Mathius the Great King
One of the finest kings The Lands have ever known; this elder king is much beloved and respected. It is ironic that his greatness plants the seeds of great strife.
He is the keystone to all the Twin Rose Wars (as seen by Memoirs of the Twin Rose Wars)/ Magenta Rose set of submissions. You need to look at these posts, for all of this to make proper sense. This submission can be used other places and times, with all the information above the 'death of the king' or the 'Start of the Twin Rose Wars.'
He is strong and vibrant for his age. He is as fitter than most men twenty years his junior. It is unfortunate that he is ninety.
In his youth, he was a powerfully built man of average size but compact build. His hair was raven. His eyes that ice blue that bards sing about but nobody really ever has. His skin was well tanned. He had honed reflexes and a casual manner.
He still has his casual manner. He has lost a great deal of his vim over the decades. He is not what he once was physically, but his skills and intellect are still keen. His need for rest frequently vexes him, but he needs less leisure than most men his age. While his eyes are still blue, they have lost a touch of that fire. His hair is now that of the snow the raven flew over. His skin is a bit drier now, and is showing the abuse over his active lifetime.
Mathius was named after the founding king of The Kingdom Humana, Mathius of the Iron Gauntlet, early one summer solstice morning. He was named such as a talisman against the troubles his father, King Kevinus, was experiencing. He became the eldest son, after a riding accident took his brother five years later.
He took the throne a bit early. After removing his regent for plots against the crown, he ascended the throne. The first few years of his reign were spent deflecting assassins, thwarting potential rebellions, and stoping the machinations of the MageKings of nearby Kechen. It was during this time he determined who his friends really were.
Such conflicts should of hardened a man beyond most people's understanding. Mathius was tempered by these challenges, but still understood the need for feelings, compassion, and the innate goodness of humanity. He worked hard for his people, sponsoring projects that would promote the common good (roads, mills, irrigation lines, and cities).
It was during these early years that he was married to young Isabelia. She bore him two sons, but died bring forth the second one. These early years there was a sense of peace. They even entertained an Elven Envoy, the first in over 90 years. There were rumblings beyond his borders, but nothing overt against The Kingdom Humana. The various states of The Land (all founded long after Humana) were as troubled as his land. As the boys grew to early teens, The King married Margaretia, a princess of Ketchen. Over the next fifteen years he cared for her and fended off ever overt and covert threat to his throne from external forces. The two twins she bore him died at an early age. He swore he would never love another.
The game of thrones and threats continued. The Lands never knew an open war (some minor skirmishes at most), but always knew tension. Mathius's brinksmanship diplomacy, cunning agents, and occasional diplomatic work kept the region at peace. In fact, The Lands have never known peace for this long since the days of The First Ones.
He continued the good works for The Kingdom and nearby during these middle decades. His great earthworks kept flooding to a minimum and provided a 'water road' for barges. He brought the Red Capped Messenger Guild to The Lands. He worked with the breeding of new horse lines for his people and nobles. He enacted more laws and courts to bring greater justice to the people. The country prospered under him.
His sons grew up to maturity as good princes, but not great princes. The King was still strong and able. There was no precedent for a retiring king, but some talked of it. The bulk of the Noble Council was unwilling to 'trade down' to a lesser ruler during the troubled times as they saw them. The King's hand was strong on the wheel of the ship of state.
No one panicked when his second second son died in a manor fire that consumed his family as well during these middle decades. His older son remained unwed simply because the plan was for him to have a marriage of state when he took the throne. The King was devastated when he died of the Grey Scale (a child hood illness he never had) that had swept through The Lands. His line was broken.
The King worked tirelessly to maintain The Peace, or at least minimize the war, in the Lands. If only other rulers would work so hard for peace. A complex web of alliances, secret agreements, and treaties almost dragged The Lands into a great war, all over a conflict between two dutchies. Some deft diplomacy managed to avert the worst of it. The King, to solidify the pacts that protected the peace, wedded Engled, the recently widowed High Princess of Nechteran. To her court she brought her two young daughters Reisha and 'Doni' (eDonistadled). While they would never inherit the throne (in either country), they would energize the court. Queen consort Engled has taken an active part in his rule as an advisor and advocate. The Court has been active with various factions working towards their goals, all working for the Greater Good of The Kingdom Humana.
Begin the Era of the Twin Rose War
Then everything changed. It began with the theft of the Magenta Rose. He rode against the Kechens and their Humanan allies. He was poised to stop The Elven Forces. He managed to do what he had done for ninety years, snatch away victory from others and maintain the Peace. Mathius was truly The Great King.
Then The Great King did the unthinkable. He died. The exact causes were unknown, but it was a combination of exhaustion, a minor wound, and a tiny illness. The People of The Kingdom Humana mourned. Well, except those jockeying for power.
The Twin Rose Wars began.
Everything Changed after The Twin Rose Wars were over; Humana and eventually all The Lands, were different. The Great King was the last but finest light of Silver Age. He is the one that all others will be measured by. And to hear all tell, all others will falls short.
He has access to some of the only magical equipment in The Land. It is mostly locked up for special occasions.
The Order of the Iron Gauntlet is the order of the King's Guardian Knights. Though they are Generals and Warriors of note, they act as the King's bodyguards in battle and interesting situations. Currently, they are acting as his 'mothers', making sure he rests and does not overly exert himself.
Think King Arthur and President Kennedy all rolled into one. Charisma, honor, and an innate sense of justice and fairness that Solomon could appreciate. Add to this a grandfather's kindness and a best friend's familiarity then you have captured the man's essence.
He knows everyone's name, from the greatest lord to the most humble footman. He remembers everything they have ever talked about and often knows other details about them too. He has a knack for making people feel special.
Practice your public speaking, this man is always 'on stage' promoting what is right and good. Prepare a number of quotes and mini-speeches so they are ready to go.
He is supposed to be a mythic character. Even if the game is 'in his lifetime', he counts as a myth. However, if you are doing much of the Twin Rose Wars, he will be 'recently dead'. Even dead this man will cast a long shadow. If your campaign has the Rose Wars in the recent past, or farther down the timeline, people will still be talking about The Great King and mean Mathius.
Historical Note: The Kingdom Humana (or Human Kingdom) was the first human state in these lands. It was The Golden Age, an age when the Mythics and Magic were common and life was better. Since the end of that age (not that long ago really), the Silver Age has ruled. Humanity has expanded and more Kingdoms are in The Lands now. After the Twin Rose Wars, a new era will begin - the Iron Age. It will also be known as Pre-Modern or Early Modern Era in text books of the future.
Every society has their stories of mythic heroes. King Arthur. Hercules. The Monkey King.
Sometimes villians also get in on the mythic status action: Professor Moriarty. Sauron. Jack the Ripper.
In the end, every game world needs a fine assortment of larger than life people, if only just the stories of their exploits.
So this month's quest is Mythic/Historical NPCs.
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? Responses (8)
Another good submission from you.
Good job on our first quest sub.
Updated: Updated with a few new links and reminders about the Magenta Rose freetext links.
Make sure to follow the links and the Freetext links. That will lead you to this little world.
Solid. Every campaign needs a Mathius.
Very good, particularly in conjunction as a backdrop to the Rose Wars.
An almost too perfect historical figure. More useful dead then alive :)
Which is the point.
Not to say he wasn't an amazing figure. He is one of those 'Grand Historical Figures that change the course of history'. You know the kind, they get books written about them or paragraphs in your world history books.
Yet, while he was good, his story is magnified with time. 'The stories grow...' and with each retelling, and there are a lot of them, they grow more. He was good before, but now - especially for what is going on in his world - he will be considered awesome.
He is legend. Do not let the reality get in the way.