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Two quick questions about squires...

1) Do squires fight when there is a combat or do they stay apart?

2) Is it possible to change a squire for another one? I have a PK who has a 14 y.o. squire, but in two years his nephew is going to be 14 and wants him to be his squire...

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1 hour ago, The Wanderer said:

Two quick questions about squires...

1) Do squires fight when there is a combat or do they stay apart?

That depends.

 

Generally speaking, squires serve in a support role to their knight and do not fight much, instead waiting to bring them a spare weapon or horse. 

But, if you have some PK squire in the group, it's perfectly okay to have the odd bandit or Saxon fight attack them while two or three others gang up on their knight. And, of course if the entire group consists of squires then the adventure will probably involve squires fighting. 

1 hour ago, The Wanderer said:

2) Is it possible to change a squire for another one? I have a PK who has a 14 y.o. squire, but in two years his nephew is going to be 14 and wants him to be his squire...

Yes, but it is a bad thing and cost the knight honor. In general, when a knight takes on a squire he is training that squire to become a knight and letting a squire go before he is 21 is indirectly stating that the squire doesn't have what it takes to be a knight and pretty much kills the squire's chances of advancement.  Doing so without  good cause is a slap in the face of that squires family and will result in some animosity.

Now a PK could take on his nephew as a second squire, and pay the extra £1/year, assuming he can afford it. He might even be able to pass off the old squire to another knight who needs a squire without an negative effects. But just dumping a squire outright for no reason other than he wants to squire his nephew is not going to go over well.

Historically, it was frowned upon to take on a close relative as a squire, as people thought that the knight would be too soft on his kinsmen, but that's another issue.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, but it is a bad thing and cost the knight honor.

What about temporary squires (p.18, BotEnt)? Maybe he could take a temporary squire for two years? Don't know.

17 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Historically, it was frowned upon to take on a close relative as a squire, as people thought that the knight would be too soft on his kinsmen, but that's another issue.

I thought nepotism like this was accepted and common...

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6 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

1) Do squires fight when there is a combat or do they stay apart?

As Atxgtx said, it depends on the situation. Generally they don't, if there is an option not to. For instance, the combat skills of a 14-yr old squire SUCK. You throw the kid against an experienced Saxon raider and he will be chopped liver the next round. Have fun explaining that to the kid's parents who trusted you to train him and keep him safe. Now, if we are talking about a 20-yr old squire wearing his late father's gear and seeking to prove himself on the battlefield to earn his spurs, now that is a totally different kettle of fish. There is also a chance that the squires get attacked while on the battlefield, following their knights. A footman likely doesn't care that the guy on horseback swinging a sword at him still has pimples: Poke it to make it go away! In Book of Battle, Greg implied that squires customarily fight to give their knights a chance to disengage, but I am not GMing it like that: if it is dangerous for a knight to disengage, how much more dangerous is that for a fresh new squire wearing only a gambeson? No, in my game, the squires are for support only, unless they are attacked first. (Some exceptions may apply. For instance, in one touch-and-go skirmish battle, one of the PKs ordered the squires on horseback and rode with the squires around a Saxon shieldwall to attack them from behind. The sudden 'reinforcements' of a dozen or so horsemen with lances was enough to make the Saxon morale break, after it had already been wavering at the heroics of the other PKs on the front.)

Just from GMing perspective, I seriously don't want to bother about rolling for extra X NPCs and their opponents. Nor do I want to beef up the opposition to prevent the squires from tilting the balance: most KAP encounters are designed per knight, not per knight+squire. There is also the point that if the squires are helping the knights, it is less Glory for the knights, and might even lead to some sneering at court: "Heard your squire had to save your bacon again, ol'chap."

6 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

2) Is it possible to change a squire for another one? I have a PK who has a 14 y.o. squire, but in two years his nephew is going to be 14 and wants him to be his squire...

Again, as Atgxtg said, not normally. When you take on a squire, you take on the responsibility to train him until he is 21. However, there are a couple of ways around that 'problem':

1) Atgxtg's suggestion that you simply pay for the second squire. With the DF £1 per manor, the PKs would likely be able to afford this without too much hardship.

2) Like you suggested later, the PK could hire an older esquire to be his squire for the couple of years, and then switch to the nephew. A variant of this is that the current squire is not 14-yr old, but a 19-yr old whose knight has died (in a recent battle, skirmish, accident, or illness). Thus, the PK has stepped in, knowing that he has about 2 years before his nephew is ready.

There is also the point that while nepotism is fine and well, spreading the family around is actually a better form of nepotism: the squire and his mentor knight usually form a lifelong bond. If you are training your nephew, you form a bond where one already exists (family relationship). However, if you train a non-family member and the nephew gets trained by a non-family member, you have both added a non-family knight (assuming your squire gets knighted in the end) into your sphere of influence. So a better way of doing things would be to ask around the other PKs, for instance, if any of them has a need for a squire in the next 2 years or so. I mean, if someone needs a squire in 3 years, it would be very easy for the PK to pay the first year upkeep if he really wants it to happen. And if not a PK, there surely would be NPKs that could be tapped for that mentorship role.

But if the PK insisted, I would not have a problem with uncle-nephew nepotism. After all, we have the example of Arthur's brother-brother squiring, and I think it as not that rare for a kid to go and be a page at a maternal uncle's household, either.

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21 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

And regarding PK-squires what system do you use for creating this PKs? BotEnt?

BotEnt is RAW.

We don't usually play squires do it is of lesser importance. Some heirs get knighted early at ages 18+, in which cases we tend to just make them as knights but knock off some of the misc picks in KAP 5.2 chargen, -1 per year under 21.

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1 minute ago, Morien said:

We don't usually play squires do it is of lesser importance. Some heirs get knighted early at ages 18+, in which cases we tend to just make them as knights but knock off some of the misc picks in KAP 5.2 chargen, -1 per year under 21.

Yeah, the problem is a PK died very early and his eldest son is 14 now and is going to be the squire of another PK, so he insists he wants to play it...

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The problem would be if he wants to play the squire every game session and how rigid you are to the idea of 1 session = 1 game year.  If you are somewhat flexible, I found the simplest solution is to have a squire scenario/scene every other session.  I ran an all squire campaign once. Originally, the idea was the players would all know each other being all trained at the same castle of a great lord.  We had fun, but it never took off completely due to schedules changing.

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14 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

What about temporary squires (p.18, BotEnt)? Maybe he could take a temporary squire for two years? Don't know.

Sure, if he was hired as a temporary squire. Basically temp squires are just that, temps. They are people who make thie living as squires as they lack the means or ocoonections to become knights. But they are not the typical squire.

14 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

I thought nepotism like this was accepted and common...

Not really. The way it was normally done was that a knight squired his son off to a friend, neighbor, ally, or even a enemy that he wanted to mend fences with. An uncle is borderline okay. The general though was that most knights would take it easy upon their own sons or close relatives. It's like what happens when a kid plays on a team coached by his Dad -it's hard to tell if the kid get coached according to his abilities and merits or if Dad favors his son (or even comes down too hard on him). The big concern here is that if a squire gets too easy a time during training he might not be ready when the time comes for him to fight on the battlefield. It's better to let your son take a few extra beatings while a squire than to get killed in his first or second battle.

 

It's also better in play not to have the knight training his own son. Much better to let one of the other PKs do it.

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10 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

Sorry but I'm not a native speaker, with "raw" do you mean good or bad? 😅

Sorry for the confusion. It is an acronym for Rules As Written. In other words, that is the official rule for Squire characters. Our own, predating BotEnt revision, are slightly different, but as I said, it doesn't matter since we won't play squires.

BoK&L has another set of rules, which are quite simplistic. I prefer the (revised) BotEnt rules (obviously, having had a hand in writing them).

I discourage the players from playing squires, as it is very rare that they will enjoy the experience. Instead, I suggest that they play a kinsman for a few years and then switch to the heir when he is old enough to be knighted early (18-19, usually). Of course, it can happen that they are enjoying playing the kinsman by then, and might continue until the heir is truly ready, or even a bit beyond that.

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That is really the rub.  Playing someone else while you wait until the heir is ready.  Too many players like their newer character better by the time the heir is ready.  Kinsmen helps this situation as it is the same family.

BotEnt is the better option at this time.  

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2 hours ago, Morien said:

Sorry for the confusion.

Don't worry! My fault ;)

 

2 hours ago, Morien said:

I discourage the players from playing squires, as it is very rare that they will enjoy the experience. Instead, I suggest that they play a kinsman for a few years and then switch to the heir when he is old enough to be knighted early (18-19, usually).

Yep, I will suggest that to him, but if he insists...

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We've had people play squires made from the Book of Entourage rules. It's very dangerous. They've been mixed into the group and hopefully the player is ok with being treated like a squire, but that could be a good chance for trait checks. Anyways, squires in the party work well, they're just very fragile. I would roll a separate enemy for them in battle. Just so they don't get butchered, but the rest of the encounters are based on luck. Hopefully the player has sense enough to avoid as much conflict as they can. Presuming they live, they could be a really fantastic knight since they'll start with more glory and higher skills than a regular knight. Part of the risk of having your only heir die at 14 though!

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59 minutes ago, Username said:

I would roll a separate enemy for them in battle.

The issue is that the squires really shouldn't be fighting unless absolutely necessary. Their job is to hand a new lance to their knight, etc, not try to gather glory on their own. Also, in court situations, a good squire is neither seen nor heard, as he serves his knight and the lady seated next to the knight. So while you do get a lot of opportunities for Modest and such, the actual role that you can play is somewhat limited. Certainly the knights are the ones to make all the decisions and speeches and such.

8 hours ago, Morien said:

BotEnt is RAW.

I was just rereading the squire rules in BotEnt, and I need to warn about one potential confusion. I think it is clear enough, but just in case:

There are two sections in there, Character Generation (based on the age at chargen) and Winter Phase (during play). You don't get attribute increases, skill advancement & Yearly trainings from BOTH. Basically, once you finish Character Generation, you should forget that section and only focus on the Winter Phase rules.

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41 minutes ago, Morien said:

The issue is that the squires really shouldn't be fighting unless absolutely necessary. Their job is to hand a new lance to their knight, etc, not try to gather glory on their own. Also, in court situations, a good squire is neither seen nor heard, as he serves his knight and the lady seated next to the knight. So while you do get a lot of opportunities for Modest and such, the actual role that you can play is somewhat limited. Certainly the knights are the ones to make all the decisions and speeches and such.

Yeah, basically one squire with a group of PKs is tough, since the squire is literary a supporting character and will only get to to something interesting if the GM and/or his knight allows for it.Seven weeks of that can become monotonous. A group of squires is another matter, although they have an uphill battle with combat skills.

Still if a player wants to play a squire, as GM I'd try to find something for them to do here and there, but they'd still be supporting characters. 

2 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

That is really the rub.  Playing someone else while you wait until the heir is ready.  Too many players like their newer character better by the time the heir is ready.  Kinsmen helps this situation as it is the same family.

 

Or hate the temp character because they are a temp, or because they started too old to really develop. One PK died suddenly in my current game and the player was forced to play their brother until their son was old enough to play. But the brother was over 30 and the cap on skills led to a mediocre character who was just starting to develop when the squire was ready to get knighted.. 

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5 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

But the brother was over 30 and the cap on skills

The skill cap on previous experience being 15 after the character is older than 21 years is idiotic. We do not use that in our campaign, and instead the older characters get the ordinary Winter Phase Training and Practice choice.

 

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On 4/9/2020 at 10:04 AM, Atgxtg said:

Historically, it was frowned upon to take on a close relative as a squire, as people thought that the knight would be too soft on his kinsmen, but that's another issue.

From what I've read, I get the impression (at least for high medieval France and England) that that concern was mainly on the father's side. E.g., it was not usual for a boy to be sent to his paternal uncle's household than to his maternal uncle's, but the latter was relatively common.

And on the other hand, in Chaucer we have a knight and squire who are father and son. (I don't think it's commented on as particularly unusual within the text, but I could be wrong.)

For the Pendragon period, it's also worth considering the strong traditional relationship in ancient and medieval Celtic societies between mother's brothers and sister's sons. (Some of this comes through with Arthur and Gawaine, for example.)

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I’ve played a squire from age 15 once, while the others played experienced knights, and I had great fun with it.

Some things that made it work for us:

* Be the squire of a player knight

* the GM should concider the squire a main character, and set scenes/introduce challenges accordingly. If you only focus on stuff that knights do, then it will be boring to play a squire. But the squire can be the knights confidante, messenger, and so on. Let him face his own challenges and choices, where it’s not natural for the knight to step in.

* Play through the years quickly, don’t devote several sessions to each game year. If you do, the squire will never reach maturity.

I built and later developed my fifteen year old exactly as if he had been 21. It may not be very realistic, and may have given him an edge (he got a longer active period before aging began at 35), but in practice it worked fine and nobody had any problems with it. But he had leather armor, was only the backup in most fights, and got less glory than the rest.

The PK he squired for was also his uncle and guardian, who ran (and profited from) his lands.

He was knighted at nineteen or twenty, I think.

Edited by Baba
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11 minutes ago, Baba said:

I built and later developed my fifteen year old exactly as if he had been 21.

Yeah, that is a big advantage over regular knight. In effect, you benefited from 6 years of Yearly Training AND experience checks. So by the time your character hit 21, he had the equivalent experience and maturity to a 27 old knight, making it much easier to have high combat skills and statistics. Which then means that it is much easier to qualify for the Round Table. And this is ignoring the 6 years of Glory, even lesser Glory, gained during squirehood that other, 21-yr old new PKs wouldn't get (did you get full Annual Glory, too?).

Edited by Morien
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9 minutes ago, Morien said:

Yeah, that is a big advantage over regular knight. In effect, you benefited from 6 years of Yearly Training AND experience checks. So by the time your character hit 21, he had the equivalent experience and maturity to a 27 old knight, making it much easier to have high combat skills and statistics. Which then means that it is much easier to qualify for the Round Table. And this is ignoring the 6 years of Glory, even lesser Glory, gained during squirehood that other, 21-yr old new PKs wouldn't get (did you get full Annual Glory, too?).

Yes, all of that. (Well, he didn’t get any annual glory for being a vassal, because he wasn’t, and he didn’t get any income. But he got all of those other perks.)

He still played second fidle for his older companions for twenty years, though.

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1 hour ago, Baba said:

He still played second fidle for his older companions for twenty years, though.

As any new 21-yr old PK would. My point is, if you had two Players, one starting to play with a 14 yr old squire with full 21-yr training right up front will be clearly much more powerful than the Player who waited until the heir was 21-yr old before starting play. Hence, the squire-starter will have much better chance to reach higher Glory and skills, thus being more likely to get to the Round Table, too.

The full Annual Glory is probably more than enough to counter any increases in inherited glory (which is just 10% of the father's glory).

Edited by Morien
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