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DrNick

Listeneisse & West Cumbria, any info?

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 Hi, I am starting to put together notes for a Pendragon campaign I will be running in the future. I am looking to set the campaign in the North West of England (as its near where the players and I live). Am thinking of starting the campaign in 490, and then all the way through the GPC. I have the 4th edition rulebook, and have been looking at Perilous Forest supplement for information about the region. 

 At the moment I am thinking of having the PK's as vassals of Sir Pertelope at Pentwortham castle, or  William, Duke of Danger, who is a vassal of the King of Listeneisse.  As such there may be frequent travel to and involvement with Listeneisse. Looking in the Perilous Forest supplement (pgs 10, 14-15) there isn't much information about Listeneisse prior to the dolorous stroke in 514 (when it becomes the wasteland). I am also waiting for the kickstarter to deliver so appreciate there may be some info in there I can use.

 Is there any more published information anywhere about Listeneisse or the area in general other than in the 4th ed rulebook? If the area is a 'blank slate' I can develop the region myself and not worry about issues arising later in the campaign if people or places from the area get mentioned in the GPC or other published scenarios etc. If there is published material I can incorporate that into my campaign, and will have more 'off the shelf' material to use.

 Thanks in advance for your thoughts, input, and advice, hope you are all staying safe during this trying time,

 

Nick

 

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As far as I know, Perilous Forest has most of the information on Listeneisse. Greg pretty much told us to steer clear of anything concerned with Listeneisse when we were writing Book of Sires, so that is why it doesn't show up at all in that book. GPC has some information as well, but a lot of it is copied almost verbatim from Perilous Forest, and lacks the detailed maps and location information anyway.

Some people might have more information to share with you, but given the starting position you have in mind, your campaign is going to be VERY different from the default GPC one. So you might just as well go ahead and make it up yourself, since your needs (the PKs are local) are going to be markedly different from what the main take is (the PKs are there to adventure).

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Hi Morien,

 Thanks for the quick reply and the points you make, appreciate it ☺️

 Looking forward to hearing from anyone with any other info, or ideas about Listeneisse,

 

cheers,

 

Nick

 

 

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

As far as I know, Perilous Forest has most of the information on Listeneisse.

Yeah. Before that, it was a rich and peaceful land ruled by the wise holy kings of the Grail.

To be honest, I don't think it's a good idea to be so close to Listenesse. The more you know, the less mystery there is.  I am afraid it will "kill" all the magic of the Grail.

Furthermore, the Lancashire is outside of the kingdom of Logres. Your campaign would be out of reach of all the wars, and torments of 90% of the GPC.

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Though I can't share more I have worked on this region. Here's something I can fairly tell you:

If you are featuring Listeneise you may want to read the Estoire du Graal and the Queste, not just the abridged story given in Malory. Needless to say, the Grail Kingdom is not a peaceful place in the centuries and decades prior to Uther and Arthur's reign, starting with the death of King Lambor onwards. You may also want to read the commentaries on the Conte du Graal written by Pickens (Perceval and Gawain in Dark Mirrors) and Cazelles (The Unholy Grail). Chretien depicts a kingdom devastated by war and in simmering conflict with Logres. Think more of Border Reivers, the Anglo-Scottish wars, and the wasting of the North by William the Conqueror.

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On 3/26/2020 at 11:33 AM, Tizun Thane said:

Yeah. Before that, it was a rich and peaceful land ruled by the wise holy kings of the Grail.

To be honest, I don't think it's a good idea to be so close to Listenesse. The more you know, the less mystery there is.  I am afraid it will "kill" all the magic of the Grail.

Furthermore, the Lancashire is outside of the kingdom of Logres. Your campaign would be out of reach of all the wars, and torments of 90% of the GPC.

Hi Tizun Thane, thanks for the reply. Good point about killing the mystery of the grail and being outside of the the events of the GPC.

I think I'll keep Listenesse mysterious by heavily restricting entry to it, perhaps in my campaign part of the magic/mystery is that no-one can ever find entry to the place unless invited (or some other vague method), due to it being hidden from mortal eyes.

Regarding the events of the GPC, ther PK's will undoubtedly want to become round table knights, so either they will achieve that status and be involved in the main events of the GPC, or be sponsored by a round table knight and have involvement that way. Either way I can ensure that their lord 'allows' them to be involved in order to bring Glory to him.

 

19 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Though I can't share more I have worked on this region. Here's something I can fairly tell you:

If you are featuring Listeneise you may want to read the Estoire du Graal and the Queste, not just the abridged story given in Malory. Needless to say, the Grail Kingdom is not a peaceful place in the centuries and decades prior to Uther and Arthur's reign, starting with the death of King Lambor onwards. You may also want to read the commentaries on the Conte du Graal written by Pickens (Perceval and Gawain in Dark Mirrors) and Cazelles (The Unholy Grail). Chretien depicts a kingdom devastated by war and in simmering conflict with Logres. Think more of Border Reivers, the Anglo-Scottish wars, and the wasting of the North by William the Conqueror.

Hi jeffjerwin, thanks for the insights and reading recommendations, I'll be looking them up as they sound really good for me to gain some understanding. Think I have some googling to do!

 Thanks again for your comments, hope you are all staying safe and well,

 

cheers,

 

Nick

 

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7 minutes ago, DrNick said:

I think I'll keep Listenesse mysterious by heavily restricting entry to it, perhaps in my campaign part of the magic/mystery is that no-one can ever find entry to the place unless invited (or some other vague method), due to it being hidden from mortal eyes.

Regarding the events of the GPC, ther PK's will undoubtedly want to become round table knights, so either they will achieve that status and be involved in the main events of the GPC, or be sponsored by a round table knight and have involvement that way. Either way I can ensure that their lord 'allows' them to be involved in order to bring Glory to him.

So... why put them in Lancashire and the Perilous Forest in the first place, then? Rather than, say, in Cameliard or somewhere in Logres (like Bedegraine, post 481)? Both of those places would be still close to the Perilous Forest but involved with stuff happening in Logres and GPC.

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4 hours ago, DrNick said:

Regarding the events of the GPC, ther PK's will undoubtedly want to become round table knights, so either they will achieve that status and be involved in the main events of the GPC, or be sponsored by a round table knight and have involvement that way. Either way I can ensure that their lord 'allows' them to be involved in order to bring Glory to him.

 Dr Nick. Maybe, I misunderstood something, but are you saying that the PKs will become round table knights simply because they want to?

It's supposed to be a goal that chivalrous knights aspire to, and that many (if not most) fail to achieve. Now it's perfectly okay for one or more of your PKs to succeed where other fails and become round table knights, that's what heroic RPGing is about, but it should be something that the PKa have to earn, and not just something they get because they want it. Yes some RTKs are appointed due to political reasons and influence (most of them, IMO), but that should make it all the harder for the average knight to make it. 

Again, maybe I misunderstood what you meant/were going for with your post, but I just wanted to point out that RT membership for a PK isn't a given.

Edited by Atgxtg

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

 Dr Nick. Maybe, I misunderstood something, but are you saying that the PKs will become round table knights simply because they want to?

I am not Dr Nick, but I took it to be more of an aspirational thing. You know, one of those things that even if the PKs do not start within Logres, they will want to become Round Table Knights and since the GM is interested in telling that story, he will ensure that they will get involved and earn their spot eventually.

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On 3/27/2020 at 2:28 PM, Morien said:

I am not Dr Nick, but I took it to be more of an aspirational thing. You know, one of those things that even if the PKs do not start within Logres, they will want to become Round Table Knights and since the GM is interested in telling that story, he will ensure that they will get involved and earn their spot eventually.

That's what I hoped, and would normally expect. I asked because I've seen gamers new to Pendragon assume that the players are supposed to get everything they want. It stems from the whole "balanced" encounters thing from some other RPGs. I have a player in my current campaign who has trouble sometimes understanding that success and reaching any stated goal is not a given, and who becomes puzzled and frustrated at times when he bites off more than he can chew under the assumption of "game balance".

 

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"game balance" is a plague, even for d&d.

43 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I have a player in my current campaign who has trouble sometimes understanding that success and reaching any stated goal is not a given, and who becomes puzzled and frustrated at times when he bites off more than he can chew under the assumption of "game balance".

🤣 Did he have the same frustration in real life? Maybe he just don't like to lose.

Edited by Tizun Thane

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Hi folks, thanks  for the replies 😊

 Yep becoming a round table knight its definitely an aspiration that the PK's can have, meeting the requirements in the book is a guide, and how they roleplay their characters will have an impact on wether membership is offered. For some they may not qualify whatever the numbers on their character sheets state. For the players that are interested in becoming RT knights, but don't yet meet the standard I will give them then opportunities to be guided or mentored by a more senior knight or one of the unnamed RT knights, so they can work towards it, and and be involved in the big events (where appropriate). I

 Why set the campaign in Lancashire? Its a fair question. A couple of reasons, mainly its local to the players so when I describe locations they can have a good understanding of the terrain and distances between places. Also there are lots of local traditions and background that can be drawn on as well. Secondly some of the players are familiar with the GPC and some of the published books, so this will help reduce the need to separate player knowledge from character knowledge. 

 

 On the issue of game balance,  in some games its a good thing, some its bad. I tend to take the view that in any game as long as the PC's understand what they are getting into it is up to them to choose to tackle how to tackle the threat, or retreat to come back later when they are better equipped to deal with the situation (appropriate knowledge, better gear, more 'levels', etc).

cheers,

 

Nick

 

 

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20 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

"game balance" is a plague, even for d&d.

🤣 Did he have the same frustration in real life? Maybe he just don't like to lose.

Yes he did/does. But the "D&D mentality" does cause misunderstandings and problems when playing other RPGs. Sometimes a player who is used to how D&D does something makes assumptions or decisions based upon how things work in D&D, believing them to be universal truths rather than game specific ones. For instance, the player was somewhat upset when I ran the Adventure of the White Horse (from KAP 3/4) feeling that his Pagan PK had "no chance" of succeeding on the adventure. 

Now the Adventure of the White Horse is an especially challenging adventure for Pagan PKs, due to certain traits, but that's part of the game. Adventures are not necessarily written to a character's strengths and not every character of approximately the same power level has the same chance of success on a given adventure. That's not a secret either, but it does catch some players off guard at times. Especially if they are used to D&D campaigns where things tend to be customized to suit their characters.

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17 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Now the Adventure of the White Horse is an especially challenging adventure for Pagan PKs, due to certain traits, but that's part of the game.

True, but I would be tempted to give a positive modifier for childbirth that year...

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

True, but I would be tempted to give a positive modifier for childbirth that year...

Fair enough. 

My point though is that the player was somewhat surprised and bothered that the adventure hit him in his weak spot. He had a similar reaction to the Tournament of Dreams as his chivalric traits weren't all that great. He hasn't quite adjusted tot he fact that not every adventure is equally challenging for every PK. 

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6 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

He hasn't quite adjusted tot he fact that not every adventure is equally challenging for every PK.

Which is kinda funny since there is a huge difference between a tomb-raiding (lots of trap) or a city-centric (lots of locks and climbing and thieving opportunities) adventure and a wilderness-centric one for a rogue, and vice versa for a ranger. Not all D&D adventures are equally optimized for all character classes.

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47 minutes ago, Morien said:

Which is kinda funny since there is a huge difference between a tomb-raiding (lots of trap) or a city-centric (lots of locks and climbing and thieving opportunities) adventure and a wilderness-centric one for a rogue, and vice versa for a ranger. Not all D&D adventures are equally optimized for all character classes.

True, but most campaigns tend to be. FOr instance most GM wouldn't think of running an adventure that required something that the PCs lacked, or use a monster that overpowered the group. So, by default, anything in the adventure is something that they players are expected to be able to overcome. When players go from that to Pendragon, where there are adventures that are only achievable by Lancelot or Galahad or some such, they suffer a bit of culture shock. 

I've had similar things happen with RuneQuest. The first time a PC lost a limb in RQ the players were so shocked that you'd have thought the GM had actually took off a player's limb. Dismemberment was just something outside of the expected norms . This is a two way street, too, as someone who plays a lot of Pendragon will tend to react a bit differently when playing D&D. We had a situation where one player was running a knight of the king who was sent to help the party but heard on of the other PCs bad mouthing the king within a minute of the knight's arrival. The knight drew steel and wanted to bring the other PC in for treason, while the D&Ders were shocked that the knight would attack a "party member". Two completely different paradigms.

Edited by Atgxtg

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

FOr instance most GM wouldn't think of running an adventure that required something that the PCs lacked, or use a monster that overpowered the group.

True. Although I do remember one campaign I played back in the day, where the GM had expected a much more combat-optimized group, rather than our collection of misfits, scholars and bards. Needless to say, we developed a signature tactic, mostly involving running away, waving our hands and screaming 'run away, run away!'. :P Sure, we managed to usually come back later on and attrition the enemy to death, but we certainly didn't feel like big damn heroes. I am not sure if the GM had recalibrated the campaign for us and simply overestimated our abilities, or if he just ran the thing as it was.

As for my GMing style in Pendragon... I don't usually send the PKs off on an adventure that I'd expect them to wipe out on. On the other hand, if the PKs insist on going after a dragon, I am not going to nerf the dragon so that they can win. Then of course there are adventures where trying is the whole point and no one expects to succeed. The Circlet of Gold is one of these types, and Grail Quest is full of these kinds of 'you are not the chosen one' situations, which are -almost- impossible for a PK, save for amazing luck at rolling dice.

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

True. Although I do remember one campaign I played back in the day, where the GM had expected a much more combat-optimized group, rather than our collection of misfits, scholars and bards. Needless to say, we developed a signature tactic, mostly involving running away, waving our hands and screaming 'run away, run away!'. :P Sure, we managed to usually come back later on and attrition the enemy to death, but we certainly didn't feel like big damn heroes. I am not sure if the GM had recalibrated the campaign for us and simply overestimated our abilities, or if he just ran the thing as it was.

That happens at times, in either direction. Sometimes it can be how the players taclke a problem too. For instance my players tend to underestimate threats and get into trouble before they realize it, but occasionally something scares them and they take things much more seriously, alter thier approach,  and blow right though something that otherwise would have been a problem. 

1 hour ago, Morien said:

As for my GMing style in Pendragon... I don't usually send the PKs off on an adventure that I'd expect them to wipe out on. On the other hand, if the PKs insist on going after a dragon, I am not going to nerf the dragon so that they can win. Then of course there are adventures where trying is the whole point and no one expects to succeed. The Circlet of Gold is one of these types, and Grail Quest is full of these kinds of 'you are not the chosen one' situations, which are -almost- impossible for a PK, save for amazing luck at rolling dice.

Me either. The thing is that Pendragon is a game where characters are rated on more of an absolute scale, rather than relative to the player characters. Plus the game system is deadly enough so that even weak and unskilled characters can get lucky and drop just about anything short of a dragon or huge giant with a single hit. Just what sort of skill scores constitute a good or excellent knight can stay consistent throughout the campaign, and doesn't need to be updated to reflect the PKs scores. So that footman with Greatspear 15 is always (or nearly always) enough of a threat to be taken seriously. 

It';s a different RPG but I used to have to explain to one D&D player that "no matter what level you reach, you'll never be a Star Destroyer". That's kinda the situation. In D&D/D20 games everything is relative to the PCs and viewed in that light. An ogre might be tough for beginning PCs but a walk over for high level PCs. But in Pendragon, an ogre is always going to be a dangerous monster and a threat due to it's high STR, SIZ, and damage stats.

As far as "chosen one" type adventure go, yes they do exist, but many adventures are winnable, but difficult, and things like traits and religion can make some tasks easier or more difficult but that stuff can balance out depending on the adventure. A pagan might have a problem in one task, but an advantage in another. Plus people can always get lucky. I ran a Dreamjoust adventure, similar to that in the Tournament of Dreams a few sessions back and one Saxon PK, who had terrible traits for that quest, got lucky and crticalled his first lance roll, beating his opponent in the first pass. Meanwhile, another PK with traits good enough for the  chivalry bonus, failed, repeatedly.  

 

Now there isn;t anything wrong with this, just that some players are accustomed to something else and take time to adapt.

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16 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

For instance, the player was somewhat upset when I ran the Adventure of the White Horse (from KAP 3/4) feeling that his Pagan PK had "no chance" of succeeding on the adventure. 

To be fair, I was always a bit puzzled that you have to decline to go to a pagan blessing to achieve a pagan quest. It's a bit contradictory to my taste.

BUT... you could argue that it was some kind of higher mysteries you could discover. As a GM, I would let the PK roll [religion paganism] or [spiritual] to understand the hidden truth.

11 hours ago, Morien said:

True. Although I do remember one campaign I played back in the day, where the GM had expected a much more combat-optimized group, rather than our collection of misfits, scholars and bards. Needless to say, we developed a signature tactic, mostly involving running away, waving our hands and screaming 'run away, run away!'.

It was the gaming style as well in Old School D&D. The Grognard community lament of this change of paradigm with the 3.X edition.

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6 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

To be fair, I was always a bit puzzled that you have to decline to go to a pagan blessing to achieve a pagan quest. It's a bit contradictory to my taste.

It's not so much a pagan blessing but a pagan festival. 

6 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

BUT... you could argue that it was some kind of higher mysteries you could discover. As a GM, I would let the PK roll [religion paganism] or [spiritual] to understand the hidden truth.

Or that sometimes you have to avoid having fun and put work into achieving some greater goal. Or that could just be me complaining that I had to work on my campaign on Saturday rather than watch movies and play video games. 

6 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

It was the gaming style as well in Old School D&D. The Grognard community lament of this change of paradigm with the 3.X edition.

Somewhat. Old D^D was more deadly, sometimes stupidly so, out of the idea of it being a "fair game" or "realistic". Hence you had things like 1st level characters running into a Purple Worm and being eaten 20 minutes into a game session. The whole "game balance" thing is an attempt to address stuff like that. Unfortunately it seems to have gone to far in the opposite direction. That's the thing with limitations like that. The players eventually become aware of them and rely upon them, even learning to exploit them to their own advantage. Like how in A&D players could tell that a character was a assassin simply because he was wearing leather and using a shield. The handful of classes that could do so, were either identifiable as spellcasters (clerics, druids), capable of affording/wearing better armor (fighters), or assassins

Now, the "safety net" in D&D 3+ isn't necessarily a bad thing  (that would be another argument), but players expecting the D&D "balanced game" approach elsewhere is. Likw Morient, I do not write adventures the deliberately outclass the PKs. In fact most adventures are written biased towards the PKS. They have to be in order to have a campaign- otherwise players would cycle through PKs too often. That said, I do not nerf the big baddies. If a player decides to go after a dragon, and finds one, well he gets one, and has to deal with the consequences.

 

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