Pete Woodworth speaks about House Beaumayn
1) "Where did Beaumayn come from?" Yes, the name is derived at least in part from the Arthurian legends. No, that doesn't mean their founder was Lancelot, nor that he was a sidhe of their house for that matter (though rest assured they certainly found his whole "noble knight fated to do wrong" angle interesting and not unsympathetic). Why? Well, I've always liked playing with history and legend a bit, and so I figured it would be a nice treat for those who know their legends and such. Plus, it just sounds neat. ;-)
2) "Why French?" Why not? I don't pretend to be an authoritative scholar on the subject, but even in my amateur research I found that quite a few of the legends and legendary figures that I thought of as typical "English knights-and-ladies" were actually begged/borrowed/stolen from the French (or at least, from the cultures and regions that would eventually become modern France). Not to mention the prominence of France during the Crusades that formed such a large part of the House's history. Throw that in with their natural affiliation with New Orleans in Concordia (French origin, French-speaking, cold iron everywhere) and the fact that I had a contact in France helping me out the entire time (everyone say hello to Dame Lillian, yes she's real), and it was too good to pass up.
3) "What about New Orleans, anyway? Did [Pete] not pay attention to the fact that it was covered in Kingdom of Willows, or what?" There are several answers to this: 1) Ruling the Principality of Jazz doesn't necessarily mean the brothers rule the entire region. I always thought of it more as ruling the cultural heart of the city - Rue Bourbon, Preservation Hall, etc. 2) It's been a while since Kingdom of Willows came out, and if nothing else the BoLH was supposed to throw another change-up at Concordia, so the Beaumayn landed in New Orleans - not coincidentally a heart of shady Unseelie and Thallain activity. (Happy hunting, lads and ladies!
4) "Didn't the Beaumayn brothers appear before, in The Shining Host?" Yep. Caught me there. Brendan was my personal character in the playtest chronicle we played for The Shining Host (the MET book, not the TT one), and has always been a favorite character of mine since. House Beaumayn actually first appeared in that chronicle, as a plot twist right at the very end of the game, and so when Nicky and Jackie approached me about doing a house for BoLH, I can't tell you how much I jumped at the chance to do it and make House Beaumayn "legitimate" at last! (By the way, those of you coming to the LARPs at GenCon this summer just might have a chance to meet Brendan ... keep your eyes open for our blazon. ;)
5) "Aren't the Harbringers of Exodus just Apostate Dauntain?" While their philosophies are quite similar in some respects, the scary part is that the majority of the Harbringers (Vandermere included) are perfectly normal Kithain - their beliefs are certainly twisted, but they show no other signs of being actual Dauntain. Which brings up a bunch of interesting questions, not the least of which being if that means their might not be some truth to their claims ...?
Anyway, sorry for the ten-page rant, but I kept seeing the same questions popping up and so I figured I might be able to help out a bit, so I hope it worked.
"So was it foretold, so shall we uphold!"
Here's some more stuff concerning Beaumayn from the Peter Woodworth:
Well, that depends on a few things. First of all, remember that what the House was arrested and tried for was the fact that the Harbringers had been devising unholy rituals and rites with cold iron, which they believed would send faerie souls to this new paradise. That would imply that not just any old death with cold iron would really do, but rather only ones inflicted as part of specially prepared weapons and ceremonies. At the same time, neither myself nor Nicky & Jackie felt it would be a good idea to put in an example of such a cold iron ritual, lest the twink monsters get a hold of it and start gakking everyone in their game with cold iron right and left "because it's part of the ritual."
So here's what I would say to do: if any Beaumayn (or for that matter, any sidhe in general) just wastes someone with cold iron - no fancy stuff, no particular ritual to it - give 'em the normal penalty. After all, if it were that easy, the Harbringers would've killed off everyone a long time ago. If, on the other hand, as part of your chronicle the Harbringers have actually managed to unearth some of the old rites and manage to perform them on some hapless fae soul, you might want to hold back on the Banality penalty ... or at least make it seem like you are to keep your players scared.
Ultimately, it's up to you and what you want for your game (and how you want the question answered regarding the "truth" of Geremin's Heresey, if you want to answer it at all) - if you want the Harbringers to come off as the hollow, misguided bad guys characters should all think they are, enforcing the penalty keeps them from running around whacking people. On the other hand, if it doesn't appear to incur such a penalty, then maybe there's something to what they say after all ...
Here's some hints for Fostering a Beaumayn through their Fior-Righ: Fostering: As detailed in a brief passage in the chapter, the Beaumayn are very practical when it comes to Fostering a young one. The most important part is the recording of a fledge's past dreams and visions; at least one of these will always center around a dark star, and it will be one that the fledge feels is important enough to mention (even if they don't understand exactly why at the time). After those have been recorded and the fledge has been Sained into the House, the rest is usually performed in a rather perfunctory fashion: the fledges are told of the House's history, Jalendrel's Code, Geremin's Heresy, the Brother's War, the imprisonment and the Caul of Silence, as well as anything else the mentor feels is necessary, and then the two typically part company to pursue their own quests.
Fior-Righ: Beaumayn don't put as much stock in this tradition as they used to; their disillusionment with the Gwydion and some of their fellow Seelie Houses, while not nearly enough to push them into the Unseelie camp, has definitely shaken up some of their sense of tradition. However, particularly when a high-ranking member of the House has returned, a Fior is still necessary, if only to make sure they are worthy of the title. The Beaumayn tell their fledges that they are going to hunt and then mock-combat with a number of fellow House members masked as "Thallain" and other enemies; however, about halfway through they use intricate illusions to convince the fledge that some dreadful event has occurred (a portal from the Nightmare Realms opens, some of the Thallain are real, etc.) and then gauge them on how they react to this suddenly "real" series of threats. Sometimes they even let the fledge think the test has ended, then show them a glimpse of one of their elders as a Thallain or the like, to test their composure and ability to hunt as opposed to blindly flailing at anything they see. The test is likewise deliberately rigged to test a Beaumayn's weak areas as well as their strengths; one well-schooled in the fighting arts might do well once the actual mock-fighting comes up, but would face a higher number ofmental puzzles and other non-physical tests as part of the hunt than would a house member whose physical skills were less than stellar (and vice versa).
They want well-rounded hunters, sorcerers and scholars, not war machines who can only hit what's in plain sight; they've fought the Shadow Court and its Thallain and Denizen allies long enough to know that hitting the obvious targets seldom does much good.
As for the Caul of Silence, well, when I was discussing it with J&N we kind of all decided that it was better being more of a nebulous story mechanic than anything directly translated into game terms - that way, if you wanted to have House Beaumayn charge directly into the game and the Caul of Silence tear straight away, then that's OK, you don't need to roll lots of dice to do so. On other hand, if you wanted to have their return be more mysterious, you could use the Caul to explain why a House that was banished for its use of cold iron on innocent victims isn't instantly hunted and killed. If you *really* need a mechanic, I'd have players sidhe roll Remembrance (difficulty 6) or commoners roll Gremayre (difficulty 8) to try to recall details about the Beaumayn and their history, but that's only if you want to have the Caul be already tearing away. Alternatively, you could allow members of the House to take the Feth Fiada Background from "The Enchanted" (and soon Shining Host Player's Guide, for you MET folks) to simulate their mysterious and hard to track nature. These rob the return of its mystery a bit, but give you some way to translate their arrival into game terms if it becomes necessary.
By the by, as a few people have noticed, the Caul of Silence is peculiar to the Beaumayn, not just for shrouding their arrival, but also in that - as exemplified by the Beaumayn brothers and Lord Magbane - it meant that some Beaumayn sidhe were already on Earth well before the other "lost" Houses returned. They were simply kept unaware of their very heritage by the Caul ... until, of course, the dark star began to burn and the rest of the House returned to fight by their sides. It's almost as if it was all planned, so that some of the House would already be used to the world and able to help their fellows out when they returned ... hmmm ... ;-)
Head of House Beaumayn
Copyright © 2000, Beau Brown