Mews (Falconry)
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Basic Information

A mews is an aviary where a Falconer keeps his bird of prey. Just as you generally need one Falconer per Falcon, each bird also needs it's own space. A mews may vary in size from a small kennel-like room (or a single building with several such enclosures), to a huge multistory barn with lots of free-flying space for the lone animal inhabitant. The rarer the animal and richer the owner, the larger the mews is likely to be. The royal mews where the Emperor's eagle is kept will probably be lavish.

Anyone who is into hawking - which, in the European middle ages was pretty much the entire upper class - will want some kind of mews installed and are liable to show their birds off to visitors at any opportunity; ideally by taking them out, but quite possibly just by exhibiting them on the perch in the mews.

Although this was not common historically, a mews could also host a breeding programme - assuming that the birds in question breed in captivity - otherwise there may still be a hatchery where eggs taken from the nest are incubated until they can be hatched.



Game and Story Use

  • The grand duke is secretly planning to kill one of the PCs. So he cordially invites him over to tour the estate. When they enter the mews, his trained attack eagle swoops down and gouges at the PC's eyes.
    • The Grand Duke is genuinely friendly but his eagle attacks the PCs anyway … it just happens to be unpredictably hostile to strangers. This can be annoying if the Grand Duke is the PCs patron, won't see anyone raise a hand to the wretched bird and in denial about its true nature. Like the Girlfriend's Cat problem on larger scale.
  • A thief has trained his birds to steal valuables and return them to mews. The thief himself never has to go near the crime scene, and doesn't have the goods on him when questioned by the police.
  • A mews in a fantasy world may have special architectural needs. A mews for housing a phoenix is very different from one housing a trained harpy.
  • The king is mad, and is sinking all his fortune into an elaborate and lavish mews for his favorite bird. "That bird is the only one that understands me. Come to think of it, that bird is the only person in court who isn't out to get me! I name that bird as my heir."
  • Depending on the culture, the mews may be a much bigger deal than the kennels, or there may be a gender divide - historically, hawking was considered far more genteel and suitable for ladies than hunting with hounds.
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