A Question of Inheritance

A scenario is brewing in my current saga and I wondered what other peoples take on it might be... This is long and a bit complex so bear with me (or not).

The Welsh Marches, England, 1098.

About 20 year ago, a Norman knight - Sir Lambert - was granted Hardwick Manor by his leige lord for himself and his heirs. Lambert married a Saxon lady, Aelfgyth, whose family held that land before the Conquest, in part as a way of smoothing over his claim to the estate. Aelfgyth died in childbirth, a daughter - Rosamund. Sir Lambert died in a riding accident a few years later without male heir. Through some machinations, Rosamund became ward of the local bishop rather then Lambert's leige (Lord Picot de Say).

Lady Rosamund is now come of age and due to be married herself. Lord Picot (Lambert's leige) is not dead and his son Henry, now Lord, wants Hardwick Manor back. Unfortunately, through some further machinations, Henry's attempts to arrange a marriage between Lady Rosamund and one of his men have been blocked. She is instead betrothed of a household knight in the service of the bishop. Well placed bribes have secured permission from an otherwise indifferent King for this match and, unless something blocks it, Rosamund will be married to the bishop's knight.

Lord Henry hasn't quite given up hope. As one option, he has a vassal willing to at least attempt carrying the lady off and "marrying her by force". Another option is afford him by a rumor, recently heard, that Lady Rosamund is not actually Sir Lambert's daughter but the illigitmate child of an indiscression by Lady Aelfgyth shortly before her marriage. I'm not sure if he has any other options, but I'd be curious to hear any suggestions.

If you're wondering what any of this has to do with the Order... the bishop in question is secretly a magus and there is a covenant of magi hidden within the cathedral chapter. They want to Rosamund to inherit both in hopes of keeping the manor under their control and because her inheritance of the land is part of a pact they have with a Forgotten Goddess (a type Magic Human from RoP: Magic). (Rosamund is a PC companion with Heir and Magic Blood. She really is illigitmate and is descended from the Forgotten Goddess in question through her real father, a magus.) Lord Henry is also being manipulated by supernatural agencies... :imp:

Thoughts, ideas, criticisms, suggestions for how this might play out, all welcomed.

Oooooh, NICE! :smiley:

Quite a mundane-supernatural plot. Consider it stolen :wink:


1. Make Rosamund an unsuitable match

  • Make her terrible-looking
  • Make it widely known that she is barren. She can call her first son Ruse of Manorclaim
  • Bring a curse to her lands (r better: those of Henry's fsather) in case she is married to Henry.
  • Make her a nun and give her lands to the church.

2. Make Rosamund an unattractive match for Henry

  • Bring a better heiress to the picture for Henry to woo.
  • Make him fall in love with amnother noblewoman. or a pesant girl or nun for added fun!
  • Make him fall in love with a nymph. Your godess can help here.
  • Make them think that the manor is quite a bad land, unsuitable for such exaclted people like Henry's family. Who would like to get such a lowly backwater?

3. Get rid of Henry (for the time being)

  • Kill him
  • Turn him dumb
  • Make henry LOVE to go on crusade before thinking on such minor stuff like marriage and progeny
  • Maim him
  • Make his brother become the heir. By the time they are settled again, Rosamund will be happily married.

In any case, DO NOT GET CAUGHT!!

Hope that helps!

In addition to Xavi's excellent suggestions:

From Henry's point of view, killing Rosamund might do just as well depending on who the next heir is (no legitimate heir should mean the manor reverts to Henry).

Also, both parties might find it worthwhile to bribe the King (William II, I presume?). If he is truly indifferent, then he should approve whoever gives him the most dosh.

Don't personally like most of these - several of them are likely to loose Rosamund (and thus the Covenant) the manor. Not good.

Now these ones I like! :smiling_imp:

...and these are probably what I'd end up arranging (as a covenant) if in the same situation, and this thread haden't existed :slight_smile:

Making Rosamund an unsuitable match, alas, won't work all that well. She's a known beauty, has no inclination toward the contemplative life (and that would breach the accord between the Forgotten Goddess and the covenant) and since she's a virgin her fertility is an unknown factor. Now, threatening a curse on the lands is any ill befalls her... that I like.

Making her an unattractive match for Henry... that has some interesting posibilities to it. Oh yes, very interesting.

Having Henry kill Rosamund and/or setting up a "duel of bribes" at the royal court (Yes the king is William II... a very bribable monarch) also definately has potential from Henry's end of matters.

Killing or otherwise removing Henry, alas, is also not on the books. He's too powerful a local magnate to simply kill not with both the covenant and the goddess wanting to remain discreet.

All in all, excellent thoughts, thank you.

A tytalus I used to know, liked to have "un-killables" like henry very publicly killed - by his (the tytalus' ) enemies.

Unfortunately, it's not so much that killing Henry would be bad for the person who killed him. It's that killing Henry would destablize one of the few actually stable baronies on the Welsh Marches... bad for business all around.

And it's not personal, it's strictly business.

I thought the suggestion was meant more "via magic", in which case there really are no obstacles aside from the imagination, creativity and thoroughness of the actors. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and all that. :wink:

So long as H is as shallow as he seems, this is not "true love" and so is subject to spell manipulation. And a spell to make him think he's more attracted to someone else - not even very high magnitude, as it's not creating anything, just redirecting an existing emotion. Make it a Ritual and it won't even come back in the campaign again - or just re-cast regularly and let H deal with the warping.

Indeed. The idea is to use magic or other supernatural abilities to achieve most of those. Glad you liked a few of them :slight_smile:


I'm assuming that you want options where the NPC initiates the action, cause if the players start something you can only really take the ball and run with it.

For me the way it plays out depends on what sort of story would match the saga.

  1. Henry finds (or fakes) evidence that Rosamund is illegitimate, case goes to the Royal court with many pretty speeches, double dealing, blackmail, intrigue and bribery. Introduce corrupt judges, venal clerks and convoluted laws and rulings. Lots of fun if your group is into intrigue and double-dealing and the like.

  2. Henry has Rosamund kidnapped and forceably married to his vassal. Couple of options for this, but I start them the same way. Queue the chase scene as the players chase after the vassal to stop him before he gets to the chapel on the cliffs where he has his pocket priest stashed, add in a storm (drama) and a vicious battle against the vassals men at arms as they try to stop the PC's entering the church. The PC's burst into the church and...
    a) Stop the wedding in time.
    b) Fail to stop the wedding and now need an annulment. Queue the court scene, but this time a religous court.
    c) Fail to stop the wedding and find the vassal consumating the marriage on the altar. Queue all out bloody warfare in the area. Or maybe they can supress all records and correct memories or ...

Personally I'd lean towards 2 (B) as a balance of action and intrigue.

Having now played out our next session, an interesting solution arose: Lord Henry's men attempted and failed to abduct Lady Rosamund (really bad die rolls on my part as storyguide vs really good ones on the players part)... but suceeded in abducting her groom-to-be. Now her would-be husband is a hostage, officially of persons unknown, and the lady has missed her wedding day.

So... Henry is threatening to marry him? :open_mouth:

An unexpected turn of events, to be sure, and good help is hard to find - but what now, oh Story Guide? If H. wishes to remain "officially unknown", then it's going to be hard to make use of this hostage, neh?


I was thinking Henry might sell his hostage to a Welsh prince who has a grudge against said hostage (and who also happens to be Henry's brother-in-law). That gets our groom-to-be out of the picture, at least for a little while, which gives Henry some time to pursue other avenues... and gives my PCs a chance to go deal with the Welsh princes.

Nice! I like this turn of events. Well played. Back in the start line but with a slightly worse position for the players and more adventure hooks!


Rosamund excepted, didn't the otherwise childless Sir Lambert had any siblings either? At all?

If so, for the fair maiden and the Bishop, both, the already non negligible hurdle of Rosamund being a female heir would become even more significant. No matter she's the only surviving child of Sir Lamber - she's still a female heir- and no matter either how influent is the Bishop, as Sir Lambert's siblings or their own living descendants even, would have as much if not an even greater claim as Rosamund, per proximity of blood or primogeniture (respectively to "as much"/"even greater".). And if you consider this possibility, then you'd also have to find reasons enough to justify why those living descendants would have waited so long before claiming their rights. The fact that rosamund was a child when Sir Lambert died just added another not insignificant difficulty for the Bishop.

Not that I'm suggesting for making a delicate situation any more complicated, but since such multiple inheritance claims were actually quite frequent, so I'm just saying. :unamused: 8)

Well, as no siblings have come forward, I will hazard that there are none living to come forward. I suspect that if Sir Lambert had any siblings who might have been around to challenge Rosamund's claim... well, they too might have suffered riding accidents. :slight_smile:

Or their descendents (which was my point). Quite a "dedicated" Bishop. :laughing:

A perhaps odd question following this plotline... assuming that Henry finally gets the hint that Rosamund isn't going to marry him, or someone of his choosing and he isn't going to be able to out-bribe the bishop (at least not without going beyond the value of the manor) might he try to force/induce Rosamund/her husband into swearing fealty to him?

Rosamund's betrothed, Goddard, is a bachelor knight who owes fealty to the bishop. I know that a noble can owe fealty to multiple lords... could Goddard offer fealty to Henry while still keeping his position in the bishop's household? Henry doesn't get the manor directly, but he does get a vassal knight and at least nominally strengthens his (weakening) hold on his country/affinity so it's a partial win for him while still being a win for Rosamund, the bishop, the covenant and the goddess.