about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Sometimes the Guard Does What is Necessary

This is Steven Petrick posting.

I was reminded today of the things that can happen in roleplaying games.

I got brought into such games against my will. More as a matter of "this is what everyone else has decided we are going to do, and if you do not want to participate, you can go away and do something else" more than anything else. I preferred board games, or miniatures, or even chess, and had no interest in "roleplaying."

Over the years I have been involved in an "Empire of the Petal Throne" campaign, an "En Garde" campaign, a "Chivalry and Sorcery" campaign, a "Call of Cthulu" campaign, a "Traveler" campaign (or two), a "Twilight 2000" campaign, a "Boot Hill" Campaign (very, very brief), and perhaps one or two others I have long since forgotten.

In all of them I essentially "cheated." Whatever my character was, I essentially just did what I thought I would do were I actually in that situation.

When the "Chivalry and Sorcery" campaign started up, everyone was going to play a "knight," but I refused to do so, because I knew what knights really were and did not want to play a knight in essence pretending to be what most people think they were. So I was created as a "man at arms" assigned by "Lord Alerdyne" to protect his daughter, the "Lady Kara" who was a magic user who was traveling with this group of knights.

Things happened. Knights came, and went. Some were killed (player character died), some were badly injured in "jousts of honor" and crippled and a new character had to be created.

My man at arms, however, was always there. Surviving all manner of fights and garnering more glory than the knights. (My man at arms happened to be in a manor house that was attacked by Vikings when all the knights were away, and Lady Kara witnessed him rallying the defenders and repelling the attack.) I generally fought when I had to, and avoided fights when I could (while the knights could never avoid a challenge).

Down the road of the campaign my man at arms became a sergeant at arms, which was difficult as my character had no skill in horsemanship, having generally ridden a mule to keep up with Lady Kara's palfrey and the knights. Yet somehow I survived the one charge I was involved in, and again garnered great glory in doing so (the knight who originally ordered and led the charge had his horse trip and break the knight's leg, so I was seen as the leader of the charge when it hit the enemy line, there being no other knights present at the time).

It was however, medieval times, and the campaign reached a point where Kara's father died and she inherited the lands. At which time some of the local lords began pressuring her heavily to marry their sons (campaign master was doing this).

Obviously there was nothing I could do about this, but I spoke with the campaign designer about the neighboring fiefs.

One day, the son of one of the lords (call him Lord Moloch) caught a quarrel in his throat while he was making his normal rounds checking the fief. The point of the ambush did not allow his guards to immediately attack the crossbowman who had fired the quarrel, and the fletching of the quarrel was clearly of the design used by Lady Kara's fief. By the time the guards and trackers got to the site of the ambush, they found additional material clearly belonging to Lady Kara's people, and a fairly easy to follow trail leading back to Lady Kara's lands. However, when they crossed over into Lady Kara's lands, they found Lady Kara's sergeant at arms examining the body of a man he had "just killed" when he "resisted questioning." Lord Moloch's men found on the body of the man, dressed in Lady Kara's livery (the sergeant of arms had attempted to question him because he did not recognize him and knew everyone in Lady Kara's service and had seen him recovering a bundle) an item was found in the bundle that identified him as a member of Lord Twain's fief. Lord Moloch and Lord Twain did not necessarily hate each other, but both were pressuring Lady Kara to marry their sons. It was obvious that the man had killed Lord Moloch's son, making it look like Lady Kara had had it done, so that Lord Moloch would attack Lady Kara's fief in revenge, leaving her no choice but to marry Lord Twain's son so that Lord Twain could help Lady Kara defend her holdings that were now part of his son's inheritance. It would look like Lady Kara's plan was to assassinate the sons of those attempting to pressure her into marriage so that she did not have to marry, at least for a time. She was known to be an "adventuress,"  having traveled around with a band of knights and been involved in various incidents, so of course such a plot was possible for her (Lord Moloch thought that was Lord Twain's reasoning).

So the two most powerful fiefs that were pressuring Lady Kara "went to war" with each other, even though Lord Twain professed ignorance of any such plot.

I never learned the name of the serf I murdered to set up the incident, but my job was to protect Lady Kara, and she did not need to know how I went about my duties. And I was a "man at arms" and very good with a crossbow, which most of the knights could not use as it was a "cowardly weapon."