Because they are chosen by their peers, to be a king of Redwald requires equal amounts of cunning, bravery, underhand politicking, crass bribery, ruthless brutality, and a facade of nobility, all finessed with certain amount of charismatic charm. Or at least charm with one hand on the sword hilt.
Staying a king is another thing entirely. Not only are the kings of Redwald expected to lead from the front, murdering your way to the throne is practically an excepted Redwald tradition.
Many kingdoms practice dual kingship. Sometimes this is two equal kings, sometimes a senior king and a sub-king. Most times this is not a good arrangement for the kingdom. Even, or more often especially, if the two kings are related.
Although kingship is not strictly hereditary a successful king has good chance of knowing that when he is eventually struck down one of his Æðelingas will step over his corpse and onto the throne. Of course sometimes an Æðeling is the one who made his kingly father a corpse in the first place. Surprisingly that fact rarely deters the Ealdormen and Gesiths of a Kingdom from deeming that same Æðeling a worthy successor to his father.
A king is never alone and always has members of the royal household and his Hearthweru in attendance, or the court. Forward thinking kings hold court in a great hall within their hillfort. Those of a more traditional mindset take their court with them as they travel their kingdom being guested in their Ealdorman’s great halls.
Cyning: Armour Class: -3; Hit Dice: 12+4; Attacks:2 Named Brádsweord (1d6+4)or Wælseax or(1d3+2); Special: The King’s Will, Beneath the Banner, Heart of the Army, Chosen of the Gods; Move: 9; HDE/XP: 12/1000.
Gear: Beaduscrúd, Wíghelm, Scield, named Brádsweord, Wælseax, several chests full of personal jewellery, a hoard of riches for gifts, bribes, and paying for the murder of rivals, and all the wealth of a kingdom.
Strong willed and ruthlessly ambitious kings are not easily susceptible to intimidation, trickery, flattery, mind magic or fear (+4 to ST).
Even the most murderous of tyrants must be somewhat charismatic to last any length of time so all kings are considered to have a CHR score of 16-18 (Roll 1d3). The fact that they wield a sword with a name that reverberates through the ages adds +2 to their CHR. Named sword’s also give a +2 bonus to hit and dam and +1 morale bonus to any followers.
When an army sees their king take his place beneath the banner they are heartened and ready to fight and die for him. The whole army receives a +2 bonus to morale, movement, to hit, and damage. A king is also the heart of the army and if that heart is cut the whole army (except the king’s Hearthweru) must make a moral check at -4.
If they don’t fall in battle, being murdered is a likely way for a king of Redwald to end his reign. But to kill a king is no easy thing, especially in a world where most people truly believes kings are chosen to rule by the gods.
Any NPC or player character who isn’t of noble birth (Ealdorman or above) must make a ST at -4. If they fail the NPC can’t go through with the murder, if a player character fails they have merely paused and lost the element of surprise. They can still carry out the murder, but now he can call for his Hearthweru and fight back. This is only for direct methods. Poisoners need not summon their courage or fear the wrath of the gods. They need only fear the hate, ridicule, and revenge of every warrior in Redwald.