- "....Thou shalt give unto thine glorious liege the taxes that he requires....Thou shalt labour all but feast days.....And no more than a tenth-share shall you keep for kith and kin....Rejoice! For a Knight of Bretonnia provides your shield"
- —Vows of the Peasants unto their Bretonnian Lord
The Kingdom of Bretonnia is a highly-chivalrous feudal Human kingdom that lies between the lands of the Grey Mountains and the Great Ocean. Bretonnia is second only in size and military power to that of the Empire of Man, both their chief rival and closest allies, having a culture and society that revolves around the ideals of nobility, social birthright and the upholding of a strictly enforced code of chivalry. Ruled by a Royarch, the nation of Bretonnia has been known throughout the Kingdoms of Man for having the greatest Knights in the entire Old World, rivaling or in some cases even surpassing that of the Knightly Orders of the Empire. A proud and honorable kingdom, the warriors of Bretonnia comprised mostly of Knights and Noblemen, who ride into battle with lance, horse, and sword, seeking out glories and rooting out injustice where they go.
The religion that currently dominates this mighty feudal kingdom, is the worship of a local elemental deity known only as the Lady of the Lake. This mysterious Goddess of Purity, Light and Order is believed to have aided Gilles le Breton in unifying Bretonnia into a single unified nation, during a Greenskin invasion from the Southern Mountains in 978 IC. The Bretonnian calender is offset from the Sigmarian Empire's by about 977 years, as the people of the Bretonni weren't fully united until King Gilles reign as the first Bretonnian monarch.
Bretonnian recorded history can vary greatly from Duchy to Duchy, being recorded and maintained such as it is, mostly by monks within the many Grail Monasteries dotting the land. Even today most Bretonnians are completely illiterate, this includes the Nobles, all of whom retain through patronage a stable of artists, musicians, scholars and monks to do such work for them. As of today, there is no doubt in the minds of the Old World that the Knights of Bretonnia are amongst the greatest Knights within the Realms of Man.
Common Mythology and Pre-History
The Land of Bretonnia did not in fact truly exist during the time of Sigmar and the earliest days of the Empire. Indeed, many centuries passed before a great and noble Knight united the highly independent and prideful Bretonni tribes in the same way Sigmar had with the birth of the Empire.
The earliest days of Bretonnian history are not well recorded, though it has been conjectured that as within the wider world, it may have once been ruled over by the cold-blooded Lizardmen at the dawn of the planet's creation. Long after their first great struggle to hold back the Forces of Chaos, during the First Chaos Incursions, the land that would later become Bretonnia was settled by the High Elves of Ulthuan, this being done during the reign of Phoenix King Bel-Shanaar the Explorer. Many elven colonies dotted the coast and larger rivers of Bretonnia during the first years of their colonization, of which the most famous was the city of Tor Alessi.
These colonies survived the civil war with Malekith, and then the Sundering relatively unscathed, but soon faced the full wrath of the Dwarfs in a time known as The War of the Beards. Bretonnia was the primary battleground of this war, which lasted for well over three centuries. The conflict finally ended with the death of Phoenix King Caledor II, and the subsequent capture of the Phoenix Crown by the Dwarfs. However, the war had so weakened the High Elves by this time, that the next Phoenix King Caradryel, ordered a withdrawal of all Elves back to Ulthuan, leaving the colonies in ruin. Those few Elves who had refused this commands retreated into the enchanted glades of Athel Loren and over the centuries degenerated into the now feral Wood Elves.
It was at this time that the first nomadic human settlers of Bretonnia appeared. Circa fifteen hundred years before the time of Sigmar, an agricultural tribe of people arrived on the western side of Axe Bite Pass after escaping the many wars being fought in the East as the Greenskin menace began to overwhelm all in their path. These primitive tribes had little knowledge of metalwork or warfare, and relied heavily on agriculture and flint-crafted weapons to survive in the harsh wilderness.
These groups of people were known to have worshiped a primordial earth elemental goddess called Rhya, and erected many primitive stone circles in her honour. These Stone Circles were places of great natural power, and were marked with symbols that remain as a foundation of the Druidic Old Faith unto this day. Approximately five hundred years later, around one thousand years before the time of Sigmar, a second wave of human migrations crossed over the World's Edge Mountains in order to also escape a growing Greenskin threat from the east. These new human tribes were warlike, strong and and fierce, they fought both Greenskin and indigenous human populations alike. While most of these tribes settled within and eventually became the Empire, one far ranging tribe crossed the Grey Mountains. This tribe, called the Bretonni, was to give its name to the land they found. Like their eastern kin, they displaced both the Greenskins and human earth-worshipers, thus soon becoming the dominant culture west of the grey mountains.
The Dark Age of Bretonnia (900 to 977 IC)When Sigmar founded the Empire, he extended an invitation unto all the Bretonni warlords to join him in his new confederation. Despite noble Sigmar's goal of pan-human unity, the cultural differences between the Bretonni and his people were apparently too large to overcome, thus his offer was quickly rebuffed by them. While the Empire experienced many growing pains throughout the first millennium of its existence, the Bretonni would remain as a whole, a fractured people. It would be foolish to say that they did not advance though. In time, trade and knowledge was eventually gained from the nearby proximity of Dwarfs living within the Grey Mountains, which allowed the early sub-tribes of Bretonnia to resemble something closer towards their modern state, with each petty King or Warlord renaming themselves as a Duke of his own small Duchy.
The Greenskins had lived within Bretonnia alongside the Bretonni for many years, and as is normal for these foul creatures, their population eventually reached critical levels, and they began to overrun the Bretonni lands in a seething green tide. Attacking almost simualtanously, the Dukedoms of Cuileux and Glanborielle were the first to be consumed by the ever growing Hordes of Orcs and Goblins. The Bretonni Knights rose in their hundreds to face these monstrous foes in combat, riding on-top of their might warhorses as they ploy headlong towards the many battlefields that are springing up all across the realm. However, the Dukes of each Dukedom did not have the time to properly gather his Knights into a single unified army, and in so these scattered bands of Knights eventually found themselves outnumbered and surronded. To the north, the Dukedoms of those lands have been overrun by Northern Raiders from the shores of Norsca, raiding and pillaging the lands without mercy.
At roughly the same time, the Undead armies of Settra the Imperisable and his fleet of rotting warships and skeletal warriors appeared upon the western coast of Bretonnia. No sooner had the Orcs and Goblin armies rampaged through the region, that the Undead Hordes swept across the lands and completed the desolation with silent impunity. To the South and East, restless Goblin tribes came down from their homes within the Grey Mountains, pillaging and burning their way through the Dukedoms of Quenelles and Bastone. With the enemies of Mankind amassing all around them, the remaining Dukes have all but lost hope.
One of the Dukes however, Duke Gilles of Bastonne, led a campaign alongside his peers in their effort to stop the Greenskin menace. He was the most highly respected amongst his peers for slaying the Dragon Smearghus earlier in his reign. Gilles rallied first Duke Theirulf of Lyonesse, and then his greatest and most loyal friend, Duke Landuin of Mousillon under his Crusading banner, but even these three men and their combined grand army found themselves outmatched and facing almost certain annihilation.
This inexperienced and badly battered "Bretonni" army then encamped themselves beside a lake. Upon the morrow, they felt certain to face their doom upon the field of battle, with the war drums of the Orc Waaagh! allowing them no rest or sleep. That morning, when all hope seemed lost for the Bretonni cause, a true miracle unfolded upon Gilles and his army of Knights. As Gilles knelt before the lakeside to drink of its pure waters and pray for strength, an ethereal and heavenly beautiful woman arose from out of the mists, leaving the Bretonni army a-gasp and afraid. Gilles was the first to make a move, raising the bloodstained and tattered banner of Bastone high, inspired by some genius or desperate madness, he cried out: "Lady, wouldst thou bless mine banner!"
He then dipped it into the lake at the Lady's feet. When he drew it forth and raised it high again so all could see, it was dry and fully restored, only now also emblazoned with the glowing icon of a golden Grail. The other Dukes and knights then scrambled to follow his example, asking the Lady to bless their sword, lance, or warhorse for the coming battle. Finally, the lady held forth a large gilded chalice overflowing with light, giving it first to Gilles and then to his companions to drink from and gain the strenght needed to achieve victory. These three became the first Grail Knights, and fighting under the banner of the Lady of the Lake, the Bretonni won their first great victory against the Greenskins race.
The Unification of Bretonnia (977 to 978 IC)
The morning after his encounter with the Lady of the Lake, Duke Gilles of Bastonne led his army against the Orcs besieging the Dukdeom of Bordeleaux. The three Grail Companions did as much slaughter as the rest of their army combined, and the Greenskin hordes were driven into the ocean. Seeing a means to retake their lands from the Greenskins, Lord Marcus of Bordeleaux and Lord Fredemund of Aquaitaine eagerly joined Gilles and his ever-growing army of Knights. After the victory feast, the Lady of the Lake appeared in the private chamber where the Lords were gathered, where she bestowed Marcus and Fredemund the Holy Grail and thus become the fourth and fifth Grail Companion. Marcus turned that chamber within his castle into the first Grail Chapel, a site still of unparalleled sanctity today.
As the Companions rode south to the Dukedom of Brionne, they found their way blocked by the army of a bloated Orc by the name of Warlord Brogtar. Lord Fredemund summoned a great flock of Falcons, which struck the flying beasts of the Orcis armies from the sky. With the flying beast slain, the Grail Companions sounded the charge and fought their way deep into the heart of the enemy army, where Lord Landuin struck the Warlord down with his own sword. With victory achieved, the Companions hurried their armies towards the besieged capital of Brionne.
Once they reached their destination, they found the castle under-siege by a horde of Greenskin warriors. The Knights drove through the unsuspecting besiegers from the rear-flank, shattering their resolve and breaking the siege. Lord Balduin of Brionne sallied forth with his Knights and met Gilles in the midst of the Orcish army. As they clasped forearms as brothers, the Lady of the Lake appeared and gave Balduin a drink from the Holy Grail, thus becoming the sixth Grail Companion. Although the Knights were outnumbered three-hundred to one, the Grail Companions were able to still drive them from the battlefield.
Urged on by the vision of the Lady, the army crossed the River Rienne and rode east through the ravaged Dukedom of Carcasonne, towards the besieged Dukedom of Quenelles. As they rode, Lord Lambard of Carcasonne rallied to their banner and entered Quenelles. Upon their arrival, they found that the Forest of Loren was in flames, assaulted by another army of Orcish warriors. Some of the Knights were afraid to venture towards the burning forest, for fear of the dreaded Fay Enchantress that has made the Forest her home. Unafraid, Gilles urged them on, and upon entering the Forest, the Knights were attacked by the Orcs. In the heat of battle, the Fay Enchantress appeared from the shadows and lent her aid towards the Knights, with the very trees of the Forest rising up to meet the Greenskin invaders. As the battle raged on, the Knights were met with the army of Rademund the Pure, Lord of Quenelles, and with the last Orc slain, the Lady blessed both Rademund and Lambard for their bravery, thus becoming the seventh and eighth Grail Companion.
Riding north to the Dukedom of Parravon, the Grail Companions found it's +beautiful capital lying in ruins. Rampaging Giants rained down boulders upon the city walls from the mountains above, whilst a horde of Goblins from the Severed Head Tribe looted the city streets. Lord Agilgar of Parravon, mounted upon Glorfinial, his faithful Pegasus, took to the skies and aided Gilles in retaking the city.
Heading further north-west, the Companions alongside Lord Agilgar, came to the aid of the Dukedom of Montfort. Besieged and surronded, Gilles order the charge against the Greenskin invaders, but was struck low by a ballista bolt from one of the Greenskin war-machines. His companions rallied about him and fought their way towards the city, where they were met by Lord Martrud of Montfort. As Lord Agilgar and Martrud watched over the body of Gilles, the Lady of the Lake appeared before them and healed Gilles of his injuries. For their dedication to Gilles, the Lady blessed Lord Agilgar and Martrud in becoming the ninth and tenth Grail Companion. Arising from his sick bed, Gilles led that charge that broke the Greenskin army.
With the Greenskins retreating, Gilles ordered a counter-attack and plunged deep into the cavernous homes of the Goblin Kings. Illuminated by the holy light of the Grail Companions, the Lords of the Britonni slaughtered the Goblin Kings and broke the unity that held their fractious tribes together. With their purpose achieved, they fought their way back to the surface covered with the black blood of their enemies.
Now with ten of the Bretonni Lords following his banner, Gilles turned west to face the Greenskins despoiling the Duke of Gisoreux. Joining forces with Duke Beren of Gisoreux, GIlles faced a horde containing many of the Orc's most deadliest Shamans, who turned their foul magic upon the Bretonni. Protected by the blessings of the Lady, the Knights and the Grail Companions charged unharmed through the magical maelstrom and struck the enemy horde with great force, breaking their resolve.
The army continued west into the Duchy of Mousillon, once the most beautiful and fairest lands of the Bretonni people. Now wasted and burning, the Knights walked through the wasteland and met Duke Folgar of Artios within the city of Mousillon. Duke Folgar told the Knights that an army of Beastmen and Undead warriors march upon the city within a matter of hours, and so the Knights took to the city's defences and stood resolute. The Grail Companions each took out a Dark Champion of the army, with the battle ending when Duke Landuin struck down the sorceror who is controlling the Undead warriors, destroying nearly half the enemy army, forcing the Beastmen to retreat. The Grail Companions perused the fleeing beastmen army, and when Duke Beren and Duke Folgar returned, they shined with the light of the Lady, becoming now the eleventh and twelfth Grail Companion.
The victorious Lords turned north, riding through the Forest of Arden until they reached the besieged port-city of L'Anguille. There, they found the great city under-siege by an army of Norsemen Marauders and Chaos Warriors, attacking from both land and sea. Duke Corduin of L'Anguille cut a path through the besiegers and met up Duke Gilles. At lenght, Lord Marcus of Bordeleaux challenged the leader of the Norse, Svengar of the Skaelings, to single combat, with the conditions that the loser's forces would withdraw. Too proud to refuse, the giant warrior met Marcus upon a lighthouse tower and fought until the next day. As dawn broke, Lord Marcus found renewed strenght and struck down the Norse Cheiftan. A savage but honorable race of warriors, the Norse kept to their words and returned to their ships and sailed home.
After but a nights rest, the Grail Companions rode eastward where they met up with Duke Caerleond of Couronne. There the Duke joined the armies of Gilles and fought an Orc horde at the River Sannez. With the aid of the combined armies, the Knights drove the Greenskins back, defeated them, and turned the waters of the river black with blood. With victory achieved, the Knights rode with all haste to the city of Couronne.
Gathering within Couronne, the Knights heard news of a massive host of Beastmen, Trolls, and nameless creatures of Chaos pouring from the Forest of Arden. As they prepared for the final battle, messengers brought word of an army of Greenskins warriors, the largest they have ever seened, pouring out of the mountainous region known as the Pale Sisters. Worst yet, when the Knights assembled outside the walls of the city, an army of Skavens rose up from the sewer networks and pillage the city streets. As the Lords took counsel before the fight, the Lady of hte Lake joined their numbers. There she had Lord Corduin and Caerleond drink from the Holy, thus being the last and final thirteenth and fourtheth member of the Grail Companions. Then she blessed the whole army and bade them fight in her name.
With a ferocity not seen by their people for centuries, the Knights of all the Bretonni people fought the three armies that assails them. The battle raged for weeks upon weeks, as foul creatures continued to pour from their lairs like a stormy tide and break upon the armies of the Bretonni as against a cliff. When at last the sounds of battle fell silent, the plains of Couronne were awashed with the bodies of the slain. This was the greatest victory ever achieved by the Bretonni people, and the battle had finally signalled the end to the fighting, and the birth of a new kingdom.
The Founding of a Kingdom (978 to 1448 IC)
Thus with peace won, it was agreed that there shall be an everlasting peace amongst the surviving twelve Dukedoms. Gilles was dubbed "The Uniter", and with a blessing from the Lady of the Lake's representative, the mystical Fay Enchantress, he thus became the first Royarch of Bretonnia.
With the tragic death of Gilles in the year 17 (995 IC) by Orcish ambushers, the Kingdom of Bretonnia was left with a dilemma. There was much wailing lamentation and gnashing of teeth throughout the lands, as all Bretonnia mourned the passing of their first king. Gilles's only recognized son, Louis was crowned the next Duke of Bastonne, and a possible new King of Bretonnia. However, the question of whether he should also be proclaimed King of all Bretonnia, as old tribal tradition allowed, was much debated. Many advocated that Duke Landuin should take the position, whilst other's believed his rival, Duke Thierulf or the wise Duke Marcus, should make a more suitable heir to the throne.
The majority of Dukes eventually agreed that Louis should take on the duty, but this then posed another greater problem. Louis had not drunk from the Holy Grail, as had his father and all other Dukes at the time of the Kingdom's founding. It has been decreed that no Knight, no matter of birthright, could become Lord over all Bretonnia without first having the blessings of both the Fay Enchantress and the Lady of the Lake. So it was that Louis left court, setting out immediately upon his quest to find the Lady, and thus prove his worth before her sight, towards earning himself the title as King, earning him the title of "The Rash". This event eventually led to the traditions of the Questing Knight.
For years, Louis the Rash traveled the length and breadth of Bretonnia, righting many wrongs and doing great deeds in service to the Goddess. In his absence, Duke Theirulf acted as steward of all Bretonnia, much to the annoyance of Duke Landium. Years later, Louis returned to his ancestral castle astride a mighty purebred charger, his golden hair was shining and his eyes were aglow with a Divine noble presence. None could doubt that the Lady had blessed him, so thus his subjects fell unto their knee's before him, and pledge their loyalty to the new King.
So it was that Louis was crowned King of all Bretonnia, and presented with the golden Crown, a gift given by the Fay Enchantress herself. All Bretonnia rejoiced in their new monarch, and made ready to do what ever he demands. His first act as king was to formalize the code of honour and chivalry that his father and the Companions had lived by. These original vows of chivalric knighthood still exist within the halls of Bastonne, upon a crumbling parchment, decorated with an elaborate script, detailing all the duties and privileges of a knight, and those of all other ranks within noble society. All across Bretonnia, knights eagerly embraced these vows, and many noble warriors gave up all deed of land and title, castles and wealth, thus to embark upon the path of a Questing Knight. A wave of faith swept through Bretonnia, and the Lady of the Lake verily became the primary deity of the noble classes.
The Dukes continued to push back all manner of evil from within their border's, and aided in the struggles of their neighbours to do like wise, which lead to Bretonnia flourishing with wealth and power. The great port cities grew large and sprawling, prosperous with renewed trade. Grail Chapels were built in places of holy significance, and the Fay Enchantress guided the Dukes of Bretonnia in their worship of the Lady. For the next few hundred years, Bretonnia continued to grow in both strength and cultural influence. This was a golden age of chivalry, and when their lands were threatened, they crushed all foe's that dared to face them. King Gulliaume defeated the Orc tribes of the Massif Orcal highlands, sparing none. Lord Lamorte smashed the skeletal fleets of the Tomb Kings at Savage Point. The hated beasts of the forest were also pushed deeper and deeper into their darkly wooded realms, and were even finally expelled from the more open and lightly forested lands of the Dukedom of Theodremund.
The Crusades and the Wars of Errantry (1448 to 2490 IC)In the year 470 (1448 IC) the war-torn southern realm of Estalia was invaded by Sultan Jaffar and the armies of Araby. Diplomatic envoy's pleaded with Bretonnia to send aid, and the king sent out a call to war towards all of Bretonnia. Throughout all the dukedom's, this call to war was heard, and countless knight's pledge their lance to their King's holy cause. In his noble wisdom, King Louis the Righteous gave permission for warriors of the Empire to cross Bretonnia on their journey to Estalia, for they too had pledged their aid, despite the lack of unification during the Age of Three Emperors. This military campaign had since been named the Great Crusade, in homage of the zeal of these warrior-knights.
Within time, the armies of Jaffar were pushed back by the more mobile and heavily armored forces of the Crusading Knights, forcing him to relinquish his hold on most of Estalia. Retreating back to Araby, but leaving a token force of troops around the important city of Magritta, Jaffar's armies were hounded by the Bretonnians who pursued them tirelessly. The Crusader army eventually reached the sandy beaches of Araby and invaded the major city and trade-port of Copher.
As the crusaders sailed with the aid of Estalian ports and Tilean warships, Jaffar and his men prepared for the coming invasion by fortifying most of the major sea-ports. When they finally arrived in the spice-trading city of Copher, it was heavily fortified and the defenders were well prepared for the coming battle. Yet they weren't prepared for the wrath of the northern kingdoms that Jaffar had brought upon them, and once the defenders first started faltering against the onslaught of knights and siege towers, a breach was made and soon the high spires of Copher were pulled to the ground and much of the population were put to the sword.
Not even the harsh desert condition's could perturb the knights, and their fervor very slowly took their toll on Jaffar's warriors as many desert tribes under Jaffar's control are growing tired of this war of attrition. Despite Jaffar having a far vastly larger army then the crusaders, Jaffar's armies began to disband, for many of the tribes of Araby grew weary of the despot's incompetence. After frustrating months of minor skirmishes, the Bretonnians faced Jaffar at the Battle of El Haikk.
Elemental spirits of the deep deserts were summoned to fight alongside Jaffar's armies, and with their numerical superiority, they overwhelmed the outnumbered crusaders on all sides. Just when all hope seems lost and the army was almost at the breaking point, a host of both Empire and Bretonnian knights charged furiously at the tightly packed army, mowing down the lightly armored soldiers until finally the armies were scattered by the sudden death of Jaffar by a Bretonnian lance. Disliking the harsh, dry lands, for it proved too vast and hostile to be completely conquered, the Bretonnians sailed back home, with cargo-ships laden with exotic goods and treasures, whilst the Empire Knight's remained behind to hunt down the remnants of Jaffar's army for another century, which would eventually lead to the creation of several more Knightly Orders.
Meanwhile, a second great crusading force, led by Baron Tybalt, left Bretonnia and was travelling the long road overland towards Araby. Hearing of the great victory, his force did not press onto the desert kingdom's, feeling sadden at the lose of such a glorious campaign. Nevertheless, under Tybalt's leadership they pushed into lands that had not yet been conquered by any civilized race. Seeking glory and honour, they sought out the armies of Greenskins that plagued these lands, and many great victory were won. The hardy Dwarves that dwelled within the mountains around these lands rejoiced, for the Bretonnians had dealt a serious blow to their ancient enemy, and they bestowed much praise and honour upon the Knights. Rare it was these day's for the reclusive Dwarfs to make contact with the other nation's of men, other than the Empire. These victories eventually bestowed a bond between Bretonnia and the Dwarves of Karaz Ankor.
These lands later became known by most as the Border Princes. Indeed some knights remained, building great castle in the following decades hoping to create their own kingdom upon the frontiers of this new land. Despite these grand crusades beyond Bretonnia, the dukedoms themselves were not left undefended, for there were still intermittent threats within the borders of their kingdom that needed to be secured.
One such threat coincided with the deadly Red Pox that swept through southern Bretonnia and decimating the population's of peasants living in the sinking slums and hovels villages. As if this were a trigger, foul rat-men creatures erupted from their tunnels and attacked the Bretonnian Duchies. Marching to the aid of the Duke of Parravon came the mysterious fey folk of Athel Loren, lending their otherworldly power's to the knights to destroy this threat before disappearing once more. Other perils have been successfully defeated, including attacks from other hated minions of Chaos, be they beserker Norsemen or foul forest Beast.
Throughout the ages, other crusades have been waged by the proud Bretonnians, yet none of them so great as the next one. One such crusade however was led into the deep deserts to the east of Araby, in the land of the Tomb Kings, and a great many battles were won in that year. Others seen Bretonnians fighting far from home, even as far across the oceans as the jungle lands of the New World. Some of these crusades were declared as Errantry Wars, a tradition that derives from the old custom of the Errands of Knighthood. Usually a young knight would be set a task by their lord, an errand that must be fulfilled before they can attain full knighthood.
Errands traditionally included such things as the recovery of a lost artifact, the slaying of a great beast terrorizing a rural village or successfully escorting a noble lady through dangerous lands. However, in times of war and peril, a king may declare an Errantry War. At such times, a young Knight Errant may earn the title of Knight of the Realm through brave deeds and daring exploits on the field of battle. When an Errantry War is declared, many of young knights all over Bretonnia rally to the cause, eager to earn their full knighthood. These unseasoned Knights throw themselves in the thick of battle, often fighting recklessly trying their best to outdo their comrades and gain the attention of their superiors. As such, the king may declare an Errantry War when has a need to quickly gather a large, well-motivated, yet unseasoned army of knights.
In the year 1223 (2201 IC) King Louren Orc-Slayer amassed a grand army after declaring an Errantry War, with thousands of young knights joining the ranks of the more experienced retinues of the Dukes. Together, this army smashed the growing Orc and Goblin tribes that have been amassing for many years on the border's of Bretonnia. The traditional frontiers of the dukedoms were expanded, and many Greenskin strongholds have been conquered. New castles were built along these borders, and many of the young Knights Errant were granted these domains along with full knightly titles at the end of the war.
The longest Errantry War ever fought was launched by King Charlen in 1442 (2420 IC). The Border Princes were overrun by enemies and, despite bitter resistance, there were eventually overrun. Charlen responded instantly to their appeal for aid, declaring his intention's to rid the Old World of the Greenskin menace once and for all. Charlen was a brave and mighty warrior, but was never known for his great power of wits and strategy, for everbody knew that the Greenskin horde can never truly be defeated.
Nevertheless, many thousands of young knights embraced Charlen's vision passionately, and a great army set off across the mountains, with many knights perishing on the long and arduous journey. At first, victory followed victory and the Greenskin's were slaughtered on the banks of the Blood River. However, as the years rolled by and more young knights traveled to the war-zone to gain honor, Bretonnia grew weaker due to the lack of defender's within it's border. For over sixty-years the war continued, draining Bretonnia of its finances, leader's, and entire generations of knights. Eventually, in the year 1444 (2422 IC), retaliatory attacks from Orc tribes had ravaged the undefended Dukedom of Carcassonne whilst the Knights that should've protected the realm joined the Errantry War.
Eventually, under King Phillippe V, the Errantry War was ended after a devastating defeat at Dread Pass, where an entire army of Bretonnian Knights were slaughtered by the thousands, as the Greenskins pulled these proud knights from their saddles and killed them wholesale. The Bretonnians, in their pride, did not cope well with defeat, and were it not for the wise king ending the wars, then countless more knights may well have thrown their lives away in an effort to regain the honor of their defeated brethren.
The Incursion of Lichmaster Heinrich Kemmler (2491 to 2520 IC)
As the years grow by, one of the most recent and major battles fought against an Undead horde, took place near and within La Maisontal Abbey located around the Grey Mountains. A joint Undead-Skaven army lead by Lichmaster Heinrich Kemmler and a Wraith Lord named Krell, attacked and sacked the aforementioned sacred Abbey of the Lady. The battle was a most fierce struggle between the noble knights and the rotting hordes of zombie's and warriors Kemmler and Krell had summoned up to serve them. As the battle raged on, knights and undead warriors fought viciously within the sacred grounds. They were finally overcome by the heroic actions of the great Duke Tancred d'Quencilles and his proud companion knights, whom pushed the hordes back with a devastating charge and disrupted the sorcerous hold that held the army togather.
Seeing imminent defeat, the Skaven army abandoned there allies as is their habit to do. The Knights returned victorious and with much honour, for their victory was indeed glorious. However, it was a hollow victory, for the treasonous Skaven had merely used the foolish necromancer to gain hold of a mystical and powerful artifact kept within the Abbey.
It is believed by most that Heinrich died in that bloody battlefield. Nevertheless, the Lichmaster's body was never found, and Tancred spent the remainder of his life pursing the hated Necromancer unto the ends of the World. Tancred finally fell in battle against the surviving forces of the Lichmasters minions at the Battle of Montfort Bridge. Just as the hordes of Heinrich were scattered, he fell before he could reach and kill a hooded figure he believed to be Heinrich re-risen. It is said that the Lichmaster is still biding his time to enact his revenge against the Bretonnians that defeated him.
The End Times (2522 IC)
- "We have political systems like this in the Empire. We call them 'protection rackets'..."
- —Matthias von Pfeildorf, former Imperial Envoy to Couronne
The Governmental system that controls much of Bretonnian society is the use and implementation of a Feudal System, an out-dated archaic political system that was widely used within the Old World many centuries ago, but has seen been removed and replaced with more efficient systems of Government. Bretonnia is now the only Human Kingdom to still follow this system. The functionality of the Feudal System is based upon oaths of loyalty between individuals within a society or nation, from which there is little to no direct form of a centralized state. The basic principles of the Feudal System is where those below the social ladder must give up their goods and service to those of higher nobility in exchange for protection and certain rights, privileges and titles.
The peasantry of Bretonnia form the foundations of this feudal system and are required to serve and obey the nobility without question in exchange for their protection. As such, the vows of the Peasants are those of servitude. Above the peasants are the nobles, whose responsibility is the protection of their lands and subjects from the depredations of outside threats, who in exchange for a land and title, shall fight for the King or Royarch when called into war. Thus, the vows of the Nobility is one of fealty.
At the very top of this social pyramid is the King or Royarch. The Royarchs rule is sovereign and absolute, with no laws made within the kingdom having any hold upon the actions of the King. The Royarch has the right to do anything he pleases within his realm, and has the ability to create knew laws or legislation should he wish it. However, to be a King of Bretonnia requires one to become a Grail Knight, and to be a Grail Knight, one must be the purest of all humanity's hearts.
As such, nearly all Kings of Bretonnia are a shining beacon of Chivalry, Justice, and Bravery. The Kings of Bretonnia have been known to truly care for all of his people, constantly finding ways to better the lives of his subjects under his rule and to root out injustice wherever it grows. Thusly, the King's power serves as a check on abuses and exploitation made by the lesser nobility.
The Royal Court
- "What is a Knight without his steed. But what is the steed without his knight. Knight and Steed, noble and peasant; on such relationship is Bretonnia built."
- —King Louen Leoncoeur
Like any government ruled by a central figure, each King of Bretonnia houses a Royal Court from which he is able to govern and manage his realm with the aid of advisers and his fellow nobles. The current ruler, King Louen Leoncoeur, holds court within the Duchy of Couronne during the winter months. In the summer months, the nobles within his court disperse to their fiefs.
By long custom the King speaks only to the highest nobles, and rarely speaks to those of less than baronial rank. Indeed, nearly all of the Kings servants are Barons, powerful in social ranking due their constant interactions with the king and being sworn in fealty to him alone, for only by the King's direct proclamation can a patent of Barony be issued. The only time a Peasant would ever speak to the King in person, is when he raises one unto the ranks of nobility by knighting them, and this has occurred only five times in the kingdom's entire history.
Unlike most of the lesser nobility King Louen is deeply devoted to his country, and has declared he is willing to hear of abuses and injustices committed by any of his subjects, no matter how powerful. Peasants who can find a noble no matter how lowly, to plead their case can appeal directly to the King. Still, the King has limited time and there are far more abuses than he could ever hear. As such, only the most grievous of abuses are heard. Fortunately if the King hears a grievous case, he always judges fairly with both a wisdom and conscious that most nobles have often lack.
The Code of Chivalry
Another aspect of Bretonnia society that governs the actions of the nobility is the Codes of Chivalry. This code was first introduced upon the coronation of Gilles le Breton as the first Royarch, which grew out of the warrior traditions of the ancient Bretonni tribes that occupied the lands of Bretonnia before its establishment as a kingdom. Indeed, this Code of Chivalry is in its own way, a system of laws from which the Bretonnian nobility has to follow in order to regulate the way their dukedoms should be run.
It wasn't until the reign of King Louis the Rash that the Codes of Chivalry were formalized and established, with the king appointing many heralds to regulate the ranks and honors of knighthood throughout Bretonnia. The code of chivalry has since been almost unchanged unto the present day.
The Seven Commandments
The Bretonnian code of chivalry requires that every Knight must follow these seven commandments. These commandments is an integral part of Bretonnian society and government, and is often used to dictate the actions of a Bretonnian noble.
- To serve the Lady of the Lake.
- To defend the domains entrusted to him.
- To protect the weak and fight for the right.
- Always to fight the enemies of virtue and order.
- Never to give up the fight until the foe be defeated.
- Never to break faith with a friend or ally.
- Always to display honor and courtesy.
The Rules of Honor
Apart from the commandments of chivalry, there are certain traditional 'rules of honor' from which are adhered to and respected by all Knights. These rules are an important part of the code of chivalry. They date back to the very origins of knighthood in Bretonnia and mark out Bretonnian Knights as distinct from those of other realms. The most important rules are summarized below:
- A Knight may only fight hand-to-hand, with sword or lance he may not use a missile weapon.
- A Knight shall always accept a challenge towards personal combat.
- A Knight shall not draw sword against his fellow Bretonnian Knight, except in trail by combat or within a tournament.
- A Knight shall not allow himself to be captured alive.
- A Knight shall not flee from the enemy, nor retreat without proper tactical cause.
- "Lady, I am your servant and in this time of trial I once again offer you my blade and service. When the clarion call is sounded, I will ride out and fight in the name of liege and Lady. Whilst I draw breath the lands bequeathed unto me shall remain untainted by evil. Honour is all, chivalry is all. Such is my vow."
- —the ritual vow of a Knight of the Realm
The religious spirit of Bretonnia is often as divided as the division between the nobility and peasantry. Within Bretonnian society the worship of the Lady of the Lake is considered the main religious doctrine. Much of Bretonnian culture is shaped by the actions of the Cult of the Lady, making them a large political power amongst the nobility. However, unlike the worship of other cults, such as the Cult of Sigmar where doctrine claims the allegiance of all the Empire's people, the Cult of the Lady is restricted only to the nobility within open and or public worship. Although the middle class of freemen commoners, are allowed to worship at shrines and temples upon payment of a tithe unto the brotherhood maintaining such sites. For Nobles such tithing is entirely voluntary and the amount dependent upon the noble's generosity. Most tithing's being made for show and to establish social status and reputation amongst the peerage.
Peasants are prohibited from openly worshiping the Lady of the Lake under pain of death or punishment. Instead the peasantry are allowed and in some cases, forced to worship the Gods of the Old World. The Cult of Ulric has very few followers and even fewer public shrines, the Cult of Mrymidia is growing substantially due to the presence of nearby Estalia. Being a martial God, it is a common theme for peasant soldiers and common militia to revere Myrmidia more than any other diety. The worship of Rhya and Taal is strong amongst farmers, where peasants regularly pray for good weather and a bountiful harvest, so to feed their hungry families and to pay the exorbitant tithes and taxes imposed by their Lords and masters.
The Cult of Verena is strongest amongst the few scholars that occupy Bretonnian civic society, found exclusively within the ducal capitals and larger trade port towns. It is common knowledge that outlaw vigilante groups known as Herrimalts or more commonly as a band of Merry Men, make her their patron goddess of justice. The Cult of Morr is espcially strong within both the peasantry and nobility alike, for the recurring theme of the dead rising from the graves has ensured the creation of many Gardens of Morr to both keep the spirits at rest and to block off the dead should they begin to stir. The Cult of Sigmar is nearly non-existent within Bretonnia.
The Cult of the Lady
Revered throughout Bretonnia but almost unknown elsewhere, the Lady of the Lake is the Bretonnian patron Goddess of purity, nobility and courage in the face of any danger. She is the romanticized ideal of womanhood, the one fair Lady that every Knight aspires to love and serve without doubt or hesitation. Within the minds of many nobles the Lady is the very heart and soul of Bretonnia, the mystical incarnation of the land itself and all people living within the kingdom.
Sacred groves and areas of mystical power are her dwelling places and the Grail Knight her protectors, devoting themselves to upholding her honor and purity. No base creatures or evildoers can be permitted to profane her sacred sites, this is a duty that every knight within Bretonnia, not just Grail Knight's, take very seriously indeed. The Bretonnian Code of Chivalry is inextricably linked with the Lady of the Lake, as it is she who rewards all honor and virtue, it is the supreme sign of a knight's favor to receive her personal Divine blessing. Achieved by drinking from the chalice she carries with her at all times, said to contain the pure and incorruptible life's blood of the Land itself.
Throughout Bretonnia there are many Grail Chapels built upon sites of holy significance, ranging from the most humble road-side shrine up to the great fortress cathedrals incorporated into a Duke's castle estate. It is the sacred duty of all Grail Knights to protect these shrines, often such holy paladins will devote the remainder of their lives to defending the Lady's sacred places. These mighty warriors are known best as Hermit Knights, who willingly spend their entire lives living in and defending the relics housed within such places, or standing vigil over items to dangerous to be allowed out amongst common, frail willed and easily corrupted men.
The fame of these hermit Knights can spread quickly especially if they are Grail knights, each will soon gain a varied rabble of displaced commoners peasants and even a few disgraced minor nobles. Over time this rabble, sworn in fealty unto the knight, form a brotherhood which if it can gain royal patent and recognition, can become a monastery or Grail Abbey. It is these brotherhoods that build and maintain the wayside shrines and chapels upon the Kings Highways, and it is these selfless grail monks whom care for the many pilgrims traveling within Bretonnia.
The Cult of Shallya
Probably the largest and most important religious cult within Bretonnian society after the Cult of the Lady, is the Cult of Shallya. The life of a Bretonnian peasant is extremely hard and the relief brought by the caring Shallyans is a very welcoming sight within any village, town or city. The religious doctrine of Shallya has been known to at times contradict those of the Lady, for while the Lady of the Lake promotes ideals of chivalry and honorable deeds in battle amongst the nobility, the Goddess Shallya cares for all people equally and weeps crystal-white tears for all the suffering they endure. Wishing only to ease their burden and provide a sense of comfort and relief in an otherwise cruel world.
As you might expect the Cult is extremely popular within the peasantry and most commoners, to such an extent that no Bretonnian peasant would ever be more than a few minutes walk from a shrine dedicated to Shallya. Such is the popularity of Shallya's teachings that even the nobility have taken to endowing small shrines of Shallya near and even associated with Grail Chapels, in the form of Grail convents, a custom that is rapidly growing in popularity. In fact the main temple for the Cult of Shallya is located within the Duchy capital of Couronne.
A common and growing heresy among peasants and some commoners, is a belief that both Shallya and Varena are merely aspects of the Lady, whom provide comfort for the peasantry and guide the nobility towards their protection. However such beliefs are ruthlessly suppressed by all agents of the lady, namely the Bretonnian Inquisition based within Bastonne but despite many years of vigorous investigation, a repeated reappearance of this heresy is now believed to be a natural weakness of the mind formed within common and other simple folk.
There are two main languages spoken within Bretonnia, Common Bretonnian and High Bretonnian. The most important is the High tongue, a dialect that is spoken only amongst the nobility. Almost exclusively spoken within the ducal and royal courts, it has a highly complex and rigidly formalized grammar, which was originally intended to create a language barrier between the upper and lower classes of Bretonnian society.
Over time it has grown to become an almost entirely foreign language, far greatly refined as compared to that of the rather course Common Bretonnian, which shares its roots within a mix of early Sigmarian and local tribal Bretonni Gothic.
The lands of Bretonnia are a feudal, traditional society where the peasants serve the knights in return for protection, while the knights are bound to militarily serve their lords in return for certain rights and titles. At the top of this feudal hierarchy is the King. Beneath the Kings are the Dukes. Beneath them are lesser ranks of nobility such as the Marquesses, the Earls, the Viscounts, and the Barons in descending order.
All of these nobles are also each the lord of a number of Knights, who are the lesser nobles of the society. Each Knight (including the higher nobles) has his own force of Men-at-Arms chosen from the most physically able peasants within his domains. In return for serving his knightly lord, each peasant is given a small tract of land for his family and can be expected to be called upon for in times of war. The geogrpahy of Bretonnia is somewhat rural, often having little to no innovation's in science and philosophy, and are somewhat backwards compared to the more technologically advanced nations of the Old World, such as those of the Dwarves and the Empire. Bretonnian military have been know to shun advanced weaponry such as Handguns, Cannons, and War-machines, seeing them as dishonorable weapons that goes against the ideals of Chivalry.
The lands are also ruled by spiritual and mystical leaders, the Fay Enchantress, her Damsels, and the Grail Knights, who are all faithful servants to the Lady of the Lake. The Lady of the Lake gets her servants by stealing all children with magical ability by the age of three. The girls become sorcerors in the service of the lady and would eventually become her Damsels. However, those born as male have never been seen again. For reasons of religious devotion, many Bretonnian parents, both noble and peasantry alike, allow this awful custom to.
The Knights of Bretonnia are divided into four categories. Knights Errant are young sons of nobles who must prove themselves in battle. If, they become Knights of the Realm, are their own small plot of land to govern, and are obliged to defend Bretonnia should they be called. Questing Knights are brave individuals who renounce their titles and worldly possessions and journey to faraway lands in hopes of being deemed worthy by the Lady to become Grail Knights.
Grail Knights are the most powerful and revered individuals in all of Bretonnia, second only to the Lady. They are living saints who represent the fearsome power of Bretonnia and answer only to the Lady herself. The Kingdom of Bretonnia is made up of 14 dukedoms: Couronne, L'Anguille, Artois, Lyonesse, Mousillon, Gisoreaux, Montfort, Bastonne, Bordeleaux, Aquitaine, Parravon, Brionne, Quenelles, and Carcassonne. Each of these, with the exception of Mousillon, is ruled by its own Duke, who in turn has various nobles and knights who serve under him. The great castle of the King is in the fortified city of Couronne, traditionally the capital. The Forest of Loren is within the borders of Bretonnia, but is considered to be the forbidden realm of the Wood Elves.
The PeasantryThe lands are notorious for their oppression of the commoners and peasants, which some say are more strict and harsh then those of other Old World nations. This dark side of Bretonnian is put out where, the nobles and nobility are above the peasants in many ways. They have all the say in most matters, and the peasants are often living in far worst conditions than those in the Empire.
The peasants have very few rights at all, and are kept illiterate and uneducated. They are considered, and must commonly surrender 9/10th's of their crops to their feudal lord. As a result most of them will remain extremely poor throughout their entire lives. They may also not leave their home province unless allowed; as a result a certain degree of inbreeding is quite common. Many peasants are afflicted by clubfeet, extra fingers, lazy eyes, or similar defects. Bretonnian justice is harsh and ruled by superstition, any peasant who is caught stealing or poaching is usually hanged. An even harsher punishment is dealt to a peasant who attacks a noble. He and his family will be tortured and slowly dismembered, while all his friends and acquaintances will be crippled. Such is the price of rebellion.
A small but growing middle class of commoners, also referred to as Freemen, make up both the professional trade and merchant class within Bretonnian society. Although literate for the most part, either self taught or by monks as there are no schools in Bretonnia. All education is by private arrangement and stems from the many Grail Monasteries for a price.
The artisans, craftsmen and semi professionals live almost exclusively within the kingdom's few city's, and numerous larger towns situated along the kingdom's coasts and rivers. They remain socially segregated from the bonded peasants and give fealty to a lord or landed knight but remain free to move with permission from local authorities.
Scholars advocates doctors and the like are respected for their duties but remain of a lower class than the nobles, with few if any rights more than the peasants. The ownership of gold jewelry and to hoard gold is forbidden to the common classes, and merchants must deal almost entirely in copper and silver. Officially gold is used only amongst the nobles, mostly as tax and tithing unto the royal treasury. Any gold received in trade must being declared and handed over to your noble master each tithing day, at a criminal rate of exchange of course.
The Sumptuary laws are strictly applied to this class, with gold and gems forbidden to be worn publicly. As is cloth of Purple, Bright Yellow or Green thread or silk of any colour and furs are restricted to rabbit cat and rat. Armour of plate also be forbidden to all lower classes, as is the carrying of heavy swords. ( Anything over the class of a rapier or light saber ).
Freemen are permitted to worship the Lady at shrines and within chapels ( upon a tithe being paid first ), and a number of other recognized deities be permitted. Such as Morr Shallya Mannan, but only nominally Varena as justice be totally the bailiwick of the nobles and their authorized representatives. With all authority stemming from the King under divine right. The peasants are not considered worthy enough to worship the Lady of the Lake directly. While they certainly respect and fear her, they usually worship the other deities of the Old World.
- "I pledge my service and my loyalty, body and soul, to my Lord. When the clarion call is sounded, I will ride out and fight in the name of liege and Lady. Whilst I draw breath, the lands bequeathed unto me will remain untainted by evil. Honor is All! Chivalry is All! This I swear on my blood and my breath"
- —The Knight's Vow
Unlike the professional armies of the Empire, the armies of Bretonnia consist almost entirely of armored heavy cavalry and the use of levied units of spearmen and archer. As such Bretonnia has no regular army. This means there are no soldiers ready into service of the nation when the call for war is suddenly blown. Instead, the Kingdom relies on the long and complicated feudal service of his Knights.
When a lord must go to war against the enemy, he appeals to the military assistance of his vassals. They in turn summoned their own vassals, with most of the lords taking with them peasants trained in combat or archery. These armies do not follow common military training and usually have even no internal hierarchy, but their military tactics are simple and homogeneous enough to function smoothly in all circumstances.
The main weakness of this system appears especially in long campaigns. Lords and Knights prefer to return back to their holdings and lands in order to govern them appropriately. As such, most campaigns shouldn't last for more then forty days. It is only when a Lord is under siege from an enemy, or the Royarch calls forth an Errantry War, will a Lord and his Knights gladly fight zealously for a longer period of time.
Bretonnian military tactics are often very simple and highly predictable, using a tactic that many have called the "Hammer and Anvil". The peasants and levies of the Bretonnian armies are considered the "anvil" during combat, providing a stable wall of infantry to hold the enemy at bay while the more highly-armored cavalry becomes the "hammer" and attacks the enemy flanks in a "Spearhead" formation, shattering the enemies resolve and achieving victory over the battlefield. As such, it is a common misconception that nearly all battles have always been won by the valiant deeds of Bretonnian Knights, often showing little regard for the important role that the "peasants" have played during the battle.
Nevertheless, the Knights of Bretonnia see themselves as a model of chivalry and virtue, representing the pinnacle of warrior ideals. When in war against civilized opponents, a Bretonnian Knight must be courteous towards his noble prisoners, and put those of common blood to the sword. The war gives the Knights of Bretonnia a chance to show his courage, to earn his honor and advance the ideals of chivalry by his personal bravery. However, although these values are recommendable (but not always applied), this idyllic attitude towards war is not always in favor of Bretonnian warfare. Excited to face the most powerful opponents, they often ignore all other considerations, and would glady throw away the lives of many for the petty ambitions of a single man. Nevertheless, the deeds and bravery that these honorable knights have done for their kingdom, and the many glorious battles they have won have always outweigh all such shortcomings.
The Feudal system of Bretonnia often dictates the way most military formations are structured within Bretonnian armies. Nobles leading these armies have a great disdain for the common folk, but even the most self-conscious Lord understands that the only chance of victory against their enemies is using these commoners as soldiers. As such, the bulk of most Bretonnian armies consist almost entirely on poorly trained units of Spearmen and Archers, and due to their strict code of honor, the nobility would never hire the employment of Mercenaries.
- Men-at-Arms - are the basic front-line infantry that comprises most Bretonnian armies. These men have been chosen from a very young age to be trained and equipped with basic weaponry and gear and fight on the behalf of their Lord. Wearing mostly chainmail armor, these reluctant but adequate soldiers are responsible for holding the line against the enemy with shield and spear, whilst the Lords and Knights upon their mighty warhorses attack from the flanks and bring victory.
- Peasant Bowmen - commoners that are not fit to join the men-at-arms companies are often recruited into service as basic support units of archers, a willingness reinforced by the promised bounty of a copper for any who survive the campaign, which is to the peasants a princely wage. As befit most Bretonnian infantry, these men aren't very reliable soldiers.
- Grail Pilgrims - though not considered a part of Bretonnian armies, these "Pilgrims" are fanatical followers who believe zealously in the holiness of the Grail Knight, flocking in their dozens to join and bask in their reflected glory. Equipped with the discarded weapons and armor of the Grail Knight, these units provide the Bretonnian army with a much more reliable source of shock-infantry.
- Yeoman - experienced soldiers who provide the Bretonnian army with dedicated infantry or cavalry. These are men who have fought many battles and survived many wars with only the skills of their arms and their unwavering bravery. Such is their battle experience that Yeomen are almost as skilled in combat as a Knight of the Realm, but such a boast is often ignored and suppressed by the nobility. When promoted to the rank of a Yeomen, these men are often divided between the Mounted Yeomen and the sergeants within Men-at-Arms company.
It is a very common knowledge to know that the Knights of Bretonnia are both the backbone and pride of all Bretonnian armies. It is they that are mired with tales of deeds and glory, and it is they that have always brought the final blow that has brought forth the ultimate victory. Indeed, the cavalry of Bretonnia are the hammer of the Bretonnian army, meant to strike the killing blow that would finally shatter their enemies resolve in a glorious display of bravery and courage against impossible odds. It is these Knights that make up all of Bretonnian nobility, and it is these Knights that have made the Kingdom of Bretonnia a nation of deeds, honor, and chivalry.
- Knight Errant - these young nobles are the lowest ranking member of most Bretonnian cavalry as well as the nobility. In the prime of youth, these ill-experienced but highly enthusiastic warriors comprise a significant portion of many Bretonnian armies. Fighting on horseback, these Knights often engage the best enemy regiments in their eagerness to earn the title of a Knight of the Realm.
- Knight of the Realm - are the backbone of nearly all Bretonnian armies and as such, they are the most common members of the ruling elite. They have distinguished themselves in errantry and have thus received a fief or a position of power within noble society. They are expected to honor and defend their lords and kingdom from the depredation of all those that seek to destroy it, fighting on horseback, with lance in hand and their unwavering faith in the Lady of the Lake.
- Questing Knight - these Knights are those nobles who are seeking the attention of their patron goddess, the Lady of the Lake, in hopes of acquiring her blessing as a means to obtain the status of a Grail Knight. Living a solitary existence, these men would strive to prove himself to the Lady, performing good deeds, slaying foul beast, and aiding the armies of Bretonnia when in times of peril.
- Grail Knight - these Knights are the very pinnacle of Bretonnian chivalry, honor, and bravery. Those Questing Knights who have drunk from the Holy Grail are blessed with the powers of the Lady and have thus been proven worthy to become a Grail Knights. To obtain the position of a Grail Knight is the ultimate goal for all Knights, and to become one is to be the very embodiment of a Holy Warrior. It is said that these Knights are one of the greatest of Mankinds warriors to ever walk the earth.
- Pegasus Knight - unlike traditional mounted warfare, those Knights that can tame and ride the mighty Pegasus into battle are warriors without equal. Flying across the battlefled with wings of angelic appearance, the Pegasus Knights take to the sky and fight the flying monstrosities the enemy has unleashed upon them with lance and swords.
The Lords of Bretonnia often disdain the use of siege-crafts, for they always prefer to win their battles on the open-field with lance in hand and the valor of their knights. Nevertheless, when these Knights are engaged in siege-warfare, they have no other alternative but to use them in battle. Due to their disapproval of gunpowder weapons such as Cannons and Mortars, most Bretonnian armies use older and more conventional siege equipment. As it would seem, those who do bring gunpowder into the lands of Bretonnia are notoriously more unreliable than anywhere else within the Old World, whether this is due to the mystical influence of the Lady of the Lady can never truly be confirmed.
- Trebechet - are usually the only siege equipment used by the armies of Bretonnia, unless dwarven engineers from the grey mountains are fighting as hired allies. The first Trebuchet known to have been used was created within the small village of D'Ason, upon the northern coast of Lyonesse. Trebuchets are immense siege engines used to lob large projectiles at enemy formations from a safe distance. The machines itself can vary greatly in design and the projectiles thrown can range in weight from a cannon ball sized rock, to as large as a peasants hovel. Due to it's bad reputation as a dishonorable weapon and a lack of any proper education amongst the common peasantry, only a handful of craftsmen have the skill and knowledge to build such expensive and time-consuming devices. Thus with only a finite number of engineers available for hire and no consistent quality or qualifications amongst them, Trebuchets are usually scratch built upon the site, using whatever materials lay at hand, and are then stripped down again for scrap, with only the valuable iron forged parts travelling from siege to siege.
It is customary for all Bretonnian Armies to be lead by a Noblemen of high status. The Feudal System is integral to this system of military hierarchy, from which the highest noblemen may call upon his subjects into war. At the very top of this hierarchy are the mighty Earls, Barons and the Dukes, who lead his vassals with both courage and leadership.
- Bretonnian Lord - are powerful noblemen or knights whose deeds are recounted throughout the lands, warriors unparalleled in combat and the stout follower of the Codes of Chivalry. These Bretonnian Lords includes the mighty Earls, Barons and the Dukes that occupy much of the higher nobility. Proud and powerful warriors all, Bretonnian Lords are excellent warrior-generals.
- Prophetess of the Lady - are the most favored devotees of the Lady, and have long served their divine mistress faithfully for much of their lives. They are potent spellcasters, and their magic can dramatically affect the outcome of any battlefield.
Locations of Interest
The Dukedom of Bretonnia
- The Dukedom of L'Anguille
- The Dukedom of Aquitaine
- The Dukedom of Artois
- The Dukedom of Bastonne
- The Dukedom of Bordeleaux
- The Dukedom of Brionne
- The Dukedom of Carcassonne
- The Dukedom of Couronne
- The Dukedom of Gisoreux
- The Dukedom of Lyonesse
- The Dukedom of Montfort
- The Dukedom of Parravon
- The Dukedom of Quenelles
The former Dukedoms of the Kingdom of Bretonnia and other regions of note:
- The Dukedom of Mousillon - After the horrific event known as the Affairs of the False Grail, the Dukedom of Mousillon has since gone into regression and poverty, and with the death of Duke Maldred, no Duke has since claimed the throne.
- The Dukedom of Cuileux - A Bretonni Dukedom that was ravaged by war during the Dark Age of Bretonnia. Little is known about the Dukedom saved that it was overrun by a Horde of Greenskins.
- The Dukedom of Glanborielle - A Bretonni Dukedom that was ravaged by war during the Dark Age of Bretonnia. Little is known about the Dukedom saved that it was overrun by a Horde of Greenskins.
Cities of Bretonnia
The Kingdom of Bretonnia is famously for its rural landscape, and lack greatly in the construction of urban environments. However, some of the Dukedoms capitals are all cities that were built either as trade-hubs or ports to the sea.
- Port L'Anguille - The port-city of L'Anguille is a famous trading-port that is situated at the mouth of the River Sannez. In the past, this city was formerly an ancient Elven city during the time of the War of the Beards.
- Larret - the city of Larret is located within the Dukedom of Artois, at the borders between Mousillon and Lyonesse, famous for its modernization in comparison to other towns within Bretonnia.
- Castle Bordeleaux - The fortress-city of Bordeleaux is the capital of the Dukedom of Bordeleaux, famous for its ports and the ring of defences that guards the city from invaders.
- Castle Brionne - the fortress-city of Brionne is the most beautiful city of all the Dukedoms, earning it the name the Jewel of Bretonnia.
- Castle Couronne - the current capital of all Bretonnia, this fortress-city is the seat of power of Royarch Louen Leoncoeur.
- Castle Gisoreux - a bustling fortress-city that is home to a wide variety of traders and travellers stopping on their way along the River Grismerie.
- Castle Montfort - a massive fortress-city that guards the western end of Axe-Bite Pass.
- Castle Mousillon - a decaying fortress-city that serves as the capital of the now-deceased Dukedom of Mousillon, situated at the mouth of the River Grismerie.
- Castle Parravon - an impressive fortress-city carved directly from the rock of the mountains.
- Castle Quenelles - a fortress-city that is located at the borders of the Forest of Loren.
- Armybook: Bretonnia (5th Edition) pg. 5 - 34, 17 - 19
- Armybook: Bretonnia (6th Edition) pg. 6 - 28
- Knights of the Grail (RPG) pg. 6 - 11, 14 - 20, 21 - 29, 30 - 34, 36 - 42
- Barony of the Damned (RPG) pg. 6 - 10
- Warhammer fantasy (RPG) 1986 - 2009
- Tome of Salvation (RPG)
- Varied authorized novels from the Black Library press.