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Thought experiment: 50/50 male/female balance amongst knights, what are the consequences?


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As requested by MOB, I am starting a new thread on this topic.

The starting off point is Roberto's post here: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/12969-stay-tuned-in-the-coming-days-for-a-major-announcement-about-the-king-arthur pendragon rpg/page/3/?tab=comments#comment-202120

He stated that he would like to see about 50% females in the knights and the rulers/lieges.

(EDIT: Just so we are crystal-clear... I am not saying that this is what the future of the line should be. Personally, I am happy with most noblewomen choosing to be ladies and just a select bunch deciding that being a knight is for them. I am mainly trying to see how this would impact on the game and gameplay.)

So first of all, how to make that happen? That is easy: simply erase the male-preferred part of the primogeniture. The eldest child will be the heir, the second is the spare, and not only that, they will get trained as knights regardless of sex. Since the sex of the baby is for practical purposes 50/50, this would result in a 50/50 split between male and female knightly heirs and spares.

However, what is the implication on the heiresses in this brave new world? You could of course still have a non-knight heiress, if she doesn't have any knightly siblings left... which actually might be more common than just not having brothers would be, if we assume that a typical vassal knight family can afford to knight a maximum of two children (the eldest + the spare with dad's old equipment). The way to make female lady heiresses more common would be to drop the requirement that they are trained as knights. But this would lead to male knights being more common than female knights, since the husband would very likely be a knight himself. So it would be incompatible with the (approximately) 50/50 split, while having some rare non-knightly heiresses wouldn't really influence the fraction that much. Another way to do this would be to say that the heir of the vassal knight needs to be a knight, but that of a Baron (maybe even an estate holder) can be a non-knight, as they will have a host of household knights and officers to take care of the fighting stuff. That would work, and give those rich heiresses for the RTKs to save and marry.

How about non-heiress ladies? Well, you still have 50 percent of the knights having lady wives, and there are presumably the younger sisters of the heirs and spares. So you'd still have wife/amor candidates for the male PKs, and presumably the female PKs could have their pick of both knightly and esquire males.

So as far as the PKs are concerned, the world might still be pretty close to the default male-preferred-primogeniture, rare-female-knights KAP. Sure, you have half of the knights who are actually women, but it is not as if you'd interact with the mass of the knights anyway as individuals. You can still have 'save the heiress' -adventure, and arguably, since you could more easily have non-knightly male heirs (since there is less of a push to have all males trained as knights), you could have 'save the heir' -adventures, too ('I just want... to SING!').

What might change a bit is that since now the knighthood is more of a quirk of birth order, you don't get the same self-selection that the rare-female-knights get. There is no reason to assume that the firstborn female baby would be bigger and stronger than the second-born. While female PKs should obviously be exceptions to this (that bit about not arbitrarily punishing players), there are physical differences in males and females on average that would result in the female knights being in a statistical disadvantage against their male counterparts (a reason why the sports are segregated in real world). Again, this would not matter that much to the PKs: they are usually going to be more exceptional than the norm anyway. It just means that the 4d6 damage band would likely be more populated, having both young male and many female knights in there. So you might see a small drop in the average damage in Battle opponents. Maybe.

So, one thing I had not spoken explicitly about yet was household knights. Now, given how rare the vassal knights are in BotW (10-20% or so), it is clear that the household knights have to come from somewhere else, too. Funnily enough, dropping the restriction that only male (usually) become knights makes for a bigger pool of candidates. Still, expecting 5 knighted members per vassal knight family is a bit too much, especially as I just stated above that you probably can afford two. So you pretty much have to get other sources of household knights: allowing the household knights to marry and produce children, and the eldest children getting trained as a knight and inheriting the HHK parent's equipment would make the household knights more self-sustaining, as well as keep the sex ratio in check as it is again 50/50 which sex the eldest child will be. Even if only half of the HHKs would marry and produce at least one child, you would still get some replenishment, and the second children can act as spares if the eldest dies without children of their own. Promotion from the ranks might still be a thing (especially during the early periods of heavy warfare), and here we might actually see some self-selection of female warriors, as only the best would be competing for the promotion. On the other hand, you would expect more male candidates, simply because of the physical advantage mentioned previously. Still, this would not be a huge fraction in the end, either.

What there pretty much would have to be on the lieges' side, though, is transgenerational loyalty. You are taking the son/daughter of your household knight (or your father's household knight) as your own household knight, since that is simply what is expected. This would no doubt lead to quite strong Loyalties on both sides, especially since if you are of the same age, those household knight children were probably your playmates and friends when growing up, too. Because it is true that from the liege's side of things, a male knight is logistically superior: bigger and stronger and hence a better fighter (more damage and HP), and while the pregnancy probably wouldn't be a huge issue for household knights (marrying later, and only some of them marry), it might be on the back of the head when deciding.

So let's talk about pregnancy. The pregnancy of the higher nobility doesn't really matter (even assuming that a half of them would be female knights): they are a small minority anyway, and have marshals and household knights to do their fighting for them, and can easily afford the extra mercenary knight if the king is being an ass about it. If we have about 20% vassal knights, this would be about 10% female knights. Assuming that they would be out of action for, say, 3 months due to pregnancy, and they would be pregnant every other year (possibly an overestimate), and the birthdates would be effectively random through the year, you would get 1/8th of the female vassal knights who would be indisposed at any given moment of the campaigning season. Given that the vassal servitium debitum is 40 days, you would get about 7 month window that the female vassal knight might be within her 4 month 'maternity leave' period at some point in that servitium debitum. And that is assuming that you would have your whole army together for that 40 days, rather than having some of the vassal knights rotate as their servitium debitum ends. So this would give 1/4rd of the female vassal knights would be indisposed, or 2.5% of all of the liege's knights.

Widening this to the household knights, we could assume, for argument's sake, that the household knights would marry late, say around 30 or so, if at all. The age pyramid would imply that the majority of the knights would be younger than this, so let's guestimate that only 1/3rd of the HHKs would be in the potentially marry age category at a given time. We suggested earlier that maybe only half of them actually do. Assuming an even split between male and female HHKs, we get 1/6th of the currently serving HHKs marrying, and 1/12th being females. In other words, we have roughly the same number of married female HHKs as married female vassal knights. So roughly, about 5% of all the liege's knights might be indisposed due to their pregnancy during a fixed 40-day window. So, as far as the 40-day campaign is concerned, this is no biggie: you probably would be leaving more than 5% of your knights to defend your landholdings anyway, act as castellans (a great position for those married female HHK), etc. While the HHKs would be expected to serve 365 days a year, as stated, garrison duty and especially castellan duty is not that incompatible with pregnancy. Sure, you wouldn't want to stick all your pregnant HHKs into the same castle, but you'd have roughly 1/8th of 1/12th of your household knights in their last trimester, or about 1%, at any given time. This is not really a concern (especially if you think that 5% of your household knights might be wandering in the forests, mad, due to a fumbled Loyalty (lord) roll... :P ).

Even if you expand the maternity leave for the full year, you just double the numbers to about 10% of the liege's army, and at least half of that 10% would be well able to fight without issues if need be. Again, these are numbers that you'd expect to see being left home anyway to defend it. It would not have a major impact on the liege's army size.

(EDIT: Note that the following issues of an individual female PK would apply even if she were the ONLY female knight in the game world. And if the GM made it deliberately difficult for my female character while ignoring similar things about the male characters, then I hope he would have been honest about it up front that he intended to make it an issue in game. So it would be my choice if I wanted to put up with it, play a male character instead, or walk away.)

So what about the individual vassal knight? Sure, though would have that 3-month window when they would have significant issues from pregnancy. But that leaves 9 months of the year. Sure, the winter is not good for adventuring, but it might also coincide with the last trimester, too. As stated previously, I assume 1 pregnancy per 2 years, so even if the last trimester would take a 3-month chunk out of the 6-month or so of the prime adventuring season, you are still left with 75% of your total 12-months of adventuring time. So it is not such a big deal, unless the GM deliberately makes it one.

What about raids? Yeah, those could be an issue. However, it would be very, very easy to ask the liege (who does owe you protection, I remind you) or a friendly PK or a neighboring NPK for assistance, if your manor happens to be on the edge of Salisbury and hence more exposed to raiding pre-Badon (after Badon, this is much less of an issue, unless you are playing the Levcomagus feud as a really hot conflict; frankly, as Chivalry takes hold, I wouldn't be surprised if they deliberately would AVOID manors with a pregnant knight or lady in them even if they would be raiding). But the same would be true for any male PKs who happen to be away from their manors to adventure in the Forest Sauvage, or be employed as mercenaries in some wars or be assigned on a mission somewhere farther away. Sure, non-pregnant female PKs might be doing the same thing in addition to being pregnant, but just saying that fixating on the pregnancy as the only vulnerability is not really fair.

As for being targeted specifically because the enemy/raider knows that you are indisposed due to a pregnancy means that the enemy has some pretty good intel and the ability to act on it. So the same issue would be faced by any male PK who is low on his hit points and convalescing at home, potentially even unconscious at the time, or mad in the forest. Also, see the previous about asking for help. Heck, might make for a nice little RP/story hook, even, fostering cooperation and friendship between the neighbors. Being vulnerable 1/8th of the time is not huge, either, especially as it might coincide with Winter which is not a great raiding season, as well as our assumptions were pretty generous to begin with: for example, assuming a pregnancy every third year would change this number to 1/12th of the time, less than 10%.

In conclusion:

1. If that is what you want, you can have a 50/50 split between male and female knights.

2. The game would still play pretty much the same, except the average NPK damage might come down a bit, due to the higher number of female knights. This might be more of a case for battles than anything else, though.

3. Pregnancy would not have a significant impact on the nobles' armies.

4. If the GM wishes to be difficult, the individual female PK can find ways to protect herself and her lands during the final trimester of her pregnancy.

(EDIT: 5. Something I didn't underline earlier... Since the heir now can be male or female, this means that there is a 50 percent chance that you end up playing a gender different from your real world one. That will be a good RP exercise for all those male gamers out there who usually play male characters. After all, that is what RP is supposed to be, playing something you are not, right? ;) OK, that was a bit naughty of me, but I do wonder how much of a holler would have been raised if instead of requiring female players to play a male character, it would have been vice versa? As for actual point, I think I would work with the Player in question: if they prefer playing a male/female knight, I'd just have the elder siblings decline the honor, die of illness or something, or, in the extreme case, just genderflip them.)

As for the LGBTQ, this is probably even less of an issue, as sexuality has even less of an impact on being a knight. A gay knight presumably fights just as well as a straight one. The medieval church's doctrine and civil laws hardened over time. Early Medieval laws would just have slapped them on the wrist if caught. It was challenging the church dogma that would get you into trouble. However, given that KAP already has out and proud Pagans worshipping their own gods in public (literally demon worshippers as far as the historical medieval church is concerned), I'd have a hard time claiming that there MUST be a witch-hunt for gay knights. And would the existence of LGBTQ PKs alter the story in meaningful ways? Not really.

Edited by Morien
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As far as LGBTQ, historically you married someone not out of love but to continue the line.  Who you loved was something else.  The other was a responsibility.  Knock it out the way, then pursue the fun.  Honestly, I would love to see the Ladies fully developed, especially with magic options.  While on one hand I get the idea of the pursuit of inclusivity.  I also firmly believe that it kind of detracts from the key concepts of emulating the genre and the point.  KAP is explicitly set in a different culture, a culture that is very alien to ours.  It is one that sees violence as a viable solution, and has very distinctive gender and social economic norms and roles.  This is very different from ours.  I feel we need to maintain the classic stance knights are men, ladies are well women.  

I don't think the Cymrics should be the progressive faction, not during the Uther period. Especially with how prominent the Christian faiths are.  So I think that some more focus on pagans and magic should be a givin.  Also, Ladies can and should becone fierce warriors but again it should be something that is developed in play.  The whole point of playing through the periods is the shifts in cultural mores and if we just start with equality, it kind of misses the point of the thought experiment. Also, after reading a lot of the pdfs for the third and fourth edition, I kind of really like the alternate settings and cultures, and that's where the lady knights and warlords made available.

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Needless to say, being the "original" proponent of 50/50 male/female knights, I'm 100% in agreement with Morien here.

Morien, thanks for your detailed analysis: I like it A LOT, and will use it for sure in my KAP game!

IMO, the matters of knight pregnancy and female inheritance should be treated as sources of possible interesting events and incidents, not as some sort of hindrance to the inclusion of some groups of people: i.e., as an ENRICHMENT of the setting.

Roberto

Edited by mandrill_one
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2 hours ago, Videopete said:

As far as LGBTQ, historically you married someone not out of love but to continue the line.  Who you loved was something else.  The other was a responsibility.  Knock it out the way, then pursue the fun.

There is that, but you can also rely on a younger brother and his kids to take over, if you don't want to compromise. It is about the family, after all.

2 hours ago, Videopete said:

I don't think the Cymrics should be the progressive faction, not during the Uther period.

Not in Uther's court, I agree. But I could see setting up Gorlois up as a more progressive warlord, if just to mess with the Players' minds. Since I am a bit of an EvilGM at heart. :P

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1 hour ago, mandrill_one said:

IMO, the matters of knight pregnancy and female inheritance should be treated as sources of possible interesting events and incidents, not as some sort of hindrance to the inclusion of some groups of people: i.e., as an ENRICHMENT of the setting.

100% agreed. It can be a very exciting game to deal with various obstacles, as long as both the GM and the Player are on the same page of what constitutes as fun.

 

As an anecdote (trigger warning):


A female gamer friend once told me about a character generation session for a campaign where the PCs mostly started out as low-level thieves in a crime-ridden slum... One of the GM's first questions to the two female players playing female characters, "So, how many times have your characters been raped while growing up?" I admit I was pretty surprised to hear that they ended up still making characters to that campaign and playing it (after making damn sure to include into their background that they were under the protection of an older master thief who was like a father to them). But I am glad that she did, since that is how I met her and became friends with her. Funnily enough, even though I made a monastery-raised cleric who was spreading the good word in the slums, the GM never asked me the same question, nor even how many times my character had been robbed and beaten up...

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4 hours ago, Morien said:

(EDIT: 5. Something I didn't underline earlier... Since the heir now can be male or female, this means that there is a 50 percent chance that you end up playing a gender different from your real world one. T

But Morien one of the reasons for the big push to make female knights commonplace was that some people would be too uncomfortable playing characters who were of a different gender than themselves. So thins change would ensure that everybody was playing a character different from themselves roughly half the time, so you're still in the same boat.

If this was something that was going to be implemented across the board, then there would need to be some sort of escape clause so that players don't get stuck playing a character of a gender they aren't happy with, to please those players who this would upset. Now to that end I can propose two possibilities: 

1. The parent selects their heir: Primogeniture is actually anachronistic, and didn't come about until the latter middle ages. So for our purposes the player can select if they want to pass the land down to their son or their daughter.

2. "Girls": The world girl originally applied to all children. What if intend of roll for the gender of a child during childbirth, the player just selected the gender when they rolled up the character? Then all you just need to do is track how many girls.children a knight has and not worry about gender.

 

One problem I have with your economic model here is that of what happens to all those males? I don't see them sitting around the manor spinning cloth waiting to be married off, like their sisters would have been. There almost certainly needs to be some sort of career path for them, and as part of the nobility their options are limited. I'd suspect that the stigma associated with free companies would be dropped, as probably everyone would have a relative serving in one, and that would be the change that wouldn't harm the status quo. 

 

Another, is that, since the women will be disadvantaged physically, why would liege lord be all hat keen in having them as knights? We've all seen what it like in combat with a character who does 3d6 damage. That is exactly where the typical female knight is going to come from. Now, maybe we could assume that all that training as a squire would build up muscle mass that ladies wouldn't have and bump STR and SIZ, that certainly makes some sense, but then male squires would get that training too, and that would just shift the same problem over a couple of points. I think the best solution here would be to just go with 60 point characters and assume that most female characters spend a few more points of APP than STR or SIZ. 

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I suppose given that England is a pretty rough place in much of the GPC, the "left-over" males will go fight dudes the way left-over males tend to do historically. 

2 hours ago, Videopete said:

As far as LGBTQ, historically you married someone not out of love but to continue the line.  Who you loved was something else.  The other was a responsibility.  Knock it out the way, then pursue the fun. 

History is certainly replete with "He's married to lady so-and-so that he never spends time with, preferring the company of his life-long friend mister so-and-so" 😇

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5 hours ago, Morien said:

(EDIT: Just so we are crystal-clear... I am not saying that this is what the future of the line should be. Personally, I am happy with most noblewomen choosing to be ladies and just a select bunch deciding that being a knight is for them. I am mainly trying to see how this would impact on the game and gameplay.)

Your first post was very clear ;). Clearly, if you want 50/50, the only logical way is to change the rules of succession (like Dorne in ASOIAF for example).

23 minutes ago, Morien said:

I admit I was pretty surprised to hear that they ended up still making characters to that campaign and playing it

I admit I was pretty surprised to read it as well. What a weird question...

2 hours ago, Videopete said:

KAP is explicitly set in a different culture, a culture that is very alien to ours.

My point exactly. Thank you for explaining it better than I could ^^

2 hours ago, Videopete said:

I don't think the Cymrics should be the progressive faction, not during the Uther period. Especially with how prominent the Christian faiths are. 

Not sure pagans were more progressive but yeah. We talked about it by the past. I can see, during Arthur's reign, enlightment and many "progressive" new rules and behaviors. But Uther was not a just man, neither a good one. It was dark Ages, and progressive stance about women doesn't feel "dark ages" to me.

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First thanks for splitting this, I was getting tired of seeing this "just settle it at your table" thing cluttering up a discussion of the new edition's rules. 

In overall target of female rulers, I think you can get there pretty easily by just ensuring widows and mothers of heirs in minority don't have to turn the reins over to a man.  Given mortality among active knights generally, there will be lots of estates and holdings run by women.

Similarly given mortality generally, with a change to inheritance customs or laws having a daughter be the only one left to carry on the line is not bizarre.  You could even go with morgantic marriage - sorry Sir whatever I love you deeply and/or we make great allies against those common enemies, but I'm the one in charge of my father's estate and hold his title now, if we marry you're becoming my husband more than me your wife, I'm still the one in charge of the estate and the children are mine more than yours etc. (which then fits with the dynastic side of Pendragon), and my overlord is a real piece of work and demands I perform my military service personally, so I'm still suiting up in armour and heading out when the call comes.

As to pregnancy and knightly service, I think it depends a bit on what else you want to do with the setting.  There are fantasy novels which suggest a herb for birth control for example.  Putting in terms of the "fun for the table", maternal fatality in birth per some of the rules for NPC wives would be adjusted as I don't see that as being "fun for anyone's PK female (knight or not)". 

Rob

 

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The way I play it, noble children are either on the knightly track, lady/courtier track, or religious track. Earlier in the campaign, it's expected that men become knights and women ladies, but as it goes on, it becomes more accepted to go into either role. You can switch tracks partway through, like Constans did, but skills might suffer a bit, and generally most don't. Inheritance works as normal, except replace sons with knights and daughters with courtiers, religious children don't inherit at all. 

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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

But Morien one of the reasons for the big push to make female knights commonplace was that some people would be too uncomfortable playing characters who were of a different gender than themselves. So thins change would ensure that everybody was playing a character different from themselves roughly half the time, so you're still in the same boat.

Nonsense! It is good for the soul to play as an opposite gender now and again! :P

Seriously, though, I fully agree, as I already mentioned.

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

If this was something that was going to be implemented across the board, then there would need to be some sort of escape clause so that players don't get stuck playing a character of a gender they aren't happy with, to please those players who this would upset. Now to that end I can propose two possibilities: 

1. The parent selects their heir: Primogeniture is actually anachronistic, and didn't come about until the latter middle ages. So for our purposes the player can select if they want to pass the land down to their son or their daughter.

Yep. I would be fully in favor of this. Makes for a nice potential sibling drama, too, if one gets passed over. Didn't Roman law allow you to designate your heir anyway? Could easily be an offshoot of that. This would also make a big difference in the latter point you made about female NPKs.

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

2. "Girls": The world girl originally applied to all children. What if intend of roll for the gender of a child during childbirth, the player just selected the gender when they rolled up the character? Then all you just need to do is track how many girls.children a knight has and not worry about gender.

Just call the Children until they hit like 14, and we are good, I think.

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

One problem I have with your economic model here is that of what happens to all those males? I don't see them sitting around the manor spinning cloth waiting to be married off, like their sisters would have been. There almost certainly needs to be some sort of career path for them, and as part of the nobility their options are limited. I'd suspect that the stigma associated with free companies would be dropped, as probably everyone would have a relative serving in one, and that would be the change that wouldn't harm the status quo.

Same as with other excess males. This only turfs out 0.5 sons per vassal family, in average. That is roughly 200 men or so from a population of one million in Logres. I think they can find something to do. :)

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Another, is that, since the women will be disadvantaged physically, why would liege lord be all hat keen in having them as knights? We've all seen what it like in combat with a character who does 3d6 damage. That is exactly where the typical female knight is going to come from. Now, maybe we could assume that all that training as a squire would build up muscle mass that ladies wouldn't have and bump STR and SIZ, that certainly makes some sense, but then male squires would get that training too, and that would just shift the same problem over a couple of points. I think the best solution here would be to just go with 60 point characters and assume that most female characters spend a few more points of APP than STR or SIZ. 

Yeah, as I said, it would be the case that more female NPKs would be 4d6 than 5d6, while for male NPKs the opposite might be the case. Allowing for the pick of the heir could help with this, since averages are just that, average. A slightly bigger and brawnier woman would be equal to the average man (whom we got as a random eldest son), so that would help. Of course, presumably you would be picking your biggest and brawniest son, too, if you wanted a male heir, which would mean that he'd be above average for a male, too. So yeah, there still would be a statistical difference, overall. That is where the transgenerational loyalty kicks in. The high Loyalty is worth more than the couple of more points in SIZ and STR. Also, with DEX helping to stay at horseback (as well as weapon skill defaults?), not to mention the dreaded initiative (grr), the female knights might have some edge in mounted and group combat to make up in part what they lack in brawn.

As for female player-knights, I would just use male stats, no questions asked.

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My sloppy way of handling these problems in my game:

1) In KAP as written, half the offspring are unable to become knights. I simply have players make the same roll as for gender - but an unsuitable child can be unsuitable for multiple reasons. Sometimes it is sexism on the part of the family, but it can also be due to small size or an inappropriate temperament. Those who are unsuitable can work in various jobs for the family, or get married off.

The only part that I still wonder about is how to handle the "third for prayer" allocation of the traditionally male heirs, as it seems as if a non-combatant could be easily put in this position and free up another possible knight. It's not a huge deal, though, as you'd need at least four children already to make it happen.

2) The eldest male child inherits, except if the knight designates another child as an appropriate heir.  This can create drama within the family, but I'm not opposed to that.

3) Given that the Pendragon default is to make sessions cover a year, I've found it most convenient to handwave when pregnancy occurs for female knights. I mean, there's nothing that says that birth has to occur in the winter, right? I also jettison the dangers of pregnancy for PKs, as I think the life of a knight is dangerous enough.

4) For LGBTQ knights, adoption is an option - but I want it to be balanced with the uncertainty that is a part of the generational game. My solution has been to make "proper" adoption expensive by stipulating a cost and a roll to succeed (maybe Courtesy or Law for Roman knights). I started some research on Roman laws and procedures regarding adoption, but I think I only tried this for one session before the PK in question was critted and died.

Does this work? Pretty much. Is there a better way? Probably.

 

Edited by SaxBasilisk
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I forgot to mention LGBT knights, but yeah, culturally it's no real problem. You get married to get heirs, or adopt. The Lover's Solo literally had a result on the table where the lady's husband turns out to be gay or asexual lol. Paladin has rules for gay civil partnerships consecrated by the church! Just add that in, and maybe make the subtext a little more textual so people realize that's what it is lol. 

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11 minutes ago, SaxBasilisk said:

3) Given that the Pendragon default is to make sessions cover a year, I've found it most convenient to handwave when pregnancy occurs for female knights. I mean, there's nothing that says that birth has to occur in the winter, right? I also jettison the dangers of pregnancy for PKs, as I think the life of a knight is dangerous enough.

Just to add to that... Pendragon Winter Phase doesn't end at 31st of December. There is a good argument that the new year actually starts in March 25th, Lady Day, as was the case in Medieval England, although in our games, I tend to be vague about it. Basically, Spring of the next year starts when the knights head out to do adventures/spring court after the Winter Phase! Anyway, there would be a good argument that there is like half a year after things calm down in October to the start of April, during which the female knight could have had her pregnancy and delivered the baby without any disruption to her normal duties.

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Having 50/50 male/female proportion does not meab women have more freedom.

If there are as many female knights as there are male ones, it means all those women were forced to be knights, just like male knights were.

In a society mirroring Europe medieval society, you become a knight because you were born to be one, not because you think it's a profession that suits you.

I think that if they had the choice, quite a number of noblemen would avoid a dangerous warrior's life.

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3 hours ago, Mugen said:

Having 50/50 male/female proportion does not meab women have more freedom.

If there are as many female knights as there are male ones, it means all those women were forced to be knights, just like male knights were.

Yep, fully agreed. The only way you can get 50/50 split is, I believe, if it is mandated by the birth order. Since it is a simple fact that if you take the average woman and the average man, the man is bigger and stronger and hence more suited for a combat-heavy career. That doesn't mean that there are not exceptional women who rise well above the average, or men who do not reach the average for the males. But unless you allow for self-selection, about average is what you get most of the time.

Funnily enough, if you allow the women to self-select (they can choose to be non-combatant ladies or knights), but societal pressure would make the eldest child, if male, ALWAYS choose to be a knight, you would get female knights who would likely be much more competitive against men, attribute-wise. Because they would be the women who figured that they would be able to beat the boys in their own game and have stats to back it up. Perfect excuse to use the same attributes for all PKs, regardless of gender (or, if you'd do random rolls, you'd actually expect the variance amongst the female knights to be lower than with the men, but the maximum would be slightly lower, too; for example 2d6+6 male SIZ & STR, 1d6+10 female knight SIZ 1d6+9 STR, both coming to a summed average of 26 points).

Of course, you wouldn't get anywhere near 50/50 split here. If we were to take the BoK&L attribute rolls as indicative of the female stat spread (I don't, by the way: 5 point swing in SIZ is huge), then women rolling 2d6+2 for SIZ and STR and needing at least a sum of 22 would be about 16% of the whole population. And likely you'd have to drop maybe half of them due to other considerations (brothers taking precedence, the woman choosing not to have a knightly career, etc). So something like 5-10%, at best, would be my questimate, based on the BoK&L rules.

However, if the BoK&L stats are for LADY characters rather than the standard female overall, then it would make somewhat more sense just from the gamist perspective. The Lady character doesn't really need SIZ and STR (or something has gone horribly wrong), so those would be 'wasted points'. Alas, APP doesn't really gotten its due in previous editions, IMHO: just look at the previous threads where APP has been discussed (and credit where credit is due, Atgxtg was a loud proponent of making APP more useful and giving Ladies more to do in the game, but let's not derail this thread).

Looking at the weight and height difference of modern Japanese people (using the Japanese here since they don't have the same obesity epidemic going on that many of us Westerners have, yours truly included in that number), the weight difference is about 20 lbs and height difference 5". SIZ tracks weight better than height, IMHO, and 10lbs per SIZ point sounds about right. So the SIZ difference, on average, should be 2 points, not 5 points, which, using the male stats as a baseline, should give us 3d6+2 (although I would actually argue that the BoK&L random SIZ for males is too high to begin with). Arguably, the STR difference should be a bit more, since while STR should track SIZ pretty closely in general, women have less upper body strength than a similar weight man. So maybe a 3 point difference there, which would make STR 2d6+2 roughly right. So, 3d6+2 + 2d6+2 > 22? 50% would have what I'd consider the minimum requirement to consider a career as a knight (if you get a choice).

But let's ask a more interesting question... How many of them would be BETTER than an average man, and hence more able to convince their families that they should be allowed to get trained as a knight? In short, how many of them would have average SIZ+STR > 26 (average of 6d6+5)? About 10%. Since the female SIZ here is calibrated to the male SIZ, scaling the SIZes down by the same number would not change this result; neither would dropping a 1d6 from SIZ and adding +2 instead, making male SIZ 2d6+6 again.

So, from this analysis, we would get about 10% of the women who would not only be competitive with the below-average male knights, but BETTER than the average male. If the female knights are drawn from this self-selecting pool, they would be opponents to be reckoned with. In short, not only would you expect that the female knight you are facing would be equal in combat ability to an average knight, you'd have more than 50/50 chance that any random male knight would be worse than she is, stat-wise. Suddenly, taking a female knight into your service starts to sound a whole lot better.

But like said, there would be only 10% or so of them, and again, if only half of them get the opportunity to become knights, they would be relatively rare, about 5% (or even less if the lands are not onboard with this female knight idea). Which would still mean potentially 100-200 female knights running around in Logres (depending how many total number of knights Logres has) during Romance and Tournament (and probably many fewer during Uther's time). Or about 10 or so in Salisbury-owned lands and half of that in Salisbury county itself. Which would give more than enough 'cover' for the female PKs from Salisbury.

(EDIT: Just as a quick footnote, the US military has about 20% women in the Air Force & Navy, 14% in the Army, and about 9% in the Marines.)

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In a society mirroring Europe medieval society, you become a knight because you were born to be one, not because you think it's a profession that suits you.

I think that if they had the choice, quite a number of noblemen would avoid a dangerous warrior's life.

Well, they did have the choice of renouncing the world and becoming monks. But as far as I know, it was more of a retirement option for many eldest sons. They were expected to become knights and raised in that ethos from the cradle; it would have taken real conviction to renounce their inheritance (since that is pretty much what it would have taken) and become monks instead. Granted, the same was true for the women as to what would be expected of them, which was not a knightly career. Family and societal pressures are real.

Of course, one way to make female vassal knights more common even if the male primogeniture would generally hold sway: allow the inheritance by the eldest male even if he is not a knight himself, as long as he can produce one to fulfill his obligations. Suddenly, marrying a puissant female knight becomes a much more attractive proposition for the lower-than-average SIZ+STR heir, since you can only barely support yourself and your family from a single manor if you have to support an extra knight, too. Basically, train yourself up more as a steward, and let your warrior wife handle the asskicking. :)

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On 10/22/2020 at 3:49 PM, Videopete said:

historically you married someone not out of love but to continue the line

Yes and no.

If you're playing Malory High Chivalric knights then yes.

If you're playing Romano British, then the Roman continuation of line was often by adoption.  Caesar adopting Octavian as his son and heir (which was common amongst the early emperors).

On 10/22/2020 at 3:49 PM, Videopete said:

KAP is explicitly set in a different culture, a culture that is very alien to ours.  It is one that sees violence as a viable solution, and has very distinctive gender and social economic norms and roles.  This is very different from ours.  I feel we need to maintain the classic stance knights are men, ladies are well women.

I largely agree with you (But I would be sad if someone couldn't easily play, or engage with, a Jean of Arc / Boudicca character, which I don't think anyone is suggesting!)

but, I would point out that already it's not too difficult to take Pendragon down two completely different paths, Malory High Chivalric and a more historical (post) Romano British, which are very different cultures.  I wouldn't see it too difficult to do the same with a more inclusive approach, so that, whatever route the rules go down, it's easy to use the published material for your own style of campaign.  This post is giving us excellent arguments to suspend disbelief, which after all is all we need to do to get on and fun!  I would still enjoy playing in an inclusive campaign.

So if you say "I feel *the* need to maintain the classic stance knights are men, ladies are well women", I'll agree.  But if the "we" means that you'd prefer a general approach across the community, then I would (very amicably) differ!

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On 10/22/2020 at 6:29 PM, Atgxtg said:

Another, is that, since the women will be disadvantaged physically, why would liege lord be all hat keen in having them as knights? We've all seen what it like in combat with a character who does 3d6 damage.

Indeed, but that's a problem I have with the Pendragon combat system.

There isn't an argument whether Women or Men are stronger (at least I hope not!), rather it should be "are women strong enough to kill a man".  I think the answer must be yes to that.

As much as I have always loved the Pendragon system, for me it's pretty much the epitome of what a roleplaying system (and game) should be, the combat system always left me a little bit cold (just a little bit).  In RuneQuest, the average guy gets a damage bonus, which helps, but you can still be a deadly fighter with out it.  Give a duck a sword, sure its not strong, doesn't get a damage bonus, but it's still hits hard enough to kill you.  And if you give it a death rune, its a very frightening thing.

Edited by Stephen L
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Not everybody who joins a political party is evil, as few political parties go around claiming to be evil. Much of Nazi ideology was about restoring German industry and pride following it defeat in WWI and the Treaty of Versailles. Not that I'm defending the Nazis. Just pointing out that no everyone who joined up signed off on all the atrocities.

And, the Soviet Union under Stalin was at least as bad, if not worse. Although that isn't saying much for mankind. I think history is full of people who were as bad as the Nazis, it's just the Nazis had the benefits of industrialization.

 

Apologies all, for taking up bandwidth, and especially @Atgxtg for taking your quote out of context.  But I’ve thought a little about this, and feel it’s important to state that it is unfortunately a historical truth that if you were a member of the Nazi party, you were not good enough not to acquiesce to evil.  The propaganda was not subtly stated.

Whilst it true that the Nazis did not have a monopoly on evil, they were a good exemplar of evil.

It is important to remember, when bringing up the Nazis, that there *will* be people on the forum who are old enough that their immediate family have experienced that evil, and indeed with experiences to be able to compare the evils of Nazism with Stalinism.  Indeed, its possible that there are some of this forum with personal experience.

There I've said my piece.

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5 hours ago, Stephen L said:

I largely agree with you (But I would be sad if someone couldn't easily play, or engage with, a Jean of Arc / Boudicca character, which I don't think anyone is suggesting!)

Or an Oscar de Jarjayes (main character of the Rose of Versailles manga, very losely based on an inverted Chevalier d'Eon).

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On 10/22/2020 at 2:31 PM, Call Me Deacon Blues said:

I forgot to mention LGBT knights, but yeah, culturally it's no real problem. You get married to get heirs, or adopt. The Lover's Solo literally had a result on the table where the lady's husband turns out to be gay or asexual lol. Paladin has rules for gay civil partnerships consecrated by the church! Just add that in, and maybe make the subtext a little more textual so people realize that's what it is lol. 

Technically the table just said "he doesn't even really like ladies, anyways" or something to that effect.

BUT now looking at it I feel stupid for not reading into the obvious implications there. I thought it just meant he was sexist. Frankly the gay option makes more sense.

RE: What cultures are progressive or not - a dumb question considering how "progressive" someone is isn't a trait that you can define with numbers like the norm in Pendragon. If you really had to, it would be more like determining the Chivalry or Romantic trait bonuses. And even then that's oversimplifying it.

Pendragon has mentioned the existence of Irish, Pict, and even Saxon cultures having warrior women, not necessarily as an common thing, but still a thing that occurs enough for them to not be in disguise. 

Now, I don't know if any of that was true in the real world, but in Pendragon, most of these cultures are also at least partial feudal (The Irish has strong tribal roots, and most of The Picts are still non-feudal), which implies inherent classism, frequent usage of violence, torture, and imperialism, and ALL have probably used slavery at one point or another with almost no one criticizing or protesting it. (Arthur's Britain is an Outlier in that no is a slave legally there.) A lady knight/warrior can be just as racist, classist, violent, and totalitarian as any dude can.

I mean, ancient Chinese dynasties were usually more open to Gay people than MODERN China is, but they still had slaves and the Coup Encouraging Mandate Of Heaven.

Like, Arthurian Britain is arguably more progressive in it's opinion on slavery than the british empire (which wouldn't exist for centuries) was! Even after they made slavery illegal, they paid the former slave owners money as an apology for taking away their slaves. Meanwhile, the former slaves got nothing. Arthur would've just killed or exiled the slavers on the spot. In many ways Britain's empire is closer to the Saxon's empire than Arthur's.

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3 hours ago, redmoongoddess said:

Even after they made slavery illegal, they paid the former slave owners money as an apology for taking away their slaves.

At the risk of derailing the thread I myself started...

Slavery is morally wrong. Full stop. However, prior to it being made illegal in the UK, it was not only legal, but very profitable. So you had a lot of wealthy, politically influential men invested in the slavery. There is also a thing called ex post facto laws: making something illegal and punishing the people after the 'crime' has already been committed (and being legal at the time). So from the rule of law perspective, as well as getting the anti-slavery law passed, it was necessary to compensate the owners for taking away their property. It wasn't an apology, it was a tacit acknowledgement that when the government takes your formerly legal property away from you, they need to compensate you for it. Would it have been morally right to compensate the slaves for the work that they did without pay and the horrors of slavery? Absolutely, in my mind. I even think that it would have been Just to take that compensation right out of the money that the slave-owners were due for losing their slaves. But that would have been an example of an ex post facto law: punishing someone afterwards for doing something that was legal at the time. (Apparently ex post facto laws are technically legal in the UK, but I seriously doubt that Wilberforce & like-minded individuals would have gotten the anti-slavery bill passed without the compensation to the slave-owners.)

The injustice, in my opinion, was allowing slavery back in in the first place, after it had been effectively abolished by the High Middle Ages in England. Which is why Arthur's Britain is mostly slave free, IMHO. Feudalism itself is very much not synonymous with chattel slavery: a serf was not a slave, but had rights.

Edited by Morien
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20 hours ago, redmoongoddess said:

Pendragon has mentioned the existence of Irish, Pict, and even Saxon cultures having warrior women, not necessarily as an common thing, but still a thing that occurs enough for them to not be in disguise. 

Now, I don't know if any of that was true in the real world...

Yes, they most certainly did. Evidence shows that women warriors date back to around the same time as men as warriors. But specifically referring to these cultures, I do recall that the Romans wrote quite a bit about Celtic warrior women. Now, the Romans were liars, to be clear, they made a lot of stuff up, especially about the cultures they were trying to demonize, I don't know about all the archaeologically evidence we may or may not have, but like... Pendragon takes place in a world where the HRB is an accurate retelling of historical events, I don't think it'd be that weird to take some of the writings from (admittedly well before) the period it takes place at more or less face value. Considering the Cymri as written are a mixture of the actual Celtic culture it's describing and the Normans, I don't think this is all that weird.

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