Step 2. Character Background

Step 2. Origins & Background: Heritage, Social Class & the Family

Background Elements

The elements of a character’s background can be minimal and the utmost in simplicity or they can be many and varied and provide a rich tapestry defining the character’s origins.

Social Class is first, a primary consideration, then Family Station, defining the parent(s)/family among whom the character was raised. The baseline for all characters being generated for RoM is the Freeman Commoner, whether hailing from a town or a rural district, or the rural district surrounding a town and belonging to it for its support, this class and station combination carries neither advantage nor disadvantage.

To take any sort of Landbound class or station is considered a disadvantage, potentially a very great one, because it requires the player to work out the details of the character’s freedom to travel and engage in adventures, especially if he should wish to leave his native hundred or district and especially if he should want to leave his native shire or county, when he is more properly engaged in the agricultural work of his class and bound to a locality and a lord with obligations of services of various kinds throughout the year, starting with the plowing and sowing, continuing with the Week Work owed throughout the growing season, and the heaviest and most onerous of which include Boon Work during the harvest season in late summer.

Giving a character any sort of Landbound class or station reduces the money the player has to equip the character to a threshold of true poverty, in addition, which can be frustrating. While a couple of the trades provide SOME clothing and gear awards OR sufficient income to offset any such disadvantages, the rest are likely to be driven to steal to fill their needs, setting their feet on a path their players may not necessarily want to take. Of course, this can bring the poor desperate character into contact with one of the other PC’s for an encounter that may well end up helping bind the party together even more strongly. Creating a character that is a runaway slave is even worse in this regard. Any material belongings or money for such characters must be discussed with the GM and justified to his satisfaction. Then again, the player can always take one of these backgrounds and then counterbalance the disadvantage by providing the character with unusual wealth for his origins, either due to immediate family connections and relationship, or due to some unusual singular bequest from a godparent, master, or due to having stumbled upon a treasure.

The family background presents a myriad of possibilities. The character may have been fostered with the grandparents (if still living) or an aunt or uncle or cousin, especially if he is a member of the “upper crust” of the commons or a member of the nobility. If this is the case, family details are needed for both the birth family and the fostering family, and the character is provided with another line of recourse when events head south.

Because it provides the character with a measure of influence even perceived power to make getting his way easier in social situations, Noble Class and the higher (wealthy) Stations of the Common Class are going to be hard to coax from the GM and are likely to be saddled with a requirement of accompanying disadvantages in order to avoid upsetting the balance of the game too far in favor of the PC’s, who already enjoy the central spotlight of the game to start with.

Legitimacy of birth may or may not have any major impact on background. In the interests of brevity and speed, most characters can simply be assumed legitimate with no complications. The player can take his time exploring the possibilities inherent in having various numbers of siblings, and their sexes, and the quality of those relationships. Illegitimacy creates difficulties, hard-heartedness and even hostility with which the character would have had to grow up dealing and an impenetrable impediment in the future when it comes to inheriting property or wealth, or even waging suits at law in the courts against those of legitimate birth. The effects of illegitimacy largely depend on the circumstances. In the context of the game rules and character generation, the legitimacy of the character’s birth doesn’t really affect all that much, but in the context of roleplaying the character in the medieval gameworld and the various social situations that can occur, it will. In the locale where he grew up, the circumstances of the character’s birth will likely be common knowledge. It is a rural society, like modern small towns, everyone knows everyone else’s business. Gossip is rife.

In the eyes of the law, being born out of wedlock can have a strong impact on how others treat the character when it becomes known, especially among those of the “upper crust”. Bastards have NO right of inheritance, and in regards to the law in general, no bastard can bring suit against any man born in holy wedlock. He has no legal standing in court against any man lawfully born.

A character can just as easily be stipulated to have been raised as legitimate when he is in fact illegitimate, however, either with or without the step parent’s knowledge and cooperation, perhaps as a “legacy” of a previous husband if the timing is right when in fact the character was illegitimate, the product of cuckolding the previous husband.

If the character is illegitimate but taken into his parent’s house to be raised, the parent may well enjoy granting their favors far and wide and the children of that parent also in the house may or may not be illegitimate also.

Size of family is another aspect that can vary enormously from the PC being the only surviving child and as such the heir or heiress, to as many as 10 or 15 or so was quite common from the era of the game into the Victorian era and later. This changes the character’s personal context, how well socialized he is and even how well he deals with the opposite sex if he grew up surrounded by a preponderance of them.

There is also the possibility of multiple marriages, regardless of the other heritage circumstances. This can compound the size of family immensely, or the PC might remain the only child in spite of it.

The details of siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins are up to the player to map out and detail as far as he likes, or he may pass the task off to the GM either after detailing only the immediate family or even handing the entire business of to the GM to complete. Family relationships are a great tool for the GM to use as hooks to get a PC interested and motivated to pursue the stories he writes, and as such the player is advised to take at least some interest in making some decisions concerning family so the PC ends up with a few allies to make life a little easier in case the family situation ends up being a little too interesting.

The character may have been abandoned to be raised by strangers, in which case the worst is likely to be assumed, saddling him with all the disadvantages of being illegitimate without knowing for sure whether he is or not. Due to the social constraints it places on him, that might make finding the truth of his heritage a priority, especially if he should ever plan on getting married. That status or lack of it is going to make a great deal of difference to any prospective spouse.

The player should consider the possibility of his character having been fostered with relatives, or the parents’ lord, or to a colleague in the parent’s trade. This is a common practice in the period of the game, though mostly so for those of the “upper crust” of commoners and the class of nobles. The PC having grown up as a legitimate fostered child has two sets of familial attachments. This can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on the quality of the relationships.

Alternately, a PC might have been orphaned, either because his parents died or because he was abandoned for some reason. Orphaned by death, the character is likely to have full knowledge of family, but being abandoned he may be ignorant even of the quality of his heritage, whether he is legitimate or illegitimate. Those with whom he was left may never have been told.

Character Concept

When a player hits upon an agreeable concept for his character in beginning the character creation process, his character’s origins and background, the circumstances under which he was raised and the details of the family situation in which he grew up quite commonly are not included, or they are barely sketched in. These are ALL the player’s responsibility to consider and determine, however. These things seem to be of little or no concern in most players’ concepts of what it means to roleplay or be those characters, and that is rather short-sighted. While social class itself may sometimes be a consideration or even a key element in a character concept for some players, for many it is not. Indeed, when social class and origins are considered, it is only in their most rudimentary form, rarely if ever being developed beyond the vague generality of “noble” or “commoner”, or “father/mother was a (craftsman)/(tradesman)”. Additionally, social class is usually only included for the advantage it can provide when a character of noble blood circulates among the commoners, and similarly for the ready access to equipment and information that being of low class provides to characters engaged in more nefarious pursuits, in the same vein, among the criminal element. The much richer color it can give to the character in play as background is generally ignored. Oftentimes, players fall into a rut of thinking that all nobles are essentially equal or that only those of noble blood can have any high purpose to their lives. Each of the social classes is itself composed of different strata referred to as “stations”, however. Even in such “noble-centric” thinking, the details of the particular strata of the noble class from which the character hails can provide a great deal of additional interest, perspective and also impact upon the character’s place in game world society. All noblemen are NOT created equal. Similarly, while all knights are noble, not all those bearing noble titles are knights.

Furthermore, details like size of family, sexes of siblings and their names and ages, as mentioned previously, and details of relationship status with and between siblings and of parental relationships, for example, also rarely ever occur to the player in formulating a concept for background and origins unless the GM quizzes the player and presses for the information. For some, these sorts of details are not nearly as important as the nuts and bolts of who these characters are in the present, which defines their capabilities in the game world when they are brought into active play. From a characterization point of view, however, this stage of character development or character building is VERY important. Such details are vital to the actual character role and the true spirit of roleplaying. They show the road the character must have trod through the game world to get to the point where he stands at the start of the game, when he is first brought into active play. From the GM’s point of view these details are vital for writing storylines and creating plot hooks to draw the characters into the stories once the character is brought into play.

It is very important that the player have a feeling for the character’s whole life, that he has had an existence prior to being brought into play, and get a general sense of the direction the character should be taken once play has commenced. Family background and a sense of past history are essential to good roleplaying. Detailing the family gives the player an excellent idea of the sorts of situations the character has been through up to the time the player brings him into the game and mold him during play.

Background, from legitimacy of birth or lack thereof, size of family, and the character’s position among his siblings, relationships between parents and siblings, to social class and family station, all help build a more complete character concept and aid characterization. It also provides another touch of individuality to set the character apart from others, to provide that much more depth to the persona. Like people in the Real World, a character in RoM is a product of his environment, his home and family in so far as these determine the sorts of opportunities he has had.

While RoM belongs to the general class of “Swords & Sorcery” fantasy games, a great effort has been put forth here to include all the elements of the historic medieval period, rather than falling back on an all-too-common over-simplified “pseudo-historic” method. Here in character background are included a number of details that can better prepare the player to relate to the details of a more authentically medieval gameworld with which the GM has been equipped to use in creating the setting and atmosphere for his games. Like the treatment given the races provided, this is to aid in acclimatizing the players, GM included, to the nuances of more truly “medieval” roleplaying and the historic folk traditions for which this game was designed and written as a showcase for the players’ pleasure.

While many details, number of siblings, number of marriages, who raised the child, and the relationship the character has/had with all of the family members, and so on, may not be important to many players, those relationships may very well be important to the GM. They provide vital hooks for the GM to weave the character’s presence into the day-to-day fabric of life in the gameworld. The crafts practiced by siblings, and the crafts practiced by their spouses may suddenly become important during play if the character stands in need of such services, especially where there is a positive relationship with the family member. Weddings, birthings, naming rites, birthdays, anniversaries, annual holidays, funerals, and all such events that occur in the family may come to command some of the character’s attention and time in the form of family functions, and may be shamelessly manipulated by the GM as plot devices to pull characters into various adventures.

These aspects of character background can give the origins more depth and, in the case of being orphaned, many of the details may well remain hidden to the player, making for secrets to uncover as the character’s game life slowly plays out.

How many such twists and aspects of origins there are, or how deep the background is, really is up to the player. He need only construct as much of the character’s origins and background as he likes, perhaps only just enough to explain how he became who he is according to trade and skills, and turn the results over to the GM.

IF a player elects to take make the background minimal and utterly simplistic, it becomes a matter of the GM’s own discretion and prerogative should he wish to enhance and embroider on it to create a richer, more complete tapestry for his own uses in writing tie-in’s for story arc backgrounds or hooks for motivation, and also for creating connections between PC’s to provide drama and/or especially to bind the PC party closer together.

Once the character is brought into active game play, the player is handing the reins over to the GM to fill in any and all blanks at his own discretion as the game goes on. Once the player has brought the character into play, any additions (NOT changes) to background and origins the player wants to make, especially those that are simply a matter of preference, must be discussed with the GM. The player may well find that the GM has set up elements to facilitate implementing something in the game that is plot-related, regardless of whether it is immediately apparent or not, and some additions, and especially amendments the player may desire to make, may have to be modified to accommodate the work the GM may well already have put into it.

Only some of the details discussed in Heritage & Background are likely to be important in regards to the rest of the character generation process, and then mostly only insofar as it affects the money with which the character gets to buy equipment and supplies for the start of play. Social class, family station and sibling rank within the family all directly affect a character’s wealth at the start of play. The character’s relationship with his parents as defined in this step of character creation can affect that money, as well.

His trade can be just as important in that regard, however, if not moreso. The player or GM is certainly free to flip forward and look at Step 6 to see what impact they actually have.

The player should start with some definite ideas about who his character is and then seek to create that during the background generation process, to ensure he achieves the character he wants to play by the time the Character Generation process is over. He should discuss his idea for the character with the GM to determine if or how much of this background and heritage generation step can be skipped, and/or whether the GM deems any additions to the character concept necessary for the purposes of maintaining game balance, especially between the characters entering play at the same time.

Background and heritage refer to the circumstances of a character’s birth – where he comes from among the complex layers of society, his position in the home in which he grew up, the legitimacy or lack thereof of his birth, the general circumstances under which he was raised. Since it defines the point in society from which the character first seeks to rise and enter society, background must be determined before the player determines any of the details of knowledge and training by which that process is achieved.

This information is likely to have a direct impact on the skills a character has opportunity to learn, the way the character is viewed and treated by society at large in the gameworld, as well as the sorts of opportunities he may have for advancement in society through his deeds.

Most every step in generating background for characters illustrates the average (most commonly occurring) results. These may be modified to suit the player, so he ends up with the character he wishes to play, subject ultimately to the GM’s approval. As mentioned, the player may have to accept a disadvantage or two to balance any advantages he wants the character to have in his background, especially when those advantages are considered significant in game terms.

Background & Medieval Society:

Social Class & Family Station

Scholars and theologians of the era described medieval society by means of the religious theory of the Golden Chain. This theory states that every thing and every one in the world has a right and proper appointed place and function or role to fill, according to the Divine Plan, and that everyone should know their place and function and stick to it. The constituents of medieval society are most earnestly concerned with maintaining the status quo. The world in is generally believed to be in its perfect form according to the Divine Will by those of the medieval era, simply in need of a little maintenance ­– otherwise would the divine mystics be sent to instruct? Between this popular theology and the practices of feudalism and the manorial signeurial system, society in the period of the game is divided and regimented. The system of social classes is based first and foremost upon three elements known as the “Three Estates”. These are comprised of Those Who Fight (the nobles whose duty it is to defend the land and it’s people), Those Who Pray (the clergy whose duty it is to care for the souls of the people), and Those Who Work (everyone else, whose duty it is to produce the food and goods that all must have to live). The Three Estates are the broadest classifications of the social classes that determine one’s wealth and influence in society in the (medieval) fantasy gameworld.

This makes social class very simple, but there are some additional factors of importance that can significantly affect a character’s opportunities in career and skills. The society of the towns is distinguished as a social arena with its own distinguishing characteristics and singular set of opportunities. The humble Freeman Commoner origins, particularly those from a rural district or the rural district surrounding a town and belonging to it for its support, represents the largest portion of any medieval era population, demographically.

The nobility comprise only 1%, members of the Clergy actually sworn to vows in the service of the Church only 2%, while Freeman Commoners specifically dwelling in towns account for only 10%. Although varying from 15-25% from one shire (county) to the next, this still leaves 72-83% as rural Freemen Commoners.

It is truly an agrarian world.

There is a great deal of difference in the way of life in the rural countryside and the society within the towns. The Nobility and the Clergy of the period of the game must also deal with the growth of a class of wealthy freeman – wealthy franklins (large-scale farmers) often descended from cadet lines of knightly houses in the rural districts and the wealthy merchants and the institutions of their chartered towns, both members of the free commonalty who work and are beginning to wield great economic power. These can be seen in the breakdown of family stations within the classes. Land is wealth, and the nobility and the Church are the greatest landholders across the realms. Both the nobility and the Church maintain strong presences in the towns as well as circulating among their estates, the nobility especially in the capital of the realm and the chief shire towns where they hold lands so they can maintain access to the local royal courts and also in order to attend the monarch as a part of his court. Town-fiefs are jealously guarded among the nobles for the great amount of revenues they can provide.

All class and station results initially determined for origins/background will describe the family by whom the character was actually raised, regardless of whether he is legitimate or illegitimate, and those results used as a guide for determining the station of the character’s true (absentee) parent(s) by birth.

The GM should note that he must be careful to conceal from the players all information concerning their characters of which those characters are ignorant, to maintain the integrity of any secrets that the player may feel compelled to search out the truth of later on, during game play. This is far easier to accomplish with those players who allow the GM to fill in the majority of background details for them.

IF illegitimate, social class and station must be determined for both parents, who are likely to hail from very different social circumstances, or the character would likely have been born legitimate.

IF raised by someone other than the birth parent(s) (as applicable), regardless of the reason behind it, social class and station will need to be determined for the foster family or institution as well as the birth parents.

The player should be allowed to determine all origin and background information with which his character is acquainted. All background information that a character lacks, as decided by the player, the GM must generate and keep in trust in case the PC should discover it or seek it out later, over the course of his adventures.

Clergy can only appear in background results as parents of illegitimate characters, or among those who may have raised someone else’s child. A Clergy connection in origins may well give the character a leaning towards formal education, appropriate for use with those characters taking on one of the Scholastic trades.

Half-elfs always come from rural backgrounds.

The specific class of a Landbound Commoner of the race of elfs will always be treated as “Villein.” Elfin societies do not have any form of obligations of service lower than that. The restriction of freedoms to any greater degree would violate their most basic beliefs.

2-9. Social Class


Class Result

01 – 02

Noble (see 2-10.a)


Clergy, townlands (see 2-10.c)

04 – 05

Clergy, rural (see 2-10.c)

06 – 11

Free Townsman Commoner (see 2-10.d)

12 – 45

Free Rural Commoner (see 2-10.e)

46 – 55

Free Rural Commoner, townlands (see 2-10.e)

56 – 60

Landbound, Villein, townlands (see 2-10.f)

61 – 80

Landbound, Villein, rural (see 2-10.f)

81 – 82

Landbound, Bordar, townlands (see 2-10.f)

82 – 92

Landbound, Bordar, rural (see 2-10.f)

93 – 94

Landbound, Serf, townlands (see 2-10.f)

95 – 00

Landbound, Serf, rural (see 2-10.f)

To determine Social Class the player may choose one of the three “Free” entries on table 2-9, and then roll the dice indicated on the 2-10 table to which he is directed,

OR the player can roll d100 on table 2-9 and then roll the dice indicated on the 2-10 table to which he is directed.

IF the player does not like the result rolled on table 2-9, he can ask the GM if he is willing to allow “best out of three throws”, or he can always fall back to choosing one of the three “Free” entries, as stated.

The craftsman station results direct the player to table 2-11, and may from there direct the player to the 2-12 sub-tables. These are used to further refine the specific station results in regard to the family trade.

IF the player does not like the result rolled on table 2-10, he can once again ask the GM if he is willing to allow “best out of three throws”, OR he can fall back to the Common Farmer, Yeoman/Common Farmer, Craftsman, or Craftsman/Farmer results (as applicable by table). When it comes to determining the exact trade or specialty of a craftsman or merchant tables 2-11 and 2-12, the GM should be willing to allow him to pick.

Alternately, the player might check with the GM to see if he can stop once Social Class has been determined and skip the rest of the background information to move on to Step 3 and the rest of Character Creation.

The point here is for the player to create a character that falls in line with his basic concept, but it is the GM’s task to provide a hedge against those players who are only interested in putting together as much of what can only be called an unfair advantage over not only the NPC’s of the gameworld but also his fellow PC’s.

IF the player is inclined to come back to it after the character has been brought into play, he should always check with the GM to see if it has already been taken care of. Either way, so long as the GM ends up with a copy of the information for his use. This background adds depth to the persona now and then in little but meaningful ways. Who knows? It may well even provide a plot element in an adventure at some later date.

For any character of the Landbound class, the specific station of the lord to whom any Landbound Commoner family is bound is up to the GM’s to determine.

What these classes mean in terms of defining the strata of society in which the character grew up in the specifically medieval gameworld is discussed in some detail in the Primer contained in Part II. of this rulebook, under the heading: The Golden Chain of Medieval Society: The Social Classes & Stations. The information presented there is compiled for the player’s convenient reference, removed from the character generation process to speed its progress.

Family Stations

Each of the social classes is, in turn, divided into a series of family stations, the specific level within the class that the character’s family occupies. The following tables embody the stations into which the character may be born. The player must understand that the station he chooses now is the level of society his PARENTS have achieved in life, under whose customs and morés he was raised, the level of society that recognizes the PC as one of their own. Knowing one’s place in the world is VERY important in the context of medieval gameworld society. If desired, the player may work his character into a position where his station may be improved, and perhaps in time, even his class. But such goals are for the long-term only, for characters the player is sure will be in regular play for some time.

The social class and specific station indicate the extent of the resources to be drawn on in getting started in life, on which he may call when he has exhausted what he has (so long as the family is willing), and what the character stands to inherit after his older male siblings have all passed away (non-humans may be subject to different inheritance traditions). Only in some cases will the character be expected to step in and assume control of the family estate/fortune after any other heirs are exhausted (i.e., noble/royal heritage), and those factors are completely under the player’s control here in the Background section, at least in regards to Custom Method characters. The Background options available to new characters, at least as a starting point, have been chosen to leave the character as much freedom as possible in the context of the medieval milieu to go and become whomever he wishes, to travel and pursue his own agenda and adventures rather than being tied to one locality in home and hearth and family obligations. But then again, adventuring in one’s own backyard can strengthen one’s value to the family, and can provide an opportunity to get to know and explore familiar territory and local society until the players come to know them intimately.

The player and GM will please note that the entries one the Station tables have been arranged from greatest to least by rank in social precedence, and so may be of use as a reference during play. This is a general rule that was followed in compiling them, however, in some cases, especially in regards to the Freeman tables, many of the entries grouped closely together may be equivalent in terms of social precedence.

It is not wise to press issues of precedence when roleplaying a freemen PC’s among freeman NPC’s, as the waters are not so clear as among nobles or churchmen, between the classes from which the stations are derived (1st vs. 2nd vs. 3rd Estates).

Since the actual definitions of the Stations will have a direct impact on the understanding of and characterization for the PC, and most of those definitions will also require an explanation of the place each Station occupies in the social hierarchy, incorporating a bit of gameworld background as well, the definitions of the Stations have been included with the discussion of perceptions and attitudes of the denizens of the medieval fantasy gameworld, in Chapter 4. Character Background: The Medieval Mind, in Part II. Playing the Game, in the passage headed “Medieval Society: The Social Classes & Stations”. The reader will need to look for the bold heading for the appropriate class, and then look for the sub-head indicating Station definitions.

Those Who Fight

2-10.a The Nobility


Noble Station Result








Lord (Baron)


Knight (2-11.b for type)




Knave/Assassin (see Notes)

* When this result is achieved an additional d20 is rolled. A result of 1 on the d20 will raise the station to Prince. Princes are not always in the immediate line of succession. Should the rank of Prince be indicated, an additional d20 may be rolled. A result of 1 will then raise the station to Monarch, putting the character in the immediate line of succession.

2-10.b The Lesser Nobility


Lesser Noble Stations


Knight Banneret


Law-Worthy Knight, Miles Literatus


Law-Worthy Knight


Knight Huntsman or Beastmaster


Knight Bachelor


Knight in Sergeanty


Knight of the Bath, in service


Knight Simple


Knight of the Bath

Those Who Pray

2-10.c The Clergy


Clergy Stations

Archbishop (T)

Bishop (T)


Monsignor †


Abbot/Prior ††


Pardoner (N)


Friar (N)


Priest/Monk, Noble Service ††


Priest/Monk, Religious House Service ††◊


Priest, Parish- /Chaplain/Rector/Vicar * (R)


Clerk of Minor Orders **††


Monk, Common brother ***††


Cloistered Monk/Priest ††

† When this result is achieved an additional d20 is rolled afterwards. A result of 1 on the d20 will raise the station to Bishop. While most bishops are resident in a cathedral and city over which they have lordship, a few get the benefit of the income of such a feofdom while not having to administer it (result of 1 on a d10). These are “suffragan” or itinerant bishops,  traveling about the realm on the business of the Church, often keeping company with an archbishop or the realm’s prelate when not traveling. Should the rank of Bishop be indicated, an additional d20 may be rolled. A result of 1 will then raise the station to Archbishop.

†† This indicates the GM will have to determine whether the character is attached to a rural house or a foundation in or close by one of the Towns.

* This indicates that the cleric has received at least one benefice, the church equivalent of a knight’s feof. Chantry and chaplain priests are often retained to minister specifically to the needs of a wealthy or noble household, maintaining a private family chapel, taken with them when they travel. Chapels and chantries can be found scattered over the towns and countryside, chantries especially being built on or hard by bridges. These are all founded by social and trade guilds for the ease of the souls of their deceased members.

** Indicates the cleric, while still able to plead benefit of clergy in dealing with secular authorities, has only ever been given first tonsure and ordained only in minor orders, conferred upon seminarians studying for the priesthood – first tonsure and ordination as either an acolyte, lector (who reads), ostiary (doorkeeper), or exorcist.

*** Indicates the cleric maintains his tonsure, and has undergone the three vows : Poverty to guard him against the deceits of the world; Chastity to guard him against the lusts of the flesh; Obedience to guard him against the snares of the Darkness.

◊ Religious House Service refers to the religious house (abbey, priory) in which the NPC resides or to which he is attached or with which he is associated. This may also be interpreted to mean the household of one of the princes of the Church : abbot, bishop, archbishop, or even high prelate, (GM’s discretion.



The Clergy Station tables here are provided primarily for the GM’s use, for his NPC’s, but also for determining class and station for illegitimate characters.

Those in the Clergy are forbidden to marry. But those results indicating parents in the Clergy should not be discarded, but directed to describing absentee parents when they come up on the dice. Children of the Clergy by necessity are illegitimate, and will by necessity have to be raised elsewhere by others as convenient, whether blood relations or not. Neither can the clergyman or woman ever publicly acknowledge the child.

If a character’s siblings are old enough to follow trades of their own, it is quite possible that a sibling will be sent to the Church at least to take minor orders to attend University. Once in the Church, it is possible for the parent to benefit the child if he has a mind to.

In medieval Iceland the lands and titles of the Church were heritable. If the GM intends to make this practice widespread in the Domain of the Light in his own gameworld, he will need to make copies of the tables containing the Clergy entries available to the players.

The GM is cautioned to consider such a thing carefully.

The Church in medieval England held approximately one full third of the arable land in the country, putting the arch-bishops of the Church head to head with the kings on more than one occasion, and making jurisdiction at law a constant struggle. The “princes” of the Church had to provide their servicium debitum like any other enfeoffed lord as it was. By making the Church into an equally endowed Church-loyal parallel feudal nobility, holy civil war would seem inevitable.

When generating a clergyman, the GM will need to determine whether he or she is bound to town or rural religious service. A result of 1 on a d10 will indicate duty to an establishment in a town or its immediate environs; otherwise he will serve in a rural foundation. This will indicate what class the parent originally hailed from. Those in religious houses in a town or its immediate environs are primarily drawn from among the wealthy free folk, while those in the rural houses come from among the nobility. The GM can take this as his cue for determining the station of any others involved in the rearing of his child. In the case of the rural nobility, the NPC will have a connection to some measure of privilege, influence, and/or wealth, but with no real day-to-day impact on the NPC’s life. In extraordinary circumstances (wedding, kidnapping, etc.) this link might prove useful, if the character has the social skills to convince his relatives to lend aid.

The GM is advised to generate a background in keeping with the general parameters of the rural or town religious foundations. This will dictate what recourse and resources the NPC will have to drag into the fray if the PC’s should go toe-to-toe with him. It will determine the social ramifications of tangling with him.

Those Who Work

2-10.d Free Townsmen Commoners



Commoner Station



Steward (Sheriff) or Mayor (Shire Government Service, or Town Government, GM’s discretion)



Alderman/Councilor (Town Government Service)



Affluent Merchant *






Affluent Craftsman ‡



Courtier, Noble Service



Courtier, Local Government Service






Merchant/Chapman *



Craftsman ‡



Common Farmer, town-dependent district






Dayworker/Laborer **









Trickster/Confidence Man



Forger (smith or clerk)



Fence (merchant)


2-10.e Free Rural Commoners



Commoner Station



Government Service (Shire, clerk or messenger)









Scholar/Lawyer (C)



Courtier, Household Officer



Courtier, Household service



Chapman *



Yeoman/Common Farmer



Craftsman/Farmer ‡



Household Servant



Dayworker/Common Laborer **













2-10.f Landbound Commoners                 



Landbound Station



Household Officer (to local noble)



Steward/Bailiff (on noble estate)



Village Officer (in noble village)



Steward/Bailiff (on clergy estate)



Village Officer (in clergy village)



Farmer/Craftsman ‡












Simple farmer



Household Servant (in local noble house)



Dayworker/Common Laborer **










* indicates the player will need to consult table 2-12.f, as follows, and determine the sorts of goods in which the character’s family usually deals. Results of “Merchant Adventurer” indicates no such specialty, the family will deal in all the goods from a number of ports regularly visited, either within the kingdom or abroad. The player may choose or roll.

 indicates the player will need to consult table 2-11. Craftsman Crafts & Trades to determine the actual craft in which the character’s family is engaged.

** indicates the player will need to consult table 2-12.d Laborer stations to determine the type of labor in which the character’s father/family is engaged.

(R) on any of the background tables indicates that the station indicated is tied to a rural environment.

(T) on any of the background tables indicates that the station indicated is tied a town environment, city if the reference is to clergy.

(C) on any of the background tables indicate the station has a link to the church, usually only minor orders – first tonsure and ordination as either an acolyte, lector (who reads), ostiary (doorkeeper), or exorcist, of which Acolyte is the highest in prestige. This will generally have to do with the head of the household having attended a church-run institution of higher learning in training for his livelihood.

(N) indicates that the NPC is itinerant and tied neither to town or rural environments.

Results of “Household Service”, “Household Officer”, or “Steward/Bailiff” indicate that the parent works in the employ of a lord who happens to hold property in the same area or in the household itself for some lord whose honour (the primary residence from which he runs his estates) is in the area. The information to determine the nature of service or the household department, is provided for the GM’s convenience starting with the heading “PC’s & NPC’s “In Service” and the “Sphere of Service” table on page 24. The GM will also need to return to table 2-11.a to determine the specific station of the lord being served.

IF noted as “Crown” or “Gov’t” in nature, it refers to the household of the ruling monarch, his wife the queen, or one of his children, the royal princes or princesses in the immediate acknowledged line of succession.

All criminals are considered rootless unless they maintain a dual existence, in which they maintain their old lives and conceal their criminal lives. Such social misfits are forsaken by the Church, all lumped together with the rootless, lordless roaming entertainers in the minds of the people. It is recommended that the criminal background options be taken ONLY if the player plans on creating a character that he wishes to have access to that social sphere, in addition to those skills. Ties to a criminal family or parent can make the character’s life VERY difficult if it should become common knowledge.

IF the player wants his character to be skilled in a particular trade or craft, he should go ahead and make the one favored for the character the same as that practiced by his father/family to show continuity in the family line, typical medieval tradition. This will give the character a distinct bonus to his degree of skill when being brought into play, as well. It will make the PC’s career path and progression in the mysteries of the craft easier, providing a distinct bonus to his level of skill at the start of play, if the player stipulates here that he is following in his father’s footsteps this way.

2-11. Craftsman Crafts &Trades






Alchemist (C)








Apothecary (C)


Laborer (2-12.d)


Astronomer/Astrologer (C)


















Magister/Scholar (C)




Lawyer (2-12.e)




Mercenary Warrior




Merchant (2-12.f)










Builder (2-12.a)






















Philosopher/Scholar (C)




Physician/Surgeon (C)








Pouchmaker/ Purser


Monk (C)






Sailor, deckhand




Sailor, Navigator/Pilot






























Cordwainer/ Roper








Criminal (2-12.b)












Entertainer (2-12.c)










Tailor/ Seamstress
















Tent-/ Pavilion Maker
























Adventurer (2-12.g)

(C) indicates a direct tie to the Clergy

2-12.a Builders                  2-12.b Criminals †






Architect/Master Mason


























Trickster/Con Man








Outlaw Adventurer (2-12.g)









2-12.c Entertainers                                    2-12.d Laborers




























Household Laborer






Wandering Adventurer (2-12.g)







2-12.e Lawyers                  2-12.f Merchants






Judge/Magistrate, Royal Government (C)






Judge/Magistrate, regional/itinerant (C)






Judge, local Shire (C)




Sergeant-at-Law (C)




Lawyer, Attorney (C)




Lawyer, Pleader (C)




Lawyer, Solicitor (C)


























Merchant Adventurer

2-12.g Adventurers                                    2-12.g.2 Magic Wielders






Alchemist (C)














Druid (R)


Physicker (C)


Drug-Trance Wizard*










Chapman (R)


Hearth-Witch (mainstream,R)


Merchant (T)


Hedge-Wizard (mainstream,R) *




Magus *




Master Namer


Craftsman-Artisan **


Medium-Wizard *








Shadow Weaver






Huntsman (R)




Woodsman (R)






Witch (R)




Shaman-Drug Trance






Knight Simple


Sacred Knight


Knight Bachelor


Magister (C)


Scholar-Sage (C)










Magick-Wielder (2-12.g.2)
Criminals †


























(roll again) ††

† Indicates the GM should roll through the tables again, in order, to determine what sort of cover the NPC hides behind as cover for his nefarious activities, unless the GM decides the NPC in question lives solely from the proceeds of his illegal activities, as either an established wolf’s head with a price on him, or suspected but never brought before the law, or somewhere in between. Such a character likely has a den or retreat in a rural or wilderland near where he commits his crimes, perhaps with a band of cohorts or sharing a den with others of the same ilk. In the period of the game it was not unusual for a powerful outlaw with a large band of followers to set themselves up as robber barons in a deserted ruined keep, or to set up their own motte-and-bailey fort of timber.

The GM will please note that social and clerical criminals such as forgers (of all sorts) must maintain a respectable front in order to disarm their potential victims and divert suspicion.

†† Indicates a compound result. The GM should roll twice on the table to find the two trades in which the character is trained. If the GM should roll “00” again, he should compound no more than a total of four (4) trades. One of the trades should be a Secondary, and the additional trades should be chosen only from among those that are available to be bundled under the Primary and Secondary.

* These entries denote different formats applied to wizardry. They are applied to the schools of knowledge already presented, as described in the Grimoire. Of these, Alchemist, Cabalist, Drug-Trance, and Shaman all practice Low Magick, and so will be defined by the trades of WiseWomen and CunningMen. Hedge Wizards and Hearth Witches practice Low and Common Magick. The GM should roll again on the table, ignoring any of the entries marked with an asterisk (*) to see which of the Ars Quintates is actually performed, or if the character is an Arch Mage or Witch.

** indicates that the craft needs to be specified on table 2-12.

The tables above are set up to be diced on but, regardless of whether a Quick Method or Custom Method character, the player is by no means required to accept a random result, but is free to pick what he likes for his character’s background.

Because the definitions of the family stations from the tables and their relationships to one another do fill several pages and only really affect roleplay (as opposed to having further importance to the process of Character Creation), including them here would only clutter this section needlessly. All of the details on the titles used to describe both Class and Station have been grouped together with the rest of the social background provided for the player’s use in roleplaying in Part II. Playing the Game, Chapter 1. Character Background.

It is very important that the GM read the entries for all the results for the backgrounds of all the characters in his game, otherwise it will be impossible to actually understand what those results mean in the medieval gameworld, where they fit in for the purposes of drawing them into the adventures he plans, and how those results affect not only the way the characters will be expected to carry and conduct themselves in public, but how they will be expected to treat those of the other classes and stations in the various social situations that may arise during play.

The GM needs this information to fill in all the family names, place names, friends, and other details lacking in order to provide a complete picture of the character’s place in the world, tie him to it and fill it with color and life, as well as motivations for getting involved in the adventure at hand and describing his relationships with the rest of the PC’s.

The GM should be aware that the “Adventurer” result on table 2-3. and “Outlaw Adventurer” on table 2-3.b are followed by “(see GM)” in the PG, those players who roll that result will be coming to the GM to notify him of them. The GM should then roll or allow the player to roll on table 2-3.g to determine the actual trade the character’s parent pursues in his travels and adventures and pass that information on to the player.

The Adventurer entry is very special, indicating that either one or both the character’s parents (GM’s discretion, perhaps generating a separate station for the mother to see if “Adventurer” comes up again) is of PC caliber, indicating their attribute scores should be determined in the same manner as any other PC. The number of tables the players must get through to achieve a result of Adventurer is designed to give emphasis to how rare and exceptional the PC’s and those of their ilk should be in the game world. The narrow range given to the magick-wielding trades and the sub-table used to determine what type is to further emphasize how rare and wonderful magick is in the gameworld.

Because of the of the relative rarity with which this result should occur and the rarity of heroic characters in the gameworld in general, the GM should consider as a rule of thumb automatically making the adventurer parent of the same trade as the PC he raised. In the case to,

IF the GM should be dicing to randomly generate the details for a NPC for his own needs and such a result should come up, the actual trade would likely be determined by the needs of the adventure or campaign at hand, otherwise the GM can follow the tables.

IF the parent of a PC should be determined to be a Sacred Knight, the GM must be sure the player understands that the character will have all the advantages of the noble class in skills and knowledge and he will be expected to uphold that standard of behavior, regardless of his class by birth. The money for the character will be determined according to the originally determined class and station by birth, however. Such a PC will have the opportunity to train in arms when he is ready and upon achieving sufficient wealth or applying to the same order to which his Sacred Knight father is sworn, he may be elevated to knighthood. If the Sacred Knight trade is chosen for the character, he will have all the same benefits to skills and skill levels provided other characters following in their parents’ footsteps explained in Step 3.

IF the player chooses, the character may be a Squire, a full Warrior but in social rank still one step below a Knight Simple.

Interpretting “In Service” Results

In the tables for stations there are a number of entries generically labeled “in Government Service” or “in Household Service”. The players should get together with the GM to determine specifically what area the parent provides service in and what his “office” is, his duties and responsibilities. This may or may not require a bit of negotiation to make sure both player and GM are satisfied.

For the GM’s convenient reference, rosters as comprehensive as could be drawn up of the officials and clerks of the various offices of Crown and local (shire) government (and noble households and religious foundations, as well) have been compiled. These are presented in order of rank within each department in Chapter 3. NPC Generation, as they are used for defining NPC’s rather than PC’s, even in this case, as the PC’s family members to which the term “in service” might be applied, are all NPC’s.

For the GM’s convenient reference, rosters as comprehensive as could be drawn up of the officials and clerks of the various offices of Crown and local (shire) government (and noble households and religious foundations, as well) have been compiled. The GM can use these rosters of officials and positions of varying degrees of power as a blueprint for the government of his medieval monarchy, filling the offices with named NPC’s as they are encountered. Where the GM sees a number quoted in parenthesis next to a position, that indicates the number of people of that rank attending to the responsibilities of that office according to the records of the king’s household in the reign of Edward I (r. 1272-1307). With the vagaries of life, chance, politics, favor, and the like, those numbers may easily be varied, fudged by one or a few in either direction. Perhaps such variance is a matter of note and gossip at the court and among the government functionaries.

The GM should feel free to fill the empty offices with NPC’s as those PC’s coming in search of someone of that rank encounter them over the course of the game, trying not to exceed it by more than a couple here or there, except in the cases of layman-usher and layman-sergeant or yeoman warrior positions (horseguard, archers, etc.), sumptermen, grooms, outriders, and the like who provide the armed defense of the royal household, the core of the king’s army. Those positions might be as much as doubled in numbers, especially during times of unrest either civil by threat from abroad.

For the GM’s use in dealing with Courtier characters who wish to go politicking or navigate the ranks of government officials in getting their various causes addressed this is the map, as well as a guide to the rules of precedence between the officials and their respective offices. Table 2-13. is provided to help determine the actual position of those “in Service”, whether local shire or baronial or royal service. The results of this table refer to the rosters of positions that follow.

Any PC Courtier having permission to attend the royal Court long enough to witness a slow increase in the number of soldiers in and/or around the royal household, or with any contacts in a position to notice the same thing, just might be seeing a sign of some sort of large-scale trouble brewing, or of the onset of royal paranoia, or even the growing danger of an attempted palace coup, if it is at the orders of a powerful nobleman, especially if the king is a minor, or by order of one in a powerful position within the government already (Chamberlain, Chancellor, Treasurer or Keeper of the Exchequer, Constable, Lord Marshal, etc.).

Singular entries in the rosters of government officials and offices without numbers will indicate offices held and duties discharged by a single individual and, once filled, will remain occupied by that NPC until he should retire from service, unless the GM sees a need to have the king order a replacement, perhaps to move him up the ranks as a reward for service and/or in response to pressure from influential nobles of the realm, or due to his death, or some public disgrace or malfeasance of office too great to ignore.

Those entries noted as being plural in office-holders but being followed by no number quote, especially like those found in the Officers of the Realm roster, can be duplicated and awarded as many times to as many NPC’s as the GM likes. There can be as many Keepers of the Forests as the GM wants royal forests under the Forest Law in the realm.; as many Keepers of royal Estates and lands as he wants royal estates (manors, castles, etc.) in the realm; as many Deputy Keepers as he has ranking Keepers with more important business to attend to, and so on.

Spheres of Service


Government Service




The Exchequer


King’s Privy Wardrobe


King’s Chamber


King’s Hall


The Marshalsea


King’s Officers of the Realm


Shire Government


Religious House


Noble House

Offices of Crown


The Chancery *

Chancellor **

Keeper of the Chancery Rolls †

Keeper of the Hanaper



The Royal Scriptorium

Clergy :

Master of the Scriptorium (Writing Office)

Greater Clerks of the Chancery “Clerks of the 1st Form” (12)

Clerks of the Roll

Clerk of the Parliamentary Roll

Commanders of Writs


Clerks of the Crown (2)


Clerks of the Office

(c. 100 or more total)

Office of the Clerks of the King’s Ships

Clergy :

Admiralty Clerks of Chancery :

(of the Ports of the North)

(of the Ports of the South)

(of the Ports of the East)

(of the Ports of the West)


The Exchequer

The Upper Exchequer (Exchequer of Account)

Clergy :

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Treasurer of the Exchequer

Marshal of the Exchequer

Constable of the Exchequer

Chancellor’s Scribe/Clerk

Treasurer’s Scribe/Clerk

Chamberlain’s Clerk

Marshal’s Clerk

Constable’s Clerk

Chief Writing Clerk

Clerk of the King’s Remembrancer


Tally Cutter

Laymen :

Usher of the Upper Exchequer

The Lower Exchequer (The Receipt)

Clergy :

Treasurer’s Clerk (Clerk of the Lower Exchequer)

Tellers (4)

Laymen :

Sergeant Usher of the Exchequer

Knight Chamberlain of the Receipt (2)


* Chancery is considered by the clergy to be their private preserve, especially considering the fact they have an exclusive monopoly on formal education. Any who are educated privately who enter Chancery without being clergymen are not only highly unusual, but will not remain outside the clergy for long, for the livings for all Chancery clerks are supplied by the Church.

** The chancellor is always a bishop of the Church.

† The Keeper of the Rolls is always a Clerk of the 1st Form, and is also often the Master of the Scriptorium at the same time, but this will be the GM’s call to make.

The rights of the Church in the positions of the government are a matter of long-standing custom held over from the days when there were no others fit in the realm to be called for such service.

The GM will please note that in the period of the game, the machinery of Crown government had become too big to follow the king on his perambulations about the realm, especially considering the records amassed by that point, and so became permanently lodged.

The King’s Household

The Chamber

Clergy :

Controller of the Chamber

General Surveyors of the Chamber (2)

Chief Clerk of the Chamber

Clerks of the King’s Chamber (6-8)

Laymen :

King’s Chamberlain *

Receiver of the Chamber

Surveyor/Keeper of the Viands for the Royal Mouth

Sergeant Usher of the Chamber

Sergeants-at-Arms of the Chamber (4)

Sergeant Naper (Laundryman)

Ewerers of the Chamber

Sewer of the King’s Table

Squire of the King’s Body **

Squire Usher

Squire Carver

Squire Cupbearer

Sergeant Usher’s Valet

Harbinger of the Chamber

Porters of the Chamber

Squires of the Court ††

Yeomen of the Chamber (8)

Sumptermen of the Chamber (16)

King’s Minstrels (2)

Kings Trumpeters (2)


The King’s Privy Wardrobe

Clergy :

Treasurer/Clerk/Keeper of the Privy Wardrobe

Controller of the Privy Wardrobe

Keeper of the Privy Seal

Clerks of the Privy Seal (3)


Controller’s Clerk (assistant)

Cofferer’s Clerk

Controller’s Clerks (7+)

Keeper’s/Cofferer’s Clerks (4)

The Great Wardrobe

Clergy :

Usher of the Wardrobe (Clerk of the Spicery)

King’s Surgeon

King’s Physicker

Laymen :

Sub-Usher/Harbinger of the Wardrobe

Yeoman Porter of the Wardrobe

King’s Chief Banker †

The Spicery

Clergy :

Clerk of the Spicery (Usher of the Wardrobe)

Sub-Clerk of the Spicery

Laymen :

Sergeant Chandler

The King’s Hall

Clergy :

Steward’s Clerk/Coroner/Clerk of the Market

Chief Clerk of the Kitchens

Chief Clerk of the Pantry & Buttery

Clerk of the Marshal Harbinger

Usher of the Pantry & Buttery

(asst. to Chief Clerk of the Pantry & Buttery)

Under-clerk to Chief Clerk of the Kitchens


The King’s Hall

Laymen :

King’s Steward ◊

Marshal of the Hall

Chief Butler/Chamberlain of Wines

Butler’s Attorney

Marshal Harbinger

Marshal’s Sergeant

Marshal Harbinger’s Sergeant

Yeoman to Marshal Harbinger’s Sergeant

Chief Usher

Administrative household knights banneret (20+)

Administrative household knights bachelor (40+)

Sergeant Ushers (2)

Sergeant Surveyor of the Dresser

Chief Sergeant of the Pantry

2nd Sergeant of the Pantry/Butler

3rd Sergeant Butler

Sergeant Baker


Sergeant Dapifer

Sergeant Larderer

Sergeant Poulterer

Sergeant of the Scullery

Sergeant of the Saucery

Sergeant/servant carry meals & bread to the king and Chamber

Squires of the Dresser (3)

Squire Fruiterer

Yeoman Ushers

King’s Horseguard (30+)

Yeoman of the Guard (footmen archers, 24)

Yeoman Usher of the Kitchens

Yeoman of the Pantry

Yeoman of the Porters of the Pantry

Yeoman/servant carry meals & bread to the king and Chamber

Yeoman Purveyor of the Bread

Yeoman Bakers (2)

Yeoman of the Cuphouse

Yeoman Drawer of Wine

Yeoman Pourer of Wine and Ale

Yeoman Purveyor of Ale (& Beer)

Yeoman of the Pitcherhouse (2)

Yeoman Porters of Wine & Ale

Yeoman Porters of the Larder (2)

Yeomen of the Scullery (2)

Yeomen of the Saucery (2)

Buyers of the Kitchens (3)

Poulterer’s Assistant

The Marshalsea

Clergy :

Chief Clerk of the Marshalsea

Avener/Chief Clerk of the Avenary

Laymen :

King’s Marshal

King’s Farrier

Knight-Master Huntsman

Sergeant-Master/Keeper of the King’s Palfreys & Destriers

Master of Hounds

Master Falconer

Yeomen Purveyors & Farriers (13)

Huntsmen (sergeant/yeomen)

Head Groom

Sumptermen (37)

Palfreymen of the King’s Stables (92)

Outriders (29)

Carters (29)

The Chapel

Clergy :

Clerks of the Chapel (5)

King’s Confessor

King’s Almoner

Laymen :

Sergeants of the Chapel (4)

* The Chamberlain is never less than a knight banneret in rank, and more usually a baron (Lord) or Earl.

** The king’s personal squire is always a young man of gentle (noble) birth from a high-ranking family closely allied with the Crown.

† The King’s Banker is always a free commoner, an extremely successful merchant of extensive wealth and holdings, sometimes a foreigner, as was the case of the Lombard bankers that backed the English through most of the period of the game.

†† These may consist of any number of hostages, wards, and/or children of allies and vassals.

◊ The king’s steward is always a high-ranking, wealthy Lord, no less than an Earl.

King’s Officers of the Realm

Clergy :

Justices’ Keepers’ Clerks

Justices’ Keepers of the Rolls & Writs

Keepers of Chamber Manors

Laymen :

Keeper/Justice of the Forests of the North

Keeper/Justice of the Forests of the South

Keeper of Royal Lands of the North

Keeper of Royal Lands of the South

Keeper of Royal Lands of the East

Keeper of Royal Lands of the West

Keepers/Justices of Forests (specific)

Captains/Masters of the Kings Ships (15)

Constables of the King’s Ships (15)

Baron Keepers of Royal Lands

Deputy Keepers

Sergeant Foresters

Deputy Foresters


Woodwards/Keepers of the Private Woods/Parks/Chases

Reeves of Forest Vills



Rangers of Disafforested Districts

Huntsmen/Keepers of Horses, Hawks & Hounds (specific by beast)

Valet/Keepers of Horses, Hawks & Hounds (specific by beast)


The Queen’s Household

Ladies in Waiting (4)

Damsels in Waiting (9)

Knights Banneret (4)

Lord Steward

Clerks of the Household :

Lord Treasurer

Lord Controller

Master Physician


Lord Almoner

Servants & Clerks :

Marshal of the Queen’s Hall

Clerk of the Marshalsea

Sergeants at Arms (2)

Clerk Writing the Queen’s Own Letters



Master Cook of the Queen’s Own Mouth

Cook of the Queens Household (Familia)


Usher of the Queen’s Hall


Further Servants :


Smith (2)


Servants (5)

Squires (22)

Squires’ Servants


Servant of the Wardrobe (+4)

Laundress of the Chamber

Laundress of the Nappery

Watchmen (2)

Groom of the Palfreys

Groom of the Larder



Grooms (33)

Messengers (2)

Carter of the Queen’s Great Wardrobe

Carter of the Larder

Carters of the Little Carts of the Queen’s Small Wardrobe (2)

Carter of the Medium Cart of the Queen’s Small Wardrobe

Carter of the Medium Cart of the Buttery

Carter of the Medium Cart of the Kitchen

Sumpterman of the Saucery

Sumpterman of the Chapel

Sumptermen (20)

Palfreymen & Keepers of the Queen’s Chargers (9)

Palfreymen (16)

Porter of the Great Wardrobe

Boys of the Queen’s Damsels (4)

Boys of the Queen’s Confessor (4)

Outriders of the Queens Carts (7)

Keepers of the Hackneys for Saddle Cloths (3)

Shire Government

Clergy :

Sheriff’s Clerk

Keepers/Clerks of the Pleas of the Crown

Coroner’s Clerk

Esheator’s Clerk

Hundred Clerks

Laymen :


Knight Coroner of the Shire (up to 4)

Knight Esheator of the Shire

Constable of Castles


Bailiffs Itinerant of the Shire

Chief Bailiffs

Constables of Hundreds

Bailiffs of Hundreds

Constables of Townships or Vills



Noble House Officers

Clergy :

Chancellor/Keeper of the Seal/Personal Secretary

Master of the Writing Office

Treasurer (Exchequer)

General Surveyor of the Chamber ◊

General Surveyor of the Chamber ◊◊



Household Chaplain

Confessor *



Laymen :

Steward **

Stewards †

Steward of the Household ††


Master of the Wardrobe


Household Knight


Factors/Men of Affairs/Buying Agents (itinerant)

District or Estate Bailiff(s)

Manor Reeve(s)

◊ A general auditor for all household accounts.

◊◊ A general administrator over all estate revenues.

* May be one and the same as the Chaplain, especially in lesser noble houses.

** The Lord’s assistant in all matters.

† Administrators over groups or individual estates.

†† May be held by two men, one for Above Stairs and Below Stairs, among great lords.


Religious House Officers

Suffragan Bishop †


Prior/Sub Prior

















Master/Mistress of the School of Novices




Clerk/Messenger *

Household Knight



† Created only by a High Prelate, Arch Bishop, or Bishop over his staff, an assistant in all matters, often itinerant.

* Each department in the household has their own.

Birth Heritage & Family

In the interests of brevity and speed, ALL characters can be assumed legitimate with no complications.

In this case, the player can move right along to determining the size of family, sibling rank, and sibling sexes, etc. Again in the interest of brevity and speed and going with the greater common demographic, only a single marriage is assumed and all siblings assumed to be surviving.

Alternately, the player can leave these details to the GM to determine.

IF his character concept includes being illegitimate, the player needs to notify the GM and determine the details of the circumstances under which the character grew up (providing he wants to participate in that process); all details of background are subject to the GM’s approval. For the rich material and fertile ground it provides the GM with for writing hooks for adventures, the more complex this aspect of the character’s life, the better. No, really.

Again, these details can be wholly left to the GM to determine if desired.

There are no guarantees in life, and there is no guarantee that the innocent and unsuspecting character raised with the belief that his or her legitimate status is beyond question is, in fact, legitimate. Parents often conceal inconvenient or ugly truths from their children.

On the roll of a 1 on another d10OR 01 through 10 on d100 (GM’s discretion), the GM may find the legitimacy of the character’s birth to be a fiction or subject to special circumstances, to be determined on table 2-1.

Alternately, the GM may choose to employ such a twist in the character origins to sow mischief later on down the road in the campaign. While the variations are laid out in table format to enable an easy roll of the dice, the GM is always free to choose the result that pleases him and/or suits the circumstances of his campaign best.


2-1. Legitimate Family Circumstances




Raised as legitimate by mother with stepfather’s knowledge and cooperation when illegitimate in fact.


Raised as legitimate by father with stepmother’s knowledge and cooperation when illegitimate in fact.


Raised as legitimate by mother as a “legacy” of previously deceased husband, remarried after the birth, illegitimate status unknown to stepfather or stepsiblings.


Raised as legitimate by mother without stepfather’s knowledge when illegitimate in fact.


Raised as legitimate by father and stepmother, who married after the birth, illegitimate status unknown to her or stepsiblings.


Raised as legitimate, raised by mother alone as a “legacy” of previously deceased husband, illegitimate status unknown to others.


Raised as legitimate, husband cuckolded without the indiscretion being discovered.


Raised as a fostered but legitimate child of the family, but true birth heritage and actual origins a mystery to the generous family who took the character in


Legitimate, fostered, raised by mother’s parents, sibling or cousin (GM’s discretion)


Legitimate, fostered, raised by father’s parents, sibling or cousin (GM’s discretion)


Legitimate, fostered, raised by father’s lord


Legitimate, fostered, raised by neighbor


Legitimate, orphaned, raised in a charitable house of religion (monastery, abbey, priory, rural or town, GM’s discretion)
Legitimate, orphaned, raised by local lord of parents
Legitimate, orphaned, raised by a neighbor of either father or mother’s family


Legitimate, orphaned, raised by mother’s sibling or cousin


Legitimate, orphaned, raised by father’s sibling or cousin


Legitimate, orphaned, raised by stranger foster-family

The GM must determine the actual rank of any lord indicated in the above table.


Being raised legitimate but being illegitimate in fact, as some of the results indicate, it will be up to the GM to generate the details of the character’s actual birth. This knowledge should be concealed from the player until such time as the character finds out, if ever he does, in the course of game play.

The orphaned character’s parents are both assumed to be dead, and it will have to be determined at what age he was orphaned (d10 in years of age).

IF the character was younger than the age of 5 when orphaned, or was raised in a house of religion, table 2-3 should be used to determine how much information the character was given by those who raised him, if any.

While the result does not affect the state of the character’s birth heritage, the GM should discuss the concept of being orphaned with the player to get a reaction before implementing it and writing it into the background character briefing for the game.

The difference between being fostered out and being orphaned is that the fostered child’s parents are still alive, and it is likely the character will have regular contact with them and visit them or entertain their visits, depending on what sort of relationship is indicated or purchased with them on table 2-5.


When the GM makes use of table 2-1, the results are for the GM’s eyes only. That information should be revealed only if the PC should stumble across evidence leading to that information, or some NPC who reveals it to him, or in case the GM should otherwise decide to reveal it to the player at some later date after the character has been brought into play.

For illegitimate characters, the social class and station of both birth parents must be determined separately. It is rather likely that the social classes will be separated by bounds of station, and perhaps class as well. The liaison between them was certainly considered unsuitable in terms of marriage, although the couple obviously found sufficient drive and desire to consummate it.


Illegitimate birth allows ONLY that the character and those around him, in the community as well as the family by whom he was raised, are aware of his being illegitimate.

IF the character is illegitimate, it must be determined the circumstances under which he was raised, as follows on tables 2-2, 2-3 evaluating what the character knows of each parent, 2-4 evaluating what each parent knows of the character their child, and 2-5 determining whether or not there is any relationship there that must be maintained.

The player may choose or roll, as he wishes.

The GM should take care not to reveal the circumstances surrounding the character’s illegitimate status until he has determined how much of that information the character knows, according to the results of the following tables.

For those aspects of the character’s background the tables indicate he is not aware of, the GM should keep the information to himself. Where ever possible, the player’s and character’s knowledge should be kept the same.


2-2. Illegitimate Family Dispositions






Raised by birth mother and stepfather



Raised by birth mother alone



Raised by true father and stepmother



Raised by true father alone



Raised by mother’s parents, sibling or cousin



Raised by father’s parents, sibling or cousin



Raised in a Religious House



Raised by local lord of either father or mother



Raised by a neighbor of either father or mother



Raised by strangers

2-3. Character Knowledge of Absentee Parent(s)






Character has no information at all regarding the absentee parent(s)



Character knows absentee parent’s general location (shire, if same shire, then name of the hundred)



Character knows absentee parent’s family name (surname) and social class



Character knows absentee parent’s given name, surname, class, station/occupation, shire, hundred and specific city/town/village



Character knows absentee parent’s given name, surname, class, station/occupation, shire, hundred, city/town/village and specific locale and neighborhood


2-4. Parent(s) Knowledge of Illegitimate Children






Character’s existence unknown to father AND mother*



Character’s existence known to father, not mother*



Character’s existence known to mother, not father



Character’s existence known to close personal servant(s) of mother or father, but knowledge concealed from the parent.



Character’s existence known to both mother AND father

* Character taken away at birth, assumed dead by mother

2-5. Absentee Parent Relationships






Parent has had no contact with the character.



Character met the parent on a single occasion.



Character has met the parent on a few, isolated occasions.



Character has contact with the parent a few times a year, around major holidays.



Character and parent are in frequent regular contact.

IF desired, the character may have been raised legitimate while participating in keeping the fact that he was actually born illegitimate a secret. In this case, the player must develop the character as if he were legitimate in fact, but also determine the character’s knowledge of his true parent(s).

Elf and dwarf characters that are determined to be illegitimate of birth will be treated as legitimate for the purposes of determining beginning monies (Step 8). Socially, among their own kind, illegitimate elfin or dwarfish children are treated the same as legitimate. There will be no stigma.

For both legitimate and illegitimate PC’s, there are other considerations the GM should entertain. The player must go through the text and tables determining the actual circumstances under which his character was raised, the character’s knowledge of his absentee parent(s), his relationship with him/them, and the rest of the details of the family.  

The player and/or GM must determine the Class and Station of any absentee parent(s) of a PC, as follows, along with the details of whether or not they are aware of the existence of the character, of the character’s location, and of the character’s identity, and any relationship he may have with them, if any. The player should then be informed of all results of which the character is aware, to keep player and character knowledge the same, to avoid a conflict or the temptation of having the character act on knowledge he does not have.

For the purposes of “orphan” results, both of the character’s parents are assumed to have died, and only results of 6 through 10 on table 2-2. should be accepted for the character’s disposition. In all these cases, the GM must determine the class and station of both the family to which the family was born and the station in which he was raised, the class being assumed to the same as the birth parent.

IF the character was raised in the absence of one or both true parents, it must be determined how much he knows of him or them, and whether they know of him.

Having determined the character’s knowledge of his true parent(s), the knowledge of the parent concerning the character must be established, as per table 2-4.

IF the results establish that the character and parent(s) are aware of one another, especially if that knowledge extends to specific knowledge of identity and location, the nature of any relationship between them must be established, as per table 2-5, following.

IF the character has knowledge of two absentee parents who also have knowledge of him, the status of the relationship with each must be determined on table 2-5.

IF the PC has knowledge of the parent(s) but they do not know of him or have not contacted him, there is no relationship unless the PC wishes to reveal himself and provide some proof and try to establish relations of some sort.

In order to determine the age at which the absentee parent first saw/met the character (as applicable), roll 3d5.

In evaluating the backgrounds of the PC’s for purposes of bringing them into play, the GM should take the opportunity to fill in all blanks (names, locations, and the like) needed so they will be at his fingertips when writing the PC brief for the player. It only strengthens his position and grasp of that corner of the world and the characters place in it before the start of play.

Beyond the simple fact of a NPC’s legitimacy or lack of it, the details developed for a PC are only necessary for those NPC’s the GM intends to have in play for some time. Such intimate details as size of family and sibling ranks, age of siblings, the nature of his familial ties and all the details which are of interest to a player for his PC will only really be of interest to the GM in order to evaluate a NPC’s resources for upping the stakes socially for tangling with him and/or thwarting his goals.

At the player’s option, the character’s birth heritage may be left as a complete question mark, completely unknown to the character due to his parent(s) abandoning him at birth or up to roughly 5 years of age (d5). The only information the player might have from the foster family is the location and circumstances under which the character was found as a child. If the character chooses to pursue any inquiries to find out his true origins, he must work with a trail that is more than a decade cold.

In this circumstance, the details of the character’s heritage are left in the GM’s capable hands to determine. What information regarding the character’s family determined here for his background origins actually defines the family of strangers good enough to take him in and raise him as a foster-child.

It is assumed in this case that the character is aware of the circumstances under which the family took him in, otherwise he would have been raised as legitimate, in the manner described by the entry for a result of “44” on table 2-1.

For half-elf characters, while the elfin blood is considered obvious, whether the father or mother was elfin remains a mystery until the character somehow eventually ferrets that information out, if ever he does.


Multiple Marriages

Not every household is a perfect one, not even among those in which heroes are raised. These circumstances can be applied to those who have raised an illegitimate character as well as the households of characters of legitimate birth.

On a result of 1 or 2 on the roll of a d10, one of the character’s parents will have died or abandoned the family and the remaining one will have remarried.

On the result of 1 through 6 on the roll of another d10 when the dice have indicated this is the case, the mother will have passed and the father remarried; to 10 and it will be the other way around.

For these circumstances, the player must roll two d5’s. The greater of the two numbers resulting will indicate how many marriages the surviving parent has been through, taking his or her children along. The smaller of the numbers resulting indicate the marriage to which the character was born.

This variation can be applied to the legitimate and illegitimate character equally.

While described in terms of random dice rolls, any results falling within the range represented by those dice are fair game if the player has notions of his own in this regard for his character’s origins. This is a wrinkle that may be added to the character’s background at the player’s discretion.

Any marriages and resulting children that preceded that from which the character was born will be counted before the PC, effectively pushing him further down in sibling rank.

This variation creates a great tangle of family relationships that can be great fun for the GM to make use of or manipulate for the purposes of the game.


Size of Family, Sibling Rank &

Sibling Sexes

Roll 2d5 twice to determine size of family and sibling rank.

The larger of the two numbers will be the number of children in the family, total, including the PC himself. The smaller of the two results will be the PC’s own place in the order of birth among his siblings, or Sibling Rank.

IF the character’s parent has been married more than once as described under legitimate heritage above, the player should roll 2d5 for each marriage, and only determine sibling rank for the marriage to which the PC himself was born.

IF the character is an elf  or a dwarf, the player should roll a d5.

IF the character is an elf, all results of family size greater than 3 are read as 3.

This is due to the fact that the longer lived races like the elfs and dwarfs are not as fertile, so larger families are rarely possible, and may actually even be frowned upon in practice as vulgar displays when they do occur. Even the limits of these relatively small numbers are no doubt a matter of public note, and perhaps even some envy.

Roll a d10 to determine the sex of each sibling.

A result of 1-6 will indicate the sibling is a sister.

A result of 7-10 will indicate the sibling is a brother.

IF the character is a dwarf, the siblings are only female on a roll of “1” on the d10 called for above.

As stated previously, these details apply to the family in which the character was raised.

IF the character comes from a family in which the natural parent has engaged in multiple marriages (as previously described), sibling rank will be determined only for the children of the marriage to which he was born, but any children of previous marriages will be added to the sibling rank in the family in general, pushing him further down the ranks, i.e., a PC who was 3rd born of 5 in the 2nd marriage of the parent by whom he was raised, having had 3 children in the first marriage, would actually be sibling rank 6 in the family at large. The sibling rank in the family at large is the number that is used in determining the character’s starting monies coming from his family.


Families with alot of children, greater even than the number already allowed, may be allowed for players rolling the maximum number. It was common for women in the period of the game to have upwards of 10 or more (14-15) children, though the rigors of childbed were a serious danger to the mother, and the dangers of still birth, birthing complications, accidents, disease, and/or malnutrition all took a high toll in lives. Only two of every five children lived past the age of five. Of those, only 60% lived to see 20 years of age.

Though the circumstances had changed significantly by the 1800’s, the world was still largely rural and agricultural and the survival rate for children was roughly the same as in the medieval era still. Large families with children numbering 12 or even 15 were not particularly unusual in the countryside. They were more mouths to feed, but at the same time they represented more hands to turn to the work of the farm and supplementing the family income.

IF the GM prefers to have smaller family sizes prevail among human, pumathar, dunladdin and irdanni races, he may either reduce the dice rolled to 2d5, or assume that the result doesn’t include the affects of attrition and make mortality checks for the children.

Roll a d10 to determine whether each of the younger children in the family have survived thus far.

A result of 1-6 indicates the child has passed away from one of the many challenges that threaten the young in the medieval period. The roll of a d10 will indicate at what age.

A result of 7-10 indicates the child has survived.

If the player of a dwarf or elf character wishes to have a larger family, the GM can always choose to increase the number allowed by one or two, maybe even three, BUT making sure that the player understands that the character’s family name is going to be renowned throughout his people for that fact, and no doubt there will be those who envy that fact and resent such a vulgar display of inordinate fecundity – presuming the GM is following the trade description as written. If not, this point is moot.

The Family Relationship

The line of inheritance under the medieval law of “Primogeniture” does not include the women in the line of succession to inheritance until after all the men in the line and their children have been exhausted, from eldest male to youngest. At that point the estate is partitioned and divided equally between the remaining women and their children. The head of the family, whether father or eldest surviving son, will always be responsible for providing a dower for marriage, entry into a craft (craftsmen’s families only, as applicable) or the cost of taking the veil and entering the Church.

2-6. Family Relationship                 






Doting (see “Golden Child”, as follows)



Soft-hearted, indulgent in most matters



Sympathetic, will always listen



Liberal, generous in small matters and when in a good mood



Just/even-handed, treats PC fairly



Conservative, slow to forgive, tight-handed even in small matters



Grudging, biased in favor of other sibling(s)



Hard-hearted, unsympathetic, rarely will listen



Blatantly ignored and neglected (see “Black Sheep”, as follows)

Because the demands in training and education required of the heir, the first male child born, are extreme in the period of the game, a PC cannot generally be the family heir, whether male in a patriarchal society or female in a matriarchal society, without being tied to the duties of the family UNLESS the player agrees that, prior to bringing him/her into active game play, the character has undergone the complete legal process in his native society for surrendering all claim or rights in any and all lands in the estate in favor of the next in line. This is usually done in return for an immediate cash settlement, which is where the character’s beginning monies will come from. The heir must know every corner of the family estate, every silver penny of the family’s worth, every wrinkle in the pursuit of their causes at law in order to properly administer the estate when he comes into it and, until that time, he must be at the parents’ beck and call in executing the business of the estate on their behalf. This ties him down far too well, allowing precious little time for pursuing of his own interests, such as running off on wild adventures.

Of course, the player may be able to convince the GM to let him try and manage the responsibilities of the heir during active play amidst the demands of working with the household officials in over-seeing the work of the fields and livestock, according to the domestic calendar the GM has (Part II.). If he manages to get through an adventure participating fully to his cohorts’ satisfaction and turn a pretty profit, he might just win the approval of his parents and their indulgence should a similar matter come up again. The next heir in line can always be leaned upon the take up the slack for him. The second in line will always be leaned on in any course, especially after the estate passes hands to the heir, as most trustworthy for the position of chief agent, factor or official.

This is where the importance of the relationship with the family comes directly into play.

To determine the character’s relationship with a family member, the player should either use the DP cost indicated to define the relationship (Custom Method), or roll the d10 indicated (Quick Method) on table 2-6.

All results for elfin family members that are greater than 7 for Quick Method characters should be read as 7, so the worst result that can be obtained will be “Conservative, slow to forgive, tight-handed” instead.

dwarfish female will always be granted 1 level of the “Golden Child” (see Special Heritage Traits, as follows) in her family, due to their rarity in their native culture.

The player will have to make a determination for each parent. If illegitimate and the parent has knowledge of the character AND has had contact, this must be determined for him/her, as well. This process should be followed to determine how the PC gets along with each of his siblings, also. It is a good idea to establish this information in regards to any servants living in the household in close attendance on the family, (who does the cooking, who takes care of the horses or other beasts, personal body servants or assistants or secretaries), as well.

If desired, any bad relationships established during character creation may be improved, given sufficient time and effort once play has commenced, especially if the character has the social skills to smooth the way. In the same vein, just because a parent or sibling dotes on the character, doesn’t mean that they can be walked all over or otherwise abused with impunity. Family relations require maintenance just like a Courtier’s contacts.

In the medieval setting of the game, being illegitimate in the eyes of the lower (landbound) class is not that much of a handicap due to its frequency. The only exception is waging of suits at law. No illegitimate citizen can sue any other who is legitimately born. Otherwise, it is only among the commoners and the nobility that the illegitimate status being a barrier preventing inheritance will be an issue, so a parent might consider paying the cost of bridging the legal gap to formally acknowledge a bastard child. In common and upper-class society, the illegitimate character becomes a veritable second-class citizen. Having no claim to land or wealth in either parent’s name, unless there are no other heirs left in any legitimate line following them, the bastard character is deemed worthless in marriage unless he has accumulated a sizable estate of his own first, and even then his status as a bastard may cause much trouble trying to wage any suit at law, as mentioned, so it makes him hazardous to ally with in marriage OR business.

Character Option:

Special Family Circumstances

Special Circumstances represent some of the vicissitudes of life that may be afflicting the character’s family when play commences, things that may complicate or add additional concerns and make them more difficult, or perhaps even bring a little happiness.

Character backgrounds may be made a bit more interesting by inserting an occasional random element, at either the player’s or the GM’s option.

With a result of 01 on d100 a special circumstance might be applied to any character for a bit of spice.

On the whole, they are perfect as handles to be worked into adventures, or may be used as the hinge-pin on which an adventure turns, thus hooking a character and his compatriots.

This table is meant to illustrate the possibilities. It is NOT intended to be either definitive or exhaustive. Dice randomly for parents and children equally. If the result indicates a sibling who is married in a case involving the courts or the law, both will be in the same situation, unless the spouse has escaped into hiding or left the realm.

2-7. Special Family Circumstances




PC family member is in gaol awaiting execution for a capital crime


PC family member is in gaol pending fulfillment of terms of sentencing for a felony (fines, forfeitures, + 2d5 bonds of surety)


PC family member is in gaol awaiting trial for a major crime, pending payment of bail (+ 2d5 bonds of surety)


PC family member has taken Sanctuary in a nearby church with (4d10) days remaining before he must face charges of felony or capital crime, or be banished from the realm


PC family member is charged with a serious crime, will be jailed unless bail and (2d5) bonds of surety are found within (3d10) days


PC family member has lost the judgement in a court case resulting in a financially crippling fines and damages, his wealth and household goods will be distrained within a week and he will be jailed pending payment in full or arrangements being enrolled in the Court of Chancery for the payment of fines and damages


Family member is charged with a serious crime and has refused to face the courts, for which he has been named “outlaw”, all goods and property forfeit to the Crown or liege-lord, his head is worth 5s. from the local sheriff


Family member is Grievously Wounded following an assault on the road by Brigands/Highwaymen


Family member is Mortally wounded or dead following an assault on the road by Brigands/Highwaymen


Family member is in danger of having his wealth and household goods distrained within a week for taxes and he will be jailed pending payment in full or arrangements enrolled in the Court of Chancery for payment unless (d5) sureties are produced


Family member is abducted and demand for ransom delivered anonymously through an intermediary


Married female family member is pregnant, due to deliver in (d5) months, if no females in the immediate family, then a cousin


PC or immediate family member is asked to stand as godparent to a relative of (slightly) lower social standing


A socially superior person has expressed romantic interest in the PC or an immediate family member (50/50% attractive or plain looks)


Female family member has eloped with a man socially and financially beneath her (assumed to be attractive)


Female family member is pregnant out of wedlock (roll dice for Class and Station of father)


A married female family member gives birth to a healthy baby within (4d5) days of the commencement of active game play


Criminal charges for a case at law have been fabricated by a rival family and brought against a character’s family member, roll a result involving the courts, above


A close friend of the family or a relative outside the nuclear bloodline passes away within (4d5) days of the commencement of active game play, leaving (d5) favored family members a bequest of coin, plate, jewelry, book(s), or furnishings (PC to be included in the determination)


PC family member does a good turn to a wealthy/influential burgess or local lord for which the family are invited for dinner, where all are given gifts (small, personal, dependent upon how well the family is known and how motivated the wealthy/influential benefactor is, GM’s discretion)


PC family member discovers an ancient pagan burial site, unearths a cache of ancient coins, jewelry, and/or plate, or forgotten wartime stash on family property, a neighbor’s property, or in the wilds (king’s or lord’s land)


Roll for an additional Circumstance (maximum number allowed is at GM’s discretion)

As noted in the title, these are meant to be SPECIAL. That is why their occurrence is indicated on only a 01 on d100. Families have the capacity to be complicated enough as they, if the player or GM is creative enough without adding this dash of spice in.


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