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D20 Result Gift
01–05 Pretty (+10 APP)
06–10 Natural healer (+5 First Aid and +5 Chirurgery)
11–15 Good with animals (+5 Falconry and +5 Ride)
16–17 Beautiful voice (+5 Orate and +5 Sing)
18 Nimble fi ngers (+10 Industry)
19–20 Caretaker (+10 Stewardship)
Women may add up to 5 years’ experience before the start of play, in precisely the same manner as men. Note that women tend to be married at a much younger age than men, so a woman who is older than 21 and not yet betrothed might be regarded as a spinster or, even worse, a shrew!
Women’s starting Glory is the same as for men:
COAT OF ARMS
Heiresses, as long as they are unmarried, bear their family arms on a lozenge rather than a shield. Note that the 1
Woman’s Character sheet has a shield on its back. This is because her arms is impaled with her husband’s upon marriage, and should be drawn there.
Instead of a squire, a lady normally has a lady-in-waiting.
In conjunction with the Gamemaster, give this servant a name, age, and skills as appropriate.
Women’s minimal equipment includes personal sewing instruments, a decent wardrobe appropriate to her station, some simple jewelry, toilet articles, and a chest to keep it all in.
Your campaign may have room in it for female knights, for while highly unusual, such women are not entirely unprecedented. In medieval France, two words were used to designate women in chivalry: chevalière and chevaleresse. The first was the term used to designate the wife of a knight. The second was used in special cases “when some male fiefs were conceded by special privilage [sic] to women” (Menestrier, a 17th-C. writer on chivalry). Menestrier does not state that the chevaleresse was a fighting women per se, but it certainly presents the option to allow for such a character in game.
In all the literature of King Arthur, no women knights or fighters appear. Keep in mind, however, the fact that the troubadours, minstrels, and balladeers of that period were generally successful because they represented the status quo, and fighting women simply were not contained within the image of society they were expected to convey. Yet consider that some significant historical examples of “fighting women” are known to have been roughly contemporary with early Arthurian literature.
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Sigelgaita:A Lombard princess and wife of Robert Guiscard, the Norman adventurer who founded the Kingdom of Sicily. She dressed in armor and bore weapons like a man during her husband’s many campaigns. She drew praise from her male European contemporaries, although Anna Comnena, historian and daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine, was much less gracious, calling Sigelgaita “a monster, hateful to her kind.”
Eleanor of Aquitaine:Early in her life, Eleanor was the Queen of France. She accompanied her husband on crusade, dressing herself and her ladies in armor and riding with the army instead of accompanying the baggage. Unlike Sigelgaita’s case, this behavior appears to have outraged her contemporaries. No record exists of Eleanor and her fellow women having ever engaged in combat.
Duchess Constance of Brittany:When her husband was captured and their land was attacked, the Duchess donned armor to rally the men of the city of Hennedont. She urged the local women to cut short their skirts to make it easier for them to carry rocks and pitch to the ramparts to help in the defense. During a pause in the fighting, she led a body of men out of a secret gate on a surprise attack that destroyed half the enemy camp, defeating the siege. Later, she bore a sword during a desperate sea battle, and continued to lead her people’s resistance against the French heroically.
Constance’s husband escaped his prison and returned to her, but died shortly afterwards. She continued the struggle to protect the family rights of her young son. Constance finally went mad and was confined to a castle for another thirty years. Undoubtedly, some of her contemporaries thought this was a natural result of her unladylike activities.
Joan of Arc:This heroine comes near the end of the feudal era, far too late to influence the Arthurian literature. Nonetheless, she offers a wonderful historical precedent of the female warrior archetype. A peasant girl inspired by angelic voices, she worked her way through ordeals and tests to find the heir to the French throne, inspire him and his army, and then lead them to drive the English out of France. Her efforts were incredibly successful, to the delight of the French king and the despair of the English.
However, the French noble class was appalled at Joan’s behavior. She was of common origin and dressed like a man, bore arms, and led an army into battle. She was wounded twice in combat. She was eventually captured by the Burgundians.
They sold her to the English, who trumped up outrageous charges of heresy and witchcraft, and then burned her at the stake. A few years later a papal inquiry cleared her of the charges, and in 1920 she was canonized as a French saint.
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