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King Pellinore

Transition from Book of Manor to Book of Estate+Warlord

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We have been playing he GPC for a year from 485 to 518 and we started to use the book of the manor since more or less the start of the Anarchy (and the book of battle but that's not relevant). At the time the book of the estate already existed, probably, but I had manor and used manor. After obtaining the book of the warlord and the book of the estate, I'm entertaining the idea to transition from the old to the new economic system. I have some questions for the most experienced players and gamemasters (this is my first time playing and gming pendragon).

1) How fair is gonna be for the characters? I've been very generous with them. And a player recently married the wife of good young count Robert (who died in the Humber) and was even more generous with his friends. Most hold good amounts of land: two are bannerets, another one has three manors (with two vassals) and the other has four mannors in Salisbury and is count Rydychan. The knight with three manors has castle Ebble and one of the bannerets has Tilshead which I misinterpreted as akin to a castle a long time ago (so now it's a castle because it was my mistake, not the players). Castles, towns and counties aren't managed, we assume that any income they provide is used for maintenance or reinvested (but I allow the count to demand everything a count would have, like good equipment, an appropriate lifstyle, etc.). The count's player retired the character when he achieved the honour but then he was obviously present during the battles of the anarchy so it was a fake retirement. Same with the son and current main Pk until his death in Badon, since he's a foolhardy youngster that would absolutely leave the country in the hands of older vassals to adventure and fight with his childhood friends from Salisbury.

2) Is it feasible to use warlords without ditching the old pendragon 5.2 hierarchy? That is vassal-banneret-baron-count-duke-pennath-king. Like many people in the forum (apparently) I'm not a fan of DMing spread-out noble domains and either way it's too late after 33 years of local counts. 

3) How unwise would it be to use book of warlord for a player knight who is count Rydychan? He's the only "baron" (by BoW definition) except for another one who is an absentee lord with a viscounty in Galicia (Spain). Both characters died gloriously in Badon and both heirs are children, so it's not a pressing issue, but the former will be playing with a brother (uncle of the boy count) and will probably be the guardian and de facto count. The other is playing with the son of his first character and who, ironically, is technically the liege lord of the spanish viscount but otherwise is just a regular vassal knight.

4) How unwise would it be to not use the whole homage thing? I like conflicting loyalties and I have used them to roleplay (and presented it as a common thing in feudalism to the players, which is true). PK seemed to enjoy the drama it caused during the anarchy too when some accepted lands from Idres or Nanteleod but some didn't.

5) The whole issue about having to provide knights and infantry is new right? I honestly thought that a knight was able to hold 8 manors without having a single vassal or household knight if for some wild reason he desires to. As for the infantrymen I thought only counts and holders of castles were required to have them. Would it be wise to introduce all this as some kind of reform by Arthur or will it look arbitrary to do it when the saxons have just been defeated and peaceful times are to be expected? 

6) Several of the players have been investing a lot of money into their manors and have a lot of improvements built, which together with the big tracks of land means they're very rich. If I'm correct this is gonna change if we start using Book of Estate. Most of them enjoy the management minigame and of course they enjoy being filthy rich. In fact they're actually under the impression that the BoM is harsh and that they don't have much money the years they can't get loot (mostly because they're unlucky when rolling in the destruction table). I'm afraid to make them disheartened with the change and make them perceive it like I'm punishing them. Do players lose a lot of economic power after transitioning from BoM to BoE? Is an actual transition even possible? Should I just wait for the next campaign (if there's one) to use the new system or are the problems with BoM too large to ignore?

Sorry if I have beaten around the bush too much in some of the questions, I feel like there's a lot to explain. Looks like, since we're new and I made quite a lot of mistakes, we're playing Pendragon very differently from what's intended.

Edited by King Pellinore

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3 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Looks like, since we're new and I made quite a lot of mistakes, we're playing Pendragon very differently from what's intended.

Yes, yes you are. But if it is working for you and your players...

That being said, why would anyone ever give more land to vassal knights, if they don't get anything back from it (i.e. extra knights)? The thing is that the nobleman in question is himself responsible for bringing X number of knights when the King calls. If he has spent X/2 manors to give to a few PKs, then how is he going to explain to the King when he shows up with just X/2 knights? It simply doesn't work like that.

Being Filthy Rich actually removes a good part of the motivation for the economy mini game, not to mention cheapen the loots. If the money is pouring in, there is no need to really count it. My temptation would be to just ignore the economics and focus solely on the adventuring aspect of Pendragon, Traits and Passions. You know, the stuff where filthy lucre doesn't help you one jot.

Quick answers:

1) BotE / BotW is very fair towards players. You have been insanely generous. (For one, the guy marrying a count's widow doesn't become the next count... even ignoring the above free lunch manors... Or the fact that they are apparently double counts or something like that...)

2) You won't gain much from Warlord, I am sorry to say, since you already have Estate and are past 518. It focuses mainly on the early part, although I guess you do get the nice castles and summaries of them at the end of the Boy King. But sure, you can use it with regional nobility, no problem. The building of a barony just works a bit differently: you just decide where the whole barony is and how big is it, rather than rolling for outliers.

3) See above. Using Warlord is much better than using Book of the Manor.

4) No problems sticking with Loyalty.

5) No, it is not new. Book of the Manor screwed up what a demesne manor meant, that is all.

6) I would talk with the players and tell honestly that you made a mistake. However, to be honest, if you already have counts and bannerets, the money has lost its meaning. You are way past the generic campaign with vassal knights with one to a few manors.

 

 

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Thanks for the kind and honest answers. I'll try to explain a few things.

As for the amounts of lands they have, it all started with the heiresses which I gave away too easily (apparently it's a common mistake). But since the PK were doing stuff like retrieving Excalibur, capturing Octa, killing Gorlois, etc. it felt kinda egoistic to not give them good rewards. And they certainly felt like they should be rewarded. ¿What would have been a proper reward? 

Then in St Albans, from four players that are currently playing, three had their characters survive. Two didn't gain enough glory to be invited, one had a crit in temperate. So basically the characters were maybe more glorious than the GPC assumes instead of new made young characters and they unilaterally standed with the countess and Robert. And the GPC shows it like the countess more or less does what the players say unless they're absolutely crazy so they kinda controled the county as long as they stayed rational. Only old Amig and the countess were there to check them. When countess Rydychan came asking for help instead of seeing it like a group adventure they decided to send the county's army against Rydychan. Was countess Rydychan supposed to reject marrying one of the knights of Salisbury (and her daughter to count Robert) in exchange of an army when she's begging for a fistful of knights? Maybe I should have made Cedric attack them, but they had payed tribute. 

The whole viscount thing is a long story but I basically had them go to Spain to look for allies (as it's suggested in the GPC) when Brastias and Ulfius where going to Aquitaine. They decided to try to convince the Suebi of Galicia (because the visigoths are at war with the ostrogoths) and since it's a relatively irrelevant far away kingdom I introduced the classic knight tale of princess kidnapped by monster, knight saves princess and gets her hand. The husband of a princess can't be a simple vassal knight so he got a title and he proceeded to be an absentee lord since there's not much going on there anyways. 

2 hours ago, Morien said:

 

2 hours ago, Morien said:

That being said, why would anyone ever give more land to vassal knights, if they don't get anything back from it (i.e. extra knights)? The thing is that the nobleman in question is himself responsible for bringing X number of knights when the King calls. If he has spent X/2 manors to give to a few PKs, then how is he going to explain to the King when he shows up with just X/2 knights? It simply doesn't work like that.

Well they mostly do have knights. But the characters keep two or three for themselves to be able to have some spare coin (it has been very, very difficult to explain the mindset of the era about spending and hoarding and honestly I've given up a bit). For some reason they're as generous as I'm and normally give the manors to their vassals as either gifts or inheritances, never or almost never using household knights. 

2 hours ago, Morien said:

I would talk with the players and tell honestly that you made a mistake. However, to be honest, if you already have counts and bannerets, the money has lost its meaning. You are way past the generic campaign with vassal knights with one to a few manors.

 

Yes that I will do. It's not the first time this happens (but normally the errors are with the BoB) and they get always a bit mad if the mistake is something that, once corrected, goes against them. One has started to talk about it being "gm vs characters" (he's joking but it can be a bad sign) and the lethality of Pendragon doesn't help (although I like it and in theory so do they since they were warned and have stayed as a solid group for a year). I will probably make them choose if they want continue as it is or not because after all having fun is what matters, but I will make it clear that this year has been a learning experience and we made lots of mistakes in the process. 

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If you want a potential easier way out of it, you can have the Count get into a money crunch and either need income or more knights for something. THen the PKs might volunteer to give up some manors or keep more household knights to help their liege lord. THe Count can even reward them with postions for thier actions. 

 

It's nice because the players aren't forced to give up the goodies, but instead choose to give them away. THen the postions they are rewarded with seem/are nice rewards for the efforts, but won't have the same long term effects.

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And given the importance of land ownership in the feudal system, that should really be the sort of thing that essentially ensures their lord is in their corner for life, more or less, so you could probably have one or two moments where their lord comes through for them in some kind of clutch situation where he wouldn't normally have to if the PKs get in over their heads. Give it some kind of big narrative payoff down the road, you know?

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On 6/23/2020 at 10:38 PM, Atgxtg said:

If you want a potential easier way out of it, you can have the Count get into a money crunch and either need income or more knights for something. THen the PKs might volunteer to give up some manors or keep more household knights to help their liege lord. THe Count can even reward them with postions for thier actions. 

 

It's nice because the players aren't forced to give up the goodies, but instead choose to give them away. THen the postions they are rewarded with seem/are nice rewards for the efforts, but won't have the same long term effects.

 

On 6/24/2020 at 5:57 AM, Leingod said:

And given the importance of land ownership in the feudal system, that should really be the sort of thing that essentially ensures their lord is in their corner for life, more or less, so you could probably have one or two moments where their lord comes through for them in some kind of clutch situation where he wouldn't normally have to if the PKs get in over their heads. Give it some kind of big narrative payoff down the road, you know?

Alas good young Robert died with his bodyguards in the night battle against Colgrim, after a series of unlucky rolls. Count Roderick II is three years old and not in a position to make any demands. His foster father is a PK who married the boy count's mother (but she died in the winter of 517...). The characters asked for it and the aforementioned PK is a round table knight, chivalrious and religious (and on very friendly terms with the deceased count). I didn't see Arthur rejecting, he just told them that they needed the permission of the knights of Salisbury.

The aforementioned knight is thinking about abdicating this position and asking Arthur to give the regency to Ellen, the grandma of the toddler count. Maybe that's the solution. In our campaign the percentage of land held by the count's family is drastically lower than normal and I'm sure that old Ellen is willing to recover her grandson's lands once she's in power. Making some npcs who also have a lot of manors return some may be more than enough for players to step in and do the same. 

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