"My lord, allow me to be the one to accompany your daughter on the venture to the sacred grove," said the young knight kneeling in the middle of a spacious hall.

"Husband, you know very well that he has failed you before, more than once," whispered the lord's wife from behind the throne. "You cannot give him a task of such import!"

Then the voice of an old crone cut through the hall: "My lord, why does your wife require this young handsome knight to stay at the castle? Do you know what takes place in her chambers behind closed doors? The man has served you well and you will find none better to accompany your daughter."

 The characters are divided into several groups, which are somewhat similar to families. They have lived through the last years together, seen much good and evil, and have important relationships with each other.

 At the same time, every character has relations to characters outside of their group, positive and negative. We have done our best to make the game as interconnected as possible.

 Companies are especially important for the tourney and they serve as a basic unit for battles. Sometimes, multiple companies will set off for one expedition, but they will not get randomly mixed.

  We will introduce our groups one by one, from the smallest one to the biggest. Each short description also starts with a (sometimes paraphrased) quote from a chivalric story or song.

Every land has its heroes; every land has its past; and the lord of every land was once a simple knight who had his own company.

Many years ago, in the beginning of the nineties, a truly exceptional company was led by Sir Albert Tomáš of Grimness, who today rules the fort of Grimness.

Jan Valerián of Lindenvale was his closest lieutenant, who could bring cheer everywhere he went and dispel even the worst fears.

Karel Ignác of Grimness, Albert's younger cousin, was perhaps the strongest warrior in the land. He could stop a whole vanguard of furious goblins and there was no tournament that he didn't win.
And Berbrown? Berbrown spent decades at Grimness as the lowest indentured servant, but when Albert Tomáš married, he granted his good friend freedom.

But time went on. Albert Tomáš became lord of Grimness, had a beautiful wedding and his three friends enjoyed his hospitality. They stayed close to his court and life was good. Then came new births and deaths, new songs and stories.
And ten years ago came that one fateful night. On the eve of the glorious fall tournament, Albert Tomáš of Grimness exiled his own son Martin Jan. But Martin Jan did not leave alone. He was accompanied on his path, wandering through Šumava, by Berbrown, Karel Ignác, and Jan Valerián. Stories of their adventures sometimes reached even Grimness. Stories of how they stopped the spread of vampires in Bluemoor or how they found new, undiscovered parts of Šumava. And, most importantly, the story of how they were the first knights who found the Long Lake Folk and established relations with them. Archduke Vilém II even personally rewarded them for this deed!

The heroes of past songs and today's rumour are finally coming home now. What welcome is awaiting them?

After Martin Jan and the three knights left, Albert Tomáš's fort was only quiet for a short while. Now, new heroes could rise - and the best of them all was Slavomír Markvart of Morrowdale. Slavomír Markvart always went where Albert Tomáš sent him; always carried his head high on the front lines. At sixteen he became a knight; at twenty-five, he was a Knight Captain. His company was a sanctuary for those who wanted to prove their worth despite their lower birth.

And prove themselves they did. Many a goblin lair they burned down; many a border fortification they returned under Albert Tomáš's rule. The halls of Grimness are bedecked by the treasures brought by Slavomír Markvart's knights.

And oh, their brotherhood! "Duty, honour, fraternity." That has always been their motto and each of Slavomír's men would face any danger for their Knight Captain. Slavomír himself would then always bow before the wisdom of his lord, Albert Tomáš.

Perhaps that is why the lord of Sychravo chose this company to save Jasmína, a maid imprisoned in the sharpest thornbush. Albert Tomáš decided Jasmína would marry Swindler, a former knight who lost his honour while saving the fort. But his story can wait.

The company returned. Nothing can last forever and Slavomír Markvart had to run out of his luck and strength at some point. The story of our glorious tourney will start when Slavomír Markvart's company returns - sadly, without its leader.

Yet grief cannot overshadow the tourney or other duties. They will mourn their leader; they will honour their leader; and they will remember his story. But their service goes on.

Some companies don't have a story of many years spent together, filled with glorious deeds for the Lords of the Rose. The company brought by Knight Captain Jan Sladký is a curious one: animal-like figures bearing arms, who in many cases served different masters not long ago.

 Only the epaulets granted to Jan Sladký by the Duke of Frymburk himself opened the gates of Grimness to them. Only the knights' traditional hospitality and the customs of the glorious tourney will allow them to stay.

But why did they come? To prove themselves and create bonds with their new comrades-in-arms? To boast their inhuman strength in the tourney? Or were they perhaps charged with some great task by the Duke himself?

The company's leader, Laurenc František of Richston gained his fame in the battle of Millbrook, when he and eight other knights with their squires held off Prague's reinforcements for so long that the remainder of the enemy lines fell apart in the meantime. 

And while the ten heroes eventually lost their battle for the West Hill, Prague had to sound a retreat. Only two of them survived - Sir Laurenc and a squire, Tomáš. And even then only because their enemies thought them dead.

The two later became inseparable. Thanks to his unflagging hard work, Laurenc soon became a swordsman who has no match. He might not be the strongest, but when sword met sword, he has always won. Tomáš, then, had no special skills in battle (though he can shoot and fight), but he found a different gift.

He could learn any language, understand any gesture, and get along with everyone. So while Laurenc often boasted of his nobility, valour, and skill so much that he angered others, Tomáš always managed to smooth everything over.

Well, almost everything. A month ago, Laurenc angered his lord. When the fort was haunted by the White Lady, the knight of Richston disobeyed a direct order and could not face the spectre in front of the gates. 

And who did come out in his place? Well, that is not talked about in polite society. A topic that is talked about is that after, some good knights left Laurenc, and suddenly his company only consisted of himself and the faithful Tomáš.

Yet to be fair: when the wife of the lord of Grimness fell ill and neither Paracetamol nor antibiotics proved helpful, Laurenc did not hesitate, took up arms, and set out to find the answer accompanied by only Tomáš and the young Venerable Eliška.

Two decades have passed since Albert Tomáš became lord of Grimness. There is still talk of the heroic deeds that he performed with his company before he took up his title. When he finally took his seat on the humble throne and accepted the sacred arms of his house, it marked the start of a time that many remember as a time of miracles.

The court only knew grief after the death of his first wife, but the arrival of Regina quickly bade it farewell. Courtiers were also relieved when Martin Jan left, ten years ago. Yet on the eve of the glorious tourney, strange guests are coming to the fort and all know that another chapter of the great history of Grimness will soon come to an end.

The court is mainly a place of intrigue, chivalric love, and dastardly betrayals. In our stories, cunning, deception, but also cool-headed wisdom belong mainly to female characters. Witches vie for ever more power and fair maids for the best groom. Married ladies are tormented by forbidden love, while remaining faithful to their duty and their house. 

Knights compete for honour and glory, and with the help of their wives, they strive for the opportunity to take part in the most important expeditions and move up in the world. All the while, old curses, glorious history, and times of darkness loom overhead like storm clouds.

In our story, the people of Grimness will spend a great deal of time together, both during their expeditions into the woods and at their tourneys and feasts at the fort. But even the bravest knight, even the most magnanimous lady, everyone needs a moment all on their own.

With their prayers, with their memories, with their visions…
… and with their Unease and its Shades.

Shades are the embodiments of human desires and fears, worries and dreams, past and future. They show you the darkest corners of your soul - all the memories you’d prefer to forget, all the wishes you never made. They are not your enemies - they are part of you.

Every player will have a time when they go to pray in their game. In their prayer, the Shades will speak to them and show them important moments from their lives; their decisions, defeats, and weaknesses. 

The players of Shades will get their methodology before the game, somewhat similar to the NPC methodologies, which will allow them to prepare and direct these scenes for other players.

Our Shades will have a game somewhat separate from both NPCs and players; in their scenes, they will address some of the darkest topics of our characters, making their game quite mentally demanding; and they will not have any stories of their own.

 At the same time, they will have a lot of creative freedom and agency in their scene and will be able to form major scenes for the players. 

There will be two Shades, creating the scenes together in collaboration. Because they will be spending a lot of time together, we prefer it if Shades sign up in couples. These roles are up for a voluntary contribution.

Knights' Song aims to experiment with its approach to non-player roles. We would like our NPCs to enjoy their game fully and get a strong experience. 

We want to provide space for people who just want to bash some heads and do some shooting, as well as those who want to be a bit more creative. We will adapt our general approach to NPCs to that goal. 

Before each encounter, you will get a methodology which will tell you what has to happen and what your encounter's atmosphere should look like, as well as some additional suggestions, giving you a rough structure. The final shape of the scene will be up to you. 

We will also try to supply you with props, scene design, special effects, and other ways for you to build your scenes as you like them.

Similarly, many battles and conflicts in the game do not have a given result. Quite on the contrary, we want most fights to really test the players' abilities and the result of the conflict will have an effect on where their story goes. 

At the same time, you will never have to worry about ending somebody's game prematurely.

Example: The company of Knight Captain Sladký was charged with holding a key crossroads against goblin hordes, until a village was evacuated. If Sladký wins, everything is fine. But if Sladký and their company are defeated and have to retreat, that doesn't mean all the characters die. 

They lose, the villagers get slaughtered, and they have to live with the shame. The goal is not to make the game competitive, but to add an element of uncertainty and authenticity to the game.

At the same time, that means our volunteers need to be capable of proactively looking for tasks and carrying them out and some self-reliance in building their encounters, as well as reasonably resistant to chaos. We may also occasionally ask them to help with some small chores.

Coming as an NPC is completely free and we will provide you with food, accommodation, costumes, weapons, and armour, as well as some travel compensation.