Loyalty (my friends)
Player knights generally form strong emotional bonds with each other. The ordinary bonds are already in the game for everyone: Love Family and Loyalty Lord. It is possible, too, to develop loyalty to one’s own friends even if they come from divergent backgrounds. Fighting shoulder to shoulder forms mutual bonds based on experience. Gratitude for a gift adds to this, and having one’s life saved is extremely powerful. In my game the player knights always form such a group, although not all player knights join it (or indeed, are allowed to join it!) But everyone knows how valuable another Passion might be!
Player knights can form such a group. (see King Arthur Pendragon, page 78, “Forming (Group). The rather minimalist “Varies (as appropriate)” on the chart is expanded below.
In Book of Knights & Ladies, the “standard” value for Starting Passions is 4d6+1.
Players may wish to have their beginning Loyalty based on actual events rather than randomly. Here are some guidelines. Players and gamemasters should work together to decide whether enough of the group members qualify to grant some of these modifiers. As a rough guideline, if half of the members of the group share the characteristic, then get the bonus. For instance, if half of them are first cousins or closer, then “kinsmen” applies. Note, too, that it only takes one disagreeable person in the group to get high negative modifiers.
Using This Passion
It is easy to abuse Passion rolls, or allow them to be abused. In large part this will come down to adjudication by the GM. We've mentioned elsewhere how judgments have to be made about when to use Loyal (Lord) and Honor.
In my current campaign I'm pretty much allowing this Passion to be used whenever one of the members of the group are in dire danger. The current group in my game are called the Candlebees. If one of them goes down, off horse in a melee, then the others in the group may (if they choose) attempt a passion roll to help him.
Of course, they have to immediately charge in no matter what the odds are. If the knight is dead, or dies later, the impassioned knight will become melancholy.
More Notes about this Passion
All dice are rolled in the open. A crit is a crit and kills player characters regularly. This passion allows player knights to survive and perform heroic actions appropriate to the genre.
I give opponents the same Passion. For instance, those Saxons rebelling again Duke Hervis in Anglia all had Hate Everything Arthurian. Personal vendettas are two way: the list for Sir Uffo's hate includes the player knights, and he's not afraid to use it.
I make players with a +15 passion use their loyalty to intervene whenever they sense some danger to their companions. Because they are among friends this is criticism or commentary about each others' failings, or perceived failings. The Chaste knight thus tries to talk Sir Gwair out of his endless lusts, Pious knights admonish those less holy than themselves, and even resist their practices.
Conflicts between Loyalty (Group) and Loyalty (Lord) or even Family ought to crop up. Perhaps a beloved wife might understand the intense friendship of the band of brothers, a lord may often be jealous of loyalty competing with his rightful command.
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