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Passions: Loyalty vs Homage

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I understand there are several conversation on "what is homage" and how it differs from Loyalty. I am running a standard GPC campaign with all Salisbury knights. I gave them both Loyalty to Roderick passion and Homage to Uther passion. In play this has both diluted their focus in these passions relating to their chain of command as well as given them double the "chain of command" passion options in battles.

How do you recommend using these passions in standard Salisbury GPC play. I am kind of thinking I should have skipped the Homage and stuck to just Loyalty Roderick. I am also still having trouble differentiating between Loyalty and Homage despite having read what I could find about it... 

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If your instinct is to stick with Loyalty you should probably do that.

As I've noted elsewhere King Arthur Pendragon and The Great Pendragon Campaign work great as is. and KAP has worked great as is literally for decades.

the additional bells and whistles can certainly be appealing. And for some who has played or run the game before the novelty of new rules and ideas certainly makes sense.

But they are not needed. And in the best case the GM will pick and choose among all the new baubles for the items that make the most sense and which excite him.

KAP already has so much going on with it's amazing rules as is. Try it out of the box for a while and see what happens.

Edited by creativehum
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As creativehum says, the distinction between Homage, Fealty and Loyalty is more academic than anything else. However, that being said...

Homage is to your primary Liege Lord. Who is your liege? By default, Count Roderick. Hence, your old Loyalty (Lord) should become Homage (Count Roderick).

The PKs should not have Homage (Uther) unless they are Uther's household knights or direct vassals (which might happen if they kill Gorlois and/or capture Octa). In this case, as the King, Uther would demand the Homage, and their previous Homage (Count Roderick) would become Fealty (Count Roderick).

The PKs should not even have Loyalty (Uther) by default, unless they have a particular reason to swear allegiance to Uther. Like it says on p. 96 (KAP 5.2): "Loyalty (Pendragon): Likely, only a few characters will ever become direct vassals of the High King."

The chain of command is simple:

Count Roderick is your liege. You obey him.

King Uther is Count Roderick's liege. The Count obeys Uther.

If Uther gives you an order, you obey him, since he is the King (your liege's liege) and has a temper. But technically, since your oath is to Count Roderick, he can countermand the order (and gets into a ton of trouble with the King for it, no doubt).

If Duke Corneus of Lindsey gives you an order,  you may obey it (since you don't want trouble), but since he is not in your chain of command, you can ignore it (at your peril).

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It really comes down to whom a knight will follow should two lords fight one another. For example, let's say a PK is a landed knight and a vassal of the Count of Salisbury. So his Loyalty (Salisbury) is also Homage (Salisbury). Then the knight goes off to war and captures and enemy commander for the King. The king rewards the PK with a manor and the PK needs a new Loyalty (King) passion. Now since the King outranks the Count, this passion is now the PKs Homage score. The idea is that the knights loyalty to the king should now override his loyalty to the Count. Now the Count might not be entirely happy with this, but there isn't a lot he can do or say about it without looking like he might want to go to work against the King's interests. Plus the PK now opens up another line of communication to, and influence in, the King's court- so it's not a total loss.


Generally speaking this sort of thing doesn't come up that often - only when a PK with one liege lord does something to really impress another. This is more likely to happen the higher up the social ladder a knight is. Also in reality it can get a bit more complicated as a knight has good reason to back their lord who gave him the most- or at least try to figure out a way to avoid working against one or the other lord. Historically these situations are why some nobles send sons to back both parties in a conflict- that way the land will stay in the family no matter which side wins.

So most PKs will only have one liege lord and not need to bother with the distinction between the two. They will owe both to Count Salisbury. It;s only those PKS who end up taking Loyalty (Arthur) who will need to worry about it, and then only if their normal liege isn't a fan of the Pendragon. 


BTW, the example I gave in the first paragraph was something that happened in my campaign and lead to one PK in the group having a Homage (King Constatin) passion.  The rest of the PKs didn't get the passion.





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  • 1 year later...
2 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

When Count Roderick dies and Countess Ellen takes his place, do the PKs have to roll a new Homage passion or do they keep the former one? And when Robert becomes count?

The rules mostly seem to be interested in what happens when a knight swears fealty to additional lords, not succession.  But I personally would have them generate a new Passion.  It is very possible that one might not be as loyal to the heir as to the previous lord, for instance, or maybe even more loyal.   (Gorlois might not have as high an Homage (Uther) as his Homage (Aurelius Ambrosius) had been.)

RAW a new lord is 3d6, but that’s framed in terms of fealty to additional lords, and seems too low, even if the relationship with the person who knighted you should be special.  Perhaps one might use the rule of rolling 1d6 for every full 4 points of the old Passion, so that a PK who is famous for loyalty doesn’t lose all the time spent cultivating the Passion completely (and after all, to some extent the Passion is a representation of how loyal they are to their oaths, which is why Paladin collapses it into Honour).

However, I don’t think they should have to generate a new Passion when Robert comes of age, because I’m fairly certain that their homage and fealty will always have been to him — Ellen didn’t have the PK’s allegiance in her own right, but because she was managing affairs in the name of her son.  In fact, if PKs swear to support her, it might be regarded as a separate matter of Honour in addition to their oaths of homage and fealty to Robert.  Happy to be corrected on the point, but while Robert can’t yet knight as a child, I believe that he can receive homage and fealty.  Kings definitely could receive homage and fealty when they were children.

Edited by Voord 99
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27 minutes ago, Voord 99 said:

But I personally would have them generate a new Passion.

I give my PKs a choice: they can reroll the Passion or they can keep the one they have. Yes, I know this means that on the whole, they keep the high loyalty and reroll the poor ones, but I am fine with this. Loyalty is one of those nice passions that is tailor-made for the GM to use as a hook, as my players found out having maximised their Loyalty [Prince Mark] during the Anarchy... 😛 All hail Good King Mark!

31 minutes ago, Voord 99 said:

Happy to be corrected on the point, but while Robert can’t yet knight as a child, I believe that he can receive homage and fealty.

I think you are right. That being said, in our campaign, Cornwall had it as a requirement for their help that the knights of Salisbury bend the knee to Prince Mark, "until such time as Robert is old enough to swear allegiance to the King of Cornwall and take his place as the Count of Salisbury as a loyal vassal of the King of Cornwall". Which led to a nice little loyalty conflict when Squire Robert (no early knighting for you!) was captured by Arthur's army in 511... and Arthur promptly released Robert and knighted him, before asking for an oath of loyalty to the King of Logres, "as his father before him".

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8 minutes ago, Morien said:

I give my PKs a choice: they can reroll the Passion or they can keep the one they have.

Actually, I may have been remembering our old houserule there... Nowadays, I think what we do is to roll a new Loyalty with 3d6+bonuses (like the 1d3 for vassal knight) and then take the average between it and the previous loyalty. So if you were superloyal to Roderick, some of that likely carries over, but not all of it, and so forth.

Granted, it is not really an issue outside of Anarchy in most campaigns.

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On 5/1/2021 at 1:34 PM, The Wanderer said:

When Count Roderick dies and Countess Ellen takes his place, do the PKs have to roll a new Homage passion or do they keep the former one? And when Robert becomes count?

Good questions. Logically, they should reroll (loyalty is a personal connection). In game, I would let them the choice, as Morien said (^^). The savvy regent should invite all of the vassals to swear allegeance as soon as possible to the young count and to herself (if the regent is the countess).

But your loyalty is for Robert, not countess Ellen (she is just the regent). OF course, you could have unruly vassals who claim their loyalty to the count, but not to the Regent.

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