Vox Populi Forum
From pages in Omnibus. Don't have Era Ten ones converted yet.
KNIGHTs represent non-allied agents of lesser extent; these cards are similar to KINGs, but with two important differences:
1. They often become directly involved; the players often must try to solicit their support by Flattery & Banter, Money Enticements, Veiled Threat or other player discussed actions.
2. They might represent extra reinforcements of servitors, not just be an NPC.
If an NPC is justified (and available), then his total commitment to the mission should not be much more than his personal involvement. KINGHTs should NOT have anything more than a compliment of soldiers well below company size. The Ref must decide how many.
No paper-world figures of importance or prominence should be used to represent the card. e.g. Never a noble with royal ties or any characters above level four, Freebooter. When considering what the KNIGHT can offer, do not feel all the servitors or a company or ship will join the mission. These men are deserting one cause for another. Seldom are they being given leave to join the players.
The servitors add to the players’ party by leaving another ship or regiment. This will not be a combination of forces, even when an NPC joins the group. Use these suit descriptions to determine the type of KNIGHT encountered:
Cups – Gunners, a master of guns, fops, retired captains, churchmen, accountants, interpreters, a man of special skill employed by a more important NPC.
Rods – Pikemen, seamen, a master of sails, sappers, gentlemen (the penniless or low level type), retired sailors, a captain or navigator on a ship owned by a more powerful NPC.
Coins – Musketeers, a master of quarters, brigands, mercenaries, a goldsmith or craftsman indentured to a richer guildmaster.
Swords – Swordsmen, a master of arms or soldiers, horsemen, retired soldiers, the private guards of a noble, a capable agent between patrons. The loss of these men from another person’s ranks may cause some animosity. The Ref may decide to flip a card for WHO? But, this can lead to confusing results. How or why did a mere Bailiff employ so many skilled sailors? Part of the reality for everyone, every leader, is that your troops when bored, threatened, poorly led or poorly treated, etc. will flee one officer or captain for another. Almost everyone expects such loss and holds no grudges because of it.
KNIGHTs usually join without much coaxing should an offer to share the mission and profits be made. However, if inverted, the KNIGHT must be enticed or coerced into service. There is a table under Mission Consequence encounters which details an easy method for the players to exercise Flattery & Banter, Money Enticements or Veiled Threat. On that table the players may also be simply Indifferent, but that would not work here. The players are mostly promising, without deception, a new adventure. Why Not? is the typical reaction from the small group of replacements the player may recruit to bolster their own depleted ranks.
KNIGHTs may be ignored without any attempt made to recruit their service. They seldom have any way to aid the rival. Only if the players bungle their efforts to cajole, bribe or menace, will the KNIGHT’s current leader rally his entire force and offer battle.
KNIGHTs may switch loyalty to the rival should they discover the players' mission is contrary to their ideals or morally (religiously) wrong. Sometimes later cards will prompt their next double-cross. Every table has embedded with it an event such as that. “Treat your men well, as well as the events allow.” These servitors, all your servitors, left one boss; don’t think they can’t do that again.
The Ref may insist the players keep a good record of who came from where. To add great color, name the servitors by their region or the adventure. e.g. “We lost the guys from Navarre. How many of the sailors who joined during that trip to Sicily are left aboard?” Some players will thrive with this task of naming and accounting for small subsets of their men. Others will find it droll. Know your players. I like doing it, especially when I can subtract losses. “Ten men died from fever; I’ll mark off those little shites from the siege of Vienna.” (No offense to those who might own Cutlass in Austria.)
In rare cases where a KNIGHT is patently unavailable or inappropriate to the setting, substitute a KNAVE. This is rare indeed, since people can be met anywhere as infidels, natives, castaways and exiles. Recall, various Twists and Flairs generated by the mission change KNIGHTs more often than any other card.
During the Epilog, after the climax or after the players have decided to quit the task, Mission Consequence KNIGHTs, are instead treated as TENs. Their meeting simply signals the resolution and continuation with the Aftermath.