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Book of Feasts: Leaving with a Lady


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The topic came up in the Discord, and below are some of my thoughts on it. I figured it would be interesting enough a topic to cover here on the Forum, too.

My two denariii...

Given the Honor hit that a noble lady would risk having such a fling, I would GM it slightly differently.

The easiest option is to make her into a pretty serving wench instead. Maybe she has some hopes of improving her station, especially if the PK in question is unmarried and might be interested in a concubine. Or at least she would potentially ensure that one of her kids is a bastard of a nobleman and hence better taken care of. Maybe even helping with his commoner half-siblings later on in life. Or maybe she is already married and even if there is a baby, officially it is the husbands, although she might tell the knight and/or the child at some later point. Maybe she was just swept off her feet by the hero of the day (especially suitable if the PK did some heroics prior to the feast, doubly suitable if the feast is because of the dragon he slayed or similar). Religious reasons might apply, too, if this is a Pagan Court at Beltaine...

Similar considerations could apply to a noblewoman, although as said, the Honor hit makes it less likely that she would risk it lightly. If she is married, then if everything is handled discreetly, any children would be attributed to the husband. But if caught, it would be a huge scandal and cause duels and stuff. Of course, this might have been her intent, to rid herself of an abusive husband or some such, but it would come with the cost of her own reputation and likely harm her children, if any, as well. An unmarried, younger daughter of a knight might be looking to get herself a husband, if the PK is still unmarried. This could be innocent (she is in love and thinks that surely he is too) or more calculating (to get herself a husband above what her dowry would likely allow); rejecting her suit, especially if she finds herself pregnant, would lead into serious consequences with her family.

Which is in the end a long-winded way of saying what David said above: If you want story consequences, you can add them, and if you don't, you don't have to. That being said, I think sidestepping the Honor loss by making her a commoner works better if you are just playing it straight with a simple childbirth roll if Lustful wins. Especially if the PK is supposed to have a chance to acknowledge the bastard. Which in the case of a noblewoman would lead to Honor loss and strife with her family/husband.

 

Edited by Morien
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My answer from discord:

The sexuality of noble women in the Middle Ages is always tricky to handle. Basically, she should always say no to everyone, except her husband. So why a lady would throw herself to a knight, as the card said?


1) She was seduced. Her family should press for a wedding, or may consider she was raped.
2) She wants to marry the knight (because she is in love, beacause it's a good catch, she wants to escape her family, etc.)
3) She is unhappy in her mariage. Maybe she is looking for bit of fun, maybe she is in love, maybe she is plotting against her husband, maybe she wants revenge against him, maybe it's just a game between them,  etc.
Anyway, it's a big insult for the husband (revenge?)
4) She is a courtesan in disguise, paid by someone else. Maybe it's a trap? Maybe not?

The GM should always have a plan.
For any lusty knight, the easiest road is always to bed with a woman (married or not) with no connection (Commoners, low-ranking nobles, etc)

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For what it’s worth my thoughts in the Discord thread were largely…

  • Just because someone‘s a commoner does not mean that their family do not care about chastity in women, and the kind of commoner who is likely to be a guest at a feast is probably a rich free person who, while not noble, is not necessarily without ways to retaliate.
  • Legally, in England fornication and adultery fell under the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts.  I believe that the likely penalty is penance, which for a rich person is probably going to be doing good works, which translates in effect to a fine.  But there’s also an inevitable aspect of public shaming.  Also, at least in some cases, the condemned person was supposed to refrain from intercourse with their spouse while doing their penance, so no childbirth roll that year?  Adultery was considered grounds for ending a marriage, so there could be ramifications there, although the attitude of the ecclesiastical courts was to discourage that option and encourage penance and the preservation of the marriage.
  • If you want complications, and you’re bored with the usual secular noblewoman, think about having the woman in question be a nun.
  • Enchantresses can probably be put in a special category that suspends the rules of real life a bit, so that might be a “safe” option.  Although obviously, an enchantress should probably also be a major recurring character.

The following is my quick translation of part of a famous medieval poem about an unmarried pregnant woman.  It gives a sense of just how serious the consequences could be:

 

Because of this, my mother beats me,

Because of this my father berates me,

Both deal with me harshly.

I sit alone at home,

I don’t dare to go out,

Nor to have fun in public.

 

When I leave the house,

I am looked at by everyone,

As if I were a monster.

When they see this womb,

One nudges another, 

They shut up while I pass by.

 

Always they nudge with the elbow,

They point me out with their finger,

As if I were something weird.

They nod at me to point me out,

They judge me worthy of being burned, 

Because I sinned once.

 

You can read that to your player next time their knight sires a bastard on some poor unfortunate peasant woman. 🙂

Edited by Voord 99
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Dumb question: Where does this Pendragon Discord reside? I have found the Chaosium server, but it is pretty dead and I can tell from the forum posts these discussions are elsewhere.

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