Surgeons

The disciplines of medicine as practiced by Physickers and Surgery as practiced by Surgeons or “Barber-Surgeons” evolved almost independently of one another. Barbers, along with Midwives, are among the overwhelming majority of health care practitioners in the medieval milieu, but the majority also equates to a very common occurrence of mediocrity in practice, which is why their skills are limited in the manner seen in their descriptions.

Physickers or Physicians trained in the universities and Surgeons of exemplary knowledge and skill form elite bands of practitioners, by contrast. Physickers are primarily university-trained theorists. When put to the test, however, in times of epidemic illness’, it is the practical knowledge and skill of the Surgeons and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way in the streets treating the sick that allows the best of them to outshine the highly esteemed and educated Physickers, leveling the playing field between them both professionally and socially.

It is from among the ranks of Surgeons that most of the nobility traditionally hire those they wish to tend to them and their men when they head off on campaign for battle.

Anglo-Saxon kings had surgeons, but didn’t take them to battle with them.

The Plantagenets took Surgeons to battle but rarely brought them to court.

Henry III instituted the office of Chief Surgeon, the “Sergeant-Surgeon” (1233-1254) in the royal party, at a time when the norm was to take a Physicker and an Apothecary.

Armies in the field were usually accompanied by physicians, surgeons, barbers or some combination of these. Great lords typically brought such men as part of their retinues, and infantry contingents often did the same. Medical personnel doubtless gave first priority to their own employers, but it was normally expected that wounded soldiers would eventually be tended by a physician if necessary: to say someone had been struck with such force that he would have no need of a doctor was to say that they had been killed outright.

Physickers and Apothecaries are the most common and influential among healers in royal service in the royal courts. That service provides instant protection and respectability. Surgeons just as commonly patronized by the oligarchs, who are in the habit of protecting them from being disturbed by the aspirations, machinations and politics of the Barbers.

Albeit late in period for the purposes of the game, it is interesting to note that by Henry VIII (dates), the medical practitioners at the royal court were dominated by Italians, university trained and practiced in a new surgery resulting from more accurate appraisals of anatomy and physiology and integrated with Physic. Thus, those PC’s equipping their characters as both Physickers and Surgeons – and perhaps Herbal, as well – are going to be “ahead of their time”, so to speak, prepared to provide the best in comprehensive medical care (even rivaling what is available in the modern day – exceeding it where magick is also employed). 

Surgeons are the gentlemen of the Healer Trades, following the Physickers who were granted dignity equal to knights on the social ladder. To the general population, both high and low, there is little difference between Barbers and Surgeons, however. Indeed, the name by which their trade is called is often conflated into “Barber-Surgeon”, only in some cases differentiated from “Barber-Tonsor” (barbers that cut hair), especially outside the great towns and cities. The distinction between them is considered a fine line among the less sophisticated, if known at all, much less acknowledged.

Most people in the period simply couldn’t afford to pay for a Physician or Surgeon, so a viable alternative would be to go and see a local wise woman (or sometimes a man) who were skilled in the prescribing Simples of herbal medicine, or might actually be qualified Herbals. A few Surgeons made themselves notable for their “charitable works” in providing their services free of charge for poor clients in dire need.

Like the Physickers, Surgeons jealously guard their knowledge, rank and privilege, and the wealthy patrons who provide it. Their wealthy patrons protect them from those who would trample on their prerogatives. That safety killed any interest they might have had in the political aspirations of forming a company or guild, historically.

In the context of a medieval game world, it provides the possibility of a noble patron “string” by which you, as GM, might rein in Surgeon characters. Any interest a Surgeon PC might have in involving himself in the political struggles for representation and quality control in the craft by means of instituting a local or national guild, or beefing up its standards and/or authority, could be hampered, even severely, by one or more noble patrons. This provides a nice bit of drama that can easily be woven into a campaign. 

As a result, the Surgeons stood aloof through most of the history of the forming of the guilds of Barbers in medieval England, and from all of the bickering and protestations of the practitioners (Leeches, Midwives, Barbers) “beneath them” that accompanied it.

When challenged by other trades infringing on their business, the Surgeons tried to merge in companies (guilds) with the Physickers due to this common ground they shared, but such attempts were few, and failed all too soon when they finally did come to fruition.

The trouble that most bedeviled the Surgeon trade historically, and likely should also in the game world, lies in the fact that their trade occupies a gray area between scholarship and the crafts that require only a skillful hand.

Indeed, in the 1300’s, the renowned surgeon Guy de Chauliac stated:

“If the surgeon has not learned geometry, astronomy, dialectics, nor any other good discipline, soon; the leather workers, carpenters and furriers will quit their own occupations and become surgeons.”

Because of the latter, ALL sorts of tradesmen who routinely cut into bodies in pursuing their trade, including butchers, skinners, tanners and tawyers, even chandlers, felt fully justified in engaging in surgery in spite of their lack of any knowledge of anatomy (much less physiology). These were typified as carving on bodies as blind men might carve a block of wood by the period medical luminary Guy de Chauliac.

A bit late in period for our purposes but still very illustrative of the persistent mindset of medieval craftsmen, the wax makers of Bristol insisted in 1430 they should be allowed to practice surgery by virtue of the lone fact that they, “like Barbers, use wax for embalming.”

The only remedy available against these charlatans is to haul them before the courts and put them and their knowledge of the Surgeons’ mystery on trial.

When you have a Barber, Midwife and/or especially a Surgeon in the party of PC’s, this historical conflict provides another, related source for a motivational subplot to weave into the background for a campaign. What side of the conflict are the PC(s) going to declare themselves for?

It wasn’t until 1492 that the Surgeons established their own guild in England, so it is quite possible that, as GM, you might rule that no such guild has yet been established in your game world. Alternately, in view of the essentially “perpetually medieval” nature of most game worlds, the establishing of Surgeons’ guilds might just as easily already be a general practice. Specialization among the trades was just as bad historically as it is in the modern world, especially when looking at the handicrafts, one of which surgery was considered to be.

An extensive understanding of how the human body works (anatomy and physiology) is far more important for the Surgeon than manual skill or experience. As surgeons generally came to this conclusion in the period of the game, de Chauliac’s work Chirurgia magna began to serve as a standard text on the subject.

The Surgeons’ primary concern about their field (historically) was for its dangerous lack of educated practitioners. Unlike the physicians’ practice of medicine which came solely from university education, surgeons stood/stand aloof, lacking any institutional structure. The surgeon’s guild became a separate institution in the medical community in England as early as 1368, but was ironically finally merged into the United Barber-Surgeons Company by Henry VIII in 1540, after their bid to join in a company with the physicians failed.

Historically, only a few Continental universities taught surgery as a specialized field of knowledge and, when they taught surgery at all, they focused mainly on the science and not the art of surgery itself, the actual skill of hand required. 

By the 1400s, England’s medical establishments were c.100 years behind those on the Continent, where medical universities were established at Paris and Salerno by the 12th and 13th centuries. England’s first medical university wasn’t established until 1423, only to be dissolved 18 months later. It wasn’t reestablished until 1518, almost 100 years later. Prior to 1423 – and then until 1518 – English students who desired to study medicine had only two options: either enroll in a medical university on the Continent and return to England with a degree, or study medicine as a component of the Bachelor of Arts degree in the truncated fashion available in England.

At this time, medicine in England was subsumed under the study of practical philosophy, a philosophy which centered on ars and scientia (arts and sciences). Medicine was considered a less virtuous pursuit, far beneath that of theology and law. Universities still offered degrees demonstrating the student’s knowledge as a doctor (of Physick), however, illustrating that medicine did, indeed, require education.

It is possible, and perhaps even advisable, that the state of medicine in the English corner of the your game world be just reaching the flowering of the 1400’s, as a part of arriving at the apex of accomplishments of High Medieval society. If there is no isolating factor as there is in the case of England’s geography, it is perfectly reasonable to presume that advances in the practices of medicine have kept pace with those on the Continent, with the establishment of the medical schools of Paris and Salerno in the 11-1200’s.

But Surgeons themselves provide the practical knowledge, training and experience needed for surgery through traditional apprenticeships, like those also served by Barbers and Midwives, from among whose ranks Surgeons commonly rise.

In both cases, traditional apprenticeships are the norm for the passing on these Trades.

The apprenticeship of a surgeon took 6 years, just as shown on the table for determine character age.

Unlike the other healthcare practitioners, however, the candidate for Surgeon’s apprentice must be literate. To reflect this, the character must be equipped with the Literatus and Scrivener skills, as well as the Scholar’s Tongue Linguist skill, at the very least.

Where they are organized into guilds (Barber-Surgeons are the most common), the guilds function as the professional organizations through which “registered apprenticeships” are arranged. The guild requirements are more stringent due to the prestige eventually gaining membership affords. Equipping the character with Grammar School (MGram degree) is the minimum education required for a registered guild apprenticeship, but a Bachelor of Arts or, even better, the Licentia Docendi of a Magister is preferred.

The surgeon’s guilds fill the need for trained surgeons without the aid of the universities. 

Each city’s guild keeps its own library holding the secrets of its mysteries, so all the students really needs to qualify for an apprenticeship are the Literatus & Scrivener skills.

To work as a common Clerk, even in the exalted ranks in the royal goverment, itself, no degree is needed at all, just a working knowledge of Latin and the ability to read and write, so it wasn’t a matter of simple literacy – this was most likely intended to emphasize the borders between class and/or station. Formal education to the point of obtaining even a BA takes money, whereas a commoner learning to simply read and write was not so difficult to come by in and around the towns and cities where the community of craftsmen made sure that basic education was available so they could at least keep the books for the family businesses.

Guy de Chauliac refers to himself as “cyrurgicus magister in medicine,” and he received his magister in medicina (master’s degree in medicine, equivalent to the M.D. of Bologna) from the much-respected University of Montpellier, under the tutelage of Raymond de Moleriis in a program that required 6 years of study. Same as the apprenticeship.

If the apprentice doesn’t assay and pass a (guild) surgical exam within 12 years from entering his apprenticeship, he is no longer allowed to ever become a master of surgery. 

As GM, you might reasonably waive this last restriction, but having that hanging over the head of a character poised to be a “perpetual student” provides a little low-grade background drama.

Skills & Abilities

Surgeons are relentlessly trained in surgical procedures and continue to study interior anatomy and physiology, even long after any certification or degree is in hand. This gives them a wider scope of experience to draw on.

The Surgeon is confident and knowledgeable when opening the body. He knows when things are out of place and generally how to fix them by his art, if they can be.

Where Physickers (doctors of physick; physicians) are regarded as safe-guarding the general health of the patient, tending to his diet and lifestyle preventatively as well as the obvious illnesses of his internal systems (maladies, dis-ease), Surgeons are perceived as limited to more external matters, from amputating a limb to cutting hair (due their firm association with Barber’s in the public mind/perception). Surgeons defy such limitations, but have a working knowledge of the humors as it affects proper diet, essential to client health and their practices, as well.

Due to the 100 Years’ War, England had the best practical, battle-trained surgeons in Europe by 1350.

The Surgeon’s tools represent a wide array for treating an equally broad array of maladies/injuries, ranging from scalpels, probes for wounds and fistulae, sounds, dilators, mallets, threphines, catheters, hooks, chisels, saws, clamps, forceps, to cups, bowls, cauteries, and a number of other shapes, rounded and flat needles for different sorts of wounds and suturing needs, bowls, pestles, mortars, spatulae and scales. Due to the importance of Astrology, an astrolabe is considered just as powerful a tool as a scalpel to a Surgeon in the medieval game world.

The repair of hemorrhoid, fistula, cancer, cataract, amputation, nasal polyp, bladder stone, depilation, tooth extraction, fracture setting or assorted traumas each requires different instruments. Practicing surgical authors like Henry de Mondeville, Guy de Chauliac, and Ambroise Paré innovated instrument design by necessity.

Despite the common belief to the contrary, Western European surgeons of the Middle Ages seem to have been roughly on a par with their Islamic, Byzantine and Jewish contemporaries.

The bleeding of a cut artery was stopped with pressure and cauterization.

They were no strangers to splinting broken arms or legs, and cracked/broken skulls were skillfully treated by means of a procedure called trepanning.

Metal tubes or goose quills were used to cover the barbs of nastily barbed arrowheads so they could be safely drawn out.

They could even suture intestines or severed jugular veins.

The eyeglasses that first appeared in the late 1200’s extended the useful life of craftsmen beyond the early 40’s, the age at which people still commonly suffer desiccation degeneration of the lens of the eyes, making close/detailed hand-work nearly impossible. This was a great boon to Surgeons as well, for the same reason.

Staunching Blood Loss

Any overt bleeding (GM’s discretion, based on the interaction of weapons, armor and flesh) must be staunched before those wounds can be cleaned or stitched closed – from any wounded BP area suffering bleeding losses from open wounds (as described in the rules for tactical play, where those optional rules are in play).

The rate at which open wounds taper off in blood loss and BP’s heal are detailed under the heading “Open Wounds & Bleeding” and the heading “The Aftermath: Tending Wounds & The Healing Process” in the rules for Tactical Play & Armed Combat. 

The att. mod for staunching bleeding is based on the character’s CRD and STR.

The DV for staunching wounds is equal to the number of points being lost when WND is deducted for that cause. The time required to do so is equal to the DV counted in Pulses, MINUS the practitioner’s (CRD and STR att. mod’s), with a bonus based on him SL, to a minimum of one (1) full action, according to his RoA.

IF the practitioner fails all the D100 checks his skills allow, he can still reduce the WND lost due to bleeding by (1 per 4 SL’s) points, or (CRD att. mod. + STR att. mod.), whichever is less. This is modified by +/- 1 per 2 points of healer’s STA above/below 20. The modified STA score is used for this purpose.

IF he is unable to staunch the bleeding completely, any remaining losses are only deducted every (CRD att. mod.) or (1 per ÷ 4 SL’s) minutes, whichever is greater, instead of every minute and the bleeding slows and tapers off normally. 

IF he is unable to completely staunch the bleeding, the remaining points of blood loss is added to the DV to clean and then close the wound, as well. 

The rate at which open wounds taper off in blood loss and BP’s heal are detailed under the heading “Open Wounds & Bleeding” and the heading “The Aftermath: Tending Wounds & The Healing Process” in the rules for Tactical Play & Armed Combat.

Once a character takes enough BP’s in damage indicating he is wounded to the “Mortal” degree in any given BP area, the blood loss suffered from that area does NOT taper off and clot on its own as it does for areas wounded to a lesser degree.

A character wounded to this degree whose bleeding is not stopped simply bleeds out and dies, unless he can be attended to by a Surgeon.

Treating Wounds

The Surgeon must Assess Wounds for every BP area wounded so he can determine their cause (blunt trauma, laceration, fire, frostbite) as well as their severity (Light, Serious, Grievous or Mortal) before he may begin to treat them.

He must also general Assess the patient’s health. This reveals to him whether he is weakened due to some condition that, if he is also wounded, further weakens him, raising the DV for performing any procedure(s) to patch him up.

To the DV, add the POT of any poison or venom in his system, and/or the POT of any disease with which he is contending, number of attribute points lost due to malnutrition, attribute points and/or BP’s due to hypothermia, and so on.

IF the Surgeon has the talent (Spirit Skill) of Reading, add the SL as a bonus to the AV.

IF the Surgeon is a practitioner of magic and casts the Read charm (assuming he has it in his portfolio), add the SL to the AV, plus a bonus based on the POT used.

The Surgeon may only attend to the wounds of one (1) BP area at a time (Head/Neck; Torso; Rt. Arm; Lt. Arm; Rt. Leg or Lt. Leg) for purposes of staunching blood loss, cleaning and then closing wounds. 

Wounds are washed with vinegar [soured wine or verjuice] or old wine that was strong in alcohol – both effective antiseptics – as a part of the cleaning process to remove possible sources of infection (dirt, cloth, etc.),

For cleaning wounds the att. mod. is based upon the character’s AWA and CRD

For repairing, closing, binding and dressing wounds the att. mod. is based on CRD.

Repairing, closing, binding and dressing are each treated as a separate task.

The DV for repairing and closing and binding & dressing wounds is equal to the number of BP’s of damage suffered in the BP area attended for Light and Serious category wounds.

For Grievous and Mortal wounds, the BP’s of damage suffered in those categories are multiplied by 2, i.e., a character with 40 Torso BP’s suffers from Grievous wounds when the BP’s of damage he takes there range from 21 to 30 and Mortal wounds when they range from 31 to 40 so, if he suffered 25 points of damage, he would have 5 points of Grievous wounding, adding 10 (5 x 2) to the DV, on top of the base DV of 20 from the (Light & Serious) damage taken to get him to the threshold of Grievous, for a total of 30. 

In the same vein, if he suffered 35 points of damage, he would have 5 points of Mortal wounding, adding 10 (5 x 2) to the DV, on top of the base DV of 20 from the (Light & Serious) damage and the added 20 from the Grievous damage taken to get him to the threshold of Mortal, for a total of 50.

Until he achieves the Journeyman Improver LoA, the Surgeon has a penalty to treat wounds of the Grievous or Mortal classifications.

Once he has reached Journeyman Proper LoA, all penalties for treating Grievous and Mortal wounds are erased.

Extracting splinters or stingers, shards of glass or pottery, darts, arrows, or other invasive objects from a patient’s body is considered a surgical procedure, especially when the foreign object is a large one and/or has inflicted damage that exceeds the “Light” threshold. Arrows and javelins that had not gone in too deeply were usually pulled out as quickly as possible, often by the injured person.

For this procedure, the att. mod. is based on CRD.

The DV for a Surgeon to extract a foreign object from the body is Progressive, based on the number of points of damage it caused on entry.

All piercing wounds being dutifully noted by both GM and player so they are not forgotten. This way they can be properly treated by the Healers in the aftermath.

This procedure takes (DV) minutes to accomplish, minus the practitioner’s CRD att. mod. + SL), with a minimum time requirement of one (1) minute

In addition to extracting shards or large splinters, darts, arrows, or other missiles, ranged weaponry, or invasive objects lodged in a patient without causing further damage or undue additional bleeding, a Surgeon can perform the amputations sometimes made necessary by the brutal form of warfare of the period of the game, and use cauterization to stop the massive bleeding that can result.

The AV for these procedures is the same as repairing and closing any other wound.

It is assumed that in the course of the procedure the BP’s of the area in question are reduced to zero for the purposes of determining the DV’s.

A Sentry/AWA check is needed at the end of any procedure, before it is bound and dressed, to determine if it was cleaned properly and a sufficient level of cleanliness was maintained throughout the treatment. 

A failure of this check indicates a failure to notice insufficient cleaning, or internal bleeding, either of which might progress and result in gangrene and septicemia ….

Success allows the Surgeon to detect any failure in that regard so he may then clean it properly before closing and thereby avoid complications of infection and worse.

Wounds are covered with moistened lint, plasters, sterile egg whites, or lard-based [Herbal] ointments, then bandaged, often with strips cut from a [muslin/linen] shirt. Sometimes herbal poultices are also be used. Honey is a preferred wound-dressing, and both modern science and the US army survival manual agree it was very effective.

Later, the wounds would be washed and re-bandaged frequently, with any corrupted flesh being trimmed away. Soaking bandages in old wine as an antiseptic, while not common in the period, was a practice that had a following, and it makes sense to include it as a common practice in the medieval game world.

As GM, you may well require the Healers in your game to carry a flask of old wine along with them to practice their craft, as well as an egg-bearing hen to provide the sterile egg whites commonly used to dress cuts and scrapes.

Medieval medicine was far more effective than the common conception allows; in one sample of over 300 skulls dating from the sixth through the eighth century, only 12% of the wounds showed any evidence of infection.

Analgesics & Anesthesia

To spare the patients their pain, Healers commonly make use of analgesics and anesthetics made with poppy milk (opium), coca leaves, and similar soporifics or narcotics as sedatives, cannabis and other less potent substances, though this must always be done with a judicious hand. Because of the danger, many Herbals insist on administering it in person, by their hand only, but this is not always possible due to circumstances, especially when a powerful peer or noble demands the purchase for another to administer.

But healthcare costs money and such niceties are not cheap. For many commoners surgery was a last resort due to the cost of anesthesia.

The Middle English word used to name one such anesthetic potion used from c. 1200 to 1500 A.D. in England was “dwale” (pronounced DWAH-leh). One can find records of dwale in numerous literary sources, including Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” and John Keats poem “Ode to a Nightingale.”

Dwale is a concoction of lettuce juice*, gall from a castrated boar, briony, opium, henbane, hemlock juice and vinegar. This was mixed with wine [old wine, strong in alcohol OR the source of the vinegar] before being given to the patient.

*lactuca virosa, wild lettuce called “bitter lettuce” or “opium lettuce,” commonly found in England, cousin to the modern lettuce used for salads today. The juice is a white, milky substance derived from the leaves and stems that acts just like morphine on the central nervous system to suppress pain, despite not having any opiates in it.

The opium, henbane, hemlock juice alone have characteristics that make them good candidates for such use. Where properly dosed and administered, the anesthetic concoction induces a profound sleep, allowing the surgery to take place. The danger of poisoning the patient still exists, already written into the description of this preparation, especially in the hands of well-meaning amateurs.If it is too strong, the patient simply stops breathing.

Using an empirical approach to discover how they might be safely used clinically as must be the case in a medieval fantasy world, with the aid of magick, such a potion is likely to be commonly and safely administered by the hands of well-trained and experienced Herbals. This is one of the reasons dosing is detailed so thoroughly in the Herbals trade description (qv). It is the healer’s business to be able to dose his clients accurately.

The first prescription for a “spongia soporifica” was written in the 1200’s. This is a sponge soaked in the juices of unripe mulberry, flax, mandragora leaves, ivy, lettuce seeds*, lapathum, and hemlock with hyoscyamus.

*lactuca virosa, as above

After soaking up the treatment and/or storage, the sponge is heated for use, the vapors inhaled with anesthetic effect. De Chauliac’s Chirurgia magna contains a description of a similar narcotic inhalation to use as a soporific for patients undergoing surgery.

Most Surgeons prefer that the Herbal who made it administer his concoction/potion in person, by his own hand, because the POT can vary and only the maker knows his product best. On the other hand, all Surgeons are taught the proper method of administration and observation of the patient to ensure safe use.

The POT is up to the Surgeon or attending Herbal, and the choice is based on the patient’s size (STA ÷ 4) in POT – as usual for an effective POT of 1 – and state of health (CND).

The STA score used here has been modified for Build.

If an herbal concoction is to inhibit a particular sense or faculty of the patient, the POT must be equal to or greater than the score in the attribute governing it, 

such as AWA for sensory nerves,

The POT of these sorts of herbs should be measured against the patient’s AWA to determine if they are sufficient for the use to which he puts them.

To numb sensory nerves or knock the patient unconscious, the POT of the herbs’ effect must be equal to the patient’s AWA or greater. 

To deaden the motor nerves, the effective POT must equal or outweigh the patient’s  AGL or STR for motor nerves (whichever is greater or more appropriate according to the nature of the toxin), or AGL + STR att. mod. or vice versa (GM’s discretion).

IF the patient’s CND is less than his AWA or AGL, the poisonous nature of these substances must begin to hit the patient before he is rendered unconscious or completely immobile.

Those substances which affect the motor nerves, if the effective POT exceeds [(AGL) + (CND ÷ 4)] the autonomic functions such as breathing are suppressed – stopped, and the patient descends into asphyxia, leading to death if not reversed.

These herbal treatments endure for [(POT of herbs’ effect) x 10] in minutes, minus (CND att. mod.). Subtracting a negative number is the same as adding the positive integer. Low CND dictates a slower metabolism, dictating the substance move more slowly through the body. Once that time has passed, the POT of the herbs’ effect drops by one (1) every (40 – CND) minutes.

IF the practitioner is simply trying to suppress or numb the sensory nerves, the patient’s effective P-RES for any checks vs. pain due to a patient’s injuries are raised by (POT of herbs’ effect), to a maximum of the patient’s CND. 

IF the patient’s AWA is lower than his CND, he is rendered completely numb without the need to make any sorts of P-RES checks vs. pain once the POT of the herbs’ effects in his body have reached (AWA).

The Surgeon or attending Herbal can apply a preparation of this sort as a topical to affect only one BP area in the same way, or so as to paralyze that BP area, rather than rendering the patient completely unconscious as above. For these cases, the amount of herbs in grams/drams are divided by the fraction of BP’s the area(s) so treated are awarded, according to the rules for combat and tactical play. If more than one area is to be treated, but not the whole body, only the fraction of BP’s of the largest BP area are applied this way.

This can be maintained for [(STA) – (CND att. mod.)] minutes per application, but the patient can tolerate no more than (CND) such applications. More than this is treated as poisoning. The effect wears off at a rate of one (1) point of P-RES bonus per (CND att. mod.) minutes. This can be easily prorated down to Pulses for tactical situations.

The uses to which a Surgeon puts his knowledge and skills must necessarily affect his scores in Virtue and Vice.

Surgeons roused the sleeping patients by rubbing vinegar and salt on their cheekbones.

Ether (diethyl ether) was discovered in 1275 by a Spanish alchemist named Raymundus Lullius, or Ramon Llull, and known as “sweet vitriol” (until 1730). While ethyl ether was first synthesized in a laboratory in 1540 by a German scientist named Valerius Cordus , who noted some of its medicinal properties. He called it oleum dulce vitrioli (“sweet oil of vitriol”) a name that reflects the fact that it is synthesized by distilling a mixture of ethanol and sulfuric acid (known at that time as oil of vitriol).

Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493–1541), better known as Paracelsus, was the first to observe the anesthetic/analgesic qualities of “sweet vitriol” (diethyl ether).

“… [sweet vitriol] quiets all suffering without any harm and relieves all pain, and quenches all fevers, and prevents complications in all disease.”

He observed that chickens enjoyed sweet vitriol then “undergo prolonged sleep, awake unharmed”. However, for whatever reason(s), he never applied this discovery to people. For his human patients, he concocted laudanum, a bitter tincture of opium.

Cutting hair & Shaving

The [historically] unbreakable association between Barbers and Surgeons makes cutting hair and shaving clients an onerous burden that Surgeons (or “Barber-Surgeons”) fight daily to divorce themselves from. Their wealthy patrons can’t be bothered with such fine distinctions, however. In spite of the heights to which they might be appointed in a given noble household, a Surgeon is still expected to provide grooming services like a common Barber. This attitude persisted well into the 18th century.

The DV for cutting hair, the att. mod. is based only on the character’s CRD score.

The DV for cutting hair is equal to the number of inches of hair to be cut off, + patron’s [(CHM att. mod.) + (HRT att. mod.)]. The higher these scores the more definite the patron’s sense of style and idea of what they want and the more fussy and difficult to please and adamant they are about getting what they want.

The time required to do so is (DV) minutes.

In practice, individual (Barber-) Surgeons were themselves diversified into other trades, according to local economic conditions and opportunities, and there is usually a very real relationship behind these apparently odd combinations.

Many surgeons were also expert craftsmen in metals. 

This is evident in Henry’s second expedition in 1416 in which he commissioned Morstede to indenture as many surgeons as he wanted (23 surgeons were too few to handle the wounded in the previous year’s campaign) and to also bring along makers of surgical equipment. Doubtless, the surgeons must have been delayed by crafting surgical instruments to the detriment of the care of the wounded in the first campaign. By bringing along smiths to make tools, the surgeons on the second campaign were freed to attend to performing their medical duties.

This is why “Silver/Gold-Smith” appears on the roster of Allied Trades for Surgeons.

Trade Skills
Assessing Health/Wounds
Cleaning & Dressing Wounds
Repairing & Closing Wounds
Extracting Objects
Set Bones/Restore Dislocations
Cosmetic Surgery
Cutting Hair  

Notable Practitioners

During the Middle Ages, scientific discoveries were few and far between in much of Europe, medicine included. The scientific culture flourished in other parts of the world, however.

In 1000, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (936-1013), an Arab who lived in Al-Andalus, published the 30-volume Kitab al-Tasrif, the first illustrated written work on surgery. In this book, he wrote about the use of general anesthesia for surgery.

c. 1020, Ibn Sīnā (980–1037) described the use of inhaled anesthesia in “The Canon of Medicine.” The Canon described the “soporific sponge”, a sponge imbued with aromatics and narcotics, which was to be placed under a patient’s nose during surgical operations.

Ibn Zuhr (1091–1161) was another Arab physician from Al-Andalus. In his 12th century medical textbook Al-Taisir, Ibn Zuhr describes the use of general anesthesia.

These three physicians were among many who performed operations under inhaled anesthesia with the use of narcotic-soaked sponges. Opium made its way from Asia Minor to all parts of Europe between the 10th and 13th centuries.

In the early 1200’s, surgical literature began to emerge, as surgeons sought to emulate their medical colleagues and raise their profession to one of comparable (scholastic) esteem.

During this period, most medical and surgical learning took place in the monasteries.

The Fourth Lateran Council forbade the clergy from practices that carried the “taint” of blood, such as cautery and incisions, in 1215, so the clergymen who previously provided those services instructed laymen to perform various forms of surgery. Farmers, who had little experience other than castrating animals, came into demand as Leeches, to perform anything from removing painful tooth abscesses to performing eye cataract surgery. Thus, the niche in which Barbers grew and thrived was born.

In the game worlds run under RoM rules, there is neither need nor reason for the “Church” to interfere in the process of or training in medical care, hoever. As GM, you are free to choose to rewrite the situation to whatever standard you prefer for your game world.

One man in particular stands out in the field of surgery in the 13th century was William of Saliceto, who helped set up a school dedicated to surgery. 

Guglielmo da Saliceto in his native tongue, an Italian surgeon and cleric, a professor at the University of Bologna.

He was one of the first to claim that pus formation in a wound was bad for the wound and the patient’s health, breaking the blind tradition following Galen on the matter. In 1275 he wrote a “Chirurgia” in which he recommended the use of a surgical knife over (Barber’s) cautery. His techniques were years ahead of his colleagues, even managing to stitch together severed nerves.

He also was the author of “Summa conservationis et curationis” on hygiene and therapy. Lanfranc of Milan was a pupil who brought William’s methods into France. William gave lectures on the importance of regular bathing for infants, and special care for the hygiene of pregnant women

John Arderne (c.1307 – 77), an English surgeon, composed medical works on topics such as the treatment of eyes and the cure of anal fistula, both of which circulated widely. Arderne’s works are fascinating in a number of respects, not least of which is the fact that the illustrations are integral to them.

Henri de Mondeville was a medieval Frenchman from Normandy, born approximately 1260,  proclaimed as the “Father of French Surgery.” He was trained in medicine in Paris and Montpellier, then in Italy with Theodoric Borgognoni (as follows), who had established a reputation for excellence in the treatment of wounds.

He served as surgeon to Philippe Le Bel (Philip the Fair) of France and to his successor, Louis X, and authored a Cyrurgia (“Surgery”) in 1312. This is but one of many European treatises on Surgery, the first being by Roger Frugard, who was eclipsed by the more famous Guy de Chauliac’s Chirurgia magna.

He died of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1316.

Theodoric Borgognoni, also known as Teodorico de’Borgognoni and Theodoric of Lucca, was an Italian who became one of the most significant surgeons of the medieval period. He is considered responsible for introducing and promoting important medical advances.

Theodoric was born in Lucca, Italy in 1205. The son of Master Hugh Borgognoni, a leading physician of the previous generation. Theodoric was a student of his father and also studied medicine at the University of Bologna, becoming a Dominican friar during that same period.

On top of his episcopal and religious duties, he became the favored Surgeon of many leading personages.

In the 1240s, after he had been practicing for about 10 years or so, he became personal physician to Pope Innocent IV.

Borgognoni’s major contribution to western medicine is his Cyrurgia or Chirurgia, a four volume treatise systematically covering the major fields of medieval surgery, written in the mid 1200’s. Borgognoni’s work duplicates some chapters of Bruno da Longoburgo’s Chirurgia, written about 15 years previously, but both he and Bruno were students of Ugo Borgognoni. Theodoric’s work contains much that is not duplicated in Longoburgo’s book, however, and some that directly contradicts Bruno, and these are the most important and innovative passages.

On the treatment of wounds he wrote:

“For it is not necessary that bloody matter (pus) be generated in wounds — for there can be no error greater than this, and nothing else which impedes nature so much, and prolongs the sickness.”

He insisted that the practice of encouraging the development of pus in wounds, handed down from Galen and from Arabic medicine, be replaced by a more antiseptic approach, with the wound being cleaned and then sutured to promote healing.

In the context of the medieval fantasy game world, magick is available as a tool to reveal the true nature of things and show the value and virtues of good treatments and reveal the dangers of bad medicine and care. 

Pus in this context should be seen as very valuable, but only as a danger sign (no matter what some “old-school” Physickers still clinging to the antiquated notion of “laudable pus” might say), and Surgeons are better versed in the procedures and standards of care for clearing up infections, which knowledge was available, in fact, in period. 

Indeed, it is not at all far-fetched to posit Surgeons being routinely called on to treat infections arising from procedures performed by their less well-educated and trained colleagues, the Barbers, Midwives and Leeches. This is a strong motivation for those practitioners who truly follow healthcare as a vocation end up seeking out a master Surgeon eventually to complete their education in the Surgeons’ practical medicine. 

Although often disagreeing with Galen, Borgognoni followed him in promoting the dry method for treating wounds, although advocating the use of wine. Bandages were to be pre-soaked in wine as a form of disinfectant.

He also promoted the use of aneasthetics in surgery. He recommended a spongia soporifica soaked in a dissolved solution of opium, mandrake, hemlock, mulberry juice, ivy and other substances held beneath the patient’s nose until he fell unconsciousness.

Borgognoni was significant in stressing the importance of personal experience and observation as opposed to a blind reliance upon the ancient sources.

He wrote on the treatment of thoracic and intestinal injuries, insisting on the importance of avoiding pollution from the contents of the gut. The final volume deals with injuries to the head and some cancers. Borgognoni’s test for the diagnosis of shoulder dislocation, namely the ability to touch the opposite ear or shoulder with the hand of the affected arm, has remained in use into modern times.

In addition to his surgical works, Borgognoni also produced volumes on veterinary medicine and falconry.

In 1262 he was made Bishop of Bitonto.

He was appointed Bishop of Cervia, close to Ravenna, in 1266.

He died in 1296 or 98, having lived to at least 91.

Guy de Chauliac (1300-1368) was one of the most prominent surgeons of the period of the game. Born to a family of limited means in Auvergne, France, Guy’s intellect was recognized early by the French lords of Mercoeur, who sponsored him in his academic pursuits. He began his studies at Toulouse.

Some time later Guy moved on to the oldest university in Europe, the University of Bologna, which had already built a reputation for its medical school. At Bologna he appears to have perfected his understanding of anatomy, and he may have learned from some of the best surgeons of the day, though he never identified them in his writing as he did his medical professors.

Upon leaving Bologna, Guy spent some time in Paris before moving on to Lyons.

In addition to his medical studies, Guy took holy orders, and in Lyons he became a canon at St. Just. He spent about a decade at Lyons practicing medicine before moving to Avignon.

Some time after May, 1342, Guy was appointed by Pope Clement VI as his private physician (Surgeon). He attended the pontiff during the horrific bubonic plague that hit France in 1348 and, although a third of the cardinals at Avignon perished from the disease, Clement survived. Guy used his experience of surviving the plague and attending to its victims in his writing.

Guy completed his landmark work on surgery in 1363, the first book on surgery to bring to bear a substantial medical background on the subject, called the Inventarium sive chirurgia magna. It served as the standard text for more than 300 years, well into the 17th century.

In Chirurgia, Guy included a brief history of surgery and medicine and provided a discourse on what he thought every surgeon should know about diet, surgical implements, and how an operation should be conducted. He also discussed and evaluated his contemporaries, and related much of his theory to his own personal observations and history, which is how we know most of what we do about his life.

The work itself is divided into seven treatises: anatomy, apostemes (swellings and abscesses), wounds, ulcers, fractures, dislocations, and a variety of other conditions and diseases, including not just surgical but medical procedures, and the complements to surgery (the use of drugs, bloodletting, therapeutic cauterization, etc.), which it discusses within a broad framework of medical (physiological and pathological) learning.

This treatise covered anatomy, bloodletting, cauterization, drugs, anesthetics, wounds, fractures, ulcers, special diseases, and antidotes. Among de Chauliac’s treatments he described the use of bandages. He describes surgical techniques such as intubation, tracheotomy, and suturing.

All in all, it covers nearly every condition a surgeon might be called upon to deal with. Guy emphasized the importance of medical treatment, including diet and drugs.

His observations of the plague included an elucidation of two different manifestations of the disease, making him the first to distinguish between pneumonic and bubonic forms. Although he has been criticized for advocating too much interference with the natural progression of the healing of wounds, Guy de Chauliac’s work was otherwise groundbreaking and extraordinarily progressive for its time.

Guy spent the balance of his days in Avignon. He stayed on as physician for Clement’s successors, Innocent VI and Urban V, earning an appointment as a papal clerk. Guy’s position in Avignon afforded him unparalleled access to an extensive library of medical texts that were available nowhere else. He also had access to the most current scholarship being conducted in Europe, which he incorporated into his own work.

John Harrow was a surgeon in royal service; made Chief of Surgeons twice during the French campaigns; was a member of the Fishmonger’s Company (as such, a Merchant also); financier; was made a judge in malpractice cases and a Searcher for the Port of London (worth £10/yr in income); he accumulated extensive properties.

Thomas Morstede, Esq. was court Surgeon, made a Searcher for the Port of London for 25 years (worth £10/yr in income); was twice made the Chief of Surgeons during the French campaigns; a war hero; a teacher and famous author (a fair book of Surgery, used as a standard text thru the 1400’s century). He was the driving force behind the foundation of a college of medicine. He had £154 in land and £200 in debts receivable at his death.

Master William was a “sergeant surgeon” in royal service and a cleric in minor orders. He received £10 a year, equal in honor to a royal physician. At his demise, he owned a house and 13 shops in London, and had an additional 50s. a year in income.

In 1251, Master William took on an assistant named Henry of Saxeby. Henry and his son, Nicholas, were gentlemen by birth. That same year, a Thomas of Weseham saved the life of the king.

In 1252, Thomas was invited to court and made the trip there.

In 1254, Thomas started serving with Master William and Henry.

In 1255, Master William died and Henry of Saxeby was made “sergeant surgeon.”

In the midst of the persecutions leading up to the expulsion of the Jews in 1290, Thomas Weseham used his position at court to buy up Jewish properties in Norwich, London, and Oxford at well below market value. He eventually received a number of annuities for his service, was knighted, and made both a royal Moneyer and a Forester.

It took 2 years after saving the king’s life for Thomas to be granted a position at court with Master William and Henry. It was common for such rewards to take a while to be decided on and then put in place. You should take note of this, as GM. The pace of life in an agrarian world in one based on the turning of seasons, not of minutes or “what have you done for me lately”.

William Hamon was prior of the Benedictine cell of Catges (Oxfordshire) and served as a royal surgeon from 1341-67, for which he was awarded a base salary of £30 a year.

Peter of Newcastle was surgeon to three kings, Edward I, II, and III.

In 1298, Peter’s own “personal valet” was also a surgeon, named John Marshal (very likely it was his apprentice, or a Journeyman he picked up to mentor). Peter was a merchant running a number of ships out of London, dealing regularly with the pepperer’s guild; he was commissioned to supply the royal court with medicines, in favor over the traditional appointment of a royal Apothecary. With his dealings with the pepperer’s guild, it is possible that Peter was actually an Apothecary and indeed a member of the pepperer’s guild, but he is not noted as such.

Despite the “taint” of blood, Philip of Beauvais, a “sergeant” Surgeon in 1304, became a wealthy courtier.

Roger Heyton served Edward III in the 1330’s and 1340’s with an under-surgeon named Jordan of Canterbury. After the Battle of Crécy, Roger was considered indispensable and given a manor in Wales worth 50£ a year, and an annuity of £20, as well. Like Philip of Beauvais, he became a wealthy courtier.

This should give the player and GM alike some idea of what sorts of opportunities can be found for advancement in the healer-Trades.

After achieving the distinguished rank of Surgeon and taking the time to establish a reputation, it is by no means uncommon for ambitious Surgeons to use the patronage of the wealthy and social contacts with Physicians to go to university to obtain a degree in Physick to further enhance their reputations and social standing. With their Master’s diploma, they can complete their climb to the apex of the trade in the eyes of society – and raise their fees as well, of course.

The more successful Surgeons and Physickers also commonly entered merchant ventures with the Apothecaries, too wealthy to be bothered with the internecine squabbles between the practitioners of medicine.

Development of the Trade & Guild

In 1199, Richard I suffered an arrow wound to the arm during a siege of the castle Chaluz, according to Roger of Hoveden. Unfortunately for Richard, his physician (surgeon?), Malger, had returned to England to become the bishop of Worcester. Without a physician, the captain of Richard’s mercenaries, a man named Marchadeus, did his best to treat the injury. It didn’t go well. Marchadeus failed to extract the arrow head and nearly amputated the king’s arm before removing the arrow. The king died a few days later.

The world’s oldest company (guild) of barbers, the “Worshipful Company of Barbers,” was founded in London, England in 1308, so relatively recently in view of the period chosen for the game. In many places, but not all, the “company” (guild) is, for practical purposes, called a barbers’ company, but this doesn’t mean that the company included no Surgeons or that the Barbers’ craft and surgery were separate, even where authorities tried to ensure that this was the case, as the history of Norwich shows.

Before 1415, it was common for aristocratic ladies, mercenaries and knights to practice medicine. Wolfram von Eschenbach’s “Parzival” clearly demonstrates that medical knowledge was common for a knight. In this tale, Gawain comes across a knight and maiden in the woods. The knight is suffering from internal bleeding into the lungs. After Gawain diagnoses the injury, he places a small linden bark tube into the knight and tells the maiden to suck out the blood. Even the 14th century surgeon Guy de Chauliac lists knights as medical practitioners.

By 1415 (late in period for the game, but not for the essentially “perpetually medieval” game world), however, surgeons began to appear as a necessary component of military campaigns. In 1415, King Henry V conscripted Thomas Morstede and 15 persons, 12 of whom were surgeons (the three others were to be archers) in his campaign against France. The Battle of Agincourt in 1415 was monumental in the development of the surgeon for military campaigns.

Besides the 12 surgeons commissioned by Henry for the Battle of Agincourt, to take care of the hurt and injured on the front line (especially with the emphasis on archers), he also commissioned William Bradwardine and 9 other surgeons to care for the sick and wounded, to remain behind the lines and care for those transported back to the camp. The latter were responsible for making surgical equipment in addition to tending to the sick and injured.

Many surgeons were also expert craftsmen in metals. 

This is evident in Henry’s second expedition in 1416 in which he commissioned Morstede to indenture as many surgeons as he wanted (23 surgeons were too few to handle the wounded in the previous year’s campaign) and to also bring along makers of surgical equipment. Doubtless, the surgeons must have been delayed by crafting surgical instruments to the detriment of the care of the wounded in the first campaign. By bringing along smiths to make tools, the surgeons on the second campaign were freed to attend to performing their medical duties.

This is why “Silver/Gold-Smith” appears on the roster of Allied Trades for Surgeons.

Morstede’s service at Agincourt led him to the job of Supervisor of Surgery for the City of London in 1423. This close proximity to the King influenced regulations concerning those who could practice medicine.

The final achievement of Morstede’s influence on the Crown was the charter for the Fellowship of Surgeons in 1435 … 20 years to attain.

The Fellowship was only the first national attempt to institutionalize surgery; there were numerous local attempts that had failed:

The mayor of the city of London appointed 3 Master Surgeons to regulate and supervise surgical practices as early as 1368. He assigned Master Thomas Stodley, surgeon, and 2 assisting clerks to the “Mistery of Surgery” in 1392, in which they were to supervise and report any transgressions to him. But this was not sufficient. In 1421, both physicians and surgeons led by Morstede petitioned Henry V that he allow only those who were educated to practice medicine. The petition reads:

Worthy Sovereign, as it is known to your high discretion, many uncunning and unapproved in the forsaid science practise and specially in Physick, so that in this Realm is everyman be he never so lewd taking upon him practise, is suffered to use it, to great harm and slaughter of many men. Where if no man practised therein, but only cunning men and proved sufficiently learned in Art, Philosophy, and Physick as it is kept in other lands and realms, then should any man that dieth for default of help live, and no man perish by uncunning.

Credits

https://www.thoughtco.com/guy-de-chauliac-1788904?utm_term=medieval+surgery&utm_content=p1-main-2-title&utm_medium=sem&utm_source=google_s&utm_campaign=adid-985d6dc2-391b-4773-85fe-cec2926f397b-0-ab_gsb_ocode-4578&ad=semD&an=google_s&am=broad&q=medieval+surgery&o=4578&qsrc=999&l=sem&askid=985d6dc2-391b-4773-85fe-cec2926f397b-0-ab_gsb

Thank you Bryon Grigsby

http://www.illinoismedieval.org/ems/VOL13/grigsby.html

Also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_surgery

Chauliac, Guy De.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 8 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_tracheal_intubation

http://www.oddee.com/item_96620.aspx

http://svmsl.chem.cmu.edu/vmsl/genanes/ga_bg2.htm

http://www.articlesonhistory.com/medieval-medicine.php

https://www.bl.uk/the-middle-ages/articles/medicine-diagnosis-and-treatment-in-the-middle-ages

https://forum.kingdomcomerpg.com/t/battlefield-medicine-surgery-medieval-ages/21562/11

Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopedia

By Thomas F. Glick

Soldiers’ Lives through History: The Middle Ages:

 

Alchemist True

Alchemists are the proto-scientists and chemists of the period of the game. They study the ways in which the physical and spiritual worlds interact through natural science, philosophy and even a smattering of the spiritual principles of Metaphysics. Speculation on the nature of the universe, on the hidden nature of both mineral and organic substances, often absorbs them.

The work of the Alchemists encompasses both of what are known today as inorganic and organic chemistry, as well as pharmacology, geology, theoretical physics and a smattering of natural philosophy. From a very esoteric, philosophical, and spiritual point of view (to avoid confrontations of faith) they seek to classify the elements with their dialectic, Aristotelian reason and logic. Empirical test and study are considered to be neither the scholar’s method nor the medieval way of thought, except in the pursuit of specific projects (not whole, transferrable concepts). They explore the secret spiritual natures of physical things through their special skills, to evoke or imbue spiritual properties, create elixirs (derived from the Arabic for the Greek for “dry tincture”), potions, philters, powders, unguents, salves, and a wide variety of other similar unique substances, to make life a little easier or simply for the sake of accumulating knowledge.

In the pursuit of their arts, Alchemists make a common study of the physical properties of substances; the effects of applying heat and cold, their expansion with heat and contraction when cold, the fact that water is the exception to the rule, expanding as it freezes. They know of the weathering process, the properties of erosion and the resulting deposition, currents and tides, and the like, the changes that decomposition brings, the heat it generates. The lore of the earth is of special interest, too; the soil, such as that special soil used by artists to make their green-earth color; gems and stones like lapis lazuli ground for use in making the finest blue hues, rocks, metals, crystals, ores such as sulphur, cinnabar (mercury ore) ground by artists to make an intense red hue; how they interact with fire, water, and air; the nature of carbonization, the uses of ashes and soot, like the lampblack (literally soot from a lamp) used by artists as a pigment.

The Alchemist’s “Speculum”

Even though Alchemists are almost indelibly associated with scholasticism, the Alchemist True Trade can be considered as either a set of skills acquired from among the broad and diverse curricula of the universities OR the product of a formal, traditional apprenticeship, instead (player’s discretion), bringing an entirely different flavor to the character’s background. In order to have a formal university education as the source of an Alchemist True character’s Trade knowledge, the player must equip him/her also with a formal Scholastic Trade. In this case, he/she is presumed to have graduated with a PhD in Natural Philosophy & Metaphysics.

Whether a player decides his character’s knowledge of Alchemy stems from formal scholastic pursuits at university or through a traditional apprenticeship, this Trade represents no less a scholarly disposition and frame of mind.

As a reflection of the trade’s scholastic nature, every Alchemist is required to put his Linguist, Literatus, and Scrivener skills to good use during the course of his education/apprenticeship in keeping records of his lessons and lab work. By the time he completes his doctorate or apprenticeship, he has also compiled a Speculum,

The Speculum is an encyclopædic overview of the Alchemist’s art, knowledge and skills, a notebook of all known materials and substances, their appearances accompanied by meticulously rendered illustrations, their characteristics, common origins and usages, and also a wide variety of recipes or formulæ for many common substances and compounds (as follows).

This is a source book of trade knowledge kept on hand for general reference, containing knowledge to guide further exploration of the arts, and to aid in managing and coordinating the lore he gathers regarding the specific Trade Skill specialties.

The main volume of the Alchemist’s Speculum contains (AWA x 10) + [(TR) x (40 – AWA)] pages. 

Over the course of time spent earning each TR, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

In additional to this volume, the Alchemist is required to keep another journal or notebook for the knowledge of the specific Trade Skill specialties (chandlery; scents and perfumes; pigments and dyes; combustibles; caustics; drugs, poisons and venoms; substances prepared to carry an enchantment; etc.), a separate volume for each, but nonetheless also considered to be part of his Speculum.

Each Trade Skill volume of the Speculum has (40 – AWA) + [(AWA) x (Trade Skill SL)] pages in it. 

Over the course of time spent earning each SL in each Trade Skill, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

IF the Alchemist has the Herbal and/or Apothecary Trade(s) and/or the Forage Life Skill, the player must add those TR’s and/or SL’s to his Alchemist TR for the initial volume in determining the number of pages and also to the SL’s of the individual Trade Skill specialties for each additional volume of his Speculum he must keep, for these broaden the depth of the Lore the Alchemist possesses regarding the secrets of the Trade and the individual Trade Skill fields of study.

Once brought into play, the Alchemist Simple character is expected to continue to keep his Speculum after the fashion of a journal, recording his on-going work and researches, every project he has completed, his successes and failures, over the course of his career, used as a reference to consult as he formulates new projects, and to refresh his memory when he wishes to repeat old ones.

The character is responsible for maintaining all his Speculum volumes as he rises in TR and SL’s, so it’s important he makes sure the materials are kept on hand for maintaining these records, and that they are replenished when the increases in his SL’s indicate those materials have been depleted.

To exercise his Trade, the Alchemist must also have a lab to work in. This consists of a hodge-podge of beakers, vials, terracotta vessels, flasks, scales, weights, measures, alcohol lamps, mortars and pestles of various sizes, various sorts of tubing or piping, an astrolabe, alembic, furnace, crucibles, etc., as described for the Alchemist’s Lab in Appendix D.1.

Despite the fact that this Trade is called Alchemist, “Simple”, it encompasses quite a portfolio of capabilities. The above equipment is required to perform the main functions of his alchemical arts: Calcination, Coagulation, Fixation, Dissolution, Digestion, Distillation, Sublimation, Separation, Ceration, Fermentation, Multiplication, and Projection. 

Calcination involves heating a substance in either an open or closed vessel, usually resulting in oxidation, often to produce a black, carbonized substance of some kind. The process and the substances it produces are ruled by Aries, a fire sign.

Congelation and fixation are the processes used to make a substance stable and solid, non-volatile, processes ruled by Taurus (earth) and Gemini (air). These are an essential step in the pursuit of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, as the volatile liquid mercury was thought an essential element.

Dissolution and digestion are processes of washing and purifying, ruled by Cancer (water) and Leo (fire), respectively. In the pursuit of the White Philosopher’s Stone that produces silver, these processes were used on the substance in the alembic to wash, whiten and purify.

Distillation and sublimation are used to render and recondense the vapor or essence of a substance, in reflux distillation, ruled by Virgo (earth) and Libra (air), respectively. 

Separation can include such processes as filtration, decantation or distillation of a liquid from its residue, ruled by Scorpio, a water sign.

Ceration is a process whereby a material is made soft and wax-like, ruled by Sagittarius, a fire sign.

Fermentation is the special process whereby a slow, subtle “digestive” heat is created within a substance, so the special properties of the substance can manifest, ruled by Capricorn, an earth sign. This process is essential in the working of alchemical magick, and in preparing substances to contain a magickal charm, but it is also used to describe the process by which these substances work to transfer their influence when used in the material world. In the process of creating the Philosopher’s Stone this was one of the last few steps, when the nature of the Stone truly began to manifest.

Multiplication is the process used to augment the power of the substance so it can be used many times over, generally ruled by Aquarius, a water sign. This step consists of manipulating any number of other processes to infuse additional power into a substance.

Projection is simply the name for the process of reducing a substance into the form in which its power is finally applied to its task: powder, salve or unguent, potion, elixir, etc.

These terms are not really necessary to the successful use of the Trade under the rules of the game, however. The Alchemists’ traditions and arts are cloaked in fancy, esoteric terminology and allegories to conceal their lore, as they were historically. These processes are traditionally only ever discussed in terms of not only their ruling signs but their ruling planets, and the mythological figures for whom the planets are named. All of this subterfuge was deemed necessary to protect the secrets of their Trade from the curiosity of laymen. It is included here primarily for the benefit of roleplaying the Alchemist character.

Trade Skills

While they are intimately associated with things magickal and mysterious, however, the Alchemist’s knowledge of the above processes (among others) enable him to brew, concoct, distill, render, etc. (as applicable) many of the common, mundane substances or materials used or produced by a number of different more “ordinary” trades. The Alchemist, Simple in particular focuses much on the knowledge and practices of these trades, as well as a few of the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic substances (depending on what other Trades the Alchemist’s full portfolio includes, as follows), all described by the Trade Skills:

The craft of Chandlers, the pursuit Chandlery, is one of the more common among Alchemists, Simple, producing soap of citrus, glycerin and rosewater, or caustic soda and animal fat (tallow) or high quality olive oil, and/or candles of all qualities, bayberry, tallow or rushlights, are an easy product of the Alchemist’s skills. While there are common artisans that specialize in one or the other, it is by no means unusual for a craftsman to make both, for they both traditionally use tallow.

Lacquers, Varnishes and adhesives may include a number of such substances, utilizing the bonding properties of wheat, or egg, but commonly involving rendering animal carcasses down for Glue or spirit gum, also providing cleaning substances such as lye and fuller’s earth, highly acidic verjuice, wood ash and caustic soda (used for doing laundry).

The strength of the bond a glue makes is measured by a STR score, just like a character, equal to the POT of the substance made (player’s choice) if it is for paper, cloth, wood, and other porous organics. The STR of the glue is equal to half the POT if it is to affect china, brick, stone, or metals. 

Glues can be made so as to be water-soluble after drying, or not, but the player must state which he is making at the time and make a note of that fact when he records it on his equipment inventory, otherwise you should assume it is water-soluble.

Oftentimes the STR of a glue bond is greater than the effective strength, or Structure Points, of the items glued together, making getting them apart again impossible without extensive damage, barring the use of magick.

Drying times are equal to the STR of the bond, counted in minutes. The stronger it is, the longer it takes to set up, also. This can be shortened by as much as (Alchemist’s AV)%, maximum 60%, at the Alchemist’s option by the use of alcohol or a petroleum distillate as a solvent, but this makes it highly flammable when wet, also.

As GM, you determine the drying or setting-up times for glues using the extent of the surface area covered and the STR of the glue as discussed previously. The thickness of glue applied and how still and tightly the items glued are being held, the humidity, all affect the time to set-up and cure, especially if you feels these factors are not being adequately addressed by the user(s) in-game. 

Judging how much glue is required for each use and when a character finally runs out of the amount prepared is entirely up to you, as GM. 

Rendering dyestuffs and pigments is another area, processing, concentrating, mixing to obtain signature hues, even foraging for the substances or even raising plant matter from which pigments are obtained. While an alchemist may specialize in pigments, paints, hues for dyes, etc., it is to supply the dyers who put them to use, perhaps in conjunction with a merchant manufactory.

Cosmetics and Beauty are another area of concentration, encompassing a range of substances drawn from many disciplines, especially including pigments, like lacquer for nails; henna and other tints for hair; heavier foundations to conceal minor imperfections in the skin, or even wax-based sculpting or modeling putties to correct structural imperfections (also used in the Masquer skill); cremes, foundations, in a wide variety of tints and tones to complement and even emulate each of the humanoid races in each of the complexions from as pale and fair as a Nordic Viking to Mediterranean olive, golden as an Asian, brown as a desert-dweller, or even as dark as a Nubian, and in each of the color ranges (sallow, robust, and medium).

This specialty also includes the colors for shadowing and detailing eyes and lashes, and/or the highly colored face paints in the seven colors of the rainbow for adding fanciful motifs for holidays and special occasions (hearts, flowers, twining vines and leaves, heraldic animals and devices, etc.), even spirit gum for applying jewels or other small ornaments to the face/body.

Extracting essential oils and compounding incenses, potpourri (“rotten pot”), herb-steeped scented oils, moisturizing lotions and cremes and other beauty treatments, and/or producing actual perfumes form another area of concentration. This area of expertise is often combined with that of the Chandler and/or Cosmetics and Beauty.

Because dabbling in the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic areas of alchemy can be very expensive, most “common” Alchemists [Simple] make their living by focusing on making one of the families of products mentioned above, represented by most of the Trade Skills, to sell for their daily bread. This supports any private researches, but such pursuits are not that common, especially among those plying the more “common” Alchemist, Simple Trade.

Most Alchemists True, capable of producing true magickal effects by their arts, generally have no interest in the common, mundane products or substances mentioned above, as far as any possible public practice for earning their daily bread, however. Such Alchemists are not considered to be in competition for such mundane business, although they may well be in the habit of engaging in their manufacture to provide for their own personal household needs.

By their arts, Alchemists True can manipulate the spiritual properties of a wide spectrum of substances in order to create what are, for the sake of simplicity, called “potion bases”. These are unguents, salves, elixirs, potions, philters, powders, crystals, magick seeds/beans, and a wide variety of other similar substances or items specially prepared to be receptacles for magick. These have no magick of their own but can accept the power of magickal charms, regardless of whether cast by the Alchemist himself or by the hand of another. These hold the power of the charms safely and keep them stable until their power is needed.

In the same vein, so long as the Alchemist is a practitioner of magick, he may make the special candles, incenses, chalks, powders, brazier fuel, and other obscure preparations that make up the consumable supplies called “ritual supplies”, needed to cast Low Magick rituals for his trade, BUT only for those charms he himself knows, UNLESS he is provided with the recipes by the client for whom he makes them.

IF he is provided with the recipes and has sufficient materials to do so, he may concoct ritual supplies for ANY magick-wielding trades and charm.

Like the ritual supplies described in Appendix D.1, those made by the Alchemist are described in terms of POT. The higher the POT of a given packet of ritual supplies he makes, the greater the POT of the ritual that can be performed with it, as charms are rated in the same points of POT. The alchemist may only make supplies to cast one specific charm at a time, but the actual amount of POT made in any given exercise of this skill is up to the player. The greater the amount made at any given time, the higher the DV.

The materials to make ritual and rite supplies cost 1s. 2d. 1hp. per point of POT in magick that can be cast with it. 

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 4d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 9d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade, the Caustics & Combustibles Trade Skill is also available. This includes rendering and purifying treatments for creating torches and flambeaux to flash pots and/or smudge pots. These might be combined with knowledge of pigments, so flashes or clouds of colored fire or smoke are produced.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade, the Drugs & Poisons Trade Skill is also available. This enables the Alchemist to bring the stability and shelf-life inherent in the Alchemist’s works to the Herbal’s healing salves, elixirs and simples, in addition to bringing the a depth of knowledge enabling him to make such things as paralysants, stimulants, sedatives, truth serums and soporifics.

This is a very dicey area of expertise to allow others to become aware of. Public knowledge leaves the character open to socially damaging accusations and law suits.

Each of the areas discussed above (Chandlery, Finishes & Adhesives, Cosmetics & Beauty, Pigments & Dyes, Scents) comprises a separate specialty defined by a Trade Skill that must be developed and tracked in SL, and maintained individually with SP’s.

The base DV for making any of the substances described is equal to the number of drams, cups, gills, or pints, or pots, that he makes in a single exercise (according to the measure in which the substance is discussed above), or gill of waterproof glue. To this, the GM should add the POT of the substance being made, such as glue. For making a glue invulnerable to water, the effective STR is equal to the POT, the base DV, and the DV should be raised by 1/2 (multiplied by 1.5). The DV should be doubled (multiplied by 2) to make it invulnerable to saltwater (sea-, brine). For every effective point by which the STR for the purposes of determining drying time of the glue has been lowered by solvents with high evaporation rates to speed drying, the DV should be increased by 1. 

For making ritual supplies, the base DV is equal to (2 per points-worth of POT) made. 

The quantity made is particularly important in determining time requirements, for it will increase the time needed when larger amounts are made. In the case of ritual supplies, the POT also IS the measure of quantity, as discussed in the rules on Low Magick (rituals) in the Grimoire. 

The time required to make any of the common substances described here, from start to finish including the processing of raw materials (as applicable), is equal to the DV for the task, read in mileways. For making ritual supplies, the DV is divided by 2 and the time read in hours.

The Alchemist’s skills also give him the ability to “can” and store those substances his Trade Skills allow him to make that have a limited shelf life and put them up. He may “can” or “put-up” as much as he can secure materials (heavy pottery or glass pots/jars) and facilities to handle. The character must have lids for each vessel, and requires 0.25 lb’s of wax to seal each one. The containers used in canning should be no larger than 1 quart in volume each.

Once put up, the canned perishables last (1 per 4 TR) years before their shelf life comes into play and they begin to age and then go bad. Once the seal is broken on a canned perishable its shelf life again commences to pass normally.

The costs for canning is 1 ha’penny per gill per pot/jar and 2 pence per jar for sealing waxes, plus the costs for whatever it is the character is canning (as applicable). The costs of the pots/jars is a one-time investment, after purchased they only need to be replaced as broken, and the character then only has to pay for the wax, and perhaps the items to be canned.

Most of the substances made by the Alchemist, even such simple compounds as cosmetics, have a shelf life of only [(AWA + CRD) ÷ 8] + (SL) weeks before they begin to separate, go rancid, or lose their potency. This doesn’t, of course, apply to such simple, stable things as tallow or fine-milled soaps, cleaning solutions, or the like.

Magickal Formulas: “Potions”, etc.

Following the mysteries of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, True Alchemists can also concoct substances that, of their own essence and the skills of their Trade, yield intrinsically magickal effects. By combining the rare and special ingredients these formulae call for, an Alchemist can unlock the magickal power inherent in their essences to make various substances of magickal effect by means of their own procedures and incantations.

Thus, the skill of making substances that are vessels for carrying the magick of others is considered a single and totally different skill from the individualized skills of making substances whose effects are wholly magickal, in and of themselves, upon completion.

This is one of the main points on which Alchemists, Simple and Alchemists, True differ.

These are called “magickal formulas” that produce unguents, salves, elixirs, potions, philtres, powders, crystals, magick beans, and other similar substances – in the same sorts of forms described for “Potion” Bases previously – that yield inherently magickal effects when properly employed. Both are made in quantities of grams/drams.

Once they are completed, there is NO difference whatever in the appearance or effect of a substance that is the product of a magickal formula and a “Potion” Base that has been successfully enchanted.

The epitome of the Alchemist’s art is the path (Trade Skill) of Magickal Formulas, wherein lies the knowledge of transforming base metals into the noble metals, silver and gold, or discovering the means of longevity through concocting the various forms of the elusive Lapis Philosophicus, the magickal “Philosopher’s Stone”, the Red Stone and the White Stone, or their equally magickal and elusive elixirs. These are the ultimate goal of all serious True Alchemists, the apex of the his study in his pursuit of this particular Trade Skill.

The Magickal Formulas (Trade Skill) is actually made up of up to (MGA ÷ 4) charms (individual skills) that must be developed, tracked, and maintained individually in SL with SP’s, in the same manner as Languages and Musician instrument skills.

Each charm/skill chosen represents a base recipe and a series of closely related recipe variations (much like a recipe in “The Joy of Cooking”) allowing for any of the effects described in that charm’s text, and also encompassing all expressions in regards to the Ars Quintates that its description allows, enabling the Alchemist to create a substance to express any aspect of a charm presented in its description, as he wishes.

These formulas may be freely chosen from ANY of the rosters of Wizard, Witch and/or Druid charms, equally.

IF the Alchemist True is designated as having learned this Trade in university, he is limited to ONLY those charms that appear on the Wizard Trade rosters.

IF all of a Alchemist’s formulas come solely from the charms found on the Witch OR Druid rosters, that character may be designated a member of that Trade (player’s discretion, not a requirement). In this case, the character is bound by the philosophical/religious strictures of that trade. This limits the character to a traditional apprenticeship in training for this Trade, as well. 

The materials created by means of the charms that make up the Alchemist’s Magickal Formulas have only been discussed in a general sort of way, so far.

An Alchemist’s formula might result in a thin (alcohol-based) liquid to be sprayed through an atomizer – perfect to create the “Cloud of Fog” or “Circle of Light/Darkness” magicks, or possibly even one of the various types of “Darts” or other similar weapons, especially fine perfumes to carry “Beguiling” effects. The Alchemist might make powders repleat with glittering and sparkling Disney-esque effects, to be used by the pinch on or inside a fist or glove for the hand/touch oriented aspects of the “Manifest Will” charm, or perhaps on or inside the feet or shoes/boots for a “Fleetfoot” “Surefoot” or similar effect, or even sprinkled over a recipient’s head. A formula can result in an unguent to be rubbed all over a subject or on selective area(s) of the user’s body for a “Slow Blood,” “SwiftHeal” or similar effect, or a liquid to be imbibed after the fashion of a traditional magick potion, or even a bright, shining crystal to be thrown in a target’s face, or upon the ground or crushed to release a “Blinding Flash” or similar charm, or to be hurled at a target to transform in the air into a “dart” of some kind.

The Alchemist may stumble across a formula that produces a handful of special “Size Enchantment” soil providing a “Jack and the Beanstalk” or “James and the Giant Peach” type of effect, or seeds which burrow into the ground and sprout forth with a “Wall of Vines”, “Wall of Thorns”, “Vinesteed”, “Servant of Earth”, or “Plantmaze” magick, or produce little seeds or even seedlings that swiftly grow when planted to bear fruit that yields a particular magick when eaten.

It should be the fumes of the cauldron holding the substance of any “Summoning,” “Call Familiar,” “Charm of Calling” or “Woodland Call” magicks that attract the targets’ attentions and draws them to the Alchemist. The material left over after such a Calling should be useless, or perhaps – if deemed edible – lunch! In cases of formulas for such charms as “Power Cache”, the object in which the Cache is to be imbued should have to be steeped in the cauldron/concoction as it is made, for the entire Time Requirement, in order to take effect. The same process should be followed for any object to be enchanted by the Alchemist, unless you decide as GM that a stoppered recess in the object for holding the Alchemist’s brew is sufficient, or that the sprinkling of a powder over the object or rubbing an unguent or tincture into the object under some sort of involved ritual process is acceptable.

The actual form of the substances Alchemist True characters create are up to your players to negotiate with you, as GM. Some forms make sense for certain effects, where others don’t. The choice of form should be mostly up to the player, BUT only with your approval as GM.

It is your world and this expression of magick must mesh with your vision of it.

The process of concocting any and all substances of Alchemical lore, mundane or magickal, carry with it a Time Requirement to complete, in the same manner as the work of any Craftsman. However, ALL works of a True Alchemist’s magickal formulas that produce substances of inherently magickal effect are considered works of Low Magick, too. 

The CTM required to cast the charm represented by any magickal recipe as a work of Low (ritual) Magick, is ADDED to the mundane Time Requirement (above) to create it, in the same manner as the work of a Druid-Smith (Gowan, Govannon, etc.).

There is no such thing as High Magick (cantrips) or even Common Magick (spells) in the creation of a True Alchemist’s magick. All of his substances are created under ritual Low Magick circumstances using ritualistic procedures. The lab in which he must work takes the place of the traditional practitioner’s ritual kit.

The att. mod’s to prepare any of the formulas for inherently magickal substances are based on the Alchemist’s MGA and CRD scores.

The DV’s for making any of the Alchemist’s magickal formulas are determined not only by the concentration of the POT of the substance but the number of grams or drams (beans, crystals, etc.) being concocted or prepared at one time, as well as the Art by which the Power manifests.

The DV for brewing, concocting or otherwise making any of the Alchemist’s magickal formulas start with the normal base DV according to the POT, the Art to which the resulting magick belongs, always assuming “Low Magick” as the Form, and the Sphere of Power of the formula being used, normally, according to the table in “Magick in Play”. In this case, however, the POT referred to is the concentration of POT per gram/dram being made, NOT the yield.

The base DV is increased according to the volume in grams, drams, magick beans or crystals, etc., of magickal effect the Alchemist wishes to make in a batch. The more he tries to make at once, the more difficult the procedures, rising Progressively. 

In addition, the Magickal Formulas of Alchemy can be as risky as the mainstream, traditional the works of Trade of Wizardry, not only in the potential squandering of a great deal of money in materials, but in the possibility of Bumbles (where those rules are in play).

The works of an Alchemist Wizard can Bumble just as badly as any weaving of a mainstream Wizard’s charms (where those rules are in play). Under these circumstances, Bumbles are combined with physical alchemical accidents.

The various substances and materials to make any given Magickal Formula cost 4d. per gram/dram in the batch, PLUS 1s. 2d. 1hp. per point of POT, per gram/dram.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade AND the Forage Life Skill, he can save 4d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade AND the Forage Life Skill, he can save 9d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

Because of the wild and uncertain nature of the forces with which they work in their craft, the fact that an Alchemist pays to gather a certain amount of materials to create a given number of grams/drams of a “potion” for a particular charm is NO guarantee he ends up with the amount that he started out to make. As a matter of fact, that only ever happens under certain rare circumstances.

An Alchemist only ever reaps a percentage of the formula he set out to make.

The percentage he reaps is equal to the amount by which the d100 check to determine the success of the exercise is made, PLUS his SL with the specific charm/formula OR his TR (whichever is greater).

Alchemy was always looked on as a pursuit for the idle rich, for eccentric nobles, historically. This is one of the reasons why.

The Alchemist’s percentage chance of success is determined in the same manner used for any other skill in the game, as provided in the passage headed “Task Resolution”.

For example, an Alchemist attempts to concoct 10 grams/drams of a formula with which he has SL 13 (greater than his TR) and his player rolls 30 below the number needed to succeed in his attempt. As a result, he reaps 43% of the 10 grams/drams he paid for and started out to make, or 4 (30 + 13 = 43%; 10 x 0.43 = 4.3, or 4). 

IF you are using the Heroic Effects rules, the Alchemist player should be offered the option of applying those results to the yield – while never raising it beyond that which the Alchemist originally set out to make. 

In the above example a double effect Heroic Success would allow the Alchemist to reap 8 applications rather than 4 of the 10 he set out to make, while a triple effect success would allow him to reap all 10. These are the only circumstances under which he can ever realize ALL of the batch he is making.

In the repertoire of Alchemists True are a couple remnants of ancient times when their arts were not so sophisticated as they now are. These are known as Bottle Charms and Candle Charms.

These are considered alchemical “folkways” of their craft, because they also depend on common alchemical skills, but they are also considered specialty skills that must be honed as a separate Trade Skill. This is considered a separate form from the character’s Magickal Formulas, and may be substituted as the resulting form for any of those Formulas, the results of which (potion, philtre, unguent, salve, etc.) the player must have negotiated for each Formula with the GM prior to play to determine, otherwise.

Bottles Charms are based on the “Witch Bottle” lore of the 15-1600’s. They must be they are to benefit, when they are beneficial in nature. When they are protective or otherwise beneficial in nature, they must be given to the subject and displayed along with any other knick-knacks in the room in which the subject spends the most time OR buried in the earth on the subject’s property (as applicable, not all subjects will be the owners of the property where they reside). When hostile in nature, they must be buried in the earth on the Alchemist’s own property or on the property of the target.

The effective SL an Alchemist can apply to making a Bottle Charm is equal to his SL with them (he must have the Trade Skill) and the SL he has with the Formula he is specifically brewing in the Bottle.

Candle Charms are one of the oldest folkways of magick, stretching back to the ancient Egyptians and beyond. The Candle Charms of the Alchemist True are NOT to be confused with the ceremonial candle burning that takes place as a part of many of the rituals performed by those who practice more traditional forms of Druidecht, Wizardry or Witchcraft.

What sets Candle Charms apart from most common castings of magick is that each candle (or layer of a candle) provides magick that lasts for a fixed amount of time, in total, burned from top to bottom. While the effect of the charm is set by the maker according to the Charm he is creating and the POT he is investing, which dictates the ultimate amount of time that charm may endure, the one burning the candle has the option of burning the DUR away in any manner he likes, off and on, by lighting and dousing the candle over and over according to his need until it is burned away.

The effective SL an Alchemist can apply to making a Candle Charm is equal to the average of his SL with Candle Charms (he must have the Trade Skill) and his SL with the specific Formula(s) he is imbuing in it, with a bonus based on his SL as a Chandler.

While these forms may place certain constraints on appearance and the likelihood of being recognized for what they are by nature, they have a higher yield than the fancy concoctions that the potions, philtres, salves, unguents, etc. in which Magick Formulas can be rendered. When an Alchemist sets out to make Candle Charms or Bottle Charms, he ends up with exactly what he planned to make. There is no % of loss with them as there is with the former.

Bottle and Candle Charms are optional skills in the same manner as “Caustics & Combustibles” and “Drugs & Poisons.” No Alchemist is required to have either of these skills. 

It is likely that the simpler folk who muster the courage to seek the Alchemist’s skills for magical aid are going to be looking for such items, however. These items describe the limits of the magical skills of Cunning Men and Wise Women Alchemists, who are more easily located than those that practice any sort of conventional magick, or even folkways such as Cabalism or Knot-magick (Great Weavers), so tales of Bottle and Candle Charms are freely and regularly circulated among the common free and landbound folk. Many Alchemists studying at university pick up the Magisters’ condescending attitude towards such “primitive” practices, eschewing their pursuit, but this does not diminish their effectiveness one bit.

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* This serves as a reminder that the additional areas of knowledge and skill that are the result of university training are to be represented by also equipping the character with one of the scholastic Trades described as being the result of a Masters or PhD program.

** indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Apothecary Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

*** indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Herbal Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

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* indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Apothecary Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

** indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Herbal Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

† indicates the Magickal Formulas (Trade Skill) is actually made up of up to (MGA ÷ 4) charms (individual skills) that must be developed, tracked, and maintained individually by SL and SP’s, in the same manner as Languages and Musician instrument skills.

†† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed, each of which must be developed, tracked, and maintained individually by SL and SP’s, in the same manner as Musician instrument skills.

Of this number, the character’s Native Vulgar or “Milk Tongue” tongue, the Scholar’s Tongue (analogue of Latin), and the Philosopher’s Tongue (analogue of Greek) must be included first. What slots are left after these are accounted for may be filled with other languages of the player’s choice, as desired.

The players have no obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after they have already brought their characters into active play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process.

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† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed.

In regards to Linguist skills, the High Druids’ Cant, the Scholar’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Latin) and Philosopher’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Greek) must be included.

The players have no obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after the character has already been brought into active play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process (long since finished).

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Assess & Identify

The Alchemist’s skills naturally includes the ability to Identify or Assess substances or materials and the constituents that make up compounds.

The Alchemist is best served exercising this ability in his complete, home lab, which allows him the advantage of his full TR, but also requires he have the complete collection of his Speculum volumes to consult. 

 Using his abbreviated travel/field lab, an Alchemist is only allowed the benefit of 3/4th’s his full TR, 

 The Alchemist may attempt a raw Field Assessment at only 1/2 his full TR. 

He must also have at least his main, general reference Speculum with him in order to make Field Assessments.

For identifying or assessing various substances, elements, and basic compounds out in the field without equipment, the att mod. is based on the Alchemist’s AWA score, and the TR used to find the AV, unless one of the Trade Skills is a better more accurate choice and has a SL higher than the TR.

IF working in a fully fitted lab, the att mod. for identifying various substances is based on the character’s AWA score.

The character must have at least [30 – (AWA + 1 per 4 TR’s)] drams of any given substance to test for its identity.

For concocting, mixing, distilling, or compounding any substance of the alchemical arts the att. mod’s are based on the character’s AWA and CRD scores.

The base DV for identifying substances and compounds depends on the origin of the materials. If the material or compound to be identified is common, found around the average household like tallow, lye, soap, offal, cotton, wool, flax, blood, ashes, verjuice, iron or steel, lead, copper, tin, brass, or any oxide of these common metals, various household cleaning compounds, and so on, the base DV is 1. 

Those sorts of things found around the yard or out-buildings, like hemp, different kinds of hide, common household garden vegetables and herbs, plants producing common country dyes, different kinds of woods, and so on, have a base DV of 5 to identify. The character require only a relatively small sample of these substances to identify them, just enough to get a good smell, feel, and/or taste sample of it to be sure of it (GM’s discretion), and they may be identified in the field without special tests. 

For compounds more common to towns, like commercial dyes, inks, artists’ pigments, sealing wax, pitch-based and other building sealing compounds, and the like, the base DV for identification is 10. The character requires a larger sample of these things to identify them, a handful or more on which to run tests. 

For those substances containing materials that are not native to the surrounding terrain or region the DV may start at 15. The character needs a lab to properly identify the compound, though field identification may be attempted at half AV. 

You should feel free to raise the DV if you feel the sample the character has isn’t large enough, perhaps by as much as 5, or 10 for things found outside the house, 20 for compounds. 

The time required to identify common substances and making identifications in the field is equal to the DV for the task, read in minutes; for compounds tested in the lab the time requirement is divided by 10 and again read in minutes.

When an Alchemist brews one of his Magickal Formulas, he receives SP’s towards his skill in making that formuls in the same manner described for any Craftsman’s works, PLUS the SP’s that normally accrue from casting Low (ritual) Magick.

Unlike other sorts of more mainstream practitioners of magick (Wizards, Witches, Druids, Hedge-Wizards, Hearth-Witches), an Alchemist is not confined only to the recipes in his Speculum for creating magickal substances. Any formula that he comes across in his journeys is fair game, whether he has skill in them or not. He may attempt these with an effective SL equal to his half his TR, providing that the formula attempted also lies within the Sphere(s) of Power of those skills he already has.

Every time he uses the formula without taking the time to actually learn it and add it to his repertoire, he earns one (1) SP towards actually understanding it, until he has earned enough SP’s indicating he knows it well enough to gain a full SL, establishing an effective SL of 1 with it. In this way he can eventually learn formulas on his own.

Unlike those of the practitioners of other more traditional magick-wielding trades, the Magickal Formulas of the Alchemist True are not automatically memorized and maintained in a special trade memory. They cannot be concocted without the Speculum in which the Alchemist keeps his magickal formulas, the attendant sheafs and scrolls of notes compiled in it.

Upon reaching the Warden LoA with any given Magickal Formula, an Alchemist’s skill and knowledge are considered advanced enough to allow him to execute that formula without need of referencing his Speculum. Doing so reduces his effective SL with it, however, by (SL required to reach Warden LoA).

Sensing Mana & Magick 

Due to their long exposure to the spiritual energies, the mana that powers all magick in RoM, and manipulation of it in the course of creating their various magickal formulas, all Alchemists True are able to Sense the Ambience and Sense Magick, in the same manner as a full trade Wizard, Druid or Witch (as applicable).

The Ambience permeates and overlays every crevice and corner of the Mortal World. While it is always in motion, both the drawing and release of power used in dweomercraft creates a disturbance of its own that passes through the Ambience, regardless of whether it is a Mystic expressing a Feat or channeling miraculous interventions from On High or the magickal work of a Druid (any trade), Witch or Wizard. It causes a ripple-like wave to radiate outward through the Ambience. These disturbances or waves in the Æther are created in part by tapping the Veil between Spirit and the mortal world.

The Arts of the Druid trades and of the Wizard and Witch trades, or even Mystic, affect many other aspects of the character’s life than just those providing him with the ability to manifest magickal or miraculous powers and perform extraordinary feats with it, including the ability to sense these disturbances or ripples over the course of their trade training and magick-wielding careers. This sensation encompasses a see-feel-smell-hear-taste experience that defies any meaningful description to those outside the trade.

All practitioners in the vicinity can automatically feel the gathering of mana and the process of crafting it into a dweomer if it takes place within [(MSS) + (TR)] feet of them, unless there is a barrier sufficient to dampen the disturbance (see “Shielding & Safe Havens”).

Beyond this distance a successful MSS check on d100 allows the practitioner to “feel” it.

The AV to Sense Magick is equal to [(MSS att. mod.) + (AWA att. mod.) + (TR)].

The DV for these checks is equal to the number of feet by which the casting is taking place beyond the practitioner’s prescribed range, 

MINUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is greater than the practitioner’s MGA

OR

PLUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is less than the practitioner’s MGA.

The ripples of Noble Sphere magick travel 5 x as far; Sovereign Sphere magick travels 5 x the Noble Sphere distance or 25 x the Common Sphere distance.

When a magical formula is finally completed (whether successfully or not), the power summoned for it crashes back into the Ambience like a stone suddenly dropped into a still pool, causing a wave radiating outward in a sphere from the caster. This is a MUCH stronger wave than the little ripple caused by the process of crafting the magick.

In the case of the True Alchemist, the same initial ripple caused by the process of casting traditional mainstream charms accompanies the process of crafting any of the substances of magickal nature resulting from his magickal formulas. The great disturbance caused by loosing a completed charm also accompanies the successful completion of any of those formulas. This wave can be immediately and automatically “felt” if it occurs within [(MSS) + (TR)] yards, regardless of POT.

For this check, the AV is [(MSS att. mod.) + (TR)], again.

The DV for the MSS check is 1 if the practitioner Sensing Magick is located within (POT) furlongs.

  • IF the POT of the wave when it reaches the practitioner is greater than his CHM or HRT (whichever is greater), the roll should be foregone and the character simply informed. It is deemed strong enough to get the character’s attention immediately and automatically.
  • IF the POT is less than a practitioner’s CHM or HRT (whichever is less) when the wave reaches him, the DV for the MSS check rises by the difference, per point, again in a Progressive manner.

The POT of the disturbance in the case of the Alchemist is equal to the total POT for all grams/drams in the batch he has just successfully completed. IF the d100 check for completing a batch is failed, there is no ripple of power through the Ambience.

After the first (POT) furlongs the wave travels from the practitioner who loosed the magick that made it, the effective POT drops by 1 point in strength every furlong of distance, until it dies out at zero (0).

This raises the DV to sense the wave when it finally reaches the practitioner, by one per furlong per furlong traveled, again in a Progressive manner, MINUS the effective POT of the wave.

Beyond this distance, EVERY magick cast causes a ripple in the Ambience that travels outward in a sphere from the site of the casting (POT x 2) furlongs, allowing the practitioner to “feel” the wave washing over him upon making a successful MSS check on d100.

Not only is a PC able to sense the ripples caused by others’ magicks, his player must understand the fact that every magick his PC casts creates the same disturbance to alert others of the trade who may be in the vicinity.

The lesser, day-to-day activity in the Ambience, those disturbances of (CHM or HRT, whichever is less) in POT or less, are normally screened from every practitioner’s consciousness in accordance with his trade training to protect his sanity, so he can maintain some sense of continuous mortal existence separate from Spirit and his magick, allowing him to interact normally with the mortal world.

Those disturbances he “feels” or senses, whether automatically or as a result of a Sense Magick check, as above, are sufficient for him to note the general direction whence it came. This can provide a link by which any direction-finding charm may be cast to zero in on the point of origin of the disturbance.

The wave of disturbance from the casting of a magick can be used by the clever practitioner to cover the loosing of subsequent magicks, provided he stays within (MGA) yards of the original casting site and is careful to keep their POT smaller than the original magick whose shadow he is trying to use.

This raises the DV for sensing the disturbance by one per point by which the following magick’s POT is less than the one it follows, per point, in a Progressive manner.

This “shadow” of disturbance following in the wake of the wave, equal to the POT of the first magick cast, fades at a rate of 1 effective point of POT per minute.

In practice, the player should be aware of the order in which he casts his magicks if he is concerned over the possibility of disturbing other folk of power, casting rituals before spells before cantrips, and greatest POT to lowest, to use the shadow of the ripple caused by the greater magick to cover those of the lesser magicks cast in its wake.

One never knows whose elbow one may unintentionally jog.

Taking advantage of this phenomenon can be a very useful tactic when one is matched on the battlefield against another practitioner, a means of catching them off guard, of denying them any notice of more magicks to come following the first.

The players and GM alike must be aware that any other practitioner of magick in the same town or its immediate hinterlands (surrounding supporting farmlands) may well note the use of any magicks cast with POT greater than c. 10-15, especially if any of them live in a location that gives them an overview of the town. Any in the closer surrounding villages might take note, as well. Caution is prudent. Careless flinging of magick, especially at high POT, can attract unwanted attention. Rival practitioners may be curious or even irritated if they are in the least bit protective of their territorial rights to monopolize the trade in magick where a character has ventured to practice his craft. Ignorance of the presence of a local rival or guild monopoly is no excuse, in the same manner as ignorance of the law.

This is simply an occupational hazard.

Rivalries keep the already small numbers of those who practice the magickal arts even smaller, and tend to insure that those of lesser power keep a low profile until they are well and truly prepared and sure of their defenses, should such a conflict of interests arise.

There may be certain places in the GM’s world where those of power gather to practice their art by tacit approval, an unspoken bond that may be as strong as any guild charter. These places gain a general on-going disturbance due to regular magickal activity that swiftly becomes evident to those who wield the Arts approaching within range to sense it. The level of activity is rated in POT in the same manner as the prevailing Ambience and added to the DV for sensing any specific magickal disturbance (as described above) that is of lesser POT than that of the æthereal “background noise”. This “white noise” of magickal activity makes sensing other magickal activity so difficult that the MSS checks described previously are required even within the normal ranges at which the Sense Magick ability is commonly automatic and immediate. The DV’s for these checks are increased by the amount by which the POT of the magick in question is less than the POT of the ætherial “background noise” using the same procedure applied when the POT of a magick to be Sensed is less than the practitioner’s CHM/HRT (as above).

Sometimes there is no better place for a character of lesser power to hide his craft than out in the open, under the cover of the disturbances created by his greater colleagues routinely exercising their own craft.

In addition, the level of the Ambience itself may actually work to betray disturbances, high-lighting them. To keep things on an even footing, the POT of the Ambience, of the mana readily available flowing through a given location, is always rated in POT relative to the Common Sphere. The greater the POT of the Ambience, the more magickal energy that is present for the wave of a disturbance to displace. In short, it amplifies the effect of the disturbance, making it more noticeable.

The POT of the Ambience is subtracted from the DV for any Sense Magick check to feel a disturbance.

Magick that is already in existence lies quietly, as a part of the natural world, doing as it was bidden when created. It is much more difficult to sense. The Wizard has the option of casting a bit of Divination to “Reveal” the presence of magicks, should the player have equipped him with that lore, OR ply his skill with a set of dowsing rods or crystal or other pendulum for the same purpose, using it as a guide if he has this Spirit Skill, OR the Wizard may slowly walk about with his hand held out before him to try to “feel” it’s presence by “Seeking” it by Divination.

On the other hand, once a Wizard touches an object which carries an enchantment, or creature or being laboring under an ensorcelment, or steps into an area which bears a dweomer, he feels and knows it and the GM must tell the player (preferably slip him a private note), without the need for a d100 check of any kind. Of course, where Banes and Wardings are concerned, his coming into contact could be rather hazardous to his health and perhaps that of any compatriots accompanying him.

Other than the ability to Sense Magick and having a thorough understanding of “Shielding & Safe Havens”, True Alchemists don’t have any other of the special trade abilities possessed by other Trade practitioners of magick.

True Alchemists have no Spirit Skills. They develop no special, meditational keyed, tiered eidetic memory for Trade Skills and Trade lore, nor do they get any bonus to their M-RES.

Because the magick they create is completely contained within the substances they make, Alchemists can never carry the DUR of one of their charms “at the caster’s pleasure”. Once a substance is used, the DUR of the dweomer is restricted, effectively “tied-off” by definition.

Thus, it is impossible for an Alchemist to get weighed down by Wind held in reserve to support the dweomers they carry, as other practitioners may.

The opening of the “The Life of Magick” is an essential a read for all players of True Alchemists, as well as the passages headed “What is Magick?”, “The Foundations of Magick” and “The Laws of Magick”.

Like the mainstream practitioner of traditional magick (Wizard, Witch, Druid), the pursuit of this Trade Skill continues up through the Spheres of Power, however, High and Low Mana areas have no effect on the compounding of magical formulas.

The Ars Quintates Magica influence the POT for determining DV’s for the rendering of magickal formula the same manner as the works of mainstream tradition castings of magick. Otherwise, the divisions of the Ars Quintates Magica don’t apply to the True Alchemists’ magickal formulas, EXCEPT insofar as the Alchemist character needs to use them to define the specific effects of the magical substances he makes. All aspects described for a charm are available to the Alchemist.

The completed form a formula takes may be varied any way the Alchemist wishes, regardless of the charm it carries and the aspect of that charm it creates, so the Alchemist had best label them carefully.

In addition, Low (ritual ) Magick is the only “form” or “method” that applies to the rendering of magickal formulas, and POT also governs the effects of magickal substances produced by the True Alchemist equally.

“Potions” in Play

When carrying the substances created by means of this Trade on the road, once completed, Alchemist practitioners must take precautions to preserve their work. Seeds should be kept dry and at least moderately cool or they may sprout spontaneously releasing their magick, crystals are going to be somewhat fragile, and powders and such things as elixirs, potions, unguents, and salves should all be kept in sealed containers of some sort, preferably water-tight ones of dark, preferably brown glass or solid crockery to prevent their deterioration by exposure to sunlight. It is up to you as GM whether water, alcohol or some other liquid may thin an elixir, potion, or salve, or dissolve a powder after it has aged awhile. Perhaps by an extra step of preparation a powder might be created that can be reconstituted in order to be used, whether to be consumed or applied topically.

IF properly stored, the substances created by an Alchemist’s Magickal Formulas have a shelf life of (skill AV) months, during which time they maintain their full potency.

IF “put-up” and sealed by the Alchemist’s canning skills, this rises to (skill AV) years, or until the seal is broken, whichever occurs first. In these cases, the (skill AV) months of the substance’s shelf life are not counted until after the seal is broken.

After the shelf life expires, the substance loses one (1) point of the POT of its power, and another every (formula SL) days thereafter until it reaches zero, useless.

Note that those substances that slowly lose their potency dry out and lose fluids vital to their effect until they are reconstituted through the Alchemist’s art. Those substances that simply lose their potency lose 1 point of POT of their effect per (SL under which made) days they age beyond their shelf life. 

In play, the minimum dose of those substances that are to be applied to living creatures and/or beings is equal to (modified STA ÷ 4) in points of POT administered. This dose allows the dweomer to manifest at a POT of only 1.

Once the (STA ÷ 4) minimum to saturate the recipient with a POT of 1 is reached, the POT of additional grams (if dry) or drams (if liquid) administered/taken by the recipient are added to the effective POT of the dweomer’s effect.

IF the recipient has a STA of 20 as a human (no Build modifier) is given 5 POT-worth of a magickal preparation of 1 POT per dram in concentration, its effect manifests with a POT of 1 (STA 20 ÷ 4 = 5).

IF the recipient then takes another 5 drams at the same concentration of POT 1, the effective POT of the dweomer rises to a POT of 6 (1 POT already established + 5 more = POT 6).

For those substances to be applied to objects, the minimum dose is equal to (sum of it’s Size as measured in all three dimensions, length, width & height) in total points of POT. 

An object’s Size Rating is roughly equal to its measurement rounded to the nearest foot (subject to the GM’s ruling), however, in this case all three dimensions are measured, not just one, as is the case with weapons.

Using this minimum dose results in the charm taking effect at a POT of one (1). 

The POT of additional grams/drams administered raise the effective POT of the magick’s effect accordingly.

For example, one dram of a tincture prepared at a concentration of 5 POT per gram/dram applied to a longbow with a Size of 6 (length alone, as width and depth of the object are negligible, being less than 6in’s) isn’t quite enough to affected it (POT 5 – Size 6 = -1).

The first point of POT of the second dram provides a POT of 1 as it finished encompassing the object, and the 4 remaining points of POT of the second dram bring the POT of the charm on the bow up to 5.

Reapplying any given magickal formula once it has been already been applied adds its POT in this manner, but ONLY up to a maximum of [(HRT) + (TR)].

Any POT applied in excess of this limit are simply wasted.

Related Knowledge

Due to the importance of having an extensive knowledge of plants, the products of the earth and animal kingdom, and their properties to creating the various substances with which the Alchemist Trade is concerned, all Alchemists are schooled in the Lore of Herbs and the Lore of the Apothecary.

Indeed, the Herbal and Apothecary Trades are closely, almost intrinsically, Allied with the Alchemist Trade.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Herbal and Apothecary Trades does he also know how best to handle them the materials and substances, to prepare them, to extract their virtues, and also to render them into the forms best able to preserve their virtues for later use.

The movements of the energies and influences of the heavenly bodies have a direct influence on the work of Alchemists, especially as they are expressed by the Correspondences studied by Astrologists, which Trade is closely Allied. Researched properly, the astrological Correspondences provide a tool to lower the DV’s for making any of the common substances mentioned previously just as much as the magical formulas and the “potion bases” Trade Skills.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Forage Life Skill, his Lore includes the knowledge of where to find the minerals and herbs he needs, what rock types and formations to look for, what parts of the beasts, and the habitats in which they may be found, when to pick or hunt them.

The Forage skill extends the knowledge of any Trade to which its lore may be applied to include these facets, too.

Without the Forage skill, an Alchemist cannot take advantage of the benefits foraging for his own materials provide. The Forage Life Skill may represent a convenience and greater degree of independence, but it is a convenience and independence that frees the Alchemist from the need to procure his materials from local foragers, huntsmen, woodsmen, apothecaries, and the like.

This form of practice in magick MIGHT be considered by some to be more appropriate to a NPC rather than a PC, unless the PC has one or more other trades to fall back on.

All an Alchemist’s work in his Trade must take place in a lab, so a PC Alchemist-practitioner may end up sitting out of play for large chunks of game-time working on accumulating his store of magickal substances. Their goods take time to create, and they are likely to have precious little time except short breaks in-between projects/plot lines, unless you allow them to divide their days up in the manner described in the passages concerning practicing skills and earning SP’s. The rest of the party must go on about their business perhaps having further adventures and earning more SP’s while the PC Alchemist is closeted in his lab, albeit earning SP’s of his own towards his craft.

Thus, the trade provides some logistical challenges when it comes to adventuring with the rest of the party. Maintaining a stock of substances on hand takes time but, if the party cooperates with the Alchemist, they have a ready store of magick that is guaranteed to work when used, without a hitch or surprise, sparing the difficulties sometimes associated with casting magicks traditionally, on the fly.

For a PC, it is a different style of play.

It’s fine for a NPC to sit around making potions and selling them and accumulating a store of ready-made magickal substances, on the other hand. Such a character makes for a great foil or adversary for the PC’s and dictates the form of a significant portion of the Booty, with a great deal of inherent diversity in appearance.

As a beginning PC, a True Alchemist character may well have enough money to begin play with some of his substances already in hand and have some very strong associated trade knowledge to fall back on. This is actually a very prudent means for carrying around what might otherwise be an overwhelming amount of coin.

The player should NOT be made to roll for success of these, but he must pay for them, and straight d100 rolled for each to determine the % yield realized for each one. You may determine that under the circumstances no result of less than [(d5 x 10) + 30]% is fair. Otherwise the loss in money and materials could be crushing, not at all fair to the player.

Alchemist Simple

Alchemists are the proto-scientists and chemists of the period of the game. They study the ways in which the physical and spiritual worlds interact through natural science, philosophy and even a smattering of the spiritual principles of Metaphysics. Speculation on the nature of the Universe, on the hidden natures of both mineral and organic substances, often absorbs them. The work of the Alchemists encompasses both of what are known today as inorganic and organic chemistry, as well as pharmacology, geology, theoretical physics and a smattering of “Natural Philosophy.” From a very esoteric, philosophical, and spiritual point of view (to avoid confrontations of faith) they seek to classify the elements with their dialectic, Aristotelian reason and logic. Empirical test and study are considered to be neither the scholar’s method nor the medieval way of thought, except in the pursuit of specific projects (not whole, transferrable concepts). They explore the secret spiritual natures of physical substances through their special skills, to evoke or imbue spiritual properties, create elixirs (derived from the Arabic for the Greek for “dry tincture”), potions, philters, powders, unguents, salves, and a wide variety of other similar unique substances, to make life a little easier or simply for the sake of accumulating knowledge.

In the pursuit of their arts, Alchemists make a common study of the physical properties of substances; the effects of applying heat and cold, their expansion with heat and contraction when cold, the fact that water is the exception to the rule, expanding as it freezes. They know of the weathering process, the properties of erosion and the resulting deposition, currents and tides, and the like, the changes that decomposition brings, the heat it generates, the actions of various sorts of acids. The lore of the earth is of special interest, too; the soil, such as that special soil used by artists to make their green-earth color; gems and stones like lapis lazuli ground for use in making the finest blue hues for painting, rocks, metals, crystals, ores such as sulphur, cinnabar (mercury ore) ground by artists to make an intense red hue; how they interact with fire, water, and air; the nature of carbonization, the uses of ashes and soot, like the lampblack (literally soot from a lamp) used by artists as a pigment; their properties, and how best to handle them, especially in extracting their virtues.

The Alchemist’s “Speculum”

Even though Alchemists are almost indelibly associated with scholasticism, the Alchemist Simple Trade can be considered as either a set of skills acquired from among the broad and diverse curricula of the universities OR the product of a formal, traditional apprenticeship, instead (player’s discretion), bringing an entirely different flavor to the character’s background. In order to have a formal university education as the source of an Alchemist Simple character’s Trade knowledge, the player must equip him/her also with a formal Scholastic Trade. In this case, he is presumed to have graduated as a Magister (Masters) in Natural Philosophy & Metaphysics.

Whether a player decides his character’s knowledge of Alchemy stems from formal scholastic pursuits at university or a more common traditional apprenticeship, this Trade represents no less a scholarly disposition and frame of mind.

As a reflection of the trade’s scholastic basis, every Alchemist is required to put his Linguist, Literatus, and Scrivener skills to good use during the course of his education/apprenticeship in keeping records of his lessons and lab work. By the time he completes his doctorate or apprenticeship, he has also compiled a Speculum,

The Speculum is an encyclopædic overview of the Alchemist’s art, knowledge and skills, a notebook of all known materials and substances, their appearances accompanied by meticulously rendered illustrations, their characteristics, common origins and usages, and also a wide variety of recipes or formulæ for many common substances and compounds (as follows).

This is This is a source book of trade knowledge kept on hand for general reference, containing knowledge to guide further exploration of the arts, and to aid in managing and coordinating the lore he gathers regarding the specific Trade Skill specialties.

The main volume of the Alchemist’s Speculum contains (AWA x 10) + [(TR) x (40 – AWA)] pages. 

Over the course of time spent earning each TR, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

In additional to this volume, the Alchemist is required to keep another journal or notebook for the knowledge of the specific Trade Skill specialties (chandlery; scents and perfumes; pigments and dyes; combustibles; caustics; drugs, poisons and venoms; substances prepared to carry an enchantment; etc.), a separate volume for each, but nonetheless also considered to be part of his Speculum.

Each Trade Skill volume of the Speculum has (40 – AWA) + [(AWA) x (Trade Skill SL)] pages in it. 

Over the course of time spent earning each SL in each Trade Skill, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

IF the Alchemist has the Herbal and/or Apothecary Trade(s) and/or the Forage Life Skill, the player must add those TR’s and/or SL’s to his Alchemist TR for the initial volume in determining the number of pages and also to the SL’s of the individual Trade Skill specialties for each additional volume of his Speculum he must keep, for these broaden the depth of the Lore the Alchemist possesses regarding the secrets of the Trade and the individual Trade Skill fields of study.

Once brought into play, the Alchemist Simple character is expected to continue to keep his Speculum after the fashion of a journal, recording his on-going work and researches, every project he has completed, his successes and failures, over the course of his career, used as a reference to consult as he formulates new projects, and to refresh his memory when he wishes to repeat old ones.

The character is responsible for maintaining all his Speculum volumes as he rises in TR and SL’s, so it’s important he makes sure the materials are kept on hand for maintaining these records, and that they are replenished when the increases in his SL’s indicate those materials have been depleted.

To exercise his Trade, the Alchemist Simple must have a lab to work in.

This consists of a hodge-podge of beakers, terracotta, glass and metal vessels, vials, flasks, scales, weights, measures, alcohol lamps, mortars and pestles of various sizes, various sorts of tubing or piping, an astrolabe, alembic, furnace, crucibles, etc., as described for the Alchemist’s Lab in Appendix D.1.

Despite the fact that this Trade is called Alchemist “Simple”, it encompasses quite a portfolio of capabilities. The above equipment is required to perform the main functions of his alchemical arts: Calcination, Coagulation, Fixation, Dissolution, Digestion, Distillation, Sublimation, Separation, Ceration, Fermentation, Multiplication, and Projection. 

Calcination involves heating a substance in either an open or closed vessel, usually resulting in oxidation, often to produce a black, carbonized substance of some kind. The process and the substances it produces are ruled by Aries, a fire sign.

Congelation and fixation are the processes used to make a substance stable and solid, non-volatile, processes ruled by Taurus (earth) and Gemini (air). These are an essential step in the pursuit of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, as the volatile liquid mercury was thought an essential element.

Dissolution and digestion are processes of washing and purifying, ruled by Cancer (water) and Leo (fire), respectively. In the pursuit of the White Philosopher’s Stone that produces silver, these processes were used on the substance in the alembic to wash, whiten and purify.

Distillation and sublimation are used to render and recondense the vapor or essence of a substance, in reflux distillation, ruled by Virgo (earth) and Libra (air), respectively. 

Separation can include such processes as filtration, decantation or distillation of a liquid from its residue, ruled by Scorpio, a water sign.

Ceration is a process whereby a material is made soft and wax-like, ruled by Sagittarius, a fire sign.

Fermentation is the special process whereby a slow, subtle “digestive” heat is created within a substance, so the special properties of the substance can manifest, ruled by Capricorn, an earth sign. This process is essential in the working of alchemical magick, and in preparing substances to contain a magickal charm, but it is also used to describe the process by which these substances work to transfer their influence when used in the material world. In the process of creating the Philosopher’s Stone this was one of the last few steps, when the nature of the Stone truly began to manifest.

Multiplication is the process used to augment the power of the substance so it can be used many times over, generally ruled by Aquarius, a water sign. This step consists of manipulating any number of other processes to infuse additional power into a substance.

Projection is simply the name for the process of reducing a substance into the form in which its power is finally applied to its task: powder, salve or unguent, potion, elixir, etc.

These terms are not really necessary to the successful use of the Trade under the rules of the game, however. The Alchemists’ traditions and arts are cloaked in fancy, esoteric terminology and allegories to conceal their lore, as they were historically. These processes are traditionally only ever discussed in terms of not only their ruling signs but their ruling planets, and the mythological figures for whom the planets are named. All of this subterfuge was deemed necessary to protect the secrets of their Trade from the curiosity of laymen. It is included here primarily for the benefit of roleplaying the Alchemist character.

Trade Skills

While they are intimately associated with things magickal and mysterious, an Alchemist Simple’s knowledge of the above processes (among others) enable him to brew, concoct, distill, render, etc. (as applicable) many of the common, mundane substances or materials used or produced by a number of different more “ordinary” manufacturing trades. The Alchemist, Simple in particular focuses much on the knowledge and practices of these trades, as well as a few of the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic substances (depending on what other Trades the Alchemist’s full portfolio includes, as follows).

The craft of Chandlers, the pursuit Chandlery, is one of the more common among Alchemists, Simple, producing soap of citrus, glycerin and rosewater, or caustic soda and animal fat (tallow) or high quality olive oil, and/or candles of all qualities, bayberry, tallow or rushlights, are an easy product of the Alchemist’s skills. While there are common artisans that specialize in one or the other, it is by no means unusual for a craftsman to make both, for they both traditionally use tallow.

Lacquers, Varnishes and adhesives may include a number of such substances, utilizing the bonding properties of wheat, or egg, but commonly involving rendering animal carcasses down for Glue or spirit gum, also providing cleaning substances such as lye and fuller’s earth, highly acidic verjuice, wood ash and caustic soda (used for doing laundry).

The strength of the bond a glue makes is measured by a STR score, just like a character, equal to the POT of the substance made (player’s choice) if it is for paper, cloth, wood, and other porous organics. The STR of the glue is equal to half the POT if it is to affect china, brick, stone, or metals. 

Glues can be made so as to be water-soluble after drying, or not, but the player must state which he is making at the time and make a note of that fact when he records it on his equipment inventory, otherwise you should assume it is water-soluble.

Oftentimes the STR of a glue bond is greater than the effective strength, or Structure Points, of the items glued together, making getting them apart again impossible without extensive damage, barring the use of magick.

Drying times are equal to the STR of the bond, counted in minutes. The stronger it is, the longer it takes to set up, also. This can be shortened by as much as (Alchemist’s AV)%, maximum 60%, at the Alchemist’s option by the use of alcohol or a petroleum distillate as a solvent, but this makes it highly flammable when wet, also.

As GM, you determine the drying or setting-up times for glues using the extent of the surface area covered and the STR of the glue as discussed previously. The thickness of glue applied and how still and tightly the items glued are being held, the humidity, all affect the time to set-up and cure, especially if you feels these factors are not being adequately addressed by the user(s) in-game. 

Judging how much glue is required for each use and when a character finally runs out of the amount prepared is entirely up to you, as GM. 

Rendering dyestuffs and pigments is another area, processing, concentrating, mixing to obtain signature hues, even foraging for the substances or even raising plant matter from which pigments are obtained. While an alchemist may specialize in pigments, paints, hues for dyes, etc., it is to supply the dyers who put them to use, perhaps in conjunction with a merchant manufactory.

Cosmetics and Beauty treatments are another area of concentration, encompassing a range of substances drawn from many disciplines, especially including pigments, like lacquer for nails; henna and other tints for hair; heavier foundations to conceal minor imperfections in the skin, or even wax-based sculpting or modeling putties to correct structural imperfections (also used in the Masquer skill); cremes, foundations, in a wide variety of tints and tones to complement and even emulate each of the humanoid races in each of the complexions from as pale and fair as a Nordic Viking to Mediterranean olive, golden as an Asian, brown as a desert-dweller, or even as dark as a Nubian, and in each of the color ranges (sallow, medium, and robust).

This specialty also includes the colors for shadowing and detailing eyes and lashes, and/or the highly colored face paints in the seven colors of the rainbow for adding fanciful motifs for holidays and special occasions (hearts, flowers, twining vines and leaves, heraldic animals and devices, etc.). Spirit gum from the Adhesives specialty can be used for applying jewels or other small ornaments to the face/body/skin.

Extracting essential oils and compounding incenses, potpourri (“rotten pot”), herb-steeped scented oils, moisturizing lotions and cremes and other beauty treatments, and/or producing actual perfumes form another area of concentration. This area of expertise is often combined with that of the Chandler and/or Cosmetics and Beauty. Having the knowledge of the Herbal Trade as well can provide the Alchemist Simple with some independence from procuring his supplies from other Herbals for use in these preparations, especially if he also knows how to Forage for his own materials, which his knowledge as an Herbal then equips him with the knowledge to process and preserve for future use.

By their arts, Alchemists can manipulate the spiritual properties of a wide spectrum of substances in order to create what are, for the sake of simplicity, called “potion” bases. These are unguents, salves, elixirs, potions, philters, powders, crystals, magick beans, and a wide variety of other similar substances or items specially prepared to be receptacles for magick. These have no magick of their own but can accept the power of magickal charms, regardless of whether cast by the Alchemist himself or by the hand of another. These hold the power of the charms safely and keep them stable until their power is needed.

In the same vein, so long as the Alchemist is a practitioner of magick, he may make the special candles, incenses, chalks, powders, brazier fuel, and other obscure preparations that make up the consumable supplies called “ritual supplies”, needed to cast Low Magick rituals for his trade, BUT only for those charms he himself knows, UNLESS he is provided with the recipes by the client for whom he makes them.

IF he is provided with the recipes and has sufficient materials to do so, he may concoct ritual supplies for ANY magick-wielding trades and charm.

Like the ritual supplies described in Appendix D.1, those made by the Alchemist are described in terms of POT. The higher the POT of a given packet of ritual supplies he makes, the greater the POT of the ritual that can be performed with it, as charms are rated in the same points of POT. The alchemist may only make supplies to cast one specific charm at a time, but the actual amount of POT made in any given exercise of this skill is up to the player. The greater the amount made at any given time, the higher the DV.

The materials to make ritual and rite supplies cost 1s. 2d. 1hp. per point of POT in magick that can be cast with it. 

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 4d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 5d. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

This allows a total savings of 9d. 3fg. per point of POT, reducing the cost of materials to 4d. 1fg. per point of POT.

The Caustics & Combustibles Trade Skill is only available to those Alchemist Simple who are also equipped with the Apothecary Trade.

This encompasses rendering and purifying treatments for creating such things as torches and flambeaux to flash pots and/or smudge pots. These can be combined with knowledge of pigments (above), so flashes or clouds of colored fire or smoke are produced.

The Drugs, Venoms & Poisons Trade Skill is only available to those Alchemists Simple who are also equipped with the Herbal Trade.

This enables the Alchemist to bring the stability and shelf-life inherent in the Alchemist’s works to the Herbal’s healing salves, elixirs and simples, in addition to bringing the a depth of knowledge enabling him to make such things as paralysants, stimulants, sedatives, truth serums and soporifics.

This is a very dicey area of expertise to allow others to become aware of. Public knowledge leaves the character open to socially damaging accusations and law suits, even if only as a means of harassing the Alchemist and damaging his reputation and thus his business.

Each of the areas discussed above (Chandlery, Finishes & Adhesives, Cosmetics & Beauty, Pigments & Dyes, Scents, etc.) comprises a separate specialty defined by a Trade Skill that must be developed and tracked in SL, and maintained individually by means of SP’s.

An Alchemist Simple is able to render quantities of these common substances according to the potency of the substance; soaps and candles of Chandlery by the pound, cleaning solutions, glues and scented oils in gills, or perfumes and cosmetics in drams.

The greater the number of units (pounds, gills, drams, etc.) the character attempts to make in any given project, the higher the DV for the exercise, and the greater the cost. The costs for rendering common substances must be determined by what it is the character is doing, according to the ingredients (GM’s discretion), the specific substances with which he is working, because the options are so varied.

The base DV for making any of the substances described is equal to the number of drams, cups, gills, or pints, or pots, that he makes in a single exercise (according to the measure in which the substance is discussed above), or gill of waterproof glue. To this, add the POT of the substance being made, such as glue. 

For making a glue that is essentially waterproof, the effective STR is equal to the POT, and also provides the base DV. The DV is raised by 1/2 (multiplied by 1.5) for the waterproof feature of the substance. 

The DV should be doubled (multiplied by 2) to make it invulnerable to saltwater (seawater/brine). For every effective point by which the STR for the purposes of determining the glue’s drying time has been lowered by solvents with high evaporation rates to speed drying, the DV should be increased Progressively. 

For making ritual supplies, the base DV is equal to (2 per points-worth of POT) made. The quantity made is particularly important in determining time requirements, for it will increase the time needed when larger amounts are made. In the case of ritual supplies, the POT also IS the measure of quantity, as discussed in the rules on Low Magick (rituals) in the Grimoire. 

The time required to make any of the common substances described here, from start to finish including the processing of raw materials (as applicable), is equal to the DV for the task, read in mileways, EXCEPT for ritual/rite supplies. For making ritual/rite supplies, the DV is divided by 2 and the time read in hours.

Because dabbling in the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic areas of alchemy can be very expensive, most “common” Alchemists Simple make their living by focusing on making one of the families of products mentioned above, represented by most of the Trade Skills, to sell for their daily bread. This supports any private researches, but such pursuits are not that common, especially among those plying the more “common” Alchemist Simple Trade.

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*the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Apothecary Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

**the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Herbal Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed, among which the Scholar’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Latin) and Philosopher’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Greek) must be included.

Of that number, the character’s Native Vulgar or “Milk Tongue” tongue, the Scholar’s Tongue (analogue of Latin), and the Philosopher’s Tongue (analogue of Greek) must be included first. What slots are left after these are accounted for may be filled with other languages of the player’s choice, as desired.

The players have no obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after they have already brought their characters into active play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process.

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* This serves as a reminder that the additional areas of knowledge and skill that are the result of university training are to be represented by also equipping the character with the Magister scholastic Trade.

Assess & Identify

The Alchemist’s skills naturally includes the ability to Identify or Assess substances or materials and the constituents that make up compounds.

The Alchemist is best served exercising this ability in his complete, home lab, which allows him the advantage of his full TR, but also requires he have the complete collection of his Speculum volumes to consult. 

 Using his abbreviated travel/field lab, an Alchemist is only allowed the benefit of 3/4th’s his full TR, 

 The Alchemist may attempt a raw Field Assessment at only 1/2 his full TR. 

The Alchemist must have at least his main, general reference Speculum with him in order to make Field Assessments.

For identifying or assessing various substances, elements, and basic compounds out in the field without equipment, the att mod. is based on the Alchemist’s AWA score, and the TR used to find the AV, unless one of the Trade Skills is a better more accurate choice and has a SL higher than the TR.

IF working in a fully fitted lab, the att mod. for identifying various substances is based on the character’s AWA score.

The character must have at least [30 – (AWA + 1 per 4 TR’s)] drams of any given substance to test for its identity.

For concocting, mixing, distilling, or compounding any substance of the alchemical arts the att. mod’s are based on the character’s AWA and CRD scores.

The base DV for identifying substances and compounds depends on the origin of the materials. If the material or compound to be identified is common, found around the average household like tallow, lye, soap, offal, cotton, wool, flax, blood, ashes, verjuice, iron or steel, lead, copper, tin, brass, or any oxide of these common metals, various household cleaning compounds, and so on, the base DV is 1. 

Those sorts of things found around the yard or out-buildings, like hemp, different kinds of hide, common household garden vegetables and herbs, plants producing common country dyes, different kinds of woods, and so on, have a base DV of 5 to identify. The character require only a relatively small sample of these substances to identify them, just enough to get a good smell, feel, and/or taste sample of it to be sure of it (GM’s discretion), and they may be identified in the field without special tests. 

For compounds more common to towns, like commercial dyes, inks, artists’ pigments, sealing wax, pitch-based and other building sealing compounds, and the like, the base DV for identification is 10. The character requires a larger sample of these things to identify them, a handful or more on which to run tests. 

For those substances containing materials that are not native to the surrounding terrain or region the DV may start at 15. The character needs a lab to properly identify the compound, though field identification may be attempted at half AV. 

You should feel free to raise the DV if you feel the sample the character has isn’t large enough, perhaps by as much as 5, or 10 for things found outside the house, 20 for compounds. 

The time required to identify common substances and making identifications in the field is equal to the DV for the task, read in minutes; for compounds tested in the lab the time requirement is divided by 10 and again read in minutes.

Canning & Storing

The Alchemist’s skills also give him the ability to “can” and store those substances his Trade Skills allow him to make that have a limited shelf life and put them up. He may “can” or “put-up” as much as he can secure materials (heavy pottery or glass pots/jars) and facilities to handle. The character must have lids for each vessel, and requires 0.25 lb’s of wax to seal each one. The containers used in canning should be no larger than 1 quart in volume each.

Once put up, the canned perishables last (1 per 4 TR) years before their shelf life comes into play and they begin to age and then go bad. Once the seal is broken on a canned perishable its shelf life again commences to pass normally.

The costs for canning is 1 ha’penny per gill per pot/jar and 2 pence per jar for sealing waxes, plus the costs for whatever it is the character is canning (as applicable). The costs of the pots/jars is a one-time investment, after purchased they only need to be replaced as broken, and the character then only has to pay for the wax, and perhaps the items to be canned.

Most of the substances made by the Alchemist, even such simple compounds as cosmetics, have a shelf life of only [(AWA + CRD) ÷ 8] + (SL) weeks before they begin to separate, go rancid, or lose their potency. This doesn’t, of course, apply to such simple, stable things as tallow or fine-milled soaps, cleaning solutions, or the like. 

Note that those substances that slowly lose their potency dry out and lose fluids vital to their effect until they are reconstituted through the Alchemist’s art. Those substances that simply lose their potency lose 1 point of POT of their effect per (SL under which made) days they age beyond their shelf life. 

Related Knowledge

Due to the importance of having an extensive knowledge of plants, the products of the earth and animal kingdom, and their properties to creating the various substances with which the Alchemist Trade is concerned, all Alchemists are schooled in the Lore of Herbs and the Lore of the Apothecary.

Indeed, the Herbal and Apothecary Trades are closely, almost intrinsically, Allied with the Alchemist Trade.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Herbal and Apothecary Trades does he also know how best to handle them the materials and substances, to prepare them, to extract their virtues, and also to render them into the forms best able to preserve their virtues for later use.

The movements of the energies and influences of the heavenly bodies have a direct influence on the work of Alchemists, especially as they are expressed by the Correspondences studied by the Astrologist, which Trade is closely Allied. Researched properly, the astrological Correspondences provide a tool to lower the DV’s for making any of the substances the Trade Skills allow, as mentioned.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Forage Life Skill, his Lore includes the knowledge of where to find the minerals and herbs he needs, what rock types and formations to look for, what parts of the beasts, and the habitats in which they may be found, when to pick or hunt them.

The Forage skill extends the knowledge of any Trade to which its lore may be applied to include these facets, too.

Without the Forage skill, an Alchemist cannot take advantage of the benefits foraging for his own materials provide. The Forage Life Skill may represent a convenience and greater degree of independence, but it is a convenience and independence that frees the Alchemist from the need to procure his materials from local foragers, huntsmen, woodsmen, apothecaries, and the like.

True Druids

The men who are Druids alone are men of great magickal talent, wizards by any other name but of a simpler world, an elemental world. They are up-lifted by their exploration of secret and sublime things. They are unfettered by social demands in their search for the secrets of the natural world. These are the Druids proper as they are commonly perceived by the players of TFRPG’s for the purposes of Realms of Myth.

Highly respected, they are very influential socially as well as in magick. In Celtic society they are the teachers (effectively equal to Magisters) and quite often Physicians as well, but consulted for answers about everything from crop failures to disputes over property (questions of law being referred to the Brehons and those concerning social precedence to the Filid first and the Bards if no Fili can be found, however). Their knowledge and expertise encompasses a vast body of knowledge about natural philosophy and the natural world, the movements and habits of animals, properties and locations of useful plants, and the movement and influences of the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars. In addition to being the repositories of such mundane lore they hold deep knowledge of Spirit and magick, responsible for all ritual and for all contact and relations with the gods. In their religious concerns they are similar to Magi, but lacking the Mystics’ direct patronage and connection to the Outer Spheres of Deity. The gods are only accessible in Celtic society through the Druids in general, except for the divine father god of the tuath (tribe) who can be contacted by any member of his tuath, his own people.

These are the pure scholars of the Druid community. They are part and parcel of the druidecht, striving to embody the ideals of the Celtic Virtues and society. While they represent the faith and where the knowledge it imparts can lead, they do not proselytize, however. They may field a few questions, but when they meet a soul hungry for knowledge of the world through the Celtic ways, they are just as likely to direct them to a nemeton or sacred well being kept by the Fathi for what they seek, unless they have a readily discernable talent for the Path that needs developing.

The Druids are known for holding long discussions between themselves and with foreign scholars, too, about the heavenly bodies and their movements, the size of the universe and of the earth, the physical constitution of the world, and the power and properties of the gods, instructing the apprentices in all these subjects, or gladly debating them with the philosophers of other cultures.

The player should check with the GM to see how he is representing the knowledge of Astronomy/Astrology in his game, how it is to be implemented in play if he wishes to take advantage of this fact.

Discussed briefly previously, the GM needs to make a decision regarding the presentation and use of an Astrology/Astronomy trade or skill, as it figures prominently in the optional rules for the use of magick.

If it is to be included formally, it should also be added to the skills available to those who have taken a degree at university (Magister trade, at least).

If the GM has allowed you to equip your character with more than one trade during character generation, Druid characters have the opportunity and are strongly encouraged during their trade training to strengthen their ties to Nature through the Allied trade of Husbandman, and/or to explore the hidden power of Nature and its world through the Allied trade of Alchemy and/or to nurture Life through the arts of the Allied trade of Leech, Midwife, Herbal, Barber, Surgeon or Physicker.

If you have been granted a sufficient allowance in trades, Allying with the Husbandman trade allows the Druid to also practice his Allied healer (Leech, Herbal, Midwife, Barber, Surgeon, Physicker) trade upon the animals he is trained to take care of, but its SL when doing so is limited to no greater than his SL as a Husbandman.

Ars Quintates *
Divination
Enchantment
Sorcery
Glamourie
Naming
Charms *◊ 1)
High Magick *
Common Magick *
Low Magick *
Spirit Senses *◊
Perception (O)
Direction Sense
Weather Sense
Linguist (P)
High Druids’ Cant
Lore Specialties (P)
The Physical & Metaphysical Worlds
History & Mythology
(ancient & recent)
(domestic & international)
(Church & State)
Classical Literature
Plays & Poetry
The Gods, Religion & Theology
Cultures/Societies
(domestic & foreign)
(ancient & recent)
Mathematics & Geometry
Astrology & Astronomy
Other Areas of Expertise †
 
Alchemist
Artificer/Mechanician
Builder-Architect
Barber
Herbal
Leech
Midwife
Surgeon
Physicker

What other trade(s) you take on for your Druid character to facilitate his druidecht is up to you, if any at all (according to the allowance the GM has made). It is by no means required that you do so.

The True Druids differ from Wizards in that they practice only Divination, Glamourie and Naming from among the Ars Quintates.

The heart of the Druid trade and the true measure of how effective he is likely to be is determined by the charms in his portfolio, however.

What dweomers can he craft?

What can he do with his Arts?

During character generation, you must answer these questions for yourself by choosing the charms or “dweomer-crafting” skills with which your character begins play.

All True Druid characters may be equipped with up to (MGA) charms with which to be brought into play.

These are chosen from the following roster.

Druid Charms

Anchor of Earth

Armorskin (Tree–, Dragon–, Stone–, – Adamant)

Banish Spirit

Beast of Burden (Hearty Hero; Feeble Waif)

Bewitch Wound

Blinding Spray

Bonds of Concordance

Burden Charm (Carefree Burden; Wearisome Burden)

Cache, Dweomer–, Power–

Candle in the Window

Cat’s Tongue

Charm of Common Shaping

Charm of Direction

Charm of Finding

Cloud of Obfuscation, Veil of –

Common Caloric Charm

Commune wi’ Animals (– Elemental Spirits; – Plants)

Draw Harm, Deflect Harm

Druid Sleep

Elf Shot

Enchant Elements

Far Flight; Earthbound

Far Speak; Eavesdropper’s Charm

Fat The Boar; Wasting Hex

Flame Dart

Gas Bag, Bloat

Glimmerfoot, Untraceable Path

Healing Poultice

Hedge of Lances

Ice Dart

Lightning Call

Lightning Hand

Lodestone

The Milk of Mother Nature

Nature’s Hand

Nature’s Saving Graces

Nature’s Teeth

Necromancy

Quagmire

Slick Charm; Stick Charm

SpitFire

Spitting Naja

Stinging Nettle Charm

Stray Sod

Summon Spirit Hound (– Screaming Skull)

Sun Burn

Swift Heal

Swift Rest; Cat’s Breath

Tar Puddle

Tell-Tale

Temperate Charm

Thorn Warding

Thunderclap

Trail Blazer

Veil of Lightning

Walksafe, Undermine Structure

Weather Sense

Weight Charm

Wound Channel

It is very important that the player make a note of which of the Ars Quintates may be used to cast each of these charms, as he may not always want to use the same Art to cast it.

Due to the fact that each charm in the game may be cast by a number of different Arts, the character develops a separate SL for each of the Arts as well as for the individual charms. The SL of the Art used being used as a bonus to the AV for the charm with which it is used. The difficulty to cast a charm, or DV, is determined in part by the Art used for the casting, some are more difficult than others.

 

Disturbances in the Ambience:

Sensing Magick

As mentioned in the Introduction, mana is the spirit and power of magick. As a general force, it is seen by the trained practitioner to permeate and overlay every corner of the Mortal World, constituting a vast continuous energy field known as the “Ambience”, as discussed in the Primer. While the Ætherium is always in motion, both the drawing and release of the power (mana) used in crafting charms or “dweomer-crafting,” creates a disturbance that passes through it, regardless of the trade of the practitioner. This is best described as a ripple-like wave that radiates outward in all directions through the Ambience. These disturbances or waves in the Æther are created in part by tapping the Veil between the Spirit and the mortal world. This sensation encompasses a see-feel-smell-hear-taste experience that defies any meaningful description to those outside the trade.

A Druid can automatically feel the gathering of mana and the process of crafting it into a dweomer if it takes place within [(SPT) + (TR)] feet of them.

Beyond this, a successful SPT check on d100 is needed to allow him to “feel” it.

The AV to Sense Magick is equal to [(SPT att. mod.) + (AWA att. mod.) + (TR)].

The DV for these checks is equal to the number of feet by which the casting is taking place beyond the practitioner’s prescribed range,

MINUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is greater than the practitioner’s MGA

OR

PLUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is less than the practitioner’s MGA.

When a magick is finally loosed or cast (whether successfully or not), it crashes back into the Ambience like a stone suddenly dropped into a still pool, causing a wave radiating outward in a sphere from the caster. This is a MUCH stronger wave than the little ripple caused by the process of crafting the magick.

This wave can be immediately and automatically “felt” if it occurs within [(SPT) + (TR)] yards, regardless of POT.

For this check, the AV is [(SPT att. mod.) + (TR)], again.

The DV for the SPT check is 1 if the practitioner Sensing Magick is located within (POT) furlongs.

IF the POT of the wave when it reaches the practitioner is greater than his CHM or HRT (whichever is greater), the roll should be foregone and the character simply informed. It is deemed strong enough to get the character’s attention immediately and automatically.

IF the POT is less than a practitioner’s CHM or HRT (whichever is less) when the wave reaches him, the DV for the SPT check rises by the difference, per point, again in a Progressive manner.

After the first (POT) furlongs the wave travels from the practitioner who loosed the magick that made it, the effective POT drops by 1 point in strength every furlong of distance, until it dies out at zero (0).

This raises the DV to sense the wave when it finally reaches the practitioner, by one per furlong per furlong traveled, again in a Progressive manner, MINUS the effective POT of the wave.

 Beyond this distance, EVERY magick cast causes a ripple in the Ambience that travels outward in a sphere from the site of the casting (POT x 2) furlongs, allowing the practitioner to “feel” the wave washing over him upon making a successful SPT check on d100.

Not only is a PC able to sense the ripples caused by others’ magicks, his player must understand the fact that every magick his PC casts creates the same disturbance to alert others of the trade who may be in the vicinity.

The lesser, day-to-day activity in the Ambience, those disturbances of (CHM or HRT, whichever is less) in POT or less, are normally screened from every practitioner’s consciousness in accordance with his trade training to protect his sanity, so he can maintain some sense of continuous mortal existence separate from Spirit and his magick, allowing him to interact normally with the mortal world.

Those disturbances he “feels” or senses, whether automatically or as a result of a Sense Magick check, as above, are sufficient for him to note the general direction whence it came. This can provide a link by which any direction-finding charm may be cast to zero in on the point of origin of the disturbance.

The wave of disturbance from the casting of a magick can be used by the clever practitioner to cover the loosing of subsequent magicks, provided he stays within (MGA) yards of the original casting site and is careful to keep their POT smaller than the original magick whose shadow he is trying to use.

This raises the DV for sensing the disturbance by one per point by which the following magick’s POT is less than the one it follows, per point, in a Progressive manner.

This “shadow” of disturbance following in the wake of the wave, equal to the POT of the first magick cast, fades at a rate of 1 effective point of POT per minute.

In practice, the player should be aware of the order in which he casts his magicks if he is concerned over the possibility of disturbing other folk of power, casting rituals before spells before cantrips, and greatest POT to lowest, to use the shadow of the ripple caused by the greater magick to cover those of the lesser magicks cast in its wake.

One never knows whose elbow one may unintentionally jog.

Taking advantage of this phenomenon can be a very useful tactic when one is matched on the battlefield against another practitioner, a means of catching them off guard, of denying them any notice of more magicks to come following the first.

The players and GM alike must be aware that any other practitioner of magick in the same town or its immediate hinterlands (surrounding supporting farmlands) may well note the use of any magicks cast with POT greater than c. 10-15, especially if any of them live in a location that gives them an overview of the town. Any in the closer surrounding villages might take note, as well. Caution is prudent. Careless flinging of magick, especially at high POT, can attract unwanted attention. Rival practitioners may be curious or even irritated if they are in the least bit protective of their territorial rights to monopolize the trade in magick where a character has ventured to practice his craft. Ignorance of the presence of a local rival or guild monopoly is no excuse, in the same manner as ignorance of the law.

This is simply an occupational hazard.

Rivalries keep the already small numbers of those who practice the magickal arts even smaller, and tend to insure that those of lesser power keep a low profile until they are well and truly prepared and sure of their defenses, should such a conflict of interests arise.

There may be certain places in the GM’s world where those of power gather to practice their art by tacit approval, an unspoken bond that may be as strong as any guild charter. These places gain a general on-going disturbance due to regular magickal activity that swiftly becomes evident to those who wield the Arts approaching within range to sense it. The level of activity is rated in POT in the same manner as the prevailing Ambience and added to the DV for sensing any specific magickal disturbance (as described above) that is of lesser POT than that of the æthereal “background noise”. This “white noise” of magickal activity makes sensing other magickal activity so difficult that the SPT checks described previously are required even within the normal ranges at which the Sense Magick ability is commonly automatic and immediate. The DV’s for these checks are increased by the amount by which the POT of the magick in question is less than the POT of the ætherial “background noise” using the same procedure applied when the POT of a magick to be Sensed is less than the practitioner’s CHM/HRT (as above).

Sometimes there is no better place for a character of lesser power to hide his craft than out in the open, under the cover of the disturbances created by his greater colleagues routinely exercising their own craft.

In addition, the level of the Ambience itself may actually work to betray disturbances, high-lighting them. To keep things on an even footing, the POT of the Ambience, of the mana readily available flowing through a given location, is always rated in POT relative to the Common Sphere. The greater the POT of the Ambience, the more magickal energy that is present for the wave of a disturbance to displace. In short, it amplifies the effect of the disturbance, making it more noticeable.

The POT of the Ambience is subtracted from the DV for any Sense Magick check to feel a disturbance.

Magick that is already in existence lies quietly, as a part of the natural world, doing as it was bidden when created. It is much more difficult to sense. The Wizard has the option of casting a bit of Divination to “Reveal” the presence of magicks, should the player have equipped him with that lore, OR ply his skill with a set of dowsing rods or crystal or other pendulum for the same purpose, using it as a guide if he has this Spirit Skill, OR the Wizard may slowly walk about with his hand held out before him to try to “feel” it’s presence by “Seeking” it by Divination.

On the other hand, once a Wizard touches an object which carries an enchantment, or creature or being laboring under an ensorcelment, or steps into an area which bears a dweomer, he feels and knows it and the GM must tell the player (preferably slip him a private note), without the need for a d100 check of any kind. Of course, where Banes and Wardings are concerned, his coming into contact could be rather hazardous to his health and perhaps that of any compatriots accompanying him.

During his trade training, all aspiring Druids use their magickal talents to cultivate a meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic memory for the sole purpose of retaining their vast store of magickal lore.

The character’s special trade memory enables him to retain up to [(MGA) + (TR) ÷ 4] charms or specific skills of arcane knowledge in a single AWA-slot, rather than the same amount of space in the character’s memory that such knowledge would occupy if learned by more mundane methods (1 skill per AWA-slot).

This works in a similar manner as other groups of related skills, like languages for a Linguist character, Social Graces, Lore specialties, or weapon skills. Otherwise each skill would fill a whole AWA-slot on its own

In order to maintain the knowledge in his special trade memory, the various nuances of magickal lore in the character’s special trade memory must be refreshed periodically. In order to maintain this knowledge intact, the Druid must meditate, review the entire contents of his trade memory, and practice chanting all of the secret rhyming triads of his craft from time to time, for a period of time dependent upon the number of charms he knows and his SL’s with them and the constituent Arts and Forms of his trade.

The Druid must spend [(number of charms) + (TR)] MINUS [(AWA) + (MGA att. mod.)] in days meditating on and reviewing his Common Sphere charms, minimum one (1). Once completed, he need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.

For example, the TR16 Druid Rune has 18 charms, for a base study time of 34 days, and an AWA15 and MGA 16 (att. mod. +3), so he must spend 16 days in meditation, chanting in review, and practicing (18 charms + TR16 = 34; 34 – 18 = 16 days).

For every (MGA ÷ 4) days that the character does not review the magickal skills in his trade memory with one of his reference tomes, his casting AV’s drop by one (1).

For those Druids that keep a written tradition, this penalty can be momentarily avoided by casting directly from the pages of his book, open to the dweomer and Art he is working. It also places the practitioner at risk, revealing the nature of his ability and giving his foe(s) a valuable object to focus on in hopes of thwarting his efforts – one that is HIGHLY valued in the open market, whether it ends up having to be sold on the black market or not.

  • IF the PC does not wish to sequester themselves away to plow through the time required (during which time no other activities might be undertaken), the time may be divvied up in the same manner as a craft project, stretched out over up to (AWA ÷ 4) times the required length so long as at least one (1) daily activity slot (by AWA) is devoted to it every day without exception until it is completed.

For example, Arnaud could spend his last daily activity slot (between supper and bedtime) working at his craft for 64 days (16 days discharged @ 1/4th a day per day elapsed is the same as 16 x 4 = 64 days) and incur no penalties as he goes.

  • IF the Druid lapses in observing this practice and the time for which the character is free of the burden of study has expired, penalties begin to accumulate immediately for weaving charms of any kind, by any Art or Form until he resumes fulfilling that requirement. When he resumes, the penalty does not go away until the requirement is met, BUT it does not get any worse, either.
  • Once this requirement is met, the Druid need not meditate and practice his trade lore again for [(MGA) + (TR)] days.

For example, once Arnaud has completed his 16 days, he is free for the next 32 days (MGA16 + TR16 = 32).

  • IF the player decides to have his character study and practice during his freedom from it, when he doesn’t have to, each full day spent is subtracted from his requirement when he is again required to study. The character’s AWA activity-slots may be used to gradually accumulate day’s-worth of chanting and review/practice, as explained above, BUT only FULL days completed towards this requirement are counted once the time arrives to fulfill the requirement again.

For example, Arnaud’s 15 AWA gives him 4 activity slots per day. If he takes the last of those 4 activity slots to study each evening before bed (as above), to meditate, chant, practice and review for the 32 days while it is not required, he can discharge exactly 8 of those days, cutting the number remaining down to 8 (32 ÷ 4 = 8), down by half. He can continue doing this until his circumstances change due to changes in SL’s and TR.

Even only studying a half day (2 AWA-slots), allowing half the day (2 AWA-slots) for domestic things, adventuring or what-have-you, Arnaud could then discharge refreshing his trade memory in 16 days. Afterwards, he has 32 days of light attention to his Arts.

But the cycle can be varied according the character’s requirement, the number of AWA-slots the character has and the player’s preference, as desired.

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The High Druids’ Cant

The great store of knowledge of things magickal and the specific charms for the dweomers of all Witches, heirs of the Druid trades in the faith of the Olde Ways, of “The Green Lords”, are handed down by the same traditions, orally. Their lore is memorized by rote in typical Celtic rhyming triads using their ancient High Cant.

For all intents and purposes of the game, all magicks in RoM are generally considered to be “formulaic.” That is to say, magick is performed through the use of gestures and some form of chants or incantations handed down from master to student over many centuries, or even millennia in some cases. These have been pre-established by the research of those who have gone before, determined to produce a similar, established effect according to the method used (Divination, Enchantment, Glamourie, Naming, or Sorcery) when performed correctly (depending directly on the caster’s talent and training). This applies primarily to Low and Common magick, (spells and rituals, respectively). Cantrips require no such physical support to cast, having been discovered at a much later date than the Low and Common forms. Cantrips are High Magick because they are the latest and greatest of the powers of magick to be discovered, most effortless in appearance, but most difficult of the three to perform.

The Druids’ training in the lore of the magickal Arts and that of the Witches their heirs has caused them to develop a system for preserving the very roots of language from deep in the past, to the first languages of the first ancient civilizations, for it is in these languages that the Words of Power are hidden that help maintain and control the energy that they draw for their spell and ritual magicks. Language is Power. The Word IS the thing.

The Druids’ Cant is based on the languages of the northern lands, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Scotland and the northern isles, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, largely Celtic and Germanic in derivation, where the magickal traditions of the Druids are rooted. The tongues of their ancient forebears, from all the regions those ancestors roamed, have been preserved and forged into one language, that of the Druids’ teachings, and of the Witches who are their heirs, the language in which the Druids call on the gods and the Druids the spirits of Nature, the language in which they converse among their own kind and weave their magicks.

Indeed, all of the magicks worked by those who follow the trades of magick are spoken/chanted in that trade’s secret tongue. Due to the sheer power that it invokes when spoken aloud during spell and ritual casting, all listeners are smitten with overwhelming images and emotions which actually blot out the words themselves. The words themselves are always completely burned out of the memories of any who overhear. The gestures that are required in spell casting and the actions and movements required in rituals always vary a bit from one Druid to the next, as well, so each Druid must discover the variation that works best for him. No two ever practice their Art exactly alike, even when using the same form (spell or ritual) of the same Art (Divination, Enchantment, etc.) for the same specific charm. All these facts make magick extremely difficult to learn, even for those who have talent and a willing instructor, while providing an effectively impenetrable barrier that prevents nosy outsiders from “stealing” the secrets of any of the arts of magick through simple observation.

The character may communicate freely in his secret tongue with any other trade member, Druid, Baird, Filidh, Fiana, Smith, Witch or any other initiated into the mysteries of the Power of their trade, such as a Huntsman of great accomplishment, but never with any not already accepted and initiated into the magickal lore of their trade.

No Druid would ever teach this secret language to any not already initiated into the trade themselves, on pain of a lingering punishment, even death, from his brother practitioners, for doing so is to betray the secrets of the trade and craft of magick – and it is not rendered easily in written language in the first place. Indeed, the trade knowledge of the craft of the Druids is held too valuable to risk writing down by many, for fear of the horrors that would befall them should their enemies obtain such secrets, but those of the Witches that are literate have been known to put their quills to work recording those secrets for fear that they might be lost forever over time.

The traditions of this trade are primarily oral, but the player must decide for himself if he is a traditionalist or more “forward-thinking”, especially when it comes to the use of the rods of the poets created first by the Bards and Filid. Those of the Druid trades are aware that there is a quiet movement to render the lore passed down to the Witches in written form, but it has been so long that they have developed lore of their own, charms that the Druid trades themselves cannot generally emulate. Nonetheless, the very thought of doing so is viewed by many across the whole spectrum of Druid trades as a violation of the ancient trust passed down to them so long ago, a point of contention between the Druids and the heirs and successors of their knowledge and power.

Each of the Five Arts has its own special jargon or vocabulary to describe its special processes and address concerns confined to its practice. If a character is lacking one of those arts, he will also lack the language skills to discuss that art with his colleagues. This will, of course, stand out as a matter of note to his colleagues, if or when it should be discovered.

For those players that opt for their Druid characters to follow a written tradition, instead, the character must be equipped with the requisite Literatus and Scrivener skills.

To meet the needs of life’s eclectic challenges the Druid needs two tomes, both for Common Sphere magicks. The first one travels with him for taking notes on lore he discovers and insights achieved while on the road, almost a diary of his magickal pursuits, while the other acts as a formal repository for ALL his knowledge, polished with glosses and commentary assembled and written as transcribed from the first book. The greater a practitioner’s SL with a given magick, his skill and knowledge with the Ars Quintates and his skills in High, Common, and Low Magick, the more he knows of its inner workings and the more he has to say about it in his tome.

Each book weighs c. 7.25 lb’s and has 100 pages in it, enough for the descriptions of 35 charms at SL1, assuming Art and Form SL’s also of 1, but these books can easily be added to and expanded with the help of a competent bookbinder up to a limit of about 200 (14.5lb’s, more than a stone) OR an absolute maximum of 300 pages (21.75lb’s). It is doubtful that any such character is going to be toting the 200-page book around in their rucksack, and the 300-page book actually requires a case or chest or some such to haul it along on travels, most likely to be carried on pack horse or in a cart or wagon with other supplies and equipment.

  • IF the character is beginning play with SL’s higher than 1, the contents and size of his books must be increased commensurately, additional pages added as play progresses and the character’s knowledge grows, according to the guidelines provided in the Grimoire.

 

Under the Mantle of Power

Those trained to arts of magick have an invisible stamp upon them, the residue of a will that transcends the natural order. This is unnerving to animals and requires an Encounter Reaction check on d100 every time a beast is first encountered. This sets the tone for all subsequent encounters, but it may mellow with the passage of (game) time (GM’s discretion). The sorts of mana the character has used can directly influence this, also. Some of the vibrations of mana available for use are easier in nature than others.

The natural Ambience that flows throughout the mortal world is completely neutral; it merely makes the natural reaction a little more intense, one way or the other.

  • IF the magick-wielding character’s Virtues should outweigh his Vices, his [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] is added to make the Encounter Reaction more positive.
  • IF his Vices outweigh his Virtues, his [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR) is subtracted to make it worse, stoking the animal’s fear and provoking its anger.

Under the Optional Rules, there are a number of sources throughout the Mortal World from which the practitioner can draw alternate types of mana. These and the manner of their release into the Ambience for the caster’s use are discussed in detail under the heading “Tools of the Arts”: “Alternate Sources of Mana”.

For those who use Nature Mana (any element, inc. Life, Sun and Moon, Day and Night), the Reaction check roll is always increased by [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)].

For those who use Life and/or Carnal Mana, or whose strongest skill among the Five Arts is Sorcery or Glamourie, the Reaction roll is either:

  1. a) increased by [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] if the Reaction roll is positive,

OR:

  1. b) decreased by [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] if the Reaction roll is negative side.

This makes the reaction more extreme, whether for better or worse.

IF the result is neutral, it remains that way, and the creature instinctively resists any attempts to influence that status one way or the other, the same modifier reinforcing the DV to aid in preserving that status.

For those who use Death and/or Blood Mana, or whose strongest skill among the Five Arts is Naming (Conjuring, Summoning and Binding), the Reaction roll is always reduced by (CHM att. mod.) + (TR).

One of the character’s Vices is increased one (1) point every occasion on which these types of mana are used. These are the lowest vibration of power and their use can only corrupt the character’s spirit over time with prolonged use.

On the Character Record Sheet there is provided a place on the Magick Record where all the forms of mana the practitioner might use are listed. The player is responsible for recording the greatest amount of POT used in a single dweomer of each type as they are used in play. Some of them he may never find a use for.

At the greatest extremes, animals may try to either crowd around the practitioner or follow him hoping for some attention or attack him in a rage or seek to escape his presence at any cost, violently if they are restrained, regardless of their normal temperament.

The practitioner may try any Beastmastery he or a hireling may have to try and calm down those animals that react badly, as applicable. Animals may be acclimated and domesticated through the Beastmaster’s craft so as not to react this way to practitioners of magick. This can never overcome any reaction response to those tainted with Blood mana if the beast has already reached sexual maturity. That is a visceral predator-prey response that can only be overcome by raising a beast from birth in the presence of that vibration of mana so the response is never learned.

Casting magicks near any animal commonly triggers the fight-or-flight reaction towards the caster again in the same way, unless the beast(s) have been domesticated to exposure to magick with a degree of skill (SL) equal to or less than the POT of the magicks to which it is exposed. When exceeded, the amount by which the POT of a magick exceeds the Beastmaster’s SL (as applicable) is added to the original [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] modifier, making the reaction even more extreme, so the Druid must be careful about using magicks around beasts, particularly if he intends to use a magick, such as a “Soothing Touch” or simply “Thrall” to eliminate all such reactions, to overcome this very stumbling block to his power. Carrying an active dweomer in hand into the beast’s presence elicits the same response. The beast’s presence in this case is defined as anywhere within (beast’s AWA) feet of it, effective POT felt by the beast being reduced by 1 point per foot of distance between the practitioner carrying the dweomer and the beast. Substances that can shield or dampen the vibration of the dweomer may allow the practitioner to approach closer. Casting while in the saddle of a beast unused to such forces is likely to get the practitioner bucked and pitched off the beast’s back before the beast takes off or continues to jump and buck, trampling the intrepid character.

In the same manner, the practitioner or his henchman who is also skilled as a Beastmaster may acclimate beast(s) to tolerate the presence and workings of magick, or he may hire a one to reside with him to work with his animals until he has accomplished this for him.

Due to his repeated and intimate exposure to the power and patterns of the charms he weaves, the Druid also gradually builds up his spiritual defenses against those magicks directed against him that can also be resisted.

A Druid’s (base) M-RES score is innate and protects him from those magicks that may be resisted, even if he is consciously unaware of them. His subconscious grows and becomes trained to be on guard so that in effect he cannot be Surprised magickally, which in the case of any other target would reduce his M-RES to one (1).

When he is aware of a magick directed at him, the Druid receives a bonus of (TR) to his normal (base) M-RES score for resisting those magicks that allow it.

 

Under the Optional END rules, every Druid is trained over the course of schooling in the magickal Arts to develop and harbor within his own spirit a personal reservoir of mana that can be tapped for casting magick.

This personal reserve consists of [(MGA ÷ 4) + (TR)] points-worth of POT in mana, to be used at the player’s discretion.

This resource can be used to bolster a magick that needs to be strong in POT while taking no more time to cast than normal. The player should look on this reserve as being more for use in emergencies when things look dark because it takes time and effort to restore afterwards, a period of rest and meditation where the spirit is opened to the flows of mana and the reservoir slowly refilled.

The mana may only be collected or drawn into the reservoir at a rate of one (1) point per [40 – (HRT)] minutes, but the character must make a point to take the time to settle down in a calm, quiet atmosphere and meditative state, preferably alone, to accomplish this.

IF necessary, the Druid can use the points of POT in mana in the reservoir for physical activities as additional points to add to his END to be spent normally but, to do so, the personal reservoir must be completely emptied, whatever points of POT in mana remaining in it dumped wholly into the physical body, and the procedure for replenishing the reservoir afterwards remains the same.

Unlike physical energy, a practitioner of magick can actually become over-charged with POT in mana, over-filling the personal reservoir until it is brimming-over with spiritual energy. This is accompanied by something of a euphoric feeling, and loosens the bonds between soul/spirit and the body. In effect, the number of points of POT in mana above and beyond what the practitioner can normally contain in his special trade reservoir is counted as equal to points of POT in alcohol consumed, loosening inhibitions, impairing AGL, CRD, and AWA. The same rules are used to describe the effects in play. The character remains in this state until the excess in POT is used up, burned off.

Some magickal folk become addicted to this feeling, like any drug addict or alcoholic. Pursuing this sensation for its own sake rather than for a higher purpose or for accomplishing specific works of magick contributes to the Vice of Gluttony (+1 point in that score for every incident) and leads the character to a place where he requires a HRT check vs. Vice in order NOT to indulge himself in this way anytime he meditates to draw power.

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The practitioners’ bonds with the power of Life and Nature he wields with his Arts also provide a gradual benefit over time.

This life-affirming aspect of the Druid’s Power also grants him a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score.

This is limited ONLY to the purposes of resisting disease, healing wounds, and recovering from sickness, regardless of whether mundane or magickal in origins.

Steeped so long and so thoroughly in this life-affirming Power, the Druid’s own life-energies will be reinforced, to the point where they are augmented and preserved, slowing the aging process. The GM determines the degree to which the character’s lifespan is enhanced, according to the Sphere of Power of the mysteries into which the character has been introduced.

The Druid only ages one (1) year for every [(1 per 4 TR’s) + 1] years that pass, as long as he is initiated only into the Common Sphere mysteries, to a maximum of 1 year per (MGA ÷ 4) years.

On initiation into the Noble Sphere mysteries, this slows to one (1) year for every [(MGA) + (TR)] ÷ 4 years, to a maximum of 1 year per (MGA ÷ 2) years.

On reaching the Sovereign Sphere, the character only ages one (1) year for every [(MGA) + (TR)] ÷ 2 years, to a maximum of 1 year per [(MGA) + (TR)] years.

Of course, this makes little or no difference to those of the longer-lived races, especially those of elfin blood. For others it is a little bit of insurance against any charms that age the body unnaturally. In the face of such a charm that carries great POT, it at least provides some defense to blunt the effects.

Over the course of the initiation and subsequent trade training, all Druids become highly attuned to the spirits and Powers of nature, knowing intimately the animus of field, stream, beast and fowl, of all of Life. The magick practiced by the Druid trades harnesses the energy of Life shared by all living things universally: plants, insects, animals, and all sentient beings, all forms of life no matter how great or small. In their view, Spirit is invested in EVERY-thing, every substance, every plant, every creature and every being in the world. All are connected together by common bonds of Spirit. These wise folk are bound by their training and the Path that they traverse in gaining their power and knowledge to intercede with the gods and spirits, and so are accountable to them.

Through their magickal Arts, which shine through their very auras, they absorb the vibration and Power of Life, which grants them power over the rootless, restless wandering spirits that can abound in the worlds of fantasy.

To the members of ALL the Druid trades, who are wholly in tune with the wholesome power of Life and Nature, the un-dead are viewed as fetid corruptions of the loving essence of Mother Earth. These creatures embody the antithesis of their philosophy and thus are their sworn foes, especially those whose bodies are physical/material (skeletons, ghouls, wights, vampires, liches, etc.). Un-dead live on anti-life and hunger only to consume the heat and fires of life about them. They are the ultimate perversion and abomination to Druids, to be investigated, pursued and wiped from the face of the earth where and whenever possible. When facing the physical un-dead, no quarter may be given. Un-dead spirits (unlawful ghosts, wraiths, etc.), NOT including lawful hauntings, are similarly horrible to Druids, but lack the physical corruption and may be parleyed with, their destruction postponed, if other business demands, but dispatched back to Spirit they all must be in the end, to restore and maintain the balance between the worlds of Flesh and Spirit.

This power takes the form of the Banish, Command, and Dispel commands. Each of these commands exacts a cost from the character the same as casting a dweomer.

Banish

If successful, the practitioner will cause the target creature or being to flee, speeding away along the easiest and most direct route at its maximum movement rate for (practitioner’s HRT + TR) minutes without ceasing. When the time expires and the creature or being stops its flight, the distance between it and the practitioner who Banished it will mark the radius of a circle centered on the practitioner into which that creature or being will not be able to trespass again for (practitioner’s HRT + TR) hours.

Command

If successful, the practitioner may command any one act, including one of service, of the target creature or being. The creature or being so Commanded will remain under the practitioner’s Power for up to (practitioner’s HRT + TR) hours, or until the service commanded has been rendered, whichever expires first. Demands for information are the most common and universally useful regardless of the nature of the creature or being subjected to the practitioner’s Power. The player should be conscious of the nature of his character’s Covenant in using this Power, and its possible effects on Virtue or Vice.

Dispel

If successful, this Power completely destroys the physical manifestation of the wicked or troublesome creature or being targeted, removing it from the Mortal or Material Sphere and returning its spirit or essence back to the Sphere of Spirit whence it came.

Creatures and/or beings so Dispelled will be barred from interfering in any way in the Mortal Sphere, unable to even TRY to return, for (practitioner’s HRT att. mod.) or (TR) years, whichever is greater. If a creature or being once Dispelled by a practitioner is called back by some agent or ally in the Mortal Sphere, the Dispelling practitioner (TR + HRT att. mod.) will be added to his DV to cross the Vale and manifest physically again.

If the Druid can track down such a creature or being’s physical link with the mortal world, such as the remains of its former body (but not limited to), sanctify and lay them to rest again in hallowed ground, the DV for its return is increased by the POT with which the ground was sanctified.

This power is the most commonly exercised in the Druids’ and Witches’ crusade against the unlawful dead and un-dead. The Druid will have to be careful of lawful spirits though, who may be trying to get the practitioner to redress some grievance.

The Druid’s att. mod. for the use of any and all of these Powers is based upon his CHM and HRT scores.

The powers above are tools for battling or dealing with the willful spirits of the Æther such as the fey, but also the unlawful dead and un-dead, but the Druid must be very careful how he uses them, as those creatures are anathema and Dispelling should be the first response. Banishing is for ill-behaved and wicked spirits, but the Mystic might seek to Command information from his foe before Dispelling him and sending him back to Spirit where he belongs. While also subject to his Power, lawful spirits must be treated justly, for the very fact that they returned to the mortal world in a lawful manner indicates that they have unfinished business and a right to attend to it, or seek help in so doing.

The DV for any and all of these abilities is equal to the POT of the creature or spirit the Druid is facing, the highest among them if more than one, plus the number of others he is trying to affect at the same time. If such creatures have a material form to which they are tied, as some Un-dead do, the STA will be added to this DV.

These Powers can be exercised with the speed of a cantrip, with no Action cost.

The DV’s for Commanding and Dispelling are higher than those for Banishment, and Dispelling DV’s higher than Command DV’s. This may affect his decision to use these powers when he suspects he is facing a particularly powerful foe. In addition, the DV’s for Dispelling un-dead and spirit creatures who have physical bodies or physical components to their manifestations is higher than simple spirits, as they have a physical link to the mortal world, usually some artifact of its previous existence, or a person who dwells upon their loss and lends them the strength to bridge the gap to the mortal world.

This Power extends to both the ancient wild spirits of the elements, regardless of whether they have been conjured to be present in the Mortal World or having stumbled into it on their own, and the creatures and beings of Faerie. Denizens of Færie might be approached with some delicacy and caution, however, due to their also being embodiments of Nature in their own rights, often present in the Mortal World acting lawfully, and sometimes of astounding power, some of them being dwindled nature gods at heart.

 

The Price of Power

It is widely said that the words of men of Power are never to be trusted, but this is a grave misconception, for the stamp of Power upon them affects the meaning of their words. They are vague, evasive, and difficult at best to come to an agreement with, but this is because of the weight that their words hold for them. One should never assume that an understanding has been reached unless the man of Power dealt with says that it is so. Unbeknownst to the public, the Witch’s knowledge and the Power he exercises are almost an entity unto itself with which the PC must come to grips. These men of Power cannot afford many of the illusions and self-delusions that common folk use to make their lives more comfortable. Their magicks depend upon the true names and speech, as mentioned in the description of the trade language. The name is the thing; and for him, the word is the deed.

It is the best kept secret of the trade that a Wizard must not swear to anything that is not so or that he does not fully intend to do. The oath of any character who wields magick of any kind is his bond and should never be lightly given for, if he fails it, his own power will seek to force him to carry it out.

  • IF he swears falsely, his own Power (with POT equal to his TR) seeks thereafter to twist events, making the situation fit his words, increasing the likelihood of a Bumble and then using the event of one to set things right, or forcing him to recant his falsehood, haunting him and inflicting bad luck upon him until he does. One who fails his sworn word can be made a hollow and empty man by fighting his Power; he may even reach a point where he dares not use it.

On the other hand, there is no restriction upon what the Wizard may say. He may lie as boldly as the next man if he makes no pretense of honor and swearing to its truth. Silence is another haven of safety. A man’s words cannot be used against him when he says nothing. Niceties of definition and vague terms are the best friends of folk of Power, allowing them to live comfortably with their power, as they wish. Though tricky, the Wizard can always try to take advantage of vague wording and imprecise or misused terms and assumptions of others to leave himself a loophole even when forced to give his oath.

One of the most famous Celtic vows hinges on this very concept, and is very dangerous to the one speaking it, and so is always accepted as an undeniable guarantee:

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“May the Earth open up and swallow me,

May the Sky fall upon me,

May the Sea rise and cover me,

May Fires consume me,

If I am forsworn.”

Taliesin

Shamanism and the Celts: The Fellowship of the Wise

 

To swear by ‘sun and moon, water and air, day and night, sea and land’ is another dire oath, indeed. Enforcement of this restriction in general is, of course, subject to the GM’s interpretation and discretion. In aid of this, the GM should refer to the passage concerning “Frivolous Magick” under the heading “Demands of the Trades”.

Unlike the Druids, Witches and other Bronze Age powers that are allied with Færie and vulnerable to the effects of iron and steel, Wizardry is the magick of Man and his Age of Iron and Steel. Together they go hand in hand, without complication or limitation.

The Ars Magica represent an ancient tradition spanning centuries and millennia of history, having provided many high points both light and dark in the annals. Those who practice these Arts are commonly depicted as staid, stodgy, hide-bound and conservative to the point of being living fossils, and one of the excesses of character that makes them a favorite target for the japes of mundane folk is their dignity and the honor and respect that they insist be shown for their Power.

What few understand is that there is a legitimate claim behind that demand.

Every practitioner must always approach the Power with respect.

It should never be used “frivolously” nor “profligately”, to any excess.

The daily pursuit of the craft, performing works for those who are truly in need, making the various tools which can make the practitioner better and more useful when on an adventure (dweomer caches, enchanting carts and wagons, tack and harness or beasts of burden to aid travel), aiding his compatriots to make them more effective, that is all one thing, but to impress a girl one desires or to otherwise tickle her fancy or flatter her vanity in the absence of love, to embarrass a rival for sheer cussedness, or anyone at all merely for spite or to put them down, for a lark to get a laugh – especially at another’s expense, and especially when the target chosen is downtrodden already, to pursue a lust to flatter one’s own vanity, or to accomplish for one’s self anything that could as easily be done by mundane means should be deemed frivolous, especially if the practitioner has servants already to accomplish such things for him. Exceptions to the last condition should include situations where every means available must be used to avoid what would surely be a mortal confrontation with a dire enemy, or any other circumstance where time is legitimately deemed to be of the essence, especially where life and limb of self or another is at stake.

The law of conservation of energy applies in magick, too. Why should the practitioner expend the enormous effort to cast some mighty work of magick that can shake the pillars of the Spheres of Spirit when the same effective end result can be arrived at with a much more economic and tightly focused magick applied more cleverly, after due measure of consideration of the situation and the various ways in which magick might be applied. There is ALWAYS more than one way to skin a cat – so to speak.

Knowledge and canny craft is always more effective that brute force, especially in the use of magick, and has the added benefit of causing less of a disturbance in the world, thus a smaller rebound of the power unleashed.

The exception to this should be putting on a display to give pleasure to small innocent children, providing a spectacle for the pleasure of the hard-working commons, or any other circumstances where the player can justify its use as being in line with an exercise of one of the Virtues or in due payment to alleviate a debt, particularly a moral debt.

“Frivolous” is a subjective term and requires the GM to make judgement calls throughout the course of the game.

In doing so, the GM should be sympathetic AND flexible. This principle concerning the use of magick is NOT a stick with which to beat the PC’s indiscriminately, to make them fear using their Arts, and especially not to make them regret following the trade of their choice. It is to make sure that a certain amount of respect is paid to the power those characters hold. The light usage of magick on occasion should not only be allowed but encouraged. It can help build morale and bring the characters closer together, and sometimes the craft can be used in light and entertaining ways to repay moral obligations, or to reward the deserving whose efforts so often might otherwise go unnoticed. These are all laudable uses of the craft.

The wild beast which is the Power these characters wield is nothing if not full of the Joy of Life.

Those who would “test” the practitioner’s Power are a waste of his time.

Any display of Power simply for the sake of display, to prove his ability, is frivolous by definition.

Even to request a test should be deemed insulting.

If anyone wishes a display of Power as a test they had best come with a task to be accomplished that actually requires attention, the kind of task that in its completion makes a difference in peoples’ lives, to further their goals or restore a situation or condition to its previous, desirable state, especially in a charitable cause that will benefit many.

Magick is a force with a heart and soul that is little understood, but it is known to be alive in its own right – how can it not be? The energy of Life is a major constituent of it! Like any wild beast, magick can be eventually brought to heel under the right conditions, to provide the power to manifest the caster’s desires, but the practitioner should never presume that the beast has been or ever can be tamed by his hand. Magick understands emotions, it knows dignity and honor, and it knows condescension, dismissive attitudes and disrespect, far more sophisticated than any common mortal beast. Thus, when the practitioner stays his own hand and looks for the worthy cause, the opportune moment, and matters of importance it is pleased at being so well-used, it might even be said to purr, a feeling suffusing the caster’s spirit by the time he looses the dweomer. When put to demeaning and frivolous use, however, the Beast seethes. The greater the disrespect and the more frequently it occurs, the angrier the Power can become. Like a slighted lover, all history of noble and proper use of the Arts fades and is forgotten. They are the minimum that is expected of the privilege of having been taught the Mysteries of the craft. All that matter to the Power is the slights and transgressions of the present.

In play, the practitioner should start to get a prickly and uncomfortable feeling when he looses his dweomers every time the Power is used in a frivolous or meaningless manner. The player deserves such a reminder.

The GM needs to make judgement calls on the uses of magick as they occur during play and “keep score” of the number of “Frivolous Magicks” cast. When they reach a sum greater than the practitioner’s own HRT score, the Power begins to seek to balance that score. Once that point is reached, the number of such offenses that have accumulated start to affect the character’s magickal craft.

The DV for casting ANY magick from that time forward suddenly increases by that amount until the offenses have been redressed, how pure its cause or the nature of its use may or may not have any impact (GM’s discretion). When the dice are rolled and the roll to cast a magick is missed, this Frivolous Magick score is added to push the result towards the occurrence of a Bumble.

  • IF a Bumble should be indicated, this number is either a) added to the result to make the result harsher, and also to increase the POT of it, as well, or b) the POT of the Bumble plus the Frivolous Magick score combined determine the POT of whatever magick might wound the practitioner’s pride the most deeply, so as to settle the score.
  • IF the practitioner has, prior to or during the time when the Power has sought an outlet, lied or violated an oath against the prohibition described for the magickal trades, any and all instances added to the Frivolous Magick score and, when the inevitable Bumble occurs, those infractions are the ones on which the Power focuses its efforts to right.

It may be that more than one infraction must be redressed. In this case, the total POT of the Bumble including the Frivolous Magick score might be divided between the issues to be addressed, OR the Power might hold its grudge until all infractions of word are addressed and corrected, saving its own honor for last.

Not until all is put to rights should the GM let the character off the hook, to start over again fresh.

All Druids are responsible for observing all holy days and all holy forms or observances of their faith, including any special restrictions on actions or activities, whether generally forbidden or by the season. The GM must make some decisions in regards to the holidays in the practices of the followers of the “Green Lords”. The bases of their festivals rest upon the high quarter day holidays (Vernal Equinox, March 21st; Summer Solstice, June 21st; Autumnal equinox, September 21st; and Winter Solstice, December 21st) and the cross-quarter days between each of these (Imbolg “IM’olk”, February 1st/2nd; Beltaine, April 31st/May 1st; Lughnasad “loo-NA-sa”, July 31st/August 1st; and Samhain “SA-wain”, October 31st/November 1st).

Special restrictions and observances can be all inclusive, of the nature of “Thou shalt not kill”, “Thou shalt not bear false witness”, “Do no harm”, or may be by the day of the week (no eating blood meats on Fridays, no working on Sunday), or by the season of the religious calendar (sacrifices of the Lenten season, gift-giving during the Christmas season), and so on. In many instances, a Fathi may find himself acting as chaplain for his pagan adventuring party in a similar vein, performing services for them when they are in the wilderlands out of reach of a temple.

In the Celtic calendar there are many candles to be lit for Imbolg and bonfires to celebrate the return of the sun, and again bonfires to be lit on Beltaine. Sheaves of new grain are presented to celebrate Lughnasad, along with feasting and games of skill and physical prowess, also a very popular time for negotiating winter lodgings and trial hand fastings in the Celtic tradition, lasting a year and a day to determine if a more permanent arrangement is acceptable. Samhain marks the end of the year, “summer’s end”, from sam “summer” and fuin “end”. It is Celtic New Years and the festival of the dead, when the gates of the Spirit World and Færie are open wide, celebrated for three nights, during which the final harvest is celebrated with bonfires and feasting and tales of dead ancestors, for whom a place will always be laid at table. All fires in the community are extinguished as the great bonfire is lit, and then all hearth fires rekindled from its flames, bonding the community together. A second bonfire is lit and couples walk between and cattle are driven between them for a blessing and to cure disease, also young men take turns leaping over the flames to show their physical prowess. With summer’s grass gone and the harvest in, the livestock that cannot be supported through the winter can be slaughtered. With the frosts come, the meat can keep for the winter, and the bones of the slaughtered beasts are thrown on the Samhain bonfires. All of these occasions are considered propitious for performing various sorts of divinations, as well.

These duties to religious attendance are required in addition to the time these characters must spend maintaining their special meditationally keyed, tiered eidetic trade memories for magickal lore.

Two specific examples of special observances and restrictions associated with the “Fairy Faith”, or Olde Ways of the Green Lords, can be found among Druids.

All Druids labor under a geis or vow/requirement to wear or carry only items made of pure metals upon their persons (copper, lead, tin, silver, gold, etc), as the mana that they draw for their works of power is tuned to the unspoiled power of Nature in the world about them. For the Druids, it is an important part of their Covenant with the Green Lords. Those who follow these trades have no tolerance for any alloyed metals either (brass, bronze, pewter, etc) either, as their earth essences have been corrupted by these processes, each warring with the other for identity and dominance. However, objects composed of many parts may have their component parts made of different metals, so long as each part be made of a pure metal. Objects constructed in this way are felt to work together, to sing in harmony rather than fight with one another for dominance.

The Druids’ Power reacts in a similar manner to that described for metals when any other materials are similarly mixed, particularly in the clothing that they wear. Mixed fiber fabrics are forbidden them. While the character may wear garments of different fibers (cotton, wool, linen, etc.) together in one ensemble, no fibers may be mixed in the spinning or weaving of any single garment that a Druid wears. Appliqués and applied borders, sleeves made of different fiber material tied on by points, embroidery and similar adornment all fall into the same category as objects made up of pieces composed of different metals, above. As long as the materials used for each part is pure, there is no problem.

Both mixed metals and garments of mixed fibers, called adulterated or adulterine materials, are considered spiritually unclean, corrupting the power worked by the Witch, especially when he is working his magickal Arts, and thus a source of corruption to the soul, leading to sickness in the body and possibly even eventually death.

Wearing any such adulterated materials actually make the Druid feel under the weather, give him flu-like symptoms. The greater the amount of such materials worn, the more sickly he feels until they are removed. Should a character try to work his magickal Arts while wearing such substances the corruption is drawn into his spirit so he falls sick in fact with a malady of POT equal to the POT of the magick worked while so clad, PLUS the number of offending items he was wearing. Until the offending materials have been removed and he has received proper medical attention, he cannot recover. Recovery is administered the same as that for any normal, mortal poisoning.

Furthermore, Druids must avoid all commercially gathered or prepared animal by-products in their dress and household goods, as the slaughter of living creatures and commercial purveyance of their flesh for profit flies directly in the face of their philosophy. While a Witch can wear any animal fur, hide, claw, horn, antler, or other by-product, he must be sure that the beast was slain out of need and that neither the creature’s flesh nor carcass was wasted. In addition, animal goods must not be “over-worked”. One must be able to readily tell what the material is, if not necessarily what animal it came from. Skins must be prepared in such a way that they retain their natural hair, feathers or fur. Feathers must either be gathered singly from cast-offs fallen to the ground or be left on the whole skin of a felled bird to be prepared so that the bird may yet be identified, horn and antler must not be so carven or shaped that they cannot be identified for what they are. Those items worn in violation of this restriction cause the same reaction when the character works his magickal Arts wearing adulterated materials, above.

Druids are steeped in the power of Spirit, but most closely that of Nature, which corresponds to Færie where the dwindling Green Lords find refuge and most comforting rest, and the era when they roamed free and the magickal traditions for those trades were created, the Bronze Age. Some of their lore and magickal traditions predate even that age, lost in the mists of time.

Iron by nature, and steel by extension, are deeply material – the strongest in the mortal world of the Age of Men. Its raw deposits can dampen local availability of mana and subdue the gathering of spiritual energies, even absorb the manifestations of magick. Iron and thus, steel, are the bane of the Powers of Færie. Its touch can dispel Færie magicks and burn the flesh of the Færie-born.

The Druids wield Power closely related and so are forbidden to have more than (HRT + TR) ounces of cold or wrought iron or the same amount in pounds of steel within (MSS) feet of them when they are casting magicks, or suffer a DV penalty to every magick they attempt while in violation.

 

 The DV penalty is equal to the number of ounces of iron or pounds of steel the magicker is carrying beyond the [(HRT) + (TR)] limit.

 

The effects of steel are less than that of iron because in it the iron is mellowed in nature by the carbon that hardens it and the very work of the hand of Man, and sometimes also corrupted with traces of nickel and other metals.

The (MSS) distance to be kept from iron/steel is raised by 1 foot for every point by which the character’s MSS score is greater than his MGA score or lowered by 1 foot for every point by which the character’s MGA is greater than his MSS score.

Where the Optional END rules are in play, any DV penalty imposed on a casting due to violating the iron/steel restriction is added to the END cost for casting the magick, making it more taxing and tiring.

While the Witch may never have any tolerance for carrying iron, he has an allowance of (HRT + TR) ounces of steel to carry on his person without penalty.

 

 Again, the DV penalty is equal to the number of ounces of steel the magicker is carrying beyond the [(HRT) + (TR)] limit.

 

When steel is clad in one of the two noble metals, gilded with gold or silvered instead, the power of the noble metals cancels out the base influence of the iron used to make the steel. Not only are these metals considered “noble”, but they also have great sacred significance. This is the ONLY condition under which a Witch might consider the use of such otherwise “adulterated” materials. In this case, the gilding or silvering doesn’t have the sickening effect it would otherwise.

Among the folk of their faith, the Druids are mindful of their duty to serve. How they fulfill this duty varies with the individual, however. Some stand on ceremony and command respect and gifts and/or the ancient requirement “Cross my palm with silver”. Others work humbly and ask nothing of those they help except what is freely given in return. What never changes is that every Druid serve the need brought to him to the best of his ability, but in return he must warn each and every one that, for such magickal aid as they can render, some change must come into their lives to make room for it. Change is inevitable, the only constant in the universe, and comes even more swiftly when magick’s wild power is invoked to help it along.

While the Witch never knows and cannot predict even by Divination what change may come or when, the fact that they have a little rule of thumb to judge such things is a carefully hidden trade secret. The truer the real need, the more hopeless the cause, the less selfish and more in line with the Virtues the request brought to them for magickal remedy, the more painless and positive the change in their lives once the magick has been given them. In the same vein, the closer the supposed need is to baser wanting and the mire of the Vices, the more selfish the request, the more abrupt, disruptive and harmful the back-lash of Fate in return for the work of magick.

If a follower of the Olde Ways has fallen out of the favor of the gods or offended one or other of the major spirits of the realm and comes to petition for magickal dispensation, especially after first having sought aid from the gods through a Mystic serving the Green Lords and having been denied, he bears what is known as “god-sign” that any Druid or other magick-wielder with the Sight will clearly see, or otherwise will feel upon touching them, or see upon beginning to cast any magick in their presence. It would be foolish for any Druid or Witch to disregard this warning. The sign of the will of the gods will be clearly visible to any and all Mystics when dealing with those of their faith, a sign worse than foolish to ignore. To fulfill the request of one who has been spurned by the Green Lords or the Light incurs a penalty equal to the POT of the magick worked on their behalf that will endure until such time as he has served penance for his transgression.

Though their aspects and demeanors vary, Witches are all bound by their covenant with the Lords of Nature, many aspects of which are shared by the members of the Druid trades, who share their religion. Players must get more complete information on the Lords of Nature in the gameworld from the GM in order to help determine which faction the character belongs to – IF ANY. It is far more common for a character to serve the whole pantheon equally; no specific patron is necessary.

It is of vital importance that the reader become familiar also with the passages titled “An Introduction to Magick”, “The World through a Magician’s Eyes” and “A Primer on the World of Magickbefore also reading through the rules for magick contained in the passages headed “Magick in Play”. There are certain basic essential concepts in those passages that, in concert with the trade descriptions are vital to a clear understanding of magick, its place in the world and how it is created and the rules under which it is used and manifests in the game world, especially in mechanical terms.

Squires

If the player doesn’t want to shoulder the burden of the financial and social obligations of full knighthood for his gentleman or noble character, his may choose for him to rise only high enough to be a Squire. This allows him a certain amount of leeway in socializing with the common folk that a character of full noble rank and standing simply does not have.

On Becoming a Squire

The process of attaining knighthood usually starts about the age of seven to eight, or as young as age five, with the child being sent to be educated in the hall of an ally or liege-lord, as a Page. The position of page has been ennobled by the passage of time. It was originally used to designate a servant of low position, even a cook’s assistant or a lowly messenger boy, as late as the early 1400’s.

William Marshal, son of John Marshal the provisioner of King Henry I (1100-1135) will be used as a point of reference and example in discussing knightly training and the knight’s career. John was in wealth a very minor lord, holding only c. seven knight’s fees, and hereditary Marshal of the king’s household. Like many other aspiring knights, William looked forward to getting no inheritance, being John marshal’s youngest son. Young William started his training in noble society at about the age of eight. As customary in the houses of the nobility, William was fostered in the hall of one of his father’s kinsmen, the great lord William of Tancarville, a cousin. Not all knightly families have the opportunity to foster their children elsewhere, especially in such a prestigious house, and so have to train their own sons. Young William worked as a servant in Lord Tancarville’s hall, serving at the high table and required to help with the chores of the household that were in keeping with his dignity as the son of a titled man,

The Page must learn to be gentle and polite, to enter a room with grace and good manner, to greet all with a modest “God speed you”, an d not to stare at folk or look too boldly so as to challenge or give offense. They must learn to stand straight and tall, and do so quietly, not to slouch or lean against the wall, post, or jamb, and not to handle or fidget with things. Before their lords they must descend to one knee with grace. They must speak only when spoken to, unless they ask first for permission, by which very act they may make themselves seem to be too forward and so must take care to be humble. When responding to their lords they must first make obeisance to them for the honor of recognition by them. These good graces are learned indoors, primarily from the ladies of the household, the master’s wife and her ladies-in-waiting.

In short, all Knights are encouraged in their training to cultivate the social graces of the Courtier, as well. The two Trades go hand in hand.

All Pages must also learn to sit a horse and are provided one to care for and learn to ride. Many are also provided a hawk to care for and learn to fly, as falconry is another art of the knight, a mark of noble blood and breeding. Pages are sometimes used to carry messages, a happy occasion when the news is good, for it is a chance to get out from under the harsh eye of the master and be well-rewarded, for it is customary for both sender and received to offer a gift or coin in gratuity. Lack of physical strength usually keeps the Pages from entering into the service of a knight as a Squire until they reach the age of 12.

William Marshal was admitted to the ranks of Squires when he reached his teens, sometime between the ages of 12 and 14 years, according to custom. The position and distinction of the office of Squire were developed at the turn of the 1100’s, as they gradually gained the honor of serving only knights. Originally squires were the lowest servants of the armies, nothing more than villeins and serfs charged with the lowest duties.

Young gentlemen of devolved knightly blood are also eligible to be raised as pages. By age 12-14, when he has achieved sufficient size and strength, the Page is inducted as a Squire, apprenticed to a knight who will train him in the arts of combat, strategy, and tactics.

The Squire is known by his silver spurs.

When the Page becomes a Squire, donning the silver spurs, his household chores take a lesser role to his responsibility for keeping the arms and weapons of the Knight who is his master clean and rust free and for currying and sometimes exercising his war steed(s), as well as his training in the use of the lance, (long-) sword, shield, the wearing of mail, and perfecting his Horseman skills.

Pages and Squires are clothed and armed by their masters until they can sit a horse securely and carry both lance and sword (c. age 11-12). The Squire is charged with learning the arts of falconry and of the hunt, although NOT the skills of the hunter and of the officers whose place it is to facilitate the hunt, embodied in the Huntsmen trade.

They are schooled in the strategies of chess, and in the finer courts even to learn an instrument and to chant or sing the ballads and deeds of the heroes of Chivalry in good voice. In short, again, the Knight is encouraged to become skilled in the social arts and graces that make of him good company, able to make the lords and his fellow knights “good cheer”, alongside his skills of war. The finding of a place in the household of a wealthy lord and making of good cheer for him and his fellows is a rung on the ladder of the Knight’s career that embodies the apex for many. And for those who achieve that, even a lordship is not too high to aim.

Squires must learn from the stable master to curry the master’s horse(s) and also their own, see that they are kept in good shoes, and work with his master’s beastmaster to break in any new young horses the master may acquire by purchase or conquest, hence the availability of the Husbandman-Beastmaster trade – or Husbandman alone if the full scope of Beastmastery doesn’t interest the player. Once he dons the golden spurs, the Knight need not maintain these skills, and many do allow them to fail, relying on the men in their retinues to attend to those duties. Either way, once Knighthood is achieved, some means for providing the care of his horse(s) must be secured in play.

The Squire is never far from his master unless sent away to attend to or accomplish some matter of his business. He greets his Knight on rising, preparing and attending to his bath, waiting on him at table, and seeing him to bed every night, sleeping on a straw tick or pallet close by his master’s bed, or in the antechamber to his master’s chamber. He must receive his master’s guests, relieve them of their arms and attend to their comforts and entertain them as if they were themselves his masters.

In battle, the Squire is forbidden to touch the master’s sword, which often is also a reliquary containing a small relic of some saint, perhaps a memento of a personal or ancestral pilgrimage. Squires are forbidden to wear a helm of coat of mail or to carry a lance in battle.

At the tourneys, no more than three armed Squires are allowed to accompany each knightly combatant. These are required to wear their lord’s sign or coat of arms and only limited armor. Most commonly, a Squire wears a padded or studded leather garment called a gambeson or aketon. He is limited in his involvement in the melée, bearing broadsword only and fighting only with a javelin or quarterstaff. However, in service to their knights, they are considered non-combatants on the battlefield. Regardless, their responsibilities on the battlefield are very real. The Squire must provide replacements for lost or broken weapons from his master’s pavilion, help with repairs to his mount’s bridle, saddle, and harness, bring in fresh horses, or even to protect his master from capture if he should be knocked down and stunned or injured.

Only those Squires close and regular enough in attendance to be accustomed to carve a lord’s meat (Squires of the Body, senior-most) are allowed at the tournament festivities in the evenings. When or out riding on the hunt and especially in the melee at the many tournaments his master may attend, his duties are much the same.

In case of conflict with his master or any other Knight, the Squire has NO rights to offer battle. He cannot demand duel with him, and is forbidden to even engage any Knight in battle. He is beneath their dignity.

The Squire’s term of service as described lasts five to seven years, occasionally longer, but most commonly seven, ending only when the Squire reaches the age of majority, commonly acknowledged to be 21. Occasionally it is shorter, but it may depend on the customs of the country, and the Squire’s rank by birth and political situation.

The sons of lords are generally knighted at a given age, whatever the legal majority is in that society, as low as 12 among the Salians, but generally 15 among the Germans, and 20 or 21 in accordance with old Roman law in France and England.

Due to the laws of primogeniture, under which only the first born male child can inherit, the heir to a lordship is generally knighted at 17 or 18 so he may assume his responsibilities and continue being trained to assume his father’s position. The younger sons and heirs of lesser lordships generally wait to 20 or 21, however. Younger sons of lords are portionless, without inheritance, and have to have some means of earning their livelihood. Knighthood is the solution for many of them, as war is the province of their class, but a Church education for many others is common, leading to a number of different opportunities.

Philip the Fair was knighted at age 16, but his political position required it. He had succeeded to the throne of the Kingdom of Navarre, in the mountains between Spain and France, and it “was not meet” or considered proper that a reigning monarch should be excluded from the ranks of Chivalry. When the candidate attains no such high office at a young age, the general fashion of knighting at 20 or 21 obtained, as it did with Philip the Fair’s own sons.

The Squire’s apprenticeship is long and hard, and over the years the Squire generally becomes very close to his master, developing a relationship as strong as any true family bond. No Knight who has even a single shred of honor dares raise his hand against the man under whom he served as Squire, a prohibition that can endure for years, if not for life, after leaving his household. In addition, there is a sense of fraternity between those who have risen to the estate of Knight. Out of respect for the hardships and training they all have suffered and the rank attained, they are loath to slay their peers. This does not stop them from confiscating all arms and weapons, horses, and the equipment in victory over their peers, and ransoming them afterwards. When sureties are provided, it is common for the hostage to be paroled on his own recognizance, however.

Due to the means necessary to maintain the lifestyle, many Squires remain at that social rank for some years before taking on the mantle of Knighthood. This is so prevalent, in fact, that it is common practice for the Crown not only to offer mass knightings on special occasions such as the knighting of royal princes and the eves before embarking on important royal campaigns or battles, but also for the Crown to pay for the various accoutrements required for the ceremony, easily as rich as the lifestyle expected of a Knight in itself.

Those Squires who train for but never achieve the gilded spurs of knighthood have the title “Squire” added before their names, or “Esquire” tacked on after.

The fortunes of the branches of the family that do not take knighthood generally fall as they grow apart from the origins of their knightly heritage, and the estate of knighthood is expensive to take up and maintain. These restrictive practices are a major contributing factor to c. 25% of all noble bloodlines failing in the direct line of descent every 100 years or so.

For the purposes of the game, it is assumed that the Squire character has completed his training for the knighthood in its entirety. In skill on the field of battle the Squire character is the equal of any new-made knight. What is lacking here is only social rank. We use the word “only” here advisedly, however, because that difference in rank and precedence changes the complexion of the entire game world for the character. ALL of the social realities, responsibilities and restrictions upon a Squire explained in the preceding text remains FULLY in force. Being on this social track is the player’s choice. It is hoped that the player is able to accept the parameters of the social role of the Squire, especially regarding the knights and nobles he is likely to share company with frequently, as he occupies one of the lower ranks of the noble world.

A Squire whose training is considered complete is fully trained in all the skills of battle, in the same manner described for Trade Warriors.

While every effort has been made to ensure that each and every character has an opportunity to learn to swing a weapon of some sort, or fire a bow or hurl a sling or other such weapons, and also to provide the opportunities to cultivate Brawling and wrestling skills so that all have the means for self-protection, to at least stand their ground in a pitched battle, it is VERY important to understand that there is a great deal more to being a member of one of the Warrior trades than simply swinging a weapon.

Characters opting to follow one of these trades are the product of either some type of school or the tutelage of a particular master. Both sorts of training were widely available across England in the period of the game despite the legislation actually enacted against them in the period. The people were expected to participate in the Fyrd or Militia, and thus at least rudimentary training was made available to them. The Warrior trades are quoted a standard length of apprenticeship in character creation like the rest of the trades, BUT any such training was always at will and subject to the student’s ability to pay the tuition, like any other school, while the apprenticeship to a fighting master is considered equally informal but rather more serious in terms of commitment. This trade represents the efforts of those who pursued this path in favor of any other, and the benefits that accrue.

The real difference between the Warrior by Trade such as a Squire and those that merely swing a weapon for self defense is one of interest and commitment. Those outside the trade are dilettantes with a passing interest. Those within the trade are in it for life, to keep them alive on the battlefield, where they expect their fortune to be found or made. To parallel that commitment is their interest in the martial training, in not only weapons and their various regional variations and differing forms by nationality, but the styles in which they are used and also the men who created and teach (or taught) those styles and made them famous. Some of the greatest styles are described in detail with illustrations in costly books to be handed down – some of them considered useful and instructive standards widely known and observed even a couple hundred years after the original master’s death.

The specific skills for the different types of attacks (Slash, Thrust, Lunge, Aimed Strike, Disarm, Feint, Hearty Blow, and Charge) are provided to allow the character to hone his weapon skills in detail (as applicable, where those optional rules are in play,) as an expression of his own personal style, as a Wizard does with his Five Arts, his cantrips, spells, and rituals, and all his various charms.

A character with the formal training of this trade is allowed a bonus to ALL his attack AV’s and defense DV’s based on the SL of his Game Face skill, as it gradually stills any habitual movements he might make that might give his intended next move or strike away to his opponent. His Savvy skill provides the measure of how well he can read an opponent, especially his body language, and also provides a bonus to ALL attack AV’s and defense DV’s based on that SL. Those of other trades may learn these techniques from those among this trade willing to teach, but the Warrior, Huntsman, and Assassin trades are the only ones allowed to use those skills for such bonuses from the start of play.

The Combinations skills on the skills roster provide a means of using tactics that illustrate a knowledge of fighting styles only available to those who have shown a commitment to pursuing a trade in the arts of war. The Warrior and Assassin trades are the only ones with access to those skills at the start of play.

 

Squire
Shield *
Shield Bash
Rim Strike
Weapons † 11) *
(Common Strike)
Slash
Thrust/Lunge
Aimed Strike
(Entangle)
Disarm
Feint
Hearty Blow *
Charge
Combinations
Dual Attack
Dual Defense
Attack/Defense
Drover/Charioteer (P)
Horseman (P)
Literatus & Scrivener (P) *
OR Secretary (P)
OR Grammar School (P)
OR Finishing School (P)
Open Skills
Brawler/Wrestler
Dodge (AGL)
Game Face (HRT)
Perception (AWA)
Savvy
Search
Sentry
Presence (CHM)
Coerce/Beguile
Player

The (Common Strike) entry is in parenthesis because it is not a separate skill in the same manner that Disarming, Feint, Aimed, etc. attacks are, but is subsumed in the basic Weapon skill. Being able to attack is part of that skill, already filling an AWA-slot. The (Entangle) attack skill is intrinsic to taking a dueling cape, net (after the gladiator’s fashion), etc. skill in the same fashion. Generally speaking, entangling weapons can only be used for Entangling attacks, unless the player can come up with some use by means of the Brawling skill to do otherwise. For those weapons designated as being solely Thrusting weapons (estoc, for example), the Thrust/Lunge skill is substituted for the Common Strike in the same manner, because that is the primary use of the weapon.

The balance of the attack skills listed are subject to AWA-slot limitations, normally.

Violence is an accepted and unavoidable part of the true Warrior’s and Knight’s life, and for those who live by it, a simple fact of life whose religious and spiritual ramifications offer little, if any, deterrent. Indeed, a Squire or other Warrior is expected to be hit hard enough to knock him to the ground no less than 20 times during his trials and training before he is ever considered ready to face battle.

Thus, a Warrior’s will to survive is tempered to a steely edge. He becomes inured to pain and privation over the course of his career, and is no stranger to the ivory grin of death. Warriors learn to endure and even dismiss discomforts that would wear others down, and even the pain of injuries or wounds.

The Warrior’s training provides him with a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score for the purposes of resisting numbing bodily shocks when struck and maintaining consciousness in the face of the pain of his wounds and in resisting extreme fatigue (if the optional END rules are in play) and the effects of exposure to the elements (heat, cold).

Another benefit of the Warrior’s Trade training comes in the form of a bonus of (1 per 4 TR’s) to the character’s wound allowance for each level of wounding, in turn (OR to his BP’s, if those optional rules are in play).

A (TR) bonus is added to his END score, where that optional rule is in use, and his TR is also added to his CND for the purposes of determining how quickly he recovers his END points (but ONLY for that purpose).

With their trade training providing such benefits, it is small wonder that Warriors are rather commonly noted for their callous lack of sympathy in regards to the complaints uttered by others when suffering physical hardships.

During the Warrior’s Trade training he learns to compensate for and work with his armor, to develop his fighting style that allows him to maximize it’s strengths, but mostly he becomes conditioned to the oppressive heat that can accumulate under it in the midst of a fight, rather more so than those who lack the same intensive training in arms that this trade represents. No strangers are these characters to having to be ready for action on a moment’s notice, or to taking their shifts on Sentry duty, and so inured to discomfort and physical hardship do they become, over time.

The Warrior is allowed to recover his END points normally, provided that optional rule is in play, if he should have a chance to cat-nap or even fall truly asleep while still wearing his armor, unlike those of other Trades.

When the player finally comes to the decision that it is time to seek his Squire’s Knighthood, he must look for an opportunity and a sponsor willing to provide him with the honor of being so elevated. Before the character actually undergoes the elevation or “dubbing”, it is incumbent on the player to become familiar with the information and social background regarding the Knight that is presented in that Trade’s description. It is important that the player be aware of the rights, responsibilities and social role of the rank he plans to attain.

Knights

The name of Knight in describing this trade for the purposes of the game is literal, not merely figurative. There is a grand mystique surrounding knighthood and it is primarily one of glory, born of the virtue of ardimen (bravery and courage in battle). Service in battle, to defend the land and its people from invaders, is the purpose and place of all knights, the source of their political power, wealth and influence, but even more, of their honor.

The furs called “the vair and the grey” are exclusive to knights and may be worn by no other class. These are the mottled white, gray and brown belly furs and the gray back furs, respectively, of the northern squirrel. No matter high, great or powerful the lord, be he prince, earl or duke, if he has not been knighted he may not wear those furs.

Knighthood and the orders of Chivalry, the right to wear the golden spurs, are exclusive even among the ranks of nobles, in a similar manner that lordship is exclusive. Not all knights are lords, and not all lords are knights.

While proof of descent from the blood of Lords is sufficient for training and receipt of knighthood, only the first-born son of the noble knight who lacks a lordship is eligible to be trained and knighted by blood right after his father. Any younger sons of that knight may train and serve as Squires, but they must earn knighthood through service, especially by distinguishing themselves on the battlefield, if indeed they aspire to it. The first-born sons of those Squires bear the same right to be trained and take knighthood as their eldest uncle, so it is possible for the rank of knight to skip a generation in a given branch of the family.

If any branch of a knightly family fails to train for and earn the gilded spurs of knighthood for three generations in succession, that branch loses that right thenceforth. They simply become “gentlemen”. This does not mean that they have no privileges, they still have access through their family to positions in great lordly houses as clerks or officers, and their children may be taken in as pages and grow into positions of their own in the household, perhaps eventually recovering knighthood through service, too.

Those Squires who train for but never achieve the gilded spurs of knighthood have the title “Squire” added before their names, or “Esquire” tacked on after.

The fortunes of the branches of the family that do not take knighthood generally fall as they grow apart from the origins of their knightly heritage, and the estate of knighthood is expensive to take up and maintain. These restrictive practices are a major contributing factor to c. 25% of all noble bloodlines failing in the direct line of descent every 100 years or so.

According to ecclesiastical historian Orderic Vitalis, the Knight is most often reluctant to kill his fellow knights out of fear of the Light and due to a common fellowship of arms, as described for Squires. He should pity his prisoners and allow them to go free on parole when they have provided sureties for their ransom. The good Knight gives largesse and alms to the poor and indigent, and stands as a protector of monks and priests, the weak, and pilgrims. The renowned medieval author Chrètien de Troyes had this to say of largesse in his 12th century romance “Cligés”:

“‘Dear son,’ he said, ‘believe me when I tell you that largesse is the queen and lady who brightens all Virtues, and this is not difficult to prove. Where could one find a man who, no matter how powerful or rich, would not be reproached if he were miserly? What man has so many other good qualities–excepting only God’s grace–that largesse would not increase his fame? Largesse alone makes one a worthy man, not high birth, courtesy, wisdom, gentility, riches, strength, chivalry, boldness, power, beauty, or any other gift. But just as the rose, when it buds fresh and new, is more beautiful than any other flower, so largesse, whenever it appears, surpasses all other Virtues and causes the good qualities it finds in a worthy man who comports himself well to be increased five-hundred fold. There is so much to be said of largesse that I could not tell you the half.”

Service is part of the Knightly ethos, one of the major sources of a knight’s status. The Knight’s place in society often goes hand in hand with the skills of the Courtier, as described in his training as a Squire, for the Knight’s career outside of battle is one of service, especially to his feudal superiors. If the Knight is successful enough to earn the traditional Knight’s Fee (a manor of at least 480 acres, or fief) of his own, the nature of the service expands, as he becomes a “law-worthy knight” and is drawn into the network of Knights in the same district who help with the tasks of local government and justice.

A definite line is drawn in society between Knights who fight for their bread caring for horse, weapons and arms and the Courtier-Knights, however. On the background tables the latter are denoted as Knights of the Bath, also known in the period of the game as “Holy Mary’s Knights”. Even the law acknowledges the difference between these. The insolvent fighting Knight can not be deprived of his war-harness or steed(s) by legal distraint of his moveable property, where the Knight who earns his bread by (political) service at court rather than arms, a Knight of the Bath, would be allowed to retain only his horse under the same circumstances. Battle-seasoned fighting Knights commonly hold their gentler counterparts who may have either no battle skills or no battle experience in a certain amount of contempt. Those who merely profess to fight are generally considered to be men of little or no honor by those who risk their lives exercising their ancient right and privilege, the source of their power and authority. It is an expression of the conflict between their martial roots and trends towards gentility and the rise of politics in medieval society, as mentioned in the Troubadour trade description.

A Knight might aspire to a post as a royal falconer if he apply himself to learn and keep the skills of Husbandry of hawks when training for his trade, especially if he be a Huntsman or Woodsman. He might find himself made a Marshal or Keeper of a royal horse farm if he apply himself to learn and keep the skills of Husbandry of horses. A Knight-Huntsman might become a Ranger, Regarder, Verderer, or other officer of the Forest Law roaming the forest districts. Such work with any of the Beasts of the Hunt (horses, hawks and/or hounds) is considered consonant with his station as a knight.

The Knight known as a miles literatus is uncommon, but that is not just literacy as the name might imply, but true education and scholarship. Most Knights can read and even write [Latin] and [French], necessarily so in the work they are expected to do for the local government.

A Knight with no lands to administer in his own right or fief-rentes to support him is known as a Knight Simple. Knights of this sort commonly follow the tournament circuit in the hopes of winning enough to support their honor and social status, but even moreso to catch the eye of prospective liege-lords to take them in.

The household “Knight in service” is commonly sustained by a combination of fief-rente (the income from certain lands or estates assigned without the lordship over or ownership of those lands), enfeoffed land (carrying a feudal due – servicium debitum, or tenure by military service), and wages, robes and shoes, as well as occasional boon gifts. Fractional holdings, as small as 1/10th a Knight’s fee (48 acres), allow fractional service requirements, such as no castle guard but full field service; fractional duration of all duties; owing suit in the lord’s court-baron.

A knight who has been taken into the household of his lord is called a Knight Bachelor. He is generally supported by a combination of estates (a Knight’s fief) and fief-rentes (the income of lands of which he has no say in the management) or wages and fief-rentes with yearly gifts of robes and shoes, and the largesse of the lord. Knights Bachelor, whether in household service or enfeoffed, owe their liege-lords 40 days service in the field every year without pay in peace or in war, but the liege lord may seek to extend this service with an offer of pay. Knights Bachelor also owe their lords guard and escort duty, and garrison duty, as well, in either royal or baronial castles. Garrison duty might only last 2 weeks in any given castle, but two to three months of duty are owed in total over the course of the year and the Knight might be rotated every few weeks, or assigned duty off and on throughout the year. If needed for field duty in battle, they might be released from garrison, replaced by Sergeants or burgesses owing castle guard by sergeanty.

A Knight Banneret is a seasoned Knight distinguished for his service in the field by the specific royal grant of the right to lead a company of troops during time of war under his own private banner showing his armorial bearings (coat of arms). This banner is marked by its square shape, in contrast to the tapering standard or the pennon or pennoncelle flown by the lower-ranking knights. Bannerets are eligible to bear supporters in English heraldry. In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up, as the lion and the unicorn in the arms of the English crown. No knight banneret can be created except on the field of battle, and then only when the king is present, or at least when his royal standard is being carried on the field by his appointed representative (i.e., in a royal campaign). A Knight Banneret is expected to be enfeoffed with multiple Knight’s Feoffs to support the greater dignity of that rank and he can never achieve that recognition without being well-seasoned in battle and highly skilled not only in arms but in leadership, also.

The rise of the knight in his trade is a long and arduous odyssey. Having gone through it as the natural and necessary process to becoming a Sacred Knight, however, it is very important that the player be familiar with it as the being part and parcel of his character’s background. If the character came to the status of knight from low birth and/or relatively late in age, he still must have “caught-up” with his peers in achieving this state, and the player should know what that process entails.

On Becoming a Knight

The process of attaining knighthood usually starts about the age of seven to eight, or as young as age five, with the child being sent to be educated in the hall of an ally or liege-lord, as a Page. The position of page has been ennobled by the passage of time. It was originally used to designate a servant of low position, even a cook’s assistant or a lowly messenger boy, as late as the early 1400’s.

William Marshal, son of John Marshal the provisioner of King Henry I (1100-1135) will be used as a point of reference and example in discussing knightly training and the knight’s career. John was in wealth a very minor lord, holding only c. seven knight’s fees, and hereditary Marshal of the king’s household. Like many other aspiring knights, William looked forward to getting no inheritance, being John marshal’s youngest son. Young William started his training in noble society at about the age of eight. As customary in the houses of the nobility, William was fostered in the hall of one of his father’s kinsmen, the great lord William of Tancarville, a cousin. Not all knightly families have the opportunity to foster their children elsewhere, especially in such a prestigious house, and so have to train their own sons. Young William worked as a servant in Lord Tancarville’s hall, serving at the high table and required to help with the chores of the household that were in keeping with his dignity as the son of a titled man,

The Page must learn to be gentle and polite, to enter a room with grace and good manner, to greet all with a modest “God speed you”, and not to stare at folk or look too boldly so as to challenge or give offense. They must learn to stand straight and tall, and do so quietly, not to slouch or lean against the wall, post, or jamb, and not to handle or fidget with things. Before their lords they must descend to one knee with grace. They must speak only when spoken to, unless they ask first for permission, by which very act they may make themselves seem to be too forward and so must take care to be humble. When responding to their lords they must first make obeisance to them for the honor of recognition by them. These good graces are learned indoors, primarily from the ladies of the household, the master’s wife and her ladies-in-waiting.

In short, all Knights are encouraged in their training to cultivate the social graces of the Courtier, as well. The two Trades go hand in hand.

All Pages must also learn to sit a horse and are provided one to care for and learn to ride. Many are also provided a hawk to care for and learn to fly, as falconry is another art of the knight, a mark of noble blood and breeding. Pages are sometimes used to carry messages, a happy occasion when the news is good, for it is a chance to get out from under the harsh eye of the master and be well-rewarded, for it is customary for both sender and received to offer a gift or coin in gratuity. Lack of physical strength usually keeps the Pages from entering into the service of a knight as a Squire until they reach the age of 12.

William Marshal was admitted to the ranks of Squires when he reached his teens, sometime between the ages of 12 and 14 years, according to custom. The position and distinction of the office of Squire were developed at the turn of the 1100’s, as they gradually gained the honor of serving only knights. Originally squires were the lowest servants of the armies, nothing more than villeins and serfs charged with the lowest duties.

Young gentlemen of devolved knightly blood are also eligible to be raised as pages. By age 12-14, when he has achieved sufficient size and strength, the Page is inducted as a Squire, apprenticed to a knight who will train him in the arts of combat, strategy, and tactics.

The Squire is known by his silver spurs.

Squirehood

When the Page becomes a Squire, donning the silver spurs, his household chores take a lesser role to his responsibility for keeping the arms and weapons of the Knight who is his master clean and rust free and for currying and sometimes exercising his war steed(s), as well as his training in the use of the lance, (long-) sword, shield, the wearing of mail, and perfecting his Horseman skills.

Pages and Squires are clothed and armed by their masters until they can sit a horse securely and carry both lance and sword (c. age 11-12). The Squire is charged with learning the arts of falconry and of the hunt, although NOT the skills of the hunter and of the officers whose place it is to facilitate the hunt, embodied in the Huntsmen trade.

Knights are schooled in the strategies of chess, and in the finer courts even to learn an instrument and to chant or sing the ballads and deeds of the heroes of Chivalry in good voice. In short, again, the Knight is encouraged to become skilled in the social arts and graces that make of him good company, able to make the lords and his fellow knights “good cheer”, alongside his skills of war. The finding of a place in the household of a wealthy lord and making of good cheer for him and his fellows is a rung on the ladder of the Knight’s career that stands as the apex for many. And for those who achieve that, even a lordship is not too high to aim.

Squires must learn from the stable master to curry the master’s horse(s) and also their own, see that they are kept in good shoes, and work with his master’s beastmaster to break in any new young horses the master may acquire by purchase or conquest, hence the availability of the Husbandman-Beast Master trade – or Husbandman alone if Beast Mastery holds no interest for the player. Once he dons the golden spurs, the Knight need not maintain these skills, and many do allow them to fail, relying on the men in their retinues to attend to those duties. Either way, once Knighthood is achieved, some means for providing the care of his horse(s) must be secured in play.

The Squire is never far from his master unless sent away to attend to or accomplish some matter of his business. He greets his Knight on rising, preparing and attending to his bath, waiting on him at table, and seeing him to bed every night, sleeping on a straw tick or pallet close by his master’s bed, or in the antechamber to his master’s chamber. He must receive his master’s guests, relieve them of their arms and attend to their comforts and entertain them as if they were themselves his masters.

In battle, the Squire is forbidden to touch the master’s sword, which often is also a reliquary containing a small relic of some saint, perhaps a memento of a personal or ancestral pilgrimage. Squires are forbidden to wear a helm of coat of mail or to carry a lance in battle.

At the tourneys, no more than three armed Squires are allowed to accompany each knightly combatant. These are required to wear their lord’s sign or coat of arms and only limited armor. Most commonly, a Squire wears a padded or studded leather garment called a gambeson or aketon. He is limited in his involvement in the melée, bearing broadsword only and fighting only with a javelin or quarterstaff. However, in service to their knights, they are considered non-combatants on the battlefield. Regardless, their responsibilities on the battlefield are very real. The Squire must provide replacements for lost or broken weapons from his master’s pavilion, help with repairs to his mount’s bridle, saddle, and harness, bring in fresh horses, or even to protect his master from capture if he should be knocked down and stunned or injured.

Only those Squires close and regular enough in attendance to be accustomed to carve a lord’s meat (Squires of the Body, senior-most) are allowed at the tournament festivities in the evenings. When out riding on the hunt and especially in the melee at the many tournaments his master may attend, his duties are much the same.

In case of conflict with his master or any other Knight, the Squire has NO rights to offer battle. He cannot demand duel with him, and is forbidden to even engage any Knight in battle. He is beneath their dignity.

The Squire’s term of service as described lasts five to seven years (the same as a common apprenticeship in any other trade), occasionally longer, but most commonly seven, ending only when the Squire reaches the age of majority, commonly acknowledged to be 21. Occasionally it is shorter, but it may depend on the customs of the country, and the Squire’s rank by birth and political situation.

The sons of lords are generally knighted at a given age, whatever the legal majority is in that society, as low as 12 among the Salians, but generally 15 among the Germans, and 20 or 21 in accordance with old Roman law in France and England.

Due to the laws of primogeniture, under which only the first born male child can inherit, the heir to a lordship is generally knighted at 17 or 18 so he may assume his responsibilities and continue being trained to assume his father’s position. The younger sons and heirs of lesser lordships generally wait to 20 or 21, however. Younger sons of lords are portionless, without inheritance, and have to have some means of earning their livelihood. Knighthood is the solution for many of them, as war is the province of their class, but a Church education for many others is common, leading to a number of different opportunities.

Philip the Fair was knighted at age 16, but his political position required it. He had succeeded to the throne of the Kingdom of Navarre, in the mountains between Spain and France, and it “was not meet” or considered proper that a reigning monarch should be excluded from the ranks of Chivalry. When the candidate attains no such high office at a young age, the general fashion of knighting at 20 or 21 obtained, as it did with Philip the Fair’s own sons.

The Squire’s apprenticeship is long and hard, and over the years the Squire generally becomes very close to his master, developing a relationship as strong as any true family bond. No Knight who has even a single shred of honor dares raise his hand against the man under whom he served as Squire, a prohibition that can endure for years, if not for life, after leaving his household. In addition, there is a sense of fraternity between those who have risen to the estate of Knight. Out of respect for the hardships and training they all have suffered and the rank attained, they are loath to slay their peers. This does not stop them from confiscating all arms and weapons, horses, and equipment in victory over their peers, and ransoming them afterwards, however. That is how they earn their bread. When sureties are provided, it is common for the hostage to be paroled on his own recognizance, however.

Due to the means necessary to maintain the lifestyle, many Squires remain at that social rank for some years before taking on the mantle of Knighthood. This is so prevalent, in fact, that it is common practice for the Crown not only to offer mass knightings on special occasions such as the knighting of royal princes and the eves before embarking on important royal campaigns or battles, but also for the Crown to pay for the various accoutrements required for the ceremony, easily as rich as the lifestyle expected of a Knight in itself.

The Making of a Knight

This text is provided so each player of a Knight character knows and understands what his character has been through to get where he stands at the start of play, and also as a guide or template if any character should be lucky enough to earn the prestigious rank of knight once play has commenced.

Knighting ceremonies are generally held on holy fête days, when the churches draw their greatest crowds. Easter and Whitsunday are the most popular fêtes for dubbing knights. The occasions of weddings and royal baptisms are commonly expanded to include the dubbing of knights. Most choose to be knighted on the anniversary of their own father’s dubbing, however, especially among lesser Lords and the gentry – simple Knights.

Knights of less distinguished families are often created at the dubbing of the sons of other knights, while the dubbing of royalty and distinguished nobility is commonly accompanied by the dubbing 20, 50, or even as many as 100 other new knights as an honor guard. The dubbing of a large honor guard is an expensive and extravagant luxury, as the expenses for the war-harness and costly garments of silk and brocade for the ceremony are paid for by the family of the chief-most lord whose son is to be dubbed.

Trained Squires awaiting knighthood are often knighted on the eve of a great battle, as fighting men are always in demand, especially on the eve of a great royal campaign. Knighting on the field of battle after a heroic showing is often preferred, however, and can often include men of common or even base (landbound) birth. William Marshal finally earned his knighthood at the age of 21, on the eve of a battle when William’s uncle, Lord William of Tancarville, in whose court young William trained, needed to gather men. Before the French defeat at Agincourt, nearly 500 new knights were made. In contrast, the great majority of knights are created in times of peace. The dubbing of a knight is a great occasion for reuniting families which may have been scattered throughout the government, the Church, and the noble families of the realm.

The postulant or novice Knight elects to have either a military knighting or a liturgical ceremony. the military ritual is performed either on the meadows surrounding a castle or on the top of the steps leading to the keep. In the case of a liturgical ceremony, the church of the closest monastery or whatever local religious foundation the family commonly supports is usually patronized.

While every knight theoretically has the power to create another knight, in practice, all candidates by blood look to either their fathers, uncles, or the noble in whose court they took their training for knighthood to perform that ritual for them. Sometimes the liege-lord of the candidate’s father is chosen over a family member, to further cement the tie of the family to it’s lord. The king himself ((or emperor in regards to Germany) might be sought out to deliver that honor, but the previously described old custom (the father elevating his own son) prevailed more often, particularly for younger sons and lesser lords who were trained in the arts of Chivalry at home. In England in particular, the king was eventually able to enforce his right as the ultimate liege-lord of every nobleman of the realm, to become the sole source of knighthood in practice.

The knighting ceremony is called the Ceremony of Investiture. It is a very expensive event usually only enjoyed by the eldest son, unless his family has great wealth, for they must foot the cost for it. This is especially true when the Knight is to be dubbed by the king, for the parents must pay not only for the ceremony itself, but for the attendance of and even greater pomp required in entertaining the king.

There are several parallels between the ceremony of investiture for dubbing a Knight and the marriage ceremony. As the trousseau of the bride is laid out before the wedding, the clothing, spurs, and robes of the aspiring knight are laid out a day beforehand. Gifts are opened and admired and any particularly nice ones sent to the young man are displayed in the hall. At the spread of the news of the knighting, troubadors or minstrels, jongleurs, players, animal leaders and entertainers of all types begin to gather. Those who are rewarded may attach themselves to the knight’s company as long as his gifts and goodwill are forthcoming, even permanently. The presence of such a person in his retinue enhances his social presence and reputation. It can be a lucrative living for them. The poor make a point of visiting the hall of the soon-to-be Knight in search of alms knowing that this special event is a ripe one for the distribution of the largesse of the house.

On the evening two days prior to the investiture, the aspirant’s hair is cut, a symbol of dedication. For the military ritual a single lock may be considered sufficient, but for the ecclesiastical ceremony the aspirant’s head is shaved in a priest’s tonsure (from the crown in a circle, leaving only a fringe). Afterwards the aspirant undergoes a luxurious bath sprinkled with perfumes and rose petals, followed with a massage of expensive scented oils. The bath for the military ceremony may not be quite so rich, unless the family can afford it, but it is a happy affair nonetheless. In the ecclesiastical investiture, the bath is analogous to the anointing undergone when first entering the ranks of the religious, the washing away of the Knight’s sins (baptism). Laughter is prohibited in bath for the ecclesiastical investiture, as is idle chatter, and the massage is forgone as being too worldly a pleasure. An air of gravity prevails, but underneath is a strong current of excitement and happy anticipation. Stepping from the bath, the aspirant may retire to bed, symbol of the ease and comfort he will enjoy if he serves Chivalry, Honor, and the Church well. On rising in the morning, he dresses in the robes for the ceremony.

The candidate preparing for the military ceremony begins preparations the morning of the day before the investiture, proceeding directly from the bath to the ceremonial robes.

For the ceremony, the aspirant is dressed first in a long, white linen tunic with long sleeves, a symbol of his honor and the beginning of a new life free from any sins of the past. For the military ceremony, the tunic may be any color, but generally purple for those of royalty (an association left over from the Roman past) and the “small clothes” underneath this likely of silk. Over this he dons a red hooded robe, signifying the blood he must be prepared to shed and lose himself in the service of the Light, the needs of honor, of King, of country. For the military ceremony this robe may be rich, indeed, lined or trimmed in the grey and the vair, in miniver, or the royal ermine, and need not be red, but may even be of cloth-of-gold if his family can afford it. Last he is wrapped in a black coat representing the death which will one day claim him.

The day before the ceremony, a 24-hour fast is begun. In the evening of the day before the investiture, a younger brother or other young relative carries the Knight’s sword to the nearest religious house and lays it upon the alter, where it will remain for the night. Later, in company with any who may be dubbed alongside him, the aspirant says a little farewell to his family and rides to the church where his sword rests to undergo the Vigil of Arms. It is a wearisome task, 10 hours of steady prayer, meditation, and devotions centering on the honor to be received, the glory to be achieved, the very nature of Chivalry and the Virtues it requires of them, all contained in the Creed of their faith. The entire 10 hours is spent either standing or kneeling on the chill stone floor, never sitting. Neither is the aspirant allowed to speak through the whole vigil, and his fast must endure until after he returns home in the morning – a titanic task for a young man full of anticipation!

All aspirants regardless of the type of ceremony of investiture they will undergo must endure the Vigil of Arms. For the Knight entering a sacred order, it will be the second such investiture he will have undergone, for (historically) all orders of Sacred Knights require the Knight first to have achieved knighthood before he is allowed to enter. The GM is, of course, able to change this detail, allowing the Church to make Knights of its own – this puts Throne and Altar at odds, however. The Crown jealously guards it’s feudal prerogatives, and the right to create a Knight is the embodiment of a military feudal right.

The major difference between the Sacred Knight and the secular Knight is that the secular Knight follows the dictates of the Creed of the Light provide him with guidelines of behavior he adheres to in accordance with his own conscience, for good or ill, and which as a class the Knights largely apply only in their dealings with their peers and the greater nobles. The Sacred Knight, on the other hand, is bound by Vows of a religious order in the same manner as a monk.

On the morning of the day of the investiture, the aspiring Knight and any companions to also be dubbed make their confession to the chaplain or priest (as applicable to the religion of the GM’s gameworld). Afterwards a high mass or grand religious service is celebrated, and the candidate(s) take the Sacrament (or it’s analogue in the GM’s gameworld). He boisterously returns to the hall afterwards, the gravity of the event only partially subduing him. In the hall the fast is broken with a light meal – good white bread and perhaps some venison.

The candidate then appears before the crowd gathered for the occasion and enjoys their welcoming cheers and cries of well-wishes. The trumpets sound, the minstrels play, and then he descends to the carpet or patch of straw laid in the courtyard or in the field before the castle, and all fall silent. His sponsor questions his motives in seeking knighthood, that it not be for vain glory or the pursuit of riches. It is the sponsors responsibility to guard against persons of low character seeking the noble offices of knighthood (regardless of right by noble blood). In the ceremony of investiture, the postulant to knighthood may have as many as five sponsors – usually reserved for the honor of princes, dukes, counts, and earls), one to fasten each spur onto the candidate, one to gird him with his sword, one to deliver the paumée or colée (clout or blow with a fist), and the last to present his steed. Those of lesser birth might have only two persons to perform these offices. Of course, the higher the rank of the candidate, the higher the rank of the sponsors who attend him at his investiture.

The Sacred Knight’s investiture takes place in a church, and a priest delivers a short sermon on the duties and the life of the Knight before the sponsor questions him, perhaps the same priest who will be or has been the Knights teacher in religion. An official of the Church becomes the sponsor of the young Knight – Bishop, Arch-Bishop, Prelate, according to the candidate’s social rank.

The gold or gilded spurs are fastened first in the investiture. If ever he be proven dishonored, the Knight’s spurs are hacked off at the heels – a terrible fate. The hauberk is donned next, and then the helm (usually nasal helm or great helm), studded on the top or at the jointures with semi-precious stones, according to the purse of the candidate’s family. The girding of the sword is the focus of attention and a moment of high emotion for the new Knight, who until that moment has until then been forbidden to even touch it.

The candidate then bends his head for the colée, or blow, after which the sponsor brings forth the steed. The colée, or paumée as it is also called, is a rough clout upon the neck delivered by whomever the aspirant has chosen as sponsor to dub him. This not a gentle blow, but is intended to stagger the young Knight, sometimes bringing him to his knees or even knocking him to the ground. With the clout comes some simple phrase such as “Be thou a good Knight!” or the pious “Love God!”, but a lengthy evocation of the Knight’s responsibilities is also occasionally used, “Be thou brave and upright; remember that you sprang from a race which should never be false. Honor all Knights; be liberal to the poor; love God; and may [the Light] protect you from all your enemies. Go forth!”

The Church, which blesses all oaths of knighthood, commands all knights, sacred and secular, to defend it (the Church) and to turn his sword ceaselessly without mercy against its foes. In return he is promised the certainty of a heavenly reward, borne thence by the angels themselves. The knights are exhorted to avoid all Vice and base actions, to love Truth above all else, to defend the righteous and avenge injustice, to be humble and courteous in all things. One such oath:

“By [the Light], before whom these relics are holy, I will be loyal to (lord’s name and title), and love all he loves, and hate all that he hates, in accordance with [the Light’s] rights and secular obligations; and never, willingly and intentionally, in word or deed, do anything that is hateful to him; on condition that he keep me as I shall deserve, and carry out all that was our agreement, when I subjected myself to him and chose his favor.”

Further sentiments:

“[The Light] commanded that a lord should be loved as oneself …” and “All we ever do, through just loyalty to our lord, we do to our own great advantage, for truly [the Light] will be gracious to him who is duly faithful to his lord.”

According to the noted clergyman John of Salisbury, the prime qualities of the Knight were first Obedience, then Physical Strength, Endurance, Courage, then Sobriety, and finally Frugality of Life, or Temperance. In the oath of the Romance Knights, they swore to protect damsels, widows, and orphans, and all those seeking aid in just quarrels. The player of the sacred Knight character in RoM must pay strict attention to the 7 Virtues set forth previously, avoiding the 7 deadly Vices.

Failing to achieve these standards is common among secular knights, their vanity, greed and lust were commonly held up to ridicule by the chroniclers of the Church, historically. Among the Sacred Knights, such short-comings carry very real punitive consequences, which in some cases might hinder any mystical powers the Sacred Knight would otherwise be able to exercise freely, and ultimately including expulsion from the order.

In the author’s game, the phrase “May this be the only blow you ever fail to answer in kind. Be thou a good Knight!” was used. In England, this ceremony was commonly performed without the clout, or sans paumée. Over time, especially in regards the ecclesiastical ceremony, the clout became a light touch or tap.

Towards the end of the ceremony, the new Knight vaults into the saddle with a flourish. It is a matter of pride that the new Knight leap into the saddle without touching a stirrup, or sans étreir. When the Knight is astride his mount, the shield, painted with his family arms, is awarded him, along with a fine lance. He then gallops around the field to display his prowess for the crowd – and he must gallop! It is one of the elements of the ritual most ardently insisted upon. The new Knight then addresses the lists to tilt at the quintain, the final exhibition of his skill. Sometimes two quintains are set up, one behind the other, to increase the difficulty of the test, but as many as four or five quintains (extremely rare) may be used to prove the strength of the doughty. If successful, the Squire then is finally acknowledged as a Knight. Threats of being disinherited are not uncommon to ensure the success of the pass at the quintain in the end.

If there are several Knights created at the ceremony, they put on a mock combat for the crowd, fencing from horseback, the host of the ceremony brings it to a halt before any are seriously wounded.

After the ceremony, the guests are treated to as many as seven days of feasting, entertainments, and other merry-making, including the distribution of such gifts as the new Knight and his family can afford to all the guests to celebrate the grand event.

All knights, including Knights in sacred Orders, are fully trained in the skills of battle in the same manner described for Trade Warriors.

While every effort has been made to ensure that each and every character has an opportunity to learn to swing a weapon of some sort, or fire a bow or hurl a sling or other such weapons, and also to provide the opportunities to cultivate Brawling and wrestling skills so that all have the means for self-protection, to at least stand their ground in a pitched battle, it is VERY important to understand that there is a great deal more to being a member of one of the Warrior trades than simply swinging a weapon.

Characters opting to follow one of these trades are the product of either some type of school or the tutelage of a particular master. Both sorts of training were widely available across England in the period of the game despite the legislation actually enacted against them in the period. The people were expected to participate in the Fyrd or Militia, and thus at least rudimentary training was made available to them. The Warrior trades are quoted a standard length of apprenticeship in character creation like the rest of the trades, BUT any such training was always at will and subject to the student’s ability to pay the tuition, like any other school, while the apprenticeship to a fighting master is considered equally informal but rather more serious in terms of commitment. This trade represents the efforts of those who pursued this path in favor of any other, and the benefits that accrue.

The real difference between the Warrior by Trade and those that merely swing a weapon for self defense is one of interest and commitment.

Trade Skills

Brawler/Wrestler

Game Face

Horseman

Literatus & Scrivener OR

Secretary OR

Grammar School OR

Finishing School

Perception

Sentry

Presence

Charm/Beguile

Interview/Interrogate

Command/Leadership

Shield

Block

Parry

Rim Strike

Shield Bash

Weapons † 12)

Violence is an accepted and unavoidable part of the true Warrior’s and Knight’s life, and for those who live by it, a simple fact of life whose religious and spiritual ramifications offer little, if any, deterrent. Indeed, a Squire or other Warrior is expected to be hit hard enough to knock him to the ground no less than 20 times during his trials and training before he is ever considered ready to face battle.

Thus, a Warrior’s will to survive is tempered to a steely edge. He becomes inured to pain and privation over the course of his career, and is no stranger to the ivory grin of death. Warriors learn to endure and even dismiss discomforts that would wear others down, and even the pain of injuries or wounds.

The Warrior’s training provides him with a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score for the purposes of resisting numbing bodily shocks when struck and maintaining consciousness in the face of the pain of his wounds and in resisting extreme fatigue (if the optional END rules are in play) and the effects of exposure to the elements (heat, cold).

Another benefit of the Warrior’s Trade training comes in the form of a bonus of (1 per 4 TR’s) to the character’s wound allowance for each level of wounding, in turn (OR to his BP’s, if those optional rules are in play).

A (TR) bonus is added to his END score, where that optional rule is in use, and his TR is also added to his CND for the purposes of determining how quickly he recovers his END points (but ONLY for that purpose).

With their trade training providing such benefits, it is small wonder that Warriors are rather commonly noted for their callous lack of sympathy in regards to the complaints uttered by others when suffering physical hardships.

During the Warrior’s Trade training he learns to compensate for and work with his armor, to develop his fighting style that allows him to maximize it’s strengths, but mostly he becomes conditioned to the oppressive heat that can accumulate under it in the midst of a fight, rather more so than those who lack the same intensive training in arms that this trade represents. No strangers are these characters to having to be ready for action on a moment’s notice, or to taking their shifts on Sentry duty, and so inured to discomfort and physical hardship do they become, over time.

The Warrior is allowed to recover his END points normally, provided that optional rule is in play, if he should have a chance to cat-nap or even fall truly asleep while still wearing his armor, unlike those of other Trades.

The Career of a Knight

Picking up again the tail of Sir William Marshal, our William made a fine showing at his first battle, fighting under the banner of his uncle William of Tancarville. He defeated many a good Knight, but made one major error that had to have impressed him for the remainder of his days. Out of all the Knights he defeated that day, our William did not pause to take a single hostage or claim a single horse, even after his own steed was slain. All of these would have been his according to the rules of Chivalrous combat. The armor of every man he defeated should have been his, their weapons, their horses, and a ransom from their families or lords as well. Though he left the field of battle with the greatest glory, he ended with badly beaten armor and much-abused weapons. Indeed, he was forced to sell the cloak in which he was knighted to equip himself for the next campaign on which he rode. At 50s. for common war harness, the GM can well imagine how rich and beautiful that cloak must have been, indeed, no doubt furred as well, to bring so fair a price.

Sir William drifted through the world as a Knight Errant for the next 15 years of his knightly career. He travelled the European tournament circuit and grew wealthy on his prowess, earning quite a reputation, as well. It was a dangerous occupation, though, to be sure. Indeed, following one tournament he had to retire to the smith’s to put his head on an anvil and have his helm beaten back into shape enough for him to get it off his head, so badly it was abused in battle.

Sir William was able to gain the notice of young Henry, heir to Henry II of England, and a place in his retinue by his renown. He was growing no younger, and his was a dangerous occupation with no secure income. Sir William was even granted the privilege of dubbing young Henry when he was knighted in 1181. After this Sir Henry went off on crusade to the Holy Land. On the strength of the reputation he earned fighting in the Holy Land, Sir William was added to the train of Henry II upon his return to England afterwards. Since Henry II was not interested in the tournament circuit on the continent, Sir William became a part of the government machine, instead. Eventually, Sir William was rewarded with the guardianship of a few fiefs and a young heiress. According to custom, the revenues of the heiress’ estates went right into Sir William’s purse until she came of age. Finally! A source of steady, secure income, even if only of limited duration. He continued in his service to Henry II for many years, until eventually he was promised the hand of the daughter of the Earl of Pembroke, a great lord. Sadly, as is often the case with royal promises, Henry II died without fulfilling it. Henry’s son Richard (Lionheart) assumed the throne, with whom Sir William had been enemies during Richard’s and his brothers’ many and long rebellions against their father Henry II, fuelled by their contentious mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Oops! Fortunately, Richard recognized the value in Sir William’s long and faithful service to his father, and fulfilled the promise of marriage to Pembroke’s heiress. Outliving his older brothers and succeeding to his father’s title of Marshal of the royal household, William became Sir William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke – one of the greatest of the English lords and a central figure in English politics for some 30 years. Earl William died in 1219, at 73 years of age, a tribute to the extraordinary possibilities available to the patient and diligent Knight in the English feudal world. We say the English feudal world because here simply because the social opportunities on the continent were not as available in regards the ranks of nobles. The path of trade and money held far more opportunities for advancement. Then again, on the continent, the father’s noble rank would have passed to all his children equally. The social order of England was more forgiving and permeable in regards to advancement, especially from one generation to the next.

The career of Earl Marshal certainly shone more brightly than that of the average Knight, but the pattern of progress in the feudal hierarchy was a common one among lesser Knights and among lesser lords. The average career of a Knight plying the tourney circuit was 15 to 20 years. Those who failed to achieve notable success and find suitable positions by the age of 40 commonly ended up as administrators of others’ estates, or as well-to-do land holders with (small) estates of their own (law-worthy local Knights of the Shire in England).

Civilian Duties of Landed Knights

Local Authority is composed of Knights, clergy, and freeman. In order to serve the local government’s needs and in the courts in a given shire, a Knight must be “law-worthy”, that is, able to acquit himself in the language of the courts and to read and write and have mastered basic mathematics. It also carries with it the requirement to hold land worth 40s. a year in income within that shire in which his services are sought, In practice, the knight is usually required to hold property not only within the shire, but in the same neighborhood (usually the same hundred, or bordering hundreds). Such a Knight may be referred to in public documents as a Knight of the Shire. A Knight can be rejected by the principles in a case at law for the failure to meet these criteria.

Historically, French was the language of the conqueror, and so of the local law courts, of management and lordship, as well as the king’s court, of all gentlemen. By the late 13th cent. records were rendered in French, Latin and English one after another in the official court Rolls.

“Unless a man knows French, he is thought of little account.”

Robert of Gloucester, l. 13th cent.

Knights are commonly serve the needs of the Justices and in association with the Sheriff and the shire court. Testimony may be sought in criminal cases by a Knight charged by the Justice(s) to do so, or offenders committed to a Knight’s custody. A local Knight can be discharged to inspect the scene of a crime or examine the wounds of a victim of assault. He can be discharged to act in the same capacity as the shire Coroner, gathering information and keeping the record of serious crime prior to trial by royal justice.

“Solidly-based” Knights called on as judges for the Assizes and for Gaol Delivery, or commissioned for assessing and collecting local taxes, taking control of the King’s escheats and wards of the shire, or to inspect the shire’s castles and make report to the government on any defects, as in the case of John de Ladbroke, of the village of Ladbroke.

He might be sent by Justices to view and make report on letters of complaint received.

A jury of 12 Knights is required to hold a grand Assize. Four law-worthy Knights must be summoned by the Sheriff to appear before the justices to elect those 12.

The record of a plea determined in a county court when needed in a royal court must be carried by a Knight. In cases of concords subsequently challenged, a record is required from the local Knights. Essoins of sickness (excuses not to attend court) at the third summons to court requires the dispatch of four Knights of the Shire to verify illness.

In cases of novel disseisin, juries must be composed of Knights, as well in all cases touching on the king’s interests. Survey and valuation of land in dispute must always be made by local Knights.

Local Knights will always keep the field and adjudicate all cases of judicial duel. The record of the wager of battle must be made by four local Knights at the royal capital before any duel.

A prominent Knight might serve as a Justice of Oyer and Terminer; as Sheriff; as a Purveyancer (procuring and organizing the supplies for the royal troops), though high profile Merchants are also preferred due to ability, that being the substance of their trade; Knights of the Shire to Parliament, bringing the petitions from their constituents; Commissioners of Array with contracts of indenture to provide troops in peace and war or for the tourneys, or in the household and tourney, for life or a specified term of years.

Sacred Knights

When groups of Knights gather under the patronage of the Church, sworn to holy orders as stringent as those of any monk, as well as oaths of fealty and service, the Knight is known for the purposes of the game as a Sacred Knight, or by the common name for his order (as illustrated below). By this sponsorship, the Church glorifies the war hero, makes of him a blessed champion, a veritable saint when martyred in battle, his place in heaven assured if he should die while serving the Church on the field of honor.

These orders in which the Sacred Knights are organized share many traits in common, notably all the same social restrictions and expectations to which secular knights are subject, but the style and form of the religious obligations to which they are subject vary from one order to the next, as in the example of the Knights of the Hospital of St. John (The Hospitallers), Poor Soldiers of Christ of the Temple of Solomon (Knights Templar), Teutonic Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of Jerusalem (Teutonic Knights), Knights of St. Lazarus, Livonian Brothers of the Sword (The Livonian Order), and so on. Indeed, these differences may bring the orders to stand at odds on occasion, as the Franciscan and Dominican monks were in the High Middle Ages, but under the auspices of the Church they are sworn never to cross swords with any of the faithful.

While all Sacred Knight orders historically required all applicants to already possess the state of knighthood, the orders take in common warriors under the same vows who are referred to as Sergeants.

The GM also has the option of stipulating for his game world that the orders may knight those applying if they find their skills sufficient to the honor and glory of the order and the needs of the Church.

The Sergeants wear the same colors as their brothers, the knights, and have much the same duties and responsibilities, but usually a greater share of the domestic duties of the house, as well as eating in a separate hall and being housed in a separate dormitory by the order, in deference to the Knights’ greater status. The Sergeants serving alongside the Sacred Knights have the same opportunities to earn their gilded spurs on the field of battle of any other common Warrior, as well.

The name of knight describing this trade for the purposes of the game is literal, not merely figurative. There is a grand mystique surrounding knighthood and it is primarily one of glory, born of the virtue of ardimen (bravery and courage in battle). Service in battle, to defend the land and its people from invaders, is the purpose and place of all knights, the source of their political power, wealth and influence, but even more, of their honor.

The furs called “the vair and the grey” are exclusive to knights and may be worn by no other class. These are the mottled white, gray and brown belly furs and the gray back furs, respectively, of the northern squirrel. No matter high, great or powerful the lord, be he prince, earl or duke, if he has not been knighted he may not wear those furs.

Knighthood and the orders of Chivalry, the right to wear the golden spurs, are exclusive even among the ranks of nobles, in a similar manner that lordship is exclusive. Not all knights are lords, and not all lords are knights.

While proof of descent from the blood of Lords is sufficient for training and receipt of knighthood, only the first-born son of the noble knight who lacks a lordship is eligible to be trained and knighted by blood right after his father. Any younger sons of that knight may train and serve as Squires, but they must earn knighthood through service, especially by distinguishing themselves on the battlefield, if indeed they aspire to it. The first-born sons of those Squires bear the same right to be trained and take knighthood as their eldest uncle, so it is possible for the rank of knight to skip a generation in a given branch of the family.

If any branch of a knightly family fails to train for and earn the gilded spurs of knighthood for three generations in succession, that branch loses that right thenceforth. They simply become “gentlemen”. This does not mean that they have no privileges, they still have access through their family to positions in great lordly houses as clerks or officers, and their children may be taken in as pages and grow into positions of their own in the household, perhaps eventually recovering knighthood through service, too.

Those Squires who train for but never achieve the gilded spurs of knighthood have the title “Squire” added before their names, or “Esquire” tacked on after.

The fortunes of the branches of the family that do not take knighthood generally fall as they grow apart from the origins of their knightly heritage, and the estate of knighthood is expensive to take up and maintain. These restrictive practices are a major contributing factor to c. 25% of all noble bloodlines failing in the direct line of descent every 100 years or so. If the GM follows the historic model used here, Sacred Knights contribute to the rate of demise of noble bloodlines by the standard vow of chastity imposed on all monks, including warrior-monks such as they.

According to ecclesiastical historian Orderic Vitalis, the Knight is most often reluctant to kill his fellow knights out of fear of the Light and due to a common fellowship of arms, as described for Squires. He should pity his prisoners and allow them to go free on parole when they have provided sureties for their ransom. The good Knight gives largesse and alms to the poor and indigent, and stands as a protector of monks and priests, the weak, and pilgrims. The renowned medieval author Chrètien de Troyes had this to say of largesse in his 12th century romance “Cligés”:

“‘Dear son,’ he said, ‘believe me when I tell you that largesse is the queen and lady who brightens all Virtues, and this is not difficult to prove. Where could one find a man who, no matter how powerful or rich, would not be reproached if he were miserly? What man has so many other good qualities–excepting only God’s grace–that largesse would not increase his fame? Largesse alone makes one a worthy man, not high birth, courtesy, wisdom, gentility, riches, strength, chivalry, boldness, power, beauty, or any other gift. But just as the rose, when it buds fresh and new, is more beautiful than any other flower, so largesse, whenever it appears, surpasses all other Virtues and causes the good qualities it finds in a worthy man who comports himself well to be increased five-hundred fold. There is so much to be said of largesse that I could not tell you the half.”

Service is part of the Knightly ethos, one of the major sources of a knight’s status. The Knight’s place in society often goes hand in hand with the skills of the Courtier, as described in his training as a Squire, for the Knight’s career outside of battle is one of service, especially to his feudal superiors. If the Knight is successful enough to earn the traditional Knight’s Fee (a manor of at least 480 acres, or fief) of his own, the nature of the service expands, as he becomes a “law-worthy knight” and is drawn into the network of Knights in the same district who help with the tasks of local government and justice.

A definite line is drawn in society between Knights who fight for their bread caring for horse, weapons and arms and the Courtier-Knights, however. On the background tables the latter are denoted as Knights of the Bath, also known in the period of the game as “Holy Mary’s Knights”. Even the law acknowledges the difference between these. The insolvent fighting Knight can not be deprived of his war-harness or steed(s) by legal distraint of his moveable property, where the Knight who earns his bread by (political) service at court rather than arms, a Knight of the Bath, would be allowed to retain only his horse under the same circumstances. Battle-seasoned fighting Knights commonly hold their gentler counterparts who may have either no battle skills or no battle experience in a certain amount of contempt. Those who merely profess to fight are generally considered to be men of little or no honor by those who risk their lives exercising their ancient right and privilege, the source of their power and authority. It is an expression of the conflict between their martial roots and trends towards gentility and the rise of politics in medieval society, as mentioned in the Troubadour trade description.

The rise of the knight in his trade, before ever he takes his sacred vows as a monk, is a long and arduous odyssey. Having gone through it as the natural and necessary process to becoming a Sacred Knight, however, it is very important that the player be familiar with it as the being part and parcel of his character’s background. If the character came to the status of knight from low birth and/or relatively late in age, he still must have “caught-up” with his peers in achieving this state, and the player should know what that process entails.

On Becoming a Knight

The process of attaining knighthood usually starts about the age of seven to eight, or as young as age five, with the child being sent to be educated in the hall of an ally or liege-lord, as a Page. The position of page has been ennobled by the passage of time. It was originally used to designate a servant of low position, even a cook’s assistant or a lowly messenger boy, as late as the early 1400’s.

William Marshal, son of John Marshal the provisioner of King Henry I (1100-1135) will be used as a point of reference and example in discussing knightly training and the knight’s career. John was in wealth a very minor lord, holding only c. seven knight’s fees, and hereditary Marshal of the king’s household. Like many other aspiring knights, William looked forward to getting no inheritance, being John marshal’s youngest son. Young William started his training in noble society at about the age of eight. As customary in the houses of the nobility, William was fostered in the hall of one of his father’s kinsmen, the great lord William of Tancarville, a cousin. Not all knightly families have the opportunity to foster their children elsewhere, especially in such a prestigious house, and so have to train their own sons. Young William worked as a servant in Lord Tancarville’s hall, serving at the high table and required to help with the chores of the household that were in keeping with his dignity as the son of a titled man,

The Page must learn to be gentle and polite, to enter a room with grace and good manner, to greet all with a modest “God speed you”, an d not to stare at folk or look too boldly so as to challenge or give offense. They must learn to stand straight and tall, and do so quietly, not to slouch or lean against the wall, post, or jamb, and not to handle or fidget with things. Before their lords they must descend to one knee with grace. They must speak only when spoken to, unless they ask first for permission, by which very act they may make themselves seem to be too forward and so must take care to be humble. When responding to their lords they must first make obeisance to them for the honor of recognition by them. These good graces are learned indoors, primarily from the ladies of the household, the master’s wife and her ladies-in-waiting.

In short, all Knights are encouraged in their training to cultivate the social graces of the Courtier, as well. The two Trades go hand in hand.

All Pages must also learn to sit a horse and are provided one to care for and learn to ride. Many are also provided a hawk to care for and learn to fly, as falconry is another art of the knight, a mark of noble blood and breeding. Pages are sometimes used to carry messages, a happy occasion when the news is good, for it is a chance to get out from under the harsh eye of the master and be well-rewarded, for it is customary for both sender and received to offer a gift or coin in gratuity. Lack of physical strength usually keeps the Pages from entering into the service of a knight as a Squire until they reach the age of 12.

William Marshal was admitted to the ranks of Squires when he reached his teens, sometime between the ages of 12 and 14 years, according to custom. The position and distinction of the office of Squire were developed at the turn of the 1100’s, as they gradually gained the honor of serving only knights. Originally squires were the lowest servants of the armies, nothing more than villeins and serfs charged with the lowest duties.

Young gentlemen of devolved knightly blood are also eligible to be raised as pages. By age 12-14, when he has achieved sufficient size and strength, the Page is inducted as a Squire, apprenticed to a knight who will train him in the arts of combat, strategy, and tactics.

The Squire is known by his silver spurs.

Squirehood

When the Page becomes a Squire, donning the silver spurs, his household chores take a lesser role to his responsibility for keeping the arms and weapons of the Knight who is his master clean and rust free and for currying and sometimes exercising his war steed(s), as well as his training in the use of the lance, (long-) sword, shield, the wearing of mail, and perfecting his Horseman skills.

Pages and Squires are clothed and armed by their masters until they can sit a horse securely and carry both lance and sword (c. age 11-12). The Squire is charged with learning the arts of falconry and of the hunt, although NOT the skills of the hunter and of the officers whose place it is to facilitate the hunt, embodied in the Huntsmen trade.

They are schooled in the strategies of chess, and in the finer courts even to learn an instrument and to chant or sing the ballads and deeds of the heroes of Chivalry in good voice. In short, again, the Knight is encouraged to become skilled in the social arts and graces that make of him good company, able to make the lords and his fellow knights “good cheer”, alongside his skills of war. The finding of a place in the household of a wealthy lord and making of good cheer for him and his fellows is a rung on the ladder of the Knight’s career that embodies the apex for many. And for those who achieve that, even a lordship is not too high to aim.

Squires must learn from the stable master to curry the master’s horse(s) and also their own, see that they are kept in good shoes, and work with his master’s beastmaster to break in any new young horses the master may acquire by purchase or conquest, hence the availability of the Husbandman-Beastmaster trade – or Husbandman alone if the full scope of Beastmastery doesn’t interest the player. Once he dons the golden spurs, the Knight need not maintain these skills, and many do allow them to fail, relying on the men in their retinues to attend to those duties. Either way, once Knighthood is achieved, some means for providing the care of his horse(s) must be secured in play.

The Squire is never far from his master unless sent away to attend to or accomplish some matter of his business. He greets his Knight on rising, preparing and attending to his bath, waiting on him at table, and seeing him to bed every night, sleeping on a straw tick or pallet close by his master’s bed, or in the antechamber to his master’s chamber. He must receive his master’s guests, relieve them of their arms and attend to their comforts and entertain them as if they were themselves his masters.

In battle, the Squire is forbidden to touch the master’s sword, which often is also a reliquary containing a small relic of some saint, perhaps a memento of a personal or ancestral pilgrimage. Squires are forbidden to wear a helm of coat of mail or to carry a lance in battle.

At the tourneys, no more than three armed Squires are allowed to accompany each knightly combatant. These are required to wear their lord’s sign or coat of arms and only limited armor. Most commonly, a Squire wears a padded or studded leather garment called a gambeson or aketon. He is limited in his involvement in the melée, bearing broadsword only and fighting only with a javelin or quarterstaff. However, in service to their knights, they are considered non-combatants on the battlefield. Regardless, their responsibilities on the battlefield are very real. The Squire must provide replacements for lost or broken weapons from his master’s pavilion, help with repairs to his mount’s bridle, saddle, and harness, bring in fresh horses, or even to protect his master from capture if he should be knocked down and stunned or injured.

Only those Squires close and regular enough in attendance to be accustomed to carve a lord’s meat (Squires of the Body, senior-most) are allowed at the tournament festivities in the evenings. When or out riding on the hunt and especially in the melee at the many tournaments his master may attend, his duties are much the same.

In case of conflict with his master or any other Knight, the Squire has NO rights to offer battle. He cannot demand duel with him, and is forbidden to even engage any Knight in battle. He is beneath their dignity.

The Squire’s term of service as described lasts five to seven years, occasionally longer, but most commonly seven, ending only when the Squire reaches the age of majority, commonly acknowledged to be 21. Occasionally it is shorter, but it may depend on the customs of the country, and the Squire’s rank by birth and political situation.

The sons of lords are generally knighted at a given age, whatever the legal majority is in that society, as low as 12 among the Salians, but generally 15 among the Germans, and 20 or 21 in accordance with old Roman law in France and England.

Due to the laws of primogeniture, under which only the first born male child can inherit, the heir to a lordship is generally knighted at 17 or 18 so he may assume his responsibilities and continue being trained to assume his father’s position. The younger sons and heirs of lesser lordships generally wait to 20 or 21, however. Younger sons of lords are portionless, without inheritance, and have to have some means of earning their livelihood. Knighthood is the solution for many of them, as war is the province of their class, but a Church education for many others is common, leading to a number of different opportunities.

Philip the Fair was knighted at age 16, but his political position required it. He had succeeded to the throne of the Kingdom of Navarre, in the mountains between Spain and France, and it “was not meet” or considered proper that a reigning monarch should be excluded from the ranks of Chivalry. When the candidate attains no such high office at a young age, the general fashion of knighting at 20 or 21 obtained, as it did with Philip the Fair’s own sons.

The Squire’s apprenticeship is long and hard, and over the years the Squire generally becomes very close to his master, developing a relationship as strong as any true family bond. No Knight who has even a single shred of honor dares raise his hand against the man under whom he served as Squire, a prohibition that can endure for years, if not for life, after leaving his household. In addition, there is a sense of fraternity between those who have risen to the estate of Knight. Out of respect for the hardships and training they all have suffered and the rank attained, they are loath to slay their peers. This does not stop them from confiscating all arms and weapons, horses, and the equipment in victory over their peers, and ransoming them afterwards. When sureties are provided, it is common for the hostage to be paroled on his own recognizance, however.

Due to the means necessary to maintain the lifestyle, many Squires remain at that social rank for some years before taking on the mantle of Knighthood. This is so prevalent, in fact, that it is common practice for the Crown not only to offer mass knightings on special occasions such as the knighting of royal princes and the eves before embarking on important royal campaigns or battles, but also for the Crown to pay for the various accoutrements required for the ceremony, easily as rich as the lifestyle expected of a Knight in itself.

The Making of a Knight

This text is provided so each player of a Knight character knows and understands what his character has been through to get where he stands at the start of play, and also as a guide or template if any character should be lucky enough to earn the prestigious rank of knight once play has commenced.

Knighting ceremonies are generally held on holy fête days, when the churches draw their greatest crowds. Easter and Whitsunday are the most popular fêtes for dubbing knights. The occasions of weddings and royal baptisms are commonly expanded to include the dubbing of knights. Most choose to be knighted on the anniversary of their own father’s dubbing, however, especially among lesser Lords and the gentry – simple Knights.

Knights of less distinguished families are often created at the dubbing of the sons of other knights, while the dubbing of royalty and distinguished nobility is commonly accompanied by the dubbing 20, 50, or even as many as 100 other new knights as an honor guard. The dubbing of a large honor guard is an expensive and extravagant luxury, as the expenses for the war-harness and costly garments of silk and brocade for the ceremony are paid for by the family of the chief-most lord whose son is to be dubbed.

Trained Squires awaiting knighthood are often knighted on the eve of a great battle, as fighting men are always in demand, especially on the eve of a great royal campaign. Knighting on the field of battle after a heroic showing is often preferred, however, and can often include men of common or even base (landbound) birth. William Marshal finally earned his knighthood at the age of 21, on the eve of a battle when William’s uncle, Lord William of Tancarville, in whose court young William trained, needed to gather men. Before the French defeat at Agincourt, nearly 500 new knights were made. In contrast, the great majority of knights are created in times of peace. The dubbing of a knight is a great occasion for reuniting families which may have been scattered throughout the government, the Church, and the noble families of the realm.

The postulant or novice Knight elects to have either a military knighting or a liturgical ceremony. the military ritual is performed either on the meadows surrounding a castle or on the top of the steps leading to the keep. In the case of a liturgical ceremony, the church of the closest monastery or whatever local religious foundation the family commonly supports is usually patronized.

While every knight theoretically has the power to create another knight, in practice, all candidates by blood look to either their fathers, uncles, or the noble in whose court they took their training for knighthood to perform that ritual for them. Sometimes the liege-lord of the candidate’s father is chosen over a family member, to further cement the tie of the family to it’s lord. The king himself ((or emperor in regards to Germany) might be sought out to deliver that honor, but the previously described old custom (the father elevating his own son) prevailed more often, particularly for younger sons and lesser lords who were trained in the arts of Chivalry at home. In England in particular, the king was eventually able to enforce his right as the ultimate liege-lord of every nobleman of the realm, to become the sole source of knighthood in practice.

The knighting ceremony is called the Ceremony of Investiture. It is a very expensive event usually only enjoyed by the eldest son, unless his family has great wealth, for they must foot the cost for it. This is especially true when the Knight is to be dubbed by the king, for the parents must pay not only for the ceremony itself, but for the attendance of and even greater pomp required in entertaining the king.

There are several parallels between the ceremony of investiture for dubbing a Knight and the marriage ceremony. As the trousseau of the bride is laid out before the wedding, the clothing, spurs, and robes of the aspiring knight are laid out a day beforehand. Gifts are opened and admired and any particularly nice ones sent to the young man are displayed in the hall. At the spread of the news of the knighting, troubadors or minstrels, jongleurs, players, animal leaders and entertainers of all types begin to gather. Those who are rewarded may attach themselves to the knight’s company as long as his gifts and goodwill are forthcoming, even permanently. The presence of such a person in his retinue enhances his social presence and reputation. It can be a lucrative living for them. The poor make a point of visiting the hall of the soon-to-be Knight in search of alms knowing that this special event is a ripe one for the distribution of the largesse of the house.

On the evening two days prior to the investiture, the aspirant’s hair is cut, a symbol of dedication. For the military ritual a single lock may be considered sufficient, but for the ecclesiastical ceremony the aspirant’s head is shaved in a priest’s tonsure (from the crown in a circle, leaving only a fringe). Afterwards the aspirant undergoes a luxurious bath sprinkled with perfumes and rose petals, followed with a massage of expensive scented oils. The bath for the military ceremony may not be quite so rich, unless the family can afford it, but it is a happy affair nonetheless. In the ecclesiastical investiture, the bath is analogous to the anointing undergone when first entering the ranks of the religious, the washing away of the Knight’s sins (baptism). Laughter is prohibited in bath for the ecclesiastical investiture, as is idle chatter, and the massage is forgone as being too worldly a pleasure. An air of gravity prevails, but underneath is a strong current of excitement and happy anticipation. Stepping from the bath, the aspirant may retire to bed, symbol of the ease and comfort he will enjoy if he serves Chivalry, Honor, and the Church well. On rising in the morning, he dresses in the robes for the ceremony.

The candidate preparing for the military ceremony begins preparations the morning of the day before the investiture, proceeding directly from the bath to the ceremonial robes.

For the ceremony, the aspirant is dressed first in a long, white linen tunic with long sleeves, a symbol of his honor and the beginning of a new life free from any sins of the past. For the military ceremony, the tunic may be any color, but generally purple for those of royalty (an association left over from the Roman past) and the “small clothes” underneath this likely of silk. Over this he dons a red hooded robe, signifying the blood he must be prepared to shed and lose himself in the service of the Light, the needs of honor, of King, of country. For the military ceremony this robe may be rich, indeed, lined or trimmed in the grey and the vair, in miniver, or the royal ermine, and need not be red, but may even be of cloth-of-gold if his family can afford it. Last he is wrapped in a black coat representing the death which will one day claim him.

The day before the ceremony, a 24-hour fast is begun. In the evening of the day before the investiture, a younger brother or other young relative carries the Knight’s sword to the nearest religious house and lays it upon the alter, where it will remain for the night. Later, in company with any who may be dubbed alongside him, the aspirant says a little farewell to his family and rides to the church where his sword rests to undergo the Vigil of Arms. It is a wearisome task, 10 hours of steady prayer, meditation, and devotions centering on the honor to be received, the glory to be achieved, the very nature of Chivalry and the Virtues it requires of them, all contained in the Creed of their faith. The entire 10 hours is spent either standing or kneeling on the chill stone floor, never sitting. Neither is the aspirant allowed to speak through the whole vigil, and his fast must endure until after he returns home in the morning – a titanic task for a young man full of anticipation!

All aspirants regardless of the type of ceremony of investiture they will undergo must endure the Vigil of Arms. For the Knight entering a sacred order, it will be the second such investiture he will have undergone, for (historically) all orders of Sacred Knights require the Knight first to have achieved knighthood before he is allowed to enter. The GM is, of course, able to change this detail, allowing the Church to make Knights of its own – this puts Throne and Altar at odds, however. The Crown jealously guards it’s feudal prerogatives, and the right to create a Knight is the embodiment of a military feudal right.

The major difference between the Sacred Knight and the secular Knight is that the secular Knight follows the dictates of the Creed of the Light provide him with guidelines of behavior he adheres to in accordance with his own conscience, for good or ill, and which as a class the Knights largely apply only in their dealings with their peers and the greater nobles. The Sacred Knight, on the other hand, is bound by Vows of a religious order in the same manner as a monk.

On the morning of the day of the investiture, the aspiring Knight and any companions to also be dubbed make their confession to the chaplain or priest (as applicable to the religion of the GM’s gameworld). Afterwards a high mass or grand religious service is celebrated, and the candidate(s) take the Sacrament (or it’s analogue in the GM’s gameworld). He boisterously returns to the hall afterwards, the gravity of the event only partially subduing him. In the hall the fast is broken with a light meal – good white bread and perhaps some venison.

The candidate then appears before the crowd gathered for the occasion and enjoys their welcoming cheers and cries of well-wishes. The trumpets sound, the minstrels play, and then he descends to the carpet or patch of straw laid in the courtyard or in the field before the castle, and all fall silent. His sponsor questions his motives in seeking knighthood, that it not be for vain glory or the pursuit of riches. It is the sponsors responsibility to guard against persons of low character seeking the noble offices of knighthood (regardless of right by noble blood). In the ceremony of investiture, the postulant to knighthood may have as many as five sponsors – usually reserved for the honor of princes, dukes, counts, and earls), one to fasten each spur onto the candidate, one to gird him with his sword, one to deliver the paumée or colée (clout or blow with a fist), and the last to present his steed. Those of lesser birth might have only two persons to perform these offices. Of course, the higher the rank of the candidate, the higher the rank of the sponsors who attend him at his investiture.

The Sacred Knight’s investiture takes place in a church, and a priest delivers a short sermon on the duties and the life of the Knight before the sponsor questions him, perhaps the same priest who will be or has been the Knights teacher in religion. An official of the Church becomes the sponsor of the young Knight – Bishop, Arch-Bishop, Prelate, according to the candidate’s social rank.

The gold or gilded spurs are fastened first in the investiture. If ever he be proven dishonored, the Knight’s spurs are hacked off at the heels – a terrible fate. The hauberk is donned next, and then the helm (usually nasal helm or great helm), studded on the top or at the jointures with semi-precious stones, according to the purse of the candidate’s family. The girding of the sword is the focus of attention and a moment of high emotion for the new Knight, who until that moment has until then been forbidden to even touch it.

The candidate then bends his head for the colée, or blow, after which the sponsor brings forth the steed. The colée, or paumée as it is also called, is a rough clout upon the neck delivered by whomever the aspirant has chosen as sponsor to dub him. This not a gentle blow, but is intended to stagger the young Knight, sometimes bringing him to his knees or even knocking him to the ground. With the clout comes some simple phrase such as “Be thou a good Knight!” or the pious “Love God!”, but a lengthy evocation of the Knight’s responsibilities is also occasionally used, “Be thou brave and upright; remember that you sprang from a race which should never be false. Honor all Knights; be liberal to the poor; love God; and may [the Light] protect you from all your enemies. Go forth!”

The Church, which blesses all oaths of knighthood, commands all knights, sacred and secular, to defend it (the Church) and to turn his sword ceaselessly without mercy against its foes. In return he is promised the certainty of a heavenly reward, borne thence by the angels themselves. The knights are exhorted to avoid all Vice and base actions, to love Truth above all else, to defend the righteous and avenge injustice, to be humble and courteous in all things. One such oath:

“By [the Light], before whom these relics are holy, I will be loyal to (lord’s name and title), and love all he loves, and hate all that he hates, in accordance with [the Light’s] rights and secular obligations; and never, willingly and intentionally, in word or deed, do anything that is hateful to him; on condition that he keep me as I shall deserve, and carry out all that was our agreement, when I subjected myself to him and chose his favor.”

Further sentiments:

“[The Light] commanded that a lord should be loved as oneself …” and “All we ever do, through just loyalty to our lord, we do to our own great advantage, for truly [the Light] will be gracious to him who is duly faithful to his lord.”

According to the noted clergyman John of Salisbury, the prime qualities of the Knight were first Obedience, then Physical Strength, Endurance, Courage, then Sobriety, and finally Frugality of Life, or Temperance. In the oath of the Romance Knights, they swore to protect damsels, widows, and orphans, and all those seeking aid in just quarrels. The player of the sacred Knight character in RoM must pay strict attention to the 7 Virtues set forth previously, avoiding the 7 deadly Vices.

Failing to achieve these standards is common among secular knights, their vanity, greed and lust were commonly held up to ridicule by the chroniclers of the Church, historically. Among the Sacred Knights, such short-comings carry very real punitive consequences, which in some cases might hinder any mystical powers the Sacred Knight would otherwise be able to exercise freely, and ultimately including expulsion from the order.

In the author’s game, the phrase “May this be the only blow you ever fail to answer in kind. Be thou a good Knight!” was used. In England, this ceremony was commonly performed without the clout, or sans paumée. Over time, especially in regards the ecclesiastical ceremony, the clout became a light touch or tap.

Towards the end of the ceremony, the new Knight vaults into the saddle with a flourish. It is a matter of pride that the new Knight leap into the saddle without touching a stirrup, or sans étreir. When the Knight is astride his mount, the shield, painted with his family arms, is awarded him, along with a fine lance. He then gallops around the field to display his prowess for the crowd – and he must gallop! It is one of the elements of the ritual most ardently insisted upon. The new Knight then addresses the lists to tilt at the quintain, the final exhibition of his skill. Sometimes two quintains are set up, one behind the other, to increase the difficulty of the test, but as many as four or five quintains (extremely rare) may be used to prove the strength of the doughty. If successful, the Squire then is finally acknowledged as a Knight. Threats of being disinherited are not uncommon to ensure the success of the pass at the quintain in the end.

If there are several Knights created at the ceremony, they put on a mock combat for the crowd, fencing from horseback, the host of the ceremony brings it to a halt before any are seriously wounded.

After the ceremony, the guests are treated to as many as seven days of feasting, entertainments, and other merry-making, including the distribution of such gifts as the new Knight and his family can afford to all the guests to celebrate the grand event.

The Blessings of a Sacred Knight

All knights, including Knights in sacred Orders, are fully trained in the skills of battle in the same manner described for Trade Warriors.

While every effort has been made to ensure that each and every character has an opportunity to learn to swing a weapon of some sort, or fire a bow or hurl a sling or other such weapons, and also to provide the opportunities to cultivate Brawling and wrestling skills so that all have the means for self-protection, to at least stand their ground in a pitched battle, it is VERY important to understand that there is a great deal more to being a member of one of the Warrior trades than simply swinging a weapon.

Characters opting to follow one of these trades are the product of either some type of school or the tutelage of a particular master. Both sorts of training were widely available across England in the period of the game despite the legislation actually enacted against them in the period. The people were expected to participate in the Fyrd or Militia, and thus at least rudimentary training was made available to them. The Warrior trades are quoted a standard length of apprenticeship in character creation like the rest of the trades, BUT any such training was always at will and subject to the student’s ability to pay the tuition, like any other school, while the apprenticeship to a fighting master is considered equally informal but rather more serious in terms of commitment. This trade represents the efforts of those who pursued this path in favor of any other, and the benefits that accrue.

The real difference between the Warrior by Trade and those that merely swing a weapon for self defense is one of interest and commitment. Those outside the trade are dilettantes with a passing interest. Those within the trade are in it for life, to keep them alive on the battlefield, where they expect their fortune to be found or made. To parallel that commitment is their interest in the martial training, in not only weapons and their various regional variations and differing forms by nationality, but the styles in which they are used and also the men who created and teach (or taught) those styles and made them famous. Some of the greatest styles are described in detail with illustrations in costly books to be handed down – some of them considered useful and instructive standards widely known and observed even a couple hundred years after the original master’s death.

The specific skills for the different types of attacks (Slash, Thrust, Lunge, Aimed Strike, Disarm, Feint, Hearty Blow, and Charge) are provided to allow the character to hone his weapon skills in detail (as applicable, where those optional rules are in play,) as an expression of his own personal style, as a Wizard does with his Five Arts, his cantrips, spells, and rituals, and all his various charms.

A character with the formal training of this trade is allowed a bonus to ALL his attack AV’s and defense DV’s based on the SL of his Game Face skill, as it gradually stills any habitual movements he might make that might give his intended next move or strike away to his opponent. His Savvy skill provides the measure of how well he can read an opponent, especially his body language, and also provides a bonus to ALL attack AV’s and defense DV’s based on that SL. Those of other trades may learn these techniques from those among this trade willing to teach, but the Warrior, Huntsman, and Assassin trades are the only ones allowed to use those skills for such bonuses from the start of play.

The Combinations skills on the skills roster provide a means of using tactics that illustrate a knowledge of fighting styles only available to those who have shown a commitment to pursuing a trade in the arts of war. The Warrior and Assassin trades are the only ones with access to those skills at the start of play.

 

Sacred Knight
Shield *
Shield Bash
Rim Strike
Weapons † 10) *
(Common Strike)
Slash
Thrust/Lunge
Aimed Strike
(Entangle)
Disarm
Feint
Hearty Blow *
Charge
Combinations
Dual Attack
Dual Defense
Attack/Defense
Literatus & Scrivener *(P)
OR Secretary (P)
OR Grammar School (P)
OR Finishing School (P)
Linguist (P)
Scholar’s Tongue
Open Skills
Brawler/Wrestler
Dodge (AGL)
Game Face (HRT)
Perception (AWA)
Savvy
Search
Sentry
Presence (CHM)
Coerce
Command/Leadership
Interview/Interrogate

The (Common Strike) entry is in parenthesis because it is not a separate skill in the same manner that Disarming, Feint, Aimed, etc. attacks are, but is subsumed in the basic Weapon skill. Being able to attack is part of that skill, already filling an AWA-slot. The (Entangle) attack skill is intrinsic to taking a dueling cape, net (after the gladiator’s fashion), etc. skill in the same fashion. Generally speaking, entangling weapons can only be used for Entangling attacks, unless the player can come up with some use by means of the Brawling skill to do otherwise. For those weapons designated as being solely Thrusting weapons (estoc, for example), the Thrust/Lunge skill is substituted for the Common Strike in the same manner, because that is the primary use of the weapon.

The balance of the attack skills listed are subject to AWA-slot limitations, normally.

Violence is an accepted and unavoidable part of the true Warrior’s life, and for those who live by it, a simple fact of life whose religious and spiritual ramifications offer little, if any, deterrent. Indeed, a Squire or other Warrior is expected to be hit hard enough to knock him to the ground no less than 20 times during his trials and training before he is ever considered ready to face battle.

Thus, a Warrior’s will to survive is tempered to a steely edge. He becomes inured to pain and privation over the course of his career, and is no stranger to the ivory grin of death. Warriors learn to endure and even dismiss discomforts that would wear others down, and even the pain of injuries or wounds.

The Warrior’s training provides him with a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score for the purposes of resisting numbing bodily shocks when struck and maintaining consciousness in the face of the pain of his wounds and in resisting extreme fatigue (if the optional END rules are in play) and the effects of exposure to the elements (heat, cold).

Another benefit of the Warrior’s Trade training comes in the form of a bonus of (1 per 4 TR’s) to the character’s wound allowance for each level of wounding, in turn (OR to his BP’s, if those optional rules are in play).

A (TR) bonus is added to his END score, where that optional rule is in use, and his TR is also added to his CND for the purposes of determining how quickly he recovers his END points (but ONLY for that purpose).

With their trade training providing such benefits, it is small wonder that Warriors are rather commonly noted for their callous lack of sympathy in regards to the complaints uttered by others when suffering physical hardships.

During the Warrior’s Trade training he learns to compensate for and work with his armor, to develop his fighting style that allows him to maximize it’s strengths, but mostly he becomes conditioned to the oppressive heat that can accumulate under it in the midst of a fight, rather more so than those who lack the same intensive training in arms that this trade represents. No strangers are these characters to having to be ready for action on a moment’s notice, or to taking their shifts on Sentry duty, and so inured to discomfort and physical hardship do they become, over time.

The Warrior is allowed to recover his END points normally, provided that optional rule is in play, if he should have a chance to cat-nap or even fall truly asleep while still wearing his armor, unlike those of other Trades.

The Sacred Knight is commonly perceived as and referred to as a “Warrior-monk”, part of a group separate from their secular brother knights. This was especially true in the case of the historic Templars. But beyond simple religion, the order and the faith, there is a touch of the truly divine that clings to the Sacred Knight. He follows a calling closely akin to that followed by a Mystic, and lays upon him like a mantle of Light. There is so strong a tradition and dedication to their spiritual life and duties that Sacred Knights are actually endowed with and develop certain Mystic-like benefits for the purposes of the game. At the apex of his career he may even become blessed with the same abilities as a true Mystic. This sets him apart even from his brother Sacred Knights, who may strive to walk in his footsteps, with but few ever succeeding. The Sacred Knight as defined for the purposes of the game is as rare as the true Mystic, and cannot help but stand out from among his fellows, as the ordained priest who is also a Mystic must stand out. The Sacred Knight as defined here may even be referred to by the fellow knights of his own order as being a mystic by nature (note the lowercase “m”), following the same ways and Path, despite that fact that for the bulk of his career as a knight he must go through a transformation that only in the end culminates with achieving true Mystic status (note the uppercase “M”).

The mantle of the Light laying upon the Sacred Knight has a direct effect on the spirit and morale of those alongside whom they make a stand in battle and can have palpable effects on those to whom they extend moral support in making difficult decisions. The passion and spiritual fervor and dedication to the service of Deity and Mother Church helps protect the Sacred Knights from the temptations of the Vices, the tools of the world of Shadow and Darkness by which good folk are seduced, making of them true beacons of spiritual fire that those darkling enemies cannot abide,

In practice, whenever his prowess, honor or Virtue as a knight is challenged, especially in his role as a representative of the Light, the Sacred Knight becomes surrounded by a subtly sparkling nimbus, a Hero’s Aura.

This is visible to any and all on-lookers. There is always a gleam in the Sacred Knight’s eye, an errant lance of sunlight to limn him and pick him out of the crowd, surrounding him with a shining corona that brings him to the immediate attention of his comrades when he isleading the charge into battle. The wind will always sweep his cloak back and make it billow majestically. It is all part of the Sacred Knight mystique.The visible marks of his status as a holy warrior blessed by the Light is undeniable.

This Aura provides the Sacred Knight with a [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] bonus to the AV for morale checks of all compatriots who cannot help but be inspired by him.

In the same vein, the same [(CHM att. mod.) + (TR)] bonus is added to the DV for any morale checks required for the Sacred Knight’s enemies to stand against him, or break and retreat in a rout.

Sacred Knights receive a (TR) bonus to his M-RES when subjected to the magickal powers of spirits and creatures of Shadow and Darkness, and also those of any mortal being attacking him by magickal means who walk in the Shadow of Vice or are committed to the Darkness.

In the same vein, all Sacred Knights receive a (TR) bonus to be applied in making HRT checks to resist the temptations of the world any time he is faced with Vice.

The most common application of the divine Power that lays upon a Sacred Knight is for the Laying on of Hands upon one of the faithful, whether it be family member, trusted compatriot or a complete but worthy stranger, and taking a moment (no less than a whole CS, during which time no other action may be taken) to share a prayer with him, invoking and bestowing his blessing.

This can provide a bonus to any of the subject’s AV’s for whatsoever task he may assay, this starts at one (1) at the end of the first CS and builds by one (1) at the end of every CS he continues to pray with the faithful, to a limit of (SPT att. mod.) or (TR), whichever is greater.

How long this Blessing lasts depends on the nature of the segment of the story in which it is employed (GM’s discretion).

It may last until the next single task attempted is accomplished, if it was invoked to get some truly pivotal task accomplished, or for the duration of a single battle (to be joined soon after), especially when the Mystic and his cohorts are about to face the Unrighteous in some manner.

The Sacred Knight’s touch and blessing in the Laying on of Hands may also be used instead to comfort and calm beasts and beings in an agitated state, removing terror, hysteria, soothing grief or anxiety, alleviating loneliness or sadness (Accidia) especially if of a degree that the sufferer intends himself harm or becomes careless of his own safety.

IF the heightened emotional state is of a magickal cause, the Laying on of Hands can actually act as a Dispelling, with an AV equal to the Mystic’s [(HRT att. mod.) + (SPT att. mod.) + (trade SL)], requiring a d100 check vs. the afflicting magick.

A Sacred Knight is also granted an [(AWA att. mod.) + (SPT att. mod.) + (trade SL)] check on d100 vs. the CHM of those speaking in order to hear the clear ringing of Virtue in the Truth when it is spoken in his presence, or the chuckling twist of the Darkness’ delight in Vice when any falsehood is uttered, so that he may recognize truth and lies when encountered.

IF the Sacred Knight has cultivated the Savvy skill, that SL is also added to his AV.

IF the Mystic reaches out and physically touches a subject, no d100 check is needed, in the same manner as a Wizard touching a magick, he simply KNOWs the truth or falseness of the subject’s words.

The touch of the Sacred Knight can also reveal to him those who lean towards Virtue or Vice (Shadow) and those who stand in Shadow or Darkness. In so doing, the Sacred Knight’s own mystical Light is automatically revealed to any sworn faithful to the Darkness. His touch does NOT reveal what the subjects’ Virtues and Vices of choice are, and he MUST actually lay hands on the subject.

 

Life in a Commandery of Sacred Knights

The life of a Sacred Knight as a Warrior-monk is a completely different world from that of a secular knight. The passage headed “The Career of a Knight” within the (secular) Knight Trade description simply does not apply to a Sacred Knight. The Church must sanction all conflicts to which the Orders send their Sacred Knights. The spoils won in battle are commonly left for others, or merely a token taken to bring to his brothers, to share with them, or otherwise disposed in some charitable fashion. They are sworn to poverty in the world of Flesh. Their riches await in Spirit to be collected. No more so does the passage “Civilian Duties of Landed Knights” apply to Sacred Knights. Sacred Knights do not hold land in their own name, and so cannot stand as “law-worthy” knights, nor be elected as “knights of the shire”. If a Sacred Knight is rewarded with the gift of an estate or other piece of property, it goes to his Order and is administered by them for the benefit of all.

To provide a better idea of the kind of life a Sacred Knight leads when at home in the commandery of his brothers we use as a model the order noted for being the most diligently religious – the Knights Templar. The Templars were bound in a spiritual quest, “gentler than lambs, but fiercer than lions”. Unlike the other orders, the Templars were monks first Warriors second, though easily as dedicated and dangerous as any of the others in battle.

The Templars’ day starts at 3am when they rise for Matins to recite 13 Pater nosters (Lord’s Prayer) and to attend to the other business of the order, especially the horses of the Order. On occasion there is time for a brief nap before Prime.

At 6am the bells of Prime ring and the Templar must attend mass.

Sext is rung at 12:00 noon, and before the Templars take their first meal they must recited 60 Pater nosters, 30 for the sins and transgressions of the living and 30 for the benefit of the deceased to aid in delivering them from Purgatory to Paradise.

Dinner is served in two sittings, the first for the brothers who are full Knights, the second for the commoner Sergeants. All eat in silence, while the clerk (priest) attendant on the order blesses the meal and reads from the holy book [of the Light]. The Templars grew out of the Cistercian order of monks but, while the monks were vegetarians, it was mandatory that the Templars eat meat at least three days a week. Following dinner the Knights retire to the chapel to give thanks for the bounty received.

Nones is rung at 3:00pm and Vespers at 6pm, both accompanied by the appropriate round of prayers.

Vespers is followed by supper, again eaten in silence and accompanied by the reading from the holy book of the faith.

Compline is rung at 9pm, the last service of the day, after which the brothers see to the horses’ needs again and gather for a little moderate communal drinking.

After the gathering of Compline the brothers are discharged until rising for Matins again, and enjoined again to total silence.

When not at war or prayer, the Templars labor on the behalf of the Order. Such things as mending and maintaining armor and weapons or a fraying bridle a knight assays at his Squire’s side, because NO task was too menial or demeaning. Each knight has tasks to perform on his brothers’ behalf, even to tending to pigs, goats, and chickens, or toiling in the fields like a commoner – something that among secular knights would get him stripped of his honor and social rank.

When silence is ordered, the only exception allowed is a legitimate emergency, for which a superior had to addressed in a discrete whisper for permission.

Templar Rule, clause 31:

“When the brothers come out of Compline they have no permission to speak openly except in emergency. But let each go to his bed quietly and in silence, and if he needs to speak to his Squire, he should say what he has to say softly and quietly. But if by chance, as they come out of Compline, the knighthood or the house has a serious problem, which must be solved before morning, we intend that the Master or a party of elder brothers, who govern the Order under the Master, may speak appropriately. And for this reason we command that it should be done in such a manner.”

“For it is written: In multiloquio non effugies peccatum. That is to say: to talk too much is not without sin. And elsewhere: Mors et vita in manibus lingue. That is to say: Life and death are within the power of the tongue. And during that conversation we altogether prohibit idle words and wicked bursts of laughter. And if anything is said during that conversation that should not be said, when you go to bed we command you to say the paternoster prayer in all humility and pure devotion.”

As secretive as any guild of craftsmen, the Templars were concerned that even the junior members of the Order not be exposed to the secrets and inner workings of the Order.

The horses of the Knights were of great importance to the Knights. The rule of the order allowed each Knight up to three horses, despite the seal of the Order depicting two Knights riding one horse in reference to the Poverty to which the Order’s members were sworn. The Master of the Order was allowed up to four horses. All horses of the Order were to be maintained battle-ready, and all to thus to be treated with equal care. Indeed, so important was their care that a disturbance among the horses was one of the few exceptions allowing a brother to depart the refectory table during a meal.

The Pious Life of a Sacred Knight

There is a subtle but distinct difference between those in the Shadow of Vice and those who Walk in Darkness. The Shadow can be flirted with throughout one’s lifetime, and many do. The practice is generally subconscious, though some make it a conscious game. The Shadow can be shed at anytime by confession and/or acts of penance and Virtue, but true intent is everything, and what mortal can judge the state of his own soul? Last Rites are thus a necessity for most folks on their deathbeds.

Walking in Darkness is another matter entirely. It is a conscious submission and dedication to the Darkness, a declaration of war on the Light. Where the Light merely shines and IS and brings comfort and warmth to all It touches with It’s glory, the Darkness can only be where the Light shines not, and so must seek to occlude and eclipse the Light, in the end to destroy it. For, as long as even a spark of Light remains, the rest is really only Shadow, no matter how deep.

To be redeemed from the Darkness and return to the Light requires the same conscious act of will it took to turn away in the first place. It cannot be commanded or coerced. Even under the influence of such magick as may twist the spirit and mind to bend to the Light, the stain of Darkness remains within the heart.

During the course of play it is very likely the Sacred Knight must face foes in battle on behalf of those who cannot do so themselves. In these instances the pious will likely devote their prayers to his protection and support. When the Sacred Knight faces any foe or assays any task, such as entering into battle, with a group of the faithful behind him lending their fervent prayers for his success, be they common folk bent in prayer or monks or priests or other ecclesiastics in some monastery chapel or cathedral he is protecting, the loving thoughts and prayers they are sending on his behalf will have the effect of strengthening the benefits of his Trade.

In effect, the Sacred Knight is granted a bonus of (1 per 4) of the faithful praying on his behalf. This bonus is added to all Trade benefits, abilities, or skills, for so long as the faithful remain at prayer on his behalf.

IF the prayers are led by a true Mystic of the faith, the bonus is equal to his TR, instead, PLUS 1 for each of the faithful also praying on his behalf. In the case of multiple Mystics so lending their devotions, their TR’s are all combined to determine the benefit.

IF the Sacred Knight does not have the benefit of a Mystic to lead prayers on his behalf and the Knight has sufficient time to prepare for the event or task at hand, he will have the option of undergoing a Fast and/or Vigil or even a full Spiritual Retreat (as follow) for the purposes of purification & rededication to temporarily enhance his focus and heighten his abilities and skills.

Fasting is merely an example of purification through abstinence. In the same vein, abstinence from any contact with a substance associated with a Vice (in the case of fasting, Gluttony) will provide the same benefit – a temporary vow of poverty, forsaking any contact with coin or other forms of wealth including the comforts of rich clothing and furs, for example, would do the same. Like a Mystic, the Sacred Knight might mix ashes with his food to show Temperance, taking no joy in the pleasures of feeding the animal needs of the body, or in a similar vein, test chastity by sleeping beside a woman. As a child, St. Nicholas refused his mother’s milk on holy feast days.

This privation provides the Sacred Knight at the end of every full 24 hours completed, up to a maximum of (SPT att. mod. or TR, whichever is greater) with a bonus of 1 point to all Trade benefits, abilities, or skills. This remains with him for as long as (HRT ÷ 4) days afterwards.

Once this duration passes, the bonus declines at the same rate it accrued.

IF Fasting, the Sacred Knight must take care as his trade depends on his physical resources. He is only allowed up to (CND ÷ 4) days before penalties begin to be assessed, regardless of whether the full benefit has been realized or not. Fasting may be undergone no more often than once per month for the purposes of reaping the advantage described.

A Vigil includes similar privation but in many ways at once, both fasting and forsaking physical comfort combined with prayerful contemplation in solitude, in a chapel or other holy place IF one is available. Usually pursued from dusk til dawn, or from dawn to dawn.

At the end of every full hour completed, the Sacred Knight gains a bonus of 1 point, up to a maximum of (SPT att. mod. or TR, whichever is greater) to all Trade benefits, abilities, or skills. This remains with him until the next dawn following.

At the next dawn following, the bonus begins to decline at the same rate it accrued.

A Spiritual Retreat provides the character with the opportunity to engage in devotions and contemplation in a secluded setting, where abstinence and privation may be practiced either periodically as described above, or in moderation continuously at a level that can be sustained for a longer period.

This process reduces the character’s Vice scores and allow the character to improve the scores for his Virtues, but also provides the same benefits as purification by abstinence (Fasting, etc.).

For every full week spent in retreat, to a maximum of one full season, or three months (three full lunar cycles), any and all Vice scores are reduced by 1 point across the board. The benefits of purification by abstinence undergone during the retreat begin to accrue normally at a rate of 1 point per full 24 hours after the first full day the retreat commences, and the benefits endure so long as the retreat continues, fading normally (HRT ÷ 4) days after the retreat has ended.

One full calendar year must be allowed to elapse between each retreat in order to achieve the benefits as described.

 

Upon reaching TR10, the Sacred Knight’s sensitivity to the vibrations of Spirit is considered honed to the point where he is able to discern the approximate degree by which any person he touches leans towards Virtue or Vice (Shadow), and the subjects’ Virtues and Vices of choice.

The touch also provides the Sacred Knight with an AWA check to determine the same of any who come within [(AWA ÷ 4) + (TR)] feet of him, whether they stand in the Light, merely lean towards Virtue or Vice or actually walk in the Shadow of Vice, or truly Walk in Darkness. The particulars of degree and specific propensities in Virtue or Vice still require a touch to perceive, however.

In addition, the Sacred Knight begins to break forth in a Holy Aura similar to that exhibited by a Mystic whenever any Un-dead and/or other spirits or supernatural creatures or beings of Darkness or tainted by Shadow approach within [(AWA) + (SPT att. mod.) + (TR)] yards, revealing their presence.

This wreath of luminous, silvery-blue spiritfire prevents the approach of these unclean spirits or creatures closer than [(HRT) + (TR)] feet. This distance is reduced by one (1) foot for every point by which the creature or being’s Potence is greater than the Sacred Knight’s [(HRT) + (TR)].

Upon reaching TR20, the Sacred Knight’s passion and spiritual fervor are honed to such a state that coming into contact with his Holy Aura causes any Un-dead and/or other spirits or supernatural creatures or beings of Darkness or tainted by Shadow of Potence less than the Sacred Knight’s [(SPT att. mod.) + (CHM att. mod.) + (HRT att. mod.) + (TR)] to flee at its highest movement rate by the simplest and most direct route available for [(CHM att. mod.) + (HRT att. mod.) + (TR)] minutes, after which the creature or being in question is allowed to make a morale check in order to stop and choose a new course of action.

Upon reaching TR40, contact with the Sacred Knight’s Holy Aura causes any Un-dead and/or other spirits of Darkness or tainted by Shadow to halt and holds them helpless and immobile, giving the Sacred Knight the opportunity to destroy their physical manifestations, to Banish or dispel their spirit essence utterly. This requires a [(SPT att. mod.) + (HRT att. mod.) + (TR)] check vs. the creature’s [(HRT att. mod.) + (Potence)] on D100.

This returns any spirits to the realm of Spirit, and provide a DV increase for them to enter the mortal world again equal to the sacred Knight’s TR. Un-dead with physical bodies thus destroyed are not banished to the realm of Spirit but are dispersed sufficiently to be unable to manifest as earth-bound spirits until the waxing of the next full moon following the passage of [(HRT) + (TR)] days.

Upon reaching TR50, the Sacred Knight has accumulated sufficient spiritual maturity and background as well as Trade experience in order to go forth and seek the communion and Grace of the true illumination of the Light in the same manner as any true Mystic. This must be pursued by calling, following omens and portents and even perhaps visitations of divine spirits, and is likely to lead the knight through dangerous wilderness to some unspoiled place that might be counted holy. The process may take up to the entire cycle of the moon (GM’s discretion). When he has finished his pilgrimage into the wilderness and achieved communion with the Divine, having the same ability to Ascend and walk in Grace to dispense miracles as any TR1 Mystic. Those saintly powers that are duplicated between the trades, regardless of their being enhanced by becoming a true Mystic, are measured in power based on the character’s TR as a Sacred Knight. He suffers no loss of power, only an upgrade in the quality of some of the benefits of bearing the mantle of the Light.

Warrior, Champion, Duelist

The Warrior Trade is the most comprehensive of the three tiers or trades by which a character can be prepared to take part in armed combat. The real difference between the Warrior by Trade and those that merely swing a weapon at need, for self defense when pressed, is one of interest and commitment.

The Fyrd are looked on by full-trade Warriors as dilettantes with only a passing interest, doing only the bare minimum required of them by the law. The Fyrd-trained character can barely keep control of the weapon in his own hand well enough to offer a real threat to the enemy(-ies) he faces. In the army and in battle, the Fyrd play an undeniably important role, and it is exactly the one the members of the Fyrd who end up facing foes on the battlefield generally fear it to be: “sword fodder.” To die so that their betters might live. In the eyes of a Warrior, only luck can get those with this level or tier of training through an actual pitched battle alive. One who works to practice and improve this tier of training to improve it may end up on top in a duel or keep himself in the streets.

The Night Watch are acknowledged as more serious, but they remain part-timers, at best. The Night Watch-trained character is too busy keeping a close watch on the weapons he fears in his foe’s hands, worrying about his personal safety and survival, to be able to calm down and start observing his opponent like a true Warrior. Honing the skills they are taught, a character may stand strong with his fellows and get safely through a skirmish. If those who have risen this far in their martial training can be inspired – and survive – they may eventually earn their way into the ranks of true Warriors.

Those pursuing the full Warrior trade are in it for life, to keep themselves alive on the battlefield, where they expect to make their fortune or find it. They burn with the will to survive, to defy the limitations of their own bodies, to rise to be the best they can in arms. They are driven to learn and understand the various regional variations and differing forms in weapons, especially by nationality, and also not only the various styles in which they are used, but the men who created and teach (or taught) the fighting styles all Warriors seek to collect and study. Some of the greatest styles are described in detail with illustrations in costly books to be handed down – some of them considered useful and instructive standards widely known and observed even a couple hundred years after the original master’s death.

The Warrior trade is quoted a standard length of apprenticeship in character creation like the rest of the trades, BUT any such training was always at will and subject to the student’s ability to pay the tuition, like any other school, while the apprenticeship to a fighting master is considered equally informal but rather more serious in terms of commitment.

These details of character background are up to the player to work out with the GM.

In the distinctly English medieval milieu of the game, the basis of RoM, social class and station actually dictates the weapons and arms available to the character. A royal statute (law) known as the Assizes of Arms dictated the bare minimum weapons and arms all able-bodied male citizens over the age of 16 and up to the age of 60 must acquire and maintain for the defense of the realm, according to the value in yearly income of the lands each holds, or the value of their chattels (moveable goods), whichever is greater.

Every citizen is required to swear an oath before the local court in allegiance to the king and to uphold Assize and provide the arms required of him and to use them only in defense of the realm at age 15 or 16 among commoners, no later than age 21 for the gentry.

They are expected to train in their uses along side their neighbors no less than monthly under the direction of the local constable. The local constables call the citizens out on a regular schedule to drill with their weapons; archery practice was compulsory for Sundays and feastdays, historically. However, it is illegal for any commoner to wear or bare their weapons or even armor in any marketplace, church, town, or on royal road, as a violation of the King’s Peace or the Peace of the Church, even when responding to the summons to muster. Those of noble blood and those directly in their service may bear arms, especially when accompanying their lord, but all are bound to keep the peace.

For most walks of life, this dictated the minimum maintained in the house as far as war harness, and thus the skills they were expected to practice and for what purpose they were allowed to be used. In this way, every character’s war harness is subject to review for proper care and maintenance once a year by the local representative of the king –– the sheriff and/or hundred Constable primarily.

Because of the Assize of Arms, every character must have at least Fyrd training, if not the Night Watch or this, full-fledged Warrior trade training, in addition to whatever other trade(s) the player chooses. It is up to you as GM to determine how strictly this rule is observed in your game world. It may well vary from one realm to the next (GM’s discretion).

This was required of all male characters, but women were NOT barred from participating.

These trades are the product of either some type of school or the tutelage of a particular master. Both sorts of training were widely available across England in the period of the game despite the legislation actually enacted against them in the period.

The Assize of Arms thus dictates the minimum equipment everyone must own and train with, BUT those with the wealth are welcome to to buy more or better quality in addition. The drawback to displaying wealth greater than proper social station is, when one is in the lands (shire, but especially the home hundred) where he is best known for his family and having been born/raised, the danger of being accused of theft and taken in hand by the authorities for it until the rightful owner can be established. This is why maintaining receipts (stocks and tallies) are important.

Bows, staves, sling staves, farm tools and common slings are all exceptions, as are Brawling and Wrestling skills. These are all considered right and proper in the hands of land bound characters and commoners, alike.

By the time the player gets to Step 6. of Character Creation, he should know where his character falls on this schedule of minimum requirements. The character’s class and station by birth are the basis of this, BUT his primary Trade may be the most important in that determination as it may force him into a higher bracket, or allow him to plead a lower one.

Assize of Arms

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† indicates a level of income that makes the character subject to “distraint of knighthood,” or he must procure the habiliments required of a knight and seek one out – or some other noble who has his knighthood – to be formally invested as a knight.

Knife above indicates any weapon of the knife/dagger group represented on the weapon rosters in Appendix D.

One of the most important distinctions on the schedule of obligations on the Assize table is between those who must be mounted and those on foot, as horses are expensive, both for purchase and to maintain. Those who are expected to provide horses by the income level noted generally already own them, however. It is a mark of wealth and greater station.

Of the swords with which some are required to equip themselves, the common sword, hand-and-a-half or bastard sword, and two-handed sword or great-sword are all reserved for the use of the knightly (noble) class. Bows on the other hand, are not considered a noble weapon, and even moreso are crossbows condemned, and as such are reserved for the use of the commoners on the field of war.

The shire levies, equipped according to the law, are called out when the king rides to war, for conquest or defense, organized by the constables of the hundreds and led by their sheriffs (both Warrior occupations, the latter always a Knight), but they are not bound to fight outside of the country (border disputes being a grey area, a right much contested). Many refuse to fight outside their own shire without pay, and none have any obligation to fight longer than 40 days without pay, regardless, on the strength of ancient custom. “Custom hath the force of law.”

The local constables call the citizens out on a regular schedule to drill with their weapons; archery practice was compulsory for Sundays and feastdays, historically. However, it is illegal for any commoner to wear or bare their weapons or even armor in any marketplace, church, town, or on royal road, as a violation of the King’s Peace or the Peace of the Church, even when responding to the summons to muster. Those of noble blood and those directly in their service may bear arms, especially when accompanying their lord, but all are bound to keep the peace.

Even the un-free villeins and serfs are equipped and called for service by the local constable in time of sudden invasion or great royal campaigns to accompany the king to war. The fabric of society in the English medieval milieu being flexible enough that even the un-free might distinguish themselves and earn recognition to win their freedom by their service.

To secure the personal freedom to maintain and train in the arts martial and seek a career as a common soldier or mercenary, town or castle guard, is far easier for the freeman, however. The landbound are likely to take their training in arms from the reeves and bailiffs of the lords to whom they are bound, and may have an easier time cementing that relationship if they come to them as a Huntsman, especially with Husbandry and Beast Mastery as a Falconer or Berner (master of hounds).

Freedom is a prize that service in battle makes attainable to the landbound, however, allowing them to aspire eventually even to the station of a Knight. The fabric of society was much more permeable in England than it was on the Continent. Likewise, it is the means by which the convicted and wanted criminal alike commonly makes restitution for his crimes, even if he be a murderer, so long as he is healthy enough to be able to serve with weapon in hand and follow orders. The prisons are often emptied of those willing to fight for a royal pardon when the king is ready to ride to war. All they have to do is survive the length of the campaign to return home with the king or his lieutenant.

Regardless of their wealth or lack of it, commoners and gentlemen alike may train as full-fledged Warriors. They may hone their skills as Hobelars (mounted troops) or generally as Men-at-Arms, generally footmen bearing pikes and/or “long knives” (such as the Welsh provided as mercenaries) or valued archers. Eventually they may earn the rank of Sergeant.

Warriors owning less than a full Knight’s fee (480 acres, or a total of £20 income per year) are called Sergeants. However, a gentleman or freemen can be similarly endowed, and also referred to as Sergeants, some to carry a lord’s banner on the field of battle, or lead local forces at need, or provide infantrymen, archers, or crossbowmen when Crown or lord call. These commonly stand as the light cavalry used in reconnaissance and skirmishing, taking part in cavalry actions with Knights, though not as wealthy or well-equipped. Tenure by Sergeanty has a variable value. Thus, the title of Sergeant is not indicative of social class and station. A Knight is still a Knight, a Squire still a Squire, a gentleman still a gentleman and a commoner still a commoner, regardless of holding tenure in property by sergeanty.

The Sergeants are the ranks usually tapped for local use in procuring troops for the Crown in time of war, as captains and Commissioners of Array (as discussed later).

A gentleman is a man of gentle birth, one whose ancestors were knights but who has lost the right to knighted over time, as that right only passes only by Primogeniture (eldest male heir). The younger sons train as Squires, but they must earn the right to the gilded spurs of a knight. That takes connections, drive and a measure of luck, their gentle blood notwithstanding. This class of “demi-nobles” still strongly identifies with the skills of battle, the driving responsibility of the noble class.

Choosing a career of battle, running off to fight in foreign wars for booty, participating in tournaments, even serving in noble households and turning their hands to battle when the household is raised, the gentleman keeps alive the possibility that he might once again, through valiant service on the field of battle, be restored to knightly dignity.

A character of noble birth equipped with the Warrior trade is assumed by default to have been trained first as a Page and then as a Squire. The player must choose between that character still remaining a Squire at the start of play (not at all unusual) or having undergone the lavish ceremony investing him as a full-fledged Knight. 

If a player is satisfied with having the option to take knighthood but has no real pretensions to nobility, only wanting access to their company, a Warrior trained as a competent Squire can be as effective as any knight, although he is hindered in social interactions with them. Squires and Knights are discussed at length in the Warrior trade description.

A Warrior who has sworn sacred vows to a holy order is a Sacred Knight. He may or may not have the actual blessing of the Light, embodied in the Blessed Hero Trade. Those that do are graced with an array of special spiritual abilities, for they walk a Path that eventually leads them to the bosom of the Light as true Holy Mystics. Sacred Knights are discussed at length following Squires and Knights, in the Warrior trade description.

Trade Skills

Brawler/Wrestler

Dodge

Game Face

Perception

Assess Gear/Harness

Assess Wounds

Savvy

Sentry

Presence

Interview/Interrogate

Intimidate

Shield

Block 

Parry

Rim Strike

Shield Bash

Weapons † (10 *

† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed (not required).

Players have NO obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after they have already brought their characters into active game play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process (long since finished).

Those entries appearing in italics under an underscored skill entry define the specifics of the skill, what aspect(s) of the general root skill is/are known and practiced .

10) The Mêlée Weapon skills of the Warrior, Sergeant or Champion are NOT to include any Combination Blades or heavy Lance and should include at least one (1) Close Mêlée weapon, and one (1) Missile/Ranged Weapon (any) or at least some skill with a Hurled Weapon (player’s discretion).

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Violence is an accepted and unavoidable part of the true Warrior’s life, and for those who live by it, a simple fact of life whose religious and spiritual ramifications offer little, if any, deterrent. Indeed, a Squire or other Warrior is expected to be hit hard enough to knock him to the ground no less than 20 times during each of his trials and training before he is ever considered ready to face battle. Thus, a Warrior’s will to survive is tempered to a steely edge. He becomes inured to pain and privation over the course of his career, and is no stranger to the ivory grin of death. Warriors learn to endure and even dismiss discomforts that wear others down, and even the pain of injuries or wounds.

The Warrior is granted a bonus of (TR) to his P-RES score.

This applies only for the purposes of maintaining consciousness in the face of the pain of taking a wound, in resisting the numbing power of the shock of being struck and maintaining consciousness in the face of extreme fatigue (where the Wind and FTG rules are in play).

During the Warrior’s Trade training he learns to compensate for and work with his armor, to develop his fighting style that allows him to maximize it’s strengths, but mostly he becomes conditioned to the oppressive heat that can accumulate under it in the midst of a fight, rather more so than those who lack the same intensive training in arms that this trade represents.

Warriors are allowed to recover their Wind and FTG points normally (where those rules are in play), if they should have a chance to cat-nap or even fall truly asleep while still wearing their armor. 

No strangers are these characters to having to be ready for action on a moment’s notice, or to taking their shifts on Sentry duty, and so inured to discomfort and physical hardship do they become, over time.

A (TR) bonus is added to the Warrior’s Wind and FTG scores (where those rules are in play) and, for the purposes of determining how quickly he recovers his Wind and FTG points, also added to his effective CND score (but ONLY for that purpose).

As their trade training protects them from feeling too much or too deeply, thus providing these benefits, it is small wonder that Warriors are rather commonly noted for their callous lack of sympathy in regards to the complaints uttered by others when suffering physical hardships.

Like any other trade, Warriors all receive the same pool of Trade Skills and abilities. The specific choices of weapon skills and then the particular weapons representing each skill help to differentiate them.

With his close and almost constant exposure to the tools of his trade and his experiences in the practice yard, area tournaments and actual battle sharpens his senses and eyes in certain ways. A Warrior can Assess Gear/Harness so he can tell the nationality of the make of weapons, armor or other martial gear, the quality of steel, condition and if allowed to handle it, the quality and state of care. A Connoisseur specialty in weapons is a good fit for a full trade Warrior, including knowledge of hallmarks so the specific origins of a weapon can be discerned.

He may also Assess Wounds so he can tell the severity of his own or another’s wounds (Light, Serious, Grievous or Mortal).

Without trying to get insanely detailed and specifying what the actual “fighting styles” are that the characters practice, they are represented in such a way that each character more or less gets to develop his own over the course of play. This is based on the assumption that each Warrior takes elements from all the styles he is taught and blends them together to suit himself.

The basic tools by which fighting style(s) is/are expressed are considered to be provided by the maneuvers that appear in the Tactical Play & Armed Combat rules – Common Strike/Hearty Blow; Slash; Thrust/Lunge; Aimed Strike, Entangle (spec.); Bind/Entangle/Disarm; Feint.

The definitions of these and the way they are used in battle are provided with those rules.

In game terms, the Warrior character is granted (TR) points during Character Creation to divvy up and allot to these maneuvers as bonuses. 

These bonuses are added to the character’s weapon AV’s to attack and the DV’s against which his opponents roll, representing his defenses. Whatever maneuver he chooses to employ, the bonus is added, regardless of weapon.

The true benefit of the Warriors’ training in various fighting or fencing styles lies in their learning the timing and proper delivery of what are called Combinations.

These can be most easily labeled as Dual Attacks; Dual Defenses; Attack/Defense; Defense/Attack. These are designed to account for all the Warrior’s personal resources in battle. A player can choose to account for a weapon or shield or other object in a character’s primary hand, another in his off-hand, and he may move or dodge or kick, sidestep, advance, back-peddle, jump or some other similar movement (especially by means of the Brawler skill) all in the course of a single 10-second Combat Segment. The character may utilize one, some, or all of his faculties – or none, by means of a “Wait” action.

Full trade Warriors are the only characters that can utilize Combinations in armed combat.

Trade Warriors are also granted a bonus of 1 per 4 Game Face SL’s to ALL his attack AV’s, as it gradually stills any habitual movements he might make that might ‘telegraph’ or give away his his next intended move or strike to his opponent.

Warriors are granted a bonus based on their Savvy SL’s to ALL their defense DV’s, as well, as it gradually improves the degree to which they can read their opponent’s body language and fighting style, enabling him to anticipate his opponent’s next intended move or strike.

Warriors are unique in that any and every Trade is deemed an Allied Trade.

The Crown uses “Contracts of Indenture” to command military service as well as raise the levies to make-up the balance of the armies, once the feudal lords owing military service (servicium debitum) have been summoned. Warriors of great standing bearing royal commissions by Letters Close from the king, called Commissioners of Array, use professional Warriors as subcontractors carry Letters Close to raise troops of quality mercenaries by indenture to serve at wages – men-at-arms, archers, and Hobilars. Almost comprising a small but professional army of paid volunteers in themselves, the Commissioners rely on the good reputations of their deputies or captains in the various districts to attract seasoned, skilled mercenaries, and especially for finding skilled archers. The common men compete regularly at village archery contests for the honor of being chosen to stand for selection by the circulating or local subcontractors, captains or Commissioners. The Commissioner is always a wealthy man, or has access to plentiful coin or plate, for he is responsible for fronting the first installment of pay to the troops he gathers out of his own purse. The Crown regularly offers securities to repay the captains on reaching the hosting site, or as soon as might be afterwards, but wages are generally always paid in arrears, and commonly only when the troops are about ready to desert.

Captains and commissioners contract with the Crown to supply a certain number of men for a particular period of service – no less than the traditional 40 days, no longer than a year and a day – at specific rates of pay, obligations and privileges. The Captain holding the contract must be a man of liquid means, in the same manner as a Commissioner of Array, working on his own behalf.

The terms for the division of the expected spoils of battle are spelled out in the Contracts of Array. It is not considered appropriate for any common soldier(s) to capture and hold any nobleman for ransom, but they must turn them over to the lord under whose banner the Warrior fights for him to hold as hostage in return for a specified amount of plate and/or coin to the commoner having taken him captive. In campaigns officially launched by the Crown, whether led in person by the king himself or not, all lands, castles, towns, and hostages owning a living of £500 a year rightfully belong to the king. It is customary for the Crown to compensate the captor in return, but this is ONLY a courtesy. Of the booty taken in goods, coin and plate in war, every man must surrender one-third to his captain. The men taken into service under contract are also bound to preserve the peace among themselves on pain of privation or mutilation. All these affairs are adjudicated by the Court Martial, under the Marshal of the realm.

Outside the arena of war, whether private and local or a royal campaign against bordering rivals, the Warrior of common or landbound blood going armed and bearing weapons runs the risk of being accused of breaking the King’s Peace in pursuing retainer in the service of others who may be in need of his services, such as Merchants in need of guards to protect their goods and wealth when being transported from town to town or port on the King’s Road. Churches, markets, and the royal roads are all protected. Lonely roads far from any governing lord, where their services are needed most however, are another matter entirely.

In those regions where the status quo is too civilized for local war, those who are members of this trade are commonly hard-pressed to find uses for themselves beyond service to the king or plain banditry, but this requires them to hold a fair amount of land, which most lack. It is rather common for lesser knights, especially younger brothers of lords, and the men-at-arms serving under them to seek out a lord for shelter to perform all acts as commanded and protect their host’s causes, and in their spare time amuse themselves at brigandage. This was especially true historically of those who have fought as mercenaries in foreign wars and returned home again. Foreign mercenaries had long been forbidden in England by the period of the game, but there was nothing to cure the condition in their own citizens. Between the knights at loose ends and the mercenaries returned home and the avarice, greed and despotism of many of the nobles the practice of “bastard feudalism” evolved from the feudal system, where men were taken into the household without any given duties, yet provided with the lord’s livery (clothes in the lord’s heraldic colors and usually some form of badge drawn from that nobleman’s arms) and maintenance (protection, in old French), they provided the lord with a small army or war band or a handful of bully-lads to work their will in the districts where they were kept on behalf of said lord, which might range across three or four shires.

This resulted in small, private wars being fought between noblemen and the intimidation and bullying of those farther down the social ladder in their districts. Many of those beneath them enlisted as allies simply for self-protection, in order to be left alone.

Despite the normal and usual appearance of the rule of law in the period of the game (in spite of the usual modern opinions), there exists or persists still something of a dichotomy of spirit. That which is wild and wolfish still remains, especially within those who fight for their daily bread, regardless of also possessing any number of up-standing traits or Virtues.

Those with wealth have the most to fear, and merchants are always a favorite target, for they are always at work moving valuable goods from one town to the next, back and forth to and from the ports and back and forth between the various faires in the realm and markets in the shires. As a case in point, a few merchants of the town of Lichfield sent 2 of their servants with 2 horses carrying “spicery and mercery” (spices and silk, linen and fustian textiles) valued at the considerable sum of £40. to Stafford in anticipation of the next market day. When the merchants’ men came to the eaves of Cannock Wood they found Sir Robert de Rideware awaiting them, along with 2 men of his own, who seized them all, servants, horses and goods, and dragged them off to the Priory of Lappeley. In the course of the journey, one of the servants escaped, to the merchants’ good fortune.

Arriving at the priory, Sir Robert met with Sir John de Oddyngesles, Esmond de Oddyngesles, and several others, knights as well as others. With the ease of a pre-arranged affair and common practice they divvied up the cloth and spices, each receiving a portion according to his degree. The company of noble brigands then rode off to the Priory of Blythebury, a house of nuns. Sir Robert declared to the nuns that they were all of them king’s men, quite exhausted and in need of hospitality, but the nun’s saw something suspicious about them and refused them entrance. Indignant at this reception, the knights broke into the barns and their lofts and fed their horses on hay and oats and settled there for the night. All the while, the escaped servant had been watching, having followed from a discrete distance so as not to be discovered.

When he saw the men settling in for the night, the servant rushed off to Lichfield with all haste to raise the bailiff, who then hastened, in turn, to collect his men to pursue the noble robbers. The brigand knights, being men of the sword, stood their ground when faced by the bailiff and his men and a true battle ensued, in which the robbers initially had the upper hand, wounding several of their pursuers. In the end, however, they were bested and fled.

All of the spices were recovered at that time and 4 of the robbers were taken captive and summarily beheaded on the spot.

Sir Robert was not one of the 4 and did not lose heart, indeed, he went straight away to his brother William de Rideware, who was Lord Hamstall, and set out immediately with William and some of his men to pursue the bailiff who was on his way back to Lichfield. This time the de Ridewares prevailed and the spices were taken again, the bailiff fleeing. When the aggrieved merchants mounted an excursion to Stafford to seek the king’s justice, they were met at the very gates by Sir Richard and Sir John and some of their and Lord William’s retainers who barred their passage to the town and attacked them “so hotly” that they had difficulty escaping with their lives. Thus, they returned to Lichfield, where their gentlemen persecutors and their men continued to menace them and keep them under surveillance so that they dared not leave the town again. No doubt through intermediaries, the aggrieved merchants started a petition to the local earl over the said Lord of Hamstall, since they could not reach the royal court in Stafford.

Due to the fact that Warriors and their ilk are not governed by any sort of guild (although they may frequently belong to one or more fraternities), these battle skills might be learned by those following any trade, so long as a willing teacher can be found.

Duelists are commonly hired not only for defense but also to teach the very same tactics that make them such valuable hires.

Any reluctance to teaching those outside the fraternities of their trade is commonly traceable to a general lack of patience with dilettantes.

If one can prove one’s commitment to doing the work needed to master these special skills, one may find a willing master to teach, or at least one grudgingly willing.

The Order of the Garter consisted of 26 secular Knights, divided into 2 teams for the tourneys, one under the king, one under the Black Prince, each with a stall in St. George’s chapel. The Order of the Golden Fleece was another such fraternity of (secular) knights.

Upon reaching the Master LoA, the Warrior gains the option of specializing as a Duelist. 

This specialty can only be learned from a recognized Duelist who has earned Master of the Works status since specializing as a Duelist himself, providing he earned that distinction while still bearing the TR that made him a candidate, otherwise add any TR’s of discrepancy between eligibility and earning the distinction to his Master of the Works TR requirement.

A Duelist is an advanced specialist Warrior, a fearsome fencer.

Fencing as a profession was originally developed by the professional duelists of the 1200’s. 

To transition into a Duelist, the Warrior must have skill with a melée weapon which stands at the Master LoA, either a Combination Blade or a Cut & Thrust-type or any of the other Renaissance styles of Blades provided on the weapon rosters (GM’s discretion).

The character who commits to such a trade takes great pride in his martial training and practices it as often as he may, for his own uses or defense or for another’s, for charity or for coin, but he may have to conceal his knowledge of such tricks until he has need of them.

By definition, according to the other professional men living by the sword (especially those of noble heritage), the Duelist fights “dirty”. In other words, a Duelist does what he must in order, not so much to win, but to survive. Many of the special tactics described in the discussion of fighting techniques under the Weapon skill come from the duelist bag of tricks.

Such persons are considered unsavory and lacking in honor, handicapped in any efforts to cultivate a good name or reputation among those who tout the values of honor and Chivalry. The Duelist works more in the social arena of private honor duels, however, but is also commonly engaged to teach the tricks that make him so successful. A character need not be a Magister to teach his trade, but it is beneficial to him and the student alike, as it is in the transfer of any sort of knowledge in the context of the game.

These unscrupulous and shady characters specialized in secret tricks of swordplay which they would teach in return for a hefty price. In some incidences, they would personally duel on a client’s behalf in order to ensure a satisfactory result, guaranteed upon their own bodies as a measure of their confidence, in the same manner as a Champion in the judicial duel.

Such tactics are what he teaches to those who come to him intent on defending themselves rather than allowing the Duelist or Champion to defend him, especially if he be headed into war. The professional duelist was considered (socially) a rogue (not the same as a member of the Rogue, in game terms) by the authorities, a social outcast if not actually an outlaw.

One of the keys to the Duelist’s effectiveness in battle is his knowledge of the earmarks and trademarks of the teachings of all the different styles of fighting popular in the part of the world where he took his training, and especially their preferred tactics and fighting techniques but, more importantly, how to counter them, as well.

  • For every attack that scores a hit on the same foe in battle, the Duelist receives a temporary +1 bonus to his Attack AV’s against him and his Defense DV’s to ward him off, to a limit of (AWA ÷ 4).
  • This bonus applies only to a single foe at any given time.

IF the Duelist should break off to engage a new opponent, the bonus achieved against the first is lost and a new one must be cultivated against the new opponent, as he observes and analyzes the moves and techniques preferred.

Duelists have something of the nature of a Trickster, insofar as they practice false body language as a true Player and make false movements to mislead. Rather than the cold and impenetrable “blank slate” the Game Face provides, the Duelist is all for deception and playing tricks to conceal his intentions until he is ready to actually makes his move.

  • When employing his favorite maneuver, the Feint (a favorite tactic), a Duelist is granted a bonus to his Attack AV based on his Player skill. 

IF the Duelist doesn’t have the Player skill, he may seek out someone who does who is willing to teach him, in order to benefit from it in this manner.

  • The Duelist also receives a bonus equal to his TR’s earned as a Duelist whenever he makes a Combination maneuver. 
  • This bonus is added to both his Attack AV(s) OR his Defense DV(s) (as applicable).

The London Masters of Defense

It was not until the middle of the 15th century that it was safe to publicly admit to running a school of fencing, historically. Although legislation of the 13th and 14th centuries forbidding dueling and such schools was still in force, it was only indifferently enforced, ie., it was complaint-driven, and complaints were assessed according to the social standing of the plaintiff. In 1540, Henry VIII finally granted Letters Patent to a Corporation of Fencing Masters, known as “The London Masters of Defense”. In doing so, he gave them a virtual monopoly on the teaching of fencing in England, Wales and Ireland, in the same manner as a guild in any of the many handicrafts and merchant trades. Indeed, they were addressed as the “guild of Masters of ye noble Science of Defense”.

This charter gave the profession a new respectability, although it was not for another decade or two that such an occupation was officially recognized. James 1 issued a Royal Warrant giving The London Masters of Defense the highest status they had ever enjoyed (1605). This warrant granted them the power to legally control the teaching of fencing within the English domains.

The company of fencers, the Masters of Defense, were structured in the same manner as any of the handicraft or merchant guilds, broken down into ranks according to their martial skills and accomplishments. These ranks were bestowed by playing a prize or demonstration in public to show one’s skill with a wide range of weapons, in the same manner as submitting a masterwork in a craft trade, but a new one was required for each successive rank. These ranks have been used for the purposes of the game in the same manner as LoA’s

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These exhibitions for succession in the ranks were very popular, historically. They were accompanied by processions, music and a good deal of showmanship, and were performed on the same shared-stage with the Elizabethan theatre actors. Shakespeare’s knowledge of swordsmanship and his use of the various weapons throughout his plays would have undoubtedly come from these exhibitions. The audiences of the day would have made the highest demands regarding the performance of the theatrical swordfights, since they would have specialist experience of combat between the most skilled exponents in the country from these exhibitions. The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet was first produced in 1595 and contains some of the most spectacular fighting scenes of any Elizabethan play.

The development of the London guild of fencers is included due to the fact that it faithfully follows the guild forms created in the period of the game and carried them forward, in much the same manner as a number of the other details lifted from the Renaissance for inclusion in the game due to the probable developments of an essentially perpetually medieval environment, illustrating the principle behind the passage entitled “The Perpetually Medieval Gameworld” in Part III.

Champions

The professional Champion is a specific class of Warrior who works with the courts and the law, looking for patrons to represent in the same manner as a lawyer or barrister, ultimately seeking to find a patron to keep him on retainer, in the same manner as a Knight, but without the high social prestige. Champions are often originally of gentle or knightly blood – some may even have once been knights truly trained and recognized, but as Champions they are fallen and forsaken. Fate sometimes makes fools of us all …. How the Champion came to follow that trade is up to the individual player to decide when writing the background for his character.

IF the character is a knight, originally brought up in that social sphere and tradition, the character should be made using the skill roster for a knight. Otherwise, the common Warrior roster (previously) should be used.

In all other ways, the skills and abilities of a Champion are exactly the same as any other trade Warrior.

The Trade of the Champion grew out of the traditions of the “ordeal of arms” or Trial by Combat at law. This was a favorite with the Irish Celts, the Slavs, and the Norsemen. A Norse warrior might even go around challenging the owners of property he coveted to invite the gods to determine who the future owner would be.

Trial by Combat was the simple process of two sides at odds in a dispute of a legal nature fighting it out with weapons until one party or the other cried “”Mercy”. The winner was thus declared in the right by Divine Judgment.

The persistence of judicial duels (which lingered in common practice through the Renaissance) is accompanied by the peoples’ fervent belief in magick and the manipulation of Luck in their causes during a judicial battle. Champions in judicial duels are almost expected to wear magical tokens. Even having occult symbols tattooed or painted on their heads is deemed acceptable. However, the combatants are expected to fight on an equal footing.

In one judicial duel between Champions representing the Bishop of Salisbury and the Earl of Salisbury, both Warriors were duly searched for unlawful arms and it was found that “prayers and magical spells” had been sewn into the clothes of the Bishop’s man. The battle was cancelled and the Bishop lost his case, NOT because the court censured the talismans or magick in general, but because it was felt their power would surely make the contest unequal, BOTH sides would have had to have been equipped with such blessings and talismans for the duel to go forward.

The respondent to the plaintiff in any property dispute pursued at law had the right of inquest (Trial by Jury) or Trial by Combat.

Those standing accused of a crime in court of law might challenge the accuser to a judicial duel, but a witness bringing evidence against him might be challenged also. If he lost the match, that witness’ evidence would be discarded.

A party to a dispute might even challenge his own witness if he provided evidence of a damaging nature to the case.

In 1017, Emperor Henry II used hired champions to decide the cases of robbers awaiting trial in Magdeburg and Merseberg. 

On the other hand, in 1040, Innocentius II forbade judicial duels to all ecclesiastics, just as they were forbidden to ride into battle in fulfillment of the servicium debitum owed for the estates they held. This was just as difficult to enforce. It was deemed necessary for Alexander II to repeat the prohibition due to non-observance again in 1070. Bishops rode to battle nonetheless, and Champions were contracted by Churchmen for judicial service.

In France, witnesses were so often challenged in hopes of getting their evidence thrown out that by the end of the 1200’s it was common practice to disallow any witness who could not be legally compelled to back his testimony up by force of arms.

Up to 1285, a champion could only be brought into play through the legal fiction of first taking oath as a witness, then proceeding to duel as a witness, as if the defendant had challenged him rather than the plaintiff. If he lost, he was subject to the traditional justice reserved for perjurers : hanging, or the loss of a hand or foot. 

Alternately, if the witness lost the combat, he was fined the amount that his testimony would have cost the defendant (Germany).

However, a crime committed by a wife against her husband or by a servant against his master were both considered treasonable offenses, and so these are deprived of right of challenge . In the same manner, the serf is denied the right to challenge the freeman, the leper to challenge the noon-leper, the bastard to challenge anyone legitimately born in holy wedlock.

Churchmen and women commonly avail themselves of the right to a Champion, and one might be sought to protect the rights of a minor, as well. In the cases where the challenged is physically deformed or a bastard, the appointment of a Champion is generally allowed. This is not allowed when barred due to social class or contagious disease. Resort to Champions is allowed in civil cases as well as criminal.

Thus, the Trade of freelance Champions emerged to fill those needs.

The use of a Champion is forbidden in cases hinging on charges of dishonor or felony, however, and the ban against women participating in judicial combat is not universal. There will be regional exceptions where a Champion will not be needed.

In 1228, a woman of Berne, Switzerland entered the lists and soundly thrashed her male opponent.

The loser of a judicial duel is dishonored and risks being summarily and immediately condemned to death.

Those who started as Knights in truth, by noble right of blood, are NOT acknowledged by their brothers once they turn Champion by trade. They are seen as the worst of sell-swords, as low as any common thug. Champions in general, regardless of class and station of birth, will be reckoned on a par with prostitutes, selling their bodies for coin, equivalent to fornicators, breakers of a major commandment.

Their honor is denied by those who would otherwise be his peers, and no professional Champion is ever allowed entrance in the lists at any legitimate tournament or allowed in any host of the tournament melée, although they are welcomed readily enough by lord or Crown in time of war for their battle-seasoned skills.

Freelance Champions are barred from giving evidence in cases at law, or succeeding to property, the same as Jugglers, Players, and bastards, except that in the case of the Champion the taint of blood and the same restrictions extends to his children as well.

Despite the ill-fame of the Trade, it is incumbent on the Champion to maintain a good reputation for being otherwise a good and up-standing man. A Champion can be excluded from plying his Trade for having been convicted as a criminal himself previously, or for being in general a “man of ill-fame”.

Permanently retained salaried champions are by their treatment and status on retainer considered a cut above. This is the level of status and recognition to which all Champions aspire, to be maintained in a household or retained in the same manner as any household knight. It is incumbent on the Champion who aspires to such heights to cultivate a manner pleasing to a lord to be maintained in his household. The Courtier’s skills may be invaluable in the end and serve his ambitions best. The Champion maintained by the Bishop of Hereford was paid 6s. 8d. for an engagement – quite an admirable wage, but in this case renegotiable after every bout.

A successful Champion might be blessed with a lifetime covenant of service for £20, plus wages when called on. That is the equivalent of maintenance at the legally recognized level of income of a Knight.

Champions & Trial by Combat

Local law-worthy knights keep the field and adjudicate all cases of judicial duel. The tradition of Judicial Duels is maintained most fervently in the arena of land disputes that have been gone to the courts. Judicial duels might be fought on horse or on foot, with various weapons. Sometimes local custom dictates the precise type of battle, or the social rank of the parties involved, or the type of crime might alternately dictate the terms. In this type of trial both combatants or champions may be required to appear with shaven heads, bare legged and bare-armed, and each to give the judge a glove with a penny in each finger while kneeling before him. The choice of weapons might be left to one or the other of the litigants in some cases, again in accordance with local rules pertaining to duels.

Each by custom must retire to a church/chapel to pray prior to the battle.

Winchester, London (1456)

One of the King’s Approvers, himself a convicted thief, accused another man, a fisher and tailor of craft, under threat of death and in return for an allowance of 1d 1hp per day. In turn, the Approve was himself accused of false accusation. 

For the duel, both to be dressed in white and each to hold a 3ft. ash stave in one hand and an iron horn “shaped like a rammyshorn” as sharp at its point as it could be made.

The duel took place on the “most sorry and wretched green that might be found about the town” and both men were to fast, “having neither meat nor drink”.

The battle drew a crowd, as usual, loathing and decrying the approver while cheering the tailor. The approver came from the Eastside (London), the tailor from the South-westside. 

Kneeling down to pray to God, the crowd prayed with and for the defendant, which so annoyed the approver (Thomas Whytehorne) that he mocked the tailor, inquiring as to why he would make such a long show of his false belief, thus provoking Fysher (the tailor) to jump up, declare his just cause, and lunge at him, but he broke “his weapon” in so doing. Whytehorne, blackguard that he was, pressed the attack until he was restrained and disarmed.

They resumed the fight, unarmed, with brief breaks for them to catch their breath. Whytehorne bit him (Fysher) in the crotch, but Fysher recovered and bit his nose and thumbed his eye, whereupon Whytehorne cried mercy. He then made his confession, which included 28 other men [no doubt members of the band that threatened his life and offered him the money in maintenance], and was then hanged.

Fysher, who might legally have been executed for having slain the king’s approver, was in fact “pardoned his life, limbs, and goods and went home”. He became a hermit and “with short time died”. 

In another case, a Knight of Holland, Jan van Arckle, when in the Holy Land during the first crusade, came across a cadre of German Knights, among whom was one who wore the same coat of arms as his own (a field argent, two bars gules). The German took van Arckle’s banner and threw to the ground, in response to which van Arckle petitioned the leaders of the Crusade, who found both parties to have independently originated the same coat of arms. A Trial by Combat was called for, which van Arckle won, thus securing that coat of arms as his own property the same as any piece of land, for those of his blood in perpetuity.

Duels between men and women usually had special rules, also.

In some parts of Germany, the man was to be equipped with 3 clubs, one arm tied behind his back, and standing in a pit 3ft wide up to his navel, while the woman was free to dodge about armed with 3 stones (each weighing 1-5lbs, according to local custom), each wrapped in pieces of cloth.

IF the man touched the ground with either hand or arm, he had to surrender one of his clubs. If the woman struck him while he was unarmed, she must surrender a stone. If the man wins, the woman is buried alive, BUT if she wins, he is then executed.

IF during the course of the battle the accused cries “Craven”, he gives in, effectively admitting his guilt, and the judge rules summarily against him, resulting in due punishment according to the crime.

IF the accuser cries “Craven”, he is sentenced for perjury, condemned to wear “the coward’s calfskin” for the rest of his life, and perhaps to lose a hand in the bargain, too.  If he fails to beat his foe by star-rise, he has lost and is again judged perjured, although without the other penalties of a coward).

Generally speaking, the expenses involved in the administration of judicial duels will be paid by the Crown. This will not be the case in most other countries outside the English milieu represented here to begin with in RoM, except when one or both of the litigants is too poor to equip himself.

 

Acrobat

The Acrobat trade is a useful one indeed. It lies at the heart of the feats of derring-do witnessed in the film exploits of the various characters portrayed by Errol Flynn and his actor rivals. It has been largely integrated into the considerations made in designing the rules for combat and tactical play.

Hieronymous Mercurialis’ work, the “De Arte Gymnastica” (1569), was based on a careful study of the Greek classics and signaled a revival of the Greek gymnastics, largely forgotten except insofar as that which was remembered and continued to be practiced down through the years for the amusement and entertainment of audiences by the community of itinerant Players presented under the Social Trades.

In the period of the game, the skills of the acrobats and the acrobats themselves will be relegated to the more than questionable company of vagabonds and ruffians, teaching sword masters, and Players, disowned by the Church as rootless and lordless. Unlike most of those trades, the Acrobat’s skills are in displaying prowess in control and execution of physical feats for the entertainment of others, not what he can do with a musical instrument, or by the amusing antics to which he may train an animal. His skill is in timing and control and especially balance in performing acrobatic maneuvers, sometimes under particularly dangerous circumstances, for the entertainment and appreciation of audiences

The basic skills of the Acrobat encompass all the arts of the Tumbler, covering all tumbling maneuvers from simple rolls (forward or back-) and cartwheels, round-offs, handstands, walking on hands, handsprings, standing somersaults (forwards, backwards, and/or with a half or full twist), and so on. In order to increase his speed and momentum to achieve greater height in a maneuver (when that is desirable), the Tumbler can go from a run and leap or a run and bounce off a springboard and increase the height achieved if another Acrobat is stationed to receive him, to catch him and help propel and direct his path of travel, adding either 1/4 STR, 1/2 STR, 3/4 STR or full STR in feet to the height achieved and the distance covered according to the portion of his ENC that the acrobat being assisted comprises for him.

It also extends to cultivating the aspect of Balance and the Aerial application of the Tumbler’s skills, and through their association with the Players and the mutual importance of weight, balance, and timing in Juggling and their own trade, an opportunity to learn to Juggle, as well.

The Balance aspect involves the perfecting of the character’s sense of balance for walking tightropes, ledges, cat-walks, and any other narrow surface requiring a good sense of balance to tread. It includes as well the ability to maintain balance on unstable objects such as a ball, commonly compounded with juggling in performances, or on a see-saw, or on a see-saw on top of a ball, and any tumbling-type exercise attempted on those or similar surfaces.

Those characters cultivating the Balance aspect will also develop a stance and physical poise always ready to compensate on a moment’s notice for changes in footing. Any DV penalties to physical skills that are levied due to the shifting, pitching, rolling, sliding or otherwise unstable surfaces on which he labors (not restricted to those on which he normally performs) will be reduced by his Acrobat SL. Eventually, his skill will off-set most penalties entirely.

The Aerial aspect encompasses still-rings and trapeze maneuvers and all moves and maneuvers attempted in free-fall/flight, somersaults, rolls, and twists in mid-air, such as those done upon the springboard or while cliff-diving or on trampoline (or the closest medieval equivalent the character can find). This category also encompasses maneuvers attempted while suspended, whether from single, parallel, or uneven bars, as well as such things as traveling across monkey-bars in a hand to hand fashion, giant swings around a bar (should space permit) and pivots to change facing, as well as timing momentum to stall at the top of a swing, or to change the direction of swing, and so on. The aerial skill is required to master the art of the high-diver, making fancy timed moves in diving from heights. The Swim skill is also required if the character is to use Aerial skills in cliff-diving, as opposed to a high-wire or trapeze artist diving into a safety net at the end of an act or into the safety of a co-star’s arms.

Any character being attacked while performing an acrobatic move in a tactical situation will be considered to be Evading (see Chapter 4. Tactical Rules & Combat of Part III. The Rules of the Game). This is the advantage to bouncing about from place to place with a series of handsprings, cartwheels, or some such in a combat situation, though others might insist it is simply showing off.

The Acrobat character will receive a bonus to his BP’s, WND, and FTG score due to his skill, as explained in Step 9. of Chapter 1. of Part I. The Acrobat character will also be granted a (1 per 4 TR’s) bonus to his Dodge DV.

An additional benefit of purchasing the Acrobat skill is the bonus to the character’s jump and leaping scores due to the rigorous gymnastic training and the accompanying increases in the character’s limberness and sense of balance and timing. All Acrobat skilled characters will gain an additional (TR) inches to their leap and running leap distances. They will receive a (1in. per 4 TR’s) bonus to their jump heights, to a maximum bonus of (STR ÷ 4) inches.

The Acrobat trade depends on and aids the character in cultivating a fine sense of  balance and acute sense of timing, both of which are essential in the art of Juggling, which is also practiced by many wandering Acrobats who work alongside Players of all sorts as a means for diversifying their portfolio of related entertainment skills to broaden their appeal to a crowd.

IF the Juggler specialty skill is taken, it will be tracked separately by SL and SP’s, like any other trade skill.

The Juggler skill will NOT be available to those characters who take this trade as a Petty Skill. Juggler will be allowed as a Petty Skill to be taken in its own right, if desired.

The att. mod. for any feat of Acrobatics will be based upon the character’s AGL.

GM’s Notes

The DV for exercising this skill will depend upon the move that the character is trying to make and what he wants to accomplish with it. The base DV for simple tumbling will be (distance to be covered in the maneuver) divided by (character height), or divided by (height ÷ 2) for handsprings or simple tumbling backwards, or divided by (height ÷ 4) for back-handsprings.

The checks for these maneuvers will be made for every (character height x TR) amount of distance covered, the DV accumulating at a rate of 1 per check, 2 per check, or 4 per check for simple tumbling, handsprings or tumbling backwards, or back-handsprings, respectively. Changing the type of maneuver in mid-cavort will do nothing but change the rate at which the DV accumulates.

Standing flips and walk-overs will have a base DV equal to the character’s (STA ÷ 4), plus (1/4 STA) if done backwards, plus the same again for every half-twist incorporated.

Punctuating the distance-covering moves above with these moves or any like them will start the DV for further distance-covering moves over again at one (1).

The character’s AV for handspring (back- or forward) and flip dI00 checks will be increased by the speed of his movement in mph, but only for those movements.

The speed, force and momentum build over the course of a series of handsprings, so that at the end a dismount of some kind is always made to spend that force, during which the height that can be achieved with them will increase by a number of feet equal to the base DV for the handsprings.

The base DV for walking a beam/wire or “other narrow surface requiring a good sense of balance to tread” will be 1 per inch that the beam/wire is less than [(character height ÷ 2) – (AGL inches)]. Once it gets down to (character height ÷ 4) or narrower, the DV will be assessed at 2 per inch. If atop a ball, the diameter of the sphere will be judged by the same standard as the width of a beam, and [(character height) – (AGL inches)] for the length of a see-saw. To this will be added 1 per full mph of speed the character is attempting to move.

The character will require a successful check to pass safely across the beam/wire for every (AGL ÷ 4) x (SL) feet.

The DV for acrobatic movements attempted while ON a beam or wire, combining the abilities of the trade with the specific skill, will be equal to the normal DV for the maneuver attempted on I, plus the DV for narrowness of footing and speed described above.

The DV will also be raised by 1 point for every [(HRT ÷ 4) + (TR)] feet above the ground that the character performs an Acrobatic move.

When the character is using an acrobatic move for an attack in combat, such as a cart-wheeling or round-off kick, a somersaulting overhead Move-By, or whathaveyou (creativity is encouraged). The character’s TR as an Acrobat OR Brawler SL will be substituted for a Weapon SL, whichever is greater. Whichever is used for the primary component of the AV, the other skill will provide a bonus based on it

For example, for a character whose Acrobat TR is 15 and whose Brawler SL is 10, the TR 15 would be plugged into the AV at full value, and the Brawler SL would provide a (1 per 4 SL’s) bonus of 3. If the reverse were true, the Brawler SL of 15 would be plugged into the AV at full value and the TR 10 of his Acrobat trade would provide a (1 per 4 TR’s) bonus of 3.

If a character is using an Acrobatic maneuver to strike with a formal weapon other than his body, the attack AV will be limited to no greater than his Acrobat AV, if the Acrobat TR is lower (as applicable).

There will be a million possible variations on the themes mentioned here that players of Acrobat characters may want to try. The GM should be reasonable and apply the DV’s that have been explained as even-handedly as he may. The GM should be careful with the DV’s for Aerial maneuvers made in the course of dismounting from swinging on a (fixed) bar, that the character have at least 6in. of clearance for his swinging in the first place, and that he have at least (height x 2) or (DV feet) from the bar to the ground in which to land, whichever is greater, to a maximum requirement of (height x 4).

For the rest, the GM will have to improvise according to these examples as best he can.

Assassin

The name of the Assassin Trade comes from “Ashashin” from the Arabic hashishi and the plural hashishiyyin in particular, The hashishiyyin were a splinter group of the Ismailis, themselves an important faction of the Shi’a, one side of the major schism that divided Islam. Hashishi refers to Indian hemp, cannabis sativa. Hashish was secretly used by the leaders of the sect, especially to give their emissaries a taste of the pleasures of Paradise that awaited their faithful service. Some scholars theorize that the Assassins were actually addicted to hashish, that will be the GM’s decision to make for his own gameworld.

The name of the Assassins first came to light in connection with the Saracens, a strange sect of Muslims in Damascus and Antioch and elsewhere in the Levant. They called themselves “The Pure” and lived without law, reputed to mix socially with women and drink in their company, to use women without distinction – even their own mothers, sisters, and daughters – and for women to dress as men. They dwelt in great, impregnable citadels in the deep mountains, ten of them with their appendant villages in the province of Tyre, called Phoenicia, and their leader was a mysterious person referred to simply as the Old Man of the Mountain or the Elder. Their leader they chose by merit, with no taint of right by blood or feudal tenure.

The hashishiyyin sect was founded in Persia, and the Middle East was historically the only source of Assassins. The Old Man of the Mountain sent agents to act on his behalf in Damascus and Kurdistan. The GM should consider spreading the Assassins’ network similarly through other such rough and impassable lands, with a number of Elders holding sway over various citadels with their villages, the Elders electing a single man as their chief. The chief would be the source of the strategy involved in the assassinations commissioned, the daggers coming from the Elder who chooses the man for the job. It could as well be integrated with the guilds of Knaves and brotherhoods of Rogues, even controlling them.

The Elders would likely hold a conclave with their Chief every three or five years in a similar manner to the national guilds in England, with smaller gatherings of a regional nature between Elders alone every year or two.

The members of the order are sworn to follow the Old Man of the Mountain as a god. The fanatical loyalty of the members of the Order is what usually strikes outsiders most strongly. The Assassins obey their chief without fear, without question and without hesitation. On more than one occasion it is recorded how the Old Man commanded one or a number of his men to climb upon a high wall and hurl themselves to their death. The command was obeyed instantly.

The members of the Order are raised from youth in its ways, in a great sprawling garden, gilded and painted and furnished with every luxury available – streams of honey, wine, milk, and water, flowers of sweetest perfume, fruits of all sorts, and the tender ministrations of beautiful virgins.

When a man is in need of killing, the Old Man has one of the men kept in the garden given a potion putting him into a deep sleep. During this sleep the Assassin is carried into the court of the castle. Upon awakening, the Old Man questions him, whence he does come. Invariably he answers “Paradise”, making all those in the court also want to serve the Old Man so. There is never a shortage of candidates to keep the ranks of Assassins in the garden full when those agents should die in the course of their work. With promises that Paradise should be his again on his return, or that his angels will carry him to Paradise if he die, the Assassin is sent forth on his mission of death with the gift of a golden dagger as a symbol of his duty.

To return to the Paradise in which he had been kept, there is little or nothing such an Assassin dares to complete his mission.

“The most blessed … are those who shed the blood of men and in revenge for such deeds themselves suffer death.”

Historically, once the murder was done, the Assassin fell upon his sacred golden dagger, thus avenging the death of the one murdered, erasing any blood debt and preventing any potential reprisal. Unfortunately, this limits the usefulness of the Assassins, making of them mere weapon in the hand of the Old Man which, as a religious zealot, is really all he ever intended them to be. Historically this was softened so the Assassin would be returned to the garden of Paradise the Old Man maintained if he returned successful from his mission, there to enjoy his reward until he was needed again.

For the purposes of the game, I updated the concept to coincide more closely with the Western idea of a professional murderer-for-hire. Whether you maintain the religious affiliation with the trade is up to your discretion as GM, but it is recommended that you do in some fashion at least.

Perhaps there are some religious sects of Assassins and some secular organizations having splintered off from them, as well. It is quite possible to establish freelance Assassins, free of religious affiliation, in secular guilds or as a part of the Knaves’ guilds, in addition to those who are religiously bound. This variety makes the social landscape of the Trade more interesting, for these groups are most likely to be at odds with one another.

The suicidal nature of the Trade can be softened further, not necessarily requiring the Assassin to return to the Order directly after completing a commission, but an Assassin is likely to always have the means to ensure his own death before he allows himself to be caught by the Order’s enemies, or before he can be made to talk by them in the event he is apprehended, but before he can be made to talk and endanger the remaining brothers of the Order. Perhaps one of the more extreme organizations might require all those being inducted to have their tongues cut out to eliminate the possibility of revealing any secrets, communicating among themselves by some form of sign-language.

The Assassin may be equipped with a wide variety of Allied Trades to aid him not only in murder, but in remaining hidden prior to and following the commission, and getting away afterwards.

With the hashish and religious zeal and asceticism, Assassins could even be framed as an order of Sacred Knights with Blessed Hero-tier holy patronage, sworn to an order that believe they follow the Light – or to the very Lords of Darkness Themselves – with the same opportunity to grow in holy patronage as they rise to the apex of their Sacred Knight Trade.

The Assassin trade is so abhorred by all those faithful to the Light that the Assassins conceal their given names, families and origins as much as they can and conceal the truth of their trade on peril of their life. Should any be exposed, they know well that death is their only reward. They are the natural companions of Knaves and Rogues, if ever they should choose to allow themselves to be known – though any guild or brotherhood to which they might belong is more than likely to discourage any such thing, with extreme prejudice. Following such a trade is in no way endearing to the street folk, either. Not all are so morally bankrupt as that. That knowledge is more than likely to scare more than a few. Their trade being common knowledge also makes them vulnerable, even among their natural allies. The great majority of them are, by and large, inclined to be lone-wolves living under cover of a lie when they travel the wider world beyond their citadels for any length of time. Most of them have very well established cover identities entrenched in the minds of those with whom they consort, cultivated over long years of association.

There are a number of ways an Assassin can be constructed by means of Allied trades, to give them different approaches and flavors.

As a Courtier/Courtesan, he may transform himself from a conscienceless creature of Darkness into an angel of Light by means of clever costuming, and also providing the means of learning to imitate gestures, customs, body language, gestures, idioms and speech of the many nations and peoples among which they may be called upon to serve, in the same fashion. This allows him to blend with the upper reaches of society. As a Rogue he may blend with the salt of the earth, but as a Player or especially a Player-Trickster he is best equipped to put on the best and most convincing performance. They move as the wolf in the habiliments of sheep to bring death unlooked-for.

Enhancing his Assassin skills by means of the Knave trades of Cut Purse and/or Draughlatch facilitates two different approaches to their work and help insure that the order not lose a highly trained and valued member after a commission is completed.

Chameleons blending into any social setting or silent skulkers in the shadows, Assassins are trained in the arts of bringing sudden death, often for what they consider “a good cause”, especially the cause of “right religion”, BUT commonly also in the service of the highest bidder.

Worse by far than the Champions who also sell their swords, these folk have a reputation for being callous, hearts hard as stone, even thirsty to shed blood, and they limit themselves to no single means of fulfilling their obligations (poisons, mechanical traps, ambush or sniper fire with missile weapons, etc.), where the sell-sword or Champion sells only his sword. The Assassins’ easy and perhaps even flagrant use of poisons alone or envenomed weapons truly sets them apart from other killers, who often have compunctions about striking a target down without facing him in a fight, fair or otherwise.

They are murderers in secret. Stealth and treachery are their primary means, with which they are particularly skillful and dangerous.

While they may use their skills to drive straight for the kill with bow or blade, they are more likely to practice patience and use whatever cover their other trades allow to wait for the most propitious moment to act, delivering death as neatly as they may, perhaps so as to make it appear accidental. Beyond the mere taint of blood of the Champion’s trade, the Assassin sheds the blood of even the most innocent for sufficient price and cares nothing for either life or the sword of justice hanging over his soul after death – indeed, when the mission is a holy one, they believe those they kill are in need of being snuffed out.

Poisoning is considered the Assassin’s Art. Poison serves perfectly well in place of a well-placed blade. Because some poisons cause a death that appears to stem from natural causes, it is viewed as the perfect weapon to conceal the true nature or cause of the death. Appearing as the result of natural causes, no murderer is suspected or looked for, enabling the Assassin to get away with no trouble at all. For the Assassin, a poison on a weapon is simply a means of insuring that the contracted death will occur whether the Assassin Strike is true or not, whether the Assassin himself survives the attempted murder or not. The Assassin may prefer to work by hidden poison over wielding a blade, as less likely to expose his presence or expose himself to the risk attached to using a conventional weapon to attack, no matter how dangerously skilled they may be in wielding it.

The medical knowledge of this trade also includes a Lore specialty in both Poisons & Drugs, as well as the opportunity to cultivate the knowledge of the Herbal trade in regards to those two areas. In the Assassins’ hands the poisons have gained such pretty names as “Secreta Secretissima”, “La Cantrella” (a compound of arsenic and phosphorous) and “La Poudre de Succession”.

The death of Hamlet’s father was supposed to have been caused by the dribbling of a vile poison into his ear as he napped in the palace orchard. In Venice a group called “The Council of Ten” committed murder by poison for a fee (1419). In Venice and Rome alike there were schools for would-be poisoners (1400’s to 1800’s). Madame Giulia Toffana, sold a mixture called “Aqua Toffana” ((arsenic trioxide) and facilitated more than 600 successful poisonings, and admitted herself to being a party to the poisoning of Pope Pius III and Pope Clement IV. Hieronyma Spara formed a society to teach women how to poison their husbands so as to gain their fortunes and win their personal freedom(1659).

The Assassin’s training in regards to the arts martial includes honing their Weapon skills and battle sense for use in aiming and striking true any and all of the 12 critical weak points of the body, such as are described in their special trade skill called the Assassin Strike. Their combat knowledge of anatomy goes far beyond the basics as understood by most trades of Warriors to rival that of the professional Surgeon, at least in regards to the 12 weak points of the body. Indeed, the trade of Surgeon is an artful cover easily adopted for use by the Assassin, certainly a viable explanation for his anatomical knowledge, and recommended for those characters created under the Intermediate or Advanced rules as a Secondary trade. The only other convincing cover for that knowledge would be that of a serious studio artist, having learned anatomy from dissecting cadavers. He might otherwise have to be on his guard to conceal that knowledge.

Between their battle and medical knowledge, the Assassin will have the ability to Assess the scores of those around him. This will only apply to AGL, CND, STA and STR from among the physical scores.

The AV for this will be equal to the Assassin’s TR, plus an att. mod. based on the character’s AWA score.

The DV for this will be equal to the total number of points by which the opponent Assessed is different from the Assassin himself in each score.

The balance of the information most necessary to the members of this trade involves the actual exercise of their trade ability – the Assassin Strike – follow the link.

Trade Skills

Assassin Strike (1

Game Face

Head-Kosh

Linguist

Native Vulgar

Foreign †

Trade Lore Specialities

Anatomy

Beast & Herb Lore (as relates to Drugs, Poisons & Venoms)

Drugs & Esoteric Substances

Poisons & Venoms

Nerve Strike/Pinch/Punch

Perception

Assess Target/Health/Injuries

Savvy

Sentry

† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed (not required).

Players have NO obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after they have already brought their characters into active game play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process (long since finished).

Those entries appearing in italics under an underscored skill entry define the specifics of the skill, what aspect(s) of the general root skill is/are known and practiced .

1) When training in the Assassin’s deadly art, the weapons with which the master Assassins teach their craft are limited to best able to get past the defenses of armor and reach vital organs inside the body. They must be capable of piercing the armor type the target is wearing.

Players are free to equip their Assassin characters with any Weapon skills. Assassin characters may not perform their special Assassin Strikes with any weapons other than those capable of making Piercing attacks, however.

With the Brawler Life Skill, an Assassin may improvise an appropriate thrusting/piercing weapon from materials at hand when no acceptable formal one is available (GM’s discretion).