Soldiers' Social Status Question

I am currently creating some NPCs for a game I am running. I have noticed that there are no social virtues or flaws that can be used for a professional soldier that is not a noble.

My understanding is that you need to have one social virtue or flaw during character creation so I was wondering what to do.

Any advice?

Thanks in advance.

I'd suggest Custos (if working for some group at present) or Wanderer+Warrior (for a jobless mercenary) or of course Outlaw (if he's a bit of a lowlife).

Create a virtue for it i would say. It looks like a "whoopsie", and considering this is the first time i seen anyone comment on it, it doesnt seem easy to notice either...
Good catch.

There was hardly any such group of people in medieval Europe. Apart from knights, feudal tenants were obligated to provide a certain period of each year as military service to their overlords and the rest of the time they worked in the fields and villages doing their everyday jobs. There were also mercenaries, who could of course be counted as professional soldiers, but that's not really the same thing as being members of regular standing armies. Having said that, though, there were men-at-arms in the retinues of knights and lords, usually well-trained and equipped. I'm not sure if that would actually be a full-time job for them, but in any case it sounds like a new Social Status Virtue or Flaw would be appropriate, perhaps one that only NPCs can have.

"Man-at-Arms" sounds like a good name to me, and personally I'd make it a Free Virtue or even a Flaw because of the obligation to obey a feudal superior, probably another NPC, but entitle the character to take Martial Abilities. I don't think I'd make it a Minor Virtue, because "Knight" and "Mercenary Captain" are also Minor Virtues and they confer a lot more benefits. So of course is "Custos," but that generally implies being under the command of PC magi rather than some NPC baron in a big castle somewhere.

But what kind of purpose do you want the soldiers to serve in the story?

I think you are right, that the Virtue soldier is missing as there is not really any such thing as professional soldiers in Mythic Europe. Nonetheless there is no harm having them in a saga if you want.

IIRC the Custos Virtue explicitly notes that it applies to the full-time employees of any institution (say a monastery, cathedral or castle) as well as to those of a covenant.

I'd just give the soldiers the Custos and/or Warrior virtues. Warrior. is a general, so you can combine it with Custos.

You're quite right of course, I wasn't looking at the rulebook while I was posting this... (serf's parma). Still, for Custos to have the same Virtue cost as Knight really doesn't seem right to me.

Strictly speaking it wouldn't be necessary as Custos gives access to restricted Abilities, but for elite troops it's a good idea to add the Warrior Virtue as well. Hrm, reminds me of another reason to downgrade the Custos Virtue somehow - "Warriors" get Martial Abilities and 50 extra xp. "Custos" just get the Martial Abilities and maybe a bit of extra status (which probably means nothing outside a covenant anyway).

IMS custos is a free virtue. The benefits of the virtue as per the rulebook do nopt justify the cost.

The other way around this problem would to award the same benefits as warrior AND the socioal standing. or give them a +1 to aging rolls because they are better fed et al than regular covenfolk.

Different solutions to what percveive as a problem, but all require HR :slight_smile: We opted for the +0 cost.


That's a common misperception. It entirely depends on where you are. Byzantium had a standing Army. And mercenaries do count as soldiers. They are just paid soldiers, kind of like our modern military. They were professionals, not cut throats.

In Spain (Iberia), there were many commoner troops. The Caballero class wre peasent knights, Christian mercenaries fought for the Moors and Moslem soldiers fought alongside Christians. These were free men fighting for a wage, but they were also very professional (Profession-Soldier :slight_smile: )

Disagree. There is just about no such thing as standing armies (with a few exceptions)at this time, mercenary units are commonly and in many places the ONLY ones you might truly count as professional soldiers.

For some in the employ of each "lord" yes it would be fulltime.

But then what if the person does NOT have any obligations?

There IS the mercenary captain virtue, but to create "his" minions, which virtue is proper then? Making that a flaw would be not so good i think.

Soldier or Man-at-arms, free social status virtue that gives access to martial abilities perhaps?
But also available as a minor flaw if under obligation to a superior they cannot leave without problems...

"Not many" isnt the same as "doesnt exist"!
And the better mercenary units should certainly be considered professional soldiers.

In think there must be quite a few profesional soldiers aroubnd. Castles were garrisoned by a few dudes, after all, and brutes were in the entourages of sheriffs and other kingdom officials even if they were low ranking nobility. hell, even low ranking nobility tended to have a few men at arms under their employment.

Mercs would also count, regardless of them being top notvch or quite a rabble; they will simply differ in their level of skill and personality traits.

So yes, a man at arms +0 virtue seems about right here. They are like covenfolk or craftsmen, just that instead of crafting stuff they specialize in chopping stuff up, preferably the enemies of their employer.



I think I agree with Aurelius and Xavi's approach.

The NPCs I am creating would be the standing soldiers of a minor landed noble. They will fit the roles of guardians in the manor, watchers in the market or simpy the soldiers he trains to fight in an organized way. I do not see them as neither being mercenary nor peasants.

I disagree with the use of Custos as I interpret the custos as having an special status (e.g. the sargeant of the soldiers) but not for a low standing soldier.

In the case of Warrior, this was my initial idea but then I realized it is a General Virtue, not a Social one (at least according to the 5th ed)

In my opinion his problem can be solved without any house rule.

  • Warrior (general virtue) + Peasant (free social virtue) = common soldier (a.k.a. cannonfodder) he might even have abilities like profession: farming
  • Warrior (general virtue) + Custos (minor social virtue) = trusted friend of a noble, probably entrusted with the training and leadership of the other soldiers.
  • Warrior (general virtue) + Knight (minor social virtue) = any knight who has enough money to pay for superior armoury.
    The difference between a knight and a Custos is a matter of style. Both virtues qualify being a minor one in my opinion.