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Gosh @Morien and @Atgxtg you two are so smart! This is a lot to go over and I love getting taken to school about this, actually. That revised heiresses thread also was a great read and answers a lot of my questions about why these heiresses are so endowed! 

This is great stuff for a young pendragon GM like myself to take in. Seriously-- I appreciate your two's wisdom here and your suggestions/explanations on making this work! 

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3 minutes ago, ericvulgaris said:

Gosh @Morien and @Atgxtg you two are so smart!

I can't speak for Morien, but I'm not so smart. I just ran alot of Pendragon and some other medival style games and know alittle about what lies underneath.

3 minutes ago, ericvulgaris said:

This is a lot to go over and I love getting taken to school about this, actually. That revised heiresses thread also was a great read and answers a lot of my questions about why these heiresses are so endowed! 

We all have  at some point. No one who didn't live during the middle ages intuitively knows about them. Most of us tend to view thing s through our modern view of the world and how things should work, and that doesn't always match up with how things worked or how people thought hey did back then.

3 minutes ago, ericvulgaris said:

This is great stuff for a young pendragon GM like myself to take in. Seriously-- I appreciate your two's wisdom here and your suggestions/explanations on making this work! 

Glad to help. I might be able to recommend some things that help to explain the Middle Ages or the Fedual system better. It's not that complicated (in theory, there tended to be exceptions and special cases) just different. They had a social hierarchy and it was supported by the belief that it was the way God wanted it to be. Things like everybody getting a vote and stuff that we consider fair today weren't around back then. A lot of stuff was a certain way because that was how they knew to make things work. Just like with women having a secondary role. It wasn't all Male Chauvinism. That was certainly a big part of it, especially as (allegedly) God said so, and HE couldn't be wrong. But it was also due to the economic and biological realities and necessities of the times. Not everyone could be a knight. 

Now in a RPG there are ways to get around some of this, and A GM might wish to do so, perhaps accommodating a player, but  a GM should be careful with anything too radical because the butterfly effect, and the various ramifications of changing this or that. All that stuff can be worked out, but a lot of it could surprise a GM who wasn't prepared for it.  

BTW, I haven't watched all of your twitch streams but are you trying to fit in a female knight or did you just want to change stuff for another reason? I f we know why you want to do something it might be easier to help with a solution.

 

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We changed it to bring Arthurian fantasy to be more progressive. Both my player knights are playing male knights, but my entire group agrees that we changed this, but it doesn't have to be averse of conflict! 

Families have different views on how split gender is from societal roles, stewards are not equal to knights, and there's no real way to switch out of your role once you're assigned.

If I could do it all again I'd probably keep the gender roles traditional under Uther as a foil to Arthur's more egalitarian ideals.

the immediate issue is a male player knight just married lady Elaine whose dowry is 4 demense manors. I'm just trying to first figure out why she's estate holding 4 manors. Right now thanks to you both, that's been cleared up nicely now that I understand how the service requirements work.

The only thing I have left to figure out are explicit functions of a demense manor. Of course I know a demense manor means the income all goes to the owner and the manor doesn't have another totally different knight living there (that'd be an effeufed). However that manor must still have a knight who can fulfill that service requirement, no? 

Like right now it must be the case Lady Elaine's must have familial household knights living at that manor who do not own the manor but are promised (previously through lady Elaines family but now player Knight's). This would make the player knight not quite a bannerette as he only has relatives under him, but still much more important in Roderick's court than before. 

Both me and the newly married into extra manors player are interested in this because we can see that while these household knights are loyal to Roderick and related to Elaine, they're probably not super keen with the player knight being their new landlord. I'm writing up these knights now but him securing personal loyalty from these knights should be a very fun conflict. If he does a bad job these knights could possibly be bought by Sir Blains with promises of owning those manors as the rivalry part of the game heats up.

The first part of Pendragon REALLY pushes hard that Uther needs squires and knights. Otherwise how would Roderick get away with keeping such a large amount of manors unoccupied and not giving service? 

Edited by ericvulgaris

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Apropos of nothing, I'm thinking the next time I do Pendragon character creation I'm going to replace that family bonus with a Mentor bonus with an NPC knight.

What skill did the knight you serve stress to you? (Get 2d6 in a non-combat skill as a bonus)

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1 hour ago, ericvulgaris said:

Of course I know a demense manor means the income all goes to the owner and the manor doesn't have another totally different knight living there (that'd be an effeufed). However that manor must still have a knight who can fulfill that service requirement, no? 

So the difference is this (simplified):

Demesne manor (after the one that the PK occupies himself): 10% discretionary funds to the holder, 10% to the Standard of Living of the owner, 1 household knight, 2+1 foot soldiers.

Enfeoffed manor: 1 vassal knight, 2+1 foot soldiers. The vassal knight pockets the discretionary funds and Standard of Living increase himself.

So if you have 4 extra demesne manors (averaging £10 each), you will get £4 extra to spend per year, +£4 to your Standard of Living (and since the first manor you have as a vassal knight gives you £6, this should boost you to £10 = Rich Knight), and 4 household knights and 8+4 foot soldiers.

If those were enfeoffed manors only, you would only get the army part, and those mainly for the muster, too. Household knights are with you 24/7 if you want them to, although for balance and simplicity, you might wish to have them defending home or doing vassal service (since you now owe 5 knights' worth) while you are out adventuring with your pals, the other PKs.

1 hour ago, ericvulgaris said:

it must be the case Lady Elaine's must have familial household knights living at that manor

Not necessarily. The household knights are not always family members; for instance it might be better to spread the family out a bit, as for instance it is usually much better to be in service of a higher lord. Chances of getting an officership or an heiress are much better if you are serving in the ranks of a Duke's or a King's household than your brother/cousin/uncle of a couple of manors. Also, it fosters relationships with the Lord, even if he is another minor knight lord rather than a higher ranked one. Your family ought to be there for you anyway, but now you have this additional Liege to look after you. Same thing also goes the other way: by taking an unrelated household knight into your service, you are fostering a good relationship with his family, too.

Finally, it is possible that many of the original household knights may have died in battle, especially if Elaine's father did. Protect your lord to the last and all that jazz. In which case, it is very possible that Roderick has appointed some other knights for the household knight positions, and might suggest strongly that the PK swears them in when the PK takes over.

But if it is part of your plot that Elaine's household knights are all her cousins and uncles, sure, why not. Do note that they are expected to swear homage to the PK who marries Elaine, and even if their Loyalty scores might be low, betraying your liege is one of the worst things to do. Of course, during Anarchy, everything goes.

1 hour ago, ericvulgaris said:

Otherwise how would Roderick get away with keeping such a large amount of manors unoccupied and not giving service? 

He wouldn't. Roderick is supposed to bring X knights to the muster. If he is keeping some manors empty, then he has to hire mercenaries to make up for that lack. Granted, the King doesn't always call for the maximum number of knights from all of his lords, but as indicated above, Roderick would probably been swearing in some household knights to fill any vacant slots. Even if the PK risks upsetting his liege lord by ignoring Roderick's advice (bad move!), there is probably enough of a natural dying-off in battles (& discreationary funds) that Roderick can easily reabsorb the excess household knights.

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1 hour ago, ericvulgaris said:

What skill did the knight you serve stress to you? (Get 2d6 in a non-combat skill as a bonus)

Yep, that would work. Makes it a bit more fun for the PK to arrange his son to squire to a specific knight. Do you want your son to be a courtier? Make sure he is squiring for a courtier, and so forth.

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1 hour ago, ericvulgaris said:

Apropos of nothing, I'm thinking the next time I do Pendragon character creation I'm going to replace that family bonus with a Mentor bonus with an NPC knight.

A lot of the fun of Pendragon is in the ability to establish a family and pass things down to your son. There is nothing quite like wielding a charmed sword that has been in the family for generations, or wearing a coat of mail that was given to a character's father by King Uther himself.

I'd suggest maybe keeping the family bonus and adding the "squired to" bonus rather than dropping the family bonus altogether, but Your Game May Vary.  Just  be careful not to remove too many of the generational rules, or you'll lose the feeling of it being the same family, and players will become hesitant to move on to playing their sons.

1 hour ago, ericvulgaris said:

What skill did the knight you serve stress to you? (Get 2d6 in a non-combat skill as a bonus)

I suggest replacing the 2d6 with a flat bonus similar to the family bonus (+5 or +10 dependent on how useful the skill is), so that all PK get equivalent bonuses. Otherwise one character could get a +2 and another a +12!  And, not all skills are equal in terms of play value. Courtesy,   First Aid, and Intrigue are far more valuable than Fashion, Gaming, or Hawking, that's why some skills got +10 instead of +5 on the table. You players will probably figure out which skills are more useful fairly quickly and just take them. 

Or, if you don't mind the variation, maybe tie the bonus to the skill of the mentor, say half or a third. That way you could implement Morien's suggestion, with players working to have their sons squired to a particular knight to get a particular bonus. If you are using the rules for player squires from Book of the Entourage, you could just give the squire a check or point in the specialty skill each year. With the typical player characters being squires for 7 years that would work out to around 1d6 per roll or a flat 7 for the automatic.

A third option would be to do what they do for sons of officers in the Book Knight & Ladies, where knights get an extra skill or two due to their father's position (i.e. the son of the Marshall gets Battle, the son of a Castellan siege, and so forth). You could just read "Son of" as "Squired to". 

 

Just noting some concerns and  tossing out options, there is nothing all that radical or worrisome about your rule variant.. 

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Just  be careful not to remove too many of the generational rules, or you'll lose the feeling of it being the same family, and players will become hesitant to move on to playing their sons.

Just talking about our own campaign... I have not seen this issue, and we do not use Cloning (i.e. the son inherits the father's stats, traits and passions), although we still have FC (even though I am thinking of removing it, too). Especially when the FC is something 'useless' like Dancing, the players seldom put any points into it to make it really stand out. It is more of the family history and inheritance that define the generational play for us. Just like your reference to equipment being passed down from father to son, carrying the stories of past heroics with them.

Sometimes the son actively rebels against the father's influence. Not only is this good RP fodder, but also gives the player a chance to play a different personality & 'role'. For instance, one player's old character just got retired a few sessions ago due to Aging, and the old PK was an Old Testament fire & brimstone type borderline fanatic Christian. The son is much more mellow & Worldly, and funnily enough, much closer to achieving the peace & love type of Christian Virtues than dear old dad ("slay the men, enslave the women") ever was.

Edited by Morien

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22 minutes ago, Morien said:

Just talking about our own campaign... I have not seen this issue, and we do not use Cloning (i.e. the son inherits the father's stats, traits and passions), although we still have FC (even though I am thinking of removing it, too).

I don't use cloning, but do use Passions porting over at (Rating/4)d6. We like family characteristics.

22 minutes ago, Morien said:

Especially when the FC is something 'useless' like Dancing, the players seldom put any points into it to make it really stand out.

That is one of the problems with Pendragon is that some skills (and attributes) have little or no value. Now I know and agree that not all skills should be equal, but in all the published Pendragon adventures produced over approximately 35 years, has there been even one istnace of a dancing roll? And Hawking plaes in comparison to Hunting in both useful ness and in the chance of it being part of an adventure.

IMO, I think what is needed is to flesh out the courty activities the way the miltiary and quest stuff are. Ways to build adventures, and earn glory, and other rewards by using those courtly skills. 

22 minutes ago, Morien said:

It is more of the family history and inheritance that define the generational play for us. Just like your reference to equipment being passed down from father to son, carrying the stories of past heroics with them.

Yes, that's why I cautioned the OP. It's not that getting rid of FC will remove generation play, but it, combined with some of the other, more gender neutral elements, could reach the tipping point. Almost any change can be dealt with by itself, but the cumulative effect of changes can have a butterfly effect.

 

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4 hours ago, ericvulgaris said:

Families have different views on how split gender is from societal roles, stewards are not equal to knights, and there's no real way to switch out of your role once you're assigned.

If I could do it all again I'd probably keep the gender roles traditional under Uther as a foil to Arthur's more egalitarian ideals.

It's probably a better idea, to show the "golden age" of Arthur. Uther's reign is brutal. I don't think it's too late to change, as your campaign just began.

3 hours ago, ericvulgaris said:

I'm going to replace that family bonus with a Mentor bonus with an NPC knight.

It's an interesting idea, but as written now, your houserule is just a way to minimaxing.Cunning players will always chose useful skills, like first aid, hunting, or riding if you allow it.The family bonus is fun, I swear and the randomness of it is fun too.

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2 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

It's probably a better idea, to show the "golden age" of Arthur. Uther's reign is brutal. I don't think it's too late to change, as your campaign just began.

It's an interesting idea, but as written now, your houserule is just a way to minimaxing.Cunning players will always chose useful skills, like first aid, hunting, or riding if you allow it.The family bonus is fun, I swear and the randomness of it is fun too.

I do not want to lose the generational thing, for sure. I think part of it will be randomly decided or your parents or earl deciding for you. Your family is doing whats best for their child.

If I limit the number of knights who possess such valuable skills, then people will compete over that mentor! I will also take what others are saying about random values to skills as well as the valuable vs not-so-valuable skills and just make a list of +5 or +10 to a specific skill and the associated knight. 

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29 minutes ago, ericvulgaris said:

I do not want to lose the generational thing, for sure. I think part of it will be randomly decided or your parents or earl deciding for you. Your family is doing whats best for their child.

I only mention it to make you aware of the potential pitfalls. Anytime a GM house rules something  there could be unforeseen consequences, especially for a GM new to the game. Most of the truly broken games I've been in happened because of a house rule or even an official rule change that caused other problems. The changes from Book of the Manor helped to kill off my last Pendragon campaign. There were other reasons, but it was a contributing factor.It's why many of us are hesitant to alter some  of the things that we feel should be improved. Before implementing any change I stop and try to consider what the potential ramifications of the change will be, or post it here so that someone else can point out something I might have overlooked. Usually something painfully obvious to anyone not suffering from my tunnel vision about the thing it was meant to fix.

29 minutes ago, ericvulgaris said:

If I limit the number of knights who possess such valuable skills, then people will compete over that mentor!

Exactly. If one knight is a mastery of Courtesy and grants a bonus to his requires Courtesy skill, then any knight who values courtesy (that practically everybody) would be interested. 

29 minutes ago, ericvulgaris said:

I will also take what others are saying about random values to skills as well as the valuable vs not-so-valuable skills and just make a list of +5 or +10 to a specific skill and the associated knight. 

That would probably help, you can use the Family Character tables as a rough guideline. At least until you run more and start to see what skills get used more than the others. It depends a lot of what sort of adventures you run, and your GMing style. I tend to have my players make a lot of Awareness rolls to notice things, so it is a key skill in my groups, but another GM might not use it as much.

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Thanks for the pendragon mentorship, friend! Your caution is well advised and heeded. I don't wanna change things unless there's a significant reason. I am a new GM to pendragon but not to GMing in general having played my fair share of other games and I know how much system matters. (fun aside -- I've also played the first 10ish years of pendragon in a streamed campaign and Luke Crane and I still greet eachother w/ our Pendragon character names irl at conventions!)

Helping me track so much in Salisbury required a Pendragon Excel Sheet with a list of NPC knights, stewards, ages, manors, and notes. I age people up, roll survival rolls, and sometimes solo adventures off of it. It's only 48 people long so its not too bad. 😅

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For the  most part go with it. A lot of this stuff is only important if you focus on certain aspects of the  game or  not. The economics only become important if the knights have land or want to buy something beyond thier normal gear. It's just that Pendragon, due to it setting and tone, and things differently that a typical FRPG, such as D&D, and the dark age world view is very different from the  view that we have today, and we probably should project our modern views onto the actions of the people from those times. 

 

BTW, some of the supplements cover or at least hint at some of the things that Morien and I brought up. You might want to give some of them a go.

The Book of the  Estate gives a good breakdown of how much  money a Manor  brings in and where it all  goes, how much the knight sees of it, how land works, what improvements cost, and what sort of money and armies the nobles have (Warlord covers that in more detail, but Estate give  you the building blocks and explain how it works). 

The Book of the Entourage covers supporting characters and covers wives a bit better. 

Naturally the Great Pendragon Campaign is invaluable as a timeline to  follow, as loosely or rigidly as you want - it a tool, not a straitjacket.

 

The Book of Uther is sort of a Who's Who? during Uther's reing and adds a few years and adventures to the GPC.

All the other books have some use, obviously, but these three are probably the most helpful for a starting campaign, or to grasp the society and economics.  

I'll warn you off the Book of the Manor, as it uses a more detailed land management system that    is not only more time consuming, but also is easily exploited and can lead to economic escalation. Most of what is in it, is covered by Estate now, anyway.

 

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We had another great session this monday. I wanna check in here and share some of my thoughts, outline, and good takeaways. I sorta hope this thread can continue to be a good resource for new GMs to Pendragon. Learn from my successes and my mistakes!

gareth487.png.223a15135913c7b103137650ab1a9b85.png

urwen487.png.ee71f41e51cf1e1a04ec07fcabf4355d.png

 

After SO many experience rolls, our poor Urwen couldn't level up to save his dang soul.

Something I forgot to do: So I rolled on book of the estates special starting buildings. Colin (Syr Gareth) got an extra manse in a town that costs $1 (I put it in there as part of the dowry from lady elaine along with the 4 other demense manors). Jim (Syr Urwen) got standing stones! Incidentally Jim also was having thoughts about converting to paganism after his manor ordeals. I can't make this stuff up! So that went hand in hand for me to play up this session. I told him about what is to find and made a great opening scene (imo) to kinda show this change.

My Opening Poem

 

In the fires of a fight, the loser is reduced to ash and the winner is reduced charcoal. -- poorly converted malay proverb

Opening Scene -- Dream Sequence

  • Nightmare recall of the lake sequence where they helped merlin get the sword. I skipped the Nukalevee fight the first time because I wasn't sure how to present it at the moment and timing of the session meant I needed to keep things going. I actually like this fight and this horrific creature so I presented this fight as a weird nightmare version of the Lake. Gareth literally slew the monster in a single sword blow (he rolled a yahtzee amount of 6's on a sword crit) and that was that. I made this Urwen's Dream sequence so after it was killed I described getting lost in some mists, seeing standing stones and that three eyed giant tattooed man telling Urwen to find him! -- boom. hook into his religious changes. I'm excited about using the black goat and three eyed giant as recurring spiritual guides.

Winter 486 - Christmas Feast - Uther gets the sword!

  • I generally break down feasts by notating the location, notable guests, a gossip table, and any "cut scenes" (like Uther and the gifts!) 

Winter 486 - Justice Events

  • I forgot to do these last session so we did them here.

Spring 487 -  Solo Events

  • Gareth
    • Relations event! While touring his manors he's gonna be tested against his wife.  (I had this very vague other than the failure results, but due to consequences of the feast, all the events and everything really nailed it. and it turned out to be his wife trying to divorce him ploy!) [I've had a great chat with Colin about how he lucked into marrying an heiress and what that means. We agreed that historically this is unknown to players, but Lady Elaine set up that commoner to kill her husband. She's on the crusader kings-game trying to get up the social chain as a non-knight. We agreed that Lady Elaine is basically Cersei Lannister and Gareth is Robert Baratheon. She basically wants to try and kill her husband, manipulate things to keep the manor and ruin Gareth's family name, and Gareth is like kinda attracted to that and trying to avoid the social traps and prove to her together they can be a powerful team! Great stuff, right?
  • Urwen
    • Urwen got a single gift event--- a lucky cat! I rolled on the cymric luck table for the loot and got the cat which is awesome! I left it open to Urwen who got to show off hospitality to Roderick, request tutelage in Battle skill by his marshal, and then go find those standing stones! He didn't fall asleep but he's begun to study them. I'll be expanding my plans for these stones in tonight's prep for next week.

Summer 487 -  Events - Choice!

  • Lyndsey Embassy event
  • Raid event
    • Players chose raid which I didn't expect.
      • Things went sideways REAL FAST as both ate crits by wealthy spearmen eating 12d6 damage. If it werent for first aid and chiurgery, they would've died then and their that night.

Fall 487 -  Events

  • Manor Raids (last year I had them roll their luck rolls ahead of time and then rolled d4 what season they come!)
  • Fantastic Beast Raid on Cholderton
    • Dullahan!

Winter 487 -  Events

  • Winter phase!
    • Experience
    • Aging
    • Household Member Survival
    • Manor Economics
    • Manor/Childbirth
    • Training
    • Glory
  • Next year notes
    • Weather/Manor/Conflict Results

Thoughts going into next year's prep:

  • I had a good discussion with the group again about our take on the supernatural after the mythic beast event and the standing stones to get an idea of where we're at on things. I asked if we want the Dullahan to be actually one? Someone dressed as one? That kind of stuff.
  • I want to slow down next year and spend 2 sessions/year as we dig into more local politics, intrigue, culture, travel, and law stuff of the area. We've been zooming through the years and I want to spend more time presenting the details of the setting. My players, of course, agreed. They're super down to do more mystery solving, local justice and moral quandry puzzles, etc.

 

The last thing I wanna share is the behavior of myself when adjudicating when to check things off. My group spoke about when things should be a check and when things instantly raise/lower stats. I think it's a pedagogical guess by us GMs with a few good rules of thumb. Most notably was if this experience in play was a teach-able moment or an indesputed learned lesson. Often a GM NPC offering in a very specific event some very specific detail earned just raises a skill right there. Ideally I want my group to keep me accountable and consistent with the glory for rolls, skills increases, traits and passion bumps.

 

Edited by ericvulgaris

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11 minutes ago, ericvulgaris said:

I want to slow down next year and spend 2 sessions/year

If that works for your group, great. I have 6 players in my current campaign, and we average around 3-4 sessions per game year. The previous one took 5, but we had a 2-session adventure followed by spring court and two big battles and some events in between. The downside of this that it does slow down the generational play down, and means that the whole campaign will take forever, but I figure as long as we are enjoying the campaign, no worries.

13 minutes ago, ericvulgaris said:

My group spoke about when things should be a check and when things instantly raise/lower stats.

I urge you to be very careful about insta-raises on anything. One of the most broken mechanisms in the game is the automatic increase by one when you roll a critical in a passion. Once the passion gets high enough, criticals become increasingly more common and it skyrockets. This is a lesser problem if you are in low skills, but then again, those increase easily enough with regular experience rolls anyway. That being said, I am in favor of reducing Traits & Passions 16+ when the player insists on going against them.

As for the checks, my rule of thumb is that if I, the GM, ask you to roll something, whether a skill or a trait, and you get anything else than a failure, you are going to get a check (in trait fumble, on the opposite trait, obviously). There are some cases when this is not true, such as if you are fighting with practice weapons. Also, if, for instance, I am asking Awareness rolls to spot an ambush, I would generally only give a check to the one who rolled best, i.e. who spots the ambush first. But I try to be generous with checks.

Sometimes I give checks out even if the skill is not explicitly rolled, such as Battle checks since you were part of an actual Battle, or Horsemanship since you were riding to and fro through the year, spending long hours in saddle continuously, or Faerie Lore check for interacting with Faerie creatures/people. I also tend to ask the players to identify a skill or two at the beginning of the Winter Phase, which they feel ought to get a check or where they would get a check. I also usually give out one player-determined trait or passion check, too, although I will veto it if it goes counter to the PKs behavior during the year.

In general, I aim for a few trait and passion checks and ten or a dozen skill checks per year. Given the 4-sessions-per-year scheme, I usually don't have to give out so many checks at the end of the year, but if we'd have just one session per year, I would likely be even more generous, especially on skills that seldom get used.

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2 hours ago, Morien said:

I urge you to be very careful about insta-raises on anything. One of the most broken mechanisms in the game is the automatic increase by one when you roll a critical in a passion. Once the passion gets high enough, criticals become increasingly more common and it skyrockets. This is a lesser problem if you are in low skills, but then again, those increase easily enough with regular experience rolls anyway. That being said, I am in favor of reducing Traits & Passions 16+ when the player insists on going against them


Advice heard! Yeah I'll be avoiding that as much as I can. I appreciate the warning. Something I noticed in the book that I'll ask for next session is, if you did not roll a passion, it degrades by 1.

Edited by ericvulgaris

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3 minutes ago, ericvulgaris said:

Something I noticed in the book that I'll ask for next session is, if you did not roll a passion, it degrades by 1.

Uh... where was that? Do you mean that if you try to get inspired with a particular Passion and FAIL in the roll, then the Passion goes down by one? I admit that I am not terribly happy with that rule, either, since it punishes the low Passions and puts them into a death spiral: once you fail, you are even more likely to fail again. Low Passions are already discouraged by the Disheartened result, which is severe enough penalty to make the Players very hesitant to roll them. So I would actually be in favor for not using that -1 for a failed passion roll. Instead, I would just lower the passion when the PK goes against the passion, such as leaving his liege in danger in order to help a fellow PK, for instance (Loyalty Group winning over Loyalty Lord).

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5 hours ago, ericvulgaris said:

 

The last thing I wanna share is the behavior of myself when adjudicating when to check things off. My group spoke about when things should be a check and when things instantly raise/lower stats. I think it's a pedagogical guess by us GMs with a few good rules of thumb. Most notably was if this experience in play was a teach-able moment or an indesputed learned lesson. Often a GM NPC offering in a very specific event some very specific detail earned just raises a skill right there. Ideally I want my group to keep me accountable and consistent with the glory for rolls, skills increases, traits and passion bumps.

 

My advice would be to let most roll be worth a check. Basically if it wasn't important enough for a check, was it important enough to roll? Also, since skills can only improve by 1 point per year with experience, then handling out few checks limits the characters ability to improve. Plus in the long run if a player is rolling a skill ten times a session it doesn't really matter if it is the first roll or the last onej that awards his a check, but if a player rolls someone once a session, then if he gets a check or not from that roll is more important. Overall I's say be generous with  skill checks. Greg always was in the published adventures  and the restrictions are there more to please GMs who want to restrict them for one reason or another.

As far as automatic changes go t here are really only a few with the rules. Training an Practice, glory awards, and some passion rolls. The passion rolls are somewhat controversial, both for the critical automatically raising the passion as it becomes a self feeding monster, and as Morien mentioned for the failed roll as it just pushes the passion  down, which usually just means the player ends up deciding to "go big or go home" with that passion, raising it to 20 or just letting it fade away.

Glory is actually much easier to be consistent with. The main thing will be how much your  players decide to share. Mine usually share glory for group encounters with individual awards mostly from duels and other one one one fights.

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5 hours ago, Morien said:

Uh... where was that? Do you mean that if you try to get inspired with a particular Passion and FAIL in the roll, then the Passion goes down by one?

Whoops! Yeah it was page 86. When a character acts against a passion got construed into my head as when a character doesn't act a passion. 

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Just finished the first half of 488 tonight! Things are going smoothly. I've slowed down the pace of the game after doing 1 year in 2.5ish hrs back to back! In preparations for this week's adventures I wrote up some small mini-adventures that can slot into one's campaigns. I hope you like them.

WHEN IN ROME...

While on patrol, the knights come across Praetor Syagrius and his retinue en route to the easter feast. The Knights are welcomed into the military camp to drink and cavort with the Romans where they become the butt of a Roman custom. Do they roll with the custom or do they take offense?

Setting:

  • When: Before the invasion of Frankland (488)
  • NPCs: Praetor Syagrius and his roman followers
    • If excalibur has been found, have Syagrius congratulate the PKs for helping Merlin take Caliburnus, a legendary sword that ostensibly predates the fall of Troy.
  • Locations:
    • Praetor Syagrius’ encampment. Rigid, defensive, (look up roman fortified encampments!)

Problem

  • The player knights are invited to drink roman wine and be treated with Roman Hospitality. While drinking the Romans perform the common custom of a Coin Check! 
    • The retinue of Roman soldiers loyal to Praetor Syagrius keep loyalty coins or challenge coins with the laurel crown of Roman authority! 
    • Those with coins must keep these tokens on them all the time! Any fellow soldier can call for a coin check. 
    • Failing to present a coin means you must do menial tasks -- in this case -- refill folks cups of wine. 
    • Why was this challenged called? Did the wine go to a solder’s head and forgot they had company? Was this an intentional hazing ritual of the Cymric Knights -- A flaunt of roman superiority? (Weird flex but ok)
      • The party, being outsiders do not have a coin and automatically lose this challenge.
        • Do your player knights take this as an offense? A deliberate attack on one’s honor? [Test Modesty]
          • Passing this modesty check means you take the jest in good faith and refill the cups for the next round. the soldiers admire you for being a “quick learner”. Syagrius himself, when he hears of this will clamp down on future coin checks.
          • Failing this means you take this action with ill intent. What do you do to remedy this slight?

Earning such a coin would be a great feat for player knights and a great lead into another adventure involving Syagrius.

--------------------------------------------------------

The Feud

Syr Glesig the Pious (She, spiritual, roman christian, imber) is in a blood feud with her neighbor Syr Marjorie(she, spiritual, pagan, west lavington). Duels of honor are one thing. But blood feuds can turn an entire county upside down. The Earl needs his trusty knights to find out what’s happened in West Lavington and solve it, if possible. Otherwise report back to the Earl.

Setting:

  • When: Anytime.
  • NPCs: Syr Glesig, Syr Marjorie, Syr Lilo, Melangell, Defi [glesig’s servant], Cawlien [Druid]. Eiddef [Glesig’s squire], Hyfaidd [Marjorie’s squire].
  • Locations:
    • West Lavington Manor
      • The hall
      • The manor
      • The standing stones

Problem

This spring, upon a visit to West Lavington, a lowborn companion to Syr Glesig named Defi, was slain at night by Syr Marjorie violating Hospitality. Syr Glesig and Eiddef  accuse Syr Marjorie the next morning of murder put on by her devil-worship. Syr Marjorie admits to killing but defends herself that she did not kill without provocation, but when pushed to explain she refuses. 

Secrets

Syr Marjorie is in a polycule w/ Melangell (steward, nb, suspicious) and Syr Lilo (merc knight, female, lustful) in accordance to Old Breton practices. These polyamorous practices are forbidden to knights whose monogamy is essential to social stability and eligibility of heirs.

A learned commoner of Syr Glesig discovered the confidential arrangement and began to extort the hosts of West Lavington. This humiliation led to Syr Marjorie murdering this commoner.

At this time, the killing of a commoner is bad but a simple amount of money could cover this. The principle broken that made this so bad was the violation of Hospitality. Blackmailing your host is not hospitable, but describing the reason for the blackmail is worse. 

This sort of activity could easily mean Marjorie's loss of West Lavington and even dismissal as a vassal knight if she refuses to give up Syr Lilo (which she absolutely would never voluntarily do.)

[What Happened]

  • Lilo drafts a letter to the Earl about her eligibility to be a vassal knight. Stupidly referring to her relationships.
  • Defi [Glesigs’ servant] found out about the polycule relationship this winter via interception of Lilo's letter. (Purely Accidental).
  • During a spring visit, Defi tried to blackmail Melangell about Lilo's letter.
    • Melangell told Marjorie about Defi
    • Marjorie and Melangel told Lilo together
    • Marjorie kills Defi

This adventure works best when the players are given most of the information and must determine what to do with it. The druid is a good source of this. He married them all.

Edited by ericvulgaris

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2 hours ago, ericvulgaris said:

eligibility of heirs

Given that all three are female (Melangell being a female name), legitimacy of heirs should not be an issue as they can't have any together. Which ought to be something of a problem for Marjorie, unless she has nephews or nieces she can have as heirs.

Frankly, strict monogamy was not a thing for MALE knights. Sure, they could only have legitimate offspring with their wedded wife, but having mistresses and bastards was quite common. It is just that the wives' fidelity was under the microscope to ensure that their children would be the husband's, too. Again, not an issue here as there won't be any children, legitimate or otherwise. (And with married women, the default assumption would be that the child is the husband's, i.e. legitimate, unless there is a reason to think otherwise.)

Obviously the Pagan Druid is fine with the relationship between the three women, and they are fine with it, too. While I could see the Christians being upset with a female triad, I would expect that their objection would be more of male+female rather than the triad nature of it. But who is asking them? Apparently the only thing here that the Earl would object to is that Marjorie had a pagan wedding with both women, rather than just one and have the other as a lover. It would be simplicity itself for the Earl to just ignore it (like said, no children) and if Marjorie happens to die, just pick one of them as the titular widow (Melangell) and move on.

Finally, if this polycule relationship is so toxic for Marjorie's position if found out, why oh why would Lilo include it in a letter intended to make her look good and worthy of a vassal knight position? If it is grounds for stripping Marjorie from her manor, this would surely disqualify her utterly in the eyes of the Earl. There is stupidity and then pure insanity.

2 hours ago, ericvulgaris said:

Marjorie kills Defi

Probably a fumbled Hospitality or critted Love there... easier thing would have been to get Defi out of there (perhaps with a small down payment) and then have Lilo ambush him down the road. But could happen with some abysmal rolling.

Also, Defi stole a letter intended for the Earl. That is bad for Defi's team and probably would have seen Defi punished severely if it came out. Certainly an embarrassing thing for Glysig.

 

YPWV. Some of the things just don't hang together for me.

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The structure of the feud (christian/roman/feudal law) on the nature of hospitality, religious values, love, and law is on firm ground. For my game, the Earl in my game is fine with a same-sex couple. They have an heir to the manor they're already raising (basically whatever the lowest form of a regent [guardian?] is) and in the meantime they're serving as the knight in regards to service. Feel free to change the details of the genders of knights so it works better for you!

RE: the stupidity of Lilo -- yes. It was absolutely brazen and reckless. Being from Cornwall, they've heard the Earl is progressive and cool and would be fine with it. And rather than consult, recklessly had a letter scribed hoping to prove themselves this year. The scribe coulda been a relative of Defi, who knows, the point is serendipitously Defi finds out about this reckless maneuver and blackmails the knights. 

I totally admit there's a more elegant adventure somewhere in my "Feud" adventure, but that's for another GM to write up for their own group and share it in their own thread.

 

Edited by ericvulgaris

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