Surfing the web for various inspirational reconstructions, like the Pudding Lane Productions one for London just before the Great Fire (and here’s another one from the same project, but at night), I came across this one for Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire:
Although I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this reconstruction, I rather like how it shows how the castle must have been a mix of its medieval origin and later accretions. Too often fantasy settings look like they’ve sprung from the earth fully-formed (ironically, representations of Tolkien’s Middle Earth are especially guilty of this, despite the setting’s detailed history, or perhaps because Tolkien himself was a great philologist but his sense of history was very flat). But RL is much more complicated, with old things always far outnumbering the new and providing the foundations, often literally, for it.
Photo by: Kirill_M
After nine years of “it’s going to happen” one of my players who got me back into WFRP all those years ago started his own campaign. And we get to play knights! In Bretonnia!
We created the character (naturally taking the advantage of the magnificent Expanded Character Module by Dave Graffam) and discussed a little about what’s to come. The GM asked us all to write a little something about our characters’ background and I set out to work.
I haven’t actually read the Knights of the Grail in almost ten years. I might have leafed through it on an occasion but now I wanted to get the facts right with my Knight Errant from Parravon. Aaand naturally this was where the problems started.
All players of Warhammer know that it is about exaggerated mockery of the actual history. And most players know that Bretonnia is about chivalric knights in shining armour – like those in Arthurian legends. But what got me off-guard was the description of the Knight Errant:
Knights of the Empire start their careers following after some other knight, acting as nothing more than a servant. What else would you expect from a nation who has forgotten the true meaning of chivalry, the true meaning of honour, and the true meaning of courage?
In Bretonnia, knights start off riding their own trail, as they set off on their errantry tour. Bretonnian knights learn from the best school there is: genuine experience. At the start of their tour, they don’t have any genuine experience, but most make up the deficit with their enthusiasm.
So young boys are set on a warhorse, given a suit of armour and a lance and sent of to their own adventures? No training, no time acting as a squire, no nothing? Just “keep yourself alive lad and kill some orcs for the Lady?”
As it turns out our GM had different plans and he was a bit shocked by this. Even though he has been reading stuff about Bretonnia on and off for all those nine years. “That makes absolutely no sense!” was the summary of his words.
On the other hand I have to (naturally agree) but on the other hand it got me thinking the pure ingenuity of this kind of behaviour.
Warning – This post contains some spoilers and racial doctrine about the evolution of Bretonnians. You can blame the fairies for that.