Sunday, August 9, 2015

[Pendragon] The Great Pendragon Campaign: Year 544-51 - The Tale of Sir Leander

We get caught up with Sir Leander, along with what happened during the "missing years" that the rest of the knights skipped during their jaunt to the Other Side. Then, with everyone back on the same page in 551, the group visits a stone house and discover its explosive secret. Meanwhile, King Arthur loses a son and...gains a son?



The campaign's wiki can be found here.


  1. So, my massive disappointment aside about continuously shirking any desire to investigate why that giant you killed together in your very first session was still alive despite the fact that on three separate times you were told that he was still around, once by Percivale right to your faces that he had just done it and you were almost tempted to do something about it but then didn't and then were even told by Loholt that he was going to go kill that very giant and had a chance to maybe intervene and prevent all of this and possibly prevent the downfall of Camelot... LEAVING ALL THAT ASIDE...

    The cornering of Arthur is actually very well done. The death of Borre although a tragedy probably left Arthur convinced that Loholt, despite missing, had to be alive because he had the prophecy hanging over his head that his son would be the King of Britain. Borre seemed like he would master the art of being a King better, but Loholt still was a good and noble knight. Then in the span of a few years he loses his half-sister, and his other son to the man he thought of as a brother, and his love with Guinevere appears to have run its course (though thankfully they both seem to remain amicable with each other).

    Now he's alone, aging unnaturally from probably nothing dire, and he's forced to confront his shame from before he knew his heritage, and since he still believes in Merlin and prophecy, is aware that he has to accept Mordred, and knows that this is probably all going to end in fire.

    And although you'll never know what would've happened if Loholt hadn't departed to kill Logrim, I think in your hearts those who willfully ignored Lady Jeanette will all have some hard questions to ask themselves in the future.

    1. You said it much more elegantly than I ever could.

      Then again, the end is supposed to be sad and full of what-if's and I-shoud've's. We still reserve the right to blame you guys for them all. I'm glad my players are all still in the very beginning and still think everything might turn out great.

    2. I too feel the same way. It's like Gawaine and the Green Knight. What seems to be such an inconsequential decision can have such huge repercussions. There are quests and adventures that get left to the NPCs all the time. Who knew that leaving this one off would have such dire consequences?

      And, frankly, I think the players having a part to play in the unfolding tragedy should be a badge of honor for them! May there be more yet to come--the Arthurian saga is all about trying to do the right thing and only making things worse as a result.

    3. Thank you Miika, though I've been putting my thoughts on this into words for awhile now, since I am a big Sir Kay fan. He is still alive, so maybe players could hunt him down and there may or may not be some explanation. This could turn out to be one of Morgan's plots after all. Who knows.

      It is a definite consequence of the quest for adventure that Knights don't want to go back and revisit something they've already done. I think that it's even been said during one of the many times you dangled the Logrim thread in front of them that they'd already done this quest, so why do it again?

      As an aside, I never really liked the story of Gawaine and the Green Knight. I mean there were lots of better options than "Behead someone because he sort of bet you wouldn't." Also the resolution doesn't make much sense because Gawain keeps failing the challenges laid out before him, yet that somehow dispelled Morgan's magic on the Green Knight? Problems.

      Anyway, a very good "I didn't want this" session. Poor Leander, arthritis aside he keeps getting a lot accomplished (and is closing in on that 12,000 mark) but what he really needs... is to accept he's worthy of his friends.

      And then because things can't ever look up for him, shouldn't Brad be subject to a roll for the Yellow Death?

    4. Jake! Why did you have to bring up Brad? We were all just hoping they'd forget about it... Dammit.

    5. What strikes me as amusing about these comments is how completely assured you all feel about what you and your character would do or what initiative you would take when faced with "significant plot points" in this game.

      Can you imagine how many "plot points" you've avoided or missed in your own lives based on whatever was going on in your head at any given time? Just like the knights in our GPC, we are ruled by passions, skills, traits, and stats that are messy, mindless, and incredibly crippling at times. Humans are quite self-involved and unless something impacts them directly, they usually won't participate in whatever is happening.

      David is almost too subtle a GM at times and it's only after gaming with him for over 10 years that I know when he is laying something down for me to pick up. However, the decision about whether I pick it up or not is contingent on my character and their motivations. Just because I KNOW Mordred is a shit, doesn't mean I am going to treat him as one. And just because I am aware the cause of Loholt's death is because he slays a giant, sleeps on said giant, and then is accidently killed by Kay due to the aforementioned giant corpse sleepover doesn't mean I am going to put my character's life in danger to serve some larger plot point. My characters live for themselves and I play them according to what they feel is important to them, no matter how bizarre or selfish they come off.

      I don't see Leander assassinating Mordred. He might tacitly approve of a plan like that, but he wouldn't do it because IF Mordred is Arthur's son, killing him would go against Leander's homage to Arthur.

      As for Leander not feeling worthy of his friends, I think that's not really his problem at all and that is more of my personal problem, Jake. Also, please leave Brad out of your comments! He’s obviously going to live forever…

    6. I actually don't know if when playing through these I would make the decisions I want to, which is why I like being able to define a Knight's Traits so you can fall back on those when you need to make a decision, or prevent you from making an inappropriate one. That's what makes this so much fun to listen to, because while you could've meta-gamed a lot of changes to the plot, you're participating in the "true" Pendragon history in a very natural and organic way.

      And while it would be fun to imagine slaughtering Mordred based on what we know now, at the moment he's just an arrogant jerk who makes friends with arrogant jerks and that's not enough to murder someone. Unless, amusingly, you're an Orkney Knight in which case you love these guys. One of you suddenly rearing up and stabbing Mordred for truth and justice would be out of character, but it's fun to imagine how things might change (or might not really change) if it were to happen.

      Anyway, my frustration over the Logrim Incident is I feel like being told this quest that you had finished and then wasn't is something that affected you directly, although to a very minor degree. However not reacting to it is in character for both Sigebryht, Leander trusted Percival that he had done it, and Sawel married a frog so there's no one left to investigate.

      Although, right now, Arthur didn't acknowledge Mordred as his son or heir, and Mordred's claim is cemented on the unimpeachable word of a Knight who isn't present... if only there was a man driven mad by grief, had a feud with the Orkneys, and had a 20+ Homage that could be warped into a twisted desire to protect the King by any means necessary...

      Could Daig be the Hero that Logres needs, but not the one it deserves? Let's hope!

    7. As listeners we'r here witnessing you guys adventure. We'r the outside observers and our view is distorted by our own wants. Lots of times it's just like watching an intense TV show where you want to shout at the screen when the characters make (appropriate, but) stupid choises. Except in this show there are so many characters even fans often get confused of who did what with whom. :D

      Someone ought to make one of these for the podcast.

  2. Jade: "I like raisins in things"

    Euuggh. Jade, to think I thought you were cool! Look everybody, that's what happens when you play as a Saxon. Beware!

    One think that came to mind after the birth of Leander Junior is what ever happened to Sir Blaine's Summer Camp Program? Did it get canceled with the death of the man himself? (Speaking of which, surely Sir Gondrins might want to name one of 'his' children after his father or his surrogate grandfather or something.)

    1. We are only human, and we are defined by our flaws, Max. I'm so sorry you had to find out this way... I also love brussel sprouts and lima beans.

    2. I also enjoy raisins in things. Like mead and liver casserole. Even trail mix. Brussel sprouts are also among my favourite things. One, they are pretty. Two, they are tasty. Specially so when drowned in cheeses and cream.

  3. One thing I've figured out about either this game or the GPC itself is that a player must take initiative with the situation, to not expect the GM to throw the most important story at him, that he must seek out the situations he should be in.

    The question is, does destiny thwart the noble knight? Do his actions have real merit or is it all for naught?

    1. To be fair, that kind of nicely describes my own GMing style regardless of system. But one of the reasons I enjoy running KAP so much, I suspect, is that it naturally encourages that approach. The GPC is formatted in such a way as to simply present events as they happen. It's up to each individual GM to assemble those events into a coherent narrative in whatever manner they see fit.

      (My dream, frankly, is to one day run a "pure sandbox" version of the GPC, complete with a hex map and random encounter tables.)

      As for matters of pre-destination, only two things are wholly infallible in the GPC: Arthur, Guenever, and Lancelot all have plot immunity--but all bets are off for everyone else--and the PCs all die at the end. Other than that, it's open season. ;)

    2. I'm surprised that Lancelot and Guenever have plot armour, as while their affair is devastating it's not precisely what brings down King Arthur. If one (or both) dies, then presumably his family would still react in defense of his honour regarding these lies about his affair with the Queen. Are they kept alive so that they can have their poignant moment of realisation at the end of the campaign as to what their romance has wrought?

      If anyone has plot armour it would be exactly one of Borre/Loholt/Mordred due to prophecy shenanigans. If Mordred DOESN'T have plot armour like you keep hinting, I really hope Leander challenges him to a duel to the death (Daig can "handle" Agravaine) and leave Arthur bereft of any heir to fulfill the prophecy. I would assume this wouldn't work honestly. Perhaps Morgan would revive Mordred, or make his neck impervious to being severed thereby robbing Leander of his only method of killing people, but I'm really curious as to how the campaign could continue with all three Sons of Arthur dead.

      What I like about this campaign, and your playthrough of it exactly, is it's been handled so well and smoothly that we're on the path to destruction with what seems like a series of logical and in-character decisions. Even Archade's failure to kill King Arthur did seem like a last second save by Nimue, and only in the sense that it blocked one attack and let Arthur get in one last attack that Dave failed to save against.

    3. your comments about Daig are more interesting now in hindsight.

      David, may I suggest taking Kingmaker from Pathfinder, and using that as the basis for your KAP sandbox game?

      I keep thinking 'Investigate the withered lands more!' and 'you guys who still have manors, use your money to help feed the hungry'

      Did everyone just give up on their manors after a while or what? I get that for a while you can be put in a spot where your next char isn't necessarily from Newton Tony or such, but dang that money'd help right now, AND yearly glory too.

    4. as for plot armor, anyone that has a 40 in a combat skill is very close to immortal. as demonstrated, the only way to even come close to that is to crit a passion to be up there as well.

      Side note: Why is it that no NPCs seem to take damage during tourneys? 'Time to fight my sworn foe, but I'm damaged' and here he was in the melee too but he's just fine, well that's great ><

    5. Zerosage: Interesting point about npc health. I'll have to keep that in mind when I run my tourneys.

    6. I'm not sure what happened with Manors either, but the starting ones all passed out of the hands of the current PC's what with being promoted to Counthood, having their entire line be wiped out or marrying frogs.

      NPCs are at maximum health because they're NPCs. It's not until the PCs interact with them that their lives begin to move, however briefly, and they briefly shine in their moment of narrative light before sinking back into the darkness of unseen action.

    7. I've been thinking/reviewing my copy of Books of Knights and Ladies regarding the apparent invincibility of the empassioned 40+ Skill Knights. Obviously, it's a bit of a hurdle as people who might try calling out a certain knight down the line might find out, but I think it is do-able to overcome - just not in tournaments. You have to attack as a group to make them split their skill, or even simpler just take up archery and just plink away at them with arrows. A Longbow, which is available now at the tournament period, does 4d6+10 regardless of stats. That's an average of 24 damage on a regular hit, and I'm not sure if the +10 gets doubled on a crit or not, but if it doesn't that's a 48.

      The same logic can apply to thrown weapons, but Longbows seem like they're pretty powerful, as history would remember. Give everyone in your party a longbow, and that'll take care of crazy berserker people.

    8. What's interesting is that there are baked-in mitigations to both those tactics.

      From the rulebook: "Knights disdain to use missile weapons in combat, except for the short-ranged javelin once common in Rome: Only cowards fight from a distance, and personal honor requires men to confront each other body to body. Hunting is different; missile weapons may be used by knights in this pursuit, especially where food gathering is more important than sportsmanship. . . . There is no penalty to Honor for using missile weapons, but the Glory gained from defeating an opponent or creature using ranged attacks is always 1/10th of normal, regardless of whether melee combat was also part of the victory or not."

      As for ganging up on someone, that's somewhat more "allowable," but after the advent of Chivalry, it has to be done a bit on the downlow, or under special circumstances (like if the target knight was perceived as unchivalrous to begin with). And, much like with archery, you suffer a reduction in Glory, as the award is divided up amongst the multiple assailants. Nonetheless, it's definitely a viable tactic, as certain NPC knights recently proved off-camera...

      As a related postscript, Greg Stafford has explained (somewhere) that the Pendragon system is designed to reflect what knights *thought* combat should be like, rather than the reality of longbows and filthy infantrymen eventually supplanting the mounted horseman.

    9. Yeah, I realized that the weakness of Knights was that they have to fight like Knights. That's why although what happened to Morien was tragic, it made sense that trying to force this different way of everything onto him would drive him mad.

      I think the tactic would still work with a javelin since they also make an unopposed attack. This is definitely some Orkney kind of planning though, so hopefully it's never used.