Sunday, January 11, 2015

[Pendragon] The Great Pendragon Campaign: Year 524 - Of Lakes and Boars

This year's Pentecost feast and tournament prove most eventful for our intrepid heroes...and for one hero-in-the-making. Then...tragedy strikes for a popular knight of Salisbury while on the hunt for the Troit Boar.


Dave S.
And…Edie the Dog

The campaign's wiki can be found here.


  1. Alas poor BJ I knew him well.

    Can anyone or anything stop Sir Edern.

    1. There'll be a little piece of Pureheart in everyone who was there that day. He truly was a game fellow.

      Also, so many problems like this would have been avoided if you had murdered Gawaine like I kept urging everyone to. He wimps out of tournaments, slays allies, and supports people who out-pure our noble deceased Lord.

      I am a little sad by the description since it sort of spoiled who would die since you had made it explicit that episode that of the three knights fighting only one was a Knight of Salisbury. It's not been a good couple of years for their county. Their most famous knight dies trying to kill the King, and now the two most famous male rulers are dead or incapacitated.

      Malvis for Regent!

    2. It's all Nimue's doing. The Lady of the Lake used her sorcery to cause Calonlan's death. She knew that, if alive, Calonlan would inevitably overshadow her precious Lancelot.

      [But does this mean that Desiree will now be playing the baby as the next adversary? No-one would ever suspect a baby.]

  2. I must say, I'm now envisaging the Pentecost Tournament as Sir Edern singing "Knights Just Wanna Have Fun" to the court, with a bunch of other knights (all in plate armor) serving as backup dancers. You know, in the most over-the-top fashion imaginable. (In later generations, this will probably be ascribed to Sir Balin of the Two Swords).

    It's always distressing to see a knight killed by a boar, but for Sir Pureheart's sake, at least it was a giant boar. I've seen those little monsters kill too many good knights.

    And yes, rough times for Salisbury. I assume Lady Katherine is in charge while Robert is incapacitated?

    Now, to go catch up with those other recordings that I missed....

    1. I envisage the Tournament as knights standing off to one side saying that they were into jousting before it went all corporate.

  3. Does this mean that the GPC takes Chrétien's story of how Yvain gets his lion away from Yvain? That's *horrible*. Unless it's to keep the rest of the story for a player knight. That would be *awesome*.

    Also, I don't think that Stafford intended his Lancelot to irritate player knights in the way that it did our heroes, but my impression from reading things online is that their response is more common than not.

    One of the oddities about the GPC is that it incorporates so little of Culhwch and Olwen into the Troit Boar episode. In particular, the "have to get something special to accomplish the task" is such an RPG staple that it's very strange that it's left out.

    1. I don't think hating Lancelot should be an unexpected reaction. He's a character who shows up out of nowhere, gets given a lot of incredible equipment at his knighting ceremony, and then goes off and single-handedly performs so many suicidal feats (off screen) that there's no conceivable way for the player knights to match him because he's the best knight ever.

      Which is fair, because Lancelot is the best knight ever at this point, but his character arc is a lot less interesting than Arthur's. Everyone gets a chance to see Arthur from essentially a squire age, and he gets to grow into a King and seek advice from the players as he's forming. He even isn't actually that good a leader starting out, relying on Merlin and Excalibur for a lot of his battle advice and he has trouble commanding the loyalty of subjects at first. He's more relatable and it's easier to accept his status as ruler of all because he didn't start out at the height of his prowess.

      Add on top that everyone knows how this Lancelot story ends, I certainly wouldn't trust him. Especially since brave knights who don't trust him end up suddenly dead.

    2. "Does this mean that the GPC takes Chrétien's story of how Yvain gets his lion away from Yvain?"

      Well, no, but it does happen off-screen, as it were. It happened a couple years back, actually, when Yvaine and Gawaine went off with Marhaus after Yvaine got exiled from court. The GPC is written in a sort of odd style, one of implication rather than explanation. It's very non-prescriptive, actually. It mentions Yvaine's adventures without going into any detail (leaving it up to the individual GM to read the source material) and then you'll see a reference a couple years later to Yvaine now being called "the Knight of the Lion", which to my mind indicates the outcomes of his adventures are now well-known.

      The various story threads of the canonical knights represent a fine line. On the one hand, one naturally wants to share them with the players. On the other, you don't want the campaign to turn into "NPC story time." I find that weaving the stories into the rumors and encounters--"Oh hey, Yvaine's got this lion now. Yeah, I heard he got it while adventuring with Gawaine."--adds a richness and realness to the setting without getting too overwhelming. And, as you say, it gives me some material that I can pilfer and throw at the players if the opportunity presents it.

      Lancelot, of course, is a whole other ball of wax, and as Jake points out, it's kind of natural for the players to dislike him. There's an essay by Greg Stafford that talks about how he's sort of the Superman to everyone else's "regular" hero, and it can be easy to get a bit irritated with an all-powerful do-gooder of that caliber. That's why there are rules in place that could saddle a player with a "Trusting: Lancelot" trait as a means of countering the player-driven mistrust, I think.

      I also think it's purposely set up in a way so that Lancelot starts out as this object of natural dislike, but as time goes on there will be more opportunities for him to get a bit more humanized in the players' eyes. We'll see.

      "One of the oddities about the GPC is that it incorporates so little of Culhwch and Olwen into the Troit Boar episode. In particular, the 'have to get something special to accomplish the task' is such an RPG staple that it's very strange that it's left out."

      Indeed, and the one time I ran that scenario in my last GPC go-round I made it a much bigger deal. It was a multi-year quest to gather the best hunters in the land, and a special blade that could cut the boar's golden comb. I decided to skip that this time because there's been enough monster slaying of late, and I wanted this to just be a minor but potentially deadly side quest.

    3. Yes, because nothing is less suspicious to players than the GM looking at them from over the screen and going "No really, this guy is SUPER trustworthy. In fact you all are spontaneously filled with trust towards this guy, Because he's that noble and will definitely not bring about the downfall of everything you've sworn to protect"..

    4. Yvain and his lion:

      I think that actually does take Yvain's story away from him, though, or at least it forces radical alterations. The story has to happen over a long period of time, and Yvain has to be welcome at Arthur's court, neither of which work if you try to combine it with Malory's Gawaine-Uwaine-Marhaus episode.

  4. You know, I wasn't a huge fan of Sir Pureheart when he first showed up, but his demise here really sold me on him.

    I mean, here we have this great, chivalrous knight. Maybe a bit overindulgent (I think that was what the flaw chosen for him was), but overall a good man. Gallant, a fine fighter, nobly born. And then, one winter he sleeps with his buddy's wife. And later that year he's killed by the Troit Boar.

    Now, who can say what misfortune cost this good soul his life? But maybe - just maybe - if Sir Arrent had been at the top of his game, instead of perhaps thinking about matters closer to home, he might have heard those hunting horns. And if he had, he probably would have come to help, and the boar might have had to split its skill just a bit more, and that crit would have been a miss instead. And so, ultimately, perhaps Sir Pureheart was a victim of that one moment of sinful weakness. Perhaps.

    But it sure is funny that it happened the same year we met Lancelot.

    Pendragon is a pretty great game, that's all I'm trying to say.

    1. Honestly, the same thought came into my head after the game. If Arrent hadn't fumbled his Awareness check, the boar likely would have gone down (at least) one round sooner, and Pureheart would still be alive.

      Of course, if Pureheart hadn't consistently rubbed Arrent's face in his wife's infidelity during the entire ride to find the Troat boar, maybe he would have had his head more in the game.

      One of the few cases where my dice failures actually made one of my characters happy.

    2. Plus, you now have a child whom you can raise on stories of how treacherous and craven the family line of Sir Blains was. Hopefully you can cleanse the one-true-Earl of Salisbury to further reinforce the true ruling line.

    3. Jake's comment raises an interesting question. (Well, it's interesting to me.)

      Wouldn't Blains/Calonlan have relatives? In Silchester, at least, although it wouldnt unlikely that Blains installed at least one or two cousins or nephews or whatnot in Salisbury during his years as the regent's husband.

      Is Sir Arrent twisted enough to raise his new "son" to hate his (real) relatives? David comes across as drawn to more witty and lighthearted portrayals of his Pendragon characters, but perhaps that's just cover for his deep-seated desire to brood upon the world's pain.

    4. You'll just have to wait and see.


      No, no he's really not.

  5. A little something I found humorous was that Gaille Wilton was the one who that affair with Count Cynrain back in 519.

    1. She does get around. If you have access to the 4th edition rulebook, you shouldn't be surprised... ;)