Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Epic Play-through Year 489

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 489
The fifth year in the Uther Period, with Uther Pendragon as king of Britain.

Our current roster of characters:
  •        Sir Eleanor of Dinton, played by Lilith.
  •        Sir Conmorl of Winterbourne Gunnet, played by Matt.
  •        Sir Aeron of Pitton, played by Mark.

A planned fight with Duke Gorlois of Cornwall ends in a truce, with the Duke pledging himself to King Uther in a scene right out of the 1981 movie Excalibur. Like, literally right out of it. The Campaign text acknowledges the source, and Matt immediately recognized the scene from the movie. No one had a problem with this, in fact it seemed to get my older players more excited about what was happening.

After this supposed battle is cancelled, the player knights decide to go up north and harass the Saxons besieging Eburacum and raiding into Lindsey. This is run like a skirmish, which is different from a battle, instead it’s a straight-up round-by-round combat. The fight goes pretty well until Sir Aeron engages with the leader of the Saxon warband they are fighting, a Saxon berserker. Berserkers have a Hate (Britons) passion at 20, so a guaranteed bonus on their attack, and this guy also has a really good Axe skill. He crits Aeron and kills him in one blow. It’s just as brutal and surprising as our first session. Mark seems a little disheartened, but we’ve decided to engage the system as it comes and let the result stand. He’ll bring in his backup knight next session.

As the year winds down, news comes that more and more Saxons keep landing in the north, led by the very frightening sons of Hengest, the kings Octa and Eosa. They are laying waste to Northumberland and it’s clear that local Britons aren’t going to be able to hold them back. Uther is resolved to go up there next year and drive them back.

At the end of this year, Sir Conmorl gets married to one of the many NPCs of Salisbury I’ve created and been keeping track of. It generates a great list of eligible knights and ladies, and creates a little bit of story outside our featured knight’s progression. As an example, Sir Caramides, lord of Wylye, had a terrible string of rolls this year, losing his wife in childbirth and his only son to illness.

Thoughts: The brutality of the system is really brought home this year. Our player knights are still relatively young, and the players are learning about the efficiency of their builds. Lilith made the mistake of making her lady knights small in stature, and that has a big effect on damage rolls, despite the fact that Sir Eleanor is really strong. Sir Aeron died because of the way passions work in play, his enemy had a passion and thus got a really good chance at criticals. The players are now trying to work their passions in whenever they can for their advantage, and are spending a lot of year-end points and glory points to raise them. The closer you can get to a 20 the better off you are at getting that hit on the passion. They are also all really doubling down on that Hate (Saxons) passion they’ve all got, since we’ve pretty much been fighting Saxons since day one.

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