Bastard Options, Player Turn Over, and Help Me

So, in my saga, one player was married under suspicious circumstances to a knight who was leaving on Crusade.

After the knight leaves, literally the day after the wedding in Venice, the player character moves to her new husband's estate in Aquitaine, on the Dordogne. She meets a wizard, and discovers she has the Gift. She becomes his apprentice.

15 years later, she is secretly now a maga. Her husband returns, cursed after some misadventures in the Holy Land. Their marriage is somewhat forced, and the husband, disillusioned with the Divine after the Crusade, becomes an adulterer with a fae-blooded dancer/companion character.

13ish years pass.

The husband's player has gone through some real life travails, and no longer seems to have time for the game. He has not played in many many months - since last Spring - but he has not out and out declared he withdraws from the game. We're gearing up for a hectic fourth year, and I am about to tell him he needs to make a move and not leave us hanging.

TO THAT END... my assumption is he will need to be written out. This is no problem, but the real problem is the player of the lady wizard, his character's wife, had made herself a social intriguer, and part of our initial goal of this new season of the game was to expand the focus of the game from the covenant to the lands around it, as the husband had gone from being a knight to being a larger landholder, with 6 vassals.

Lords of Men seemed to be the book we needed at the right time, and this seemed a fun new approach to the game dealing with local intrigues among the nobility and the church, and gave the lady wizard a backdrop against which to act.

BUT... now the lord is gone, and I don't really want to play the character as an NPC.

So, it occurred to me that... given his adulterous relationship some 13-14 years prior, it might not be completely out of the question if he had a son by way of the satyr-blooded gypsy dancer companion he had found comfort with.

Admittedly, a bastard son. One of the very dedicated new players seems interested in this possibility.
What I'm wondering is if there is, historically, any way by which a bastard son might take up his father's lands. I'm unsure how this might interface with the lady wizard, but it might keep things roughly "in the family", though with a reminder of her husband's infidelity.

Current plan is:
Husband reported dead.
Bastard son perhaps under a different guise enters the covenant.
Lady's claim on lands threatened?
Bastard son impresses someone important, becomes Lord. Lady Wizard and Son must work out uneasy relationship.

I submit to you, lord and ladies... is this vaguely possible?



Bastards have inherited titles before. Those cases usually involved a bastard with noble family on both sides though, or the father acknowledging said bastard and designating him as his heir with his liege agreeing to that. I'd say after those things have happened the father and son could go out on a hunting trip where there's an "accident."
There's the issue of age, though. IIRC age of majority for receiving the full powers of the title is 21. He will have to have a regent. Perhaps one who can be manipulated easily?

IIRC, around this point in history, a son is a son is a son, regardless of the mother.
There is some regional variance, but (again IIRC) one king of this country was "born of the royal bone" (almost direct translation).
He was not the son of the queen. But the King had called him 'son' and that was all the nobles needed.

So, if the bastard can convince his fathers vassals and/or Liege that he's the obvious choce, he's in.

Another option, albeit a simpler one, is the lord is dead and the lady, as his widow, becomes ward of his leige and steward of his lands. The leige, naturally, will be trying to find a suitable ally to marry her off to as a way of passing the land to another loyal vasssal. The lady, as a great intriguer and politician now has the added challenges of plots related to her propsective future husbands.

Check out Widows Portion and Stewardship on page 28 and 29 of Lords of Men.

Ooooh, LuciusT... this may be the best thing I've read today...



As fun as a widow with lots of temporary power and lots of potential husbands is there is no reason to rule out the bastard either. The plots work wonderfully together. If the bastard can get recognition, that might be a "way out" for his mother as she could be his guardian until he comes of age. With all the wonderful conflicts that come with temporary power (as above) and several pretenders to the power (both the bastard and the suitors) and the fun of temporary solutions (accepting the son now and being "safe" for 7 years, and then the fun starts again.

And you could always (try to) marry the son off to a strong wife who agrees with the lady.

When it comes to court intrigue I have always found that the more plots the merrier :slight_smile:

a strong wife who agrees with her mother-in-law?!?

EDIT: also, isn't that the second trumpet of Revalations?

I thought it was the second rider of the apocalypse.



The answer to the first question is however irrelevant because the widow would be the one to inherit(more or less completely depending on time and place).
Mmm i see LuciusT has already said it better. Although i´m not sure if the widow becomes a ward of the liege or takes over the position of retainer(i thought it would be the position passing over, but i may be mixing up time/place).

Sometimes in a situation like this, relatives of either the widow or the deceased might argue their right to take over, since the widow is around that should generally be a "fail by default" but politics can override law at times.

Hm, as I mull over various approaches to this bit of interpersonal drama...

If the bastard inherited or otherwise was granted some of his dead father's lands, while the widow received a small portion of this larger grant to see to her needs, would the widow be of interest in terms of marriage to anyone?

According to LoM, the widow traditionally gains 1/3 of her husbands lands. In this case, if I understand your original post corectly, that's at least two manors. Any knight or other landless noble would be happy to get his hands on those lands. In fact, her pool of potential suitors might be increased in this case, since there are probably far more landless knights deemed worthy of a small estate then have the clout to win a larger one.

Reading Marc Bloch a bit he said it was very important who managed actually the land. If the widow act as a landowner she has more rights. The bastard must prove he is the son of the knight. Even some enemies of the maga may give proof of it for example. And a solution might be if the maga marries another knight and the liege doesn't care the bastard anymore. I think the lord would have even a candidate for the widow. :wink:

But I don't get why that much worry. A well placed boaf can solve the bastard problem and Mentem every law cases. Mundanes cannot be real enemies of magi after 5-10 years out of gauntlet.

Well, this will be an interesting test of the lady wizard.
In some noble circles, she is known as a wizard. The King of France, or at least two of the claimants to that title, know she is a wizard who married a knight.

The lady wizard has at Tribunal advocated for increased interaction between nobles and wizards, and a relaxing of the Code in these areas. She has gone so far as to write a tractatus on this subject, and distribute it to interested magi.

So, it'll be interesting to see if she faces her mundane issues with a ball of abysmal flame or Rego Mentem magic - the current storyline deals with a cabal of wizards attempting to overthrown the nobility with a Merovingian sorcerer-king, and our lady wizard is fighting against that cabal and trying to maintain the status quo. If she stoops to magical enforcement of her will amongst the nobility she wants to live among, she's not really that far from the cabal she is currently facing.

It'll be interesting, either way it falls out.

Why doesn't the ex-wife marry the bastard? They are not related by blood, after all. Both would gain from the relationship, even if there is bound to be a problems later on if the maga has already taken her longevity potion (likely). But well they can always sire a new bastard to inherit :slight_smile:

The solution pretty much depends on how big a problem you want this to be. It can be from a hateful bastard, and the covenant happens to be in one of his manors, not pone of the manors of the maga, or it can be a friendly bastard that agrees to marry the maga and live happily ever after until twilight parts them. Or anything in between. :slight_smile:


Actually, if I remember my Hamlet and my Henry VIII, they would still be considered kin. At least, a widow marrying her late husbands brother was considered to be committing incest. Following the logic out, I expect marrying your late husbands bastard son would also be incest.

The bastard is currently being eyed as a companion character for a new player. He'll be quite young, based on the timeline of the game and when he must have been conceived - probably 16 or so when he enters the game.

Marriageable age, then, no? Nice point about Shakespeare :slight_smile:


The bastard has chance to inherit anything only if he has powerful supporters.
It is interesting to know he is a pc therefore it would be a pc vs pc conflict.

And there is something yet. I would marry the widow do a knight who has immunity to mentem spells. :wink:
I typical knight who doesn't like magi much and sees his interests at first. They would be in trouble if the lands supported the covenant so far. Maybe they must offer some magical things. A lot of things actually for a lot of support. Magical things what he might heard in legends. And the knight doesn't let his wife just travel when she would like it. Etc. 8)

The PC is the bastard son of a previous companion (the cursed husband/knight of the Lady Wizard), conceived after the group escaped from a high-level Infernal Regio (Hell itself, or it's doorstep, as far as the covenant was concerned) in order to rescue the kidnapped mother-to-be of the bastard, a gypsy with entrancing dance and fae blood who the knight was enamored with.

The group escaped and recuperated on Mont. St. Michel, and there adultery happened.

Fast forward a decade and a half, and the bastard is raised in a monastery. He is likely an attached to Louis IX, who is currently trying to win back his crown in the face of magical civil war and missing Oil of Consecration.

The Bastard has a chance to be smiled upon by the future King Louis, assuming the magi, who hold the future of France in their hands, continue to back him.