Blains & Ellen 4ever!Question: as I understand it, Robert is Count of Salisbury in his own right by inheritance from his ostensible father. If so, then (if I'm right about these things), the Blellen baby doesn't inherit if Robert dies or is tarred with illegitimacy? I think it would go through the male line to a relative of Roderick. Is that correct? I believe Pendragon assumes the medieval English way of doing these things.* So - at least for the moment - if I were Blains, I would want Robert to be in vigorous health, since that potentially would allow me to make myself Count of Salisbury in all but name. So I can't help but note that its our alleged heroes who clearly have the motive for murdering an innocent child, not Sir Blains. Especially now that they have suspiciously managed to install their ringleader as lord of a nearby county, in a fine position to exploit a succession crisis in Salisbury. *Of course, it's your campaign, and the source material certainly has a lot of "The custom of that country was..." So you can have inheritance work any way that you like.
I do have to say that in my, oh, eight years or so of running Pendragon, I've never before had to deal with the intricacies of medieval inheritance laws! :DI know Greg Stafford's got plans to publish a "Book of Salisbury" that will probably go into some detail about rights of descent for the county, but in the meantime I'll have to make some notes of my own. English law is a good place to start.Incidentally, I figured Blains would not become Earl upon marrying Ellen because, being one of the 28 traditional legates of the Supreme Collegium, the title would have been of greater importance than your average count (like Count of Rydychan, for example...), and would probably be the sort of thing that only a king could legitimately grant outside of direct inheritance.We'll see how Des wants to play it, but it is entirely possible that Blains might be perfectly satisfied remaining the power behind the throne, as it were.
An interesting complication for me is that, depending on Desiree's plans, Blains may be on a clock. It's only a few years until Robert reaches the age of majority, at which point Blains is merely married to the woman who used to be regent. Of course, if this is true love, as some of us prefer to think, Blains may be happy to retire with Ellen to his own, no doubt substantial, holdings.Also, I had assumed that the difference between Salisbury and Rydychan was that Elin was the actual Countess, not just the widow of the Count. I'm not sure that that would actually be enough to make Cynrain Count (assuming medieval English norms), but close enough: it would make any son he had with Elin the next Count. But the situation is a weird mishmash of the high middle ages with an imagined post-Roman Britain, and in the Anarchy, legitimacy probably = force.It raises a broader point. One thing I've noticed about Pendragon is that Greg Stafford seems over time to have made this sort of thing more important, and made the game closer to a realistic-seeming simulation of being a medieval (and specifically medieval English) landed knight. So that questions ouch as whether the estate you have just inherited has its value diminished by a widow's portion become of great significance, while in early editions everything was abstracted to "1 manor = enough to maintain 1 knight + 1 squire."The interesting thing is that this takes the game further from the source material. To my mind, Arthurian knights are defined by their absence of apparent interest in land and title (except for Mordred, an exception which makes the point). They acquire castles and whatnot as incidental byproducts of their adventures, and their actual titles are vague. I think this was probably wish-fulfilment in a world in which knights actually spent a lot of time obsessing over such things.This isn't a criticism, as it seems to be good for the game. It adds "conventional knightly goals of rank and land" as a fourth leg to "chivalry and adventure," "romance," and "religion."
It's always bugged me in RPG games when players insist that they should be rewarded with positions of power and authority, but then also want to completely ignore any actual responsibility that comes with that position and then leave to go chase the next adventure seed. I like that the system encourages players who reach a certain level of power to retire and make room for new legacies to be forged.
I think that's another point on which Pendragon diverges radically from the source material, but it's actually a good thing. Pendragon bears the marks of its origins in the '80s in that, although in principle it's trying to simulate Arthurian romance, it has a lot of "first level PC-ism," of which the romances have essentially none whatsoever. Where it's mentioned in the source material, the knights are pretty much always already the sons of kings and such. But in Pendragon, you typically start as a minor figure (for a member of the landed warrior elite, that is), both in rank and in capabilities. You work your way up, and then withdraw into the background if you actually do reach a position where you might be hobnobbing regularly with the Sir Gawains. Which is actually part of the appeal, because building your family's status over decades is at the heart of the generational aspect of Pendragon.
Unfortunately Shippers are inevitably drawn to two characters who the main characters really wish WOULDN'T get together.Anyway I'm glad my uncountable number of puns last week weren't entirely in vain, though I'll be sad to see Cynrain retire from active battle murdering. Still, it was time. He actually took a pretty serious hit in battle for the first time possibly ever, which is probably a good enough impetus to consider settling down. You've got your infinite number of children to think of!Also good jobs Sir Tathan! You have successfully married into money and are now some sort of castle-sieging juggernaut who cows defenders into submission. And Sir Cormac! Your quest has led you and your friend into the clutches of the devil, and you emerged only somewhat spiritually scarred, and with a new desire to invent larger and larger bows until you find one big enough to take down the Questing Beast! That's the lesson to take away from this eternal quest: Everyone needs bigger weapons.