Jump to content
LandoTheArchmagi

Generating Family History for AD 439 or earlier

Recommended Posts

Hello,

I'm new to Pendragon, but not Chaosium or Arthurian myth/legends.  I joined a new game which is starting up soon and the GM has it set in AD 439.  I noticed the Book of Sires offers a little bit about AD 439/earlier, but none of the event tables for player knight generation are really setup for that early of a time period.   The GM has given some generic values to randomize for Glory for Great Grandfather/Grandfather/Father, but nothing else yet.   Any suggestions/ideas or should I not fret about it to much?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First off check with your GM to see if they have something already.  There are a lot of alternate takes on things, especially that early on, and you will want follow their lead on how certain events play out. Yes, there are some key event's that take place prior to 439, that we could go  over, but just which version of them and how much your PK knows about them  is up to your GM.You probably should also check  with the GM  about looking through SIRES as it is like peeking into the future. 

I can fill you in on some of the happening prior to 439,  and even set up a campaign to  start in 410, and have generation tables that go back to t he 360s or so, but you really should check with your GM first to  find out how they want to handle all of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I can fill you in on some of the happening prior to 439,  and even set up a campaign to  start in 410, and have generation tables that go back to t he 360s or so, but you really should check with your GM first to  find out how they want to handle all of this.

He currently has nothing, although, he said he might try doing something (he's new to the system too I believe).    He approved using Book of Sires and Book of Knights and Ladies for PK generation.   

Edited by LandoTheArchmagi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, LandoTheArchmagi said:

the GM has it set in AD 439.

Something I forgot to comment on the Discord, Lando... I would double-check with the GM if he meant that the family history starts from 439, rather than that the campaign itself starts from 439. Because it feels a bit odd that he would tell you to use Book of Sires since it doesn't cover the pre-439 events in detail. Of course, it is possible that the GM doesn't own BoS himself, and just assumed, but then it would be even more odd that he would start the campaign in 439, since then it is even more lifting for the GM to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. Morien raises a very good point, and probably what you GM meant. Ask the GM what year you character was born and what year it is in the game. SIRES is of little value for player chargen prior to 439. It's got some info, but not in a usual format.

I do have some family background tables that run from the 360s to 410, in the old format (I plan to  update it to SIRES format, but it is a low priority),  and I could clean them up and make them available for your GM, as I have grand delusions  of maybe doing up a Book of Constatin with them, but I'm bnot sure how much help they would be  as  they stop at 410. I also  got some notes for what happens in the 410s-430s, although much of  that is specific to  my campaign, or my making a choice over several options for an event, so again I don't know how useful it would be. The major events would be correct though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Morien said:

Something I forgot to comment on the Discord, Lando... I would double-check with the GM if he meant that the family history starts from 439, rather than that the campaign itself starts from 439. Because it feels a bit odd that he would tell you to use Book of Sires since it doesn't cover the pre-439 events in detail. Of course, it is possible that the GM doesn't own BoS himself, and just assumed, but then it would be even more odd that he would start the campaign in 439, since then it is even more lifting for the GM to do.

He's got the campaign starting at 439 AD in Salisbury, unfortunately, that's as much info as I've gotten from him for a few days now.  I asked for more so will see how it goes.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I do have some family background tables that run from the 360s to 410, in the old format (I plan to  update it to SIRES format, but it is a low priority),  and I could clean them up and make them available for your GM, as I have grand delusions  of maybe doing up a Book of Constatin with them, but I'm bnot sure how much help they would be  as  they stop at 410. I also  got some notes for what happens in the 410s-430s, although much of  that is specific to  my campaign, or my making a choice over several options for an event, so again I don't know how useful it would be. The major events would be correct though.

Here is a quote from my GM.."I will take any help they offer. The table sounds like a good idea."   Well, the GM has asked for help.  I know you don't have anything past AD 410, but I suppose it's better than nothing.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, LandoTheArchmagi said:

Here is a quote from my GM.."I will take any help they offer. The table sounds like a good idea."   Well, the GM has asked for help.  I know you don't have anything past AD 410, but I suppose it's better than nothing.  

I can put together my timelines from Year 410-440. Most of it is specific to my campaign, but some of the battles and other events's are things that would happen in any campaign, such as when Constatin becomes king, or (Saint) Germanus first visit. I'll crib my notes and put together a timeline of events.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

I can put together my timelines from Year 410-440. Most of it is specific to my campaign, but some of the battles and other events's are things that would happen in any campaign, such as when Constatin becomes king, or (Saint) Germanus first visit. I'll crib my notes and put together a timeline of events.

Thank you.  I suggested to him to come join the forum and respond/post here as well.  He said he'd try to get here after work (he works overnight shift apparently).  So you might see a post from him sometime tomorrow.   I would gladly take the tables/notes as you get to them.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I'll update the tables and fix a few errors, and see if I can  crib a timeline together from my notes, along with some of the key event s  and maybe a short description on them. 

I'd also recommended your GM find a copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain, and look over Book VI, Chapters 1-6 (about six pages total). The HRB was one of the earliest versions of the King Arthur story in a form that mostly matches with the  common tale we all know, and was the "go to " book  for the  Pendragon RPG, and the Book of Sires, for events that take place before the reign of King Uther. Since the Book was written nearly 900 years ago, and has  bee in in print for years, several  versions old enough to be in the public domain and a free version can be found on the  internet pretty easily. The Aaron  Thompson translation is available in a PDF.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello people,

I am the DM he is talking about in the thread. Reason I chose to do 439 AD is because I was planning to have the hierarchy leading into the Boy King and the conquest of Uther. I am fairly new to the system, first time actually DMing a game and have played in two prior games and one currently post by play.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DMMori said:

Hello people,

I am the DM he is talking about in the thread. Reason I chose to do 439 AD is because I was planning to have the hierarchy leading into the Boy King and the conquest of Uther. I am fairly new to the system, first time actually DMing a game and have played in two prior games and one currently post by play.

Hi! Welcome to the forum. :)

I'll echo Tizun Thane in wishing you luck; it is quite the tall order to start from AD 439, especially for a new GM. Of course the system stays the same regardless when you start, but you'll have to do a lot more in the way of NPCs and adventures.

On the other hand, I have said since the beginning that Book of Sires really comes to its own as a 'prequel GPC': you basically have all the major events happening in the game world from Aquitaine to Cumbria, and a bit beyond (Western Roman Empire and Hispania, in particular) for 439 - mid 460s, and then the rest for Cumbria to 485 and Logres up to 509 (overlapping with GPC). The only 'problem' is that these are the major events, so to play it as a campaign, the GM has to fill in the blanks, and in particular, give the PKs something personal to do rather than just run from one big battle to another big battle. There are some events in there that would work nicely as a PK-centric adventures, depending where they are from. I am being a bit coy as to not spoil things for the players. :P

Another thing is that the society is somewhat different in pre-Aurelius times: the tribe is the main unit, not the feudal liege-vassal relationship, which comes later. Of course, in your own campaign, you are free to ignore that, but I would consider replacing Loyalty (Lord) with Loyalty (Tribe) for the Cymri and with Loyalty (City) for the Romans. Also, the landownership is more likely actual ownership (by the family kingroup), rather than a grant from a liege, due to the above reasoning. If you have Savage Mountains, I'd use that tribal model pretty much for the whole of Britain, although keeping in mind that the heavy cavalry knights wouldn't exist yet (see below). The 'knight' could be the brogerix, in this context, although keep in mind that the Logres tribes and the ancient Cambrian tribes are much bigger than the individual, small 'hill tribes' mentioned in Savage Mountains.

Heavy cavalry charge with lances doesn't become a thing (in Britain) until Aurelius, too. I would actually encourage to even limit the starting armor to 8-point chainmail tunic for the most part, and horses to just rouncies to begin with. The knights would just use their horses to ride to the battlefield and maybe to chase routing enemy, but they'd be more likely to fight on foot as elite infantry to stiffen the common foot soldiers, and act like leaders and champions to duel the enemy's elite.

Again, Your Pendragon Will Vary, so feel free to ignore everything above. I am just pointing out some things that would make the campaign really feel different from the vanilla KAP, even at Uther's time. :)

Anything you feel like adding, @Atgxtg?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/20/2019 at 9:20 AM, Morien said:

Anything you feel like adding, @Atgxtg?

Yeah, a few things ;)

First off Welcome DMMori. Secondly, the advice given by Morien is basically sound. As Tizun Thane pointed out, this is a very ambitious project, and not one that I'd recommend to a beginning Pendragon GM. That said, I'm basically do what you are going to do, for much the same reasons.I can tell you some of what I did and even send you some of my notes and time specific adventures, along with some observations on what worked and what didn't. My suggestions:

  • Get a copy of the HRB, as I mentioned in my last post. It's really the "recent" history for your characters, and even if it isn't done up in a year by year format it's the stuff they should know. Basically it comes down to: the Romans leaving Britain in 410; The Picts, Irish and other all raiding the Brits; The Brits unable to choose someone to lead them, probably do to rivalries; the archbishop of London convincing everyone to offer the crown to King Aldronus of Armorica (Brittan y); his refusal, but recommended of his brother, Constatin for the job; Constatain coming over, being made High King, and  defeating the Picts,  (and Huns, maybe); the land mostly setting down with internal sqbbles between the Pelegians (British Christians) and the Roman Christians culminating in the Pope sending Bishop Germanus of Auxere to debate with the Pelgians, an d also leading the Brits to victory against an army of Picts and Saxons; and then not much internally other than the births of Aurelius and Uther, and the mystery of why Constans was shipped off to the chruch instead of being groomed to be the heir, and Vortigern's plotting in the background.
  • You also have Maelwyn Succat's kidnapping by the Irish, escape, joining the clergy under Germus, and eventual return to Ireland to covert them to Chrsitianity. Maelwyn is eventually called "Father" by the Irish or Patricus (Patrick) in Latin, and could be worth an adventure of three, if you are so inclined.                             
  • Society is different. I have a chargen table where characters could start off as warriors instead of knights and you could make knighthood something that the first characters earn, but with the stronger Roman flavor of the times, Knights, which the Romans called Equites, could and probably would be a thing in post Roman Britian, and are probably the  model for the feudal knight.So you can have some early knights if you want them.
  • As Morien points out the Knightly saddle with stirrups were not a thing yet, but the Celts and the Romans had a "four pommel" saddle that was almost as good, and I've allowed to work normally but with a -2 to the rider's knockdown. I also have some stats for other saddles, but you won't need them in 439. Javelin was still far more common than a Lance charge though. 
  • I generally downgrade the armor with 8 point habergeons being the standard for knights and costing £2, and 10 point hauberks the high grade stuff,costing £5. I also have a few suits of Cataphatici scale that protects for 11 points, 12 with the face mask (-5 Awareness), light scale barding (8 point), Byzatinine Chargers and a few other such things but they are rare one offs, and no aviable for purchase.  For instance the suit of scale, Byzantine charge and barding were a gift to the PK who lead the British contingent that assisted General Aetius during a Roman civil conflict c. 430, where the PK captured an enemy commander on the battlefield. 
  • Chargers are also more expenisve with the standard charger being the Poor Charger. Note that your PKs will natually gravitate towrds the good stuff, and will probably get the best armor and horses they can afford or win in battle, and you can make upgrading armor a thing.
  • Herardly doesn't really exist yet, buty decorated shields are quite common. Most shields are round, but larger oval shields also existed, which I treated as 8 points but a penalty to Horsemanship due to the bulk, and difficulty in bringing them to block cross body. Over time my player shields have slowly evolved from wild Celtic designs to stuff that looks more like a knight's coat of arms, but on a roundshield. I'm saving the Kite shield for Aurelius and his troops.
  • It's worth googling the old iron age and roman settlements. Several of the "Manors" In Pendragon were villas' at this time, such a s Tisbury, or have villas nearby, such as the one near Grateley, where there was a dead body. So you could put in a smattering of Roman and Romans into Salisbury to give it a bit of a Roman feel, and then have that fade out as the old Romans die off and are replaced by Cmyri. For istance, I had the position of Master of Horse get retired after the death of the character who held the office.
  • I've got a timeline of events, although many of them are natually about the characters  in my campaign. Other events however, deal with the history and could be useable for you. For instance, I have an adventure where the PKS helped to rescue the Princes in 443  and bring them to Armroica. 
  • As far as historical events and adventures go, be careful. They are fantastically epic when you pull them off, but dangerous as if they go wrong, you could risk loosing an important NPK. For instance when I ran the adventure where the PKS rescue the princes, I had several contingencies in place in case the players messed up, or something went wrong to ensure that Aurelius and Uther survive, for obvious reasons. This isn't that big a deal as you will have to work out similar things in the future.  The general rule for these things is that you want to ensure that important events happen mostly as written in the timeline, but you also want the players to be able to make decisions and do things. I'm probably good at walking that tightrope, but even so those adventures are the hardest to plot, and take the most time. I usually start working on them well in advance, and try to present them so the PKs will generally do what is needed for the timeline.
  • For the quite times, between the big events, I have used a mix of local adventures, personal ones, border conflicts, and oversees adventures -mostly involving n alliance with the Romans, specifically General Flavius Aetius in an attempt to defend the west and get Constatin's claim recognized. This can let you put your PKs in battle against Attila the Hun. 
  • The Princes in Brittany thing is a major subplot in my campaign, as the PKs did help rescue the Princes, and some have knights serving in Brittany as their backup characters. This can help to give the PKS a link to what is to come.
  • Also the Draco banner of the the Pendragons has a history (I linked it to one that was actually carried by Caesar) and Excalibur is the Sword of Macsen Wldig which may be Caesar's Sword, or one that Caesar came to Britain for (he might have invaded Britian to get the Sword of the Two Rings, another magical sword from Arthurian literature that grants victroy in Battle), and their appearance will be relations that will have an effect on the course of events. 

 

Overall, as I mentioned before, I'm doing what you are trying to do, and have gotten from 410 to 452 (so far) and I'll share what I got, although most of it is in notes and outline form as opposed to presentable adventures. 

Oh, as as others have said, Good Luck! You've bitten off quite a mouthful. 

Edited by Atgxtg
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Okay, I'll update the tables and fix a few errors, and see if I can  crib a timeline together from my notes, along with some of the key event s  and maybe a short description on them. 

I'm sure he'll appreciate it as would I.  I did grab the pdf copy of the HRB that Morien linked me on the Discord.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, LandoTheArchmagi said:

I'm sure he'll appreciate it as would I. 

I'm going over my notes and typing to put together a coherentt timeline, and then working on shifting dates to match the Book of Sires. I didn't have it when I started (it wasn't out, I believe) and I have a few things happening at different dates.  plus some adventures in my campaign moved a bit depending upon other events. I'm color coding my stuff from the official events. I could cut my stuff out entirety if desired, but figured it might help in suggesting adventure ideas, as some of the adventures could work in other Periods. 

 

Unfortunately my notes are a bit of a mess. I'm usually more concerned with  getting next weeks adventure ready  then cleaning up my old notes and fixing typos and dates, as I need the next adventure ot keep the game going. For instance, I'm up to 452 and  Attila is going to invade Rome, and I plan of having the PKS at the Siege of Aquileia and being a scripted event with Flavius Aetius and Attila the Hun, it's been challenging to get the adventure to work out just right, without it being a TPK or pushing the PKS so far into the background that they don't matter. Also, my PKs have met and know Attila,  but aren't aware of it, as they met him  before he was given that name (it's actually a title/nickname meaning Little Father), and I  needed to work in a sit down meeting with him  before the siege to reveal that to the PKs and set up  the story arc for some closure as this will be his last appearance, and probably Aetius' as well. I find historical adventures need to be work out "just so" in order to be both informative and interactive. It's easy to either railroad the PKS through a boring infodump, or mess up the timeline and have to fix stuff.

Quote

 

I did grab the pdf copy of the HRB that Morien linked me on the Discord.

Is the the one by Thompson? 

Edited by Atgxtg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I'm going over my notes and typing to put together a coherentt timeline, and then working on shifting dates to match the Book of Sires. I didn't have it when I started (it wasn't out, I believe) and I have a few things happening at different dates.  plus some adventures in my campaign moved a bit depending upon other events. I'm color coding my stuff from the official events. I could cut my stuff out entirety if desired, but figured it might help in suggesting adventure ideas, as some of the adventures could work in other Periods. 

Is the the one by Thompson? 

I really liked your feedback and bullets above, so will see where he wants to go with it.  We all need to generate our PKs still so this will be invaluable.   The info will also be useful for me since I'm GMing my own game (set in Uther's timeline) for background if nothing else.    Yes, the copy of the HRB appears to be by Aaron Thompson.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, LandoTheArchmagi said:

I really liked your feedback and bullets above, so will see where he wants to go with it.  We all need to generate our PKs still so this will be invaluable.   The info will also be useful for me since I'm GMing my own game (set in Uther's timeline) for background if nothing else.   

The HRB will work for you, since it covers 439-480 just fine.  I plan to one day fill in the gaps between 410 and 439, and update it all to  SIRES format. That would give us a timeline that went back to the 460s, but it has been a low priority, as at this point the timeline isn't needed. The players are now making their own history. Just how good/compete a version I can send will depend on how fast  it is needed.

 

1 minute ago, LandoTheArchmagi said:

 

Yes, the copy of the HRB appears to be by Aaron Thompson.

With revisions by J.A. Giles? That is the one I got. I have a Penguin Print edition  too.  I don't think too much  changes between any of the editions. It mostly comes down to how it is translated from Latin, how manes are spelled, and sentence structure. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Just how good/compete a version I can send will depend on how fast  it is needed.

With revisions by J.A. Giles? That is the one I got. I have a Penguin Print edition  too.  

He wanted to start by next Tues Nov 26th, so not sure if he'll revise that to give you more time or what.  I figure he'll respond when he can.    Yes, that's the revision I was given the url for.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, LandoTheArchmagi said:

He wanted to start by next Tues Nov 26th, so not sure if he'll revise that to give you more time or what.  I figure he'll respond when he can.    Yes, that's the revision I was given the url for.  

Okay, I'll try to get some  basic timelime stuff and the tables for 367-410 avlaible ASAP. That would be the stuff he would "need" as opposed to other stuff he may or may not want. I'll look at the tables tonight  I've got two or three tables to fix,  a duplicate event, so it shouldn't take long to update. Maybe I can put the othe rstuff onto the table too. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot above in the points and will help a lot. I am in a current game that started 439 AD and the DM just rolled our Glory with out much information onto how we got it.  What is HBR??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, DMMori said:

A lot above in the points and will help a lot. I am in a current game that started 439 AD and the DM just rolled our Glory with out much information onto how we got it.  What is HBR??

HRB. Historia Regnum Britanniae. See Atgxtg's earlier comments in this thread.

Seriously, though... If you are not already familiar with Monmouth's the History of the Kings of Britain (the English name of HRB), I would strongly urge you to stick to GPC instead. Trust me, it is a monster of a campaign lengthwise to play through by itself, and it is much less work for a new GM.

Not only that, anecdotal evidence suggests that some groups run out of steam by Anarchy and never even get to Arthur. That is 25 years from 485 start year and you are suggesting to add 45 years of lead time to it. If your group and yourself are very excited about the prequel idea, good for you, but know what you are getting yourself into. 🙂

(This by the way comes from a guy who thought adapting the 3000+ year history of Gondor into a KAP campaign would be a good idea. I severely underestimated the prep work needed and managed to burn myself out in a year, barely getting to the end of the Second Age. Ok, so I still think that it is a great idea but I have a much better understanding about how much work it is, what works and what doesn't. Also, Tolkien was a master of broad brush strokes of history, but it requires a lot of more colouring between the lines to make it into a campaign. At least BoS gives you a general year by year account!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want background to your campaign, Book of Sires is maybe what you are looking for. Your beginning PK in 485 (or 480) will have the history of their father and grandfather, year by year. It is well done.

1 hour ago, Morien said:

Not only that, anecdotal evidence suggests that some groups run out of steam by Anarchy and never even get to Arthur. That is 25 years from 485 start year and you are suggesting to add 45 years of lead time to it. If your group and yourself are very excited about the prequel idea, good for you, but know what you are getting yourself into. 🙂

The GPC is already ambitious. I always felt that Uther's reign was already a prequel of Arthur. Are you sure that a prequel of prequel is a good idea?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DMMori said:

A lot above in the points and will help a lot. I am in a current game that started 439 AD and the DM just rolled our Glory with out much information onto how we got it.  What is HBR??

I posted the url to the one I mentioned above on your game forum.   I'll resend you the url in a pm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The whole starting in 439 AD isn't  that bad with SoB as it lays out the tineline events. I have DM'd many games of DnD so prep work does not scare me. But you are right about having to do a lot of fill in the blanks which isn't bad.

 

But 3000+ years to fill in would be killer to do. That mist of been a grind to figure out everything.

 

Thanks for all the links as this will add 100% more realistic feel to the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...