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Morien last won the day on July 31 2019

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About Morien


  • RPG Biography
    1989 D&D, the original one.
    1990s Other RPGs to follow.
    1995 GURPS. Lots of GURPS.
    2000 Pendragon. Lots of Pendragon.
    2010-ish Becoming active in Nocturnal's Pendragon Forum.
    2014 Starting to help out with the publications & erratas as part of Greg's 'Household Knights'.
  • Current games
    GMing one GPC Pendragon Campaign, and another campaign in Middle-earth using Pendragon system.
    Playing in a couple of GURPS campaign.
  • Location
    Barcelona, for now
  • Blurb
    To be honest, I chose my username based on an old RPG character of mine, not because of its Arthurian connection. I am a pasty-white Finn, actually. :P

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  1. Normally, the PKs should only have Homage (liege). For default setting, the liege is the Count of Salisbury. The Homage loss in GPC Expansion is incurred since the PKs are ignoring the orders from their liege (the Count, himself ordered by the King) to raid. It has nothing to do with Homage (Uther) unless the PKs somehow have that already.
  2. Only the first two are household knights to Arthur. I suspect that the designer simply had the Fealty passions included for completeness. Thus, it would apply to King Cadwalader if they choose to swear Fealty to him (no need to roll dice), not to Arthur or any other of their primary lieges; that would be Homage. Although if they opt to become his household knights in the end, their (temporary) Fealty would become their new Homage with the old one lost.
  3. I finally remembered to take the time to look at Book of the Estate's Mews. Yep, just giving the same +1/+2/+3 to Falconry skill rolls that kennels grant to Hunting would work very nicely. And I fully agree that the cheaper construction and maintenance of Mews compared to Kennels is balanced by Hunting being much more useful than Falconry. So I would encourage you to go for it!
  4. Halberd, like Great Spear, only negates the -5 malus against a horseman. It does NOT grant you any bonus when poking at a footman armed with a sword. That is my point. The other suggestions here would give a Spear a big advantage over a Sword even when both are on foot. Which I think is unwarranted when shields and/or heavy armor is in play, which is pretty much all the time when the PKs are involved.
  5. As I have said at least a couple of times already, the advantage of the spear is very much diminished by the use of the shield and/or heavy armor. Also, no other weapon, with the exception of a lance charge, gets any such reach advantage over other weapons. If spear would get this, how about when fighting against a Great Sword? Or a Halberd or a Great Spear? It swiftly becomes a complicated mess. This is way too much of an advantage to the spearman. There is a good reason why the Defensive no longer does any damage even on a critical. Also, see above about the mess the comparative reach advantage would cause. Keep it simple. Spears, Great Spears and Halberds negate the -5 vs. horsemen. Easy and simple.
  6. Lance in a charge against a Spearman: +10/0 Lance used from horseback against a Spearman: +5/0 Advantage: Lance, both instances. (By RAW, -5 to Spearman in both examples.)
  7. I dislike this, since Great Spear doesn't give any such reach bonus for the footman vs. another footman, it simply removes the Lance's charge bonus vs. non-lances. I am really much more into the idea of spears removing the -5 penalty against horsemen, like other long poleweapons (Great Spear, Halberd) do. This seems much cleaner to me. Being able to give an opponent -5 to skill by your weapon choice seems like a huge advantage, making a skill 10 spearman equal (in skill) to a skill 15 knight.
  8. I think you and Wolfpack mean different things with 'fair'. And for my two denarii, 'fair' in this context means that both PKs and NPKs occupy the same fictional reality. If a PK can go and buy a new, better armor for £4 from the armorer, so too can an NPK, if they are wealthy enough*. If a PK gets +5/-5 situational modifier when fighting against a footman, then the PK takes -5/+5 situational modifier when he is fighting on foot against a horseman. It doesn't mean that everything would be perfectly balanced between PKs and NPKs. There are NPKs like Lancelot who outclass the PKs in ever conceivable way, and of course the majority of the NPCs are not even knights (and some are even non-humans). Nor does it mean that the NPCs have to be followed by the exact same rules as PKs: I don't roll yearly experience checks for the NPCs, but if there is a recurring enemy NPK showing up a few years later, I might bump up their skills a bit to represent experience and training. But I wouldn't introduce a 15-year old squire with combat skills in 30s. Heck, I would be very hesitant to even let them break skill 15 limit that the PKs have at chargen. Now, I could introduce a faerie or a demon who looks like a 15-year old kid, but has 10d6 damage and Bash PK 30. I probably wouldn't, but I could.
  9. Just to toss my two denarii in... The game system is like the physics engine of the game world. It determines the results of the PK and NPK actions. Both PKs and NPKs play with the same rules, even though some of the NPCs might have special abilities (e.g. Merlin) that the PKs don't have access to. But yes, if there is a new weapon or armor or horse on the market for the PKs to buy, then the suitably wealthy NPKs would be able to buy it too. And the mounted vs. unmounted bonus applies both ways, whether it is a PK on horseback fighting against a man on the ground or vice versa. Now this does not mean that I throw dice each time an NPK does something, quite the opposite. If it is simply an NPC vs. NPC, then story trumps rules. That being said, if it is something that can have major impact on a PK, then I usually roll for the NPKs as well, for instance to see if the PK gets there in time to save a friendly NPK. But for instance, when the PKs are dealing with potentially impassioned foes, then I do roll the Passion rolls for the NPKs and apply penalties if they fail (the exception to this is that a foe might be "pre-impassioned" to motivate them to seek out the PK in a fight: if they had failed the roll, there would be no encounter, so they must have succeeded in order for this story beat to happen). As for adventure design, I generally tilt the odds to favor the PKs, since I do want them to succeed in the adventure if they are not stupid about it. Not always, though. If they are wet-behind-the-ears young knights, they should expect to get their butts kicked if they are challenging the King's Champion into a duel. But in general, the PKs are more minmaxed than the average NPKs, and have Chivalric bonuses that most NPKs lack. Usually, the PKs are also on the cutting edge of armor, since as soon as new armor becomes available, upgrading becomes number one priority for the players. As an example, here are typical PKs and NPKs during Uther period: PKs (vassal knights): DMG 6d6, HP 32+, Armor 10+6, Horse 7d6, Skill 18-ish NPKs (household knights): DMG 5d6, HP: 28, Armor 10+6, Horse 6d6, Skill 15-18, often on the lower end. Currently (end of Conquest), the armors have been upgraded to 12+6 across the board, but the PKs might be getting Partial Plate soon, and they have horses that do 8d6 vs. 7d6 of the average household knights. Also, being more experienced, the typical PK skill is now closer to 20. The big advantage for the PKs is also that many of them have +2 Armor from Chivalric bonus (we use a tier system, a house rule), and one is on the verge of getting the full +3 Armor. This, combined with the higher base damage, tends to mean that they come out on top in any usual duel. Now, if the PKs go against bodyguards of some enemy noble, then they are often wrestling in their own weight class or even above it. In those cases, "high risk high reward", and I don't make it easy for them.
  10. Ah well, I don't use the Book of Battle, so it is less of a problem for us. Well, it would be possible to house rule this so that whichever opponent is first in the rolling order gets his hit in first, then check if the PK is still conscious, and then deliver the second blow if he is, ignoring it if he isn't. You could even make it fair in a sense that if the PK had been the one to win the second exchange, he doesn't get to damage the second opponent if he goes unconscious against the first. This would mitigate the double-hit issue somewhat and make it less likely for the PK to die. Yes, but my point was that I would still rather face Spear 12-0=12 4d6 vs. Axe 14-5=9 5d6+1d6, even if Spear would negate the penalty. Alrighty then. It is not that, it is more of a reach advantage of the couched lance. When you switch to spear-mode, you grip it more in the center, losing the reach advantage. But yeah, it is a bit of a trope to make the lances more useful. I don't mind it, though, since Lances by themselves are very flimsy. You likely get to use it once and then discard it anyway since you will be in melee and switch to a sword... So giving the PKs reason to use the very emblematic knightly weapon of a lance is a good thing, IMHO. OK, although as your math shows, they really should worry more about the critical. But agreed, it depends a lot on the skill levels in question, not only theirs but the opponents' as well. Fully agreed that the Players tend to prioritize their characters' Sword/Melee skill over Lance, simply because they likely get one or two Lance charges per fight at the very best, but will be swinging the other weapon the rest of the time. Since we use Glory Bonus Points also as Fate Points (which players tend to hoard for a rainy day), the skills above 20 are rare, giving Lance some time to catch up. They usually get a check in both during the year, so the difference is usually only a few points, seldom as big as 5 points. So the +5 to Lance if the enemy doesn't have a Lance is still plenty of motivation. Or, as mentioned previously, preventing the enemy from getting that +5 and increasing the crit chance.
  11. I like the Red Dragon on a white field, too, although I admit that I would be very tempted to just steal the modern Welsh flag: Per fess Argent and Vert, a dragon passant Gules.
  12. Sure, if you swamp the PKs with plenty of enemies, then the PKs will take more criticals. Stands to reason. However, in this context, this is a bit of a red herring, since: a) it was a siege and the PKs are presumably on foot anyway, and b) even if they were not on foot, Great Spear already negates the vs. mounted malus. Now I can get your point that if the Spears also counter the -5 penalty, then they become more useful on the battle field, but on the other hand, you seldom face repeated rounds of combat in Battle rules, unless you are in extended melee (most often against higher tier enemies who use Swords or Great Axes or whatnot). So whether the enemy spearman survives or not doesn't matter. I recognize your concern in normal combat, though, and there is also the point that having two or three damage rolls (from any weapons) coming in a single round is also potentially deadly, since the PK doesn't have time to go unconscious in between. So it is more likely that they drop deep to minus hit points and die. However, this is partially countered by the fact that the spear only helps if the opponent is mounted, and if the opponent is mounted, then the opponent has already a big advantage anyway. Furthermore, spear tends to be the cheap levy weapon so the spearmen tend to be less skilled and do less damage than the more elite opponents*. For instance, I would much rather face 2 spearmen with Spear 12 and 4d6 damage, than 2 Saxon raiders with Axe 14-5=9 and 5d6+1d6 damage. Especially if using the RAW double damage on a critical rules. * This is a bit of a roleplaying trope, admittedly, as in reality, almost everyone would start a battle with a spear and only switch to an axe or a sword as a secondary. Although in a duel situation I could see throwing the spear and switching to a more handy weapon right off the bat, if facing an armored swordsman. Only Lance gets the +5 charge bonus vs. Non-lances (and non-Great Spears) in basic rules; no other weapon does. Book of Battle introduced it for all charging units, even on foot (IIRC), and I really dislike that additional rule. Get rid of that and the PKs will be much more likely to use a Lance even on the battlefield. In any case, it should NOT be used in normal skirmish/melee combat. As for boosting up lance, we added +1d6 to all Lance damages across the board, as mentioned in my house rules -thread, partially in order to keep up with the higher damage stats that the PKs have nowadays. This also helps to make cheaper horses more usable war horses for sergeants and even household knights, keeping the loot value down a bit. Also important to note is that when you are facing other knights in normal combat, do you wish to take your Sword and do 5d6 (or at best 6d6), whilst giving them +5 to their Lance skill (potentially pushing it to 21 or more, increasing the chance of crits) and them doing 6d6 or 7d6 damage in return? In some rare cases (Sword 20, Lance 15) a PK might risk it, especially if they are more concerned about getting a shield armor bonus, but most of the time, they opt for Lance, too. Or even if their enemy doesn't have a lance: 15+5 = 20, and that 7d6 helps a lot. And once their skill is 16 or above, it becomes much easier to crit with a lance. I hear what you are saying, though. If I have Sword 20 and Lance 15, get +5 for charging regardless of the weapon, and do 6d6 on either weapon, then of course I am using a Sword. Dropping the +5 charge bonus for non-lances, and especially using the basic rule of the opponent getting +5 if you are not using a lance (rather than +5 for you if you are using a lance), and this math starts changing rapidly. I know I would rather use Lance 15 vs. Lance 20 than Sword 20 vs. Lance 25 any day of the week!
  13. Arthur restores the rightful heirs and lands. I forget if it was by the end of Boy King or post-Badon. I am sure that it is mentioned in BotW. Of course, this doesn't change the fact that county fiefs are much easier to GM and for the players to understand, like you said
  14. I am coming from a slightly different angle, obviously. The horseman still retains the +5 height advantage. And if he has a lance, he gets another +5 reach for that. So in a lance charge, we are looking at something like 15+10=25 minimum for a competent young PK* vs. Spear 10 or 12 for a Spearman. So they will do quite well in a charge, still. Now, if they get stuck in melee against two Spearmen, things become somewhat more even: Sword* 15 split 8+5/7+5 vs. two Spears 10 or 12 (rather than 5 or 7). Now it starts to become more of an issue, and something that our PKs try to avoid, getting stuck in a Spearman swarm. It is basically a result of a failed Battle roll by the unit commander, not recovering from the charge quickly enough. Still, the PKs generally do OK. Even if the Spearmen land a blow, it is likely that the PK gets the shield, and even if he doesn't, it is just minor wound. The real threat comes from criticals. Not only are the criticals almost sure to hit, they do double damage, and now it becomes a real possibility that it is enough to cause a Major Wound and/or knock the PK from his horse. But since this is a flat 5% in RAW, it actually scales with the number of enemies, not with their skill (as long as the skill is below 20), so the risk per roll is the same whether or not the Spearmen have the -5 vs. mounted or not. You are correct though that if the combat continues for longer (normal combat, not battle rounds) due to the PK not managing to kill the Spearmen as quickly and efficient as when they had -5 to skill, this increases the number of rolls and hence the risk that the PK is under. That being said, I can't remember a single instance where a PK has been killed by a Spearman or even been given a major wound (although I admit that one or two MWs might have skipped from my mind), in our current campaign (now in 529). So it has not skewed the results too badly on that score... although I ought to mention that we do have a confirmation roll house rule for criticals: roll 1d20 again and if it is a success, it is a full +4d6 critical (flat bonus, not doubled), if it is a failure, it is just +2d6. This would obviously cut the full criticals in half for Skill 10 Spearman compared to RAW, while the +2d6 is still unlikely to give a Major Wound. So this would soften the impact of the spearmen surviving longer: even if they survive twice as long, they get only the same number of full criticals. In any case, I think it is a good idea that the PKs need to think about getting swarmed by spearmen and to try to avoid that happening, rather than be untouchable demi-gods of war (they become that soon enough, when they get reinforced chain + chivalry bonus + Skill 20 or more). It is also a nice trade-off between spear-armed Saxons and axe-wielding Saxons, giving a bit more variety, whereas currently there is no point whatsoever (mechanistically, that is) in having a spear rather than an axe. Now there is a clear role for a spear and a reason why you probably would like to have your infantry armed with spears, so that they can at least try to resist the opposing knights. It is also a very easy change to do, just dropping the vs. mounted malus, rather than forcing Defensive fighting or something like that. Bottom line: It works for us, I like it, and I am the GM, so my rules! * In our PKs, I have seen starting Lance 12-13 on a minority of them, usually if they are knighted early and are missing some yearly training picks, but they up it to 15 as soon as they can. Sword, or whichever their primary melee weapon is, always starts at 15. It is simply too much of a disadvantage to leave it below that.
  15. Yep. Of course, some of the RTKs also are or become kings or great nobles. Such as King Uriens of Gorre or Duke Hervis of Anglia. I think Bleoberis ends up with Essex and Blanmore with Lambor. Did Tor snatch up Kent at some point? And Gareth gets Lancaster. And I think Galegantis ends up with Clarence later on, too. But yeah, the campaign is more fun, IMHO, when the important NPKs are the famous RTKs, rather than 50 or so Barons you have never even heard about...
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