Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Epic Play-Through Year 502

Summary: Our group is attempting a complete run of the Great Pendragon Campaign  using 5th edition rules. Players are Matt, Mark, and Lilith. I am the GM.

Year 502
The seventh year in the Anarchy Period, there is no king in Britain.

Our current roster of characters:
·        Sir Safrax, played by Lilith.
·        Sir Quintus, played by Matt.
·        Sir Aeddan of Pitton, played by Mark.

Lots of politicking this year as Silchester approaches the Mercian alliance that the player knights set up, asking to join, but not formally. Word has come that raids are aimed at London and Duke Ulfias of Silchester wants to stop them. With the advice of the player knights, Countess Ellen is on board. The military alliance the player knights have set up is pretty strong right now, no match against all the Saxons unified, but luckily they are not unified.

The Saxons and Angles are fighting each other this year, and King Cwichelm, such a threat last year, loses in this little battle. It also keeps all the invaders off the Britons’ backs.

Thoughts: Again, the players’ efforts in unification pay off. Without all their work on the alliance, they and everyone else would be in a much more precarious position. This year’s “adventure” is basically nothing, something that happens a lot in the Anarchy period. There are a number of years where there are big political maneuvers, but nothing concrete provided for the players to do. Of course, what I do in these situations is find an adventure for them to go on, usually one that ties into the bigger events, but sometimes just a knightly adventure. My notes are bad for this year and I don’t remember what I had them do. Interestingly, the Anarchy period seems to be about the only one with this issue in the campaign. After Anarchy ends, almost every year has two wars or adventures, but at least one at the minimum. Anarchy calls on you to do a lot of stuff as the GM to keep the players entertained.


Special Note: Something important happened in 497 that I failed to mention in the writeup! Robert, the son of the Earl, is in his minority during the Anarchy period, and his mother, Countess Ellen, is running the county. I am keeping track of important families, and one of the events that can happen to such families is that someone dies, especially kids. Well, young Earl Robert died in 497, leaving his sister, Ishild, as the heir to the county. She has been growing up in the intervening years, and is now 15, getting close to the age where she could take over administration of the county.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Epic Play-Through Year 501

Summary: Our group is attempting a complete run of the Great Pendragon Campaign  using 5th edition rules. Players are Matt, Mark, and Lilith. I am the GM.

Year 501
The sixth year in the Anarchy Period, there is no king in Britain.

Our current roster of characters:
·        Sir Safrax, played by Lilith.
·        Sir Quintus, played by Matt.
·        Sir Aeddan of Pitton, played by Mark.

King Cwichelm of the Angles makes a surprise attack, capturing the counties of Hertford and Huntington before anyone can raise an army to prevent it. He continues to advance, but is stopped by the combined armies of Salisbury and Rydychan. While away fighting the Angles, Salisbury is left open to raiding from the Jutes of Kent, retribution for failing to pay tribute. A new Saxon chief arrives and sets himself up in Portsmouth, luckily mostly fighting other Saxons on arrival.

In Wales, Escavalon conquers Norgales, solidifying his hold over the entire region.

Saxons also kidnap Ygraine and her daughter Morgan from the nunnery where they were staying, but all the Saxons are found mysteriously dead and the two ladies unharmed. The young Morgan is perhaps the cause of the deaths. Sir Safrax, Sir Quintus, and Sir Aeddan then accompany the pair northward, where Morgan is married to the king of Gorre.

At winter court, a clamor of Saxons demanding tribute, including an emissary of King Cwichelm, who claims dominion over all other Saxons. Allies counsel caution, and pressure mounts from Lindsey and Wales to become subjects for mutual defense. The knights counsel the Countess to wait and see before committing to anything. Duke Ulfius of Silchester also sends an emissary asking to join the Salisbury alliance.


Thoughts: The alliance is holding pretty strong, although the pressure is mounting. Due to their political maneuvering, Salisbury is actually in a much stronger position this year than the book assumes. They now have strong provinces coming to them to join, rather than having to actively recruit. King Cwichelm is a huge threat, though, but luckily the Saxons don’t all get along or else it would end very badly for the Britons.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Epic Play-Through Year 500

Summary: Our group is attempting a complete run of the Great Pendragon Campaign  using 5th edition rules. Players are Matt, Mark, and Lilith. I am the GM.

Year 500
The fifth year in the Anarchy Period, there is no king in Britain.

Our current roster of characters:
  •      Sir Safrax, played by Lilith.
  •     Sir Quintus, played by Matt.
  •     Sir Aeddan of Pitton, played by Mark.


King Idres of Cornwall marched on Dorset, but the combined forces of Dorset, Salisbury, and Somerset repulsed the Cornish advance. Praetor Jonathel of Dorset is thrilled, and solidifies his alliance with Salisbury.

Despite this win, there is bad news on the Saxon front. A new group of Saxons, the Angles, land in Caercolun and quickly overtake it, creating a new kingdom of Anglia. The Earls of Hertford and Huntington come running to Salisbury, looking for aid, as they are next on the chopping block.

In Wales, Escavalon conquers Estragales, creating a more powerful kingdom there. The King of Escavalon also looks to Norgales, where three usurpers rule, aiming to expand there as well.

In Salisbury proper, at the prompting of the player characters Countess Ellen agrees to a marriage with the son of Duke Killian of Clarence, securing an alliance with both Clarence and Marlboro. The allied block is quite large now, comprising most of central Logres.


Thoughts: The player characters are starting to change the scripted narrative. In the campaign book, Idres conquers Dorset, but through the diplomatic negotiations they undertook the players have changed that and secured a valuable ally. They also negotiated the marriage deal to bring Clarence and Marlboro into their alliance, creating a strong Cymric block in the center of all the invading nations, allowing them to resist much more effectively. The players put a lot of their efforts over the five years of Anarchy into this, and with good rolls and lots of legwork it paid off.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Epic Play-Through Year 499

Summary: Our group is attempting a complete run of the Great Pendragon Campaign  using 5th edition rules. Players are Matt, Mark, and Lilith. I am the GM.

Year 499
The fourth year in the Anarchy Period, there is no king in Britain.

Our current roster of characters:
  •         Sir Safrax, played by Lilith.
  •         Sir Quintus, played by Matt.
  •         Sir Aeddan of Pitton, played by Mark.


The knights visit the ruler of county Dorset, Praetor Jonathel, and convince him an alliance with Salisbury is in his best interest. Jonathel has his eye on the encroaching Cornish king and agrees readily. Thanks to this alliance, it looks like war with Cornwall is on the horizon! King Idres has captured county Jagent, and Dorset is clearly next. King Idres’ son, Mark, has tried to woo the Countess of Salisbury but is rebuffed and sent packing.

Luckily, the Saxons continue their squabbles, with Kent and Sussex hiring fighters to go against one another. Sussex and Essex just ask for some fighting men instead of their usual tribute. Salisbury still does not submit, sending nothing to any Saxon but Wessex. Salisbury suffers no raids, the Saxons are too busy fighting amongst themselves.

The player knights take a grand tour, up through Gloucester and Marlboro, seeking alliances with Salisbury. Their great honor and courtliness impresses many of the lords here, and negotiations of alliance open. After helping the Countess of Rydychan regain her seat from usurpers, the newly restored Countess eagerly joins the alliance. Marlboro is interested in a marriage alliance, which is proving a bit harder to secure. Knights from Gloucester are appearing at court in Sarum, where the walls have been completed, strengthening the forces of the Countess.


Thoughts: This year is where the players really took the lead. They were determined to create a coalition among the counties remaining outside Cornish and Saxon control, and began laying the foundation for such an alliance. Their actions in aid of both Dorset and Rydychan created a good core, if they can see to it that Dorset is not destroyed by Cornwall next year. Their constant advocacy for strong leadership in Salisbury and alliances all around has made a big difference, as their actions start to make the dire situation in Anarchy diminish just a bit.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Epic Play-Through Year 498

Summary: Our group is attempting a complete run of the Great Pendragon Campaign  using 5th edition rules. Players are Matt, Mark, and Lilith. I am the GM.

Year 498
The third year in the Anarchy Period, there is no king in Britain.

Our current roster of characters:
  •        Sir Safrax, played by Lilith.
  •        Sir Quintus, played by Matt.
  •        Sir Aeddan of Pitton, played by Mark.


King Idres of Cornwall is attacking the county of Jagent. The knights are more worried about Saxons, and luckily the Saxon lords seem to be fighting amongst themselves. That doesn’t stop the extortion request from Wessex, however. They want either double tribute or vassalage. On the player knights’ advice, the Countess opts for double tribute. Other Earls are swearing allegiance to Saxon kings, adding British knights to the forces of those kingdoms.

Within Salisbury, new walls are being built around Sarum, the county seat. They will take a couple of years to complete, which is why the player knights counseled appeasement toward Wessex. They are already making plans to resist, and are also looking at King Idres with a great deal of mistrust. The knights go over to Jagent to help the resistance to the Cornish advance. Their efforts are not enough to force the Cornish back, but they do not do themselves any harm in the battle.


Thoughts: Another year where a lot of the knights’ efforts were concentrated on building defenses in Sarum and trying to hold back the tide of invasion. They are very worried about Saxons, and the county on its own has no means to resist. The player knights are now considering how to deal with that, perhaps by finding allies among the other free counties in Britain.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Epic Play-Through Year 497

Summary: Our group is attempting a complete run of the Great Pendragon Campaign  using 5th edition rules. Players are Matt, Mark, and Lilith. I am the GM.

Year 497
The second year in the Anarchy Period, there is no king in Britain.

Our current roster of characters:
  •         Sir Safrax, played by Lilith.
  •         Sir Quintus, played by Matt.
  •         Sir Aeddan of Pitton, played by Mark.


Invasions press from all sides! King Idres of Brittany and Cornwall is rolling up into Britain, capturing Tintagel this year. The Isle of Wight refused tribute to Cerdic of Wessex, so he invaded and put everyone to the sword, giving the island to his son.  Lords elsewhere in Britain are paying the Saxons, or are out-and-out joining them as vassals.

This year, the player knights decide to consolidate Countess Ellen’s hold on Salisbury. There are a number of recalcitrant bachelor knights who have not sworn loyalty to the new Countess, so the player knights travel around from manor to manor convincing the knights to swear fealty. They are mostly successful, through a combination of persuasiveness, deal-making, and outright bribery. Salisbury stands united.

This is a good thing, as three separate Saxon lords come demanding tribute. The Countess decides to pay this year, but the hostility between the different Saxon legations allows her to play them off one another to Salisbury’s benefit.


Thoughts: The campaign book is super light this year, but the players decided to try to bolster the regime in their home province. This self-directed task was quite successful thanks to many very good rolls on courtly skills. The knights they could not just convince through talking were given concessions or bribes by grace of the Countess, and Salisbury is in a pretty good position pretty quickly. This is super important, as will be seen in future years.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Epic Play-Through Year 496

Summary: Our group is attempting a complete run of the Great Pendragon Campaign  using 5th edition rules. Players are Matt, Mark, and Lilith. I am the GM.

Year 496
The first year in the Anarchy Period, there is no king in Britain.

Our current roster of characters:
  •         Sir Safrax, played by Lilith.
  •         Sir Quintus, played by Matt.
  •         Sir Aeddan of Pitton, played by Mark.


The realm is in chaos after the loss of the king. He is buried near Stonehenge in Salisbury. Our player knights have also shuffled up significantly, we have two new young knights and Sir Aeddan returns from his madness to a world changed. So many knights died at St. Albans that there are many manors held for children in Salisbury, and the Countess Ellen takes over for her slain husband until their son Robert can come of age.

All over Britain the Saxons are coming around to extort protection money. Almost every lord pays, and the Saxons are good to their word, not attacking those who have paid up. Based on the counsel of her court, the Countess Ellen did not yet pay, and two Saxon emissaries are in court demanding money. Things are looking pretty grim. That’s when a new threat emerges in Hampshire, reports of a new Saxon king landing and quickly capturing land. The player knights are on the southern border of the county and they meet King Cerdic, the new Saxon ruler, who claims to be descended from a former British king, and is looking to claim what he believes is his inheritance. These Saxons, even more than those in Sussex and Kent, are a real direct threat to Salisbury.

The year ends with lots discussion. The knights all have a particular hatred of Saxons, and advise the Countess not to treat with these interlopers. It’s unclear how long Salisbury can withstand their demands, however, but the Countess puts off their extortion for a second year.


Thoughts: Lilith brought in a new character, Sir Safrax, a cousin of her old character Eleanor, and the main surviving knight of her household. Sir Conmorl’s son is still far from his majority, so Matt brings in a new Roman character, Sir Quintus, a bachelor knight. Neither knight is a landholder. Playing lower ranked knights is an interesting choice, and their decisions and ambitions are definitely affected by the status. The players had all had pretty high Saxon hatred passions, which are starting to cause trouble in the Anarchy Period, definitely the age of the Saxons.