[CHARACTER] Sir Ranulf the Vast (companion)

Ranulf the Vast

Description: A man who stands over 8 feet tall, massively built with a mane of blond hair, he looks to be no more than 20 summers old, but his complexion is a bit sallow, and he has an off-putting air about him. Despite his apparent youth, he walks with a seasoned confidence, carrying himself in a way that makes him seem older than his apparent years.

Personality: Ranulf is cheerful and friendly, and a bit bewildered by the reaction people now have to him. He’s always been quite unobservant and easily lost; but since the change his memory has begun to fail him, and he’s become very absent-minded, which he’s not used to dealing with yet. (He doesn’t remember that he’ll forget things, so he relies on his memory more than he should.)

Background: Ranulf was born into a minor noble household in Normandy. He grew rapidly, enough to receive the special attention of the church from an early age, but they found nothing untoward, and no adverse reaction to being baptized, blessed, exorcised, and carefully examined by those with the divine powers to see deep into the souls of men. He was just a young man, who stood taller than a horse by his twelfth birthday, and once accepted as nothing unholy; he became a squire at an early age, and went riding off with King Richard on his quixotic crusade. He was knighted along the way, and fought alongside the king for many years in various battles, including the last one, at Limousin.

He then took up arms under King John, and was part of the series of battles which saw the loss of Normandy to King Philip, his family’s lands being among many that were claimed by cousins who sided with France. He fought in the Barons’ war afterward, but by this time people were starting to notice, and comment on, the fact that he must be in his late forties, but still appeared to be a youth of twenty summers. This led to another surge of suspicion and church attention, which he again subjected himself to and was proven pure; so it was decided that his persistent youth was a divine blessing to match his great size.

Ranulf took many wounds in many battles, but his worst was in the battle of Lincoln, in 1217. Insensate, with a gaping hole in his midsection where it had been pierced by a lance, it was assumed he was dying; and he was given extreme unction and left in his bed overnight while others less severely wounded were tended to.

When a different priest came in the morning to lay him to rest, he found that Ranulf was not only alive, but awake, though hardly able to move or speak. He recovered over several months, and when he was finally up and about, expecting to resume his service, he that Henry had no use for him anymore, and while he was still a knight under oath, he was considered unlucky and nobody wanted him in battle, and it was quietly suggested that he make his own way in the world, to be called upon if needed.

Unsure of what to do with himself, he wandered the country, aimless and in fact lost.

So I have the background for my companion mostly worked out; something that’s often but not always done in Ars is to connect companions to a different player’s magus; are we doing that in this game? It seems not, but we haven’t really started yet so I thought I’d check before I come up with some other way to connect him to the covenant.

The short version of the character (for the purposes of “who might be connected”) is that he’s a knight, who’s been through quite a bit and found himself at a loose end because he’s a bit too creepy for anyone to want as a vassal, but he hasn’t actually done anything wrong that God or the King wants to punish him for. (The creepy things about him are Giant Blood and Unaging; and the fact that he’s been in too many wars under Richard and John and it’s a bit awkward for him to be around at Henry’s court.)

Edit: Having re-read the bit about the charter (just now) I wonder what you think of a Knight with a history of loyalty to the Crown but who makes everyone uncomfortable having been sent to Voluntas to get him out of the way but also so the Crown has someone around that it can trust not to side with local barons.

1 Like

Well, it makes him potentially disloyal to the covenant… but no more so than Roger’s nun who is there for similar reasons: she makes the Bishop feel like a pupil at dame school again.

He could have been ordered to attach himself to one of the magi: perhaps he is the slightly dodgy Watson to Roger’s Holmes?

He can make a good sidekick to a couple of the magi; he’s a Knight so he’s allowed in high society, but isn’t particularly good at social skills; and he makes a good bodyguard, though not a great investigator.

I prefer not to be disloyal; I was thinking that being allied to the King would actually make him on the covenant’s side, since they’re in at least mild opposition to the local Baron. I thought perhaps being there to keep an eye on the local baron but regularly getting caught up in the covenant’s shenanigans. (If the covenant is a royal charter maybe the King thinks they’re his allies, even if the magi have a different view of things?) This version of him would be protective of the covenant, but also in fealty directly to the King (and therefore the Sheriff/Constable) which might get him called away inconveniently - I don’t know if that’s fun, or an annoying distraction, as it would involve stories that might not bring in anyone else from the covenant.

I thought about him having met Diligentius in his travels and being his sidekick, but wasn’t sure if he (Diligentius) would have necessarily invited him to come along.

A third option would be that he’s a distant relation of somebody in the covenant, that shows up because he’s got nowhere else to go; but he’s Norman and we’re fairly far north so that may be too far-fetched.

Happy to try it at least; metaphysical pressures push a great detective into having a military man as his sidekick.

He will make a pretty good Watson, actually.

I posted the full write-up at the top. I left “how they met” unsaid, I’m not sure how to do it without seeming too contrived.

He needs some aging rolls, how are we doing dice? (He is Unaging so they are not likely to be consequential.)

Well, they might meet for the first time as the game proper begins…

[roll 1d10] or [stress 3] (for 3 botch dice) or [stress 3+6] (three botch dice with a +6) will trigger the die roller. (But only with a new post, so this explanatory message that I’m editing in afterwards shouldn’t do it.)

That works, but it reopens the question of how he actually gets to the covenant. I’ll see what @MichaelCule thinks of my comments above for the other ideas I had.