Retinue and Professionals

Your Retinue

Retinue are servants who often accompany knights and ladies wherever they go. They include the various types of squires, a lady’s handmaiden, and many types of professionals, including soldiers. A knight or lady can use their servants’ skills as their own. For instance, if a stranger approaches, and the Herald is along, then the player uses the Herald’s Heraldry skill to try to identify the coat of arms.

Finding & Hiring Retinue

Retinue must be found and hired. Some members of your retinue may come from your manor, while others may hail from distant shores. Finding such servants is done by asking around at court and by having your wife or squire send for the candidates to be interviewed at your manor.
Adding people to your retinue costs money. This cost indicates a standard of living for a typical manor. Experts will earn more, long-term service probably more still. These servants receive a combination of upkeep and cash for their annual pay. Each Winter Phase, the player must subtract the
costs for the retinue in the upcoming year.
Also, note that hiring retinue is Conspicuous Consumption, which grants annual Glory equal to their cost. Soldier retinue also grant annual Glory, but only to 100 points per year.

Pay Scale

Among all of your paid servants, including your manor personnel, three general levels of upkeep are common. A knight or lady’s retinue may have servants from all levels.

Groom Level, £½
These are the lower ranked servants, often found in ladies’ retinues, though most soldiers are also maintained at this level.

Valet Level, £¾
These are the upper ranked servants. They include the Craftsmen, Manorial Specialists, and the Bailiff of your manor.

Professional Level, £1+
These are the highest ranked servants, often found in a knight’s retinue. They earn their living plying highly specialized skills and arts. Your squire and professional esquires are maintained at this level.

A Knight’s Retinue

A knight’s retinue may consist of many different types of squires, from aged life-long esquires with noble bearings to ruddy common lads with ambitions beyond the fields. His retinue might also include diverse professionals, such as learned men who read, entertainers who sing his praises,
and quick witted courtiers who tell him what to say and what to wear at court.

Your Squire

Every knight has a squire. Poverty or other dire cases may alter this, but once normalcy is established some enterprising lad will get the job. Squires are NPCs and do not require full stats, as they are largely kept in the background. They do their job, unnoticed. For the rare cases when they will be
required to do something special, a few of their skills are enumerated below.
The cost of having one squire is included in the knightly annual maintenance costs.

Your Squire’s NPC Data

Key Skill: The Key Skill for your squire is Squiring, which means “serve my knight.” For sons of nobles, it is equal to their age. For all normal servant-type activities (serving at dinner, cleaning armor, etc.) roll his age value as this skill.

Acquiring a Squire. Squires are sons of nobles being trained to become knights. They graduate from the ranks of the pages around the age of 15 and automatically join your service by 16.
Additional Skills. One skill can be selected as the squire’s personal specialty, and substitute for the knight’s roll in logical conditions. It starts at 2 increases by two points per year, up to age 20.
Skill Progression. Squires are NPCs and not intended to be detailed. If a particular skill other than the Additional Skill (above) is needed, use the system described in the Book of Knights and Ladies, pgs. 51-57 (79-114): start with the unmodified Starting Skill from King Arthur Pendragon pg. 227 and “all skills greater than 5 are reduced by three points, or to 5, whichever leaves a greater result.”

Professional Esquires

Some squires never become knights. They cannot afford the equipment and have no one to purchase it for them, or there is no opening that they know about, or do not qualify in some other way. Some of them remain in the service of their knights and become professional assistants.

Professional Esquire’s NPC Data

Key Skill. Squiring.
Additional Skills. Same as above.
Skill Progression. Same as above. See: pg. 57, Book of Knights and Ladies.
Esquire Retirement Roll. Each Winter Phase during “Step 3: Roll for Aging” check also to discover the fate of the esquire. Roll 1d20, with these results: 01-18: no result. 19-20: he goes away.

Commoner Squires

Sometimes commoners get the job, but they are severely disadvantaged since their upbringing includes nothing courtly. Commoners never expect to be knighted. They will generally remain in service as esquires.

Commoner Squire’s NPC Data

Key Skill. Squiring. Special: squire’s age minus 10.
Additional Skill: Special. A Commoner Squire’s specialty skill is always Folklore. It starts at 10 and progresses as the Squiring skill does.
Skill Progression. Squiring increases one point per year, to 15. After that, roll 1d6 each year during Winter Phase, and on a roll of 1 goes up one point in the skill.

Multiple Squires

Knights often have more than one squire. The original one, the chief squire, is guaranteed his position. Any others should consider themselves temporary, entirely dependent upon the economic circumstances of their knight. Indeed, knights often take on one or two extra squires in a good
year, and dismiss them as easily when poorer.

The Mesnie (Soldiery)

A knight or lady may retain mesnie, or military personnel, for protection or war. Two types of soldiers are distinguished: permanent garrison and short-term mercenaries.
These combatants are not noblemen, but commoners who have learned the skill of arms.


Garrison soldiers are permanent employees of a lord, and have a loyalty to their employer. They live at his expense and in return perform whatever military duties they are ordered to do. These include defending castles or manors, standing guard at key fords or bridges, escorting important
people or goods, patrolling, searching and, of course, fighting on command. They train regularly. Due to their guaranteed steady employment their primary cost is in maintenance and equipment.


Knights are the elite of the Mesnie. Vassal and household knights are bound to their liege for life by oaths of homage. Mercenary knights are temporarily employed.
Key Skills: Horsemanship 15, Lance 15 (varies), and a Primary Weapon, usually a Sword, 15 (varies)
Upkeep: £ 4,

The following represents the standard kit for an Average knight in each Period.

Armor: Chainmail hauberk 10 + shield, MW: 15
Horse: Poor Charger (5d6), Armor: 5

Armor: Reinforced Chainmail 12 + shield, MW: 15
Horse: Charger (6d6), Armor: 5+ Caparison 1

Armor: Partial Plate 14 + shield, MW: 15
Horse: Charger (6d6), Armor: 5+ Caparison 1

Armor: Full Plate 16 + shield, MW: 15
Horse: Andalusian (7d6), Armor: 5 + Trappers 5

Mounted Sergeant/Cavalryman

These mounted soldiers are armed as Knights, though usually more lightly armored. They fight on horseback. Many Cavalryman are esquires, but some are commoners who have raised themselves through blood and war.
Key Skills: Horsemanship, Lance, Sword 13 (4d6),
Armor and Horse: Special , MW: 14
£ 2
* Cavalrymen use equipment downgraded one level of quality from Knights of the same Period, to a minimum of Haubergeon 8 + shield and a Poor Charger.


These light troops are often used as scouts and messengers.
Key Skills: Horsemanship 12, Sword 10 (4d6)
Armor: Gambeson 4, MW: 13
Horse: Rouncy (not combat-trained) (4d6), Armor: 5
Upkeep: £ 1


Guardsmen are the elite of the foot, highly-skilled veterans in heavy armor. Typically used as bodyguards, only the richest barons can afford to field whole units of Guardsmen.
Key Skills: Awareness 16, Battle 10, Spear 17, Sword 17, (5d6)
Upkeep: £ 1½

Armor: Chainmail hauberk 10 + shield, MW: 15

Key Skills: Replace Spear with Halberd 17 (6d6)
Armor: Reinforced Brigandine 12, MW: 15

Key Skills: Replace Spear with Halberd 17 (6d6)
Armor: Partial Plate 14, MW: 15


These are professional mercenaries with crossbows.
Key Skills: Crossbow 15 (1d6+10), Dagger 10 (3d6)
Armor: Gambeson 4; MW: 13
Upkeep: £1

Conquest Period Upgrade: Med. Crossbow 15 (1d6+13)
Romance Period Upgrade: Hvy Crossbow 15 (1d6+16)
Twilight Upgrade: Arbalest 15 (1d6+20)

Foot Soldier

Foot Solder is a generic term specified in servitium debitum agreements and charters than refers collectively to these standard troop types. These are professional, averagequality soldiers with standard arms and armor. Typically, spearmen are more common than bowmen on the battlefield,
but in the Tournament Period and after, the longbowmen outnumber halberdiers.
A lord will strive to upgrade his mesnie to Armored Foot Soldiers if possible, since they are quite superior on the field. Likewise, Poor Foot Soldiers will fare much worse in any combat and are an emergency stopgap, at best, before a battle or siege. Note, however, that if the king or one of
his warlords inspects the troops and discovers these wretches, he will at least exact a severe fine from the vassal who brought them.
Armor: Gambeson 4 (+ shield for Spearmen), MW: 13
Upkeep: £½

  • Spearman Armed with spear and shield, these soldiers form the bulk of the feudal army.
    • Key Skills: Spear 12 (4d6), Dagger 10 (3d6)
  • Bowman Armed with the bow these soldiers fight from afar and run if confronted.
    • Key Skills: Bow 12 (3d6), Dagger 10 (3d6)
  • Halberdier (Tournament Period and later) Armed with the halberd (or bill) which is more useful against heavily armored knights than the spear. These soldiers give the longbowmen some close-in protection. They do not use shields.
    • Key Skills: Halberd 12 (5d6), Sword 10 (4d6)
  • Longbowman (Tournament Period and later) The longbow is discovered in Cambria in the Romance Period. Longbowmen rapidly replace bowmen in Arthur’s armies during the Tournament Period. They usually dig trenches or create other obstacles to deter cavalry. They do not run when engaged in melee but fight with swords.
    • Key Skills: Longbow 12 (3d6+6), Sword 10 (4d6)
Poor Foot Soldier

These soldiers are quickly-raised, green, and unarmored. Except as noted below, they are identical to the four standard Foot Soldier types.
Key Skills: Both Weapon Skills – 2
Armor: None (+ shield for Spearmen), MW: 12
Upkeep: £¼

Armored Foot Soldier

These are veteran soldiers, with a sword as a backup weapon. They are uncommon, most often serving as officers of normal foot soldiers. Every tenth soldier in a mesnie must be an officer to command the common soldiers. Crossbowmen may be upgraded to Armored Crossbowmen. They are treated as other Armored Foot Soldiers but with Upkeep of £1½.
Key Skills: Battle 10, Primary weapon 16 (varies), Sword 13 (4d6)
Upkeep: £1

Armor: Haubergeon 8 (+ shield for Spearmen), MW: 14

Armor: Brigandine 10 (+ shield for Spearmen), MW: 14

Mounted Foot Soldier (Tournament Period and later)

Sometimes, it is useful to have the whole army on horseback, for example for raiding or fast travelling. However, the soldiers always dismount to fight. To upgrade any Foot Solder (including the Poor and Armored types), Crossbowman, or Guardsman to a Mounted Foot Solder, just pay the
additional Upkeep price.
If these mounted soldiers are attacked while mounted, they must roll a success in their Horsemanship Skill each round to use their weapons.
Key Skills: Add Horsemanship 5
Horse: Rouncy (not combat-trained) (4d6), Armor: 5
Upkeep: Add £ ½


Mercenaries have no permanent employer, are available for short terms, and generally on short notice. They have their own equipment, and perform whatever duty their employer commands. There is no cost to finding Mercenaries, but they are more expensive than garrison troops because of the uncertainty of their employment.

The price shown is for 30 days of service.

  • Mounted Sergeant. Cost: £1
  • Sergeant. Cost: £½
  • Man-at-Arms. Cost: £½
  • Archer or Crossbowman. Cost: £¼
  • Knifeman. Unarmored, badly armed infantry, willing to do anything to get ahead, such as climb ladders to assault a castle. Key Skill: Dagger. Cost: £⅛
Your Mercenary’s NPC Data

Skill Progression. Mercenaries have starting skills of 3d6. Since mercenaries are only hired for short periods, the improvement rate for them is irrelevant. If you have personalized some mercenary bands who reoccur in play, use the rate for Garrisons.

Professionals for Hire

Knights hire professionals for their education and expertise. Each profession has one or more Key Skills that indicate its
specialty. Unless noted otherwise, yearly upkeep is £1.


An aide-de-camp is a professional esquire closely attached to a lord to oversee his care. An aide is usually promoted after proving himself as the knight’s squire — it is not a job suitable for a stranger. He will oversee a staff, called the lord’s chamber, if there is one. Although he will have
been taken off the battlefield by his duties, he retains his weapon skills in case of an emergency.
Key Skill: Stewardship starting at esquire’s Age/2, max 15.
Upkeep: £2


Although a monk (“cleric”), this man is hired for his literacy, not religion. He reads and writes letters and notices for his lord, keeps books and records, checks the steward’s accounts, and so on. A Secretary does the same work as a clerk, but only for one person.
Key Skill: Clerk
As tutor: He teaches the Classics, the Bible and how to read Latin.
As proctor: A master at maintaining correspondence and keeping figures, he saves £1d3-2 per year, scrutinizing the books.


This cultured companion, dedicated to sophisticated entertainment and personal pleasure, is often of scandalously noble origins. She requires a lady’s care and maintenance — often more, if she provokes a Love passion from her lover. Even an emotional link, however, does not guarantee
her permanent employment.
Key Skills: Lustful, any one other Courtly Skill. Additional skills add to the cost at the rate of £1/skill.
Upkeep: £2
Additional: Checks for childbirth and Lustful resolved each Winter Phase.


Knows how to build castles and take them down. He can build towers and castles, and also make siege engines, emplace them, dig tunnels and so on. He can also maintain waterworks, such as for fountains.
Upkeep: £2
Key Skill: Siege.


This expert knows coats of arms and badges, can paint a shield, advise on tournament protocol, and make loud public announcements.
Key Skills: Heraldry; possibly Recognize and/or Tourney (the latter is only available after the Conquest Period)
Upkeep: £1 per skill listed above. During Arthur’s reign, Experienced and Master Heralds may be hired at the rate of £ 2 (Skill 16+) and £ 4 (Skill 20+), respectively.


A huntsman coordinates all aspects of the event for his lord, making sure that there is a suitable rendezvous spot, the dogs and beaters are prepared and on-site, spoor has been located, and carts or bearers are ready to take home the meat at the end of the day. The Huntsman oversees the Dog Boy in the absence of a Master of Hounds. Esquires and knights in this role are called “Master of the Hunt.”
Key Skill: Hunting
Upkeep: Commoner: £½ , Esquire: £1, Knight: £2 (bonus)


An expert on the ins and outs of law—i.e. Court business.
Key Skill: Law.
Note: Law is a meta-skill and combines Courtesy, Folklore and Intrigue. Whenever your character needs to make one of these rolls, he may roll on his Lawyer’s skill instead. Law is also the cultural specialty of Roman characters. After the Early Phase, Experienced and Master Lawyers may be hired for £ 2 (Skill 16+) and £ 4 (Skill 20+).

Master of Hounds

A Master of Hounds is a commoner or esquire in charge of a large kennel with several dozen dogs of every type. He has several dog boys that work for him. The comparison between him and a Dog Boy shows the difference in magnitude of hiring a master or common expert. See Dog Boy for a low-cost version.
Key Skill: Dog Care
Upkeep: £1, plus £4 for dog boys and a huge pack of hounds.


This man heads the household servants and staff of a banneret- sized staff. In larger households he’s called a dapifer. In a manorial household, this task is the wife’s.
Key Skill: Stewardship
Upkeep: £4


A commoner woman dedicated to personal pleasure.
Key Skill: Intrigue (Gossip)

Additional: Check to lustful, annual Childbirth Roll each Winter Phase.


A professional trained at playing the courtly instrument of harp.
Key Skill: Play (Harp).


An experienced holy man (or woman).
Key Skill: Religion.


A storyteller, who has memorized histories, legends and other tales and can retell them in an entertaining manner.
Key Skill: Orate


A vocalist, also knows many songs for any occasion.
Key Skill: Singing.


An additional squire to the normal complement of the Knight’s station.
Key Skill: Squiring – use the rules under “Your Squire”.


An expert who looks after a manor sized estate, is usually a noble esquire.
Key Skill: Stewardship.
Note: if a knight is not married with a wife to support, but has engaged a Steward instead, his £1 cost replaces the costs to support the family (yes, this leaves an extra £1 that goes to the landholder).


This is an expert at making men’s clothing. The biggest advantage to his employment is that he can work quickly, just for you. His upkeep includes the cost for two seamstresses.
Key Skill: Fashion
Upkeep: £ 2 upkeep; plus materials.


A poet and musician, who specializes in songs and poems of love and romance.
Key Skill: Compose, Play (Lute).


A private teacher can be found for almost anything at a nearby monastery, though some teachers of some skills (like Hunting), will have other backgrounds. Choose the skill desired, check with the Gamemaster, and hire him on.
Limits exist for the number of subjects to be studied. Obligations allow only limited time for someone to be tutored each year, depending on their social status: household knight 0, other knight 1, lady 1, maiden 2.

Key Skill: As chosen
Additional: Grants an annual check to the skill, or 1 point
if it was at zero.

Valet or Body Servant

An expert in grooming, dressing properly and in protocol, etc.
Key Skill: Fashion. Success grants 1d3 bonus to APP. This
effect lasts for only one day.

Professional’s NPC Data

Skill Progression. Starting skill is 5+2d6. The Key Skill progresses at the rate of 1 point per year up to 15. Afterwards roll 1d6 and on a roll of 1 he goes up one point in that skill.
Hiring a Professional. Unless otherwise noted, professionals are paid £1 per year per Key Skill, while persons of reputation and skill (Key Skill 16+) get £2, and sometimes more (£3 for 18-19, £4 for 20 in a Key Skill). Individuals with multiple skills are thus expensive and special.
A beginning Herald with skills in Heraldry, Recognize and Tourney would cost £3 per year, while such a one with 20 years of experience could cost £12.


Many types of healers exist, and both knights and ladies may employ them.


He typically makes soap, perfume, poisons and antidotes, ink from both oak and squid, and the latest alchemical tinctures to fight disease. He is of urban origin, usually a member of the local guild, if such exists, and his rarity and superior attitude are reflected in his upkeep.
Key Skill: None, only gains additional (see below).
Upkeep: £3
Additional: He manages to make one magic potion per year. Each gives +1d6 to the patient’s CON roll versus disease for a year.


This is a specialist in Chirurgery who performs bleeding, cupping, pulling teeth, leeching, and cutting hair.
Key Skill: Chirurgery, 4d6
Upkeep: £1


These “general surgeons” are typically monks that treat wounds, sores, abscesses, fractures and infections. They provide long-term medical care, and are responsible for putting spider web and honey into wounds, dribbling soup and herbs down throats, changing bandages and so on.
Key Skill: Chirurgery 15, First Aid 5
Upkeep: £1


These men are extremely specialized in one aspect of carefrom the first cut to the final stitching back up. They specialize in specific conditions such as a hernia, cataract, skull fracture, and so on. The skill of Chirurgery (Wound Care) is the one to nurse knights back to health. They are found in cities and in abbeys. Their specialty must be stated upon hiring.
Key Skill: Chirurgery (Wound Care, or other) 2d6+12
Upkeep: £3


This commoner is typically of rural origin, and knows many traditional treatments to fight ill health. Massage, skeletal manipulation, and other physical methods may be added to a regimen of tinctures, teas, powders and neck sachets to obtain the potion effect below.
Key Skill: None, only gains additional (see below).
Upkeep: £2
Additional: Grants +1d6 to the patient’s CON roll for one year when the regimen of daily ingestion is followed. The bonus is not for hit points, but benefits anything else (consciousness, resisting disease, etc.).


Physicians look after the well-being of the lord and his household, both at home and on campaign. Skilled at both bandaging wounds and providing long-term care, they are responsible for many knights’ lives being saved.
Key Skills: First Aid, Chirurgery
Pay: £ 2. Experienced and Master Physicians may be hired for £ 4 (Skill 16+) and £ 8 (Skill 20+), respectively.

Sister of Healing

This Roman Christian order is famous for their skills and devotion to healing, curing, and care for the wounded and the ill.
Key Skill: Medicine, 2d6+6
Upkeep: £1

Wise Woman (or Man)

Villages all have their resident healers, usually old peasant women who have set hundreds of bones, sewed up countless wounds, and midwifed half the childbirths in a village. These men and women are not for hire, but are included for comparison, and because they are so often handy.
Key Skills: First Aid, Chirurgery, 4d6 each
Upkeep: None, for they live elsewhere, not at court.
Additional: Local hostility towards knights might provide a negative modifier to a Wise Woman’s skill level.


A Lord can decide to become patron to each of the following options.

Patron to Jongleur Troup

These are traveling entertainers, being a combination of a theater group, circus, and medicine show. They travel far, see much, talk to many, and thus net the sponsor a check for Intrigue as they report back what they have learned.
Cost: £5
Annual Maintenance: £1d3, including jongleurs, a cart and nag to haul costumes, props and minimal sets.
Annual Glory: 2
Grants: Check to Intrigue

Patron to Scholar

Scholars illuminate, edify and educate. They are trained as clerks and can be secular or religious. Only individuals with specific abilities are hired, and once employed, the taught subjects do not change.
Cost: £1 per subject taught
Annual Maintenance: £1 for scholar
Annual Glory: 1
Grants: Check to (choose any Personality Traits or Skills. These do not change. )

Patron to Writer

Writers create new works, either original or translations of ancient books from Greek or Latin. These may be legends, geographies, historical or contemporary chronicles, or even the life of the patron!
Cost: £1
Annual Maintenance: £2 for Writer + £1 for materials
Annual Glory: 2
Grants: Check to Read (Latin)
Annual Income: £1 (in the form of a new book)

Retinue and Professionals

Knights of the Realm DerkG DerkG