Sunday, June 29, 2014

[Pendragon] The Great Pendragon Campaign: Year 502 - Black Annis

Various and sundry cancellations left us with our smallest group yet, but that didn't stop Salisbury's finest from taking a detour to confront the cannibal hag Black Annis, where they learned the hard way why she was so feared by the locals.


David S.
And...Edie the Dog

The campaign's wiki can be found here.


  1. A counterfeit claim for the counties of Britain causes a headcount of Salisbury forces, and an encounter with a familiar countenance? Turns out I had a few more.

    I'm really feeling for Sir Concord these last few weeks. He tries so hard, but his greatest success in a long while has been clearing out some sheep so that someone can have a nap, given that his claims of slaying the immortal Pict leader seems to have been resoundingly disproven.

    But the star of Sir Tatham seems on the ascendency! It turns out the secret to surviving a lethal monster of a foe has been to just continue to get bigger and bigger so that the wounds he takes are no longer life-threatening! Also was the newly-minted Sir Godfrey the one who had the Battle skill of 19 or something ridiculous? I was pulling for him to lead the raid as the first test of his skills.

    And Des got to play all the characters this week! Remember: No one who's nice to kids and appreciative of a few good-natured pokes at his character (in public) can be evil. Just disregard those reports of a brutally savaged court jester that surfaced after the feast, or that a little peasant girl has been forcibly inducted into the "Friends of Blains" club.

    1. Sir Tathan absolutely has become very protagonist-y. The medieval poet who's responsible for all this has apparently moved on from his or her first romance, "Cynrain, or, The Knight with Very Large Horses" to his or her second work, "Tathan, or, The Knight of Very Large Size."

    2. Clearly, whoever this troubadour is, they're a real Size Queen.

    3. Technically the legends started with Vergil, or The Knight with the Very Large Heart.

    4. No, the guy's still focused on horses. Cynrain's star rose when he rolled well enough to get a Destrier. Tathan's rose when his horse took a learning annex.

  2. Also it entirely slipped my mind before. How in Merlin's heavily scarred chest did these peasants "know" how to kill Black Annis. This sounds like the kind of solution that they would come up with after a night of heavy drinking and one-upsmanship, mixed in with the mayor attempting to secure his position among the people as the person who was somehow important enough.

    Did they try this out scientifically on other people first? Because I think your average person would also not come back from the dead if this method was performed by them, so maybe that's good enough.


    1. Stop giving Larkins ideas, Jake. Though it would be pretty funny if I were to drop by the area again and everyone gave me the stink-eye.

      "Oh look it's Sir Tathan, he TOTALLY killed Black Aniss. Except oh wait he didn't. Asshat."

    2. "He must've used that Salisbury aniseed which as everyone knows is no good for keeping demons dead!"

      You could just go back and yell at the stupid peasants for being stupid peasants who failed at conducting basic peer-reviewed research. I wouldn't worry though. I'm sure Black Aniss will kill you as soon as she resurrects so you don't have to worry about looking those stupid peasants in the eye again.

    3. Oh man, I'm getting all sorts of ideas... ;)

      Jake, the Folk Lore skill is basically how knights interact with peasants (I love this quote from the rulebook: "Folk Lore is used in play when a knight observes peasants to determine what they are doing, or when trying to evaluate how they feel. It may also be used to gain a benefit in communicating with peasants"--it's like knights need a special skill just to interact with their "inferiors"!), but it also crops up from time to time as a key in scenarios when the gentry and nobility don't have a clue as to how to handle something, but the peasantry have some sort of folksy wisdom that's applicable. Again to quote the rules: "It stems from familiarity with the land that has been gained over thousands of years of experience."

      My guess is that the people of Leicester had some sort of folk memory inherited from tales once told by wandering druids that got embellished over time. To take a page from Unknown Armies, I'm thinking that there's only one element of that whole ritual that's strictly necessary, but no one remembers what that one thing is, so you kind of have to do all of it just to be safe. I would further venture a guess that the region goes through cycles, where people diligently enact the ritual every year and manage to keep Anis at bay and then, gradually, later generations start getting sloppy and eventually stop doing it altogether...and she comes back, and only the toothless elders and learned priests remember the remedy. "I told you she'd come back! But did you believe me? Nooooo!"

      And this is the Pendragon version of peer-reviewed research.

    4. I suppose in fairness they DID try killing the witch without doing the cat-dragging, and their control test did result in the witch coming back. I guess this is somewhat more scientific than I thought at first blush.

      Also the cackling old crone dispensing cryptic, disregarding and completely accurate advice is an absolutely essential trope to all games. It was just my 21st century mindset of disbelief at how of course everyone accepts this as sound advice to be followed. I'll be even more cantankerous when it works.

      Heck, it could just be the Warhammer 40K (or many other similar setting's) approach where as long as everyone believes this is working that'll be enough for Black Aniss. Even if the meaning is loss then she might have started to internalize the effectiveness of the ritual, so that'll be enough to keep it going.

      I am however also a huge fan of supernatural entities no-selling banishing rituals though. Mayhaps Des has another Adversary character to play soon!