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RichardA

What's Next For Pendragon?

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Thanks for pointing me to the pertinent rules. As you pointed out Huns would be rare in KAP. I hadn't read them yet.

And I see your concern!

On the other hand, a Hun using Pony Defense can't do damage to anyone. So I see it as an awesome special skill that helps define Huns, with advantages and disadvantages that ultimately don't make it particularly overpowered. Like most of the Culture specific rules in the game I see it providing a lot of color, probably some memorable moments in the campaign, but not anything that would tip the game over in any way.

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7 minutes ago, creativehum said:

Thanks for pointing me to the pertinent rules. As you pointed out Huns would be rare in KAP. I hadn't read them yet.

And I see your concern!

I  started early and just went through the Battle of Chalons and the Seige of Aquileia, so I I had alot of Huns in the game recently. 

7 minutes ago, creativehum said:

On the other hand, a Hun using Pony Defense can't do damage to anyone. So I see it as an awesome special skill that helps define Huns, with advantages and disadvantages that ultimately don't make it particularly overpowered. Like most of the Culture specific rules in the game I see it providing a lot of color, probably some memorable moments in the campaign, but not anything that would tip the game over in any way.

Except that  Huns tend to attack in groups, per the GPC. So the Huns you don't attack pepper you with arrows. Fortunately most Huns don't have Pony Defense at 20.

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I am probably one of the most vocal critics of the cultural skill system. In short, I dislike them intensely, since they lock you into a cultural stereotype. There are clear minmax cultures to pick if you wish to be, say, a courtier (Romans). You will simply be much better since you only have one skill (Law) you have to raise, while the Cymri have at least two, Courtesy and Intrigue. This becomes a huge advantage in 15+ levels, and especially if you push them to 20+, as it only costs you 1 Glory Bonus Point instead of two. And the same for Yearly Training points prior to 20. And if you want to be a Saxon and fight in the shieldwall, guess what, your cultural skill is useless if you want to use a shield.

So you will end up with characters whose role and weapon choices are pretty much defined by their culture, rather than their individual preferences. And going against the stereotype is a big disadvantage since then you are inferior to another culture whose stereotype would give you at least some bonus you can use. For example, a Roman knight who wants nothing to do with Courtesy and Intrigue is objectively inferior with Lance and Spear compared to a Cymric knight. And so forth.

This is also a big reason why I dislike Family Characteristic. Like the cultural skill, it pretty much locks you into a certain role within the game group, based on a random roll. "Oh, you rolled Hunting +5? I guess you and all your children and children's children will be the Hunters in this campaign." Grr.

OK, rant over. Carry on.

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15 minutes ago, Morien said:

I am probably one of the most vocal critics of the cultural skill system. In short, I dislike them intensely, since they lock you into a cultural stereotype. There are clear minmax cultures to pick if you wish to be, say, a courtier (Romans). You will simply be much better since you only have one skill (Law) you have to raise, while the Cymri have at least two, Courtesy and Intrigue. This becomes a huge advantage in 15+ levels, and especially if you push them to 20+, as it only costs you 1 Glory Bonus Point instead of two. And the same for Yearly Training points prior to 20. And if you want to be a Saxon and fight in the shieldwall, guess what, your cultural skill is useless if you want to use a shield.

So you will end up with characters whose role and weapon choices are pretty much defined by their culture, rather than their individual preferences. And going against the stereotype is a big disadvantage since then you are inferior to another culture whose stereotype would give you at least some bonus you can use. For example, a Roman knight who wants nothing to do with Courtesy and Intrigue is objectively inferior with Lance and Spear compared to a Cymric knight. And so forth.

This is also a big reason why I dislike Family Characteristic. Like the cultural skill, it pretty much locks you into a certain role within the game group, based on a random roll. "Oh, you rolled Hunting +5? I guess you and all your children and children's children will be the Hunters in this campaign." Grr.

OK, rant over. Carry on.

At the same time, the Cymri of the time of the Normans, were masters of the long bow; preforming feats of archery that were feared and greatly desired by the English and the Normans. They were so good infarct that the way to determine a battle was by how many archers you had on your side, and if they were even, the victor was determined by how many Welsh archers they had.  A Cymri there for, should have a much higher cultural skill in archery than a common archer of the English or Normans.

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19 minutes ago, Morien said:

I am probably one of the most vocal critics of the cultural skill system. In short, I dislike them intensely, since they lock you into a cultural stereotype. There are clear minmax cultures to pick if you wish to be, say, a courtier (Romans). You will simply be much better since you only have one skill (Law) you have to raise, while the Cymri have at least two, Courtesy and Intrigue. This becomes a huge advantage in 15+ levels, and especially if you push them to 20+, as it only costs you 1 Glory Bonus Point instead of two. And the same for Yearly Training points prior to 20. And if you want to be a Saxon and fight in the shieldwall, guess what, your cultural skill is useless if you want to use a shield.

So you will end up with characters whose role and weapon choices are pretty much defined by their culture, rather than their individual preferences. And going against the stereotype is a big disadvantage since then you are inferior to another culture whose stereotype would give you at least some bonus you can use. For example, a Roman knight who wants nothing to do with Courtesy and Intrigue is objectively inferior with Lance and Spear compared to a Cymric knight. And so forth.

This is also a big reason why I dislike Family Characteristic. Like the cultural skill, it pretty much locks you into a certain role within the game group, based on a random roll. "Oh, you rolled Hunting +5? I guess you and all your children and children's children will be the Hunters in this campaign." Grr.

OK, rant over. Carry on.

I tend to agree and prefer the Cultural starting skills to be the main source of ethnic distinctiveness.

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Just now, Old Man Henerson said:

At the same time, the Cymri of the time of the Normans, were masters of the long bow; preforming feats of archery that were feared and greatly desired by the English and the Normans. They were so good infarct that the way to determine a battle was by how many archers you had on your side, and if they were even, the victor was determined by how many Welsh archers they had.  A Cymri there for, should have a much higher cultural skill in archery than a common archer of the English or Normans.

Well this would be Cambrians specifically, not the lowland peoples of Logres; on the other hand, Welsh troops were also famously poorly outfitted, so they weren't very effective except as bowmen. By the 1400s of course (I'm estimating here as I'm more of a cultural/literary historian) the English proper spent quite a bit of time training with the longbow, and the longbowmen wore armor.

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5 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Well this would be Cambrians specifically, not the lowland peoples of Logres; on the other hand, Welsh troops were also famously poorly outfitted, so they weren't very effective except as bowmen. By the 1400s of course (I'm estimating here as I'm more of a cultural/literary historian) the English proper spent quite a bit of time training with the longbow, and the longbowmen wore armor.

Yeah. They eventually learned it from the Cymri, and of course, technology marches on.

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13 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

By the 1400s

You can go back almost a century to late 13th, early 14th for the large scale adoption of the longbow by the English armies (like Battle of Falkirk, 1298), with maturation of dismounted knights and longbowmen around the Battle of Halidon Hill (1333) in mid-14th century, but other than that, fully agreed. Hundred Years' War of course provided plenty more opportunity for loot and work for semi-mercenary longbowmen, and the successful ones of course availed themselves to better armor when they could.

In the terms of Pendragon, the Cymric Knights are effectively Norman Knights, albeit it is just the Saxon underclass who have the Norman vs. Saxon thing going on. The Cymric subjects are more very Late Medieval (15th century) in that sense, English knights and English peasants, sharing a common cultural ethnicity and language. It is the Cambrians who fill the Medieval Welsh role, and I do believe that the longbows have been mentioned often in conjunction with the Cambrians.

16 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

I tend to agree and prefer the Cultural starting skills to be the main source of ethnic distinctiveness.

Yep, fully in agreement here, too. As long as the skills will be 15 or below, it is relatively easy to make up for any 'lost ground'. A Cymri knight who specializes in Intrigue and Courtesy can be an equal to the Roman knight who specializes in the same, but the average Cymri will be poorer in those skills than the average Roman. And that is a-OK in my book.

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2 hours ago, Morien said:

I am probably one of the most vocal critics of the cultural skill system. In short, I dislike them intensely, since they lock you into a cultural stereotype....

OK, rant over. Carry on.

I would never want to dissuade you from your rant. Or to try to get you to use rules you don't like. (Everyone should play any game as they want.) And I know you know you can jettison any of the particulars of various Pendragon rules to make the game you wish to play.

Also, when I read these posts I have to assume I put the rules of King Arthur Pendragon into use with utterly different expectations and purpose than almost anyone else here. I'm more than willing to assume I'm an outlier in these matters and that what I think KAP is built to do is completely different than everyone else's expectation of what the game is built to do.

With all those caveats on mind, one thought:

King Arthur Pendragon has always invoked the word "stereotype" on purpose and to specific effect.

In Knights Adventurous each culture is given its specific Stereotype section. The Stereotype section in the Cymric section reads:

Quote

Stereotype
It is impossible to provide the Cymri with any stereotype to classify their differences, since they make up the norm. The Pendragon rulebook presents their culture in detail.

In BK&L we find this:

Quote

D. Culture & Religion
Six very different cultures exist in the Mainstream Homelands. The rules present stereotypes, not individuals.

So while I understand some people might not like characters locked into cultural stereotypes, the fact that it does this is an explicit goal.

Again, not trying to get anyone who doesn't like this to buy into it. But for me, given that the literature hangs on cultural stereotypes, and that the game is there to recreate the literature, it all seems to me to be both fun and spot on.

The same use of cultural stereotypes exists in Stafford's work in Glorantha -- very much so in Hero Wars/HeroQuest, as well as in RuneQuest: Glorantha.

Edited by creativehum

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12 hours ago, Morien said:

I am probably one of the most vocal critics of the cultural skill system. In short, I dislike them intensely, since they lock you into a cultural stereotype. There are clear minmax cultures to pick if you wish to be, say, a courtier (Romans). You will simply be much better since you only have one skill (Law) you have to raise, while the Cymri have at least two, Courtesy and Intrigue. This becomes a huge advantage in 15+ levels, and especially if you push them to 20+, as it only costs you 1 Glory Bonus Point instead of two. And the same for Yearly Training points prior to 20. And if you want to be a Saxon and fight in the shieldwall, guess what, your cultural skill is useless if you want to use a shield.

So you will end up with characters whose role and weapon choices are pretty much defined by their culture, rather than their individual preferences. And going against the stereotype is a big disadvantage since then you are inferior to another culture whose stereotype would give you at least some bonus you can use. For example, a Roman knight who wants nothing to do with Courtesy and Intrigue is objectively inferior with Lance and Spear compared to a Cymric knight. And so forth.

This is also a big reason why I dislike Family Characteristic. Like the cultural skill, it pretty much locks you into a certain role within the game group, based on a random roll. "Oh, you rolled Hunting +5? I guess you and all your children and children's children will be the Hunters in this campaign." Grr.

OK, rant over. Carry on.

How would you consider making cultural diversity matter?

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4 hours ago, KungFuFenris said:

How would you consider making cultural diversity matter?

As I said in my response to Jeff:

15 hours ago, Morien said:

A Cymri knight who specializes in Intrigue and Courtesy can be an equal to the Roman knight who specializes in the same, but the average Cymri will be poorer in those skills than the average Roman.

So modifying the starting skills will ensure that the average Knight from X culture will likely be better at some skills than a Knight from Y culture, and vice versa. But this doesn't introduce rules exceptions (which I also dislike) nor does it lock you in to that specific career path. It will still give you a minor edge to play to the stereotype (less points needed to get them to 15), but it isn't an existential advantage that the cultural speciality skill is, something no other knight can ever overcome.

Furthermore, there are probably other modifiers in play as well, such as traits (especially if the religion varies as well). And if nothing else, there is also how people react to the PK and vice versa. If you are playing a Saxon, even a Berroc one, in pre-Badon days, you might get your share of glares and even challenges, as people who don't know you might lump you in with the hostile Saxons. On the other hand, if you run into another Berroc Saxon, you probably have a better reaction, given that you both belong into the same group that tends to get the cold shoulder.

Finally, I am not that worried on how to differentiate the cultures. The default assumption (in KAP 5.2) is that all PKs are Cymric. So clearly, it is all about INDIVIDUAL personalities than the stereotypes. Even widening the cultural pool, that doesn't change. If your character's only defining difference is that he is a Saxon/Cymri/Roman/Irish/Pict/Aquitanian, then what can I say?

EDIT: To clarify, that is a big part of my complaint, since the cultural skills will lock you into being a courtier-schemer if you are a Roman, a two-handed weapon user if you are a Saxon, a charmer if you are an Aquitanian, etc. It becomes less who you are as a person and more what culture you were born into. Worse, it means that ALL of your characters will fit into the same mould, which is a wee bit boring in my opinion. I don't want to play 4 generations of the same exact person & role, YPWV.

Edited by Morien

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5 hours ago, Morien said:

If your character's only defining difference is that he is a Saxon/Cymri/Roman/Irish/Pict/Aquitanian, then what can I say?

I'm getting a bit confused and trying to track what you're saying here.

Is it your experience that if some PC Knights have Spear Expertise because they are Cymric, and a Roman PC Knight shows up with Law, that all the other elments of the game (Traits, Passions, other Skills) fall away and don't matter anymore? 

That the core question of the game "What kind of knight are you?" no longer matters because of the introduction of the cultural specific skills?

I ask because I can't imagine that being the case. But I think you are suggesting this?

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29 minutes ago, creativehum said:

Is it your experience that if some PC Knights have Spear Expertise because they are Cymric, and a Roman PC Knight shows up with Law, that all the other elments of the game (Traits, Passions, other Skills) fall away and don't matter anymore? 

No. I am saying that you don't need Cultural Skills to differentiate the knights from one another. It is enough to have traits and simple difference in what skills they wish to pursue.

However, as soon as you have the cultural speciality skills, you have a clear minmax role for a knight based on your selection. Thus, the cultural skills LESSEN the differentiation within the culture. And by having that minmax role, it basically encourages you to lessen differentiation in others, too. Why play a Cymric Knight using a Great Axe when you can play a Saxon one and get Great Mace and Great Sword with the same skill? Or why play a Cymric Intrigue+Courtesy schemer, when the Roman Knight does it so much better?

When it is just the cultural starting skills which differ, it means that the default X is better in some skills than default Y, but Y Knight can become as good as X Knight in those skills, if they put their mind to it. There is no rule prohibiting Y Knight from doing that. Now there is, since he can never have the same Cultural Skill as X.

Edited by Morien

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

However, as soon as you have the cultural speciality skills, you have a clear minmax role for a knight based on your selection. Thus, the cultural skills LESSEN the differentiation within the culture. And by having that minmax role, it basically encourages you to lessen differentiation in others, too. Why play a Cymric Knight using a Great Axe when you can play a Saxon one and get Great Mace and Great Sword with the same skill? Or why play a Cymric Intrigue+Courtesy schemer, when the Roman Knight does it so much better?

Honestly, I do play with the cultural skills, and that's not been my experience. In my current game, only 1 Cymric character is particularly specializing in Spear Expertise. Hell, one of them IS using a Great Axe. I might be misremembering, and I'm not b7y by book, but I thought the Roman Law skill wasn't Courtesy and Intrigue, but Courtesy, Religion, and Folklore. Could be wrong there, but if not, to be a schemer they'd have to advance 2 skills, same as a Cymric knight. Either way, if you don't want to use them, you could just as easily split them into their component skills and not raise them as one, and it wouldn't change TOO much. Just be more It would only be an issue for the few cultural skills that aren't just combos of existing skills, and even then it's not insurmountable; like, For the Huns' Pony Defense skill, which is a combo of Horsemanship and the ability to defend yourself, just let them keep Pony Defense and separate out Horsemanship. Maybe a line in the new book, assuming cultural skills are still used, outright stating that you can do this, in case it's not clear.

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42 minutes ago, Call Me Deacon Blues said:

I thought the Roman Law skill wasn't Courtesy and Intrigue, but Courtesy, Religion, and Folklore

It is Courtesy, Intrigue, and Folklore.

Nonetheless, like Deacon Blues, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the notion that a Cymric Knight will pour his points into Spear Expertise at the expense of Sword or any other weapon. If his player wants to buff up his Knight's Sword skill, even surpassing his Spear Exptersise, he'll do that's. And a Roman Knight will have an easier time at courtly intrigue if the Player so wishes. But I don't see how that defines him as identical to other Roman Knights when so many other qualities on the character sheet might be what he is known for. And if the Player of the Roman Knight wants that Knight to be awesome with a two-handed sword he will make that happen. Plenty of Players make non-optimal choices with characters across countless RPGs all the time. I can't see why this will be different. 

None of this is to say Morien hasn't seen the behaviors he's describing in play. But I'm having a hard time imagining it as a default state of affairs if BK&L is used.

I'm also confused by the notion that every generation starting with a Roman PC Knight will be an stamped out version of that first Knight. Won't some of that come down to the circumstances and roleplaying and how the Player and GM decide things? 

For example, if the son of a Roman Knight ends up being sent to Sarum to serve as a squire and learning his knightly duties under the care of a Cymric knight, isn't it possible that the skill list might be shifted toward Cymric culture? This seems like it would be something the Player and the GM would sort out as they asked questions and made creative decisions about how the Player wanted his Knight raised. It is part of the continuum of the ongoing tale of the family: The Roman squire who finds his way to become more like a Cymric knight, or a Roman squire who keeps the attitudes and training his father makes sure to keep imparting to him despite him being under the wing of a Cymric marshal. I see this all a roleplaying and story grist for the campaign, helping to mark choices and loyalties and potential conflicts within the game. 

In my view none of this is fixed once we start looking at the details of the world and the circumstances and choices of the characters. 

Edited by creativehum

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If I use K&L Cultural Speciality Skills and want to make a knight, who is specialized in...

1) fighting with a Spear and a Lance...

2) Courtesy and Intrigue...

3) Awareness and Hunting...

4) fighting with Great Sword, Great Axe and Great Mace...

5) Flirting and Romance...

... which Culture would you suggest I take?

I admit that Picts have some serious issues with their -6 attribute points compared to others, making them very much sub-optimal. And the Weapon-related skills are not the best, since they overlap so much, especially in the case of the Great Weapons (also, downside of not being able to use them from horseback, at least not in our campaign), and Spear is the worst one-handed weapon. Still, at least one of my players would have very much specialized in Spear Expertise, if we had those cultural skills. We don't, because as the GM, I said I don't want them in my game, and that was that (further helped by the fact that the campaign had been going for years by then, but the same ruling was for the new campaign, i.e. 2016 onwards).

However, we have very much seen this with the Family Characteristic. Since it allows the characters to break the starting level 15 skill limit, ALL player characters who have Awareness +5 or Hunting +5 started with 20 in the skill. Even the one who had Dancing +10 went ahead and put one of the non-combat 10s into it, to get it to 20. The only one who didn't spend skill points to boost the Family Characteristic skill was one who got Heraldry +15, and figured 18 was enough (or was it 17 and then went up to 18 in play, I forget). Anyway, my point is that since it is such a huge bonus to start with a skill at 20 vs. 15 (5 yearly trainings vs. 1), that is what people do. And it does mean that whenever the question comes up, who is doing the Hunting, it is one of the two who have it as their FC. The FC has pretty much locked them in to be the Hunters as far as the group role is concerned. This is one of the reasons why I am seriously considering either ditching FC altogether and just giving 5 extra skill points, or capping the skill involved at 15. Then it becomes more of a choice. Do you want to improve your Hunting 2+5 to 15, or do you let someone else pick Hunting 10 or 15 and be the Hunter for this generation of characters?

It also means that it is very difficult for another PK to break into the role, even if they want to. One veteran knight now has Hunting 17, I think. But it is still not enough to compete with the Hunting 20 and 21 of the two FC Hunting younger knights. The only way would be to pull rank (Glory) and boss people around, while recognizing that she is exposing the group to an additional risk of delay or getting lost. Especially when wandering in a faerie forest with negative Hunting modifiers...

EDIT: Allowing characters to change cultures and even FCs would help. By RAW, they are pretty much fixed, although it is easy to argue that they ought to be nurture, not nature. For instance, if dad dies while you were young and you are raised by your mom and stepdad, it would make sense to pick up the FC from stepdad. On the other hand, Pendragon is heavy on the Blood Will Tell concept of generational excellence.

Edited by Morien

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Eh, I never had that much trouble with Family Characteristic, since you roll that last anyway, no one was particularly able to build their characters around it, except one guy who had already decided on wanting to be good at Falconry, and then got that as his Family Characteristic by coincidence. One of the characters got the one for Singing, and even though their Singing skill is pretty decent, they always fail at it lol. Now, it might be an issue by the time of their heirs, haven't gotten to that point yet.

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2 hours ago, Morien said:

If I use K&L Cultural Speciality Skills and want to make a knight, who is specialized in...

1) fighting with a Spear and a Lance...

2) Courtesy and Intrigue...

3) Awareness and Hunting...

4) fighting with Great Sword, Great Axe and Great Mace...

5) Flirting and Romance...

... which Culture would you suggest I take?

Whichever one you want? Like others, I'm having issues seeing the trouble based on how the game is designed. You create your character, if you want to break cultural norms to talk with the GM and come up with a plan. AFAICT, this would really only rear its head if someone was trying to specifically minmax.

SDLeary

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I agree with what Morien says though I don't necessarily see it as a problem. I have ran half dozen or so one shots in Pendragon with character creation, two campaigns one of which stopped in 510 and one of which is still going in 515. I've probably seen 20-25 different people make any where between 50 and 100 characters. All of which have been with the BoKL. And the cultural skills and, to a lesser extent, family characteristics set characters on a path. If you want to be a good bare, you play an Irish. If you want to be a good fighter and you're either Saxon or Cymric. These traits define characters by culture. I have seen people play against type, but never greatly so. If you're Roman, you always get your Law up to 15 at least. Every character I can recall has had at least a 15 in their cultural skill.

This is a bit odd if realism is a concern since every Irishman is an overall  more well-rounded musician than nearly any Cymric character will be, but I like it. It makes cultural selection a very meaningful choice. I like that all Aquitainians are good at Romance. I like the Cymrics being excellent fighters. I like it because it differentiates between cultures strongly and plays into the stereotypes. The initial differences in your other skills is inconsequential and serves little to separate the different peoples of Arthurian Europe. I also like that they all have niches and while not balanced have different advantages.

I would personally like to see an improvement to the Picts as it's odd to me that their the only culture that loses as a total in their starting statistics. I agree that the Picts should be worse, but when the Danes, Germans, and Saracens all have bonuses, it seems odd that the equally barbaric Picts get screwed. The design choice for the Saracens even purposefully bucks medieval depictions for a more enjoyable play experience, but the Picts aren't given the same consideration. The other thing that I also consider changing personally is the Aquitainians. They should be a more skilled combatant considering who they are in the literature.

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1 hour ago, Username said:

And the cultural skills and, to a lesser extent, family characteristics set characters on a path. If you want to be a good bare, you play an Irish. If you want to be a good fighter and you're either Saxon or Cymric.

Exactly the point I have been trying to make. Except where you see it as a good thing, I see it as a bad thing. I don't want all romantic knights to be Aquitanians. I don't want all courtiers to be Romans. Nor all Aquitanians as romantic knights and all Romans as courtiers. Now, because of the cultural skills, that is the path that the character gets set on. You basically pick your 'character class' with your culture.

What I would much prefer is the starting skill idea that Jeff mentioned. So instead of Aquitanians starting with Venery 10, let them start with, say, Flirting & Romance +5 (I happen to think that these should be combined to a single skill, too, by the way). This means that the default Aquitanian will start out significantly better at those skills than the default Cymric knight, but if you want to play a Cymric charmer, you can pour in the points and be just as charming as an Aquitanian, without struggling against a rules exception. The playing field is level. And sure, while it takes the Cymric knight more points to get to skill 15, by contrast the Aquitanian needs to spend extra points to get where the Cymric knight has his cultural starting skill bonuses (Maybe Folklore could be one, thanks to the shared ethnicity with the commoners making it easier for Cymric knights than for foreign knights? Food for thought.). It all balances out, but not necessarily in the same way. Cultures are still distinctive enough, but you are not 'punished' for not picking an Aquitanian culture for your charmer knight. Similarly, now you can decide that you know what, having Flirting 8 is good enough, so I think I won't boost it to 15 and I'll focus on some other skills instead. And that is totally fine. So for instance, your Aquitanian might end up with Flirting 8 and, say, Folklore 15, while the Cymric guy might have Folklore 8 and Flirting 15. Sure, that is going against the stereotype, but at the same time, both would still be significantly better in their cultural specialities than the Saxon with his Great Axe +5, Folklore 3 and Flirting 3. (Again, all of the above are just quick examples off the top of my head, not sole differences between the cultures.)

Basically, the culture would give you an OK skill in the skills your culture is famous for, but specialization would be up to the players' preferences, rather than dictated by the rules exceptions.

1 hour ago, Username said:

The other thing that I also consider changing personally is the Aquitainians. They should be a more skilled combatant considering who they are in the literature.

That is mainly because they have Lancelot, and a bunch of named RTKs from the same royal, extended family. But de Galis and Orkneys stack up rather well against them, still. I''d actually say that since the PKs are all knights, being a skilled combatant is part of the job description. Now, I would not be surprised if, being mainly exiles from Ganis and coming to Britain AFTER the spoils of Badon have already been distributed, the de Ganis knights would have extra incentive to prove themselves in the Wars of the Conquest Period, and adventures during the Romance period, spurred on by the example of Lancelot. Gotta get those manors! So the -average- Aquitanian knight in Britain might be a tougher proposition than some of the Cymric knights who have been coasting on their father's achievements (i.e. manor) or 'stuck' as a household knight with little to do during Romance. But I don't think they'd have some genetic predisposition to be supersoldiers.

1 hour ago, Username said:

it seems odd that the equally barbaric Picts get screwed.

Totally agreed here. Something like -3 SIZ, +3 DEX and +3 CON as a quick fix?

Edited by Morien

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16 minutes ago, Morien said:

That is mainly because they have Lancelot, and a bunch of named RTKs from the same royal, extended family. But de Galis and Orkneys stack up rather well against them, still. I''d actually say that since the PKs are all knights, being a skilled combatant is part of the job description.

I agree here, but the Orkneys and de Gales are both Cymric and they're super soldier-lite already. I would say that the Aquitainians themselves do seem to be quite esteemed as fighters, or at least that's my impression. I just think that the Aquitainians should have some sort of combat ability cultural skill or something and a stat array that focuses more on raw combat potential than what they have. Leave the courtly stuff to the French and Occitanians. Maybe some thing like +2 STR, +1 DEX instead of the +1s or just +3 STR. Maybe a bladed weapon cultural skill covering daggers, swords, and great swords.

I will say that the ones genetically predisposed to be super soldiers are the Saxons though. +3 SIZ and +3 STR to lose out on DEX is amazing. They're two weapons skill is ok, but they make for amazing mounted warriors. They're the ones in the BoK&L that competes with Cymrics for title of the best. 

23 minutes ago, Morien said:

Totally agreed here. Something like -3 SIZ, +3 DEX and +3 CON as a quick fix?

I like it much better than the book. We've been doing a +4 DEX, +2 CON, -3 APP, -3 SIZ. I wanted to avoid a +3 to CON because of Irish and Cymrics, but that was also my first thought. Ours is distinct, and even though it totals to a 0, the APP penalty, despite my best efforts, is very palatable to players. Still, I'm not quite satisfied with it.

As to the cultural skills conversation, I definitely understand your point. I think what you've proposed would make for less shoehorned characters than I've seen and by extension, more people playing against cultural type.

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4 minutes ago, Username said:

Leave the courtly stuff to the French and Occitanians.

It is actually that 5th edition Aquitanians = 3e & 4e Occitanians.

French are more warlike, being based on the northern French (Langue d'Oil) & Franks, being more uncouth 'barbarians' in the eyes of the more sophisticated ('licentious') southerners. :)

Stereotypes, of course. Historically, the Occitanians were plenty warlike and the barons tended to be in semi-revolt against their Duke/King much of the time, or settling feuds amongst themselves. So much like the other feudal knights and barons elsewhere*. :)

(* Speaking of, William the Conqueror probably had a point in scattering the barons' lands widely, rather than allowing geographic concentrations. Sure, there was the Anarchy and the Barons' War I and II, and some issues with the Percys', but it was harder for a single baron to start trouble for the King.)

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8 hours ago, Morien said:

I don't want all romantic knights to be Aquitanians. I don't want all courtiers to be Romans. Nor all Aquitanians as romantic knights and all Romans as courtiers. Now, because of the cultural skills, that is the path that the character gets set on. You basically pick your 'character class' with your culture.

I'm really glad we kept this conversation going, because I see your point and concern now. I'm still not sure if I think your concerns are warranted. But I could see a Player new to the game saying, "Oh, I see, the Cymrics, don't do Romance. They're 'fighters.'"

The reason I pushed this discussion was because I wanted to understand you're point of view. I've never had the chance to put BK&L into play. (I always get players going with Cymric Knights.) And you've given me something to mull. Once more I'm looking at KAP 3e as the springwell for the game, specifically Knights Adventurous (later reprinted in KAP 4e). It sets up almost everything as you have suggested -- starting values set for various cultures, but no "track" for advantage of one quality of knight over another based on that culture.

Thank you all for the discussion, and especially @Morien who had to keep illustrating and discussing his point of view!

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