Home of Salisbury
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Starting characters are, by default, natives of Salisbury, a county in Logres, the most important kingdom in Britain. Consider the information in this section to be what your character would learn just by growing up at the court of Salisbury. Remember that no accurate maps are available.
Note that your character does not know this quantity and quality of information about other regions, and also remember that if you have a character from another region, he won’t know this much about Salisbury, either. This ability to separate personal knowledge from character knowledge is one of the marks of good roleplaying. This section, like the rest of this book, assumes that your campaign begins during the latter portion of Uther Pendragon’s reign. During Arthur’s reign, things will be very different.
County of Salisbury
Salisbury is one of the most interesting places in Arthurian legend. It is one of the most densely populated areas. Many of the great events are going to occur here — the Battle of Badon, which will establish Arthur as king of Logres, for example; and the final Battle of Camlann, which concludes the campaign.
Many interesting places are here, as well, such as Stonehenge, the most famous of the ancient monuments; and Amesbury Abbey, to which Arthur’s mother will retire early in the campaign and to which Queen Guenever will retire near its end. Many interesting landmarks are nearby, especially the dozens of prehistoric mounds, stone circles, and the unusual White Horse. Camelot, the future capital city, is also nearby.
Salisbury is thus a good place to start.
Salisbury County, proper, consists of all the holdings of the Earl of Salisbury. This fief consists primarily of the city of Sarum and the large land area on Salisbury Plain around it. The fief is composed of good farmland and provides other good forms of income for the earl — fisheries, taxes on merchants, and tolls from the bridges.
The county includes one large city, Sarum, which is described in detail below, three smaller walled cities (Wilton, Warminster, and Tilshead), and dozens of much smaller towns and villages that are not shown on the maps, but which are generally clustered in the river valleys around the cities. It has six castles. The one in Sarum is very strong, and is also behind the city walls; the other five (Devizes, DuPlain, Ebble, Vagon, and Woodhouse) are common motte-and-bailey castles. Note that Amesbury Abbey is not part of the county, but is held by the Church.
Several towns and cities are cited in this description as “local markets.” This means that the local farmers bring their excess grain and livestock there to sell, and also go there to buy goods or produce that they do not make or grow. Sarum, however, is the central market and is the only place at which some types of goods are available for purchase. These include good cloth, clean salt, and anything from outside of the county.
The roads shown on the maps are nearly all hard-packed dirt roads, the best travel routes available. Thus, there is no real road from Tilshead to Warminster, even though they are but 10 miles apart. Rather, rutted tracks and hunters’ trails connect these. The good roads are more heavily traveled, and the only ones used by travelers passing through the territory. The poor roads are less used, mainly by locals traveling within the region.
The Old Tracks have been known since the Bronze Age, and traverse high ground. Though they are usually dry, they are difficult for horses, which are reduced to traveling a mere 5 miles per day; hence, mainly peasants on foot use them.
The King’s Road runs through the territory from Levocamagus to Sarum, and then onward toward Dorchester. This used to be a Roman road, and is both wide and paved,
though overgrown at the edges and with many tufts of grass cracked through its surface.
The City of Sarum
Sarum is your home base, sitting upon a steep, wind-swept mound amidst the rolling Salisbury Plain. Educated, Latin-speaking persons call this city Sorviodunum. Its old Cymric name is Caer Caradoc.
Sarum was first settled centuries ago during the time before iron was used, in the days when people still worshipped the sun at Stonehenge. A series of concentric rings surround the city: a massive ditch on the outside, then a huge rampart, then another large ditch, and another rampart.
A great curtain wall perches on the inner rampart and over- looks the inner ditch. The wall is 12 feet thick and 40 feet high. Battlements give it's top a serrated shape, made by merlons (the upright stone) and crenellations (the breaks or indentations be- tween the merlons).
Two gates, to the east and west, pierce the walls. They are defended by towered gateworks, each with its huge iron-rein-forced portcullis, murder holes, and drawbridges. As with all cities, these are closed at night and normally admit no one.
In the center of the city is a great motte, or artificial mound, upon which sits the large castle of the earl. Four ditch-and-ram- part spokes radiate from the castle almost to the outer wall, and divide the city into quarters. The northwestern quarter is given over to the magnificent cathedral and church buildings, a part of the fief of the Bishop of Salisbury. It is occupied by churchmen and the bishop’s retinue. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Mary, the Mother of God.
The city occupies the rest, and it serves as the outer bailey for the castle. It is large and relatively rich. It serves as the trading center for the entire county and the earl receives rich revenues from its taxes, part of which goes to the king. A royal mint here stamps out silver pennies that show King Uther’s image on one side and the name of mint and minter on the other. The earl receives no income from this source.
Salisbury Castle, also called Sarum, is a modern (i.e., in the Arthurian era) stone castle. It sits upon a great motte in the center of the city and is the main seat for your lord, the Earl of Salisbury.
Curtain walls lined with pillars are 8 feet thick and 20 feet tall surround the inner bailey, which is roughly about 300 feet in diameter. Within this bailey are the earl’s domestic buildings, including the bakery by the east gates. The castle well is in the center of this bailey.
Sarum Castle has two towers. Two regular gates and one postern gate pierce the wall. The gates have defensive towers and drawbridges that cross the ditch surrounding the motte. The east tower protects the postern gate, which goes through it. The south tower is large and stands attached only to the wall, while the northern tower is attached to the keep.
The keep, or donjon, is the center of domestic and administrative activities. Four other rectangular, two-story buildings, all surmounted by battlements, surround a central courtyard that is paved with crushed chalk to cast more light within its enclosure.
The keep can be entered only by ascending a staircase and crossing over a wooden drawbridge on the second floor. The ground floor is used mainly to store food and supplies.
The private chambers of the earl, his family, and the county officers occupy the eastern and northern buildings.
The north tower, situated along the wall, is connected to the keep.
The western building holds the great, high-ceilinged hall where the earl meets his petitioners and otherwise holds court. Here most of the household knights sleep at night.
The south building contains the kitchen and chapel and above it more private chambers for county and castle officers, and guests.
The Great Hall
When your character stays with his lord, Earl Roderick, he does not have a private chamber. Instead, like most people in the castle, he sleeps at night in the same place where he works in the daytime. Thus, cooks sleep in the kitchen, bakers in the pantry, and grooms in the stable. As a knight, your character sleeps in the great hall. This is also the permanent home of the earl’s household knights. They each have a large chest here to store personal possessions.
By day, the great hall is the lord’s courtroom. The floor is cleared of furniture except for the lord’s high chair, which remains upon the raised dais at the far end of the room. In the evening, trestle tables and benches are brought out for the evening meal. At night, the tables and benches serve as beds, or people sleeping on the floor.
Several other regions of Logres surround Salisbury. These are detailed in the descriptions below and include Silchester to the east; Hampshire, southeast; Dorset, far south, across dense and inhospitable forests; an independent kingdom of Somerset, westward; Clarence, north and northwest; and Marlborough, a barony to the north.
These are the most important people in your character’s home, the County of Salisbury. Few except Earl Roderick and Bishop Roger are well-known outside Salisbury.
Since your character is personally acquainted with these people, their Glory numbers and, for the ladies, Appearance Attributes and holdings, are given here.
The Earl and Family
These are important people, for to them you owe both loyalty and fealty. Your entire future lies in obeying Sir Roderick, for he is the lord who will knight you, and your entire job is to protect him and his lands and to obey him.
Earl Roderick (Glory 8,840): The Earl of Salisbury, Roderick is a warrior famed for his prowess, having fought un- der King Uther against the Saxons to the east. He is noted for his deadly feud with Sir Blains, the Steward of Levcomagus, for whom he holds a deep grudge (Suspicious +6) because they were both suitors of Lady Ellen many years ago.
The Earl’s arms are blue and gold (yellow) horizontal stripes.
Countess Ellen (Glory 2,147; APP 14): Countess Ellen is the daughter of the Earl of Silchester. Her dowry was comprised of several manors that lie on the road between Levcomagus and Mildenhall, for which she was much sought after by many wealthy and influential people, including Sir Blains, Steward of Levcomagus.
Lady Jenna (APP 14): The daughter of Earl Robert and Lady Ellen, Jenna is still a girl, not yet marriageable, but her promised dowry is significant. Many suitors are already putting their cases before the earl.
These are the local men whom you know and admire. They are the key figures and most distinctive individuals among the seventy or so other knights of the county.
Sir Elad (Glory 6,189): The Marshal of the county, Elad is the castellan of Vagon as well.
Sir Hywel (Glory 6,457): The banneret of West Lavington, he holds many manors that he inherited from his father; he has only a young daughter. Since his wife died at her birth and he refuses to remarry, his daughter will inherit great wealth.
Sir Amig of Tilshead (Glory 7,234): An older man, scarred and with a noticeable limp, Sir Amig is a veteran of many battles. He was just granted castellanship over Tilshead, built to defend the county against the witches and monsters of the nearby forests.
Sir Jarren (Glory 3,190): A skilled and ambitious young knight, he is the best swordsman at court (Sword Skill 22).
Many women live in the county, but these are the ones who are available and have the largest holdings — or other reasons to be worthy of marriage to you.
Lady Adwen (Glory 740; APP 18): The beautiful young (but marriageable) daughter of Sir Bles, who was killed in battle. Her holding would make her husband a banneret and a rich knight. Holdings: 2 demesne manors, 4 enfeoffed manors.
Lady Elaine (Glory 1,258; APP 18): Elaine is a beautiful woman whose first husband was killed by her base-born lover a few years ago; the lover was subsequently hanged for killing a knight. She is rich but considered an unfaithful hussy by every other woman in the county. Holdings: 4 demesne manors.
Lady Gwiona (Glory 856; APP 16): Gwiona is the second handmaiden of Countess Ellen. She is the heiress of two manors. Her last four suitors all were killed in war shortly after proposing to her, but the priest says she is not really unlucky. Holdings: 2 demesne manors.
Lady Indeg (Glory 4,140, APP 8): This 40-year-old woman is the richest heiress in the county. She holds 2 manors (each with a loyal knight), and 3 until her death. She has been widowed twice and so can choose her own husband this time. However, she is lonely and might like a dashing young knight to keep her company. Holdings: 2 enfeoffed manors, plus £2 extra income/year; 14 Glory/year. Widow’s Gifts: 3 enfeoffed manors; 18 Glory/year.
These are a few of the important or interesting religious figures of Salisbury.
Bishop Roger: The Bishop of Salisbury is both wealthy and worldly, in a religious sort of way. His wealth comes from the holdings of the church, including the church holdings of Amesbury and those around Sarum and Warminster, and the other numerous sources of church income. He is well-educated, widely read, and influential; he loves to travel to London for business. He tends towards practicality when the conflict between the earl and the church arises.
Father Tewi: The priest of Salisbury Castle, Tewi is a personal confessor to the earl and his wife, as well as the general religious overseer of the castle and its people. He is not particularly wealthy but is well-maintained by the earl. He loves his drink and is rumored to have a wandering eye (and hand, depending on who tells the tale) when it comes to several of the serving maids.
Father Brugyn: The priest of the manor you will gain upon being knighted, Brugyn is neither terribly smart nor terribly holy. He attends to the spiritual welfare of his flock with a businesslike efficiency unstained by either scandal or avarice.