Much like the Prince Valiant comic strip, the game ostensibly takes place in 5th and 6th century Britain, but borrows heavily from the high middle ages by transplanting technology, customs, and social norms, essentially enabling the stories and tales of the great Arthurian epics to occur in that earlier time with the later trappings. Some of the unique bits to the game include a heavy emphasis on social traits (personality traits, virtues, and passions) and an epic sweep where years roll by quickly, allowing players to build families and lineages of heroic knights.
I'm in no rush to play, since my current D&D campaign is rolling quite well, but I adore the setting and could see myself using it almost whole cloth when my younger kids are ready to play. They love knights and faeries and wizards, and the default Arthurian setting described in Pendragon is brilliant. "Dungeons" aren't part of it, but there's an event called 'The Enchantment of Britain' which heralds a return of magic to the realm during Arthur's reign; it provides a handy excuse for old fey passages and forgotten holes in the ground to reopen, allowing the goblins and bugbears and other night creatures to return to plague the forests of the countryside by night. My younger ones would enjoy such a setting quite a bit; my oldest just got finished reading The Once and Future King, and I'm sure he'd enjoy such a game as well.
Anyway - thanks for the inspiration, readers, but I have a further question - what are your favorite Pendragon supplements? It seems like The Great Pendragon campaign is a must-have; I've seen it described on forums and whatnot as one of the greatest RPG supplements or adventures. Are there any other must-have Pendragon supplements for elaborating the setting?
I love Pendragon, and have been buying books for it since the '80s. My favorite Pendragon books are listed below; bear in mind these are all the original editions that I have. Some may have been revised and/or given new artwork:ReplyDelete
The Grey Knight - one of my favorite RPG adventures, hands down. Something of a railroad, it works for Pendragon. Gorgeous art in the original version.
The Spectre King, Perilous Forest, Savage Mountains, and Blood and Lust - these are four collections of Pendragon adventures, and are among my favorite RPG books. "The Adventure of the Heart Blade" in Blood and Lust is an outstanding demonstration of Pendragon's traits and passions. All four books have a wide range of interesting and just plain cool adventures, from dragons to cursed knights to tournaments to winning over a love interest. The sheer variety of the adventures shows just how interesting Pendragon can be.
Hands down, some of my all-time best gaming moments have come out of Pendragon. So much love for this game.ReplyDelete
A while back I wrote a Pendragon "Appendix N" that features a Ludography at the end. Check it out for my recommendations on which products to pick up. I'd particularly call attention to the link to Greg Stafford's Pendragon site; there's tons of great material there in the form of essays, expanded background, musings, and so forth.
Just a heads up for running KAP with the underage crowd: the game doesn't shy away from mature themes in its mechanics or several of its adventures ("Tournament of Dreams" comes to mind), so you'll want to make appropriate adjustments. Sort of like whether to show them an uncensored version of Excalibur versus the TV edit. :)
Oh, and my top recommendation for a great scenario to run for Pendragon newcomers of any age would be "The Grey Knight"--it's got it all: knights, damsels, monsters, the Wastelands, magical MacGuffins, Morgan Le Fay, etc. It's a big adventure that will probably take several sessions to play through, so it's an ideal way to take a short foray into the game without committing to a whole campaign and is designed with novice knights in mind.Delete
That's a very cogent caveat. Good call.Delete
Plus, that Appendix N is spot-on. I have many of the books, and have seen many of the movies, but you've given me more to look for.
Your Appendix N there is excellent. It does bring up a question that I've not yet asked anyone: I have 4th edition. Is there a reason that I would want 5th edition?Delete
Fifth Edition isn't strictly necessary if you've got Fourth. 5e dials the focus back to strictly knights from Salisbury--no wizards, no foreign knights. It also sets the default time period to 485, during Uther's reign, to bring it in line with the start of the Great Pendragon Campaign. (The Book of Knights and Ladies re-opens the option of playing knights from other times and places, but it doesn't look like magicians will be making a comeback anytime soon.)Delete
There are a couple rules tweaks, but nothing earth-shattering. Mostly it's just a bit cleaner and easier to reference than 4e.
This influenced my RQ game - alot - players had yearly adventure and trained till poor and went adventuring again. All the culture packs and territory packs are great - I have 1st and 2nd eds and have damaged copies of magic rules - the original companion and nobles books good but i haven't kept up to date - i felt too stingy to re buy just for magic rules. Parzival and Chrétien de Troyes Arthurian stuff best reads for tone of game.ReplyDelete
I'm partial to Pagan Shore, but then I prefer Irish stories to normal Arthuriana.ReplyDelete
Thanks for all the great suggestions, fellas - and David - your appendix N and ludography are great (bookmarked). We've recently read The Once and Future King and rewatched Excalibur, but I wasn't familiar with the Steinbeck retelling, and the companion looks like an excellent resource.ReplyDelete
At this point, I'm thinking of adapting the setting material for an intro D&D game for the neighborhood kids (and my two younger ones) for next summer - I'm sure I'll post a bit of it - and I've found the other parents encourage gaming when they see a bit of history being covered.
I tend to think my regular (adult) group would be interested in trying Pendragon itself sometime, so I'm going to keep this in line as an upcoming game for us to cycle in. It'll take a while to accumulate various supplements (and read them) anyway.
Just another oddball question if any Pendragon uber-fans manage to drop by this one - it looks like WW used to host a spectacular version of the map - maybe the 4E or 5E version? I saw it printed on the RPG site: RPG Pundit's spectacular mapReplyDelete
Before I go do some thread necromancy, just wondering if someone knows a location where it's hosted out on the web. Thanks!
This site has a nice hi-res version. I've been meaning to do a similar thing (although not as huge) using Banners on the Cheap.Delete
Oh, and as long as I'm flogging Pendragon maps, a poster from the Pendragon forums did some nice Photoshop work with the Salisbury maps from Fifth Edition.
That's the one! I agree, it looks like a perfect map to turn into a nice-sized vinyl poster. Make sure you blog about it if you follow through and get it done.Delete
The vast majority of the supplements are useful, in one way or another, though I would suggest (being a Stafford fanboy) any of the works that have a majority of his material. That includes Savage Mountains, with its military campaign against Wales, and certainly the supplement that has the Wastelands adventures (Perilous Forest?).ReplyDelete
Other adventures that have been mentioned are indeed excellent: Tournament of Dreams, Heartbalde, my own Goblin Market (if you will allow me a moment of hubris) but all of these fall into using modern (or perhaps 19th century) fantasy motifs and then adapting them to Pendragon. I think it far superior to use the Great Pendragon Campaign, along with the small mini-adventures in the the various books (which prefigure the One-Page Dungeon, sans map) to allow you to present a campaign where the focus is clearly on the player Knights, and the events that occur to them, which produces a story about the family of Sir Jonas, or Sir Damion Who Stood Alone or Lady d'Orleans, who founded the clan of Ontzlake. In D&D, we talk about the cool adventures your fighter went through, like the Tomb of Horrors. In Pendragon, you tell the story of true Knights, worshipful and loyal unto death, whose deeds, tragic and noble, will last as long as men and women live to listen to them.