Minions In Blind Service
Because Pendragon has so much social activity we donít want the family to be just ďminions in the blind service to the players,Ē as Karl said.
However, in part this IS exactly what they are supposed to be. Often the player knight is the head of the extended family. ďHeadĒ means that he is the richest, most titled, most wealthy and most respected member of the kin. Itís not an official office, but everyone knows who this is. Heís the one with the most say in what the family does. His demands are not absolute, of course, and he could be effectively ostracized if he does stupid things that harm the family.
Socially, think of these as the family network. They have jobs here and there, maybe even for other lords. So when visiting some out of the way place there might be a close kinsman there! A cousin or a sibling might be in the household here or there. Gamemasters are recommended to keep this in mind when running an adventure.
Finally, these men are the little family army that is always available. A knight who needs help in some activity that is dangerous, or will possibly lead to violence, should first go to his liege lord and ask for help. Mutual protection is what the liege/vassal relations is based on. But maybe the liege lord is busy, unsympathetic or even hostile to this action, or in any case does not support it.
If the knight is still going through with it then the next people he would ask would be his kinfolk. That is what Love (Family) is all about. (Hopefully he wonít have to disobey a liege lord who has ordered him not to do it!) Depending on how much secrecy he wants, the knight can go to his relatives quietly or in secret, or send heralds to bawl out in public squares. Donít forget those brothers in law who are knights! Try to have enough time to find those cousins serving as mercenaries!
What about the other player character knights? Should a knight ask them? Well, despite what we would want to do in a roleplaying game, a knight who is going to go and do something that requires the summoning of his kinsmen to arms ought not ask his fellow to go along. Why not? Well, they might be killed in some business that is not their own. They could be implicated in something that is illegal (though perhaps still morally correct). Their primary duty is to their liege lords, not the other player characters.
Of course, duty is not always the ruling factor in life, or in this game. Throughout the literature knights defy their lords to do what is right, or at least, what they feel they must do. Also, Arthurian ideals might trump the Loyalty to oneís rightful lord. Maybe they have a Loyalty to their little band of player knights.
The game isnít about obeying the rules or society. It is about your knight.