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About Willow

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  • RPG Biography
    Willow is the designer of Escape from Tentacle City, Awesome Adventures, Exploding Kingdoms, and Conclave.
  • Current games
    Pendragon, D&D, PbtA, experimental larp
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    I don't know what to put here.

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  1. Hey all- I was dissatisfied with the level of detail in Book of the Entourage for generating wives, so I wrote this up, to give the wives more personality and uniqueness. I'm pretty happy with how it came out, though it might use some tweaking. Random Wife Table Here's two Wives I rolled up to give it a test: Lady A Heiress of Vassal Knight Dowry L13 plus 1 Manor. Glory 100 British Christian Age 17 Skills Chirurgery 12 Dancing 13 Intrigue 15 Traits Chaste, Modest, Temperate Boon Unusual Size! Bane Meddlesome Relatives APP 11 CON 14 DEX 12 STR 16 SIZ 17 Love: Family: 9 Love: Husband: 13 Lady B Daughter of Esquire Dowry L3 Glory 10 2nd Daughter, 5 Brothers Roman Christian Age 19 Skills Chirurgery 13* Courtesy 13* Intrigue 17* (*+2 from Talented) Traits Cowardly*, Modest, Temperate, Vengeful (*From Timid) Boon Talented Bane Timid APP 12 CON 19 DEX 9 STR 16 SIZ 17 Love: Family: 14 Love: Husband: 14 Lady A seems like quite the catch! Shame about those in-laws.
  2. I had ruled in my game previously that one does not travel overland in full armor, that a knight might wear riding leathers on a journey, but would typically have to spend time to arm themselves, with the aid of their squire- thus if ambushed by bandits, Saxons, or unusually ferocious farm animals, would not have the benefit of their whole armor. I thought this was explicit in the rules somewhere, but I am having trouble finding this ruling. The closest I have to it is in the introductory adventure in KAP 5.2, where in the hunt section on page 224, that they wear ''appropriate clothing' worth 1 armor. Did I imagine this rule? Are knights able to wear their armor while traveling?
  3. That's a really good point. In this specific situation, Mordred's faction certainly would, and I suppose it could affect a noble lord who was on the fence. Blood and Lust features The Adventure of the Questioned Heraldry. In it, the knights are asked to adjudicate a dispute between two knights, who have similar arms. A rich knight insists that a poor knight's arms are too similar to his, and must be changed- or fight to the death for the right to bear them! Is the difference in heraldry distinct enough that one of the knights must change their arms? This is a question that has a basis in the rules of heraldry: the arms both feature two leaves of the same color, but of slightly different shape and orientation. Under the rules of heraldry, the arms are the same. It is unusual that a character with the Heraldry skill only knows this on a critical success- I would probably instead offer a Heraldry roll at a penalty. What is more interesting to me than seeing if the players can guess the answer to the question is whether or not they find the plight of the poor knight sufficient to rule in his favor. In the adventure, coming to the conclusion that the arms are the same gives the character a check on Just, and coming to the conclusion that they are different gives a check on Arbitrary (unjust)- even if the character didn't know! A suggestion here that there is an 'objective' justice, regardless of the character's views. I also quite like this example, because it is a situation where the 'correct' behavior, likely leads to an unsatisfying outcome for the players, as ruling the arms are the same results in a duel, that the rich knight is likely to win, against the sympathetic poor knight.
  4. Pendragon 5.2 has this to say about the Just trait: "A Just character is capable of telling what is right and wrong (within the mores of his upbringing and his personal beliefs) and is desirous of passing due judgment based on that information. This is pretty vague. Who is to decide what is right and wrong, especially given that bit in parenthesis? How does this overlap with Honor, and keeping with society's ethical code? My interpretation of Just is that it is doing what society says is correct behavior, and Arbitrary is making decisions based on personal feeling. When Arthur insists that Gweneviere be tried for adultery, and even burnt at the stake, he's doing what the law, and therefore Justice demand. Almost anyone would respect him if he claimed his right as king and insisted on almost any other action. It's the difference between "I am the law,": and "the law is the law." How do you see Just and Arbitrary in your games? What behaviors do you feel justify a check for Just or Arbitrary? When would you call for a famously Just or Arbitrary knight to have to make a test?
  5. My impression regarding Temporary damage is the same as Morien's- in this section, the recovery of temporary damage is before income, allowing it to be mitigated by Stewardship/Gentlewoman Bonus/Monks- so even if raided for 3 lots, with the right set up, one might not suffer any reduced income. But it does say specifically that it goes away on it's own. The lack of an explicit step in the winter summary does muddy the waters a bit, and the Estate sheet isn't much help either, the Lots just being checkboxes.
  6. Good point! Feudalism is a hodgepodge framework, and some of the estate holders in Salisbury are going to owe fealty to the King (even though there isn't one), not the Count(ess), and may either feel (rightly) that they don't owe the Countess anything, or (Prudently) that joining forces in some arrangement is a good idea, and some of those who do owe fealty will try to use this opportunity to test the boundaries. At the onset of 496, I figure she has about 60 knights at her disposal, mostly household knights, many of them hastily knighted after the disaster at St. Alban's. Realistically, how long will this take to organize? According to the Salisbury travel map in 5.2, just about anywhere is going to be within a day's ride of some castle, and one might assume other counties are similar. So a day to the local jarl's castle, maybe a day to properly organize, and a day back? Spending two days raiding a single manor in a hit and run is probably not unreasonable.
  7. Great stuff, especially the observations about the Forest Sauvage and the early years of the Boy King period. Thanks!
  8. I'm a few sessions into the Anarchy, and am starting to get into the gritty bits of the sandbox, particularly paying tribute to Saxon lords, getting raided, and maybe raiding back in return. A few questions, all more or less interconnected: 1) Just how much does it cost to pay tribute, anyway? The Harvest section (of GPC) says it costs effectively 3lb. with the simplified harvest system; the actual nature of the tribute is 100 cattle and 100 pounds of silver. About 120 manors are sworn to Count Roger, some of those knights will be bad actors, but that should come out to about one cow and 1 pound of silver per manor... for a grand cost of 1.5lb. (As a side question, is it legal, within the feudal contract, for Regent Ellen to levy these kinds of taxes? I would think an Arbitrary check would be in order for any Baron who attempted to do so.) 2) Just how much does it cost to not pay tribute? The downside of not paying tribute is getting raided, which is typically 30% of one's income (according to Book of the Estate). Presumably, the Saxons who demand tribute and aren't paid will perform raids, but will they really raid the entire county? If one tells all of the Saxons to sod off, does each additional raid increase the intensity of the raid? 3) What sort of protection does tribute get, anyway? The knights in my game figured if they paid tribute to one Saxon lord and the other one raided, they might be able to cry foul to that Saxon, that they hadn't fulfilled their end of the bargain for protection. (For what it's worth, I think Cerdic will tell them 'so sorry, a raid is not an invasion, but if you swear fealty, you will get my FULL protection.') So what is an invasion? Attacking lands with the intention of holding them? And how might a tributary lord to their tributary state getting invaded? 4) The East Saxons are all the way over in Caerwent. To raid Salisbury, they'd have to either march through Silchester (seems unlikely), or sail around and go through Wessex (who nominally owe Salisbury protection.) Just how are they getting there? (As an aside, it seems gutsy as hell for the Saxons to send their crown prince to negotiate tribute with people who are basically their hereditary enemies, The only thing that seems to be stopping someone from capturing a Saxon prince or two and ransoming them or putting them to the sword is the threat of total war. And again, Essex is all the way over there...) 5) The player knights are salivating at the idea of doing some counter raids, and sacking some lands on their own. The average vill/manor is guarded by a knight plus two footmen, but how many Saxon warriors are going to reside in the same area? Thus far, they've seemed like one endless doomstack of troops, getting reinforcements from across the seas whenever the plot calls for it. I imagine the knights will be bringing along family knights, and maybe some footmen promised bonus pay. The question then is, how is the plunder from a raid typically split? At the end of the day, that's likely for the knights to decide, but the NPCs might have some basic assumptions based on ancient traditions and whatnot.
  9. Morien & Atgtxg, thanks! My first few sessions were definitely spent feeling out the rules, and I made quite a few errors- Traits vs. Passions were a huge area of confusion for me. Income rules were really hard for me to find in KAP 5.2, and I think I got the 10lb figure off the old Pendragon forums, but kept the 6lb expenses. ( (Which is why Bersules was able to come up with 107 for the best feast ever.) I've updated my income rules in the Anarchy phase to be closer to BotE, but slightly more generous. Interesting regarding the Levcomagus stuff. I didn't realize that raids within the realm were considered legal. Anyway, it's 497 now, and Alver's son(s) is problbly all grown up by this point.
  10. I've uploaded my session reports on my blog. We got through the Uther period, took a break, and are now picking up with the Anarchy. The first session report is here for 485. Generally I talk about the meta stuff surrounding the game as much as the content of the game itself. 493 is probably my favorite session from the first phase, but Year 491 was the most memorable.
  11. I remember seeing a family record sheet that had spot for 20 relatives, instead of rolling a random relation and trying to figure out who it was, you just rolled a d20. It also had other handy winter phase stuff on it too. Anyone know where I can find a copy of this?
  12. What kind of advice are you looking for? The Legends of the Wulin rpg, formerly known as Weapons of the Gods, has a set of five Chivalrous virtues and five Selfish virtues. They aren't paired (in fact, you can have high ratings in two virtues that seem contrary): Benevolence (Kwan), Force (Ba), Honor (Xin,), Loyalty (Zhong), Righteousness (Yi), Ferocity (Bao), Individualism (Si), Obsession (Chan), Revenge (Chou), Ruthlessness (Hen). Note that Xin and Yi (and Benevolence, as Ren) are part of the Confucian Five Constants, and Zhong is one of the four virtues of the Sizi (along with Yi). Filial Piety is such a big deal in Confucianism that I would probably make it a Passion. Two other thoughts: What role do you see for Wu Wei? It is a big deal in Chinese philosophy. Also, don't forget Chinese Legalism. Han Fei would approve mightily of Cao Cao's Ruthlessness (a virtue, with a capital R), in order to consolidate power by any means necessary, for the greater good. (And for clarification, I am only an amateur fan of Chinese literature, and a westerner.)
  13. One of the knights in my game converted from Paganism to Christianity to marry a Christian woman. We just changed his underlined traits, and gave him a check on Spiritual for the Baptism (which was a bit of a disadvantage for the character, since he was Famously Worldly!)
  14. Hey everyone- I've been running the Great Pendragon Campaign through the Uther Period, and have been on hiatus and am getting ready to run the Anarchy period. One thing I noticed is what seemed to become a dominant strategy in battle: invoke Passions early! We've had knights that failed their roll, and got wounded and sent to the sidelines early, and a few that botched and spent the aftermath in deep melancholy, but for the most part, the knights have been able to get +10 or +20 to their primary weapon skill. The first few battles I ran were pretty risky affairs, and the Battle of Terrabil was probably the most interesting, because of the special events and the nighttime ambush, but afterwards, the Battle of St. Albans was terribly dull: every player knight made their Passion rolls, at least one critted, and they went forth to pretty much succeed or crit every round. Much glory was earned (upwards of 2000 for most of the knights), but very little real conflict- lucrative, but boring at the table. I could not find any guidelines for Passions in Battle, other than "Inspiration lasts for the length of the task at hand, but never for more than a day." Can an entire Battle be considered a task? Do you limit a Passion roll to a single foe? Thanks!
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