Although heredity kingship is rare in Redwald the men of the leading noble families are marked out, raised, and trained as if destined to be kings. These young men are the Æðelingas.
They are the shinning future of the people. The current king may be ignoble, cruel, cowardly, a warmongering, lustful tryant, or worse a bean counting, tax-mad, ruinous bastard, but there is always a golden youth, an Æðeling, a shinning paragon of all that is truly good and noble waiting to take the throne and sure to make a better king. That or a fool of a pawn in someone else’s grab for a dynasty.
Either way most Æðelingas start attracting followers from the day they are born, and by the time they come of age most have a courtly retinue and small warband of their own. They also usually have a number of powerful relatives that take a very close interest, for good or ill, in their exploits.
Convinced from childhood they are destined to be great kings and noble war leaders most young Æðelingas rather than be stuck inside a stuffy mead hall with an even stuffier steward learning how the actual day to day running of kingdom is conducted, prefer to roam the kingdom engaging in acts of daring, foolhardy exploits of extreme bravery, and high adventures. Which normally translates as drunken brawls with the retinues of rival princes, starting wars with their father’s allies, and spawning enough bastard offspring to fill a thousand warbands.
Æðeling: Armour Class: 0; Hit Dice: 6+1; Attacks:2 Broadsword (1d6+2)or Seax (1d3+1); Special: Vainglorious, Single Minded, Shinning Future, Retinue; Move: 10; HIDE/XP: 6/120.
Gear:, Beaduscrúd, Scield, Broadsword, Seax, 4 silver armbands, 3 gold armbands 3d6 silver rings, gold brooch, a fine cloak and an gold and garnet cloak pin, golden belt buckle, 3d6 gold rings.
Always seeking to make a name for themselves no one is as vainglorious as an Æðeling with an audience. They refuse to wear a helm as all must see their noble visage when they take the field, insist on fighting in the front rank of any battle or skirmish, and are constantly seeking glory in single combat. As such, many fail to live long enough to become kings, but theirs is an infectious folly and one that is loved by the fighting men who serve them (+2 to morale).
They are also single minded and possessed of a strong will as you would expect of anyone destined to be a king (+2 to all STs against mind magic).
The fact that one day they will be a king can have a powerful effect on the people they meet. Despite oaths of loyalty most people prefer the dream of a golden future to the hard earned brass of their current situation, and once exposed to the youthful charms of an Æðeling not to mention the future promise of lands, power, and riches, many will throw their lot in with an up and coming Prince.
On a roll of 1-4 on 1d6 any NPC below the rank of Thegn will take up the Prince’s cause. Thegn’s will join on a roll of 1-3, Ealdormen on a roll of 1-2, and Gesith’s on a Roll of 1 on a 1d6. No household warrior, king’s champion, or rival prince would ever break their oath or serve another prince.
The greatest protection any Æðeling has is his retinue. Whether they are noble and true, thrill seekers, money grabbing hangers-on, or malign manipulators every single one of them wants to see their prince on a throne.