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RichardA

Sword 40 vs Sword 40?

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In the rare instance where two battling knights each have Sword skill: 40,  how do you handle it?

In the GPC (p.284), during a battle between Lancelot and Tristam, it states, "This is truly the Battle of Heroes. The two knights quickly shiver their lances, and then engage in a furious sword fight that smashes armor and nicks blades, yet neither can win because both are perfect. (Both have Lance and Sword skills of 40 each.) The battle continues and both eventually tire, but keep fighting. Finally, as light is failing, the two combatants agree to a truce."

Do you follow this example, so such battles are always a tie? Or do you introduce a house rule that would allow one side to somehow win? 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, RichardA said:

In the rare instance where two battling knights each have Sword skill: 40,  how do you handle it?

Well, In over 30 years of playing Pendragon it has never come up. I've gotten close  to a few times, but generally it does't happen.

Quote

In the GPC (p.284), during a battle between Lancelot and Tristam, it states, "This is truly the Battle of Heroes. The two knights quickly shiver their lances, and then engage in a furious sword fight that smashes armor and nicks blades, yet neither can win because both are perfect. (Both have Lance and Sword skills of 40 each.) The battle continues and both eventually tire, but keep fighting. Finally, as light is failing, the two combatants agree to a truce."

Do you follow this example, so such battles are always a tie? Or do you introduce a house rule that would allow one side to somehow win? 

The GPC has a rule where both take 1d3 through armor on tied criticals. That would work here.

 

Morien's house rule is probably the best soultion for eliminating the problem entirely. Bumping this down to 20 vs 20.

 

Edited by Atgxtg
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In such a high-powered game, I'd seriously consider importing die-rolling mechanics from HeroQuest. It's built to handle such extremes gracefully.

Something our group did back in the day was to have a crit vs crit result to be a regular hit by the high-roller. It reduced the rocket-launcher-tag dynamic of mighty foes facing off.

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8 hours ago, JonL said:

In such a high-powered game, I'd seriously consider importing die-rolling mechanics from HeroQuest. It's built to handle such extremes gracefully.

It would kinda work (although no hero points, and criticals would be a) but I think Moriens idea of reducing the skills until the lower one is a 20 is an more elegant solution, as it doesn't requires as much of a change.       

8 hours ago, JonL said:

Something our group did back in the day was to have a crit vs crit result to be a regular hit by the high-roller. It reduced the rocket-launcher-tag dynamic of mighty foes facing off.

Ow. Since crits are supposed to be 20, they shouldn't have been a high roller. 

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10 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Ow. Since crits are supposed to be 20, they shouldn't have been a high roller. 

With skills over 20, you've got a broader range. That's where this matters.

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31 minutes ago, JonL said:

With skills over 20, you've got a broader range. That's where this matters.

Yes and in a negative way. Once of the reasons why Pendragon works the way is does is Lancelot. He's unbeatable in the stories and is in the game as well. If you switch to the actual die roll or use the HQ method, he becomes beatable. You;d have to seriously up his skills to keep him that way. Yes that holds true for Morien's method too, but not so much as with the HQ method or the actual total method.

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On 11/15/2019 at 10:14 PM, Atgxtg said:

Yes and in a negative way. Once of the reasons why Pendragon works the way is does is Lancelot. He's unbeatable in the stories and is in the game as well. If you switch to the actual die roll or use the HQ method, he becomes beatable. You;d have to seriously up his skills to keep him that way. Yes that holds true for Morien's method too, but not so much as with the HQ method or the actual total method.

He's not unbeatable in Chretien and does take some wounds, he just is a juggernaut, and superhumanly strong... But if he was given less than a 40, under the rules, he would lose (and probably die) eventually. So it's a mechanical solution to the plot armor problem.

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

He's not unbeatable in Chretien and does take some wounds, he just is a juggernaut, and superhumanly strong...

Oh. I thought that other than Galahad he never lost a joust or duel. I think Gareth gave him a run for his libra once, but that was about it? From what I've read:

  1.  Christian knights or knights being converted/replaced with Christian versions tended to overshadow or eclipse earlier figures, hence why Cei goes from a major hero to caricature and almost a rite of passage for any up and coming knight destined for a seat at the Round Table.
  2. Lancelot, as the symbol of Courtly Love (Chick Flick) was superior to everyone else because Courtly Love trumped everything else (Romantic Ideal)
  3. Galahad eclipsed him as a Devout and Holy Knight as God trumps everything else, including Courtly Love (Religious Ideal).

Do you have a different take on that?

1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

But if he was given less than a 40, under the rules, he would lose (and probably die) eventually. So it's a mechanical solution to the plot armor problem.

I think it is the unbeatable. All the major characters need plot armor, Arthur more than Lancelot,  but they don't have a 39 skill rating. Lance has 39s across the board for all combat skills.

 

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10 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Oh. I thought that other than Galahad he never lost a joust or duel. I think Gareth gave him a run for his libra once, but that was about it? From what I've read:

  1.  Christian knights or knights being converted/replaced with Christian versions tended to overshadow or eclipse earlier figures, hence why Cei goes from a major hero to caricature and almost a rite of passage for any up and coming knight destined for a seat at the Round Table.
  2. Lancelot, as the symbol of Courtly Love (Chick Flick) was superior to everyone else because Courtly Love trumped everything else (Romantic Ideal)
  3. Galahad eclipsed him as a Devout and Holy Knight as God trumps everything else, including Courtly Love (Religious Ideal).

Do you have a different take on that?

I think it is the unbeatable. All the major characters need plot armor, Arthur more than Lancelot,  but they don't have a 39 skill rating. Lance has 39s across the board for all combat skills.

 

Atgxtg,

    As I mentioned above, in the GPC (p.284), there is a battle between Lancelot and Tristam, where both are said to have Lance and Sword skills of 40 each, which differs from some of the other Lancelot stats in other books.  Their battle ends in a tie as neither can hit the other.

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10 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Oh. I thought that other than Galahad he never lost a joust or duel. I think Gareth gave him a run for his libra once, but that was about it? From what I've read:

Lancelot is not unbeatable in the verse romances; he's defeated more than once, though never for the long haul. Galahad is defeated at least once in the Post-Vulgate, but that work de-mythologizes the Grail Quest, and I think it went too far.

Tristram and Lancelot fight to a draw as RichardA notes. This is in the Prose Tristan and the Post-Vulgate.

Edit: Lancelot's plot/mechanical armor is in service of him being "the Best Knight in the World" (Galahad supplants him for a few years) - if that's overturned implicitly Galahad should be the son of a PK... King Arthur is never claimed to be in the top tier of the Round Table; he's too busy to stay in shape.

Edited by jeffjerwin

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2 hours ago, RichardA said:

Atgxtg,

    As I mentioned above, in the GPC (p.284), there is a battle between Lancelot and Tristam, where both are said to have Lance and Sword skills of 40 each, which differs from some of the other Lancelot stats in other books.  Their battle ends in a tie as neither can hit the other.

In you example they do. In published game stats not. But, as I noted earlier, in the GPC there is a rule to cover this. On Page 24:

Quote

Ties in Combat
Although the Pendragon core book says that exact
ties have no result, the following is a minor recommendation:
Exact ties in combat have results depending upon
the level of the tie, as explained below.
If both rolls are criticals, then both parties suffer
1d3 damage, regardless of armor and shields (although
magical protection should still apply).
If both rolls are successes or failures, then no damage
is suffered.
If both rolls are fumbles, both parties suffer 1d6
damage (dealt by their own weapons!), regardless of armor,
shields, or magical protection.

Which would resolve the problem, were it not for their armor of honor, which the GM might consider magical protection, in  which case we'd be back to square one, and need another solution, probably something like Morien's example above, or just waiting long enough for fatigue to lower one or more of the knights' Sword skill down to 35 when the contest will become winnable.

 

But in actual play, as they are both NPCs I'd just treat it as a scripted event. Maybe roll some dice for the players benefit and narrate an epic joust and duel, followed by their taking a break fighting some more, and calling it a draw. Or, maybe have some dump Saxons or Bandits rush the pair and have them fight side by side.

Or just institute a rule forbidding round table knights from fighting each other. ;)

 

Edited by Atgxtg

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11 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Lancelot is not unbeatable in the verse romances; he's defeated more than once, though never for the long haul.

So it is a case of one source vs. the rest of the lore, and specifically vs. Mallory.

11 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Galahad is defeated at least once in the Post-Vulgate, but that work de-mythologizes the Grail Quest, and I think it went too far.

Perhaps the verse romances did too. THat's the thing with so many alternate takes on things. We can find all sorts of outcomes and varaitions if we look.

11 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Tristram and Lancelot fight to a draw as RichardA notes. This is in the Prose Tristan and the Post-Vulgate.

Fighting to a draw would be easy with Skill 40 each, just lots of ties until the players get sick of it and decide to do something else. Resolving the fight for a winner is more difficulty, but eventually fatigue would set in and skills would drop until someone wins.

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Perhaps the verse romances did too. THat's the thing with so many alternate takes on things. We can find all sorts of outcomes and varaitions if we look.

The only verse romance Galahad appears in is in the Dutch verse translations of the Quest, which don't alter his basic perfection... (Unless Galahad was originally Gwalchafed, brother of Gwalchmai/Gawaine and was originally the same as Gareth or Gaheris...).

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2 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

The only verse romance Galahad appears in is in the Dutch verse translations of the Quest, which don't alter his basic perfection... (Unless Galahad was originally Gwalchafed, brother of Gwalchmai/Gawaine and was originally the same as Gareth or Gaheris...).

I meant that as the Post-Vulgate went too far with Galahad, maybe the verse romances went too far with Lancelot.

Edited by Atgxtg

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I meant that as the Post-Vulgate went too far with Galahad, maybe the verse romances went too far with Lancelot.

Well, he comes from the verse romances.

The Vulgate is after. Hence, he experienced inflation of his abilities, rather than reduction. He's a powerful but not superhuman knight in the Chevalier au Charette.

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

Well, he comes from the verse romances.

I'm surprised you said that. I would have expected you to support the Bedwry/Bedivere connection, or Llwch Llenllawg

It's also been claimed that there was an older source for Lanceleot that has been lost.

 

1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

The Vulgate is after. Hence, he experienced inflation of his abilities, rather than reduction. He's a powerful but not superhuman knight in the Chevalier au Charette.

From what I' ve read the Vulgate is where his stroy come from, assuming that there was no earlier source. Per that Arthurian Name Dictionary I linked to in another thread.

Quote

   Though an important and certainly famous character, Lancelot’s story is not subject to the same discrepancies and inconsistencies that plague Gawain or Yvain. Essentially, there is only one version of his estoire, found in the Vulgate Cycle (c. 1215–30). Most later versions, including Malory’s, are based upon it, and the earliest Lancelot romance, by Chrétien de Troyes, fits neatly within it. The only particularly significant exception is Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Lanzelet, which is summarized momentarily.
   Chrétien de Troyes wrote the earliest romances still in existence to mention Lancelot, but Ulrich’s Lanzelet, written shortly after Chrétien and without Chrétien’s influence, suggests that Chrétien did not invent the character. Ulrich claimed to have a French source, and this archetypal Lancelot was probably the source of Chrétien’s Lancelot and the Prose Lancelot. This hypothetical ur-Lancelot would have been written about 1150.

 

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I much prefer a game where Lancelot is just a high-powered veteran PK from someone else's long-running campaign,  potent but not beyond what a PK could attain with enough time and a little luck, rather than a superlative fixed point you're wrong to even try to chase. Similarly, I dig the Percival Grail stories much more than the Galahad ones. Galahad is basically the Virgin Mary with a sword, born perfect and destined to deliver the goods, and that's about it. Percival's stories look like something your PKs could experience. 

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Lancelot as we know him was invented by Chretien de Troyes in the 1180s; he seems to have invented (or misinterpreted - see below) the crucial aspect of his love for the queen. A version of him appears in Lanzelet (1190s). The Vulgate was written (essentially as fanfic of this romance) in c.1210-30. It certainly elaborated on the character.

The Ur-Lancelot seems to have the following characteristics: He was the orphaned son of Ban/Pant of Benoic/Genewis/Ganis and had one Claudas as an enemy. He was raised by a water fairy, who gave him a magic ring and rudimentary knightly training... He conquered a magic castle and became its ruler by marrying the lord's daughter or widow, and later revenged himself on Claudas. This is all pretty normal stuff from a romance perspective. Chretien invented his love of Guinevere, which led to him displacing Mordred (in the Morte) as the cause of the Downfall (though Mordred still plays part of his original role).

My suspicion is that he derives from a variant spelling of Gloyw Wlad-lydan, eponym of Gloucester and/or Caer Ligu, and Claudas is somehow connected to the Emperor Claudius, also connected to the city (which was said to be also called Claudiocestre), and that Gloucester, alias the Dolorous Tower, was the original of Joyous/Dolorous Garde; Claudius' legendary daughter Genvissa may have been conflated with Guinevere.

But a variant version of the story calls him Ligualid or Lliwelydd [G-liw-welydd-an], and reveals that he was the eponym of Carlisle (Luguvalium) and hence shows that he was a folkloric version of the god Lugh or Llew. Lugh's father, like 'Lanzelet' slays a magical tyrant to marry his beautiful daughter, and Lanzelet's father, 'Pant' is seemingly a P-Celtic version of Cian, Lugh's father. Like the Welsh Llew, he was apparently invincible, though Lancelot lacks (in the extant stories) a geas that would slay him.

So at some point a pan-Celtic legend about Lugos/Lugh/Llew was grafted into Gloucester's folklore about its founding, and Lancelot - who bears three bends like the De Clare Earls of Gloucester's three chevronnels (which look like three bends in profile) came to be an Arthurian hero - like Guy of Warwick did for the Carolingian romances in England. Llwch in Culhwch and Preiddeu Annnwfn is indeed an aspect of the same divinity. His out-of-placeness in Arthurian material arises because he really belongs to the pseudo-history of the 1st century (or even earlier, though the Mabinogi's Llew and Claudius both belong to that time), not the 6th.

Edited by jeffjerwin

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1 hour ago, JonL said:

I much prefer a game where Lancelot is just a high-powered veteran PK from someone else's long-running campaign,  potent but not beyond what a PK could attain with enough time and a little luck, rather than a superlative fixed point you're wrong to even try to chase. Similarly, I dig the Percival Grail stories much more than the Galahad ones. Galahad is basically the Virgin Mary with a sword, born perfect and destined to deliver the goods, and that's about it. Percival's stories look like something your PKs could experience. 

 That may be bur the core GPC campaign tends to use those idealized versions. I could see (and one day might) running a game without Lancelot at all. The affair  actually isn't necessary for the story. 

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57 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

 That may be bur the core GPC campaign tends to use those idealized versions. I could see (and one day might) running a game without Lancelot at all. The affair  actually isn't necessary for the story. 

Without the affair I would recommend making Mordred more shades of grey, because the great moral dilemma: save Guinevere or stand with the king would go away. Mordred, of course, is another alternate lover of Guinevere's, like Yder, Gosengos, and Gazonein (all being derived from Celtic demigods or gods: Yder is Edern ap Nudd, Gosengos is probably Aongus Og, and Gazonein/Gosenain/Goswain is I think Ossian, son of Finn).

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