Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Epic Play-Through Year 495

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 495
The eleventh and last 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 Aeddan of Pitton, played by Mark.

This year is a biggie. The death of Uther, and the end of the Uther period of the campaign. It all begins with the Battle of St. Albans. A massive Saxon force is met at this town and the battle is hard-fought. Sir Eleanor falls in this battle, slain by a Saxon berserker. Sir Aeddan tries to use his passion of hatred for the Saxons and critically fails, running mad with grief at the death of one of his kinsmen. He disappears from the battlefield, rushing off into the wilderness. Ironically, this is what saves him from the betrayal later. Sir Conmorl fights and kills one of the Saxon kings, and his bravery earns him a place at the main hall in the subsequent feast. Again, ironically, this success is what dooms him.

Someone at the feast poisons the wine. All the greatest knights of Britain imbibe and die horribly at the main hall. Only Sir Conmorl is present, but he drinks freely and dies, along with King Uther, Earl Roderick, and almost all of the lords of Logres. Things begin to fall apart almost immediately after.

Irish are invading Gales (Wales), Picts are scouting the north in preparation for invasion, King Idres of Brittany prepares to invade Cornwall, and a Saxon emissary from Essex arrives in the Salisbury court demanding tribute in exchange for protection from the other Saxon kingdoms. The dead Earl’s wife takes on the role as Countess until the Earl’s heir can reach majority, but not all of the local knights swear fealty to her.

Duke Ulfius of Silchester survived the poisoning because of his wounds from the battle, and is calling a Collegium to appoint a new king, clearly hoping it with be himself. A sword in a stone appears in London bearing an inscription indicating whoever pulls it is the right king of Britain.

Thoughts: The banquet is a scripted event. The outline of the campaign really requires this disaster to happen, and there was very little the player characters could do. I did give everyone a chance to avoid dying along with all the other knights from their county with some Temperate rolls. Since the poison was in the wine, I ruled that a successful Temperate roll would keep the knight from indulging and dying. Sir Conmorl, however, chose not even to make  the roll, going for Indulgent off the bat as a celebration.

One interesting thing about this event. It’s clearly a super important plot development, but the text of the campaign gives no clue as to who is ultimately behind the poisoning. One of the ladies at court is the direct culprit, but motive or conspiracy is not revealed. Everyone assumes it was Saxons but it’s never explicitly stated.

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