Over the weekend Des sat down and rolled up her new back-up character, Herringdale's daughter Meleri. Although we anticipate (leaving aside the ever-present threat of death and dismemberment) that Herringdale will continue to feature as the primary character in the campaign for at least the next four years or so, we're going to start integrating Meleri into the narrative with an eye towards her becoming the main character as we move into the Conquest Period.
Ever since Des decided to leave Meleri in the care of Morgan le Fay for her stint as a lady-in-waiting, we've had the idea that she'd be a bit of a black sheep in the family. The character concept was cemented when Des saw this Alan Lee sketch:
The shields hanging from the tree brought to Des's mind the phrase "knight collector", which has become the central concept for Meleri. Pendragon fans familiar with the old Fourth Edition rulebook will perhaps remember Lady Medule from the Salisbury write-up therein. Meleri is to be patterned on this, the "county weirdo" who is simultaneously enticing and dangerous and whom most people just steer clear of.
This also has provided the solution for the conundrum of how to run a Lady-centric campaign in the GPC. Although I'll be emphasizing social and courtly encounters much more, it can't be denied that there will be times when it's necessary to go looking for danger. Des plans on having Meleri collect two or three loyal knights who travel everywhere with her. She will have control over these knights in a manner similar to henchmen in D&D or to the Troupe-style play of Ars Magica. The fact that the knights remain NPCs makes them somewhat more disposable too, which is a side effect I quite like, as I picture Meleri as being almost Machiavellian in her pragmatism.
Although she is not an enchantress, I did allow for some influence from her tutelage under Morgan; for the Lady's Gift portion of the character generation, I bypassed the normal random roll and simply ruled that Meleri would start with two random potions. Des is already coming up with ideas on how to use these potions on hapless knights and enemies...
Daughter Number: 2
Liege Lord: Earl Robert of Salisbury
Current Class: Steward
Current Home: Broughton Manor
Healing Rate 2
Move Rate 2
Hit Points 25
Distinctive Features: flaming red hair; tall; captivating voice
Chaste/Lustful 10/10; Energetic/Lazy 14/6; Forgiving/Vengeful 10/10; Generous/Selfish 10/10; Honest/Deceitful 10/10; Just/Arbitrary 11/9; Merciful/Cruel 11/9; Modest/Proud 4/16; Pious/Worldly 8/12; Prudent/Reckless 14/6; Temperate/Indulgent 9/11; Trusting/Suspicious 4/16; Valorous/Cowardly 2/18
Gentlewoman's Bonus: NO
Religion Bonus: NO
Loyalty (Lord) 17
Love (Family) 9
Hate (Saxons) 18
Concern (Commoners) 8
Loyalty (Pendragon) 5
Skills: Awareness (15); Chirurgery (11); Compose (1); Courtesy (8); Dancing (5); Distaff (12); Faerie Lore (3); Falconry (2); Fashion (2); First Aid (10); Flirting (12); Folklore (7); Gaming (3); Heraldry (10); Hunting (2); Intrigue (13); Orate (2); Play: Recorder (10); Read: Latin (1); Recognize (5); Religion: Pagan (10); Singing (5); Swimming (1)
Combat Skills: Battle (4); Siege (13); Horsemanship (8); Dagger (10)
Equipment: Personal Sewing Supplies; Decent Wardrobe; Simple Jewelry; Toilet Articles; Chest; Ivory Horn Drink (+2D6 to Lazy, used up on a 1-7 on d20); Devil's Own Venom (3 damage per day until a successful Chirurgery roll is made; used up on a 1-15 on d20)
Des is planning on using the Devil's Own Venom to secretly poison potential followers, then using Chirurgery to nurse them back to health, thereby earning their eternal gratitude. I think this is great and am considering forgoing the Used Up roll when it's used for this purpose, since I trust Des not to abuse it.
Meleri's low Love (Family) along with her family characteristic of Know the Commoners (inherited from Elaine, of course!) led to us to envision Meleri as a sort of medieval anarchist working to bring the nobility down from within. This certainly fits with the influence Morgan would have had over her. Should be interesting to see how that works out in play. Also worth noting is the fact that, although she tries to distance herself from Herringdale, she did inherit his extreme hatred of Saxons. Probably won't come up too often post-Badon Hill, but it's an interesting character aspect.