I’m thinking about a new lifepath with Young Lady or Lady requirements, the Dowager Widow, modeled after the Queen of Thorns in Game of Thrones.
But I’d want it to also work for a young widow, showing the odd place widows had in medieval society. Maybe with a trait modeled after Darling of the Court to show their social prowess and some kind of trait that will offer the rep of a husband killer if the lifepath encompasses more than one husband’s dying or if the LP is taken more than once.
It would lead to Noble, Religious and maybe Outcast.
Skills - Ugly Truth, Great House-wise and Estate Management, maybe with a nod to the Wife LP and they can take a skill from their late husband’s LP?
Thinking and brainstorming out loud here. I’m also considering that this is just the Dame LP with some spin on it and isn’t necessary… I’ll listen to comments and suggestions and write something more formal up when I have a moment.
Eh, I’d say that it is different enough (if for no other reason THAN the social implications) that another LP could be justified. Dame might be a good option for requirements as well since you can get into it without Lady/Young Lady via the “Your Lordship” trait".
As for traits, I’d either lead with the suspected husband killer trait (cause I just find that more interesting, personally), or lead with a character trait and have the killer trait be second and only give the social boost trait after that.
I’m in favor of giving MOST LPs outcast leads, and in this case I can see political rivals forcing a widow out for their own gain.
Not sure about the city wife style skill points. The landed noble LPs MOSTLY just give general points, Lord is the only real exception so just draw from that skill list.
I’d go with the suspected husband killer trait second. Required traits should be something that you can’t help but acquire just from having the experience, whether you want it or not. You usually want to lead with a more low-key character trait, and drop the meatier stuff down in the order. The exception to this are “challenge” LPs like, Lunatic, Outlaw or Leper, where the big meaty trait is an inexorable part of the LP. Remember, women as a general rule lived longer than men, so the typical experience would be for a nobel lady to outlive her husband. The vast majority of them were not suspected of murder.
Some things you may want to take into account for such a lifepath (not true of all feudal cultures, but common):
By law, a widow gets to keep a third of her deceased husband’s holdings as her own source of income. If there are no children, the rest of the holdings devolve to some other male of close kinship to her husband – a brother, bastard son or even his father. If there are no sons but there are daughters, it might pass to the eldest, or the widow might keep the inheritance, but there is a caveat (see below)! Rights to the interests of the widow’s children are given to the official ward of the heir, who has rights to the income of the heir’s holdings but is expected to support the heir out of it. As such, being ward to a wealthy underage nobleman was highly desirable. As you might imagine, lawsuits were frequent.
If a nobleman dies without a proper heir (no sons, brothers, fathers, etc.) to claim the lands, the inheritance may pass to the daughter or the widow. This is a windfall for the nobleman’s liege lord, who takes control of all the properties of the heiress (though with the responsibility to provide for her out of the income of those properties). The liege lord gets to keep all that income until he chooses someone for her to marry, generally one of his vassals whom he has decided to reward or bind more tightly to him. There’s often no rush, of course, because the liege lord gets to keep the income until he does marry her off. These women are highly sought after prizes, as they can instantly make a man’s fortunes.
The law changes when a woman is widowed a second time. Like anyone else subject to a liege lord (including vassal lords and knights), she must ask his permission to marry, but she gets to choose whom she wants. She also has the right to choose not to marry again. In addition, she has the full rights of her possessions. She can spend her income how she wants and she can even have knights swear fealty to her.
Might a I suggest a choice of Merry or Mourning for the first character trait? I think that hits the two stereotypes of widows out there. Then put the Black Widow trait (or whatever you want to call it) as the second.
If that comment is about Mourning specifically Thor, I was referring to the traditional mourning period after a death in many cultures where the widow would be deliberately adhering to the customs that proclaim “I am a widow.” Perhaps simply calling it Widow as a character trait would be the way to go.
Skills: 3pts: Ugly Truth, Estate Management, Great House-wise, Persuasion Traits: 1pt: Legal Mess, Grand Damme of the Court, Black Widow Requires: Young Lady or Lady
Grand Damme of the Court (inspired Darling of the Court): This character has built a reputation for herself over the years. Increase any reputation by +1D.
Legal Mess (inspired by Outlaw): When the Legal Mess is taken the player does not get easy access to their property and will have difficult relationships with their late husband’s liege lord any anyone with a claim to their late husband’s claim until the trait is voted off or they re-marry.
Black Widow (inspired by Branded a Coward): Whether true or not, this character has been branded a husband-killer. Even if their husband died in battle hundreds of miles away or from the plague; the rumor need not be based in any fact. Black Widow grants the character a 1D infamous reputation with Nobles and Noble Court. This character will have -1D for all rolls deliberating on any marriages until the trait is voted off.
Some notes: I’d extend the time. It’s a long lonely life for them.
I’d give them 4 skill points. 3 is rather stingy.
For Resources, I’d make it a percentage of their spouse’s last lifepath. They’re not inherently rich or wealth generating.
And don’t forget that in BWG, penalties always come in the form of increased obstacles, and not negative dice. Negative dice are reserved solely for injuries.
Hmmm. I love Grand Damme of the court and Black Widow. As for legal mess, have you considered a trait like A Woman’s Honor from Blossoms are falling? Specifically, I am thinking of the part where the trait gives you a free relationship with the male that is your liege lord or guardian bound up in all this inheritance stuff.
I know there are guidelines in MonBu, but it’s out of date and I don’t have it with me.Still, I think this looks like the kind of LP where your life really changes and you can grow (or shrink) as a person. Plus the required trait is more downside than bonus. I’d give 2 trait points.
Skills: 4pts: Ugly Truth, Estate Management, Great House-wise, Persuasion Traits: 2pts: Legal Mess, Grand Damme of the Court, Black Widow Requires: Young Lady or Lady
*Resources Note: A player who takes the Dowager Widow lifepath may choose their late husband’s last lordly lifepath (Knight, Lord, Baron, Viscount, Count, Duke, Noble Prince or Prince of the Blood) and take half of those resource points.
Grand Damme of the Court (inspired by Darling of the Court): This character has built a reputation for herself over the years. Increase any reputation by +1D.
Legal Mess (inspired by Outlaw): When the Legal Mess is taken the player does not get easy access to their property and will have difficult relationships with their late husband’s liege lord or any anyone with a claim to their late husband’s claim until the trait is voted off or they re-marry.
Black Widow (inspired by Branded a Coward): Whether true or not, this character has been branded a husband-killer. Even if their husband died in battle hundreds of miles away or from the plague; the rumor need not be based in any fact. Black Widow grants the character a 1D infamous reputation with Nobles and Noble Court. This character will have +1 ob for all rolls deliberating on any marriages until the trait is voted off.
I am reading She-Wolves: the women who ruled England before Elizabeth by Helen Castor and just got to the end of the first of the bad-ass ladies, Matilda. She was awesome.