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Help with Nobles

 
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CastleInspector
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:13 am    Post subject: Help with Nobles Reply with quote

Looking for some suggestions or help.

I'm writing up some capaign background for my City of Irongate campaign. The article in Dragon, the Irongate Project website, and the canon material are great but have left a few holes.

One of them describes the Irongate city council as having members from some of the noble families from Irongate.

In a magical medieval world, what title description go along with noble ranks? The rank of knight meant something in the real world - how does it apply to a wizard?

How does a Free City like Irongate hand out titles? If a wizard who provided great service to the city was made a noble, would they become a lord, a knight, something else?

The closest I can get to is they pass out noble titles allowing this person to call themself Lord or Lady. It might come with a slice of land if they are lucky.

I know of some Lords from canon material, but I think most of the knights/sirs are actual knights?

What suggestions do you have for how to describe nobles?

If a noble was given title over say a small village, do you think that noble would have to provide soldiers to look after the land or would Irongate provide troops to do that?
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:09 am    Post subject: Re: Help with Nobles Reply with quote

Lets, slice up my response abit to your query.
CastleInspector wrote:
Looking for some suggestions or help.
I'm writing up some capaign background for my City of Irongate campaign. The article in Dragon, the Irongate Project website, and the canon material are great but have left a few holes.
One of them describes the Irongate city council as having members from some of the noble families from Irongate.

For Irongate specifics, I would (as you already have) seek out IG Project, The LGG (living Greyhawk Gazetteer) Pages 55-58, A guide to the World of Greyhawk (was in the GH Setting boxed set) pages 26 &27 for IG and for general titles of nobles p80
CastleInspector wrote:

In a magical medieval world, what title description go along with noble ranks? The rank of knight meant something in the real world - how does it apply to a wizard?

For wizards, IMC Name and notoriety Are usually enough. If you want a bit more you might visit this article and structure something from it
http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=getit&lid=143
Further, on knights it may depend on the level of detail around orders you want to establish. IMC, Most Knights are members of Orders, the qualifiers can be different depending on the Order (ie alignment, deity, noble birth, or even gender) Cebrion wrote several articles on GH Orders.
CastleInspector wrote:

How does a Free City like Irongate hand out titles? If a wizard who provided great service to the city was made a noble, would they become a lord, a knight, something else?
As IG is overseen by a Lord High Mayor and has histories attached to the Houses of Rax and the Malacite Throne, as well as interaction with Onnwal, Idee, Sunndi, and Others as they have often shared council since departing the Great Kingdom, I would say these "awards" would certainly carry political undertones.

CastleInspector wrote:

The closest I can get to is they pass out noble titles allowing this person to call themself Lord or Lady. It might come with a slice of land if they are lucky.
I know of some Lords from canon material, but I think most of the knights/sirs are actual knights?
What suggestions do you have for how to describe nobles?

Again I would defer to p80 as note before. It is a good starting point for the formal addressing of nobles of title. Also, Not long ago Someone posted a "players starting guide to the WOG" that had something similar (and other great game starts.) I'll see if I can find the link.
See this link for more title structure.
http://getasword.com/blog/300-nobility-titles-and-ranks-in-medieval-europe/
CastleInspector wrote:

If a noble was given title over say a small village, do you think that noble would have to provide soldiers to look after the land or would Irongate provide troops to do that?

Again, Depends on your campaign, how closely you structure to canon, etc. With that said, Generally Nobles had Serfs to tend to lands, if the sold the land the serfs were an "upgrade" of sorts to the land. They had either minor Nobles, Vassals, Baronets that were responsible to train the populace against invaders, collect taxes, enforce the lords will, etc. and the more skilled were dubbed counselors, chamberlains, etc. The lord or ruler would expect the noble to maintain daily order and control of their assigned "fief", in times of upheaval and war, the Crown would expect fealty and would in return come to the aid of the locals.
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Flint
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with Dark Lord on all of the above. Generally, as in history, I would have noble titles either come with land or with the ability to extract tolls / taxes from some part of the realm. Without this, nobility is no real reward and it needs to be something the ruler can dangle in front of potential allies as a possible reward.

I would have thought in Irongate that noble titles that grant the holder title to mines (or the ability to tax them) and the ability to tax ships landing at Northanchor (Warden of the Port or some such) should be added into the mix of typical land holding nobles.

How you deal with clerics and their holdings is another issue altogether but historically senior priests were major landholders in their own right.
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flint wrote:

How you deal with clerics and their holdings is another issue altogether but historically senior priests were major landholders in their own right.

As Flint has already hinted at.... Lords of differing realms are often petitioned by church representatives for land, resources, labor resources, in exchange for "salvation".... hehehe
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smillan_31
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good previous answers, although my view is knights are more of a title awarded by the state that brings with it certain obligations -- mainly to fight for the state -- than anything having to do with a particular character class. While a wizard or other arcane spellcaster would be somewhat unusual to be granted a knighthood to, IMC adventuring wizards would be unusual anyway. An adventuring wizard granted a knighthood would be obligated to fight for the state and at higher ranks of knighthood be obligated to raise a certain number of fighting men in times of war. IMC most knights are not members of orders, but also most members of the gentry are content with being squires, as many don't want to be under the financial aspects a knightly obligation would entail. I wouldn't be above having orders of wizardly knights though under the factors mentioned above they would be pretty rare. Someone mentioned something like this in another thread recently.
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

smillan_31 wrote:
Good previous answers, although my view is knights are more of a title awarded by the state that brings with it certain obligations -- mainly to fight for the state -- than anything having to do with a particular character class.

Agreed, many tend to confuse Knight and Paladin as interchangeable... IMC they are not... A Paladin can be a Knight, but so can a Fighter, Cleric or even a Non-combatant NPC that just "purchased" his way to ascension. But (again IMC) not all Knights can be Paladins.
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:21 am    Post subject: Re: Help with Nobles Reply with quote

Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:
Also, Not long ago Someone posted a "players starting guide to the WOG" that had something similar (and other great game starts.) I'll see if I can find the link.

Just Following up as promised.
http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=4520
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Armitage
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

smillan_31 wrote:
my view is knights are more of a title awarded by the state that brings with it certain obligations -- mainly to fight for the state -- than anything having to do with a particular character class. While a wizard or other arcane spellcaster would be somewhat unusual to be granted a knighthood to, IMC adventuring wizards would be unusual anyway.


In The Temple of Elemental Evil, if the PCs save Thrommel, at a later reward ceremony "each character is knighted (if a fighter) or made an elder of the land (for all other classes)."
Checking The Marklands, being an elder of the land might make you part of the Knightly Conclave below the king and the Noble Council, alongside knights and influential guildmasters, artisans, and priests.

Other kingdoms may have similar titles comparable to knighthood in terms of privileges, but without the necessity of military service.
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In ToEE, the awarding of the titles "knight" and "elder" are honorifics. The PCs are "heroes", not suddenly then hobnobbing with longstanding political figures and sitting on high councils and whatnot. The Knightly Conclave is going to made up of powerful knights who hold land and can afford to arm and offer fighting men in service to their lord, not any poor schmuck lucky enough to have a hereditary title but that oversees no land or has no warriors in his service.

"Sir" and "elder" are terms of respect, unless a DM chooses to very purposely make them mean something more. However, even such a thing as a knightly honorific assumes the responsibility for defending the land/ruler, but it is likewise understood that this would only be required of such a knight in the most dire of circumstances. Such an honorific title does not bear the full weight of feudal responsibility as does being an actual knight of a knightly order or a knight in direct service to a lord, but the title bearer would be required (or at the least be greatly encouraged) to behave in a manner befitting their given title so as not to be an embarrassment to the one bestowing it.
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CastleInspector
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks - as usual some pretty solid responses.

I'm pretty familiar with medieval history, but the fantastic nature of DnD makes it slightly harder to assign some noble titles.

To help be more specific at what I'm after:

If the text says 'several old noble families' and I try to create NPCs who are part of those families, what marks them as nobles.

In history they might get a 'Sir' of 'Lord' in front of their name. So you knew you where talking with a noble (say as opposed to a rich person) because they were introduced with a title. Such as 'Sir Richard of Quarth' or 'Lord Blackadder'.

If you wizard is just called 'Bill', then he is made a noble there must be a title to mark him as a a noble so people know they are talking to nobility. eg. 'Sir Bill', Lord Bill, or if not a prefix 'Bill, Warden of North Anchor'.

So when you read Greyhawk Canon and it refers to a group of minor nobles, what kind of nobles are they? Obviously this varies by nation, culture etc. Just wondering for those of you who know the history of the splintered suns / Irongate area, what would you suggest?

At the moment the best I've got is if you become a noble, you are entitled to the prefix Lord. It works for all character classes. Any other suggestions?
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Irongate was not always a free city, certain noble families will have had much influence in the city since those past days. The families that would retain their noble status would likely be those who supported Irongate's bid to become free of the Great Kingdom. Those who did not support that conclusion were likely cast out or killed, and their lands seized.

My take on it would be that the noble families who were loyal to (and supported) the succession of Irongate from the rule of the Ivids would have gained much clout in doing so, as they had the most to lose. Besides, a newly free city would need such leaders to guide it at such an important time, and surely those supporting noble families stepped up and did their part. Accordingly, those families still hold on to their noble status in the free city of Irongate and its environs, and are likely well respected for their contributions to the effort to make (and keep) Irongate a free city. They likely all contribute to the city's defense in major ways. One more bit- as these nobles supported the Rax line, it is more than likely that such families owed much to the House of Rax; many even perhaps having been enobled by Rax rulers, or at the very least having received much support from them, such as appointments to rule over Irongate and/or the surrounding area.

Similar things could be said of most noble families living in/near the free cities of Greyhawk and Rel Astra as well, as they were once a part of some greater land.
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Last edited by Cebrion on Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:27 am; edited 2 times in total
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smillan_31
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can be as complicated or simple as you want it to be. In my Sterich campaign "lord" refers to anyone holding a fief directly for the sovereign (the Marquess or Marchioness). Some of these people are of the rank of baron, some are knights banneret (a knight who is commissioned to lead a group of knights or esquires). IMC if you're a baron you're addressed as "Baron Blackadder", if a knight banneret who holds a fief for the sovereign, as "Lord Blackadder" although it's permissible to address a baron as "my lord." Below these can be other knights banneret, knights bachelor (knighted by the sovereign), knights (knighted by a knight or baron) and esquires who might hold part of a fief for their lord instead of directly for the sovereign. They retain their regular titles, respectively - "right honorable sir", "worthy sir", "sir" and "squire" although if they govern a castle they can use the title "castellan" which conveys a little more status than another person of equal rank holding a village or other piece of land. In addition there are knights commander (like the knight banneret although commissioned by an independent knightly order) and knights companion (who are members of a knightly order under the command of the soverign). And no, I do not like to make things complicated Razz
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CastleInspector
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

smillan and Cebrion - thanks. Both answers really helped.

I wasn't aware of the link to House Rax. Is that link in established canon somewhere? I haven't come across it.
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CastleInspector wrote:

I wasn't aware of the link to House Rax. Is that link in established canon somewhere? I haven't come across it.

http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Irongate
http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Turmoil_Between_Crowns
Explains some of the history and the researched canon ties.
In short they supported the house of Rax over the house of Naelax during the civil war.
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