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Succession and Young Knights


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Excuse me if this is the books someplace and I missed it (I'm a Pendragon noob figuring this game out) but I am trying to understand the dynamics of succession within a vassal knight's household. An illustration to help me frame my questions:

A father is a vassal knight. His first son has turned 21 and is ready to be knighted. What happens?

Understanding that PKs (or their players) might have their own personal preferences, what is "typical" practice? I imagine a lot of different possibilities:

Does the 40-something PK retire more or less immediately and his son takes over the responsibilities of leading the household and manor and providing service to the Earl as required?

If the elder PK does not retire, does his son leave to become a bachelor knight of another Lord? Or would the son stay home with the elder PK as the heir-apparent and second-in-command? Does the son go provide service along with the elder PK when the Earl requests his knights? Or might he stay home and mind the manor as the Earl is only paying for 1 knight?

I probably haven't framed these questions very well, because I don't have a good enough handle yet on how succession works. Any help or insight appreciated.

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8 hours ago, vegas said:

A father is a vassal knight. His first son has turned 21 and is ready to be knighted. What happens?

As a general rule (at least in our campaign), the heir would have been squired in the Liege Lord's household, either to the Liege himself, or even better to his own heir, in order to foster those ties of friendship and loyalty. Thus, if the dear old dad is still going strong, the Liege would likely make a space amongst his household knights for the young knight, in order to ensure that that there are no competing ties of loyalty to another nobleman. The father stays on as the vassal knight, until he is too feeble to fulfill his duties as a knight, and even then, the Liege Lord might have him 'retire' as a trusted advisor, or he might retire to a monastery to spend his last few years as a monk to shorten his purgatory stay. As for the 'spare' (second eldest), he'd often get squired the same way, although perhaps not to the liege or his heir personally but some higher ranking knight in the household (marshal, constable, etc), so that he would be in the liege's household still. If the heir is still with the Liege's household knights when the spare is knighted, it depends if the Liege has space for him; he likely would try to accommodate the spare as well, depending what the situation is. And once the heir inherits, then his household knight 'slot' would be available for the spare.

Game-wise, I tend to find it more convenient to dispose of the NPC fathers at a suitable time, a few years into the game, to give new players time to learn the system before they need to even think about manorial management. Also, having them as household knights to the Liege Lord makes it very easy to drag them to whatever adventures I have in store for them. As for former PK fathers, a lighter touch is needed, but given how few of them live to the retirement age, it has not really been an issue. Also, they usually have more than one manor at that time, too, so we tend to just hand over a new manor for the eldest to learn to take care of (and to build on), while the dad continues living in the ancestral home.

I hope this answers your questions, but feel free to ask for clarifications. 🙂

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2 hours ago, Morien said:

If the heir is still with the Liege's household knights when the spare is knighted, it depends if the Liege has space for him; he likely would try to accommodate the spare as well, depending what the situation is. And once the heir inherits, then his household knight 'slot' would be available for the spare.

Just to point out something... In our campaign, generally the eldest son gets knighted with the Universal Aids, i.e. the peasants pay for the equipment, etc. However, the spare usually needs to wait until the father kicks the bucket and inherits the father's old equipment and gets knighted with those, while the eldest gets the manor. Of course if the father has done well and is still around, he could buy the equipment for the second son, which would leave his own equipment to an even younger son (or to the eldest, to make up for the money that went to the knighting of the second son). Anyway, this often means that the second son needs to cool his heels for a while, maybe working as an esquire in the Liege's court, until dear old dad dies and everyone nudges forward a slot: heir household knight -> vassal knight, spare esquire -> household knight.

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9 hours ago, Morien said:

Just to point out something... In our campaign, generally the eldest son gets knighted with the Universal Aids, i.e. the peasants pay for the equipment, etc. However, the spare usually needs to wait until the father kicks the bucket and inherits the father's old equipment and gets knighted with those, while the eldest gets the manor. Of course if the father has done well and is still around, he could buy the equipment for the second son, which would leave his own equipment to an even younger son (or to the eldest, to make up for the money that went to the knighting of the second son). Anyway, this often means that the second son needs to cool his heels for a while, maybe working as an esquire in the Liege's court, until dear old dad dies and everyone nudges forward a slot: heir household knight -> vassal knight, spare esquire -> household knight.

Exactly... only the richest of vassals can actually afford the knighting process for their spare and younger sons. Since my players are usually pretty good at getting lots of money, I created costs of knighting packages (the equipment, horses, a small feast, and then round up to the nearest libra to cover any miscellaneous costs) to give to my group since their kids are getting to be the right age. It's on my other computer, and I only did it for Uther/Anarchy right now since that's the period we're in.

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I created similar knighting packages for my players too, for each periods and 'levels' of wealth. I forget the details but the typical price was around £20 - £30 for a 'normal vassal knight" with the costs sharply increasing in late tournament and especially twilight periods. When the average 1 manor knight would be more likely in the poor category equipment wise.

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