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Atgxtg

Paladin and Pendragon

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A question for those who have the Paladin RPG. How useful would Pladin and/or Paladin Adventures be for a standard Pendragon campaign? I know there are a few rule tweaks to better fit the literature on  Charlemagne, but does any if it make sense for a Pendragon campaign? I wondering if Paladin is worth picking up by a Pendragon GM who isn't planning on running the Charlemagne setting, and if any of the adventures are worth adapting to an Arthurian setting.

 

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Hah! I knew I had answered this before!

Here is what I wrote in a Discord chat last August. Note my caveat in the beginning.

 

Q: "Are the Paladin adventures worth picking up for conversion back into the GPC, or are they a bit too heavily rooted in the Matter of France?"

My Answer:

"Like I said, I have not GMed Paladin, so this is just my impression from quickly glancing through the Adventures...

They are heavily connected to the pre-existing stories. However, it is usually possible to file off the serial numbers, change Charlemagne to Arthur, and if you drop off some of the invasions and warfare that would make less sense for Arthur than Charlemagne, it would be possible to adapt them.
 
The Gardens of Fortune you could probably run as a faerie adventure easily enough.
 
The Battle of Roncevaux is obviously very connected to Roland, so probably not worth adapting.
 
The King Thief looked like it might work easily enough with just characters switched around.
 
The Conquest of Orange might work during the Roman War.
 
The Steel Tongues looked like it would work after Badon, the PKs given a task to pacify the newly-conquered Saxons.
 
Father Emo's Voyage has a lot of placenames and politics, so it would be a bit heavy to convert, although possible.
 
The Venom Sword pits the PKs' clan against their liege lord, so that is a bit heavy ask. Also, it requires the King to be too busy to intervene. I could see it happening maybe during the Grail Quest or something, with the Intra-Party Loyalty giving the PKs more cohesion as a clan. I got the impression that in Paladin they are pretty much expected to be from the same extended family, at least based on this adventure. So, possible, but would probably require the PKs to be rather wealthy and well placed, in order to actually wage war on their liege. Normal Pendragon vassal knights wouldn't have enough muscle for this one.
 
Huon's Quest is pretty tied to its titular hero, Paladin geography and Charlemagne himself. It would be possible to modify it, but it would require some work.
 

Given that Paladin Adventures are $19.99, you can get almost three Tales of ... & ... for the same price. Or Blood & Lust ($7.99), Tales of Chivalry & Romance ($5.99) and Tales of Magic & Miracles ($5.99). Or some other combination, and I think you are better off. Of course, if you already have all the Pendragon adventure and regional books..."

Edited by Morien

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Thanks, I've got most of the older KAP books, although I might be a revision behind on a couple things( I was recently mildly surprised when going over an updated version of Boy King, unaware that it had been altered for KAP4, so now I'll have to check out some of the revised version of supplements on Drivethru).

So while several adventures might be usable with some modification, how about the core rules? I've read that Paladin handles family differently, and wonder if it could help with the winter phase, add more solos, equipment, horses or some such?

 

Hmm, after looking over the preview, the Gardens of Fortune seems especially suited for adaptation, since Morgan Le Fay seems to be in it.

Edited by Atgxtg

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Several places in the prose romances (I think in the Lancelot-Grail and the prose Tristan) Charlemagne is stated to be a direct descendant of the 'lineage de Benoic'. It appears his male-line ancestor Bodogisil was equated with Bors de Ganis. So in that sense, the French thought of the Carolingian romances as sequels.

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

Several places in the prose romances (I think in the Lancelot-Grail and the prose Tristan) Charlemagne is stated to be a direct descendant of the 'lineage de Benoic'. It appears his male-line ancestor Bodogisil was equated with Bors de Ganis. So in that sense, the French thought of the Carolingian romances as sequels.

Interesting, but I'm not sure if that makes it any easier to adapt to the Pendragon setting. Not that there is anything wrong with Paladin, just that my players (and GM, too) are more inclined to play ia campaign in an Arthurian setting, and I doubt we will ever play Paladin. I'd like to try it, but it's a case of so many games, but only one gaming night. I've still got about two years left to go in my Pendragon campaign (up to 461).

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52 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Interesting, but I'm not sure if that makes it any easier to adapt to the Pendragon setting. Not that there is anything wrong with Paladin, just that my players (and GM, too) are more inclined to play ia campaign in an Arthurian setting, and I doubt we will ever play Paladin. I'd like to try it, but it's a case of so many games, but only one gaming night. I've still got about two years left to go in my Pendragon campaign (up to 461).

Just suggesting that framing it a sequel might work. My main complaint about Paladin is that it's too accurate to the source material, i.e., the ethos of the early chansons: and yet not to Orlando Furioso: neither ladies, nor Britomart-like female knights, nor Saracen heroes like Rainouart or Ruggiero are really doable as player characters - these are the fun bits to me, the late stuff. Also many of my players are women.

Edited by jeffjerwin

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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

So while several adventures might be usable with some modification, how about the core rules? I've read that Paladin handles family differently, and wonder if it could help with the winter phase, add more solos, equipment, horses or some such?

Again, my caveat that I have not GMed Paladin, and I have pretty much only skimmed the book a couple of times.

I think I have mentioned this in passing before, but at least on a glance, I do like the Personal Events and Family Events in Paladin, and I am planning on starting to use them in my Pendragon campaign. Naturally, some minor tweaks here and there might be necessary; for example the Family Event 19 includes a potential promotion of a family member to a count, which even at a Baron scale is a bit too much for my campaign. Also, I am going to use the idea of having a table of actual named family members, rather than the generic tables which include grandparents and parents who are most often already dead at campaign start anyway...

As for adventures and solos, I think the introduction in Chapter 19 (Adventures) gives nice GMing advice on how to plan quests and scenarios. Granted, the advice is just about 1.5 pages long, but definitely added value for new GMs. For more experienced GMs, it is stuff that they know, but perhaps have not thought to articulate quite in that way.

As for scenarios in the book, the longer scenarios are very much entangled into the Carolingian world, and would take some disentangling... You might be better off just taking inspiration and repurposing scenes and encounters for a different thing. Some of the short scenarios look promising, as they are more general, and one thing I quite like about them is that it is not always simply "bash the guy on the head". Although since this is a game about knights, duels of honors and of justice are possible, too. Some of the short scenarios are tied to the Carolingian characters, but you can probably change the names and such. For instance, using one of the major families of the Round Table, for example the high Love Family Orkney brothers, to object to a treatment of their sorcerous kinfolk instead of the House of Clermont in the Guarding Maugis -scenario.

So yes, there is some stuff in Paladin that is of interest for a Pendragon GM.

As far as equipment goes, not so much. The armor and horses are basically the same, other than the inclusion of the ring mail as an entry level historical armor. Paladin does the same telescoping that GPC does: "To represent the advanced Frankish time, the entire feudal era of our time gets telescoped into the 46 years of Charlemagne’s reign (768–814)."

(I actually dislike the inclusion of the technology creep in Paladin, as I said in the old Forums: I would have preferred having it exist in a more historical setting as far as the armor goes, rather than see knights riding around in full plate by the end of the campaign. In Pendragon, I am somewhat more permissive of this, because a) Arthur and Camelot are legendary and not historical, and b) it is what I am used to. For Paladin, while it is seen through a storytelling lens, Charlemagne himself is an actual historic figure and we have pretty decent sources for him, unlike for Arthur. Sure, the stories are just that, and the Paladin does occupy that fantasy realm where Saracens are invading left and right and magic and miracles happen all around, but for some reason, it simply rubs me a bit wrong way to have that arms race. I simply don't feel Paladin needed to have the same telescoping of the whole medieval period into Charlemagne's reign. I would have been perfectly happy to give them 12th century armor and warhorses (i.e. about the time of most of the epics) and leave it at that. Which is pretty much what the starting point for Paladin Phase 1 is.)

(Although let me add that if you are running it as a sequel to GPC, then having it have that similar technological arc might work, thematically. Just that if I were to run Paladin myself, I probably wouldn't bother with the technology increase. For example, the GPC is 480/485 - 560s, about 80 years, and for the first 30 years, you don't really have technological increase at all. And my players were fine with that. As soon as better armor became available, of course they bought it instantly, since who wouldn't? But I am not sure it actually added any particular value to the RP, other than make them a bit more invulnerable. It is 46-51 years before they actually get to partial plate, compared to mere 22 years in Paladin (unless you start at Charles Martel, 54 years earlier). I can understand that players love upgrades and better loot, but I am just saying that I might GM it differently. If you imagine starting the GPC at Boy King (as you could do in 4th edition), then yes, it plays pretty much the same, with about half a century of play and upgrades roughly every decade or so.)

Edited by Morien

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3 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Just suggesting that framing it a sequel might work. My main complaint about Paladin is that it's too accurate to the source material, i.e., the ethos of the early chansons: and yet not to Orlando Furioso: neither ladies, nor Britomart-like female knights, nor Saracen heroes like Rainouart or Ruggiero are really doable as player characters - these are the fun bits to me, the late stuff. Also many of my players are women.

Maybe they're planning a late-phase sourcebook? Not really sure what, if any, long-term Paladin plans there are.

 

As for the question at hand, there are absolutely things to steal from Paladin, but everything is flavored very differently. There is a slightly different family events table, generally a better one, but it also doesn't really have an option for "nothing," or "rumors," which... bothers me a bit. I've sort of lazily cobbled together a combo of the tables though, so it's doable. The solos are very much flavored towards Paladin, but there's a couple neat things in there.

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13 minutes ago, Call Me Deacon Blues said:

but it also doesn't really have an option for "nothing," or "rumors," which... bothers me a bit.

I am not too bothered by either. First of all, the 'no event' result was not that common anyway, and I use the family member roll to see if the event happens in the first place. If you roll a family member who doesn't exist, then the event probably doesn't happen. In Paladin you have some events impacting the whole family in which case it doesn't matter so much who it happens to. As for rumors, those are pretty useless to me, since it tends to be just a matter of asking the family member if they did it and then it plays out the same anyway. Also, the players in my experience are much more inclined to just shrug and ignore rumors while actual events pretty much force them to do something, even if it is a decision to not help.

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11 hours ago, Morien said:

 other than the inclusion of the ring mail as an entry level historical armor.

Pity, considering "ring mail" probably didn't exist. I really wish gaming would drop all the 19th century mistakes that D&D inadvertently brought into gaming, like taking on mail to the name of everything, and armors such as ring and studded leather.

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15 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Just suggesting that framing it a sequel might work.

It might but I don't think I'd want to run it as a sequel. It's too far later to just continue a KAP camapign, and I'd rather run something else or even start up a new Pendragon camapign before running Pladin. Again, nothing against Paladin, just that I and my players prefer the Arthurian setting of Pendragon.

 

 

15 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

My main complaint about Paladin is that it's too accurate to the source material, i.e., the ethos of the early chansons: and yet not to Orlando Furioso: neither ladies, nor Britomart-like female knights, nor Saracen heroes like Rainouart or Ruggiero are really doable as player characters - these are the fun bits to me, the late stuff. Also many of my players are women.

Yeah, that's one of the clever thing Greg did with Pendragon. Despite using Mallory as his main source, he expanded the game to include all sorts of versions and variations of the King Arthur legend. which left the door open for using stories from Mallory, the Vulgate, ther HRB, Welsh Triads, T.H. White, and whatever source we fancy.

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11 hours ago, Morien said:

II actually dislike the inclusion of the technology creep in Paladin, as I said in the old Forums: I would have preferred having it exist in a more historical setting as far as the armor goes, rather than see knights riding around in full plate by the end of the campaign. In Pendragon, I am somewhat more permissive of this, because a) Arthur and Camelot are legendary and not historical, and b) it is what I am used to.

I agree. With Pendragon I can see it because of the tradtion of Arthruian authrors to equip Arthur and his knights in the arms and armor of the later periods. But Chalegemagn, as a histroical figure should be more grounded in time and place.

 

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

It might but I don't think I'd want to run it as a sequel. It's too far later to just continue a KAP camapign, and I'd rather run something else or even start up a new Pendragon camapign before running Pladin. Again, nothing against Paladin, just that I and my players prefer the Arthurian setting of Pendragon.

I think we're going to run it as a sequel. There's been a lot of clamoring at my table about not letting the game end when Arthur dies. (Even though we're only in 516). So, we're looking at trying to do an accelerated interim period where I'll compile some ancestor style tables for the characters and we'll play out major years. That way we can get 5-10 years done in a session and keep the lines alive through the period. We'll run that more or less through the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Though, I imagine they'll want to leave Britain when the Saxons conquer so I think I'll get them to move to Byzantine which I'll run that through the Chronicle of Theophanies the Confessor. If they go to Byzantium then we'll probably go to regular year by year games because of personal interest until we can move back to Charlemagne. 

Despite intentions to run it like this, I would agree with you @Atgxtg I prefer KAP as a setting and I prefer the KAP rules as well.

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1 minute ago, Username said:

Despite intentions to run it like this, I would agree with you @Atgxtg I prefer KAP as a setting and I prefer the KAP rules as well.

Well then, if you want to run a sequel, why not extend the campaign by using Arthur's actual heir, Constantine of Cornwall? Sure it could be as depressing as Hell, since the Saxons would constantly be pushing the Cymri back, but at least it would be connected to Arthur, whereas Charlemagne isn't connected, and transporting the PKs families over to France and several hundred years in the future is probably going to kill off any sort of continuity.

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1 minute ago, Atgxtg said:

Well then, if you want to run a sequel, why not extend the campaign by using Arthur's actual heir, Constantine of Cornwall? Sure it could be as depressing as Hell, since the Saxons would constantly be pushing the Cymri back, but at least it would be connected to Arthur, whereas Charlemagne isn't connected, and transporting the PKs families over to France and several hundred years in the future is probably going to kill off any sort of continuity.

We're definitely going to do that. And it will be depressing as hell! I think my players will probably flee to Brittany or somewhere else once Logres is destroyed, but the plan is that by using medieval chronicles we'll play out those years even if 100 of the middle years are abbreviated like the Book of Sires.

My timeline is looking to be a year per session sort of event till roughly 580 or so when the Saxons conquer Logres. Then I'll give them an option on what they want to do. Do they want to stay in Britain or move to the continent. In which case, if they move we'll do the Byzantine chronicles that way they can try to fight the rise of Islam. If they stay, then we'll play the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle till Charlemagne, but abbreviated while only playing the highlights. It'll be along game, but my campaigns usually go for long periods of time. Our last D&D campaign went for 11 years with long breaks. My superhero game has been running now for 8 years without a serious break. The frequency of the games have went from weekly to monthly and back in some cases. So, I think we can manage it. We're approaching a year of Pendragon in 2 months, I think.

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1 minute ago, Username said:

We're definitely going to do that. And it will be depressing as hell! I think my players will probably flee to Brittany or somewhere else once Logres is destroyed, but the plan is that by using medieval chronicles we'll play out those years even if 100 of the middle years are abbreviated like the Book of Sires.

Well, I guess I can't say much against that, considering I started my campaign in 410, extending my campaign by 70 years or so. Considering that Cornwall has ties with Brittany, I'd suggest linking your PKs families to Cornwall before you get to the Downfall and Camlaan. THat way, the retreat to Cornwall and then moving overseas would seem more natual and organic and less like your jumping from set piece to set piece. 

You could even have Constatine attempt to reclaim the lands of Riothamus, and maybe have the PKS marry heiresses in Brittany. If you do it slowly, over time, you can lay all the groundwork well in advance and just sit back and let the players "get the idea" to migrate to Brittany. In my camapign I had the players hear a  rumor that Vortigern was going to use their PKS as scapegoats for the rebellion, along with a promise of safe passage from Duke Eldol, and they got the hint and went into exile. 

1 minute ago, Username said:

My timeline is looking to be a year per session sort of event till roughly 580 or so when the Saxons conquer Logres. Then I'll give them an option on what they want to do. Do they want to stay in Britain or move to the continent. In which case, if they move we'll do the Byzantine chronicles that way they can try to fight the rise of Islam. If they stay, then we'll play the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle till Charlemagne, but abbreviated while only playing the highlights. It'll be along game, but my campaigns usually go for long periods of time. Our last D&D campaign went for 11 years with long breaks. My superhero game has been running now for 8 years without a serious break. The frequency of the games have went from weekly to monthly and back in some cases. So, I think we can manage it. We're approaching a year of Pendragon in 2 months, I think.

I suggest you start laying the groundwork for whatever direction you would like to nudge them towards. It would still be their choice, but if they have a manor or two somewhere it might affect their decision as to what they want to do. With all the widows after Camlaan, you could probably justify setting up the PKs anywhere.

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