No kidding on the raining blood. My PCs have avoided major battles so far (using the excuse that they feel it's better to stay with their lord or the king). They're about to go into 488 this Saturday though, so they'll be heading in the direction of this monstrosity.
It's a NINE-ROUND battle! Good grief. My recommendation is that, if you're playing the Unit Leader, do Charge/Withdraw/Charge/Withdraw as much as possible. That way the PCs are only "in the mix" for half of the rounds. This group was a victim of its own success, I think.
Also, I have yet to play with anyone who actually enjoys battles, but feelings might change once they get their Glory awards next session. Well, those that survived, of course...Still, I wrote an email to the group after the session saying that battles feel a bit like slogs because that's what they're supposed to feel like. Ya gotta earn that Glory, son. ;)
Sadly not everyone can be as successful as Sir "I got a Papercut" Cynrain. Fortunately as a straight up bro, he will totally sell their awesomeness in song.
I actually like the battles myself and some other members of my group like them as well (though they were run under the old system). If things go well this year, one of my knights will be a banneret and I'll give him the option of leading his own unit (with the other PC knights) or attaching himself to a larger group.I may throw them into a small-scale battle the year before to give them a taste of how things go since they skipped the other big battles.
Oh, and seriously not blaming you or the battle for the casualty rate. :) Pendragon is deadly, especially when the dice are battering the party the way they were with failed Passion rolls. Battle is the worst place to end up "disheartened" which is fairly in keeping with the genre.My group has fits of rolling like that, though one player has consistently been rolling in the upper double digits, but also managing not to fumble. I'm afraid for her in their first major battle.
Oh, I know there's no blame being assigned. I actually lost a bit of sleep the night of the game, but mostly just because I was worried the players might get discouraged. I've since been assured that will not be the case. :)
I didn't think there would be any loss, everyone in your group seems to take the propsect of imminent/guaranteed death so cheerfully. Also you kept talking up this session as a massive battle, and it seemed like some people assumed you were just saying that. This however actually felt like what taking part in a massive battle would be like - you're focused on your one tiny piece of it, and you can make some serious contributions, but you're eventually going to get ground down by just the sheer number of enemies coming at you. I don't think you want to run these too often, but surviving it with one person alive was an accomplishment to your players, and that seems like an excellent result.Also Passion rolls are very clearly important to staying alive, as the sole survivor of the battle was the one with the most Passions, whereas the knight who reaped the most Glory from the battle was the one who waited right until the very end to do anything - at which point he captured the enemy King.I mean you've run people through No Man's Land which had one of your player's take an amount of damage that up until that point I thought was theoretical in Call of Cthulhu and it was greeted with laughter and applause... eventually. You're gaming with a pretty resilient bunch of roleplayers.
It's playing Call of Cthulhu that made us so 'blasé' towards character death. Running it; specifically running uber-deadly one-shots of it make one virtually immune to the negative aspects of character death.I suggest everyone run Call of Cthulhu if they enjoy roleplaying, and try as hard as they can to TPK. Change your life.
Congratulations Sir Pace! You retired from the campaign to settle down with Medieval Summer Glad and managed to pass the curse on to an immediate relative.Battles seem interesting since you're thrust into enemy lines and massively outnumbered, at least so far. It seems like it is the kind of situation which ends with a lot of dead PCs. Also Des apparently embraced her role of adversary and serious antagonist to the group by conducting them through battle with honour and passion, and then soloing the enemy leader. So evil!
I'm still relatively new to this expanded battle system, but the more I run, the more I'm discerning some "best practices." Alternating Charge and Withdraw orders, as I mentioned above, is definitely a good one. Another one occurred to me today: sometimes it's preferable to fight defensively and take the automatic Loss that round than try and go for the Win, particularly when Standing vs. Two.Ultimately, it seems to model "heroic" medieval battles well, which is as it should be; a knight's job is to charge in and smash up the enemy, then rinse and repeat. Getting stuck in and/or pushing too deeply too quickly is a recipe for a bloodbath, as we found out.