to wait until they are 21, even if they are the heir: if the father is alive, the son needs to find a household position (usually no problem with the liege), or if the father is dead, the guardian has his own vested interest to keep the manor as long as possible. With the younger sons, there might be an issue of equipping them as knights, as well as finding them a position. On the other hand, the longer you stay a squire, the more you are left behind, socially, by those who got knighted.

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which brings up a good point.  KAP uses Glory as a measure of experience and renown.  RAW says on page 121 (KAP 5.2) that 
"Any noble, from High King to an esquire, may gain glory."  And a bit later, "Squires, sergeants, and other characters below the status of knight may frequently be denied the opportunity to gain Glory." (Bold emphasis mine.)

40 minutes ago, Morien said:

On the other hand, the longer you stay a squire, the more you are left behind, socially, by those who got knighted.

I'm interpreting the above rule to allowing Glory to a squire (1/10 as 1/4 may be too large), but should esquires gain glory? I say yes, but do they gain the same reward level, or should they also be limited? If limited, what percentage?

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10 minutes ago, Hzark10 said:

I'm interpreting the above rule to allowing Glory to a squire (1/10 as 1/4 may be too large), but should esquires gain glory? I say yes, but do they gain the same reward level, or should they also be limited? If limited, what percentage?

I could go with some glory gained AFTER chargen. I probably wouldn't discount any personal combat glory: if you defeat a giant then you defeated a giant. But I would be inclined to discount any passive glory from Traits and Passions: as a squire, you are not as much in the limelight. 1/10 seems so low as to make this nigh useless to count, though. I have not had to think about it in our games so far.

As for the opportunities to gain glory, in the above giant example, you would expect that the knight(s) would have the first crack at the giant, so the chances are that the squire would be just watching from the sidelines.

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I agree, but if the squire does engage in combat...

And does it matter to whom one is squired to? In other words, does being the squire of Lancelot do anything to your glory level as compared to some household knight?

I am not as concerned about passive glory as that would be reduced as well.  

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2 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

I agree, but if the squire does engage in combat...

And does it matter to whom one is squired to? In other words, does being the squire of Lancelot do anything to your glory level as compared to some household knight?

I am not as concerned about passive glory as that would be reduced as well.  

Lancelot went around without a squire much of the time... As did Percivale. They must have looked rather battered over time.

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4 hours ago, Morien said:

Yes. Given how rare it would be to have a baronial son as a squire, I probably would leave it fully to the story rather than a random roll.

That makes sense, such characters are indeed rare. Estate Holders might be more common. In my campaign a couple of PKs have married off daughters to Estate Holders and I could see a PK training such as a squire, but that's about as far as I would probably go.

4 hours ago, Morien said:

Skill-wise, I would see the higher nobility getting knighted as soon as they qualify.

I'd say even sooner, depending on the circumstances. The classic example being Arthur, who is knighted while 15 in order to become king. Constans might be another example. It is unclear if he was even knighted, but he was raised by the clergy - odd for the first son and heir apparent.  

4 hours ago, Morien said:

With knightly backgrounds, I'd see it more common to wait until they are 21, even if they are the heir: 

I think that depends on how badly a heir is needed and what supporters/rivals/enemies are involved in the matter. I think the higher the status of the squire the greater the chances of a early knighting regardless of his qualifications. 

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

The classic example being Arthur, who is knighted while 15 in order to become king.

Closer to 18 in GPC. Born sometime spring/summer 492, knighted Pentecost 510, before being crowned.

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1 minute ago, Morien said:

Closer to 18 in GPC. Born sometime spring/summer 492, knighted Pentecost 510, before being crowned.

True, but the example does hold. Still, I think we are generally in agreement here. Namely that knighting should normally occur at 21, assuming the canditate is qualified, but that status, economic circumstances, personal heroism, loyalty, etc. can alter that. 

 

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4 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

I agree, but if the squire does engage in combat...

And does it matter to whom one is squired to? In other words, does being the squire of Lancelot do anything to your glory level as compared to some household knight?

It does if you use the Book of Entourage. Since a squire gets 5 glory per 1000 that the knight he is attached to has, this could be a tidy sum. It was one of the first things we noticed about player squires.  This could mean that the squire of Lancelot in his prime (circa 540) would get 375 Glory per year. This works out to over 2000 Glory! This seems like a bit much, but the, cosisder the sorts of things Lancelot does being Lance's squire is inherently more dangerous.

4 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

I am not as concerned about passive glory as that would be reduced as well.  

Part of the problem here is that many of th young, heroic knights are first noticed when they are squires, and tend to have a lot of glory before they get knighted. Lance being the poster child for this. Of course with him he was the son of a King, was raised by the Lady of the Lake, etc. 

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2 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Lancelot went around without a squire much of the time... As did Percivale.

I wonder if that is entirely true or deliberate. 

What I mean is that perhaps they had squires that weren't mentioned (i.e Lance scales the battlements to face off against a dozen guards; his squire steadies the ladder - no mention of the squire), or if they started out with squires but they got killed while adventuring (i.e. guard drops boiling water on Lance as he climbs the ladder, misses, and kills the aforementioned squire. Lance continues on the rest of the year without a squire).

2 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

They must have looked rather battered over time.

Yeah but that feeds into the whole Masochistic Medieval Christianity thing. A holy person has to suffer to prove how devout and holy he really is. Not many Saints had a pleasant life.

 

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5 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I wonder if that is entirely true or deliberate. 

What I mean is that perhaps they had squires that weren't mentioned (i.e Lance scales the battlements to face off against a dozen guards; his squire steadies the ladder - no mention of the squire), or if they started out with squires but they got killed while adventuring (i.e. guard drops boiling water on Lance as he climbs the ladder, misses, and kills the aforementioned squire. Lance continues on the rest of the year without a squire).

Yeah but that feeds into the whole Masochistic Medieval Christianity thing. A holy person has to suffer to prove how devout and holy he really is. Not many Saints had a pleasant life.

 

I'm pretty sure that if they had their squires with them it might have come up. Also a squire would have been awfully handy for fetching help, treating injuries, or retrieving a horse, but every time, there's none mentioned.

Squires appear somewhat rarely in the romances outside of tournaments and pitched battles. For some probably reckless reason the knights seem to do without when exploring dark forests and rescuing maidens, though in Lancelot's case he shows a marked proclivity to wandering off alone. In fact, sometimes it's the maiden (compare the tale of Sir Gareth) or her dwarf who seem to do the squire's role. My current campaign has more PC ladies than knights so the ladies end up doing some of the squire's work (mainly patching up the poor fellow).

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16 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Squires appear somewhat rarely in the romances outside of tournaments and pitched battles. 

Yeah, but I'm not so sure if that means they weren't present. There is a tendency in period writers to ignore common things and people that everyone would know about - especially when it comes to servants. I don't doubt that there are times when knights go off alone, but I suspect that often a squire is probably there but not mentioned. Take Kay for example. We can all recall one of his squires, but I don't believe we ever hear of any other of squires throughout the saga, though doubtless he would have had them. 

 

In game terms though, I could see a knight earning extra Glory for adventuring without a squire.

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