Knight's Fees and Manors

In most other medieval RPGs these two terms are synonymous, but in BW there’s a difference between spending 15 or 40 resource points in character burning. What would each of these purchases represent?

IIRC, a fee is only land. A manor is a separate investment on that land.

And it appears I do remember correctly:’s_fee

Are you saying that a Knight’s Fee would represent a piece of land that a knight draws rents from, while a manor represents the same land with a manor house and improvements perhaps?

I guess I’m also wondering what types of characters would buy these two types of property in character burning. Do you see the holder of a knight’s fee as a squire or poor knight (gentry) while the holder of a manor is a belted landed knight?

Imagine a lord with several fees. He wouldn’t need to build a manor on each, right?


A knight holds a knight’s fee. Hence the name.
The knight sleeps in the hall of his lord until he can afford his own accommodations (or until he does something to get himself evicted).

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Thanks for the replies. So, to sum up, a knight’s fee (15 rps) represents the estate or wage of a knight who acts as a household knight. A manor (40 rps) represents the estate of a single landed knight who lives in a manor house on his estate and serves as his lord’s vassal.

A manor is for a lord or a particularly well off knight.

Knights were of a class, but they weren’t all the same. You had:

  1. Knights-Errant. These homeless adventurers basically followed the tournament circuit, set up impromptu tolls at bridges they didn’t own (i.e., robbed people) or served as mercenaries.
  2. Household Knights or Knights-Bachelor. These knights served as the household guard/body guard/standing army of a lord for pay, slept on a bench in that lord’s hall with other knights and ladies of the lord’s court, and could not marry.
  3. Vassal Knight. A knight who holds a fee from his lord as a gift or a grant and at least one manor. Vassal Knights may marry.
  4. Knight-Banneret. The lowest rank of lord. These guys had a least three Vassal Knights but typically 8 to 12. They had multiple manors and estates.

Thanks guys. I actually am well versed in medieval history and am also a Pendragon fan. I’ve got these distinctions down and was mainly interested in the mechanical differences of BW and how they would match these distinctions. So Thor, would you equate the manor purchase to a banneret? Is your “lord” the equal of a Pendragon “banneret?”

I also get put off a little by the differences of Resource exponent and Lifestyle Maintenance in the system. A knight who buys a knight’s fee at 15 rps plus a suitable 1D affiliation and rep winds up with a B2 Resources, but has to routinely make an Ob3 lifestyle test to maintain himself as a knight, which is the purpose of the knight’s fee. I’m not sure but I suspect the same thing happens to higher lords as well (disconnect between Resources exponent and lifestyle Obs). Is everyone supposed to be upside down (financially) and gaming the system just to make ends meet?

I’m betting yes, because it’s good story–and it wasn’t uncommon in real life, either.

Everyone is supposed to be under pressure. Go out and earn cash to pay your bills!

Also, the character you’ve described (fee, but no manor or other means of support) is one of Thor’s household knights. His lord is helping to maintain him, which should either lower his obstacle or provide him helping dice, depending on the details of the arrangement.

As you’re aware, in this period most of the nobility was indeed ‘upside down,’ barring the most secure barons. It wasn’t so much a matter of gaming the system as of lurching from loan to windfall to poverty to wealthy marriage. Stable finances just weren’t a knightly preoccupation. It’s quite easy to make a character who is a rich merchant and who has no trouble meeting lifestyle maintenance, but you’re correct that it’s difficult to do so in the lower reaches of the nobility (or even in the middle-to-upper ranks, if one lives in the extravagant style of the times).

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Unless they had very rich land, knights wanted to go to war. War meant profit. If you could capture the right prisoner, the ransom could make you a rich man. And you’d be able to sell his horse and harness. If there was no convenient war, the tournament circuit could also be decent. You wouldn’t get the ransom, but you could win the harness of the men you defeated.

I’d say if you’ve got a single manor, you’d be a Vassal Knight, required to provide a few months of service/guard duty for your lord every year. You’ll be jealous of your prerogatives like holding manorial court so you can squeeze a bit more money out of your peasants in fines. If you’re really lucky/in good with your lord, you’ll have toll rights to a bridge or road. You have to be careful not to charge rates that are too exorbitant, or trade will find a way to go around you rather than through you. Maybe you’ll win the right to hold a yearly fair that you can charge people to enter.

If you have the Your Lordship trait you’d be a banneret…hopefully with multiple manors to support you and to give to your vassals.