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 Post subject: Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 3:04 pm 
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Here’s a character I played a few years ago, in a campaign set in 5th century Europe. The system used was not TRoS, but I attempted the exercise to recreate him for use with it.

Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes


Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes

Prince Ricbert

Ricbert was born in 459 AD as the son and heir of the Jutish king Hunwald. At the age of barely seventeen, in 476 AD, he had led a force of three of his father’s ships south, into Frisia, to aid his father’s old friend and ally, the Frisian king Esulf against the encroaching Franks.

During Ricbert’s stay in Frisia, the Jutish king Ælle raided the homestead of his long-time enemy king Hunwald and burned Ricbert’s father and all his kin in the royal hall. Fearing a blood-feud, Ælle had also sent an assassin into Frisia to slay Ricbert, but this attempt was foiled.

Ricbert was honour-bound to avenge his kin and burning to do so, but he was equally bound to aid king Esulf against the Franks. In return for Ricbert’s continued support, Esulf pledged that he would one day aid him in his vengeance against Ælle.

In 477 AD, Esulf and Ricbert fought a great battle against the Franks under king Childerich – a battle they lost. Esulf fell, and so did Ricbert.

Dying, the brains oozing from his split skull, Ricbert lay on the battlefield, and he saw the valkyries descend and lead away the honourable dead, and he saw them hovering nearby, waiting for him to finally slip into death’s embrace. As one drew near and stooped over him, Ricbert’s delirious mind made her an offer – he promised to slay many men in combat and send them up as einherjar to Woden if only she let him live and allowed him to take his vengeance upon Ælle.

And thus a pact was made.

Ricbert’s skull mended and he lived, and he fled the battlefield once night fell. A scattered refugee among others, he made his way back to dead Esulf’s hall where the latter's young son Radbod did now rule as king. The survivors of his men, many gravely wounded, rejoined him there. While he waited for his men to recover, new word came from Jutland: Ælle had left his holdings there and led his people into the lands of the Britons, abandoned by the Roman Emperor; there, he intended to find a new home for his tribe and to carve out a new kingdom for himself.

It was already too late in the year to cross the wintry sea into Britain, but as soon as the spring came, Ricbert took one of his three ships, crewed them with what men he had left and set out for Britain. His other two ships he left in the keeping of Radbod, who provisioned and outfited him but was unable to give him any further aid afte rhis people had recently beed defeated by the Franks.

In early March 478 AD, Ricbert made secret landfall in what was to become Sussex, in a marshy inlet near the town of Noviomagus Reginorum. He has set foot in a land that German people from across the North Sea have raided for over a hundred years, and where every German warrior is considered an enemy and free game for killing. But it is a land divided, without central authority, where Britons cling to the ways of Rome and fight the Jutes, Angles and Saxons encroaching upon their land in ever shifting, uneasy alliances. In this world full of enemies, Ricbert has a shipload of Jutish veterans at his beck and call – and the valkyrie Sigrun, always hovering nearby invisibly.

Priority Picks:

Race: F.
Social Class: Difficult. In Jutland and among German people, Ricbert would be a minor king, landed nobility and thus A. But this campaign is going to be set in Britain during the beginnings of the Anglo-Saxon settlement, and every German, no matter what his rank, is considered an outlaw and an enemy, and thus F. I’d go for this if Ricbert hadn’t his band of retainers – as he has, even though they can't be replenished as easily as other benefits of social status, I’ll settle for the average of a D pick.
Attributes: A.
Skills: E.
Proficiencies: B.
Gifts & Flaws: C.

Character write-up:

ST: 6
AG: 6
TO: 6
EN: 5
HT: 5

WP: 6
Wit: 4
MA: 3
Soc: 3
Per: 3

Reflex: 5
Aim: 4
Knockdown: 6
Knockout: 9
Move: 8

Skills: Warrior 9 & Sailor 9. I modified the latter package to more closely fit the setting. Artillery, Heraldry (Flags) and Streetwise were discarded in favour of –1 to each of Navigation, Sailing and Boating.

Astronomy 10
Battle 8 (improved with MA)
Boating 6
Climbing 9
Etiquette (German) 8
First Aid 8
Gambling 9
Hunting 8
Intimidate 9
Leadership 9 (improved with MA)
Navigation 8
Sailing 8
Sneak 10
Speak Native Tongue (German, Jutish dialect) 7 (free)
Swimming 8
Tactics (Land) 9 (bought with MA)
Tactics (Sea) 10

Sword & Shield 7
Brawling 5 (bought up from default)

Minor Flaw: Troublemaker
Major Gift: Ally (Sigrun the valkyrie – see below)

Drive: Avenge his kin – 3
Faith: Germanic gods – 2
Passion: Love (Desire?) for Sigrun – 0
Conscience – 0
Destiny: To successfully resolve his vengeance – 2 (note that resolving does not necessarily equate exacting it)

Personality:

Ricbert is a young princeling – not a spoilt one, but still a young princeling, used to getting his way, very headstrong and allowing himself to be swept along by his great passions. He is a great and brave warrior, but he is not a great leader of men – he has not yet learned to see a larger picture and to look beyond his honour and beyond the obvious to the needs of those following him. Still, his generosity, valour, gregarious exuberance and unassuming manners have inspired loyalty and even love in his men – when he was a prince. Now that he is the king of is people, will being a great and noble warrior be enough?

Sigrun the Valkyrie:

Sigrun is a valkyrie, a minor goddess, and as such there are deliberately no stats for her. Referees should avoid the need to roll for any of her actions and if it’s unavoidable assign what dice seem right for such a being.

Sigrun’s unspoken deal with Ricbert is that she will keep him alive until he has exacted his vengeance and as long as he provides her with souls to send up to Woden. She does not aid him actively in pursuing his vengeance.

The most basic protection Sigrun gives Ricbert is protection in combat. If he asks her to, she stands invisbly by his side and blocks strikes against him with her shield. Her doing so is handled like a second defense roll against a large shield’s TN 5. This defense roll is made with dice equal to half Ricbert’s own total CP (including firing SAs) – the reason for Ricbert’s own pool being used in the calculation is that the protection offered is limited by Ricbert’s own movement. If he forgoes any action of his own and does nothing for an entire round but cower behind the shield the defense dice are equal to 150% his CP. This defense can be rolled any number of times per exchange, once aganst any attack from the same general direction. As Sigrun does stand to one side of Ricbert, she can protect him from attacks from this side and from either the front or the back in any given round. No hit will ever pierce or damage her shield.

Opponents who are blocked by Sigrun’s invisible shield will almost certainly notice that something is amiss, but not what.

She will also heal Ricbert’s wounds if she is asked to. Doing so requires her to become plainly visible and to touch her hands to the wound. This will immediately (within one round) stop the flow of blood from this wound, and the wound will be considered treated. Once all wounds have been treated in this way, Ricbert will get one standard healing roll, at +3 dice, for each of his wounds every few rounds; the span of rounds after which he is allowed to roll is equal to the number of not completely healed wounds he sports.

Ricbert does not yet know it, but Sigrun refuses to heal him completely. For some reason, she will always stop touching him one roll before he would likely be completely healed. If asked, she would tell him that wounds are a warrior’s mark.

Sigrun could potentially do a lot more things for Ricbert – she understands all native tongues of northern and western Europe, can fly, control the weather (particularly storms), become insubstantial, do great feats of strength, strike terror into the hearts of humans, speak with a voice loud as a thunderclap etc. But she will do nothing of the kind for Ricbert, unless failing to do so would invariably and directly lead to Ricbert’s death. If Ricbert is in a situation that means virtually certain death for him, he can try to call on Sigrun for aid, and it’s the referee’s call what she will do.

Sigrun will either stay near Ricbert or hover somewhere out of his sight, but nearby. To all but magical sight, she is practically invisible – there is but a slight distortion in the air, like the wavering of the vision caused by warm air, that can at times be seen. To Ricbert, she is plainly visible even while invisble, though she does at times shimmer and become momentarily semi-translucent. Her voice is equally audible only to Ricbert, unless she wishes otherwise – but she has to actually speak, she can neither read thoughts (unless those of the dying) nor project her own into other minds.

If she becomes visible, as she has to when healing Ricbert, she looks like a tall and beautiful shieldmaiden. There is no way how anybody who sees her could not immediately recognize her for a supernatural being; adherents of the Germanic faith will automatically recognize her as a valkyrie.

To get her to aid him, Ricbert must ask her to aloud, at at least conversational volume, and he must use her name in doing so. He need not specify what aid he wants, merely asking for unspecified aid is enough. Sigrun will appear at his call within 0 to 4 rounds (d6-2).

Every time she Sigrun aids Ricbert, he must slay a a man in combat and dedicate him to Woden. He must do so in the very same scene, or at the very next instance he meets any man. If he fails to do so, Sigrun will not aid him again for the remainder of the gaming session, no matter what.

Campaign notes:

With the aid of Sigrun Ricbert, who is already a great warrior without her, is nigh invincible. But her aid has a double snag. Even if Ricbert manages to keep her out of sight, her healing skills and her aid in combat are far from discreet and might well confer an eerie reputation upon Ricbert. And then he will sooner or later find him in a situation where he wil have to slay a friend or ally to keep his side of the bargain with Sigrun.

Of course, Ricbert’s own development could go into several directions. The interesting question is what he will have to sacrifice for his vengeance, and wether he will be willing to sacrifice that.

Ricbert on Weyrth:

Ricbert has been heavily tied in with the lands around the North Sea in the late 5th century, but he would work very well in a campaign set on Weyrth. All that’s needed are a few changes to the geographical names. The Jutes could be insular Savaxen, the Frisians Savaxen living on the coast of Stahl, the Franks who defeated king Eswulf could be Stahlnish and Angharad could be used for the sub-Roman Britain where Ælle is attempting to carve out his new kingdom.

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Last edited by Grettir on Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 9:48 pm 
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Ricbert is awesome. His backstory is so complete! There's plenty of material there for the referee to make your game an interesting one -- and interesting for the other players as well.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 7:26 am 
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Kind of you to say so, Ian; but I have to admit that I was pretty pleased with Ricbert myself.

In your short comment you’ve managed to bring up two points about character creation dear to me.

One one hand, I think that a character should be highly dynamic right from the outset, itching to go out and take the world by its balls, not to sit around idly in some tavern and wait to be hired into adventure; he should contain clear pointers for the referee what one wants to do with the character.

And then I think that it’s vital that a character has an entertainment potential also for the other players, who are after all investing a lot of their spare time into playing and have a right to be entertained. I try to ask myself wether I would like to watch a movie with the character in question as the leading men, and with Ricbert, the answer’s totally “yes” – who wouldn’t wanna see a flick about a brash young viking prince with a hot warrior-chick in tow kicking up s**t in sub-Roman Britain? :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:42 pm 
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I like Ricbert too! :) But I'm a bit confused in the rationale of the Faith SA, as I remember Ian once explaining at length how common upheld values make poor SAs. So, what's behind Ricbert's Faith? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 7:19 am 
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higgins wrote:
So, what's behind Ricbert's Faith?

When Ricbert lay dying on the battlefield, he actually saw that the precepts of his faith are all very true -- the gods, the valkyries, the afterlife, they all exist. This revelation has made it hard for Ricbert not believe very strongly. In fact, he does not believe, he knows.

But that's only the in-game rationale for his faith, the narrative reason for making it into a Faith SA is this:
He's got a minor goddess of the pantheon he firmly believes in in tow -- and she's a sexy babe and he kinda fancies her in a very irreligious way. Spotlighting the potential bomb of the interplay between carnal desire and reverence is the reason behind both the Passion and the Faith SAs.

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 Post subject: Re: Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 10:22 am 
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Is that a conflict? Do we know that it wasn't okay to bonk valkyries?


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 Post subject: Re: Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:43 pm 
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Certic wrote:
Is that a conflict? Do we know that it wasn't okay to bonk valkyries?

Ah, I guess bonking valkyries wasn't one hundred percent kosher for Dark Age Germans. Personally, though, I'm all for it. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:06 pm 
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I have added Ricbert's image to Grettir's initial post.

Enjoy!

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Ricbert, Prince of the Jutes
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:34 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
I have added Ricbert's image to Grettir's initial post.

Sweet, Ian, thanks a-plenty. :D

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