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The Wanderer

Questions regarding the Rydychan adventure

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I'm going to run the Rydychan adventure in 499, but I find so little info in the GPC about this adventure and I have a lot of doubts.

First of all, how could possiby the PKs help the countess of Rydychan against the army of the usurpers? They only have two or three manors each, so could only gather a small army. Is the countess Ellen willing to give soliders to help them?

If they end the adventure doing well, BotE suggest rewarding them with some estate... do you think it's a good idea? Do the estates have to be in Rydychan?

Thanks in advance!

 

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It is a tough one.  IT depends on how you want to play it.

One option would be to convince various magnates to help.  Perhaps Countess Ellen will have some sympathy for another beleaguered countess.  The two together would make a formidable pair in central Logres. 

When we played it, the PKs got the King of Forest Sauvage to help.  They had to run a whole series of Adventures for him and then owed him a favor in the future, eventually taking their forces (when they had some followers) into the forest to fight a battle. 

You could also run it more like an Arthurian adventure.  Don't run a siege.  Have the PKs fight one-on-one with the userpers.  The Custom of the Castle is a common theme in Arthurian (and some later literature).  Associate some 'evil' custom with the userpers' holding of each castle.  Every knight who passes with a damsel has to fight the userper.  Whoever wins, keeps the castle.  At the same time, the people judge the damsels. Whoever is prettier becomes the lady of the castle.  The PK then fights the current holder of the castle, kills him, then ends the custom.  The trial should include some combat vs the current holder plus some trait challenge (Just vs Merciful for example).  Given the custom it might be Just to kill both the knight and the uglier lady, but Christian Mercy will break the evil custom when the knight refuses to behead the lesser damsel.  Or some think like that.  If the knight wins the fight, and beheads one of the damsels, it is Just, because those are the rules, but now he's stuck fighting every knight who passes by with a damsel.

(Might have read something similar but not exactly the same somewhere...)

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I presented the information to my players and they came up with a pretty reasonable plan. Assuming the numbers based on the GPC and total troop numbers based off of that, the players decided to strike one brother in a blitz-like battle. Then deal with the others. Numbers we're still a problem, but with a little help from Salisbury and the friends they had made, plus the piles of loot they didn't know how to spend they were able to assemble a pretty decent force. 

I would say there's plenty of reasons for neighboring groups to lend soldiers to a presumable competent and veteran knights of moderate fame. Both Silchester and Salisbury benefit from a friendly Rydychan since both of them are on the front line with the Saxons and/or the Cornish. 

The players will almost certainly want to marry the Countess. I allowed it and didn't run into any problems. As long as you're willing to hand wave the need to run their county, (and why not? All of the other dukes, Kings, and counts in Arthur's time are busy adventuring year long).

There are other solutions, but this seems to be the common one. 

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8 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

If they end the adventure doing well, BotE suggest rewarding them with some estate... do you think it's a good idea? Do the estates have to be in Rydychan?

I think we had some long talks about the list of promotion-worthy events in the old forum... In short, sure, if you take down Gorlois, Uther might reward you with an estate, but he wouldn't give an estate to each of 6 PKs who participated in the fighting. Same should apply for the other promotion events, too.

Then there are some events listed which are too vague or part of default campaign proceedings. What does it mean, 'save someone from Forest Sauvage'? Why would anyone care if you save some random knight or another PK? Why should this be worthy of an estate? Keeping Saxons out of Salisbury or Defending Sarum/Camelot against King Mark are both events that normally happen during the campaign, and I am not going to be chucking an estate per PK for them to just be along for the ride. Instead, they should earn it, more along the lines of what criteria are set in the beginning of that sidebar.

In the case of the Countess of Rydychan, I could see her marrying the biggest hero amongst the PKs if he is unmarried. However, note that she is middle-aged and past childbearing age, so it is not as if the PK's line would all become counts. (Also, the whole Countess thing is based on the earlier regional nobles, not the more scattered landholdings of BotW, where the number of counts is down to 2-3, so she would be 'just' a Baroness.) However, she would be unlikely to afford handing out numerous estates; even one is a bit borderline if going by BotW but OK if you are going with GPC.

In our campaign, Countess Ellen sent the PKs and 20 or so other knights to help under the command of one of the PKs. They managed some victories and in one tense ambush, one of the PKs remained standing against 5 enemy knights and took them down single-handedly! So when the time came to give out rewards, Countess Ellen got a few manors as thanks for her help, the leading PK got a manor for his generalship, and the hero PK got a manor, too. So taken all together, they got about an estate's worth. But I do recognize that I am stingier GM than some others when it comes to land. 1 new manor per generation is about where it is at.

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In case you don't know, the Rydychan Brothers Adventure is (vastly) expanded in Lordly Domains, in a full 3 years scenario. It's written for the third edition, but it's still useful.

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In my game the PKs had in actuality taken over Salisbury. While they were loyal to the young Earl Robert, he was not of age to deal with it. So besides their own manors, the PKs were able to use the full force of Salisbury.

Also in the year after the death of Earl Roderick some knights in Salisbury wanted to make someone else the earl. The PKs prefented that from happening. So Countess Ellen was sympathetic to the plight ofthe countess of Rydychan.

Since I play a more political game they also used some of the others knights of Rydychan who were less commited to the usurpers.

In the end they retook the Rydychan from the usurpers and made it a vassal of Salisbury. They also placed several loyal knights of Salisbury in Rydychan. One PKs uncle, a very famous knight, married the widow countess and ruled Rydychan as a Steward until the young Earl came of age.

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Thank you very much for all the good advices ^^

I'll take a look in Lordly Domains!!

Also, don't you think letting one PKs to marry with the countess would be unfair for the others? Or even giving just one estate, and manors for the others...?

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22 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

Thank you very much for all the good advices ^^

I'll take a look in Lordly Domains!!

 

Also, don't you think letting one PKs to marry with the countess would be unfair for the others? Or even giving just one estate, and manors for the others...?

Life isn't fair. JUst because RPGs are games doesn't mean that everyone should get the same rewards. 

Now that said, if a PK is allowed to marry a countess he should have stood out from the pack and done something to deserve it. Don't just give away such a rich holding  because of a throwaway line in a pre-made adventure. Make then earn any such reward-a real nobleman would.

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52 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Now that said, if a PK is allowed to marry a countess he should have stood out from the pack and done something to deserve it. Don't just give away such a rich holding  because of a throwaway line in a pre-made adventure. Make then earn any such reward-a real nobleman would.

There is also the point that if Ulfius (Silchester) is getting involved, he will expect to have a major say who the widow of Rydychan will marry. Chances are that his candidate won't be a PK whom he barely knows. The widow of Rydychan might get her own say in things, but she would be an idiot to antagonize Ulfius and Silchester in such a situation.

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7 minutes ago, Morien said:

There is also the point that if Ulfius (Silchester) is getting involved, he will expect to have a major say who the widow of Rydychan will marry. Chances are that his candidate won't be a PK whom he barely knows. The widow of Rydychan might get her own say in things, but she would be an idiot to antagonize Ulfius and Silchester in such a situation.

Yes, it seems like any PK who is elevated does so because that's what Uflius wants. Probably because of the PKs rep and to help cement an alliance between Silchester, Rydychan and Salisbury. It is a/the major farm area in Logres and a major powerblock to secre the region. Anyone who subscribes to the theory that Uflius knows about Arthur and is setting up for the future might believe that Ulfius is purposely building a power base for Arthur. 

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4 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Anyone who subscribes to the theory that Uflius knows about Arthur and is setting up for the future might believe that Ulfius is purposely building a power base for Arthur. 

I like that theory!

I have a question regarding the adventure as it's written in lordy domains... It is written as if the PKs go to Rydychan alone with the countess... they are supposed to take some soldiers/knights with them, right? At least the ones they maintain for servitum debitum. Otherwise they'd need to hire mercenaries to fight against the robbers...?

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16 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

... It is written as if the PKs go to Rydychan alone with the countess...

Nope. Read the p. 89 again, the right hand column, up top: "Each knight is assigned five household knights..." They also get £25 each for mercenaries and fortifications.

However, I would keep the total numbers constant, since otherwise the mission becomes even easier with the number of the PKs. Like if you have just two PKs, they have to do this with 10 HHKs and £50, whereas 6 PKs, in addition of having 6 PKs, get 30 HHKs and £150. That doesn't seem fair.

Instead, I would just give them in total 20 household knights and £100, dividing them evenly between the PKs (3 PKs = 7 knights each, 4 PKs = 5 HHKs each, 5 PKs = 4 HHKs each, 6 PKs = 3 HHKs each...).

EDIT: Of course, if your PKs already have a host of HHKs of their own, and money to burn, then I would lower the liege's contribution even more! Lets see you spend those libra, gentlemen! This of course makes it more worthy to hand out gift manors afterwards, if they win, since it is more of their own success rather than just riding on the liege's benevolence.

Edited by Morien

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7 minutes ago, Morien said:

Of course, if your PKs already have a host of HHKs of their own

Isn't that a MUST if they have more than one manor, to have one knight per manor, regarding the servitum debitum? It doesn't cost anything to arm these household knights, right? Or do they have to provide them with the weapons/armor and horse? 🤔

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3 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

Isn't that a MUST if they have more than one manor, to have one knight per manor, regarding the servitum debitum?

Yes. I was speaking more generally, as in what I would do in any campaign situation. Since your PKs can muster, IIRC, 11 knights on their own (4 PKs + 7 HHKs), I would be tempted to lower the number of knights the liege provides to 10-13 or so.

3 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

It doesn't cost anything to arm these household knights, right? Or do they have to provide them with the weapons/armor and horse? 🤔

I normally assume that there are enough young/mercenary knights looking for a lifelong job security that hiring them is not a huge problem. Furthermore, it is possible that the liege has an extra HHK after gifting a manor, so he might have a candidate for the PK, too. It is next to impossible for a PK to afford £20 or so per household knight to equip them from scratch, so I don't even try to impose it on them. Although it definitely would be a money sink!

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4 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

I like that theory!

The way things play out after Arthur draws the sword there could be some sort of plan in the works. Ygraine "recognition" of Arthur as her so, and Uflius accusation certainly look to be staged. There is really no proof to speak of that Arthur is really Uther's son. All we have is Ygraine's recognition of Arthur, despite not seeing Arthur since he was an infant, Ector's statement that Merlin brought the child to him to rear, and, perhaps, Merlin's claim that the child he gave to Ector was the same child taken from Ygraine. It's not all that solid.

Even the inscription with the Sword in the Stone only state that by pulling the sword Arthur is "right-wise born king of all England". That doesn't prove a link to Uther, or even to a claim beyond Logres (i.e. "England"). 

Not that I'm claim that Arthur isn't the real deal, only that there is no proof of his identify beyond the third person narrator of the tale. 

4 hours ago, Morien said:

It is next to impossible for a PK to afford £20 or so per household knight to equip them from scratch, so I don't even try to impose it on them. Although it definitely would be a money sink!

I wouldn't think so, depending on how many knights they have. War, ransom, adventures, dowries, and tournaments can lead to a lot of money, armor and horses to outfit some knights. Several PKs in my current campaign have well over £100. So it don't think it would be all that impossible for a successful PK to be able to outfit several knights and maintain them for a time.  Unlikely yes, but not next to impossible. 

I'm not sure how good an investment outfitting a cadre of household knights would be for a PK though. They really are only worth it during wartime, and then only if the PK can make some sort of land grab. 

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I have a question about sieges regarding this adventure... I wouldn't use the "simple siege resoultion" rules on BotE, right? Because they are very simple. 

What rules do you use for sieges? How do you run them during an adventure?

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On 4/2/2020 at 1:46 AM, Morien said:

Since your PKs can muster, IIRC, 11 knights on their own (4 PKs + 7 HHKs), I would be tempted to lower the number of knights the liege provides to 10-13 or so.

Do the household knights live in the main manor of the PKs (sleep in their hall, etc)?? Or do they live in the extra manors for which they are household?? Same question with the soldiers.

I am asking this because most of my PKs have their manors in Salisbury, but one of them has one in Lonazep and other in Silchester.

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2 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

Do the household knights live in the main manor of the PKs (sleep in their hall, etc)?? Or do they live in the extra manors for which they are household?? Same question with the soldiers.

Depends on the PK's wishes, mainly, but see the logistical problems later, too. If he wants them all together in his manor, he can do that, but it does expose the farther away manors to raids as there are no resident knights (nor even foot soldiers) in them to protect them and keep the order. So generally, I would expect that the outlier manors would have at least SOME people. Also, it makes logistics simpler, since rather than needing to haul all that food from Lonazep to Salisbury (or to ride there with his posse and spend a few months eating the granary empty, as tended to be the medieval model), the resident household knight and foot soldiers will take care of things. Especially since this is Anarchy and it will be best to have local defenders rather than trust that the roads are safe for transport of any kind. Finally, if the Lonazep manor is Medbourne (I think you mentioned it in another thread), then there is the additional problem that it is in the middle of an enchanted forest. Any travel to and fro is difficult, and it is easy to get lost. Better to just drop a knight in there and then check up on things every few years and collect any surplus which may or may not exist.

If it would be a singular estate, one concentrated hundred, then it would make much more sense to keep everyone together so that you can easily react in force to any threat anywhere in your estate. After all, everything would be just a few miles distant anyway, and your caput major is probably built on a larger scale anyway to house all those troops.

 

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Ok, I'm also asking because my players tend to gather all their forces in the main manor in order to have de minimum of troops to defend their fortified mottes...

Apart from that, I have a question about sieges regarding this (Rydychan's) adventure... I wouldn't use the "simple siege resoltion" rules on BotE, right? Because they are very simple. 

What rules do you use for sieges? How do you run them during an adventure?

Edited by The Wanderer

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1 minute ago, The Wanderer said:

Ok, I also mentioning because my players tend to gather all their forces in the main manor in order to have de minimum of troops to defend their fortified mottes...

Probably a smart idea during Anarchy, IF all the manors are in Salisbury or nearby (the Silchester manor was on the border, so practically in Salisbury). I would be a very strict GM about Medbourne, though. "How are you going to get all those tons of grain and meat and all the other stuff back to Salisbury each year?" My Players solved this issue by making a little brother of one of the PKs a de facto vassal knight, without the title. In other words, the little brother was technically a househol knight, but he was allowed to marry and raise a family in Medbourne, as long as he would protect the place and keep the books. And every 2-3 years, the PKs would try to swing by, take care of any bigger problem that may have arisen, and taking any coin that may have been gotten from selling the surplus to surrounding manors and towns and wandering merchants, sharing it amongst themselves.

7 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

What rules do you use for sieges? How do you run them during an adventure?

I tend to do it mainly narratively. Describe the situation, figure how long the siege would probably take, given their resources and siege gear, think of how the plan might work, etc. Usually, assaulting a castle is a very stupid idea, but a wooden bailey with just a palisade might be vulnerable. Or the wooden gate without guard towers. So the PKs have taken some motte-and-bailey types by storm (playing out a skirmish of trying to assault with a ram through the gate, or ladders against the palisade), the motte itself usually negotiating a surrender if they can't expect any relief. If not, well, wood burns when you put enough effort into it... Basically, if I want the siege to be decided by heroic action of the PKs, I will design it that way. Mind you, I might also design it so that it will be hella hard for the PKs to succeed, as they found when they were up against Dorchester's Roman Walls. One of them actually got up on the parapet, but had to surrender as the rest of the assault failed.

There are siege rules in GPC as well, although I am not fond of them.

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Do the manors given to the PKs in the campaign described in Lordy Domains give them more discretionary income as they don't have to maintain court and family? 🤔 Well of course they will have to maintain the baroness but...

Edited by The Wanderer

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LD is using 'Money you don't see' with £7 income - £1 for fief upkeep (for 1 POP manor) = £6 per manor. So, no.

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3 hours ago, Morien said:

LD is using 'Money you don't see' with £7 income - £1 for fief upkeep (for 1 POP manor) = £6 per manor. So, no.

Sorry but I don't understand 🙈 (I didn't read the rules for manor in LD, I am trying to adapt this adventure to the BotE/BotW system!). If they are regular manors then thay would be £10 manors... without wife and children then at least the could save £2, so £3 DF???

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3 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

 

Sorry but I don't understand 🙈 (I didn't read the rules for manor in LD, I am trying to adapt this adventure to the BotE/BotW system!). If they are regular manors then thay would be £10 manors... without wife and children then at least the could save £2, so £3 DF???

Ah, I thought you were asking what happens when you play by LD rules.

As for BotE rules, not having a wife doesn't help much since then you need a steward to do all the Stewardship stuff while the PK is out fighting and adventuring. And the steward costs the same as the wife. Not having any kids does save the £1, yes, as per the explanation in BotW p. 169 (Appendix D box about £10 manor, which also explains the steward substitution). So £2 DF for the first manor, and if you are feeling generous, you could give extra £0.5 DF from Family expense since the PK does not need to boost the wife's nor children's Standard of Living. But frankly, I would not bother.

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10 hours ago, Morien said:

Ah, I thought you were asking what happens when you play by LD rules.

I was asking about the manors given to the PKs in the Rydychan adventure, but adapting them to the BotE system!

Also, the PK who hosts the countess (baroness in my campaign) of Rydychan I think would not even have DF, because he would have to upkeep her and her retinue...

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