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creativehum

Choosing the First Session Material for the GPC

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The following points are a given:

  • I know I can do whatever I want. I'm looking for folks with experience with starting off a KAP campaign who might have wisdom to share.
  • The game would start in 485, per the core King Arthur Pendragon rules and the Great Pendragon Campaign.
  • Although magic is light in the first phases of the campaign, the fact that the world is halfway between mud and the magical is something I want to sew in early into the game. Magic should be extraordinary. But I want the Players to know the world is magical with a taste of it early on so they know what's what.

Looking at the first scenarios as presented:

  • The first year of the GPC is a battle. Greg has already stated that was probably not the best way to start the game. (It's a massive subsystem that abstracts a lot of play and maybe not the best way to introduce the game.
  • The introductory session in KAP seems... kind of boring? And yet it does exactly what it is intended to do: It teaches the Players the rules of the game and the subsystems, and tours the PKs around Salisbury and then Sarum, letting them interact with GM Characters, picking up rumors and news at Sarum, and get a feel for the social ladder and where they stand on it.
  • My group tends to get in about 2.5 to 3 hours of play a night

My own instinct is to blow off the battle of 485 for the PKs. They are out on patrol and hunting bears because forces are massing for the battle. When they go to Sarum after the hunt and defeat the bandits it is as Uther is arriving and the Earl is preparing to leave with troops for the Battle of Mearcred Creek.

The PKs are knighted and will stay behind to provide back up for the local lands. They go to their manors. We spend some time with them getting a feel for the manor, do the winter phase. 

Or maybe then they go with the Earl after their knighting. It seems kind of lame, if not frustrating, to be knighted and then told, "Now sit here as the men go off to war." So 485 is definitely a two session year... which it might well be anyway! If this is the case there'd be a chance to sew a little bit of magic (like I said, a taste of something either fairie or divine) while they are on the hunt in the woods.

Questions:

  • How does the introductory adventure from KAP play out for people? Fun? Engaging? Set the right tone? 
  • Did Players make characters in the same session as the introductory or first year adventure? It seems like making characters (especially with the Family History!) could take a while... but maybe not? Was there a separate "Session Zero" for doing all the character creation material?
  • The portion of the Introductory Adventure where the PKs explore Sarum, get the gossip, meet/see the heiresses and so on feels like it could be its own session on it own!

Given all fo the above, it seems to me that:

  • making characters
  • doing the hunt and battle with the bandits
  • going to Sarum and getting gossip/meeting GM Characters/getting knighted

might well be two sessions on its own. Add in the possibility of Mearcred Creek (which is growing on me as I type this) and its definitely two sessions.

How have GMs paced these issues in the past? What materials did you bring to bear? What worked, what did not?

Thanks so much ahead of time.

 

 

 

Edited by creativehum

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I know you said you'd start at 485, but I'd be tempted to start it near the end of 484, with the armies having returned from Mt. Damen and more knights being needed. Do the intro here and you'll have the knights ready for 485. However, I would urge you to keep Pellinore and the Questing Beast for 490s, since they become more plot-important then.

If you have access to the 4th edition Adventure of the White Horse, it is a very nice, mystical but combat-light adventure which will introduce the more magical elements to the game. It is a very nice adventure to run for newbies, although it requires a bit of touch-up to port it back in time to 485 from 531, but not that much.

You could easily throw in a little raid, either from Levcomagus deciding to take advantage of most of the attention being in Sussex, or even a riverine raid up River Avon by Kent.

As for heiresses... Rather than get hung up on heiresses that are going to be outside the reach of the PKs for years and years, come up with some of your own eligible ladies for the PKs to woo and win. Here are some notes that I wrote to a friend of mine who was thinking of trying his hand in KAP GMing with his local group. I suggested that he ought to start from 479 and avail himself to the Marriage of Count Roderick free scenario as well.

"

I very much recommend focusing on introducing suitable ladies for the PKs to court. And I recommend having one NPC Rival as well, like I mentioned before, to make it a bit more personal for the PKs.

 
Here are some suggested ladies:
1) Lady A : This would be the lady that the Rival and at least one of the PKs would go after. Beautiful and Rich (although not an heiress). Dowry: £20?
2) Lady B : Little sister of the Rival. Rich as well, and probably not as much of an ass as the Rival is. The Rival's dad is already dead, so he inherits the family manor and becomes a Landed Knight before the PKs does. Also, this means that he decides who his little sister marries. Dowry: £20?
3) Lady C : The plain and poor (in comparison at least), but skilled and a kind personality. Dowry: £10?
4) Lady D : The most beautiful but also most impoverished (very small dowry: £4?). Perhaps she is the daughter of one of the Count's household knights who dies in 480 so she becomes the ward of the Count? She might be trying to seduce one of the PKs into a marriage*, if her looks don't seem to do the work without help. If the PKs are sneaky, they might try to conspire for Lady D to seduce the Rival and hence get him out of the way with regards to Lady A...
* As heirs to vassal knights (I'd keep the dads still alive at this point), the PKs are very eligible. However, while their fathers are still alive, it might not be possible for the PKs to marry just yet, as they cannot support a wife (not to worry, situation is soon remedied).
 
The Ladies should be around 15-17 when they are introduced, so that there is some time for the PKs to woo them (APP, Flirting) and their fathers/brothers/guardians (Courtesy might help). Ladies C & D should be reasonably easy to achieve (once the PKs have inherited their manors, see below), but Ladies A & B are the real prizes. Really, one could say that getting married is the whole point of this mini-campaign! On a macro-level it is Count Roderick trying to find a wife, and on personal level, the PKs are trying to get suitable wives, too.
"
 
 
Edited by Morien
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White Horse is a nice adventure. Just make sure the PKs have decent horsemanship skills. 

In my own campaign I started with the PKS riding border patrol and coming across a wine merchant who had been robbed by bandits. They were nice wenough to hunt down the bandits and return the mans's stock, and gave him and escort so he could delieve his wine to the archbishop. This gave them an "in" with the archbishop, which I used as a sprngboard for further adventures.

As for magical, one of my early adventures was the Hunting of the Great Black Boar of the Camelot Forest. A Faerie boar with hide as tough as mail, that recovered from wounds almost as fast as they were inflicted (it healed every round). The boar's tusks were magical, and desired by a local pagan priest, who helped the PKS Quest for a magical weapon to slay the boar. This lead to a side quest where they had to get past a giant, and sail to Avalon, where a PK was tested by ther Lady of the Lake. In the end the PK got Rhongomiant, but was told that one day" Why the Giant's Dance in Salisbury. a Chief of the Dragons will appear and the PK must surrender the spear to him or the land will be overrun by enemies."  So Rhon is a loaner.  It's also good against armor,  DV,  and is a mixed blessing in battle (It reduces the DV but leaves the PKs in the thick of the fighting). 

 

Feel free to adapt any of the above that you like. I got notes and game stats for the Big Black Boar if you want them. 

 

 

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Hi @Morien

Thank you for all that. Especially the part about adding more eligible ladies for the PKs to woo. I remember years ago when I tried starting a KAP campaign being baffled as to how these just-knighted young men were going to go about getting the hands of these women with all that land. I think folding in some some women within easier reach of the PKs makes perfect sense. As does your model of having a rival-jerk connected to two of them!

As for starting earlier: I'm loath to do that --- though I have thought of starting in 484 for the starting scenario, obviously. My problem with going back further is that we are getting further and further away from the actual story of Arthur. (It is called King Arthur Pendragon, after all!)

The first incident that really ties to Malory -- and most versions of the story most people will know -- is Uther disguising himself to assuage his lust with Ygraine. That doesn't happen until 491, at least six sessions into play. My desire, and my instincts, tell me to keep it closer to as is in the GPC. 

Finally, and again thank you, for the recommend for The Adventure of the White Horse. I'm aware of it, and the host of other possible scenarios waiting to be stitched into the campaign. (I find it compelling how much material there is to run the GPC when you put together all the sources!)

I will admit I give a smile whenever anyone says something along the lines of "if you can get access from the 4th edition..."

I picked up the 3rd edition as my first version of KAP.... and of course I know The Adventure of the White Horse from that. (For those who don't know, 4th edition is primarily the King Arthur Pendragon 3rd edition and the 3rd edition supplement Knights Adventurous stapled together (rather awkwardly) with the now disposed of magic system on top.) Apart from the magic system, almost anything else in 4th is already in the 3rd edition line.

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16 minutes ago, creativehum said:

My problem with going back further is that we are getting further and further away from the actual story of Arthur.

There is nothing preventing you from pushing the timeline forward. I mean if you want to, you could have intro at the end of 488, sword lake at the start of 489 followed immediately by truce with Gorlois. 490 for battle of Lindsey followed by a feast during which Uther starts lusting after Ygraine. 491 for Gorlois' revolt. 492 for Arthur.

In short, other than the very first session of the intro, you are right in the Excalibur Gorlois Uther Ygraine mess. 

Frankly... If King Arthur is what you are interested in, then there would be a strong argument for playing the fathers here as a prequel of sorts. Maybe even let them to be executed by Uther. And then flash forward to their young sons at the end of anarchy riding to London in 510...

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2 hours ago, Morien said:

There is nothing preventing you from pushing the timeline forward.

Correct. See point 1. in my first post.

i am looking for any practiced wisdom for people using KAP and the GPC.

You make a good point about the timeline as it picks up pace in 488. But I think a few years for the Players and PCs to get established in the game is a good idea. So, as the GPC suggests, I'll start in 485.

I am in no rush to get to Arthur. I simply don't wish to widen the timeline.

Edited by creativehum

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2 hours ago, Morien said:

There is nothing preventing you from pushing the timeline forward.

Yeah for someone who really wants to push things forward do what Mary Stewart did and have Arthur grow up while Uther is still alive. Then you can skip the Anarchy Period and go from Uther at St. Albans to Boy King. 

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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah for someone who really wants to push things forward do what Mary Stewart did and have Arthur grow up while Uther is still alive. Then you can skip the Anarchy Period and go from Uther at St. Albans to Boy King. 

This is actually what happens in the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate. The gap appeared because of Malory's abridgment. There is a two-year gap (approximately) between Uther's death and the Sword in the Stone.

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3 hours ago, creativehum said:

For someone who wants to really push things forward, that's probably a really good idea.

Yeah but at the expense of cutting the campaign short. That is one of the things that is almost unique about Pendragon, it has a ending. 

 

5 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

This is actually what happens in the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate. The gap appeared because of Malory's abridgment. There is a two-year gap (approximately) between Uther's death and the Sword in the Stone.

I like how Stewart had Arthur at St. Albans. Uther had wanted to get a look at the son who he hadn't seen as a baby. In the book, Uther is bedridden and had to be strapped to a litter to lead the troops. Arthur is fighting nearby when he loses his sword, and Uther tosses him his own. It was quite the symbolic gesture.

 

I think stuff like that helps to keep the game fresh for experienced players. Do somethin glike drop the Anarchy Peroid and players who know the stroy by heart won't know what exactly will happen. A GM could use any of the other version of the tale for his timeline, maybe go with Bedwry instead of Lancelot, or just go with some other, lesser known variation.  There are very few "fixed" events in the legend, and almost every story in it has alternate takes.

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46 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah but at the expense of cutting the campaign short. That is one of the things that is almost unique about Pendragon, it has a ending. 

I have lost track of what we're talking about.

Morien said that if someone wanted to get to Arthur faster they could chop off stuff at the beginning. I said I wasn't interested in that.

You added to Morien's point, suggesting that if someone wanted to get to Arthur faster, cutting out the Anarchy Phase would get to Arthur faster. I agreed that this would get to Arthur faster.

But , again, I have no interest or need in getting to Arthur faster.

From your post apparently we are now talking about cutting things off from the end of the campaign. (I think?) And maybe suggesting that is something I was suggesting? If you had the idea I was thinking of doing something like that, let me be clear: I have no interest in doing that.

As stated in the original post, I want to work with the GPC as is.

As outlined in the first postI am looking for clues about the first session. Not adventure ideas, but ideas how to structure the framework of play for introducing the Player to the the rules, the setting, points of crisis the character will be dealing with in the first Phase, establishing the ground rules for the campaign as a whole, and deciding what should constitute a "First Session" in terms of pacing (how much adventure, whether we should be striving for one year in that first session.)

Edited by creativehum

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59 minutes ago, creativehum said:

I have lost track of what we're talking about.

 What I meant was that while somebody could speed things along to Arthur by skipping over the Anarchy Phase, one drawback to doing so is that it shortens the campaign. Unlike most other RPGs Pendragon has an ending, namely 466. So shortening the Anarchy Phase shortens the campaign.

Oh, in realtion to your introductory adventure: How familar are your players to Pendragon? If they are old pros then the intro is more of a refresher and so go fairly quickly. If they are new to Pendragon it will take longer and need more of an explanation. If they come from a more tradtional FRPG it might take more time still,m as you need to get them to unlearn things that don't work in Pendragon.

 

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7 hours ago, creativehum said:

You make a good point about the timeline as it picks up pace in 488. But I think a few years for the Players and PCs to get established in the game is a good idea. So, as the GPC suggests, I'll start in 485.

Fair enough.

The intro actually ends with a winter phase, so that is why I was suggesting doing it at the end of 484. However, of course you could GM it at the start of 485 instead and just postpone the winter phase until the end of the year.

Actually, I would be tempted to do this:

485  Introduction + Sword Lake. This gets them into the whole Excalibur & fantasy thing right away, and makes missing of the battle more of a blessing in disguise.

486  Great Sword Feast. Then join the skirmishing at Colchester under Prince Madoc. This offers more freedom for the players than a battle, and possibly a good place to introduce a lady or two for them to heroically rescue (wife candidates, maybe even potential heiresses but their lands have been taken by the Saxons)? As a bonus, they will grow more familiar with Prince Madoc, making subsequent events more interesting.

487  I'd be tempted to skip the whole Naval engagement and go straight for the Soissons campaign under Prince Madoc.

488  A bit more involved Faerie adventure in Somerset rather than just the Water Leapers?

489  Saxon raid or some such to keep things interesting, a chance to save a lady? Then Excalibur's Peace.

Or if you prefer making as few changes to GPC as possible, then my suggestion would be Intro + White Horse in 485, or Intro + Raid (see below), and save the White Horse for the otherwise pretty boring 489.

Looking at my notes, I see that I was introducing a bunch of Levcomagus knights, peers of the newly minted PKs, at Uther's court in 485, and had some insults being exchanged to make that whole Levcomagus-Salisbury feud more personal. However, this would definitely slow down the campaign a bit, if you are adding more stuff in, and if the Levcomagus thing is not that important for you, I'd advise against it. Instead, I'd tie it to the whole courtship of the ladies. Have some Levcomagus knights come to the Court of Salisbury and make some advances on the ladies the PKs are interested in. The Count is not going to favor their suit, of course, so they will leave. But then you can have them staging a bride-stealing raid later on, and the PKs can be on a patrol to come and rescue the lady/ladies in question. This way, you can have your feud as well as advance one of the main personal storylines: to get married!

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11 hours ago, creativehum said:

How does the introductory adventure from KAP play out for people? Fun? Engaging? Set the right tone? 

The adventure is simple, but in play, it's working fine. When I played it, I had a little feast in the village. Some dancing rolls, indulgent/sober, chaste/luxurious, this kind of things.

Like Morien, i think the easy way is to begin in 484 with this little adventure. You're knighted at the end. There is rumors of battle next year. The characters will be a bit stronger. You can play it in 1 session. For the heiresses... Don't introduce them randomly. They are long term goals. For the first session, you could introduce some sisters of the PKs, a impoverished cousin.

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5 hours ago, Morien said:

485  Introduction + Sword Lake. This gets them into the whole Excalibur & fantasy thing right away, and makes missing of the battle more of a blessing in disguise

This is what I friend did when he started the GPC and something I have thought about doing as well.

@Tizun Thane thank you for your comments as well!

An interesting thing about the Introductory Adventure from KAP is that the PKs mentor has the acquires joust with each other to determine who will be the leader of the hunt. This always struck me as a bit extraneous. But looking at it the other day I realized it warms the Players up to the competition between Knight's that is very much a part of the literature. Who has the most Glory? Who will be the Knight allowed to go on the Quest? Will the Knight's fight for the honor of the Quest, or will one bow out graciously? That sort of thing.

The realization that Greg built a well constructed adventure that introduces a great many pieces of play in clever ways sent me down some questions as to how to begin.

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A few more questions about first and early sessions (again, assuming 485 or thereabouts, a starting setup as presented in KAP, and players new to the game):

  • The player characters are squires off in training with a manor as part of their family name. While they are still squires who is running the manor? Who is responsible for it until the day they are knighted and assume control. Let's open this up a bit from the KAP core rules, which assumes Dad married so a Lady who had the manor in her family. Let's assume there are other permutations here. What are the possibilities here? An uncle. A regent serving on the Earl's behalf? Mom? I'd love to hear ideas on this.
  • You all are talking about introducing all sorts of Knights and Ladies (and thank you for that). How do you present them? How do the Players keep track of them? It seems to me that if I was introduced to the Earl, Uther, a mentor knight, three competing knights, three ladies or maidens (or more!) after a while I'd remember a few key characters (the Earl, Uther) but some of the other characters might start to blur. Do you do characterizations that are so strong each GM Character becomes fixed in the imagination of the Players? Do provide lists with the GM Character names and details (updated as needed) so the Players can glance down at them to remember who is who? Do you have power point presentations with little portraits of each PC taken from the internet.

I know this second point might seem a bit extreme, but I think KAP as a Campagin, is more NPC intense than any other game I've ever looked at! I think putting some thought into how to communicate the NPCs to the Players and come up with ways to keep the NPCs fresh in the players' minds makes a lot of sense!

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2 hours ago, creativehum said:

While they are still squires who is running the manor? Who is responsible for it until the day they are knighted and assume control.

The liege. So in practice, probably bailiff running day to day and a steward checking up on it from time to time.

It probably doesn't have a resident knight at this time, although it is possible that if the dad died while the mother was still relatively young, she may have been married to a household knight who would have taken up the duties of the vassal knight until the PK grows up. A nice way to reward a household knight even though it is not a permanent possession.

2 hours ago, creativehum said:

You all are talking about introducing all sorts of Knights and Ladies (and thank you for that). How do you present them? How do the Players keep track of them?

Name, title/home, some description, mannerisms. Handouts (pdfs) with Name, Picture, and a brief blurb helps A LOT. In the end, the players will remember the NPCs that they are interested in or have a grudge against or vice versa. Especially once they meet repeatedly. If they don't meet repeatedly... well, it wasn't that important an NPC to begin with. I do usually provide some context when re-introducing people, such as: "Prince Lak, or as you met him in YYY, Squire Lak, now all grown up..."

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2 hours ago, creativehum said:

A few more questions about first and early sessions (again, assuming 485 or thereabouts, a starting setup as presented in KAP, and players new to the game):

  • The player characters are squires off in training with a manor as part of their family name. While they are still squires who is running the manor? Who is responsible for it until the day they are knighted and assume control. Let's open this up a bit from the KAP core rules, which assumes Dad married so a Lady who had the manor in her family. Let's assume there are other permutations here. What are the possibilities here? An uncle. A regent serving on the Earl's behalf? Mom? I'd love to hear ideas on this.

That would depend on the situation. It would probably be Mom. If she's dead then the PKs would be wards of the Count who could either hold onto the lands himself or approaint a regent to do it until the PKS are old enough to run the manor. Perhaps an elder male relative, such as an uncle.

 

There are all sorts of possibilities for stories, dpending on what you want to go with. An overbearing mother who wants to maintain control, a unscruoplous Uncle who would like th inheret and is scheming to get rid of his nephew, a freedy Count who wants to hold onto the income of the lands for as long as possible. All these ideas are possible, if you want to go that way. Or the PKs could just take over thier manors at the end of the year, and everything transitions smootly -it's up to you.

2 hours ago, creativehum said:
  • You all are talking about introducing all sorts of Knights and Ladies (and thank you for that). How do you present them? How do the Players keep track of them? It seems to me that if I was introduced to the Earl, Uther, a mentor knight, three competing knights, three ladies or maidens (or more!) after a while I'd remember a few key characters (the Earl, Uther) but some of the other characters might start to blur. Do you do characterizations that are so strong each GM Character becomes fixed in the imagination of the Players? Do provide lists with the GM Character names and details (updated as needed) so the Players can glance down at them to remember who is who? Do you have power point presentations with little portraits of each PC taken from the internet.

I know this second point might seem a bit extreme, but I think KAP as a Campagin, is more NPC intense than any other game I've ever looked at! I think putting some thought into how to communicate the NPCs to the Players and come up with ways to keep the NPCs fresh in the players' minds makes a lot of sense!

 

A lot of that depends on what a particular GM feels he can handle and how well his players pick up on things, and so on. 

 

In my campaign I:

  • When creating characters, I try to give them each a couple of interesting characteristics. Mannerisms, ticks, ways of speech, hobbies, traits and passions. Just something that makes the characters stick out that I can use to roleplay them, and that the players can pick up on and know who they are dealing with.
  • Try not to introduce too many "named" characters at once. That way the players don't get swamped with too many characters to try and keep track of at once. It also makes it easier for me to roleplay as I only need to handle a handful of characters and personalities at one time. This is just liek starting a campagin. It is ususally best to start small and add things gradually.
  • I try to give the new characters a couple of cameo appearances so that the players will get used to their name and their roles before  I make them reoccurring NPKs. This can include just namedropping. I once had a master hunstman who was mentioned constantly by various other characters but who was always out in the forest and never seen at court. This went on for quite some time, until the character had become like Norm's wife Vera from Cheers. Mentioned in every episode, never appeared on the show. Well, after six months of gaming, the huntsman actually showed up. Turned out he hated being in "dirty cities", disliked intrigue and just wanted to go back to camping out in the forest. Because of how the character had been itrodocued, the players figred him out pretty quickly and his personality fit. So they remembered him right away. He became a PK favorite.
  • When possible I'll try to showcase one or two NPKs in an adventure to give them more depth and give the players a chance to learn something distinctive about them.
  • I let NPKs show up and develop organically as adventures play out. For instance I had a widow that one PK pursued who had the squire of her late husband around the manor . Part of the conditons for the marriage was that the knight take on the squire, as he was very loyal to the family. The PK agreed and later knighted the squire, and the squire even got to join the PKs Knightly Order. The PKs were wondering why he bought a scorpion (old Roman siege arbalest), until he explained it was for the Griffin hunt. Eventually the squire married a lady with land in Gloucester and moved away. He's shown up intermittently since then, as he is sometimes serving garrison duty at Hillfarm for Duke Eldol. He's even helped to meditate in a conflict between Eldol and Salisbury as he was someone that both sides trusted. But he came up out of a random event and I just added to him as time went by.
  • Also let minor or meek characters fade into the background. For instance one PK married a lady who is very modest, so she rarely says much and just does her wifely duties. She has the gentlewoman bonus, and an alleged magical sword that no one has been able to wield to great effect, but she hasn't said six sentences in over a year of real time. And that's okay. 
  • Sometimes I do handouts similar to "The Family and Fatherland" section in the rules or the "Common Knowledge Handouts from RuneQuest, with "What your Character Knows" . That way I can do up a list of the NPKs with short, one paragraph descriptions, Glory totals, coats of arms, that sort of thing. That gives the PKs a "playbill" of the characters that they would know. The players can then add to this list or make notes about certain characters based upon what happens in play.

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When I do NPCs, I usually just have a running spreadsheet with a couple very quick personality traits/stats (sometimes filled out more as they go on, unless they are already statted up somewhere else), and I'll just update it whenever they have an encounter with a short line or two ("490: sat next to Sir So-and-So at a feast"). I I also use that when making Recognize rolls, if they have never actually met a person, they have -10 to Recognize (normally, someone might not allow them to roll at all, but I figure with Glory bonuses adding to that, you might be able to Recognize them by reputation alone), have only been at the same event but had no personal encounters -5, also -5 if they have not seen each other for several years, or something major happened to them physically, like losing an eye, gaining a scar, hair going white, etc. I honestly don't try that hard to develop tons of characters beyond backdrop though, generally only a few characters really end up standing out. My players almost always have a huge love of Sir Elad, though since he's also the designated babysitter that's probably understandable. I had one group get really close to Sir Madoc, but my current campaign's players kind of thought he was a jackass.

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On 10/23/2019 at 4:23 PM, creativehum said:

Also, @sirlarkins, as someone who has run the game and is probably thinking about how to explain running it to people, curious about your thoughts on this. (Btw, I've read your article about tips for running it. Which is what set me off down this line of thinking!)

There's nothing I'd do that's remarkably different from what's already been suggested. @Morien and I are very much on the same page when it comes to stuff like this. (I'll second putting off the Questing Beast encounter until later!)

The main points you want to hit are: introducing friendly knights and eligible ladies; introducing the Saxon threat; introducing the Levcomagus rivalry (players love to hate Sir Blains, the Steward of Levcomagus). A Border Patrol after they're knighted would be a great way to do that, as suggested up-thread. A minor encounter with some Saxon foragers who are driven off with the timely intervention of Silchester knights who were riding their border as well—ah, but then the insults and provocations start to fly, as these are household knights of the infamous Sir Blains! (Perhaps the man himself is there, though you might not want to risk a lucky hit that takes him out if hostilities ensue.)

What you're doing is painting a picture of the provincial, pre-chivalric, rough-and-tumble nature of the Uther Period. Wrap up with the P-Ks reporting back to Count Salisbury or Sir Elad and some interaction with a few other Gamemaster characters. As has been suggested, don't throw too many GMCs out there at once.

I always "cast" my GMCs so that people have a visual reference, a face for the name. I use Obsidian Portal, but any kind of wiki would do—or even print-outs, of course. Here's the wiki I put together when I ran Paladin last year: https://amatteroffrance.obsidianportal.com/characters

And yes, with sessions as short as yours, plan on a Session Zero where you go through character creation, family history, and an introductory scenario that gets them knighted, though feel free to keep that in 485 and then pick up where you left off the following session.

Hope that helps!

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18 hours ago, creativehum said:

While they are still squires who is running the manor?

Good question for you, but Players generally don't care, and it's not really important for the game (Except if it is, as an uncle who don't want to release the manor for example).

18 hours ago, creativehum said:

How do you present them? How do the Players keep track of them?

Players forget. It is known. Present them organically. Make them real. Let them interact with the players. Some will stand up, and the other will fade in the Background.

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17 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

That would depend on the situation. It would probably be Mom. If she's dead then the PKs would be wards of the Count who could either hold onto the lands himself or approaint a regent to do it until the PKS are old enough to run the manor.

By RAW, it would only be Mom if she is already thrice widowed. BotEnt: "No woman can be forced to marry a fourth time," and it is highlighted as official errata to KAP 5.1. Until then, the Mom becomes a ward of the liege lord as well. As I said previously, if the Mom is alive, there is a good chance (especially if she is still in childbearing age) that the liege would marry her off quickly to a trusted household knight. Thus rewarding the household knight with a possibility that if the PK snuffs it, the household knight's children might inherit instead (since the Mom is an heiress in this case, as unlikely as that is for all PKs). If the Mom remarries, then it is likely that she and the new husband would be living at the manor and taking care of it.

That being said, even if the Mom is not remarried to someone, it is possible that the liege would let her to continue to look after the manor. It is no skin off his nose, and it would probably ensure that the manor gets more personal attention. However, there are a lot of examples (and story potential) in having the manor entrusted to someone else, who either wants to try and keep it for himself, or is trying to squeeze every potential profit out of the manor before the PK inherits. Such as selling off some of the flocks and so forth, which can then lead to court cases, feuding, etc. That is, if you wish to do it.

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3 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Good question for you, but Players generally don't care, and it's not really important for the game (Except if it is, as an uncle who don't want to release the manor for example).

There is a very good chance the Players won't care. And yet, having spent the time on creating the Family History some of the Plyers might well end up being curious "Hey, who is hanging around this manor I just inherited?"

Also, when I was thinking about this, the notion of the Uncle who would rather have had the nephew not inherit did come to mind -- which is why I started thinking about it more.

 

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