This is the third post in what has apparently become a series on how to make skills interesting and useful. This discussion is something I wrote up a long time ago, back in the days of 2e. I thought the three-tiered approach to skill progression introduced there, and now continued by Zweihänder, was interesting because it reflected the medieval guild levels of apprentice, journeyman and master. I felt that some more use could be made of those levels, which I called Mastery, other than just +10% success.
I also felt that in an unjust society like the Empire, skill at Law would not determine the outcome so much as who was doing the judging. I therefore concentrated on the usefulness of the skill in getting a favourable jurisdiction or set of laws. The actual outcome of the trial would be determined by charm, connections, bribes and the like.
I’ve updated the discussion somewhat for 4e, but the basic assumption of three Mastery levels remains. In the case of Lore (Law), this could in the new system be reflected in levels in the Savant (Law) Talent.
So dietary restrictions are a pretty common feature of RL religions, often specifically regarding meat in some or all forms. There’s very little mentioned in official supplements for WFRP religions, so here’s my attempt at some suggestions. Even a single RL religion isn’t always consistent or equally strict for everyone, so I’ll try to list some options in descending order of stringency. Maybe the strictest is only for clerics/monks, or perhaps there are regional or sectarian differences (like between Tilean and Estalian Myrmidians). Note also that restrictions may not apply to pregnant women, small children, the sick, soldiers at war or travellers.
First of all, apologies for the lack of posting recently. No excuse!
Secondly, a recent thread on rpg.net on things you like that no-one else does reminded me that I really like the 1 Crown = 20 Shillings = 240 Pence system. I’m nowhere near old enough to remember the old money in the UK, but it’s actually a very intuitive system, dividing neatly, as it does, into thirds, quarters, sixths and eighths. Once you’ve got your head round having to calculate in fractions, it’s pretty easy.
The third and last part of this overview of the offices of the early-modern German court covers religion, culture and government.
For Part One go here, and for Part Two go here.
The court’s religious community could either consist of the narrower court itself, in which case religious ceremony took place in the Hofkapelle [court chapel] or Hofkirche [court church] or it might include the wider community that surrounded the court, in which case the Hofkirche also formed its own parish. The church was under the authority of the Hofprediger [court preacher], who was responsible for services as well as the moral condition of the court. Occasionally, court churches were also monastic or conventual churches.
Music was extremely important at court. It was under the authority of the Kapell– or Konzertmeister and both smaller and larger orchestras provided music at mealtimes, chamber music and music for religious services. Trumpeters in particular took part in virtually every court occasion. Apart from the actual musicians, vocalists etc, there were also technical personnel, such as instrument makers, copyists etc.
From the end of the Middle Ages, court poets (Hofdichter) were common in England and France, but only occasionally appeared in German courts.
From the late 17th and then in 18th centuries, the name Hofmeister described the tutor of the sons of high aristocrats. These teachers had graduated from the philosophical or theological faculties of the universities, travelled with the court on its journeys and often attained high office.
Part One last week concentrated on the various aristocratic offices at court. This installment deals mainly with the commoners and domestics, including those responsible for hunting and military display. [For Part 3 go here.]
The office of Hofküchenmeister [Master of the Kitchen] was one of the few to be reserved for commoners, because it was seen as inappropriate for aristocrats to have anything to do with anything to do with economics. Even so, the kitchen [Hofküche] was the most important office to do with the support of the court.
The Hofküchenmeister was in charge of the Küchenschreiber [Comptroller of the Kitchen], who recorded everything that went in and out of the kitchen on a daily basis and was responsible for the accounts. Whatever additional stuff needed to be got from the market was financed by the Küchenmeister, who had his own budget for that. Every morning the dining plan was discussed with the staff of Mund-, Leib-, Kavaliers-, Bei– and Unterköche [senior, personal, knights’, assistant and sous-chefs respectively; sing. -koch] for the different tables. For specialty dishes, specialists like a Hofzuckerbäcker [confectioner] or Pastetenkoch [pastry cook, pie-maker] were available. Other specialist services were carried out by a Brat- und Backmeister [Master Baker], Hofmetzger [Court Butcher], Zehrgeber [to be honest I’m not sure about this one – I think it means ‘provisioner’, maybe someone responsible for provisioning the court on the move] or Geflügelwart [Master of the Poultry]. Lesser kitchen personnel included Küchenjungen [kitchen boys; sing. Junge], Küchenweiber [Kitchen girls; sing. –weib], Mägde [maids; sing. Magd] and Knechte [scullions; sing. Knecht].