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They are probably either mercenary knights or household knights in some lord's service. Some might be household knights to your liege lord (paternal uncles, the spares of the previous generation, especially), but the further you go, more likely they are just mercenary knights.

IMHO, the family knights should be cut off from the game*. Some players try to use them as private armies, which is so not how they are supposed to work. Furthermore, it cheapens the role of the PK as the landed knight in the family, when there are half a dozen other family knights running around. Whereas if you don't have any family knights to start with, then it is the PK's own choice to favor cousins and sponsor them to knighthood with equipment, hence making it a much more big of a deal when he does this and gets rewarded with a family knight, who naturally would be very loyal. (* I do make exceptions to 2nd sons, the spares, who I imagine get knighted with dad's old gear as their share of the inheritance to go out and try their luck.)

Greg acknowledged that the family knights are problematic... I'll have to see if I can find the old thread in the Nocturnal Forum at some point.

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3 hours ago, Morien said:

IMHO, the family knights should be cut off from the game*. Some players try to use them as private armies, which is so not how they are supposed to work.

Yes. THe problem is if you give a PK a half dozen knights he will try to use them somehow. 

 

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Greg acknowledged that the family knights are problematic... I'll have to see if I can find the old thread in the Nocturnal Forum at some point.

Yeah I think he said they should be  dropped from the character sheet somewhere. 

 

I think the idea was that there were supposed more a matter of connections and influence. It shows how many knights a PK has looking out for him, and whom he should be looking out for. 

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Found one:

http://kapresources.wpengine.com/Pendragon Forum Archive/index.php/t-3141.html

An older one here:

http://kapresources.wpengine.com/Pendragon Forum Archive/index.php/t-411.html

Oddly, while it has the correct name, it doesn't match what I was quoting in the newer thread, so I wonder if I was referring to another thread that I have been unable to find. Perhaps one of the Errata threads on 5.1?

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No, it was in the KAP 5.1 Errata subforum, thread Family Knights:

Greg Stafford
07-20-2015, 09:03 PM
Ignore this entire section.
It is badly presented and doesn't xcome close to what I had intended it to be and say.
 
dwarinpt
09-07-2015, 08:53 PM
Which section? What part exactly? Under which header? :)
 
Morien
09-07-2015, 10:43 PM
p.32, under Army. And later p. 51-52, under Your Living Family. You are welcome. :)
 
 
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15 hours ago, Morien said:

No, it was in the KAP 5.1 Errata subforum, thread Family Knights:

Greg Stafford
07-20-2015, 09:03 PM
Ignore this entire section.
It is badly presented and doesn't xcome close to what I had intended it to be and say.
 
dwarinpt
09-07-2015, 08:53 PM
Which section? What part exactly? Under which header? :)
 
Morien
09-07-2015, 10:43 PM
p.32, under Army. And later p. 51-52, under Your Living Family. You are welcome. :)
 
 

Ah, that sounds familiar. 

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When we started the family knights were (great)uncles. Most of them were household knights. And since household knights are 24/7 working for their liege they were not available to the PK on a whim. He could ask for their help, but this must be with the consent of the liege lord. Those uncles who were vassals themselves have their own liege lord and of course they also consider the liege lord and his wishes. By the way most of the vassal knights were maternal uncles (older brothers of their mother). On the paternal side the uncles were household knights if they were knights at all.

Currently being they are the privy council of Earl Robert. They are also estate holders and have household knights of their own. Some of them have chosen to keep their sons as household knights, although others are currently serving as household knights to Earl Robert.

 

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On 9/18/2019 at 8:18 AM, Morien said:

IMHO, the family knights should be cut off from the game*.

For what it's worth I find this approach... dramatic?

No, the Family Knights should not be used as a personal army on a whim. But I've never seen them as such. I think the text is unclear on this point, referring to the Family Knights as a "Backup Army." I do see the value of this. After all, the game makes it clear family matters a LOT in this setting, and so family should be part of the KP's life. We know family members do come to each other's aid in the literature, so why not have some family members as part of the KP's characters sheet.

As stated in the KAP rules* there is no need to track (or even name) the Family Knights until they come into play. And even then... maybe not much is known about them.

Futher, during the Winter Phase there is a 10% chance a family member will die. And another 15% chance a family member is lost or missing. Sometimes this will be the Family Knights. That's a 25% for a family member to provide adventure grist (rescue missions, gathering money for ransom, vengeance and so on.) And so whatever number of Family Knights the PK starts with, odds are that number is going to be getting smaller within a few years. 

Further still, as noted above, the Family Knight might well have other obligations. The rules state family is who will drop everything and come to your side when you need help. But the literature tells us that family can also fracture. Having Family Knights means Knight with split loyalties, or behaviors the PK might find aborant, or even Family Knights that become enemies. Like the point above, I see family Knights as grist for adventure as much as aid in combat.

Finally, the rules make it clear that the Family Knights are uncles, brothers, or any other member of an extended family. They can be cousins, second cousins, in-laws. In this matter, it makes perfect sense that the KPs might have relations with a small percentage of the overall number of knights in Salisbury. After all, they might well have a second cousin who owns a manor down the river, or an uncle who is a mercenary knight, or a cousin who is a household knight of a knight who does not like the PKs. Of course, these knights are also related to other knights, and have other obligations. That the Family Knights will come to the aid of the KPs doesn't mean that the aid will not come at a cost to the Family Knights. If the cousin of a PK comes to the PK's aid, he might well end up making a new enemy, that in turn the PK needs to help.

Thus, the PK is still very important in terms of being a vassal knight among a limited number of vassal knights, and a man quite responsible for caring for his family... since the Family Knights will often have their own families to worry about. 

As for Players wandering the land with a retinue of Family Knights... I guess that can happen. But I certainly wouldn't let it happen. The rules state that the Family Knights arrive in an emergency. But the first two Phases of the GPC are constant emergency. What it will take to constitute an emergency in such a setting will have to be quite dramatic. 

My own rule of thumb for RPGs is that I don't switch the rules around or keep refining them simply because some Referee somewhere got steamrolled by his players into make decisions or calls that led to trouble. At some point I'm responsible for sorting this stuff out on my own, setting boundaries, and establishing the rules of the setting.

The fact that Family Knights a) provide adventure grist and b) stand a chance of dying or going missing every year suggests to me that the rules, as they stand, for creating Family Knights are quite solid. They only become a problem once you put them front and center, as the KP's family. But they are the center of the KP's family. That would be his wife and children. Keep that the focuse, with the Family Knights a circle beyond that, and all should be good.

_______________

* I am only referencing the KAP core rules. Call me nutty... but at some point I want to buy a game an play it... not get a PhD in a library of RPG material. (I have also begun to notice that some of the supplements and later additions to the core KAP rules are making some rules break down in some cases. I've decided to run-as-is and see what happens.

I should also add that my take on running KAP is not to simulate history, but to add chapters to Le Morte D'Arthur. I am much for focused on the literary inspiration that trying to sort out every detail of a blatantly ahistorical history. Everyone's mileage will vary, of course.

Edited by creativehum
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3 hours ago, creativehum said:

For what it's worth I find this approach... dramatic?

You might want to check the first link I added to a discussion in 2018 in Nocturnal Forum. I think you will find that we are not quite as far apart as you may think.

My issue is more with the fact that each PK would have around half a dozen family knights, connected only to that one PK in question. And also, the whole 'Army' section in character sheet needs removing, since it is very much giving the false impression that these are people that you can easily rally together when there is a 'crisis', which many new players take to mean 'I want to raid but I don't want to pay mercenaries'. Those lineage men would deserve some help from the PK, not just act as arrowfodder. But they make things even worse, since once you have an average of 5 knights and 12 other lineage men, this is 17 NPCs per PK. Sure, you don't need to keep track of all of them nor even detail them, but that also means that they amount to very little in the game. Since they just pop up in the Family Event (if they pop up, the family member roll is pretty buggy, too), they don't have much emotional weight at all.

Frankly, the best, most impactful NPC family members have been the children and the grandchildren of the original PKs. This is because they have the family history and names. You know where they grew up, and you probably had a hand in marrying the girls off to as good husbands as you could find, and maybe even betrothed your sons, or at least tries to ensure that they would get knighted, etc. You are simply more invested in what happens to them.

I would much rather have a nice family tree of named characters*, and some of whom would actually link the PK families together. One's uncle could be another's aunt's husband, and so forth. Rather than an 'Army' of nameless 'Family Knights'. And since some of them are shared by the PKs, this makes the whole world feel more interconnected, and ensures that other PKs are more inclined to go looking for Cousin Larry, too, when he goes missing.

* Who then populate a Family List of 20 rows (rcvan's suggestion), where you can easily roll 1d20 to see who it is this time rather than coming up with the duds (grandfather and father already dead by default, potentially no brothers nor sisters left, etc...).

Edited by Morien
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Yeah, I think the general misconception/abuse comes from the fact that, as presented, it looks like they guys are hanging around the manor and will be around to defend it or to join in any raiding party.

 

What I think might make more sense would be if the family knights were treated as a score, that a PK could roll against for a modifier at court, reflect the influence that having a dozen or so other knight supporting the PK. Something like:

Critical Success: +10

Success: +5

Failure: +0

Fumble: -10

Edited by Atgxtg
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15 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah, I think the general misconception/abuse comes from the fact that, as presented, it looks like they guys are hanging around the manor and will be around to defend it or to join in any raiding party.

Yes. I don't think that's Greg meant. (And that's what he wrote: about the matter, not that there shoudn't be family knights, but that the presentation of the idea was botched.)

And, yes, Morien, I don't think we're that far off fro each other. If at all, really.

My own take is that I'd roll on the Family Tables first, then roll on find out if any of the age appropriate men are knights by rolling on the Family Knight table. This would probably help reduce the number of Family Knights, since the Family Table rolls would put a cap on the number of Family Knights. (Normally you add more family if you have more knight slots to fill. In this case this does not happen.

Like you I would want some of these family members to be bridges between the PKs, letting the Players sort this out as they built out their families.

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On 9/23/2019 at 7:20 PM, Morien said:

I would much rather have a nice family tree of named characters*, and some of whom would actually link the PK families together. One's uncle could be another's aunt's husband, and so forth. Rather than an 'Army' of nameless 'Family Knights'. And since some of them are shared by the PKs, this makes the whole world feel more interconnected, and ensures that other PKs are more inclined to go looking for Cousin Larry, too, when he goes missing.

* Who then populate a Family List of 20 rows (rcvan's suggestion), where you can easily roll 1d20 to see who it is this time rather than coming up with the duds (grandfather and father already dead by default, potentially no brothers nor sisters left, etc...).

Since KAP is a generational game I wanted a more fleshed out family tree to begin with. So we worked out the entire family tree. thus the family knights were placed in there as well. after that I have gone wild and I am currently tracking between 300 and 400 npcs. This list also  includes some of the more notable npcs that they met during the game. 

The Pks now also have a family relationship. In the first year one of the Pks had 3 sisters. He married them to the other PKs and a he married a sister of another PK. The fact by the way that he had a large family (many aunts and uncles) has led to the running joke that his family is running the county.  

But there are more links between the families. For example the grandmothers of two PKs were sisters. 

I have a excel that does all the dice rolls for me, and I use Realmworks to record the history of all the npcs. So I know what happened to them in the years before.

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On 9/23/2019 at 10:14 PM, creativehum said:

My own take is that I'd roll on the Family Tables first, then roll on find out if any of the age appropriate men are knights by rolling on the Family Knight table.

I think I would be even more harsh: I'd look at the family tree and ask "Is it reasonable for this guy to be a knight?". Forget about the Family Knight rolls altogether.

For example, if the Father's only sibling was a woman who never married, then obviously there won't be any family knights from there. And even if I'd have a Father's Male Cousin still alive, from his third aunt, then I would say that no, this guy is probably an esquire and hence would not be a (middle-aged) family knight. Nor would his sons be young family knights.

On 9/23/2019 at 10:14 PM, creativehum said:

Like you I would want some of these family members to be bridges between the PKs, letting the Players sort this out as they built out their families.

Yes. If one PK has an Aunt who has married, and another has an Uncle who has married, it would make sense that they might be married to one another. Assuming everything else works out (no previous marriages between those two family branches, consanguinity and all that). But yes, for example it would make perfect sense that the PK1's eldest married Aunt would actually be PK2's mother: eldest daughter of a vassal knight ought to be marrying a vassal knight, as a general rule. Which would make the two PKs cousins. Assuming that the Players agree and all that.

You could even make it random by rolling a 1d6 and every possible PK family would be a number, with the remaining numbers connecting to an NPK family.

1 hour ago, Cornelius said:

I am currently tracking between 300 and 400 npcs.

I believe that I have commented before: you are crazy, man. :P

1 hour ago, Cornelius said:

In the first year one of the Pks had 3 sisters. He married them to the other PKs and a he married a sister of another PK.

Yep, very much similar thing happened in our campaign, the PKs primarily marrying each other's sisters. Which is a nice way to explain why this group of knights sticks together. Although I guess that you can also explain many things away with the fact that they are all roughly the same age, so they probably would have rubbed elbows in Sarum for the last 14 years or so, complaining about their onerous duties to each other, and so forth.

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5 hours ago, Cornelius said:

t I have gone wild and I am currently tracking between 300 and 400 npcs.

Wow! Did you do anything special to track that? Some sort of database, maybe?

I thought I was bad when one of my players asked me to help with a document he started to keep track of the various NPCs he encountered during the game and I expanded it to over 100 characters. 

 

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On 9/28/2019 at 7:19 PM, Atgxtg said:

Wow! Did you do anything special to track that? Some sort of database, maybe?

I thought I was bad when one of my players asked me to help with a document he started to keep track of the various NPCs he encountered during the game and I expanded it to over 100 characters. 

 

As I mentioned I have an excel that helps roll 300 survival rolls each year. Furthermore I use the Realmworks database to keep track of the events over the years. For the PKs closest family I abuse a genealogy program. (MyHeritage). The last one is purely to make family trees, which Realmworks cannot do.

Realmworks is a database system that was intended to be used as GM for tracking your story. Unfortunately Lone wolf, the developing company, has pulled out of the project. So there will be no new developments. .

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Ah. So is Realmworks good? I've been looking for a better way to track things in my campaign. Currently I just try to keep things in documents and spreadsheets, and often I have to search through older adventures to dig up character names, stats and other details. 

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Currently I just try to keep things in documents and spreadsheets, and often I have to search through older adventures to dig up character names, stats and other details. 

I got around that by having a 'GM's diary' where I write up the years, adventures, names and places. Then I can just do a 'Find' in the text document and quickly enough find what the context was.

Another thing that helps is to keep the NPCs in their separate documents as well, with a master list in excel, including a space for quick notes: "Dueled Sir Cynwal in Pentecost 523 over insult to a lady; lost."

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I try to do stuff like that, but what usually messes me up is the on the fly NPKs that show up in the middle of another adventure. For example, some time back one player was having a bad night and rolling exceptionally poorly. He was a squire at a   feast and wound up on the floor. Then he managed to anger a knight (feast even card, worst result) and made an new enemy.  So I gave the guy a name, wrote it down (somewhere) and gave the name to the PK, who wrote it down on his event sheet. Other things cropped up and I didn't get back to the rival knight right away, and can't find his name in my notes.  

 

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8 hours ago, Morien said:

Why not just ask the player for the name? Or if you wish to be sneaky about it, ask for a recognize roll (with hefty bonuses) and then start describing the event... Better than even odds that the player will supply the name himself. :P

Oh, I will, although I suspect his ability to find it is lower than mine. My players seem to have take notesbut never look at them or keep them in order.  But that was just an example.

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On 10/3/2019 at 7:51 PM, Atgxtg said:

Ah. So is Realmworks good? I've been looking for a better way to track things in my campaign. Currently I just try to keep things in documents and spreadsheets, and often I have to search through older adventures to dig up character names, stats and other details. 

I like it. It creates links between names and entries easily. It also gives me a way to organiswe all the npcs and link them to events like battles.

Unfortunately the developer Lone Wolf has decided to pull the plug out of the system. So there will be no new features in the foreseeable future. I am not sure if you can still buy the product. I heard that a others will try to bring out a similar product, called YARPS. It is currently not available and it will go out as a kickstarter next month.

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