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Lords of Britain (All Societies)

This is an excerpt from Knights and Ladies of Pendragon, Vol 1., but is useful for general purposes.

This lists, with definitions, every type of lord that your knight may be a vassal to, or that might have been his father. (Many of these are defined already in the King Arthur Pendragon 5th ed. core rulebook.)

Banneret: A banneret is a landed knight who has several other knights who follow him in battle. He is allowed to have a small banner on his lance to serve as a rallying point for his men. (See Pendragon 5th ed., pages 134–5.)

Baron: A baron is a tenant-in-chief of a king. Thus earls, dukes etc. are also barons.

Bishop: Bishops, acting for the church, are noblemen and landholders, especially in and around the old Roman cities.

Bretwalda: A Saxon High King.

Clan Chief: Clan chiefs are individuals who lead their clan in its decisions and who are accorded respect and income as a result. Sons of chieftains are motivated to embody the virtue of honor, which reflects favorably upon the prestige of the clan.

Churchman: Christian churchmen are not necessarily celibate during the Pendragon period, so they might have sons who take up the profession of arms. Alternately, a player knight may have retired from knighthood and entered the church during the time when his son was growing up. In either case, this information is used for his son’s background. Otherwise, it is not possible to have a character with this background without GM approval.

Clan Chief: The chief of a clan is more like a family leader than an elected official. He directs the efforts of several families, most of whom work the fields to provide the leaders and warriors with arms and armor. They are not peasants, they are free men and women (who might have slaves). They can remove the chief if they wish, so the demands of his leadership are quite different from appointed noble lords.

Count: Count is the continental name for Earl. The titles are often used interchangeably and the wife of an earl is a countess.

Druid: Gamemasters must give permission for this background; it is intended only for generating a player knight whose father was a druid.

Duke: A duke is the highest noble rank beneath king and queen, generally conferred upon someone who holds a duchy. A duke’s wife is a duchess.

Earl: An earl is the noble rank below marquis and above viscount. It is the equivalent of count, and earl’s wife is titled countess.

Equites: An Equites is a Roman nobleman who has taken up the profession of knightly arms. The “liege lord” is really the family itself. The old aristocratic families have a duty to defend the realm and to provide military leadership. Thus, from among them come the proud equites (knights) of a family.

Esquire: An Esquire is a nobleman who has not been knighted. The term “Squire” in Pendragon, always indicates a squire-in-training, who will become a knight. An esquire differs from a squire only in that he has reached his age of majority, and that he is not going to become a knight. See the nearby essay, “Esquires in Play” (sidebar).

Esquire at Arms (mounted): An Esquire at arms (mounted) is a nobleman who has undergone knightly training but somehow not qualified for knighthood, yet who serves as a mounted combatant—a knight in everything but name and honor accorded. Such men may work for a specific lord, but are often mercenaries as well.

Esquire at Arms (superior man-at-arms): An Esquire outfitted as a superior man-at-arms is a nobleman who has undergone knightly training but somehow not qualified for knighthood, and who now serves as a foot soldier. Such men may work for a specific lord, but are often mercenaries as well.

Famous Warrior: Leadership in tribal culture is heavily dependent on personal charisma and reputation. Famous individuals attract sworn followers through acts of courage, leadership, and generosity. They are not kings or nobles, just successful.

Equites of Aristocrat Family: The aristocrats of the city are the wealthy urban elite. They are the plutocrats, the owners of industry, keepers of trade, and leaders of the city council.

Famous Warrior: A famous warrior is well equipped and has considerable training or experience, thus rising well above an ordinary warrior.

Feudal Officer: An officer is a knight who has been given responsibility to oversee some specific duty in the domain. There are no “general officers,” but each is given a specific job as listed separately below.

Freeholding Equites: All cities own the lands surrounding them, and those lands are owned by the “lieges,” who are the aristocratic families. So the “liege lord” is really the family, once again. The “freeholders” owe their allegiance only to themselves and the city, without a formal feudal-type of oath.

High King: When a king rules over other kings he is called a High King. In Britain King Arthur is the High King. A similar position is held in Ireland, and among the Saxons is the Bretwalda. In some cases Emperor is used in the same sense, and after King Arthur conquers Rome he is sometimes titled Emperor.

King: A monarch, or head of state, with no higher ranking noble. The wife of a king is a queen and their children are princes and princesses.

Knight, Household: Household knight is the most common form of knighthood. The knight lives in his liege lord’s castle and serves as a guard there, both as bodyguard to the king and as the standing army.

Knight, Vassal: A vassal knight is one who has his own manor to oversee; he lives off of its income. (See Pendragon 5th ed., page 134.)

Lord: A lord is a nobleman of higher rank than a knight. All lords are also knights. (See Pendragon 5th ed., pages 135–8.)

Sergeant: A sergeant is a combatant who is outfitted as a knight, but who is not a nobleman. These men generally serve as mercenaries during the warring season, and live off their earnings the rest of the year (though many are also bandits during the off-season…).

Man-at-Arms: A Man-at-Arms is a professional, elite soldier, generally not a nobleman or descended from noblemen, but respected for his skill.

Marquis: Marquis (pronounced mar-ki) is a noble rank below a duke and above an earl. The wife of a marquis is a marquise (mar-kiz). An alternative spelling (and pronunciation) is marquess (mar-kwis) and marchioness (mar-shi-oh-ness).

Officer to High Court: An Officer to the High Court is an officer who works directly for High King Arthur. These men are generally well known: Sir Kay is Seneschal, Sir Griflet is Marshall, etc. To start a character who is a son of one of these famous men is extraordinary and requires the permission of the Gamemaster.

Officer to Higher Nobleman: An Officer to a Higher Nobleman is an officer who works directly for one of the dukes, earls, or lesser kings of the land.

  • Admiral: Three Admirals oversee the naval forces of King Arthur. One heads the Thetford Fleet, one the Portsmouth Fleet, and one the Glevum Fleet.
  • Butler: The Butler is a knight who oversees the “bottlery,” or the food supplies, of a castle.
  • Castellan: The Castellan is a knight who oversees a specific castle as its garrison commander.
  • Chamberlain: The Chamberlain is a knight who oversees his lord’s personal chambers. This generally includes the treasury, which is kept locked away in the safest part of the castle—the noble’s own room. Within a short time, the title Chamberlain comes to mean “Treasurer.”
  • Chancellor: The Chancellor is a knight who holds the seal (generally a signet ring) that is used to mark documents as official. He is usually selected because he is hard-working, and familiar with papers and administration. He must be extremely loyal and honest because he has the power to make anything official.
  • Commissioner. A Commissioner is the person who raises an army for a specific purpose. He is told the number of troops of each type, where to muster them, is given a certain amount of money to do the job, and leads them during the campaign. It is always only a temporary position, lasting as long as the army is commanded. It is typically given to a ranking noble, who then commissions other Deputy Commissioners to do the actual work.
  • Constable: A Constable is an officer charged with raising an army, generally from a region, holding, or other discrete location. He is responsible for keeping it equipped and in training, and probably leads it as a battalion in battle. Deputy Constables generally raise and lead units in the field.
  • Deputy Officer: Deputy officers are knights who are commonly appointed by an office holder to do the actual work of the office. Thus, the work is done by deputies, who get a stipend for their efforts, while the actual Glory goes to the office holder himself.
  • Forester: A Forester is a knight who oversees a forest that has been set aside for royal or noble hunting. Not all “forests” are thick with trees, though most are.
  • Justiciar: A Justiciar, also called Justice of the Peace, is a knight who oversees the king’s courts of justice in a region, generally several counties. He or his deputy is required to be present for court cases that come before the Royal Court.
  • Marshall: The Marshall is a knight who oversees an army in its entirety, outranking the regional constables.
  • Seneschal: The Seneschal, or Steward, is a knight who oversees the household servants of a castle, county, or kingdom. This is an extremely important task with tremendous responsibilities and privileges.
  • Sheriff: The Sheriff is a knight who oversees a shire or county in the king’s name, acting as a royal agent to defend the king’s prerogatives, to take care of the commoners, and to enforce the law.
  • Steward: See Seneschal.

Queen: The wife of a king s a queen; also the title of a female sovereign.

Tribal King: A tribal king is the ruler of many clans. He is generally of a royal lineage, the descendant of a god or ancient hero. His bloodline allows him to be king, but his personal leadership skills and success determine whether his followers will obey him. He must satisfy their needs and desires to keep his office, unlike appointed nobles.

Tribal Officer: An officer in tribal culture is a warrior or holy person whom the king or chieftain has appointed to oversee some specific duty. These jobs are not inherited—they are awarded for merit, kinship, or favoritism. They can be removed at the king’s whim.

  • Advisor: Advisors are people close to the king who have proved their wisdom, knowledge, or cleverness. They are usually kept at the king’s court, and are often given leadership over important tasks.
  • Bodyguard: Bodyguards defend the king with their lives, living in his hall and enjoying great privileges. Among Saxons, these are the heorthgeneats.
  • Cup-bearer: The Cup-bearer serves the king at royal functions; he also keeps track of the treasure, guards it, and often pays out moneys or gifts when the king needs it done.
  • Warlord: The Warlord is the leader of battles, experienced, brave, and knowledgeable in combat, and able to inspire the tribe’s warriors to fight at their best.

Unit Commander: Unit Commanders are the leaders of the City Watch and various City Militia units. Their job is to police the city, put out fires, man the walls, etc. The Watch never goes outside the walls, but the Militia sometimes does.

Urban Officer: Urban officers are leaders who have been given a specific job by the City Council.

  • Deputy Garrison Commander: The Deputy Garrison Commander is the second-in-command of the soldiers and other troops of the city.
  • Chief Engineer: The Chief Engineer is responsible for maintaining the city’s walls, gates, ditches, and other constructions and defenses, and for keeping the war machines in order.
  • Garrison Commander: The Garrison Commander commands the city troops.

Vassal of Nearest Earl or King: Nearby lords have vested interests in the cities in their territory. Though the knight (or equites) comes from the city, he holds his land or knighthood from a nearby feudal lord.

Viscount: A viscount (pronounced vy-count) is a noble who ranks above a baron but below an earl. The wife of a viscount is a viscountess.

Warband Leader: A warband leader is a warrior of great renown who has gained the personal loyalty of several other warriors who will follow his every word.

Warrior: The basic fighting man of the tribal peoples is the warrior. He is usually a farmer by profession, with some training at arms and a developed warrior ethic.

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