Sunday, December 7, 2014

[Pendragon] The Great Pendragon Campaign: Year 521 - For the Love of Morgan

After years of plotting behind the scenes, Morgan le Fay makes her move--and one of the player-knights is right at the center of her deadly plans...


Dave S.
And…Edie the Dog

The campaign's wiki can be found here.


  1. So... a series of unfortunate and tragic events that ONCE AGAIN could have been avoided if you had actually read the rules of Hospitality and investigated why someone was being super rude to you.

    Anyway, poor Sir Archade. He was led into a scripted battle and failed his Quick Time Event to prevent that scabbard from being taken. Also if Arthur survived with 3HP that's the hit points saved by the Armour of Chivalry which seems entirely appropriate. I mean yes, that was two sword blows that were saved, but really that's the difference between unconscious and super death.

    I suppose rolling on Archade's survival was a foregone conclusion though given whose character he was. If only there were some sort of magical sorceress there who might've had healing powers and could've been bothered to save his life.

    I'm sad now. I'm going to go write some more BJ the Wonderkid fanfiction in order to make me feel better. I heard his name is supposed to be Sir Pureheart, but unfortunately that's not the name that was immortalized in song this year.

    1. Archade's fate was never truly sealed until I fumbled that First Aid roll. But his participation in the battle was decided prior to the session via the forums: he might have beaten Morgan on the opposed Lustful rolls, or rolled a much lower Amor, or won with his opposed Loyalty roll. But of course he didn't, and ended up head over heels for Britain's most dangerous sorceress and swearing on his life that he would fight without quarter. Once that was locked in, of course, it was a question of just how beat up he was going to get, and I (and Schimpff) recognized the possibility of death, but man...that fumbled First Aid roll... Good times, as Schimpff would say.

      Actually, I just found out today that Jen wrote Schmipff privately during the week once all the forum shenanigans died down asking him if he wanted to collude with Malvis on a way to hoist Morgan by her own petard, but Schimpff declined--I think he was genuinely curious to see how things played out, plus he was respecting that Amor of 28(!).

      As for the proximity of white witches with healing magic, although there are no hard-and-fast rules in 5e for magic, I take the 4e magic system as my cue, and you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that healing magic is the most difficult and draining of all the magics. Besides, last thing I want is for my players to start looking at enchanters as D&D-style clerics!

      Oh, and yes: Arthur had his Armor of Chivalry going. He also had had a protective spell put on him by Nimue (it was the only way he was going to survive taking a pounding from Excalibur), so she was pretty much "magicked out" save for the "numb fingers" charm she cast on Archade anyway.

    2. All reasonable, and I'm sad but not feeling like there was cheating going on. It was a well setup and reasonable scenario, and keeping in line with what we know about Morgan and sorceresses in Arthurian myth. Of course Archade wasn't going to kill Arthur, but it was that moment of hope when we found out he was reduced to 0HP that maybe Archade would pull through! And then he required a roll to survive and WELP.

      I think it was Sir Pace who had a Healing potion way back at the beginning of this campaign, so I assumed she would at least have one of those on hand. Also if you can't save good men from an unjust death why is everyone so googoo over Merlin and Nimue when they so clearly only have Arthur's best interests in heart.

      And was Arthur really held captive by Sir Batshield all night and then forced to fight on his behalf? And he went along with it rather than dramatically reveal he was the King kidnapped and that someone was a traitor in the ranks?

      We need a knight of heart most pure to fix these problems endemic in the system.

    3. It was actually Sir Tathan that had the potion of healing, and he used it to save Sir Jaradan's life.

      I still do not regret that decision. I make it my life's work to see Wash grow to a ripe old age of "never going to die ever again."

    4. Yeah I'd realised my mistake after I posted that because it was the same night that some other event of probably trivial inconsequence happened.

      So who're you playing next week? Are we seeing Adwen's new cynical outlook on Knighthood, or is it going to be a surprise?

    5. Yes, healing potions are always a workaround. They occasionally come up, either on the Luck tables at chargen or via adventures. (Yes, I'm remembering one adventure in the future that offers the chance for a most interesting healing potion...)

      The backstory with Sir Batshield is that he was capturing knights and asking them to be his champion. He was such a shithead that everyone chose imprisonment instead. Arthur, however, said he would do it--and we found out why at the end of the combat. Never appoint a king to do your fighting for you if he isn't on your side to begin with!

      As for keeping his identity secret, well, that's as much a genre thing as anything else. Knights in Mallory are constantly wailing on each other to the point of death or collapse before they finally get around to finding out who the other guy is. It's actually a strong argument in favor of eliminating Glory bonuses for Heraldry and Recognize, if not eliminating the skills entirely (at least for knights--Heralds and Reconnaiseuse could still have the appropriate skill, of course).

      Oh, and thanks for the reminder, Dave--I need to make mortality rolls for all the NPCs this year. I think I'll start with Jaradan... ;P

    6. The problem you run into with healing magic is that if Nimue can restore Archade to life (or heal him otherwise), then surely she could also have restored Arthur to life. And that's no good. On the other hand, Merlin didn't seem to have any trouble with healing, so I guess Nimue didn't learn all his secrets.

      And on the subject of recognizing, it's my general impression that the knights were constantly going undercover - it's not that they couldn't recognize each other, but rather that they wanted to do things secretly.

      And for my own comment: this would have seemed like a great opportunity to use the grappling rules in Pendragon. It's too bad that they're not very good.

    7. That was more of a metagame on my part, regrettably. Archade's DEX at time of death was 7. Not much grappling in those cold, death arthritic hands of his.

    8. It's actually a bit of a gray area. As Max says, the Grapple rules leave something to be desired. I think I ruled correctly: Arthur went for the Grapple (DEX roll), but because Archade was still armed, he was free to strike with his weapon rather than be forced to roll his DEX as well. Another interpretation would have a quick DEX vs. DEX contest for Arthur's grapple and then give Archade an unopposed attack, which almost certainly would've had the same outcome given Archade's low DEX. Then again, you never know.

      Ah, hindsight. Ever the bugbear of the GM's imagination.

      Oh, and as for recognizing: yes, there are lots of examples of knights covering their shields or bearing another knight's arms (as here), but there are quite a few where they're not in disguise and still don't recognize each other. (Tristram is usually involved in those cases, which as led to the in-game canon that he suffers from extreme near-sightedness!)

    9. I was actually thinking of Arthur doing the grappling, rather than Archade. I guess he did, so I suppose I'm more surprised he met with any success. It's tough to beat a weapon skill with a Dex roll.

      As for Tristram... bah, he's from Cornwall. He hardly counts. Expecting one of Mark's thugs to be able to read heraldry is like expecting a Pict to be able to read Latin.

      And you know, Excalibur's kind of a fickle sword. Use me to fight some hoodlum who's been murdering people on the road? Bang! Broken! Kill the rightful High King? Heck! Why not?!

    10. Yeah I'm wondering why everyone was expecting Excalibur to do anything but snap instantly when used against Arthur. Maybe Pellinore is the ACTUAL rightful High King of Britain, and thus will never draw blood against him. Or perhaps the Questing Beast marks the people who chase it, and none but it may slay those it has chosen.

    11. Nah, the stone that gives money totally signified Arthur as the rightful king of Britain.

      However, maybe Excalibur doesn't care about kings anymore and just wants to see sunlight every now and again. Food for thought.

  2. Wow what a way to go out. I dare say that the King is the luckiest SOB in all of Britain.

    P.S. Even off screen Cynrain is whoopin you know what.

  3. I rather enjoyed this game, and sure while a little of it was scripted, it was totally Arthurian in how it played out. Archade did a tremendous job with what he had.

    Sure things could've happened otherwise, for instance I think he took more than one hit, so multiple first aid rolls, and of course they only die at midnight, so there was still time to work with.

    That said, what an epic way to lose a character. Truly Arthurian in how two friendly knights clash for no good reason, and lament the loss of one of the two.