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About Ravian

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  • RPG Biography
    Playing for a while, got into Pendragon a couple years back, finally running GPC.
  • Current games
    Pendragon, 5e
  • Blurb
    Migrant from the Nocturnal Forums

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  1. Unfortunately for me the players have a big reason to be going into the Forest Sauvage. One of my players had a female knight who had an affair with Madoc. In order to keep things good for Arther's return, I put a version of the Changeling adventure in wherein their son be kidnapped by a meddling magician trying to get some of that pendragon blood and now hiding in the Forest Sauvage (this will eventually result in him being transformed into an Eagle.) But of course, with an actual possible heir out there that they have some leads on, it's not something they can afford to ignore. That being said I've got my own twist on some of the Anarchy conflicts, that being that the female knight also has two bastard daughters from Madoc of about marriageable age. Cerdic's already tried to offer a pairing between her eldest and Cyrnic (something they very nearly accepted before it became all too clear that Cerdic is no better in character than his father Vortigern.) and her refusal led to Cynric attempting to invade Salisbury. (Fortunately, they had enough Libra for mercenaries to even the numbers and Wessex was a little unprepared for player marshall's famous hatred for Saxons swaying the battle results. But Cynric's aleady developed a hatred for the guy himself, so round two may not go so well for the Player Knights if they're not careful.) I'm planning on Mark to come forward as another "suitor", to try and claim a Pendragon bride by force, and afterwards Nanteleod (or possibly his son, the guy's kind of on the old side to be without heirs.) to try and cement the alliance he's building (Before he's also inevitably killed.) It's going decently thus far, but I do see that the Forest may risk crowding out the politics. I may see if I can wrap it up in a few sessions and leave the other adventures for later after the enchantment formally begins.
  2. One interesting point is that if someone is presiding over a case (as described in Book of Warlords I believe) they get a just check if they come to the correct decision (as in they punish a guilty person or release an innocent person) whereas they get an arbitrary check if they do what would not be appropriate according to the law. The thing that stands out to me is that they get these checks based upon the truth of the situation, rather than just their perceptions of the case. So if the defendant is really guilty but uses trickery and deception to convince the court otherwise, the judge can still gain an arbitrary check if they follow what they perceive as justice by letting the defendant go free. Granted part of what I kind of get is the idea that the law in Pendragon isn't just a manmade thing but something more absolute (notably, if you are in a trial by combat and are on the right side, you actually can get a bonus based off of your Just trait.)
  3. I mean what strikes me is that it's use is going to be simultaneously more niche and more broad than other passions. It's going to be primarily applicable in social situations (Which by and large are still going to be somewhat lower stakes than the pitched combats that most passions get invoked in). That being said, that still is likely to come up relatively often and necessitate a lot of appearance rolls. (Which could get a little tricky to track who likes how each given person looks) Additionally, one other idea came to me when I was looking through Paladin's Attitudes. That being that you could use your appearance as the base attitude, modified by relevant traits. (Eg: the church cares about your lowest religious trait, Arthur cares about your lowest chivalrous trait, the commoners care about you being merciful, etc.) Honestly kind of feels like a missed opportunity when they introduced the whole idea of Attitudes.
  4. I mean theoretically Monasteries can be a fair option to get your kid educated, after all monks are some of the most educated people around. The issue of course is that Constans seems to have taken to the monastic environment too well, and his father never took him out of that monastery, whereas Aurelius and Uther managed to get a solid military education during their flight to Brittany. It's possible that Contantine overestimated how effectively he could craft a stable kingdom during his reign, possibly naively viewing that he could create some New Rome or something. With that mindset, he possibly considered that it would be more effective for his heir to be educated and intelligent enough to maintain the kingdom after he forged it through war and politics. Unfortunately he ended up just creating a bookworm and Vortigern saw that he was severely unready for the practical realities of politics.
  5. Honestly this is probably the best idea I've heard so far as a way to make Appearance useful. Totally stealing this.
  6. I wouldn't likely use this in base pendragon, as you're right knights in shining armor are a big consideration. I've been pondering some various alternate settings where lighter armor might not be such a crazy idea. (Right now I'm looking at Game of Thrones for instance, where heavy armor is still generally going to win out, but there are lighter armored foes that can present at least some difficulty to even a knight, even if they still will likely win out eventually. (Water Dancers and the like)). Mainly I'm thinking this as more of a consolation prize for lighter fighters to keep heavy fighters a little cautious that they won't just mow through them like grass. They'll still probably win, since armor will trump Endurance in most cases, but the foes will still probably be able to survive an extra hit or two, during which they might get that lucky crit in.
  7. So I've been doing some homebrew modifications with the Pendragon system, particularly in those cases wherein armor is considered less essential, though certainly still useful. Ideas have often been tossed around of ways by which this could be implemented. Most notably using dexterity as a sort of shield armor value. But while reading through The One Ring rpg (Cubicle Seven's LotR system) another idea occurred to me of another possible alternate system, as I worry that the "DEX as shield value" idea may make DEX potentially too valuable, since it might actually be preferable for more skilled warriors to wear no armor at all, which while suitable for some genres, can still strain credulity if you're still trying to maintain some realism. So an alternate system is proposed. Rather than a shield bonus, DEX and CON are combined and averaged out to create a derived statistic of "Endurance Points". (Note that I'm still tinkering with that math, and I suspect it may currently be too low). In combat, a partial success means that Endurance points are deducted before Hit Points are, representing the character still being able to dodge and parry to a limited extent to avoid the worst of a blow. On a miss, endurance points are ignored completely and all damage goes directly to hit points. Notably, endurance points recover much more quickly compared to hit points, usually refilling completely assuming the character has had at least an hour or so of rest. Of course, armor being as heavy as it is, it acts as a significant degree of strain on one's endurance. Armor reduces one's total endurance (not totally sure on numbers yet, but likely enough that most heavily armored knights likely won't have many if any endurance points available to them (in order to avoid messing with the expectations of core combat too much.)) So basically the philosophy as I understand it ought to be that armor will be very preferable in most cases, but fighting with lighter armor can be at least something of a viable strategy if you've got the skill and endurance to back it up, though ideally some sort of armor, even light leather suits that won't reduce your endurance too much would be preferable to nothing at all. Obviously this is an experiment in its early stages and the details need to be sorted out, but I'm looking for feedback on whether it could be viable and how those numbers ought to be set to promote the best balance to at least allow a lighter armor build to be useful even for those that could afford heavier stuff.
  8. Thus far I've figured Generous, Honest, Just, Merciful and Modest for the Confucian trait virtues, along with representing Filial Piety as the effective equivalent of the Love (Family) Passion. Daoism and Wu Wei were tricky, lazy was the closest preexisting trait in Pendragon, but it has a lot of negative connotations that aren't present in Wu Wei, so I took some inspiration from the Pendragon Genpei fan site and came up with a new pair of traits, Ambitious and Harmonious. Ambitious characters are more likely to take opportunities that prioritize personal power and influence for themselves (though what methods they are willing to use to accomplish this is likely based on other traits.) Meanwhile Harmonious characters are more likely to prioritize duties and norms even to their personal detriment. So someone like Cao Cao would be famously ambitious, (along with Vengeful, Cruel and especially Suspicious) while Liu Bei, at least early on, would be more Harmonious as he intentionally avoids accruing personal power in the absence of the Emperor's authority. So within that framework, Daoism's virtues are Harmonious, Forgiving, Modest, Prudent, and Temperate. Buddhism also uses Harmonious, as well as Modest, Merciful, Temperate and Chaste (Obviously Buddhism wasn't terribly common during this era, but as they did exist in small numbers in China and some of their neighbors (particularly in the south), I thought it would work well as an option. I admit I haven't actually thought a lot about Legalism, since it wasn't historically much of a philosophy at that point. But you probably are on to something about including it as an anachronistic option (similar to Pagans in Pendragon) given how often Legalist principles are used as the basis for many of the more antagonistic characters in the book (such as Cao Cao) That being said I'm not totally sure what virtues they would have, especially considering that much of it directly rejects the idea of virtue being of importance, instead espousing that the best way to create a society is to create a legal system that minimizes the reliance on individuals. That being said, Ambitious and Cruel could probably be considered appropriate. One thing that I'm doing some work in is some of the character options. Once the game gets going, the military hereditary families that emerged during the Three States period work well for Pendragon's generational play, but at the start you've got characters emerging from a variety of origins, as well as the more meritocratic Han system. Essentially, since the game will largely focus on characters being military officers, it's assumed that any characters you create will end up in some sort of position of authority in the military once the Yellow Turban Rebellion gets started (which seems like the natural starting point for the campaign.) From that you basically either have your appointed scholar-officers (who managed to get themselves appointed after going through the academic system) or more humble commoner squad leaders (to represent characters like the humble members of the Oath of the Peach Garden rising up from modest origins to greatness) Basically you get some starting bonuses based on your starting class (as well as an astrology bonus based on when your character was born) and once your character gets old enough they can start attending some of the public schools offered (automatically if they're from a higher class family, less likely if they start off poor. And impossible for some of the lowest classes.) Formal schooling and informal training both give you skill points, though schooling gives you the option to increase some of the more specialized skills. After a certain degree of schooling, they can start seeing if they've met the standards to be sent to the Academies (which will require some of the more intellectual skills, but will also be easier if you were born in a higher class because neopotism.) If you get into the academy, you get some more skill points and train until you get appointed as a captain, otherwise you do less formal training, join the army, and your character starts when you get promoted to be a squad leader. Hopefully end result ought to be that the Scholar characters will start with more skill points overall, but because of the requirements they had to meet to get into their academy, they'll need to have invested a lot of them in more scholarly skills (which while still useful won't necessarily be as applicable in most of the important battles (though obviously you've got exceptions like some expert uses of the Divination skill to determine when winds will suddenly change in the middle of a battle...)) Meanwhile commoner characters have less skill points overall but will be free to invest more of them into the more obviously useful combat skills by game start. Also considering whether to add a third possible path, based more on the Wuxia concept of the Jiangshu to allow for characters to be raised among outcasts, though that would probably work best for the hypothetical Water Margin supplement (unless all the characters decide to play a group of bandits or something for a very different RotK campaign.)
  9. True enough. I'm not talking about any major overhauls, just a little bit of tweaking here and there.
  10. I'm familiar, and I'd say that was something of an inspiration. Definitely already been mining it for some materials. On distinction that I am being wary of is the fact that it's more specifically aimed at the Wuxia genre. RoTK can be said to be a little Wuxia in character, especially with some of the more over-the-top fights, but things are still a little more grounded with a focus on military power over high flying kung fu. (Maybe I'd consider more of it for a Water Margin rpg instead.)
  11. So I've started watching the 2010 Chinese series Three Kingdoms, and doing some independent research on the period, and I'm now considering how well Pendragon might be to model it. Feudalism may not be a thing, but the concept of hereditary military families makes generational play still important to consider. I'd envision PC's expected to rise up from various roots both grand and humble to being the commanders of their own force, in the style of the Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. Substitute chivalrous and religious virtues for Confucian and Taoist virtues, with a dash of Buddhism for flavor even if it isn't yet widely practiced in China. (With the important distinction that unlike Pendragon religions, they aren't mutually exclusive, and it would be perfectly viable for a character to be a virtuous Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist all at the same time if they could hold themselves to such standards.) (Ironically there's not actually as much Romance in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms though. Confucian filial piety kind of took precedent over the courtly love ideals that Europe was weaving into Arthurian legends.) I'd imagine there'd need to be some expansion to the battle system. Pendragon's system seems like it would work quite well for actual engagements between forces, though likely with some greater emphasis on the players' role in things. (Unlike in Pendragon, where knights are significant part of the military force, RoTK armies tended to be, essentially, a whole bunch of untrained mooks along with some bands of PCs mowing through the opposing army to get to their counterparts for the real fight.) But RoTK also places a lot greater emphasis on cunning strategies on a larger scale than the usual European medieval tactics of charging at each other on an open plain, so I could imagine some parts of that playing out more like a war game. Any thoughts on all this? One thing I am worried about is whether some of the focus on passions can really work considering how far some of the characters get with treachery and cold pragmatism. (Looking at you Cao Cao) but on the other hand if things are focused more on the Shu perspective with Liu Bei being something of the Arthur stand-in, (like the book is even though the Wei actually won everything) emphasizing honor and virtue's importance even in the face of defeat may not be an issue.
  12. Love this idea. I feel like the Pendragon battle system is serviceable, but it mostly boils down to just fighting a bunch of enemies with varying degrees of advantage and disadvantage. That does exactly what it needs to, but it doesn't quite capture all the chaos that can occur in the throes of combat and I think this really works well as a concept to capture that.
  13. I found a miniature of a timber manor house. Not sure how accurate it is but it seems simple enough for your average vassal knight. Seems like the general layout is simple enough, kind of a castle's great hall in minature. Big room around a hearth with tables that can double as beds for guests, children and some servants. The knight and his family would either live in a separated room, or with some twine screens to provide privacy. Add some ladders for the upper floors to use as much space as you can and you're good to go.
  14. Well Book of Uther seems to suggest that he has a regular string of Paramours before he marries Ygraine, so I wouldn't be surprised if Madoc and Arthur had some other (if unacknowledged) siblings. I fully suspect Morgan and Ygraine to get involved, especially since I also heavily suspect that the PLK (Player Lady Knight) will be inflicting her vengeance upon Gorlois after he kills Madoc. That's going to land her and any of her children on Morgan's sh*t list for sure, and Ygraine isn't likely to take kindly to her either.
  15. Well it's been a bit but things have progressed rather quickly by and large. So unfortunately the lady knight very nearly died in the ambush by Sir Blains's men (took a nasty crit and a subsequent attack that reduced her to the negatives which she only just survived from.) During the Marriage of Count Roderick adventure, and not only missed out on the drama between Madoc and Lady Rhianeth, her gender was also revealed to the Count's court at large during Chiurgery (kind of Mulan style.) Madoc, rather surprised by this turn of events, went to visit her during her recovery, at which point she confessed her feelings for him. He was shocked, but she rolled well enough that he was moved by her love, and so decided to make a proper attempt at proving himself worthy of her love by attempting to slay the Saxon king invading Malahaut. She meanwhile was granted an opportunity by the Count to prove herself worthy of knighthood (thanks to another player knight requesting it as a boon during Roderick's wedding feast.) and so he gave her a longshot quest to go and locate Merlin's current whereabouts. This led the players on a bit of a whirlwind magical adventure, eventually returning him from some fantastic island where he had intentionally gotten himself into some trouble to test the virtues of the local princess. (Behind the scenes this is basically Merlin, having predicted the trouble that Ygrainne will create for Uther, has been out testing the waters and seeing whether it would be possible for the promised king of Britain to result from a different, less troublesome woman. Unfortunately he's come to conclusion that the conflict with Gorlois over Ygrainne will be inevitable for the good of Britain.) The party returns with Merlin who leads them to where he is needed to revive the army at Mount Daman after the disastrous battle of Euburacum, wherein Prince Madoc has been captured by the Saxons. The Lady knight, in response to her love being threatened, impassions herself and basically carves a red streak through the Saxons' camp and rescuing her prince. In recognition for her deeds, not only is she re-knighted by Count Roderick, but Uther also grants her a manor (she was previously just a household knight so this officially makes her landed) (the manor was actually one of Madoc's which he urged his father to give to her as a reward, now they have a private place to meet for their affair.) So long story short, the two are engaging in an affair, and she's already produced a child, a daughter, all before 485. Of course the next, and likely most difficult step is going to be actually getting married to Madoc. Even as a knight having done impressive deeds, she's not a great pick of a wife for the Crown prince given she only has one manor to her name (that technically was originally the Princes' to begin with.) Worse yet, Uther's a remarkably suspicious person and he likely will be able to figure out about the affair sooner rather than later. He's unlikely to discourage it (He's not going to be a hypocrite given how many bastards he has.) but marriage is going to take some convincing. And I'm planning to set her towards some conflict with Lady Rhianeth, since given the public nature of her rescue of Madoc she's going to look like a competitor even without knowing they're already in a relationship. She's basically won the romance game, and has proven herself a capable knight, but being out as a female knight means she'll have to start learning more of the games that ladies play. The child caused a huge stir with the player knights, and right now the only thing that's convinced them that they haven't broken Arthurian canon is the fact that they've only had a girl at this point. I'm sort of glad that she managed to get a daughter out of the relationship, because now I won't feel as bad if I have to turn any Male children she produces into eagles. I imagine she'll be fine continuing to play a female knight once her daughter comes of age, especially one with as backstory as interesting as "Arthur's niece", and having a child of Uther's blood will make the Anarchy period fun. (Everyone who wants to be king is going to try to get that girl once they know who she is, and I fully expect that they won't be able to hold themselves back in declaring that they have Madoc's child as soon as they can.)
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