Sunday, June 22, 2014

[Pendragon] The Great Pendragon Campaign: Year 501 - The Big Pict-ure

There's a royal wedding in the offing, and Salisbury's finest are tapped to escort the bride to her destination. But can they survive the locals when they venture "beyond the wall"?


David S.
And...Edie the Dog

The campaign's wiki can be found here.


  1. I'm sorry for worrying everyone. I was called away from my realm of convenient electronic gadgets, but have used the magic of internet posting to retroactively leave an approving nod. For full disclosure I'm not so much of a Blains fan as much as I am a Des fan, as I am of all of you but I miss her since she's now had the least to do in this campaign. I do enjoy Blains, and find him a good and Snidely Whiplash-esque kind of foe, but I am really hoping eventually something deservedly unpleasant happens to him. Or you burn dicks into his fields again. That was fun.

    So welcome to the party Sir Caradoc! You can learn from the best and brightest that Salisbury currently has to offer, like Sir Tathan the Perpetually Wounded, Sir Concord the Emotionally Fragile, Sir Wulfram the Insane, and Sir Cormac the Not Appearing In This Episode (I really hope he's back to hunting the questing beast). My favourite mental image is Caradoc's look of puzzlement that THESE are his brother's famous friends?

    Also hurray for the return of David's Scottish accent. Hopefully more of it to come next year!

    1. "...but I miss her since she's now had the least to do in this campaign."

      We feel your pain, too. A lot of Des's involvement goes on behind the scenes (we just had a great discussion while cooking dinner last night about her plans for 502) and is stuff I end up integrating into the narrative myself (particularly when she's not present at the table). She enjoys watching the GPC play out, since she's already played through it once before, but I'm not gonna lie--it would be nice if she could take a more active role during the sessions. We're still refining this whole "adversary" approach, and hopefully we'll find a way for her to do that as things go along.

      Thanks as always for your kinds words, good sir!

  2. Scottish accents are all well and good, but I await anxiously the return of the (hilarious) German accent.

    I like the "In this week's exciting episode..." style of summary that you've adopted above. This week's episode was sadly marred by the general absence of Blainsness, and I find it frustratingly difficult to detect how the actions of the Empty Goblet cabal this week advanced their sinister designs. Perhaps they are trying to lull the forces of decency into a false sense of security?

    But, on the other hand: Morgan le Fay! And she may be calling on our heroes to carry out tasks for her in the future. That won't create any complications at all...

    There's an interesting version of the origins of Gawain that has Lot spend time as a hostage at Uther's court, which I think would be a great detail to incorporate into the Uther period of the GPC.

    1. I'm sad that once the Saxons are dealt with once and for all, I'll have hardly any opportunities to trot out my B-movie German/Lord Humongous accent.

      Yes, I've rather fallen into doing TV Guide-style summaries, and I'm quite enjoying it. ;)

      I wasn't aware of that alternate origin story of Gawaine. Pity I didn't know about it, I probably would've integrated it into the narrative. The GPC draws from tons of sources, but there are just too many contradictory stories to cover all in the book. Fortunately, there's more than enough room narratively to integrate alternate takes like that, and the GPC even encourages it.

      I'm tremendously proud of my players for their unsolicited ability to separate out their OOC knowledge from their character actions. I'm not above playing around with/revising/reversing expectations either, and Des has some interesting ideas for Morgan, so it's just as well that they do that--if they played according to set expectations, they might find themselves seriously discomfited.

    2. Has everyone in your group played through GPC before? My own knowledge of Arthurian myths is spotty, and not helped by having watched a lot of shows that put their own spin on it. I basically know that it goes [Uther Dies] => [SCENE MISSING] => [Sword From The Stone] => [SCENE MISSING] => [CAMELEOT] => [SCENE MISSING] => [LOL Should've used Gawain instead of Lancelot] => [Hamlet Ending].

      Also I think the group has things exactly right to their approach for Morgan right now. They're a melee-focused party that has just found a precocious young White Mage whose father was a King unjustly killed by poison. Sure she sometimes says unnecessarily creepy things, but they need to lock down that ally immediately. No one survives without a White Mage.

    3. Nope, Des is the only one who has played through. Schimpff has read my "Solo GPC" posts in the past, but has stopped now that this campaign's under way. Des ran a short Pendragon campaign back in 2011 that Schimpff and Jen participated in, so there might be some familiar territory there, but I'll try not to repeat stuff she covered too much. (The campaign ran from 530-540 or so, so there's a ways to go before we have to worry about that.) Renae has a PhD in English Lit, so I just assume she knows all this stuff to some degree or another, but it's been kind of fun introducing a minor character and not knowing if any or all of the players know who it is.

      You're on point about Morgan. Another nice thing about the GPC is that it doesn't rely on players going one way or another in terms of allegiance. I've had previous groups generate Hate (Merlin) passions and vicious rivalries with Gawaine, for example. This group could totally ally with King Lot and oppose the rise of Arthur, for all the GPC cares, for example. Still, Morgan's a bit like having a White Mage that also happens to have a few sticks of dynamite in their backpack...

    4. Perhaps she's a little bit on the violent side, but from my brief forays in MMORPGs and in naturally gravitating/being assigned the support roles in RPGs, people will put up with ANY amount of crazy from the person who can cast Healing spells.

      I bought the GPC when it came up on the Bundle of Holding a few weeks ago, and although it would ruin some enjoyment of listening to this podcast (and if I do ever play it in the future), I am really interested to sit down and read how it deals with players opposing "canon" events, or murdering important characters or otherwise disrupting the campaign. It seems like they understand the natural impulse of some PCs to just watch history burn under their swords.

    5. Essentially, the GPC has almost nothing to say on the subject of canon disruptions. This is largely because the bulk of the book is simply a dispassionate narrative: this year, such-and-such happens; also this-and-that. It's up to the GM to decide how much they want to weave any particular year's events into their campaign. (The big exception being the "tutorial" Uther years, of course.)

      This is the only bit of advice on going "off-model" I could find in the book:

      Making Changes to the Campaign
      Please feel free to do this. If your players are willing to undertake the roles of being the Queen’s lover or the murderers of Pellinore and Lamorak — and if you, the Gamemaster, are willing to cope with these deviations from the script — then by all means let it happen!

      I remember the first time I ran Pendragon, one of the PCs got into it with Sir Gawaine and almost killed him on a Critical. That really freaked me out--what if Gawaine had been killed!? OMG!

      I took my concerns to the KAP Yahoo group (to give you some idea of how long ago this happened...) and the general consensus was: so what if he had? Whatever essential plot elements were to still fall on Gawaine could've easily been farmed out to one or more other NPCs, or even the PC who killed Gawaine! In effect, killing Gawaine would've caused the PC to inherit his mantle of karma. This blew my mind at the time and I haven't looked back since.

  3. I should add that I've yet to read the GPC, but I don't have the impression that Greg Stafford made use of that detail.

    Also, I forgot to say that I'm impressed by how little the players are making use of their metaknowledge of how the story will develop.

  4. To be fair, most of the group's (see: my) knowledge of Pendragon stems from not watching the Sword in the Stone for at least a decade, not watching Holy Grail for at least 5 years, watching Excalibur once about fifteen years ago, and that one Sean Connery/Richard Gear vehicle. And the Mists of Avalon. Whenever that aired.

    Oh, and that one cartoon about the knights of the round table. Mostly the cartoon. King Arthur and the Knights of Justice. Which...reading the apparently a time-displacement show about a football team.


  5. The recording has disappeared.

    1. Gah! So it had! That's really weird--just vanished off I re-uploaded it. Let me know if you run into any more problems.

    2. Indeed. Sit tight--new host going live in a day or two, and everything should be back online then.

    3. Alright. HOPEFULLY that'll be fixed for good.