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GPC (Spoilers) - Marriage Prospects for NPCs in Anarchy

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Happy new year, everyone!

I'm wondering who might be on the table in terms of marriages for the Countess and Jenna during Anarchy.

There's a suggestion that the PCs might be appropriate - but I'd like to get a better sense of the NPCs out there to know how appropriate that is.

The countess turns down Mark, and there's no followup suggesting Jenna would be appropriate. (I suppose this would sabotage a famous story later on anyway.)

Ulfius? I seem to recall reading somewhere that he's just not interested. Perhaps his son Uffo is a prospect, although that could be problematic around 520.

Nanteleod or Alain? This does commit the characters overwhelmingly to Escavalon's cause.

Cynric? Maybe... this will certainly make the later Anarchy and Boy King period interesting.

There's a couple other local nobles floating around, like Praetor Jonathel of Dorset. I doubt anyone would want to commit themselves to one side or another of the Clarence/Gloucester feud.

Greg's decision to lower the number of counts leaves some oddities, like Earl Tegfan of Jagent (GPC), and the Countess of Marlborough and her underage son (Warlord). I suppose there are also some lesser barons floating around who might be potential marriage material.

What have you tried or considered?

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I think the candidates don’t all have to be the handful of powerful magnates who dominate politics, or their heirs.  People marry up sometimes.   Sir Blains is raised as a possibility in the text, at least in the Marriage of Count Roderick.   But also one might consider a Sir Blains type who isn’t actually Sir Blains himself, someone who is not a great lord or king themselves, but is closely connected to one who pushes their cause.  

One thing that would seem likely is that some of the candidates are not  themselves great lords or kings, or in their direct line of succession — they’re the brothers or second sons of the magnates.  This sort of thing was not uncommon in the Middle Ages.   Robert doesn’t try to become King of Ireland himself, he tries to install his younger brother.  It’s more reliable in some ways as a way to build power than trying to amass everything in one family line.

My players have latched onto Cornwall and are really interested in it, so I suspect I’ll be hunting around Meliodas and Idres’ families for a male relative who can fit this model.   But I’ll also have an eye on Lot, Uriens, etc. - this is an opportunity to create possible connections for the PKs that I can exploit in later periods.  Lot as a teenaged squire has already featured, so bringing him back in would be nice, even if Salisbury is a very long way from Lothian.

I think one might also want to try to communicate the chaos of the period in some of the offers.  

For instance, there could be a marriage offer from a minor baron, or a knight, who legitimately “shouldn’t” be a big deal, but who has seized control of lands that have no lord, very possibly some of Uther’s lands, and has made himself a genuine magnate.  Marrying Ellen or Jenna will help him secure his position by giving him a marriage alliance with an ancient family of unquestionable legitimacy that will support him.  But Baron or Sir Ambitious is also precisely the kind of ruthless, charismatic, and competent military leader that Salisbury needs, and at least right now deploys significant resources that he will use in defense of Salisbury.

The flipside of that is a painfully young nobleman with a great name and ancestry, but who right now has very little, and is seeking the marriage in hopes of acquiring the resources with which to retake his lands.  This is, admittedly, a bit like the Rydychan Usurpers, and one may not want to duplicate the story.  One could differentiate it by having it be a great, or at any rate great-ish baron with extensive holdings in Hantonne/Hampshire that have now been taken over by Cerdic, and whose other lands (what were his outliers) are some combination of small, not obedient to his authority, or too threatened or outright taken over by their neighbours to do anything.  This is an opportunity for the PKs to do what’s right (from a medieval perspective) by allying with this deserving but objectively useless individual, since they have absolutely no chance of reconquering Wessex, and it’s only going to provoke Cerdic if Young Baron Exile marries Ellen/Jenna.  But if they are sufficiently woolly-minded and romantic to back this, they see their idealistic devotion to the claims of blood rewarded when Arthur comes along and Somewhat Older Baron Exile is restored to his lands — and is very generous to the people who supported him when he had nothing.

One could also have some fun with a succession crisis somewhere, where it is in dispute who is the rightful lord is after lord and heir both died at St. Albans.  Both of the two main claimants want to marry Ellen or Jenna, and it has nothing to do with Roderick and Robert’s house at all.  It’s because *Ellen* is descended from the family in question, and while by the strict rules of succession it shouldn’t matter, having a child who is descended from the family on both sides might in practice be the thing that tips the balance and gives the title to your child over your hated second cousin twice removed.

Of course, if it’s Jenna’s marriage, the single most important thing is whether her husband tries to murder Robert to make his own son Count of Salisbury... 

Edited by Voord 99
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Pretty much what Voord 99 already said.

In our campaign, Jenna was married off to the new Praetor of Levcomagus (an ambitious Vassal Knight who ensured Ulfius' safety in the aftermath of the Infamous Feast, and a personal enemy of the PKs; I killed Blains off in the Infamous Feast, since he hadn't really had dealings with the PKs in person) in order to get his alliance against Syagrius, who had kidnapped Ygraine and tried to conquer Salisbury with a mercenary army funded by the royal treasury he had seized (canonically Llud's Hall, but I moved it to Devizes since we had a PK manor there, predating BotW). Anyway, that led to a combined Salisbury-Levcomagus army defeating Syagrius' mercenaries, but the alliance took a turn for the worst when Salisbury submitted to Cornwall (with Ellen marrying Mark) and then became friendly with Wessex, too. Some raiding, sieges and atrocities later, the Salisbury-Levcomagus feud was back in full swing. The situation deteriorated further in the Boy King era, as Robert died in battle, which left the Praetor as the legitimate claimant of Salisbury, but firmly in the anti-Cornwall, pro-Arthur camp, unlike the majority of the PKs. They did their damnest to kill him dead at the Battle of Terrabil, but failed thanks to the actions of the lone 'loyal' PK, who had switched sides, and managed to drag the -3 HP Praetor to safety before another PK managed to finish him off. Since Arthur won, the other PKs ended up relocating to Cornwall, where Mark had just become the new King and ready to welcome the Glorious, loyal Salisbury knights to his court.

In the end, it is whatever makes for the best story for your campaign, and what option the player knights are pushing for.

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In our game some vassals rebelled in Salisbury during Anarchy.

Very treacherously, they struck Sarum at night without warning, from within. The PKs were there, but didn’t manage to stop it - they DID manage to escape with the child heir Robert though.

The new count Bryn married Jenna to make his rule «legitimate». He also promptly swore fealty to Ulfius.

The PKs were landless for some years, and had to search for homes for their large families, hooking up with Nanteleod. In 509 they helped a now grown Robert retake Sarum and behead Bryn.

A second generation PK eventually married Jenna, and fostered her son and heir by Bryn. We were all curious about how the boy was going to turn out, but he ended up a reasonably good knight. He is half brother to the current third generation PK, nephew to the count, Castellan of Borders, and the nicest guy in the posse of the son and heir of Robert. The heir of Robert is a vain, pampered bully, and a good friend of Mordred.

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