Sunday, July 20, 2014

[Pendragon] The Great Pendragon Campaign: Year 506 - The Tournament of Wandborough

In an effort to stave off war, Countess Ellen and Duke Chaleins arrange a tournament for Cornwall and Escavalon, and our plucky band of knights are invited to come along for the big show.


David S.
And...Edie the Dog

The campaign's wiki can be found here.


  1. I love tournaments in Pendragon. Always have. Grand melees are a lot of fun. The adventure afterwards was intriguing. I may have to steal it for my campaign as it seems like something my players would love to take part in.

    1. I'm still looking around for a satisfactory Tournament Melee system, one that's not as complex as the _Book of Battle_, but not too abstract. I used the streamlined battle system from _Beyond the Wall_, and that worked fairly well, but it left a bit to be desired. I'll probably work on it a bit, see if I can't tweak it to my tastes.

      Of course, there's always the quick resolution system in the front of the GPC, but for a more detailed play-through like this, I still haven't quite found the sweet spot.

      The concluding adventure, to my knowledge, has only appeared in the 4th edition core book. This was the second time I've run it, and it's always quite a bit of fun.

    2. I have the PDF of the 4th Edition book. I'll have to check it when I get home. It showed up very cheap or free on DriveThruRPG a while back and I snagged it.

      I'm still a ways away from tournaments since they just finished 492 this past weekend. I'm holding off on long term plans until I see how many PCs make it through the St. Albans meat grinder. I have one night that post-age-35 at that point and one that's just recently become a knight (after her previous character was spirited away by the fey).

    3. Aw, this year felt so nostalgic. Brendan was obsessed with everything being the hunting beasts, Jade killed a helpless person in a fit of madness, Jen quietly and unexpectedly accomplished a great objective, and David managed to both succeed and fail at the same time! Plus (almost) everyone irrationally hated on Blains even to the political detriment of Salisbury! And yet no one took the opportunity to "accidentally" stab him to death in the melee. Missed chance there everyone.

      How do rolls work for death by old age? Is it like child survival rolls that presumably get harder with time? I'm hoping that on his death bed he can do one last act of trolling for everyone (perhaps another season of "light raiding"), and then escape into death as a beloved mentor to the next generation of Salisbury squires and knights. That'll show everyone!

    4. My knowledge of the detailed mechanics mostly ends at 3rd ed. One thing that's really odd is that the system at that point provided no mechanic for determining the winner of a melee (and not a very good one for capturing knights for ransom).

      On another note, I'd be interested to hear if David or anyone else knows of effective house-rules that have been tried for madness. Madness is an aspect of the rules that I find really problematic, both from a gaming perspective and as a reflection of the source material.

      It should be a big deal, but 5% chance guarantees that it will happen a lot (especially in this campaign, whose players are passionate about impassioning - I'm pretty sure that there are often more than 20 Passion rolls total a session).

      I'd probably think about confining madness to fumbled Passions that were 16+ and in situations where there was a definite overall failure at the end of the day (the sort of thing that causes Shock on a successful Passion roll). For other fumbles, I might adopt this campaign's attractive Melancholy house-rule for ordinary failures and treat a fumbled passion as causing Melancholy that one can't buy off with a loss of a point.

      But I'm sure that someone out there has tried something better.

      On another note still, was choosing a silver goblet as the prize a deliberate touch?

    5. Jake: On Aging, if memory serves (I don't have my book in front of me), once a stat, any stat, reaches a certain point, you're bedridden/just not capable anymore and if a stat hits 0 you're dead. Now that tends not to be the way most knights die since the combat system tends to take care of that.

    6. Jake: Regarding aging/death tables, you are correct. There's a weighted table in the Book of the Estate for determining if an NPC dies in a given year. There's even tables for determining the manner of the death! I'm looking forward to seeing how Blains shuffles off his mortal coil, but he certainly has been looking to his legacy, hasn't he?

      Voord: None of the later editions addressed either of those lacunae in terms of melee. For captures, I decided that doing enough damage to otherwise cause a major wound would indicate a capture, and for winner (as you heard), I have everyone roll 1d6 for every knight captured--whoever rolls the most sixes (or, in the event of a tie, whoever has higher Glory) wins. If no one rolls any sixes, the win goes to an NPC. Seems to work pretty well.

      As far as house rules for madness, I don't have madness take effect for passions of 10 or lower, partly to encourage players to roll on those ones from time to time. Going by the rules as written, the real trick is to get your passion to 20 or better--then you can't go mad! I also try and be flexible in the context of the roll, as in this instance where I offered the choice of having a brief spell and a small Honor loss rather than "disappearing" the knight entirely.

      I do like your idea of melancholy you can't buy off, though. Hmm.

      And yes, the silver goblet was a deliberate choice on my part, a little call-back, if you will.

    7. Re: madness and 20+ passions: curiously, one of the most important "canonical" examples involves a knight whose passion is definitely higher than 20: Lancelot in Malory. Maybe the GM imposed a negative modifier to Lancelot's Love (Guinevere) that made a fumble possible :)