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Morien

Helpful Suggestions/Advice for New Players/GMs (what books, etc)

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This is a bit of a compilation thread to offer some advice for people who are new to Pendragon. Feel free to post your own if you feel like it, but here are some of the main things I'd tell new people:

 

0. Have Fun!

When it is all said and done, the main thing is to have fun. If you misread a rule but had fun playing, it is all good. If you made sure that the rule was correct but the game was miserable, was it really worth it? That being said, since the rules are the 'physics engine' of the game, it is necessary for the GM to strive to be consistent in their rulings. It is better to be upfront about it with the players, too, if you made a mistake or need to change a rule. But even better if you have thought about all the rules you might want to tweak before the game begins (see my point 7. about my own house rules).

 

1. What books are required and which order should you buy them?

My full answer is in this thread: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/9244-prioritizing-the-5th-edition-supplements/

In short: KAP 5.2 (with some fixes) and GPC is all you NEED. Now, I am very fond of Entourage, especially the marriage tables within and rules to make the NPC wives a bit more interesting (alas, you still need to come up with the personalities on your own), but you don't absolutely NEED it. I also think that KAP 5.2 + GPC Expansion 480 - 484 + The Marriage of Count Roderick (which is free, see below) would make for a decent starter pack to test the game out, with GPC left for later, although it needs to be noted that GPC Expansion was not written to be newbie-friendly.

Also, don't forget the free stuff:

The Marriage of Count Roderick: https://www.chaosium.com/content/FreePDFs/Pendragon/NM14 - Marriage of Count Roderick.pdf

Quest of The Red Blade: https://www.chaosium.com/we-are-all-us-free-adventures/

The Dragons of Britain #1 - #4: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/121452/The-Dragons-of-Britain-1

Oh, also note that there are BIG changes between KAP 5.2 and Book of Knights & Ladies chargen (especially cultural speciality skills and the Luck Tables, which are much much more generous than in KAP 5.2, both of which I personally dislike). So the GM will need to sit down and make up their mind which book and chargen method to use, since having some players use one and others use another is a bad idea.

 

 

2. You should fix Childbirth and Child Survival in KAP 5.2, ASAP.

The first and the most important thing to fix in KAP 5.2, IMHO, is Childbirth and Child Survival in Winter Phase. The full thread and reasoning, as well as some quick fixes, is here: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/10315-childbirth-and-child-survival-moriens-recommended-quick-fix/. Also, check with the players how realistic you wish to play these things, as these are potential trigger issues. It might be that they prefer to not deal with death in childbirth & child survival, in which case, just roll 11+ on 1d20 and congrats, your wife gave birth to a child, who will survive to adulthood. Skip next year and then continue rolling again from 2nd year onwards.

 

3. Quick explanation of the manor and income of a vassal knight

The standard (average) manor is valued at £10. The knight sees £7 of this: £6 to support himself, his horses, his squire, his wife* and children**, and £1 per year to spend as he wishes. The rest of the money goes to pay for a chaplain, a lady's maid for the wife, and three foot soldiers. Any additional manor adds 1 household knight, 3 foot soldiers, +£1 to maintenance of the family and +£1 to spending money. That is all you need to know. Anything else, you want Book of the Estate.

* If he is unmarried (or a widower), he will need a steward to look after the manor. Cost is £1 per year, so no savings for not having a wife.

** However, if he is childless as well, he can add an extra £1 to his spending money per year (so £2 per year).

 

4. And the next thing we do, is revise the Heiresses

One of the VERY common 'mistake' I see new GMs doing is using the Heiresses in the KAP 5.2 book as the default wife candidates. They are not that (see my rant in the following link, omitted here for brevity). Also, the manors they have in KAP 5.2 reflects the older, much common abundance of vassal knight manors than the newer* BotW & BotE. Hence, Greg was revising them here: http://kapresources.wpengine.com/Pendragon%20Forum%20Archive/index.php/t-2091.html

* KAP5.2 is actually newer than BotW & BotE, but it was mainly a layout improvement, with quite limited 'fixes' otherwise. This, amongst some others, were not corrected.

 

5. Speaking of Inheritance (of land) and Widow's Portion

Each manor follows the bloodline of the family. The eldest son gets everything. In the case of heiresses, it is THEIR eldest son, not the husband's, who inherits HER manor. If the eldest son is dead, his children (if he had any) would still inherit before other brothers/siblings. If he was childless, then it is the 2nd eldest brother who gets it all (or his children if he is already dead). If there are no brothers nor their children, then it is the sisters' turn, and they share equally. Any children of already predeceased sister would inherit their mother's share, as per normal.

Widow's Portion is is 1/3rd of the husband's lands (if he was landed), gifted to the widow for life to help to support her and her children in proper style. The Liege Lord appoints a guardian (default: himself) and it is he who collects the income from the Widow's Portion, and ensures that the Widow and the children are maintained properly. If the Widow remarries, the husband collects the Widow's portion. For simplicity, assume that the Widow's portion is £3.5 of the £10 manor, of which £1.5 go to maintaining the 3 foot soldiers for the army, and remaining £2 goes to supporting the Widow and her children. This leaves £6.5 to whoever inherits the manor, which is not ideal. It is just enough to support a knight (with squire & family) and a Lady's Maid for the wife, but those 3 foot soldiers are already paid from the Widow's portion, so there is that.

 

6. Chivalry Bonus ought to be 96, not 80

Word of Greg himself: http://kapresources.wpengine.com/Pendragon Forum Archive/index.php/t-1306.html

Personally, I like the tiered system (see my house rules, link below).

 

7. Here are my house rules. Have fun.

Here is a link to my house rules: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/10356-moriens-house-rules/?tab=comments#comment-153611. They work for us in our campaigns. Maybe they'll work for you too.

 

EDIT: Since there were also a couple of 8A. and 8B. suggestions, I am numbering this as 9.

9. Starting a campaign (specifically at 480 instead of 485, but valid for all starting times, actually)

Here is a link to an advice I wrote in the old Nocturnal Forums on starting a campaign in 480 instead of 485. However, there are some other points there as well, such as why it might be a good idea to keep the PKs' fathers around for a bit longer rather than kill them off before the start, and also, why it is a very good idea to tweak the PK's family trees to give them a couple of younger brothers.

http://kapresources.wpengine.com/Pendragon%20Forum%20Archive/index.php/t-2552.html

 

 

Edited by Morien
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+1, especially the bit about the heiresses.

I will only add

8. You can begin your campaign any time. In 485, in 480 (like in the Book of Uther), but you are not obliged. Uther's reign is a brutal one, and the Anarchy is worst. I love it, but if you want to play a more classical Pendragon, the year 510 is a good idea to follow the rise of Arthur, or 531 (like the 3e ed.) to play a classical "adventurous knight".

When the PK think Pendragon, they think Arthur: tournaments, castles (of stone), virtuous damsels, and knights in shining armors, not the mud and blood of Uther's times.

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On 12/13/2019 at 4:01 AM, Tizun Thane said:

+1, especially the bit about the heiresses.

I will only add

8. You can begin your campaign any time. In 485, in 480 (like in the Book of Uther), but you are not obliged. Uther's reign is a brutal one, and the Anarchy is worst. I love it, but if you want to play a more classical Pendragon, the year 510 is a good idea to follow the rise of Arthur, or 531 (like the 3e ed.) to play a classical "adventurous knight".

When the PK think Pendragon, they think Arthur: tournaments, castles (of stone), virtuous damsels, and knights in shining armors, not the mud and blood of Uther's times.

I'll add 8B. Namely that if someone it might still be a good idea to start a  couple of years before any big event year, such as 510 so that the  players can get a session or two under their belts and become familiar with the setting and mechanics before getting dropped into any major events. So a GM  might want to run something like the default adventure in 508 or 509 and see how well the players pick up on the game system and playing knights before running the Sword in the Stone. 

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19 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

So a GM  might want to run something like the default adventure in 508 or 509 and see how well the players pick up on the game system and playing knights before running the Sword in the Stone. 

Yep. My recommendation would be to start at 508, and hammer home a bit the pressure from the Saxons. This makes the eventual defeat of the Saxons by Arthur all the sweeter, too. I'd probably also make the Southern Saxons more active in 510-517, as in raiding Logres (not full scale invasions until Badon), since then the internecine fighting looks even more frustrating, and making the PKs more eager to bring the fight to the Saxons, instead.

Also, I added a point 9. to the original post.

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