A Jutlandic Duke levies a special tax and requests a new stronghold built by each of his vassals. He’s currently granting no favors to them, so the second Duty provokes a Henchman Loyalty roll. What exactly do the results on that chart mean when applied to rulers?
One of his Henchmen rolls “Hostility.” I’m assuming that means the Jarl is furious and immediately begins open rebellion, or at least threatens it?
Another rolls “Resignation.” Does this mean the Jarl steps down from his post, or secedes from the realm, or what? This is probably the most mysterious option for me.
Grudging Loyalty and Loyalty, meanwhile, aren’t complicated at all; they seem to indicate that the duties are carried out even though your followers would rather not. Fanatic loyalty means they grow to like you better for it.
In this context, I’m fairly sure that “resignation” is meant in the sense of “an accepting, unresisting attitude, state, etc.; submission; acquiescence: to meet one’s fate with resignation.”, since that’s an attitude, the same as “hostility” or “loyalty”, rather than an action (resigning his post). So he would do it because it’s his duty, but he wouldn’t like it.
Which then opens up the question of how “resignation” differs from “grudging loyalty”. I think that would be a matter of enthusiasm and attention to detail. While neither of them would be happy about it, the resigned vassal would do the bare minimum required and not really pay much attention to the details (“If you don’t like your job, you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way!”), while the grudgingly loyal vassal, while still unhappy, would try to do a good job and serve his lord properly, despite his displeasure at the demands.
I quite like that interpretation. I like the idea of my PCs arriving one day at a fort they commissioned, only to find that the doors are falling off the hinges and the tower’s got holes in it and none of the torches work
Reaction roll and loyalty roll results always have to be interpreted by the Judge in the context.
The resignation of a vassal (and the meaning of the word is pretty clear; for a regular henchman, it means leaving service) IMO means the vassal either publicly or privately forswears the liege and begins to neglect their feudal duties - either openly or subtly, depending on what they can get away with. Subtly could mean that tax revenues go down (“oh, we had a poor harvest” etc.), they don’t show up for the muster, and maybe they’ll even be persuaded to join a revolt by someone more openly rebellious. Openly would be pretty drastic, and unless the vassal was very powerful, would probably mean seeking a new liege (who offers guarantees of better terms, such as lower taxes, more privileges, whatever).
“Hostile” would probably mean fomenting rebellion, or outright rebellion if the vassal is powerful enough. Multiple Hostile results among one’s vassals would definitely indicate a rebellion (in the style of the Barons’ Wars of England), and any vassals who resigned might also join in - or they could sit it out, at least until they’re confident they know who’s going to win, at which point they’d throw their lot in with them.