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Everything posted by creativehum

  1. Oh, and as for the covers: I really do love KAP 1. Bold. Colorful. For my own taste (and let me be clear, only my taste and no claims to anything more) I find the covers from KAP 4 onward (apart from the Lady of the Lake cover for 5.1) somewhat "too grounded." King Arthur Pendragon always carries the tension between the mundane and the ideal. It is built into the rules and should always (in my view) be part of play. As I've noted elsewhere my own taste for running KAP is that I and the other Players are creating new chapters of Le Morte D'Arthur that Mallory didn't know about or couldn't figure out how to squeeze into his book. I'm not trying to create a "reality" of how things would really work in a historical sense, but rather have enough "reality" to ground and complement the ideals and fantasy as Mallory did in his book. Again, that's my taste. But looking at the core rules of KAP 1, 3, and 5x, that's what I find in both the text and the mechanics. To that end, outside of the Lisa Free art, which I love, my own druthers would be to publish KAP using the art of N. C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle. Both illustrators have a beatiful sense of weight and reality to the lines. But they use that work within the context of paintings and drawings full of romance and heightened reality beyond "reality." .
  2. The expanded chargen rules for KAP 3 were in Knights Adventurous. The expanded chargen rules are literally the pages of Knights Adventurous pasted into the pages of KAP 3. Because the pasting was awkward and ugly I could never really take KAP 4 seriously. The fonts and formatting of the two books were never ironed out even as they were shoved into one book. Since the layout of KAP 3 was one of the most beautiful RPG layouts I'd ever seen (and still sets the bar in many ways, as far as I'm concerned) the laziness found within KAP 4 was an utter disappointment to me. I already had everything contained within KAP 4 in my KAP 3 books except for the magic system. And since I didn't want the magic system... well, then there was nothing new there for me.
  3. My final thoughts on this sub-topic... and why I appreciate Morien's point-of-view on this matter. Years ago, when I was digging into Le Morte D'Arthur (because of King Arthur Pendragon) I picked up a copy of Beverly Kennedy's Knighthood in Le Morte D'Arthur. Here's the description: I found the book compelling in regard to Le Morte D'Arthur in general, and KAP specifically. Reading it I saw how Stafford had built a game that would encourage knights to be any of the three types Kennedy suggests, and that playing any of them would make sense in the context of the game. In my view it should never be obvious or easy to be a Christian Knight or a Chivalrous Knight. There should always be good reasons for PC Knights to reject being Merciful, or wish to avoid being Valorous, or being Arbritrary in a judgement, and so on, with practical rewards on the other side of such a decision: slaying an enemy whose death the PC Knight would benefit from, avoiding a fight that risks the Knight's death even as others charge in, or encouraging a decision that is not Just but works in favor of the Knight's family or Lord, and so on. If the Referee of a KAP game is not setting choices before a Knight that tempt him to be Cruel, Cowardly, or Arbitray in a very real and meaningful way I think the Referee is falling down on the job! That this tension exists for any PC Knight all the time is, I think, one of the strengths of the game. And I offer that @Morien's point is that if a Culture becomes responsible for determining whether a night is a political knight, or a warrior-focused knight, and so on, this tension is lessoned because we assume the Knight's temperament on these matters is already fixed and determined. Thus we lose, to some degree, this quality of "What kind of Knight are you?" So, using the rules from Knights Adventurous we have Knights (as @Morien points out) that might start ahead of the game in one quality or another, but turn out to become a different sort of Knight when all is said and done after years are lived. I do think this open-ended, equal playing field for encouraging types of behavior is one of the strong qualities of KAP -- or at least one of the things I love most about it. My thoughts here are, of course, not the final say on the matter. But I see now more what @Morien was getting at. And I do find myself agreeing with him -- especially within the context of Kennedy's book and my love of applying her thoughts to how I would love KAP to play out.
  4. To be honest, I know some people hate the cover. But I have never understood the hatred. It's a bold, colorful image of Arthur welcoming the reader to Camelot. For me it works great.
  5. I'm really glad we kept this conversation going, because I see your point and concern now. I'm still not sure if I think your concerns are warranted. But I could see a Player new to the game saying, "Oh, I see, the Cymrics, don't do Romance. They're 'fighters.'" The reason I pushed this discussion was because I wanted to understand you're point of view. I've never had the chance to put BK&L into play. (I always get players going with Cymric Knights.) And you've given me something to mull. Once more I'm looking at KAP 3e as the springwell for the game, specifically Knights Adventurous (later reprinted in KAP 4e). It sets up almost everything as you have suggested -- starting values set for various cultures, but no "track" for advantage of one quality of knight over another based on that culture. Thank you all for the discussion, and especially @Morien who had to keep illustrating and discussing his point of view!
  6. It is Courtesy, Intrigue, and Folklore. Nonetheless, like Deacon Blues, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the notion that a Cymric Knight will pour his points into Spear Expertise at the expense of Sword or any other weapon. If his player wants to buff up his Knight's Sword skill, even surpassing his Spear Exptersise, he'll do that's. And a Roman Knight will have an easier time at courtly intrigue if the Player so wishes. But I don't see how that defines him as identical to other Roman Knights when so many other qualities on the character sheet might be what he is known for. And if the Player of the Roman Knight wants that Knight to be awesome with a two-handed sword he will make that happen. Plenty of Players make non-optimal choices with characters across countless RPGs all the time. I can't see why this will be different. None of this is to say Morien hasn't seen the behaviors he's describing in play. But I'm having a hard time imagining it as a default state of affairs if BK&L is used. I'm also confused by the notion that every generation starting with a Roman PC Knight will be an stamped out version of that first Knight. Won't some of that come down to the circumstances and roleplaying and how the Player and GM decide things? For example, if the son of a Roman Knight ends up being sent to Sarum to serve as a squire and learning his knightly duties under the care of a Cymric knight, isn't it possible that the skill list might be shifted toward Cymric culture? This seems like it would be something the Player and the GM would sort out as they asked questions and made creative decisions about how the Player wanted his Knight raised. It is part of the continuum of the ongoing tale of the family: The Roman squire who finds his way to become more like a Cymric knight, or a Roman squire who keeps the attitudes and training his father makes sure to keep imparting to him despite him being under the wing of a Cymric marshal. I see this all a roleplaying and story grist for the campaign, helping to mark choices and loyalties and potential conflicts within the game. In my view none of this is fixed once we start looking at the details of the world and the circumstances and choices of the characters.
  7. Her illustrations (along with the layout and maps) are what make the 3rd edition the definitive KAP for me. Everything about that edition was top notch across the board.
  8. I'm getting a bit confused and trying to track what you're saying here. Is it your experience that if some PC Knights have Spear Expertise because they are Cymric, and a Roman PC Knight shows up with Law, that all the other elments of the game (Traits, Passions, other Skills) fall away and don't matter anymore? That the core question of the game "What kind of knight are you?" no longer matters because of the introduction of the cultural specific skills? I ask because I can't imagine that being the case. But I think you are suggesting this?
  9. I would never want to dissuade you from your rant. Or to try to get you to use rules you don't like. (Everyone should play any game as they want.) And I know you know you can jettison any of the particulars of various Pendragon rules to make the game you wish to play. Also, when I read these posts I have to assume I put the rules of King Arthur Pendragon into use with utterly different expectations and purpose than almost anyone else here. I'm more than willing to assume I'm an outlier in these matters and that what I think KAP is built to do is completely different than everyone else's expectation of what the game is built to do. With all those caveats on mind, one thought: King Arthur Pendragon has always invoked the word "stereotype" on purpose and to specific effect. In Knights Adventurous each culture is given its specific Stereotype section. The Stereotype section in the Cymric section reads: In BK&L we find this: So while I understand some people might not like characters locked into cultural stereotypes, the fact that it does this is an explicit goal. Again, not trying to get anyone who doesn't like this to buy into it. But for me, given that the literature hangs on cultural stereotypes, and that the game is there to recreate the literature, it all seems to me to be both fun and spot on. The same use of cultural stereotypes exists in Stafford's work in Glorantha -- very much so in Hero Wars/HeroQuest, as well as in RuneQuest: Glorantha.
  10. I suppose I would attack those that are attacking with arrows.
  11. Thanks for pointing me to the pertinent rules. As you pointed out Huns would be rare in KAP. I hadn't read them yet. And I see your concern! On the other hand, a Hun using Pony Defense can't do damage to anyone. So I see it as an awesome special skill that helps define Huns, with advantages and disadvantages that ultimately don't make it particularly overpowered. Like most of the Culture specific rules in the game I see it providing a lot of color, probably some memorable moments in the campaign, but not anything that would tip the game over in any way.
  12. Maybe I am completely forgetting how the game works... but I don't think this is correct? In an Opposed Roll, the higher value of the two rolls wins if both rolls succeed. So even though the Hun can't fail, if a PC Knight charging against the Hun a) succeeds at his skill roll; b) gets a higher value than the Hun on his d20 roll he does, in fact, hit the Hun. Yes? Since the game system is designed to be "swingy" (with each opponent making a d20 roll to randomly determine what number their opponent has to beat), there's really no reason to think the Hun won't roll a 5 and the PC Knight a 7. Yes? The Hun might have a greater spread for success, giving him better odds. But in no way is he "unhittable." If I'm wrong or am misremembering the rules, please let me know!
  13. Already own BK&L, and understand the same concept from Knights Adventurous from 30 years ago. i was asking about KungFuFerris suggesting some sort of dustup about the the skills in BK&L, as if something needed to be fixed or some discussion occurred where some thing needed to be fixed. Since Stafford made it clear that balance between cultures wa never a goal I was surprised by KKF's post and wanted to learn more. That some cultures have almost mythic skills based on culture is reflective, of course, of stories and not reality and makes perfect sense for the game.
  14. Can anyone tell me what this is about?
  15. So @Morien, when you do it the Players make the rolls and know these things (in one form or another) are coming down the road next session? Also, @ericvulgaris, are you also using the Expanded Manorial Luck and Expanded Family Events, or the tables out of KAP core rules?
  16. If I'm following: If you are heading into playing 486 next year You, the GM, make the Winter Event rolls for 486 by yourself (in other words, the Players do not make these rolls) The PCs will discover what these events are (weather and so ) as play continues through the session of 486. Some will involve the PCs, and others will only be discovered in the Winter Season/Phase of 486 (allowing the PCs to act on them in 487) The advantage of this is that sometimes the PCs get to get caught up in cool and compelling adventure material. (Which is always good for an RPG game). Moreover, it provides motivation for the PCs to generate their own adventure material. (If the PCs learn, while playing through 486, that the weather is getting bad this year, or the peasants are getting ornery, they can take actions like raiding lands to shore up wealth or distributing wealth to keep their people happier.) Is this pretty much it? Thanks!
  17. I have to admit, when I think Uther Period, I'm thinking lots of fog or wisps of mist.
  18. Could you talk more about this? I have always seen the event rolled in Winter as occurring while the PCs were off adventuring or busy elsewhere, coming home, and hearing news of events they had missed. (There is no quick communication is my logic. News of an uncle gone missing might not come around to the PCs for a few months.) Thus, the fallout from the events occurs in the next session, after the knight discovers he has lost a child or family member was slandered or whatever. This model suggests (the GM or the Players, I'm not sure which yet) rolls up the events for that year before play begins and sprinkles them throughout the year of play. Am I getting this right?
  19. Could you talk more about this? About the list not being usefu, the odd choices, and the lack of freedom for players?
  20. That does help! Thanks! I think starting with the Battle System makes the most sense for the earlier sessions of the game. The PKs are newly knighted, after all, with no battle experience at this time. And the Players themselves are new to the whole game, and I don't want to bog them down with a whole new game as they are already learning KAP. Then, as the PKs gain more prowess and it would make more sense for their Knights to be able to affect the battles, we could introduce BoB on a case-by-case basis. The Players, too, will have more familiarity with the game system and ready to expand the core principles of the game in a new direction. I especially liked your point about the "scripted" nature of battles that form a large part of the GPC. Using the BoB for scripted battles seems a bit of a waste of time. I mean, I can still see some of the value. But the fact is, in such battles what does matter is how the battle buffets the PKs, not how the PKs can turn the tide of the battle. I think holding off BoB until the Anarchy Phase, lifting the scripted nature off the battles, and seeing how hard the PKs want to press themselves into battles for conquest makes the most sense. Finally, thank you for your notes and experience about a few of the rules. Great appreciated.
  21. @Morien Thank you so much for your list! Also, my Google Fu is strong so I poked about for "Siege of Castle Pennith." I stumbled across two pieces of it in archives of the old Chaosium mailing list. But then found a document called The Great Book of Pendragon Treasures which contains the entire adventure. The Great Book of Pendragon Treasures is described as a collection of contributions from the old Chaosium listserv containing NPCs, adventures, new rules, essays, and other material for the King Arthur Pendragon RPG. It is five hundred pages long (!), and includes all kinds of things, from summaries of the lives and adventures of key Arthurian figures, to customs of Britain and other cultures, and 275 pages of adventures. There is no table of contents. And the page numbering on the document restarts within each of the document's three sections: People Rules and Essays Adventures With this in mind "The Siege Of Castle Pennith" can be found on p. 10 of the "Adventures" section, and on page 243 of the document as a whole. The adventure was an event at Gaelcon '92, and copyright Fergal Somers. It is introduced with this text: A quick skim of the Adventure section of the document reveals that while most are set after Arthur's arrival, several of them are pre-Arthur or can be re-worked to earlier phases "with minimal effort." Enjoy!
  22. I opened my PDF of BoB tonight and realized the rules alone are 100 pages. (A few dozen more pages cover tutorials and other materials). The Battle System in KAP is ten pages. So, some questions: How much more fun is the system in BoB than the one in KAP? What kind of fun is it? What sort of narrative/story information does each system provide? That is, does BoB provide a lot more engaging details about the fiction of the fight to paint an even more compelling picture of the battle for everyone seated at the game table? How much more interesting/useful fictional detail does BoB provide over the KAP Battle Systerm for the overall Campaign? Doe it output really great material that echoes across the session or future years of the campagin? Does the Battle System in KAP hold up? What does it do? And does it do it well? Is the BoB system worth the effort to read, learn, practice, and bring to the table (as the text suggests doing)? If so, what makes it worth it? What does the time you put into it earn you? What does it offer the Battle System does not? Thank you!
  23. Just wanted to say thank you for this. I understand that for some folks won't find it useful. But for me it was pure gold, coalescing a lot of my thoughts on this matter in one brief, solid post.
  24. Thank you! And thank you for all the responses. The conversation is obviously going far afield, but I'd love to keep talking if you want to. There's so many topics that got opened up I'm going to address them in pieces. This first: Is it a problem? I have never found it to be so. As a Referee I will simply ask my Players, when I see the processing a moment on behalf of their Player Character, "What is your character feeling?" Or "What choice is your character weighing?" Or "What matters to your character in this moment?" The Player then simply expresses the internal life of the character and now everyone at the table has lovely view into the interior life of the character and I, as the Referee, have a better understand of what the Player cares about vis-à-vis the Player Character. I find introducing literary traditions and techniques (the revelation of a character through internal thoughts, whether first person or third) are perfectly functional in RPG play. A lot of RPG play these days trades in cinematic techniques from TV and Film. But that doesn't mean we should limit ourselves. When it comes to Pendragon play, for example, Traits are Passions are driven by the Players as much as possible when I Gamemaster. If a Player declares he wants to invoke a Passion for his Lord at a tournament, the first thing I'm going to ask is, "Is this really a passionate moment for your knight? And if so... is this really about the passion of loyalty for his lord?" I ask because I want to drill down and really reveal the fictional detail at work in the invoking of a Trait or Passion. The Player will certainly know more about his or her character than I do. But Players also sometimes grab onto rules that seem there to give them a benefit rather than see how the mechanic fits into the larger themes and structure of play. So I ask questions. Not to stop the Player, but to learn more. In such a circumstance the Player might decide "Yes, this really is about the Loyalty to my Lord." If this is the case now we know this. The risk of despair or madness makes sense because we've put a marker down on the table: The knight desperately wants to do so well for his Lord at this tournament that his sense of self is on the line in this next run down the lane with his opponent. The Player might also say, "You know what? This isn't about my Lord. Now that I think about it see it is about my Loyalty to Arthur and what the tournaments mean to him. He's in the snd and I want to show him I am 100% percent with him in creating this tournament." Of the Player might say, "You know what? No. I mean, I want to do well. And I am loyal to my lord. But there is no connection between these two things." I know some people view Passions as a tool for buffing skills to make them more powerful (especially lower value skills) but if I encounter this at my table I try to disabuse any Player with this notion as quickly as possible. Given the stakes of failure present when using a Passion I can only imagine using them when the PK is truly Passionate -- underscored and with red letters -- about the matter at hand. Having the Players talk out what the character is thinking or feeling is a perfectly common occurrence at my table.
  25. @Joerg thank you for the lengthy reply! There is so much to discuss here, but my attention was drawn to one point to start of (a point that had nothing to do with my original question!) You wrote: Can you talk more about this? Is this only for Passions, or also the use of Runes for Augements as well? Are you saying the use of Passions comes too easily with too little cost? Or that unless the Passion is connected to a specific, concrete NPC it feels like a "Gimmee' Button" to be tapped whenever the Player really wants the PC to accomplish something? As for HeroQuests and scripted content: I have some thoughts on this, perhaps nonsensical and pehaps not worthy of being well-received. But here we go. It seems to me that a lot of Chaosium content, going back to CoC and then Pendragon, has been about the Players being put in the position of experiencing the events of the game. Yes, they get to make choices. But if you look at the rules of CoC and Pendragon you find that the game invokes moments of madness or strong behavior (respectively) that overwhelms the PC and asks the Players to "go with it." Further, if you look at the published modules and campaigns for CoC and Pendragon you'll find them often surprisingly "scripted." Moreso than most other published adventures in overall particulars. (The recent Pendragon adventure for #WeAreAllUs states clearly at several points "If the Player Knights make this choice the adventure ends...") Years ago I compared the Adventures found in Pendragon to the Catholic "Stages of the Cross," where a parishioner will walk around the church reflecting on images of specific moments of Jesus' journey with the cross. The story is already known, of course. What matters is what the devotee experiences in the reflection of the image carved on the wall and the moment of the narrative he or she is contemplating. I saw what Greg was trying to do with Pendragon as a whole and the adventures in particular in a similar fashion.* And if you read Greg's commentaries and interviews about Pendragon's design and the purpose of the Great Pendragon Campaign I don't think I can be called out for being too far off. There are moments of wonder and violence and terror and tragedy, and the game system asks you to really consider "How do you feel about that?" and "What does this mean to you?" Because if you don't you'll have no idea which, if any, Traits or Passions apply in this situation. The game seems built to provide a reflective experience. Again, not that the Players don't have agency and can't make choices. But that those choices are there to lead to the moment when the Player must ask, "This is happening... what does this mean to my Player Knight...?" Which of course is attached to the question "What does this mean to me?" CoC, in a similiar vein, puts the Player in the position of viewing and experiencing moments of horror, knowledge of helplessness, a need to press on, overwhelming information, violence, and so on. Like Pendragon's Traits and Passions, the Madness rules can make Investigators end up behaving in ways well beyond the control of the Players -- if only for a short while. In both cases the Players are asked to "ride" the PC and see where he or she leads them. I should add here I'm not saying all tables play the games this way! I'm only looking at the rules and the structures of the adventures and looking at what I consider to be the intended effect. And in the case of Pendragon I have it on the author's word this was the intended effect. Hero Wars was my first encounter with Glorantha. (I missed RuneQuest in my early years of RPG play.) When I read Hero Wars rules for HeroQuesting it was quite clearly a "Stations of the Cross" model. Maybe this is only something someone raised Catholic or raised in a religious tradition with similar rituals would pick up on. But if you look at those rules for HeroQuesting it's right there. A lot of people were (rightfully!) spooked by how "scripted" HeroQuests looked. But as a long time Pendragon fan I immediately recognized the structure and thought, "Oh, it's like a Knight's Adventure in Pendragon. The Player goes on an adventure and experiences these different moments in stages. The point isn't to win, or do it right, or solve it -- but to go through it, stage by stage, and see who you are by the end." With this in mind, I'd like to refer to Joerge's example of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is true that Indy's actions don't change a thing. The Nazis were doomed the moment their arrogance demanded they look up on God. But here's the thing: what matters in that movie for Indy isn't how he changes the course of history. What matters is how the adventure he goes on changes him. (That's a whole discussion, so I'll leave that out for now, assuming that most people see how Indy transforms from a man who only covets old things to a man who needs to draw a line between himself and other would be treasure hunters.) The phrase that matters most in Pendragon is "Yes, you're all knights... but what sort of knight are you?" That's the crux of the game design and the purpose of play. In the same way I would suggest that the HeroQuests of Glorantha are not so much about "changing the world" as they are, like a Knight's Adventure in Pendragon, about changing the Hero in Glorantha. I'll stop here and say I don't know how Ian's Dragon Rise scenario works. I don't know how Jeff is planning on writing the HeroQuesting rules for RQG. I'm only talking about my own expectations of what HeroQuests are in a way that works for me and that I saw worked in rules for Hero Wars. So, for me: The Hero in Glorantha needs to do something, and most likely something pretty damned big. The Hero is lacking in some way... some item, some wisdom, some skill, some way of seeing the world, that will let him or her do the deed that must be done. Significantly, the item (if it is an item) can only be wielded (or wielded well) with some wisdom or way of viewing the world the Hero lacks. The Hero goes on the HeroQuest to become changed by the quest. The change allows the Hero to return to the world, if successful, changed in a way that now gives him or her a shot at succeeding at the task. The question still stands of course: If a campaign lynchpin point is on the table, what happens to Glorantha if the PCs come back after a successful HeroQuest, successfully, and then still blow a random roll in their efforts in the real world. I have two suggestions here, both of them perhaps controversial: First, if you about to make a roll and you (you being the Referee or the Players) are thinking, "I really don't like the idea of a failed roll here," as might be the case in a campaign defining moment, DON'T MAKE THE ROLL. It's a rule of mine at any table I run. Random results provide random results. If you don't want a random result do not roll! If the Heroes have made it through the HeroQuest and have been amazing and interesting, I would simply hand them the last victory they need to successfully finsh the quest. By the same token, in the "real" world if hte PCs have lined up all the pieces of magic and soul to bring about a beautiful plan that should work am I going to make them roll? No. I am not. They have already done the work as far as I am concerned. Second, when there should be a roll, the roll should be about the Heroes -- their souls, their fate -- not about the big event. I turn here to the Great Pendragon Campagin as an illustration and model of what I think Greg clearly meant for people to do with the Hero Wars Campaign structure. I've written my thoughts about how to use the GPC here. The short version is: look at it like the historical structure of WWII if the PCs were soldiers in an RPG about that war. They will not decide the fate of the war. But as characters they will certainly have an implant on the small portion of the war they can effect. And most importantly the war will have an impact on the characters. In this way, with the ironic knowledge of the events of WWII, the Players can participate as their characters succeed or die or transform as the war goes on and finally concludes. In the case of the Hero Wars, the Dragon Rise will definitely occur and the campaign will continue as expected. What matters is: do the Heroes falter, fail, or succeed in who they need to be? Who they wanted to be? Returning to point one above, if it seems like they already are who they need to be to successfully help the Dragon Rise, don't roll. If there is still a question about this, then roll and find out if the PCs can be who they need to be to win. Frodo does not have the strength to climb Mount Doom. But Sam does, and if he was a NPC the PC needed to finish the story, then there you go. Anyway... some thoughts! __________________ * Some links and references about these ideas are in this thread
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