Sunday, March 2, 2014

[Pendragon] Great Pendragon Campaign: Year 486 - Sword Lake

With most of the group newly knighted, what should be a routine patrol of the county's borders leads to an encounter with Merlin himself…and to bloodshed and madness.


Dave S.
And...Edie the Dog

The campaign's wiki can be found here.


  1. I tried watching Your Highness, but gave up after about fifteen minutes because I wasn't really enjoying it. Viewing it in the light of a D&D campaign might make it more bearable though. I still prefer my RPG tabletops more straightforward, like with The Gamers 2 - Dorkness Rising.

    Addressing your concerns about the winter stuff, I actually quite liked listening to it, although I think it might get a little repetitive as the campaign goes on. It made me sad during your Deadlands campaign that there were apparently awesome interludes that I didn't get to hear during the podcast. Winter's only weakness is that unlike with Feasts, most of the die rolling is just looking things up on tables so there doesn't seem to be as much roleplaying involved apart from setting up your manor.

    I also can't remember the character creation backstories fully. Was Sir Pace the one whose father and grandfather basically instantly died as knights? If so, perhaps he had just snapped at the realisation of his family's curse kicking in. If not, maybe he had a very specific idea as to whose illegitimate offspring he might be.

    1. I had the idea, too late, that I should have recorded and posted the between-game Interludes for the Deadlands AP. Maybe I'll go back and do that some day. In the mean time, you can check out the Interludes at the campaign's Obsidian Portal wiki forums, arranged by character name into sub-folders:

      And yeah, Sir Pace is the one with the progenitors who died as soon as they conceived an heir. I think you're absolutely right--the reality of his imminent peril clearly unhinged him! :D

    2. I wasn't thinking imminent peril, I thought he actually assumed he had died in combat (keeping the family tradition alive... metaphorically). He's spent the last year and a half in the woods convincing himself he's a ghost, and that no one can see him.

      Merlin probably thinks it's hilarious.

    3. Hmm, interesting. I like it. Dave's sent me his rolls for the Madness Solo, but I haven't told him what the table turned up--saving it for next Winter Phase, when Sir Pace returns. I'll see if I can work in this idea.

  2. What edition or book were you using to get the Winter Phase events? I generally let me players do a "Your Land" solo, but I like the sound of the event rolls you were doing.

    1. I'm using a couple PDFs I pulled off the Pendragon forums. The Events chart is two-sided. You use one side for Yearly Events, the other side for Solos, but the various charts are all interconnected. It's a lot of fun, and has really helped drive some unexpected campaign developments:

      I also use an expanded Kin Events table for that part of the Winter Phase:

      Currently I'm using the Book of the Estate for manorial management, but the "Your Land" solo is a good alternative if you don't want to get too detailed. On the other hand, if you want to get SUPER detailed, check out the Book of the Manor.

    2. Oh, I should also mention that the charts incorporate some of the author's own house rules (like "negative checks") that I don't use, but they're easy enough to ignore or modify to taste.

    3. Is the "stuff on your land" charts in Book of the Estate? I've been using Book of the Manor and haven't found it too problematic (though I've modified the chance of calamity during the Uther period so that my knights are perpetually in debt).

    4. Oh, and thanks for the links. It sounds like the sort of things my players would really like (and after a couple of years, the Your Land solo is getting a little old for me).

    5. Yeah, the "stuff on your land" is in BoE. As far as complexity, it's not that the BoM system is SUPER complex, but BoE is a breeze, comparatively.

    6. I'll have to look into it. Thanks, again.

    7. Okay, I hate to be a pest, but can you explain how BoE is streamlined? I'm reading through it and my eyes are starting to glaze over. I'm not even sure where to begin to convert my PKs' manors to BoE.

      And I'm really boggling at what to do when the two males knights get married (one's close to convincing Adwen and the other will marry Elaine within the year).

    8. No worries--happy to help! In fact, it took me a couple read-throughs before I really started to understand what the BoE was trying to say. I think part of the problem was coming from Book of the Manor, which took a different tack, and so I was expecting BoE to do something different than what it does.

      The thing is, most of the content in BoE regarding manor economics is more of an essay than rules. The two key pages to look at are p. 30 and p. 38. For simplicity, the basic manor has been raised from 6 libra to 10. Those two cited pages illustrate the breakdown of income and expenses, but the key is: you don't really have to actually worry about any of that during game play. It's mostly there to allow you to tinker under the hood.

      Now take a look at the Estate Record on p. 111. All the player has to worry about is that Discretionary Income box--what is in excess of your basic expenses? You're not tracking expenses versus income year-to-year in the same way you do with BoM. If you tally up the expenses from p. 30, you'll see that a full household (including a wife) is 9 libra for a 10 libra manor, so a typical vassal knight will start with a discretionary income of 1 libra. Since p. 30 tells you that a wife costs 1 libra, your bachelor knights will have discretionary income of 2 until they're married. That's it. You don't make stewardship rolls for harvest results or any of that. The knights just increase their treasury by X every year.

      Now, raids or bad weather can still reduce income, of course. That's tracked in Lots of damage (upper right corner of the Estate Record); each lot represents a tenth of the manor's income, so a 10 libra manor taking two lots of damage would wipe out a bachelor knight's discretionary or put a married knight 1 libra in the red for the year. (Damaged lots are where Stewardship comes in, as it's used to repair damage--check out p. 44 onwards.)

    9. Ohhhhhhhh! Okay! :)

      I sort of got the impression that I was seeing a lot of "this is why things will work the way they do", but then they talk about putting together an estate and I was confused (so I'm supposed to figure out if there's an abbey on the lands or am I not... wha? sort of thing).

      And there wasn't a ton of talk on the forums about how this book works other than people saying it was too complicated or that it wasn't complicated at all. I guess I got spoiled with the forum discussion of Book of Battle in that there was a lot of discussion about how the rules portions worked.

      Thanks a lot!

    10. Yeah, it's funny--going to the forums and seeing there *wasn't* a lot of discussion about the book is what made me realize I was way overthinking it. ;)

      I do like the breakdowns, in the end, especially since it explicates exactly who is living on the estate other than the player-knight and his wife and children. I know from experience those sorts of questions can come up, either from players or the need of scenario design.