Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Land of Bretonnia is, in many ways, a fairly-tale kingdom like as Logres under King Arthur, with noble knights who live by a code of chivalry and beautiful damsels whom the courageous heroes must rescue. However, there is a darker side: the poverty of the peasants is exaggerated well beyond the historical truth of the Middle Ages.
There have been two distinct stages in the development of the idea of Bretonnia. When originally introduced into the Warhammer Universe, it was very similar to the Empire - including many elements no longer part of the army, such as cannon. Bretonnia was riven with corruption and was a truly dark kingdom, despite its claims to nobility.
While this concept of Bretonnia lives on in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying, Games Workshop completely abandoned it when the fourth edition of Warhammer was introduced. The noble elements behind the grime remained, but Bretonnia was now resplendent in shining armour. The knights were good and generous, and the cannon had vanished along with much of the Bretonnian history. A different and much nobler king was written in and the Bretonnian army became very distinct from that of the Empire, taking on its Arthurian character with special rules to protect its knights from unchivalric weapons such as guns, as well as explaining how they could continue to survive next door to a power such as the Empire. This image of goodness and light acquired a slight tarnish with the advent of the sixth edition of Warhammer. The chivalric knights and the special rules survived, but the background grew darker with the state of the peasantry being brought more into focus.
The concept of Bretonnia since the fourth edition owes a lot to mediaeval chivalric romances. Most obviously, knights embarque on quests for the Holy Grail and the goddess of the country is the Lady of the Lake. Gilles le Breton, who unified the tribes of Bretonnia into a single nation, fought 12 battles against the Orcs - mirroring King Arthur's 12 battles against the Anglo-Saxons. Another of the legendary figures of Bretonnia is the Green Knight, based in many ways on the character encountered by Sir Gawain. However, Arthurian legends are not the only influence. The geography of Bretonnia is analagous to that of France, as does its political division into duchies, while the King's hippogriff is called 'Beaquis' - pronounced 'Beaky', which is the nickname of the Hippogriff in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
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