Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
IlluminatedSeraph

Major Event Derailment

Recommended Posts

So.... my player in my Pendragon game just saved Madoc and possibly Gorlois.

To make a long story short - one of my players has a massive love passion for Madoc (think 18) and access to the Medicine skill for background reasons. At the crucial moment at Terrabil, they reached Madoc just after the Duke of Cornwall struck him down... and by a combination of Inspiration and max-rolling their First Aid, just managed to get the Prince on the right side of zero HP before he died. Meanwhile, the other PK took out Gorlois... and my first PK then tested Merciful and pulled Gorlois back to the right side of dying too. The battle proceeded, the area around both men was secured, and now I have a not-dead Prince and a not-dead captive Duke and... problems, narratively.

Thoughts on how to cope with this without overriding the epic sequence of die rolls and tactics my player pulled off (which I don’t want to do)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uther likely wants Gorlois dead, and he can certainly have Gorlois executed as a rebel and a traitor. But this might look a bit bad, given that he is angling to marry Ygraine himself.

If you want to put the campaign back on track, have Uther send his Trio of Thugs to take custody of Gorlois. They stick Gorlois in the dungeons of Terrabil, and oh noes, Gorlois 'succumbs to his wounds'. Given that Uther doesn't marry Ygraine until the following year, the timeline works out just as well. Also, it will make Uther seem even more of a bastard to the PKs, and they might actually find an ally of sorts in Madoc, grateful for saving his life and worried about this new marriage, especially with Ygraine pregnant. Madoc will die in the poisoning later, so his immediate survival is not a problem.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, don't forget that either one of them would need weeks of chrirurgury, so even without fudging things or foul play, either one could easily still die of infection along the way. Especially Gorlois, who really does need to die here in my opinion. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Call Me Deacon Blues said:

Also, don't forget that either one of them would need weeks of chrirurgury, so even without fudging things or foul play, either one could easily still die of infection along the way. Especially Gorlois, who really does need to die here in my opinion. 

Frankly, Gorlois is doomed either way, whether he gets cut down in the field, dies "of his wounds" in custody, or gets sentenced to death.

EDIT: As for Madoc, even if he somehow survives the Battle of St. Albans and the Infamous Feast, you can just have him briefly rally Logres behind him only to get cut down by the Saxons. Maybe that leaves your players a bit more time to get ready for the Anarchy, and you can thus reward their actions without necessarily causing a huge change in the narrative.

Edited by Leingod
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Leingod said:

EDIT: As for Madoc, even if he somehow survives the Battle of St. Albans and the Infamous Feast, you can just have him briefly rally Logres behind him only to get cut down by the Saxons. Maybe that leaves your players a bit more time to get ready for the Anarchy, and you can thus reward their actions without necessarily causing a huge change in the narrative.

That is a rather huge IF on Madoc, actually. It would actually be more likely that UTHER survives the Infamous Feast, since he probably would have let Madoc to lead the Army since he is sick. After all, he trusted Madoc with the bulk of his army against Gorlois, why not against the Saxons since he himself is ailing? This might actually even lead to a scene almost straight out of Excalibur, as Uther's entourage gets ambushed by knights wanting to settle some scores...

The only way I can see Madoc surviving longer is if he quarrels with Uther badly enough that he is actually not present at St. Albans. Then I could see him racing back from whatever self-imposed exile he has been in, to claim the crown for himself. The issue here is that I don't think we would get FULL Anarchy until Madoc dies, whether against Cornwall, against some usurpers (who have seized castles and counties) or against the Saxons. Cerdic might very well get kicked back into the sea as soon as he lands: his claim for Kingship via Vortigern would be Threat Number One to Madoc's own claim. I think Madoc has a strong enough claim, with at least Ulfius backing him, likely many other surviving nobility, that he becomes at least a de jure King of Logres, even if he might have to reconquer half of the castles in his own kingdom to make it stick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A trial of Duke Gorlois would be a huge event and may even be a possible way to show the 'madness' of King Uther. This could in the end make it all rather nasty choice between loyalty or justice.

As for Madoc's survival. I would not let him survive the infamous feast. That would create a whole new can of worms for the Anarchy period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful way to have fun! Agree there are many ways you still can get the timeline back on track.  And as long as they are dead by the time of the infamous feast, it really doesn't matter. As long as Arthur is conceived. And you got a couple of twists there.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the kind of thing that spices up a campaign. A trial for Gorlois like Cornelius suggests can be great if you take into account that the PK are gonna find themselves in a similar situation soon. I would try to paint Uther as enraged but relatively just here, since Gorlois is a traitor and PK should be taking the king's side even if they know the story behind the treason (if only because good Earl Roderick is loyal to Uther). And then in the second trial, their trial, Uther's madness and arbitrary nature become even more obvious than in a regular campaign. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/18/2020 at 12:39 PM, Morien said:

Uther likely wants Gorlois dead, and he can certainly have Gorlois executed as a rebel and a traitor. But this might look a bit bad, given that he is angling to marry Ygraine himself."

Given that Uther was ready to plunge the kingdom into civil war over his lust for Igraine, I doubt he's too concerned over appearances.  (And with good cause: nobody - except for Gorlois himself, of course - stands up and protests his behavior openly.  Even the Church remains silent, rather than engaging in a Nathan-style denunciation.  Though I suspect that part of this is due to the point of the story being a "magical conception of a hero" tale, and calling attention to the moral (or immoral) conduct of Uther would have distracted from it, although that probably deserves its own thread. )  (This paragraph is mine - I'm still new to this forum, and haven't worked out yet how to handle the quotes properly, to distinguish between the post I'm quoting and my own post.  Sorry.)

 

 

Edited by merlyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/18/2020 at 3:24 PM, IlluminatedSeraph said:

So.... my player in my Pendragon game just saved Madoc and possibly Gorlois.

To make a long story short - one of my players has a massive love passion for Madoc (think 18) and access to the Medicine skill for background reasons. At the crucial moment at Terrabil, they reached Madoc just after the Duke of Cornwall struck him down... and by a combination of Inspiration and max-rolling their First Aid, just managed to get the Prince on the right side of zero HP before he died. Meanwhile, the other PK took out Gorlois... and my first PK then tested Merciful and pulled Gorlois back to the right side of dying too. The battle proceeded, the area around both men was secured, and now I have a not-dead Prince and a not-dead captive Duke and... problems, narratively.

Thoughts on how to cope with this without overriding the epic sequence of die rolls and tactics my player pulled off (which I don’t want to do)?

I've been there, in reverse. In one game Mordred took a viscous critical where he took close to max damage, and was deep into negative hit points. Luckily he was doing something good at the time, along with the PKs and so got saved by the Grail, but it was tricky. As for your situation:

1) Madoc's survival isn't a big deal. He really only needs to die to clear the way for Arthur. It's simpler for you if he dies before Uther, but he doesn't have to. My suggestion would be to kill him off at Saint Alban's. Either during the battle or as one of the many who fall to treachery later.Alternately,he could die sometime before that (in battle, a hunting accident, or maybe in revenge by Gorlois retainers).If you really want to have some fun with this, you could have him live and succeed Uther, only to die before 510. Maybe he falls against the Saxons trying to hold onto Hampshire? Or maybe he falls like Nanteloed, after a somewhat successful campaign. Or maybe he even lasts to 509, and has to be "put out of the way" by Merlin to clear the way for Arthur. Heck, you could even have him around in 510, draw the sword, recongize Arthur as his younger brother, and then fall in one of the countless early battles. It all depends on how much you want to play with thew timeline.

In the long run, you know where you are arnd where you want to end up, how you get there is up to you.

 

2) As for Gorlois, he's a non-issue. He has been declared a traitor by King Uther (where rightly so or not is another thing, but to those who aren't aware of the details he certainly looks guilty) and can be executed for it. Since Uther want's Ygraine, and he can't marry her as long as she is married to Gorlois then that is the most likely outcome. Now Uther might offer to spare Gorlois (in recognition to her past service to Aurelius) if he annuls his marriage to Ygraine on some pretext (that happened back then), but it seems a bit out of character for Uther, especially the Book of Uther version of Uther, and Gorlois would  turn down the offer anyway..

SO it's probably off to the chopping block for Gorlois. And probably more whispers by those in the know (Intrigue) about the whole affair, probably undermining Uther's kingship a bit more.  Really, the longer Gorlois lives, the more trouble for Uther, so best to get this over with ASAP.

 

 

Share this post


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

Given that Uther was ready to plunge the kingdom into civil war over his lust for Igraine, I doubt he's too concerned over appearances.

Note that Uther did not declare Gorlois traitor because "I want to sleep with his wife". No, his excuse was that Gorlois had broken the rules of hospitality. Now, this is obviously a pretext, but shows that Uther was aware of plausible deniability. Thus, I think it is much more likely that the badly wounded Gorlois will quietly succumb to his wounds, with Uther spreading his hands in innocence, rather than Uther chopping Gorlois down himself or ordering Gorlois' execution. It is one thing to woo a widow. It is quite another when your own hands are publicly, unambiguously, stained with the blood of her dead husband. Even the stage version of Richard III felt it necessary to lie to the widow. :P

Oh, and as for quoting, you just write your own text underneath, not into the quote box.

Edited by Morien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Morien said:

Note that Uther did not declare Gorlois traitor because "I want to sleep with his wife". No, his excuse was that Gorlois had broken the rules of hospitality. Now, this is obviously a pretext, but shows that Uther was aware of plausible deniability. Thus, I think it is much more likely that the badly wounded Gorlois will quietly succumb to his wounds, with Uther spreading his hands in innocence, rather than Uther chopping Gorlois down himself or ordering Gorlois' execution. It is one thing to woo a widow. It is quite another when your own hands are publicly, unambiguously, stained with the blood of her dead husband. Even the stage version of Richard III felt it necessary to lie to the widow. :P

Oh, and as for quoting, you just write your own text underneath, not into the quote box.

Thanks.

Of course, the whole reason why Gorlois left Uther's court without permission was because of Uther setting lustful eyes upon Igraine.  Uther (assuming that he's thinking straight enough to consider such matters) is probably hoping nobody's going to ask what led the Duke to depart like that.  (It might help Uther's case in the Great Pendragon Campaign that Gorlois had been in rebellion against Uther for years before Igraine became the center of their quarrel.)

One other possible means of disposing of Gorlois (depending on how Merlin is portrayed in the campaign); Merlin arranges Gorlois' death in captivity, so as to ensure that Igraine will be widowed quickly, Uther can marry her, and ensure some level of legitimacy for Arthur.  (And, in that scenario, it'd be tempting to even imagine his involving the player knights in the abduction of the infant Arthur, as portrayed in the Great Pendragon Campaign, as a way of getting back at them for giving him that problem....)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, merlyn said:

Thanks.

Of course, the whole reason why Gorlois left Uther's court without permission was because of Uther setting lustful eyes upon Igraine.

That was certainly a major factor, but with how the events in the Book of Sires, and Book of Uther play out, it might not have been the only reason. It look like Uther had issues with Gorlois that went back to at least 480 when Aurelius died, and possibly back to 476 or even earlier. 

However, even assuming that this was mostly due to Uther's lust for Ygraine, it would have been very bad politically for Uther to come out and say that publicly. THat's the sort of thing that can get a king disposed. 

 

 

16 hours ago, merlyn said:

 Uther (assuming that he's thinking straight enough to consider such matters) is probably hoping nobody's going to ask what led the Duke to depart like that.  (It might help Uther's case in the Great Pendragon Campaign that Gorlois had been in rebellion against Uther for years before Igraine became the center of their quarrel.)

Even if he isn't, his advisors and friends would know that people are going to ask, and come up with a good answer that serves the King's interests'. Remember that People plead with Uther to give Gorlois a chance to return to court and explain himself, before going to war with him. That really cover's Uther's behind and makes him look like the aggrieved party as well as the reasonably one. 

Had Gorlois risked returning to court and accused Uther of hitting on his wife things could have gotten very tricky for Uther, but that would have ment Gorlois stepping intot he lion's den. 

 

16 hours ago, merlyn said:

One other possible means of disposing of Gorlois (depending on how Merlin is portrayed in the campaign); Merlin arranges Gorlois' death in captivity, so as to ensure that Igraine will be widowed quickly, Uther can marry her, and ensure some level of legitimacy for Arthur.  (And, in that scenario, it'd be tempting to even imagine his involving the player knights in the abduction of the infant Arthur, as portrayed in the Great Pendragon Campaign, as a way of getting back at them for giving him that problem....)

Yup. Considered how many other key figures died while sick or recovering from wounds, Gorlois would just be another drop in the bucket. Maybe all those "Saxon physicians" who kill  off nobles in the early years were really Merlin in disguise?

Share this post


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

That was certainly a major factor, but with how the events in the Book of Sires, and Book of Uther play out, it might not have been the only reason. It look like Uther had issues with Gorlois that went back to at least 480 when Aurelius died, and possibly back to 476 or even earlier. 

Even earlier, I'd say; the bios in the Book of Sires paint a picture of two men who rubbed each other the wrong way from the very start. Gorlois first befriended Aurelius Ambrosius in 457, at which time he "tolerates the younger prince, Uther, albeit barely."

Edited by Leingod

Share this post


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

Even earlier, I'd say; the bios in the Book of Sires paint a picture of two men who rubbed each other the wrong way from the very start. Gorlois first befriended Aurelius Ambrosius in 457, at which time he "tolerates the younger prince, Uther, albeit barely."

Hzark10 can speak for himself, but in my mind, Uther resented Gorlois 'usurping' his place as Aurelius' right-hand man, whereas Gorlois was quickly exasperated by the sullen, angry young prince. You may note that it takes until 470, with Uther already in his early 30s, before he is given a major independent command.

Basically, Aurelius, Riothamus and Gorlois are the Three Musketeers, while Uther is benched by Aurelius with an argument that they can't risk both Aurelius and Uther dying in the same battle. No, better for Uther to stay in Brittany, safe and sound, the big brother would insist. And then having to listen to Aurelius and Gorlois telling of their heroics in battle, slapping each others' backs and laughing... Frankly, given Uther's non-appearance during the March, I would not be surprised if he spends it fuming in Brittany.

Which might also explain why Uther and Ulfius are so tight. Ulfius is the companion from those days, always there for Uther. A brother by choice, not by birth. So as Uther rises, so does Ulfius.

Edited by Morien
  • Like 1

Share this post


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

That was certainly a major factor, but with how the events in the Book of Sires, and Book of Uther play out, it might not have been the only reason. It look like Uther had issues with Gorlois that went back to at least 480 when Aurelius died, and possibly back to 476 or even earlier. 

However, even assuming that this was mostly due to Uther's lust for Ygraine, it would have been very bad politically for Uther to come out and say that publicly. THat's the sort of thing that can get a king disposed.

I was thinking along the lines of "If Gorlois and Igraine have noticed Uther's eyes straying towards Igraine - noticed them enough to become concerned and leave, others at the court might have done the same".  (That's how it is in Geoffrey of Monmouth.  Malory's version makes the general ignorance of Uther's true motives more convincing; Uther approaches Igraine in secret, asking her to become his mistress.  She refuses, and tells her husband.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I suspect that the real reason why the whole business of "Uther is lusting after the wife of one of his nobles" doesn't get commented on by everyone else or raise any concerns is that the central point was to give Arthur a "miraculous conception".  In earlier such stories (such as the conception of Heracles), the person who masquerades as the husband is a god or other superhuman being, the husband himself does not perish, and raises the child as his own.  I suspect that Geoffrey felt the need to tweak the story to have Arthur be openly Uther's son - meaning that the husband whom Uther impersonates must die quickly, and the most economic way of having Gorlois die is to have him slain in battle against Uther the same night.  Having the other characters addressing the morality of Uther's conduct would have distracted from what, to Geoffrey, was the central point.

Share this post


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

Hzark10 can speak for himself, but in my mind, Uther resented Gorlois 'usurping' his place as Aurelius' right-hand man, whereas Gorlois was quickly exasperated by the sullen, angry young prince. You may note that it takes until 470, with Uther already in his early 30s, before he is given a major independent command.

Basically, Aurelius, Riothamus and Gorlois are the Three Musketeers, while Uther is benched by Aurelius with an argument that they can't risk both Aurelius and Uther dying in the same battle. No, better for Uther to stay in Brittany, safe and sound, the big brother would insist. And then having to listen to Aurelius and Gorlois telling of their heroics in battle, slapping each others' backs and laughing... Frankly, given Uther's non-appearance during the March, I would not be surprised if he spends it fuming in Brittany.

Which might also explain why Uther and Ulfius are so tight. Ulfius is the companion from those days, always there for Uther. A brother by choice, not by birth. So as Uther rises, so does Ulfius.

Yeah, that's a good point. It's certainly notable that not just Ulfius, but also Brastias's predecessor as the leader of Uther's household knights (whose name escapes me) are noted as being friends Uther made in his time in Brittany, and there's no mention at all of any deeds of Uther's until he starts leading raids against the Saxons after the March of Aurelius. Model warrior-noble he is, I'm sure Uther rankled mightily at being left behind while his brother and his own little circle hogged all the glory and avenged their father and older brother without him.

16 minutes ago, merlyn said:

I was thinking along the lines of "If Gorlois and Igraine have noticed Uther's eyes straying towards Igraine - noticed them enough to become concerned and leave, others at the court might have done the same".  (That's how it is in Geoffrey of Monmouth.  Malory's version makes the general ignorance of Uther's true motives more convincing; Uther approaches Igraine in secret, asking her to become his mistress.  She refuses, and tells her husband.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I suspect that the real reason why the whole business of "Uther is lusting after the wife of one of his nobles" doesn't get commented on by everyone else or raise any concerns is that the central point was to give Arthur a "miraculous conception".  In earlier such stories (such as the conception of Heracles), the person who masquerades as the husband is a god or other superhuman being, the husband himself does not perish, and raises the child as his own.  I suspect that Geoffrey felt the need to tweak the story to have Arthur be openly Uther's son - meaning that the husband whom Uther impersonates must die quickly, and the most economic way of having Gorlois die is to have him slain in battle against Uther the same night.  Having the other characters addressing the morality of Uther's conduct would have distracted from what, to Geoffrey, was the central point.

That kind of fits with how it seems to me like Merlin's prominence comes partly to offload/externalize all the earlier magic powers associated with the Pendragons. Aurelius/Emrys was originally the one who revealed the dragons to Gorlois, after all, and in the Welsh tradition Uther was named one of the mightiest magicians of Britain. Maybe there was an earlier version of the story Geoffrey told where Uther just uses his magic to take the form of Ygraine's husband and sleep with her, with no Merlin and no siege.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Veli's version pretty well coincides with mine in this.  Uther was not always in the group because of, well, second son status.  Must preserve the spare in case the heir dies.  I know many hate this idea, but Greg was somewhat set in the idea, at least during the early periods.  BoSires does give Uther his prominence in the latter days. Leingod's point is as a valid as any other as to why Ulfius and Uther have such a close relationship. 

Share this post


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

 

That kind of fits with how it seems to me like Merlin's prominence comes partly to offload/externalize all the earlier magic powers associated with the Pendragons. Aurelius/Emrys was originally the one who revealed the dragons to Gorlois,

Gorlois?  I thought it was Vortigern.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, merlyn said:

Gorlois?  I thought it was Vortigern.

Correct.

I think Leingod's brain skipped a row. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note that you can kill off anyone in the campaign by rolling (or claiming to have rolled) on the Book of the Estate Yearly Survival table...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/21/2020 at 8:09 PM, merlyn said:

I was thinking along the lines of "If Gorlois and Igraine have noticed Uther's eyes straying towards Igraine - noticed them enough to become concerned and leave, others at the court might have done the same".  

Certainly. The fact that the true story is documented in various sources suggests that. The problem for Gorlois is that the king "lust looking" is not a valid reason to leave the king's court without permission. It's when the  the king makes advances on Ygraine that  he crosses the line. But there probably were not a lot of people who witnessed that. Judging from the reaction of the nobles and how they supported Uther once Gorlois failed to return, I think the truth wasn't widely known.

Of course it depends on which version of the tale we go by. In some versions Uther died  after a battle against rebellious barons, but in Pendragon it is against Saxons. 

Share this post


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

Certainly. The fact that the true story is documented in various sources suggests that. The problem for Gorlois is that the king "lust looking" is not a valid reason to leave the king's court without permission. It's when the  the king makes advances on Ygraine that  he crosses the line. But there probably were not a lot of people who witnessed that. Judging from the reaction of the nobles and how they supported Uther once Gorlois failed to return, I think the truth wasn't widely known.

 

Or they believed that protesting Uther's behavior was a sure-fire way to have him invading and ravaging their lands next.  (In Geoffrey of Monmouth's version, Uther's army takes the initiative in attacking Gorlois'  castle while Uther is in Tintagel, begetting Arthur, which makes it less likely that they were only obeying Uther out of fear of him.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

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

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

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

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

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

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...