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Lady Knights and Romance

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So I've started a Pendragon rpg with a couple of Female Knights (disguised as men), and one of them has set her sights on Prince Madoc already. (And I'm sure her love has absolutely nothing to do with the lucrative opportunities that might come from getting with the Crown Prince of Logres. But she rolled well for her starting Amor, so I can't completely call it cynical.)

Now of course the issue with this is that there's not really much set out for how one should pursue the subject of Amor from the lady's side. I'm not totally clear on her plan on wooing Madoc yet (I assume her options are either going to involve revealing her secret to him and hoping it goes well, or else doing some double life stuff where she woos him dressed as a woman while still being a knight as a man.) But regardless of the plans there still exists the issue of role-playing the pursuit of Amor from the female side. The main issue I see with the double life approach is that Amor is a rather passive experience for a lady, in most circumstances she is basically supposed to wait for the object of her affection begins to pursue her, while setting tasks to prove his dedication. She could potentially take this route, but it doesn't seem as fun to roleplay as going on quests and such, and most of it feels unnecessary since she already loves him and is already used to trying to break these kinds of formalities like rejecting a guy and forcing him through hoops. I'm thinking that it might be a better to try and take inspiration from some of the stories like Bradamante and Britomart, two female knights in Medieval (well technically Tudor for Britomart) literature that both pursue their own Amors while going on the same quests that their male counterparts do.

I'm pretty sure this might be the more enjoyable approach, but it lacks the same structure of the classic Amor story. The best I can figure is a female knight needs to win her Amor's heart by rescuing him from some sort of peril. (As seems to be what Bradamante and Britomart do before they get their guy) but it also seems like I kind of one-step process, since there's not nearly as much progression. Just rescue the guy, reveal your true identity and begin the romance. But should it be that easy? Or should there be some task that either of them would have to do to prove themselves worthy of the other? Or am I just overthinking all of this since it's still the Uther period and no one is going to care about all the ettiquette of Amor anyway for at least a few more decades?

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9 hours ago, Ravian said:

So I've started a Pendragon rpg with a couple of Female Knights (disguised as men), and one of them has set her sights on Prince Madoc already.

...

Or am I just overthinking all of this since it's still the Uther period and no one is going to care about all the ettiquette of Amor anyway for at least a few more decades?

Bravo! I can only wish a happy a fruitful future upon the couple. I'm sure everything will go fine....

(My plans include a similar plot, with less disguising.)

In the Uther and Anarchy period no one really cares about fine amor. It's all "might makes right" and the like. So if she wants to really impress Madoc she'll need to: A) demonstrate her martial capabilities where he can observe them (disguised), B) win his trust in order to enter his inner circle (which may be hard--he set limits to his trust as a squire and has traits that push others away), and C) demonstrate her womanly charms under conditions in which he might respond. 

Last one can be done in parallel, but Madoc is a hard target as the GPC presents him. He knows he's prince and the most eligible bachelor after Prince/King Uther, but doesn't seem to want to abuse that for philandering. At least, not to the extent that Uther does.

Regardless, you can push Amor with an "A" back to Arthur's time and what gentling Guen brings to the court.

--Khanwulf

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Like Khanwulf says, the fine Armor stuff is non-existent at this time. You can't even get glory for Romance yet.

You could probably use the Romance rules for a guideline, give Madoc a high resistance, and reduce it a bit for the PKs APP. Then have the PKs actions reduce the resistance score over time.

Good luck to the female knight but her chances of getting married to Madoc should be extremely remote. What you have to keep in mind is that for the nobility, marriage is more about political, military and economic alliances than about love. As the son of the most powerful King in Britian, Madoc would be expected to marry the daughter of another King, or at least a powerful Baron of some sort. The idea is that the marriage should extend his lands and influence in a meaningful way. Especially if Uther is going to permit it.  For the PK to have any real chance of success, she needs to bring something substantial to the table. Yes, she might win Madoc's affection with her APP and charm, not that that would be easy, but that probably won't be enough to get married to him. Or to stay married to him once Uther finds out.

 

Now if the PK has a title and lots of land it become a different story. Ditto if she is insanely rich, has a powerful army (tough to do without land or riches), or carries an impressive magical weapon or something (Excalibur, for example). But you do need to look at the situation as what does she do that makes her a better match than, say, a Countess. Remember too that she is aiming for what is supposed to be the best "job" that a woman can get. In theory she would eventually become queen.

 

 

 

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Oh I'm definitely of the opinion that this is probably not going to result in marriage and may not even end up requited, (she has something of a time limit on it after all), but neither of these strike me as reasons to discourage her from trying, hopeless as it may be. (After all she'll hardly be the first knight to have a romance end tragically unfulfilled.) I'm mostly just trying to find a proper structure to present for it.

 

Definitely am getting some ideas from this though.

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14 minutes ago, Ravian said:

Oh I'm definitely of the opinion that this is probably not going to result in marriage and may not even end up requited, (she has something of a time limit on it after all), but neither of these strike me as reasons to discourage her from trying, hopeless as it may be. (After all she'll hardly be the first knight to have a romance end tragically unfulfilled.) I'm mostly just trying to find a proper structure to present for it.

Oh sure. I just want you, as GM,  to be aware of it the full situation. And, as GM, you should probably clue in the player to her situation, so she realizes the difficulties. Often players fail to grasp the realties of medieval marriages. In my own campaign, I've got PKs who are household knights and who want land, but couldn't remember even one of the half dozen heiress they've met in the first 7 sessions of play. 

14 minutes ago, Ravian said:

Definitely am getting some ideas from this though.

Good. Also note that if the female PK does get involved with Madoc and has a son, then that son would be a factor in the course of the game. Once Madoc and Uther dies, the son would have a claim on the throne of Logres. It might not be a good claim, (unless Madoc and the PK were secretly married), but it would be a claim, nonetheless. At a time where there is no other claimant.  So if his parentage were known, it could lead to problems (and opportunities) for the PK. Not to mention the "child out of wedlock" problems that she might have to deal with.

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3 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Oh sure. I just want you, as GM,  to be aware of it the full situation. And, as GM, you should probably clue in the player to her situation, so she realizes the difficulties. Often players fail to grasp the realties of medieval marriages. In my own campaign, I've got PKs who are household knights and who want land, but couldn't remember even one of the half dozen heiress they've met in the first 7 sessions of play. 

Good. Also note that if the female PK does get involved with Madoc and has a son, then that son would be a factor in the course of the game. Once Madoc and Uther dies, the son would have a claim on the throne of Logres. It might not be a good claim, (unless Madoc and the PK were secretly married), but it would be a claim, nonetheless. At a time where there is no other claimant.  So if his parentage were known, it could lead to problems (and opportunities) for the PK. Not to mention the "child out of wedlock" problems that she might have to deal with.

 

Right, fortunately one of my players is a big notetaker, so that should be fine. (Though I am worrying that I may be overwhelming him with the sheer number of characters that Pendragon tends to introduce.)

 

As for kids, if it gets to that point I may end up combining the Changeling scenario with the Eliodd bit. Have the kid kidnapped by faeries and transformed into an eagle.

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2 minutes ago, Ravian said:

Right, fortunately one of my players is a big notetaker, so that should be fine. (Though I am worrying that I may be overwhelming him with the sheer number of characters that Pendragon tends to introduce.)

My suggestion there is only introduce a few characters at a time, and them bring them back a couple of times so the players will remember them, and so you can see which ones the players take an interest in and which ones they do not. In my campaign, the big note taker didn't bother to note any of the heiresses, despite being given an opportunity to lead a raiding party for one, because she didn't have any knights of her own. The latter brick should have been noticed, but no, the player just remembered the raid-and that ended up being aborted when they got invaded by Picts and the Knight whom they were going to raid saved the PKs bacon.

2 minutes ago, Ravian said:

As for kids, if it gets to that point I may end up combining the Changeling scenario with the Eliodd bit. Have the kid kidnapped by faeries and transformed into an eagle.

Ouch!  That will be a tough blow for the PK, especially if they have no other children to continue the family line.There would be some interesting possibilities for a PK who is Arthur's illegitimate cousin.

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1 minute ago, Atgxtg said:

Ouch!  That will be a tough blow for the PK, especially if they have no other children to continue the family line.There would be some interesting possibilities for a PK who is Arthur's illegitimate cousin.

I'm sure it may be, but I'm kind of worried about the GPC crumbling from a clear contender to Arthur's reign. (Who arguably has a much more legitimate claim to the Throne before Arthur's parentage is revealed.)

Again, all of this is purely speculative, since right now she's literally just met Madoc, and it'll be a difficult process towards wooing him before his inevitable demise.

A lot of it will also probably depend on the gender of any child that resulted from the romance. A boy I would be more tempted to kill or turn into an Eagle to avoid these sorts of issues, but a daughter could potentially be kept around for some claim fighting. (Since in that situation the PK will have to fight more against her daughter turning into a prize for some Warlord's claim to the Throne, similar to Arthur's Mother and Half-sisters.)

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Yes, if the two do come together and a child results, then you have a major decision to make. Does the child become Arthur? Could he pull the sword from the stone?  Unless they were married, the the child is illegitimate.  Madoc never became king, so we have no real answer whether others will follow him. And also what happens if it is a daughter?  

Could be fun times.

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13 hours ago, Ravian said:

I'm thinking that it might be a better to try and take inspiration from some of the stories like Bradamante and Britomart, two female knights in Medieval (well technically Tudor for Britomart) literature that both pursue their own Amors while going on the same quests that their male counterparts do.

You have the right of it there.

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Good luck to the female knight but her chances of getting married to Madoc should be extremely remote. What you have to keep in mind is that for the nobility, marriage is more about political, military and economic alliances than about love. As the son of the most powerful King in Britian, Madoc would be expected to marry the daughter of another King, or at least a powerful Baron of some sort. The idea is that the marriage should extend his lands and influence in a meaningful way. Especially if Uther is going to permit it.  For the PK to have any real chance of success, she needs to bring something substantial to the table. Yes, she might win Madoc's affection with her APP and charm, not that that would be easy, but that probably won't be enough to get married to him. Or to stay married to him once Uther finds out.

And there's your continuing conflict. Bonus points if her parents have actually managed to arrange a marriage for her to a lord with a maimed leg or similar who would be amenable to minding the manor while she goes out a-knighting. Double bonus if said match got crippled while heroically saving Madoc's life in a battle. "The course of true love never did run smoothe."

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2 hours ago, JonL said:

You have the right of it there.

And there's your continuing conflict. Bonus points if her parents have actually managed to arrange a marriage for her to a lord with a maimed leg or similar who would be amenable to minding the manor while she goes out a-knighting. Double bonus if said match got crippled while heroically saving Madoc's life in a battle. "The course of true love never did run smoothe."

Especially when it wasn't even a major marriage consideration.Even if she wins Madoc heart and is available for marriage (which as a knight she'd probably have a bit more control over than normal for a woman). Uther might just suddenly decide to finance her pilgrimage to the Holy Land (i.e. big bribe to get lost) so he can talk some sense into Madoc. Or the PK could see the Duke kill Madoc at Tintagel, get inspired, kill Gorlois, and end up on Uthers' good side. 

 

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On 1/15/2019 at 6:13 PM, Atgxtg said:

Especially when it wasn't even a major marriage consideration.Even if she wins Madoc heart and is available for marriage (which as a knight she'd probably have a bit more control over than normal for a woman). Uther might just suddenly decide to finance her pilgrimage to the Holy Land (i.e. big bribe to get lost) so he can talk some sense into Madoc. Or the PK could see the Duke kill Madoc at Tintagel, get inspired, kill Gorlois, and end up on Uthers' good side. 

 

Bolded my favorite part. Nothing like a good tragedy.

Also gets you a) a lot of land (see big bribe, above), and b) Uther's personal attention. Uther's personal attention as a pretty lady may not be what she wants... almost certainly she'd be transferred into his circle of influence and married off if not... biddable. Igraine and daughters would HATE her--not the least because she'd be the best knight to keep tabs on them for Uther.

 

--Khanwulf

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2 minutes ago, Khanwulf said:

Bolded my favorite part. Nothing like a good tragedy.

Glad you liked it.

2 minutes ago, Khanwulf said:

 Igraine and daughters would HATE her--not the least because she'd be the best knight to keep tabs on them for Uther.

Maybe not. It could be viewed as a spoils of war sort of thing, and blame Uther. In most versions of the tale Gorlois is noted to die while attacking Uther's camp. Somebody killed him, but he doesn't seem to have been singled out for hatred and retaliation. I think Mogan hated Uther for the betray and unnecessary death of her father, and the trick played on her mother.

 

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4 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Maybe not. It could be viewed as a spoils of war sort of thing, and blame Uther. In most versions of the tale Gorlois is noted to die while attacking Uther's camp. Somebody killed him, but he doesn't seem to have been singled out for hatred and retaliation. I think Mogan hated Uther for the betray and unnecessary death of her father, and the trick played on her mother.

 

It probably depends a lot about how it goes. If no one knows about their relationship when she kills Gorlois, then she's just a a nameless knight doing her duty to Uther. If it becomes clear that there's vendetta involved for the death of Madoc, then she becomes central to everyone's attentions as the killer of Gorlois, which can certainly have positive effects for glory, but also makes her more of a target for continuing Vendetta from Gorlois' family.

 

Also just thought I'd share some of the PK's progress in courting Madoc. Thus far she hasn't revealed her identity yet to him, but she's managed to get a little closer to him. While traveling to Uther's coronation she managed to look impressive while riding near him, and during the feast a lucky draw on the feast deck got her invited up to the high table (which I ran with him inviting her up to talk more about horses.) I kind of just ran with it and had Madoc take the place of the NPC in the Adventure of the White Horse and have him invite them out to the Horse Blessing.

She's still very much in the pinning from afar stage of the romance. But with luck these next few years should present some more opportunities for her to be near him. (Will be interesting to see what happens during the Prince's Passion adventure that'll happen in the next couple years though.

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Yes, definitely. The results could be all over the place, depending on circumstances, the people involved, who tells the story, and so on. 

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Keep us posted.  In my campaign, our woman knight did manage to comfort Madoc when he would come home after being afield for a battle.  Over a few years, she did manage to become the Marshal of Salisbury after the current died in battle and so was known to him.  Eventually, they did come together.  Some very interesting plots came out of it.

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Well it's been a bit but things have progressed rather quickly by and large.

So unfortunately the lady knight very nearly died in the ambush by Sir Blains's men (took a nasty crit and a subsequent attack that reduced her to the negatives which she only just survived from.) During the Marriage of Count Roderick adventure, and not only missed out on the drama between Madoc and Lady Rhianeth, her gender was also revealed to the Count's court at large during Chiurgery (kind of Mulan style.)

Madoc, rather surprised by this turn of events, went to visit her during her recovery, at which point she confessed her feelings for him. He was shocked, but she rolled well enough that he was moved by her love, and so decided to make a proper attempt at proving himself worthy of her love by attempting to slay the Saxon king invading Malahaut.

She meanwhile was granted an opportunity by the Count to prove herself worthy of knighthood (thanks to another player knight requesting it as a boon during Roderick's wedding feast.) and so he gave her a longshot quest to go and locate Merlin's current whereabouts. This led the players on a bit of a whirlwind magical adventure, eventually returning him from some fantastic island where he had intentionally gotten himself into some trouble to test the virtues of the local princess. (Behind the scenes this is basically Merlin, having predicted the trouble that Ygrainne will create for Uther, has been out testing the waters and seeing whether it would be possible for the promised king of Britain to result from a different, less troublesome woman. Unfortunately he's come to conclusion that the conflict with Gorlois over Ygrainne will be inevitable for the good of Britain.)

The party returns with Merlin who leads them to where he is needed to revive the army at Mount Daman after the disastrous battle of Euburacum, wherein Prince Madoc has been captured by the Saxons. The Lady knight, in response to her love being threatened, impassions herself and basically carves a red streak through the Saxons' camp and rescuing her prince. In recognition for her deeds, not only is she re-knighted by Count Roderick, but Uther also grants her a manor (she was previously just a household knight so this officially makes her landed) (the manor was actually one of Madoc's which he urged his father to give to her as a reward, now they have a private place to meet for their affair.)

So long story short, the two are engaging in an affair, and she's already produced a child, a daughter, all before 485. Of course the next, and likely most difficult step is going to be actually getting married to Madoc. Even as a knight having done impressive deeds, she's not a great pick of a wife for the Crown prince given she only has one manor to her name (that technically was originally the Princes' to begin with.) Worse yet, Uther's a remarkably suspicious person and he likely will be able to figure out about the affair sooner rather than later. He's unlikely to discourage it (He's not going to be a hypocrite given how many bastards he has.) but marriage is going to take some convincing. And I'm planning to set her towards some conflict with Lady Rhianeth, since given the public nature of her rescue of Madoc she's going to look like a competitor even without knowing they're already in a relationship. She's basically won the romance game, and has proven herself a capable knight, but being out as a female knight means she'll have to start learning more of the games that ladies play.

 

The child caused a huge stir with the player knights, and right now the only thing that's convinced them that they haven't broken Arthurian canon is the fact that they've only had a girl at this point. I'm sort of glad that she managed to get a daughter out of the relationship, because now I won't feel as bad if I have to turn any Male children she produces into eagles. I imagine she'll be fine continuing to play a female knight once her daughter comes of age, especially one with as backstory as interesting as "Arthur's niece", and having a child of Uther's blood will make the Anarchy period fun. (Everyone who wants to be king is going to try to get that girl once they know who she is, and I fully expect that they won't be able to hold themselves back in declaring that they have Madoc's child as soon as they can.)

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Oooh. The interesting bit is that in the Anarchy Period the daughter will have a tentative link to the throne. It's not a strong link, since she is an illegitimate daughter of the son of the king, but it's a claim nonetheless. It could make her something of a target for an ambitious lord who wants to add some justification to his claim for the throne. She might even be something of a target for King Cerdic of Wessex, depending on how well like she is and how well known her parentage is. 

Once Arthur comes to power he would probably try to set her up with a nice match-or maybe get her into one of those female fighting orders is she is a warrior woman. 

 

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Speaking of bastards... Given Uther's Lustful nature, and his habit of bedding laundresses and other pretty servant wenches, there must be at least SOME common-born bastards out there. Probably not that many noble-born bastards, save for Madoc, who is acknowledged in 480. So that might be the big difference; even though the daughter is just a granddaughter of Uther, she is still the daughter of a Prince and a former Heir Presumptive (while he was alive). And the mother is a famous knight (probably by the end of Uther Period), even if she doesn't marry Madoc.

Any noble-born bastards of Uther, even if not acknowledged, could easily be used as pawns to bolster the claim of anyone seeking the throne of Logres. That being said, at least in GPC, no such candidates pop up, and the rivals for the throne try to claim it by right of conquest/might rather than by blood: Idres, Nanteleod and (to a lesser extent) Cerdic (who actually does have a blood claim via Vortigern), Ulfius and Corneus (the latter two implied in the meeting of 496). This implies that there are not any noble bastards of Uther out there, especially since (IIRC) someone (Wessex?) was trying to kidnap Morgan and Ygraine out of Amesbury Abbey in GPC to use their connection to Uther to bolster the kidnapper's claim. If there were actual known descendants of Uther running around, surely they would make for a better claim by marriage than Uther's stepdaughter or wife.

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First of all congrats on getting a PK into problems so soon in the game. ;)

Also the Anarchy phase is a period of a lot of machinations. With a possible child of Uther in the mix this means that the PKs may get used as pawns in the big chess game. 

This does not mean that Morgan and Ygraine will not be used in the games. It all depends on who makes what claim. The kidnapping could be to counter the claim of the child of Madoc. As said its not much, but they may wish to use them in proclaiming the child is not Madoc's and throw doubt in the mix.

In short I would expect that the anarchy phase will be an interesting pit of snakes.

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6 hours ago, Morien said:

Speaking of bastards... Given Uther's Lustful nature, and his habit of bedding laundresses and other pretty servant wenches, there must be at least SOME common-born bastards out there. 

Any noble-born bastards of Uther, even if not acknowledged, could easily be used as pawns to bolster the claim of anyone seeking the throne of Logres. 

Yeah that certainly seems like a possibility. Frankly I suspect that Uther isn't as Lustful as he is being portrayed, he just gets enamored  with Ygraine. 

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5 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah that certainly seems like a possibility. Frankly I suspect that Uther isn't as Lustful as he is being portrayed, he just gets enamored  with Ygraine. 

Well Book of Uther seems to suggest that he has a regular string of Paramours before he marries Ygraine, so I wouldn't be surprised if Madoc and Arthur had some other (if unacknowledged) siblings.

11 hours ago, Cornelius said:

First of all congrats on getting a PK into problems so soon in the game. ;)

Also the Anarchy phase is a period of a lot of machinations. With a possible child of Uther in the mix this means that the PKs may get used as pawns in the big chess game. 

This does not mean that Morgan and Ygraine will not be used in the games. It all depends on who makes what claim. The kidnapping could be to counter the claim of the child of Madoc. As said its not much, but they may wish to use them in proclaiming the child is not Madoc's and throw doubt in the mix.

In short I would expect that the anarchy phase will be an interesting pit of snakes.

I fully suspect Morgan and Ygraine to get involved, especially since I also heavily suspect that the PLK (Player Lady Knight) will be inflicting her vengeance upon Gorlois after he kills Madoc. That's going to land her and any of her children on Morgan's sh*t list for sure, and Ygraine isn't likely to take kindly to her either.

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On 2/20/2019 at 9:07 AM, Atgxtg said:

Yeah that certainly seems like a possibility. Frankly I suspect that Uther isn't as Lustful as he is being portrayed, he just gets enamored  with Ygraine. 

According to BoU or BoW, Uther is confronted by one of his high ranking officers over bedding his wife after Ygraine withdraws her affection following the disappearance of Arthur. It is a public event and scandal resulting in a very public shaming of Uther. 

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17 minutes ago, Uhtred said:

According to BoU or BoW, Uther is confronted by one of his high ranking officers over bedding his wife after Ygraine withdraws her affection following the disappearance of Arthur. It is a public event and scandal resulting in a very public shaming of Uther. 

BoU and BoW, like several parts of the GPC, seem to follow in the Excalibur mold as far as Uther goes. He's not a terribly good king, just a good warlord. He seems to have a lot in common with Vortigern.

Not that this interpretation is wrong or bad, just that there isn't much in the Arthurian sources to back it up. 

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Many gm's run Uther as one who listens to his 'little brain', or as my group says, 'big brain.' Has a illegitimate son, Ygraine, Baroness Pompeii (spelling) and so on.  Merlin warns Uther that he just needs to remain just.  His Lustiness makes him fail on this, so he loses overall.

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