Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
King Pellinore

Inspiration bonus stacking and madness in battle

Recommended Posts

Hello and, first of all, greetings to everybody in the community 

I consider myself to be a newbie pendragon player and game master and, even after playing the GPC from 485 to 518 (in the middle of Badon right now) I still make mistakes and misunderstand rules. So I'm sorry if the awnser to my questions is obvious. 

Here is the first one. Can the inspiration bonuses from passions stack? Can I inspire myself because my opponents are saxons (hate saxons), because I'm fighting for the king (loyalty Pendragon) and because I'm fighting with my friends (loyalty brotherhood)? My players love to do that and have even used it to inspire a skill from 5 or so to 25 or 35 with crits involved. Needless to say after surviving the wars against Lot and Colgrim (and in the case of one PK the whole anarchy) they all have tons of glory and combat skills that range from 25 to 30 so once they're inspired and on horse there's nothing threatening to throw at them specially since they will barter all the time to be able to use more than one passion. Am I missing something? Apart from the obvious downsides when failing the roll. 

As for the second question, what happens when a character goes mad during a battle? In skirmishes I just remove them from the scene but using the Book of Battles, where you explicitly can't get away without using specific tactics, this cannot happen in a battle (and it's logic and realistic of course). So do I just give them a - 10 like it happens with bodyguards? And what about melancholy? Is it triggered when the round ends or after the battle? 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, King Pellinore said:

Here is the first one. Can the inspiration bonuses from passions stack?

No, they don't, because otherwise you get exactly what you're describing here.

33 minutes ago, King Pellinore said:

As for the second question, what happens when a character goes mad during a battle?

Not as sure about this one, but I think they get the -10 and the Melancholy doesn't set in until after it's over.

Share this post


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

No, they don't, because otherwise you get exactly what you're describing here.

The thing is I can't find where it says so in the main book. I could just house rule it but they have made it into their main tactic and will probably get uppity if it comes out of nowhere. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leingod is correct. The point is that if you are inspired by a Passion, you can't get inspired by another Passion for the duration. I'll try to find Greg's comment as to that effect.

Something that should help you, though:

Book of Battle 2nd edition, p. 85-86, talks about using passions in Battle, and is explicit that Inspiration lasts only ONE Battle Round. Famous (16+) have to get triggered as soon as the situation arises, unless they succeed in a Prudent roll. Melancholy gives you -5 for the rest of the day.

Also, if the PKs can do it, the NPCs can do it. Remind them of this and ask if they really want to run into veteran Heorthgeneats (Saxon household 'knights') with Hate (Cymri) and Loyalty (Lord) and Loyalty (Brotherhood) all inspired at the same time...

Finally, the Passions should not get triggered frivolously. That is your GMing choice, but in our group (and in many others) just fighting with your buddies/liege is not enough for the Loyalty to get triggered. They need to actually be in trouble: unhorsed/wounded/captured/etc. As it says in KAP 5.2, p. 91: "Remember that the Gamemaster has final word on the appropriateness of attempting to use a Passion for Inspiration."

Edited by Morien
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Morien said:

Finally, the Passions should not get triggered frivolously. That is your GMing choice, but in our group (and in many others) just fighting with your buddies/liege is not enough for the Loyalty to get triggered. They need to actually be in trouble: unhorsed/wounded/captured/etc. As it says in KAP 5.2, p. 91: "Remember that the Gamemaster has final word on the appropriateness of attempting to use a Passion for Inspiration."

This, by the way, is what Greg said about Loyalty (Group) in his old gspendragon.com website (use Wayback Machine to access it):

Using This Passion

It is easy to abuse Passion rolls, or allow them to be abused. In large part this will come down to adjudication by the GM. We've mentioned elsewhere how judgments have to be made about when to use Loyal (Lord) and Honor.

In my current campaign I'm pretty much allowing this Passion to be used whenever one of the members of the group are in dire danger. The current group in my game are called the Candlebees. If one of them goes down, off horse in a melee, then the others in the group may (if they choose) attempt a passion roll to help him.

Of course, they have to immediately charge in no matter what the odds are. If the knight is dead, or dies later, the impassioned knight will become melancholy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

As for the second question, what happens when a character goes mad during a battle?

Greg's answer here: https://greathall.chaosium.com/Pendragon Forum Archive/index.php/t-1672.html

I think Leingod's answer is a good one, too.

Depending on the situation, I might allow the PK to just flee the battle. It shouldn't be that difficult to disengage, if all you are trying to do is to flee.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the kind answers and for the useful links, specially that last one with Greg confirming the rule.

1 hour ago, Morien said:

Book of Battle 2nd edition, p. 85-86, talks about using passions in Battle, and is explicit that Inspiration lasts only ONE Battle Round. Famous (16+) have to get triggered as soon as the situation arises, unless they succeed in a Prudent roll.

We do use this and in fact it has proved to be one of the best "nerfs" to passions in battles, even when PK are allowed to use all the passions. In fact I'll say it's harsher in a way if they're allowed to use all the passions because they're likely to waste several of the highest ones. Speaking of this, what happens if a knight has 16+ in at least two unused passions and they're both triggered? Does he get a choose? Do I (the GM) pick the most adequate?

1 hour ago, Morien said:

Melancholy gives you -5 for the rest of the day.

That sounds very harsh, I thought it gave you a -5 for the same duration as the +10 if you succeeded (a scene normally, a round in battles).

 

1 hour ago, Morien said:

Finally, the Passions should not get triggered frivolously. That is your GMing choice, but in our group (and in many others) just fighting with your buddies/liege is not enough for the Loyalty to get triggered. They need to actually be in trouble: unhorsed/wounded/captured/etc. As it says in KAP 5.2, p. 91: "Remember that the Gamemaster has final word on the appropriateness of attempting to use a Passion for Inspiration."

 

1 hour ago, Morien said:

In my current campaign I'm pretty much allowing this Passion to be used whenever one of the members of the group are in dire danger. The current group in my game are called the Candlebees. If one of them goes down, off horse in a melee, then the others in the group may (if they choose) attempt a passion roll to help him.

Yes in the end I ended up doing it like that and the PK accepted it (some with more difficulties than others). They still try to justify a lot of situations like "but this quest is very important for the Brotherhood of the Sword" or "how does Loyalty (Pendragon) not apply in such a decisive battle and after this rousing speech"? It has become sort of an internal joke to ask for love (family) because "if I die my children will be fatherless!". My players are good boys but also a bit too "smart" sometimes. Maybe they're still traumatized because one of them died in his first session during the battle of Mearcred Creek. But ironically the player is the one that seems less afraid of his PK dying now, and the one who started the trend of spending all the glory points in sword because "no, 28 is not enough to survive" is the one who wasn't even playing at the time. Is this common in new pendragon players? I don't think I've been specially harsh. Only six knights have died between 485 and 518 in a group of four or five players. One knight has been active from the first year of the anarchy to this day and everybody has survived all the countless battles of the Boy King Period.

Edit: Now that I think about it, would a knight turned mad suffer social consequences for deserting (leaving for the woods while spouting crazy non-sense) or betraying his comrades (attacking another knight who is trying to cure them out of their state)? How aware are the PKs and NPKs of the effects of melancholy and madness and how prone to understand and forgive?

Edited by King Pellinore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

The thing is I can't find where it says so in the main book. I could just house rule it but they have made it into their main tactic and will probably get uppity if it comes out of nowhere. 

There are four reasons why you can't do it and why it isn't mentioned in the book:

1)The main reason why you don't find it in the book has a lot to do what what "being inspired" means. It's not just some roll you make to get a +10 bonus, but instead represents a character being driven to great deed by some all consuming passion - and you can't be totally devoted to two passions at the same time. One or the other wins out. You can't very well be consumed with you Hatred towards Saxons, your Love of God, Loyalty to your Liege Lord, and Amor to Lady Elaine all at the same time. They are mutually exclusive states. Now what I could see is someone who is inspired having another passion take over, for example if a character inspired by Hate (Saxons) sees his Liege Lord dropped by a French mercenary roll and switch inspirations to Loyalty (Lord) to try and save his Liege, and possibly upping his bonus if he criticals. But he would still be under the effects on one passion. 

2) The second reason is that  it's basically the same effect and bonus. Much like how you can't lie across two horse to stack the mounted benefits. 

3) Common sense. It wasn't mentioned because as the first two points show, it doesn't make any sense.

4) As mentioned by others, it would quickly make the game unplayable. Everybody has passions and the standard game mechanics break down past 38, and double or triple inspired characters would quickly get into the automatic critical range. A fight between two ultra inspired characters at skill 40+  is deadlock. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

There are four reasons why you can't do it and why it isn't mentioned in the book:

1)The main reason why you don't find it in the book has a lot to do what what "being inspired" means. It's not just some roll you make to get a +10 bonus, but instead represents a character being driven to great deed by some all consuming passion - and you can't be totally devoted to two passions at the same time. One or the other wins out. You can't very well be consumed with you Hatred towards Saxons, your Love of God, Loyalty to your Liege Lord, and Amor to Lady Elaine all at the same time. They are mutually exclusive states. Now what I could see is someone who is inspired having another passion take over, for example if a character inspired by Hate (Saxons) sees his Liege Lord dropped by a French mercenary roll and switch inspirations to Loyalty (Lord) to try and save his Liege, and possibly upping his bonus if he criticals. But he would still be under the effects on one passion. 

2) The second reason is that  it's basically the same effect and bonus. Much like how you can't lie across two horse to stack the mounted benefits. 

3) Common sense. It wasn't mentioned because as the first two points show, it doesn't make any sense.

4) As mentioned by others, it would quickly make the game unplayable. Everybody has passions and the standard game mechanics break down past 38, and double or triple inspired characters would quickly get into the automatic critical range. A fight between two ultra inspired characters at skill 40+  is deadlock. 

 

 

It does make sense. It's just that I was late to realize the actual consequences (it didn't start to be unbearable until they all got 25+ sword) and they seemingly enjoyed their moments of invincibility (as that's the image that an inspired knight evokes). None of them is very familiar with Arthurian lore but they do know about Arthur (or any of his great knights) killing hundreds of enemies in a battle and want to be like Balin, the White Knight or Galegantis who all turn the tide of a battle (or almost) when they get inspired. 

But I will talk it with them, probably when we finish the Boy King period to make the change seem less abrupt. Badon will probably be less apocalyptic than it's portrayed to be but that's fine (I've buffed the enemies a bit as the GPC suggests for groups of Round Table PK anyways).

Many thanks to everybody.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Speaking of this, what happens if a knight has 16+ in at least two unused passions and they're both triggered? Does he get a choose? Do I (the GM) pick the most adequate?

I would probably let the player choose, since he kinda has to declare what the success looks like for that Passion. But I could see just making an opposed roll between the passions, and the one that wins is then used for the inspiration roll.

5 hours ago, King Pellinore said:

Edit: Now that I think about it, would a knight turned mad suffer social consequences for deserting (leaving for the woods while spouting crazy non-sense) or betraying his comrades (attacking another knight who is trying to cure them out of their state)? How aware are the PKs and NPKs of the effects of melancholy and madness and how prone to understand and forgive?

Social consequences: Depends somewhat on the situation, did he kill someone whilst maddened/melancholic? Did his desertion of his post lead to some calamity, such as the castle being lost and women and children slain/enslaved?

In general, those who know him (other PKs especially but generally all the knights serving the same duke/count/baron level liege should count) ought to be relatively forgiving. They know the guy, he is not like that normally. Knights going mad and doing stupid things is known; for example, you can look at the Melancholy rules of Snap Out of It. It assumes that the PKs know all this stuff.

32 minutes ago, King Pellinore said:

Badon will probably be less apocalyptic than it's portrayed to be but that's fine (I've buffed the enemies a bit as the GPC suggests for groups of Round Table PK anyways).

As I suggested above, if the PKs can stack Passions, NPCs can too. Sure, the generic Saxon axeman might not have them, but at Badon they, as RTKs, should come across Saxon Kings and their bodyguards. And woe to them if they have already burned all their Passions before that round...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Morien said:

Sure, the generic Saxon axeman might not have them, but at Badon they, as RTKs, should come across Saxon Kings and their bodyguards. And woe to them if they have already burned all their Passions before that round...

Not to mention that there's dragon people, giant hawks and witches that will easily be a threat during the third day (but I think in my campaign it will be 4th, I don't know why book of armies assumes 3 days when the GPC says 4). Even for knights that have 30 in sword and inspire themselves, specially if they waste their inspirations. 

Share this post


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

I don't know why book of armies assumes 3 days when the GPC says 4

I think BoA ignores the day of fighting at the ford, since it is not actually at the Badon Hill itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Morien said:

I think BoA ignores the day of fighting at the ford, since it is not actually at the Badon Hill itself.

The same could be said about the battle of Donnington under the rain. I'm not British but according to the map Donnington is in fact closer to the fords than to Badon. But despite this you're probably right, of course , since BoA, after day "2" says:

Quote

Tell the players: “It is over. No Saxons left on the field. Everyone can go to sleep. It is done, Arthur is victor. You won.” 

And then it becames evident in day 3 that the saxon kings will do a last stand with their wounded, which is what they do in GPC's day 4. Of course GPC has no mention of monsters and dragons (not even giants) but wacky tables are the whole point of BoA. BoA places the kings in day 2 (GPC 3) but I think that might be it's way to simulate, in a way, how in the original table it's relatively easy to encounter the enemy kings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/20/2020 at 11:52 AM, King Pellinore said:

It does make sense. It's just that I was late to realize the actual consequences (it didn't start to be unbearable until they all got 25+ sword) and they seemingly enjoyed their moments of invincibility (as that's the image that an inspired knight evokes).

Yeah, be careful with that. One thing about Pendragon is that, by RAW, a character at Skill 39+ will automatically critical the roll, unless there are additional modifiers. This means that someone with Sword at 20+ pretty quickly gets to near invincibility, and can lead to the game becoming dull because there is no more risk. I've got several PKs right now with weapon skills in the 25-32 range and they tend to be better tough when not inspired.

 

It gets worse when two inspired characters run into each other. Morien has a houserule when he bumps down skill to keep the game playable at ultra high skill levels.

On 6/20/2020 at 11:52 AM, King Pellinore said:

But I will talk it with them, probably when we finish the Boy King period to make the change seem less abrupt. Badon will probably be less apocalyptic than it's portrayed to be but that's fine (I've buffed the enemies a bit as the GPC suggests for groups of Round Table PK anyways).

It might be easier to show them rather than tell them. For instance let them run wild once with ultra inspired characters and see how boring it gets when they realize they can never lose. Then they have a better understanding on why there needs to be a change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Morien has a houserule when he bumps down skill to keep the game playable at ultra high skill levels.

Yeah, I have a whole thread about them, linked here:

But that particular rule is dead simple: Just reduce both skills by the same amount so that the lower skill becomes 20. So skills 30 and 28 square off. 28 -8=20, and 30-8=22, so it is resolved as 22 vs 20. If there is skill splitting/modifiers involved, it does not matter, you are only looking at the effective skills. So if in the above, 30 is on foot and 28 is on horseback, it would become 25 vs. 33, and hence 20 vs. 28.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It never occured in one of my games, but I think I could let a character get inspiration from more tha one Passion, provided he choses different skills.

Concerning very high skill play, I think I'd use a rule similar to Masteries from HeroWars/HeroQuest. As a matter of fact, I suspect that rule was originally a fix from Robin Laws when he played Pendragon.

So, if a character has skill 35, I'd consider he has 1 Mastery and skill 15. When facing a character with skill 40 (or 1 Mastery and 20), I'd treat it as 15 versus 20. If he faces a character with Skill 42, I'd treat it as 15 versus 2, but then I'd bump the result from second character by 1 step, as he has 2 (virtual) Masteries.

I'd also consider that if both fail, the one with the highest roll wins.

Edited by Mugen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/20/2020 at 3:19 AM, King Pellinore said:

As for the second question, what happens when a character goes mad during a battle? In skirmishes I just remove them from the scene but using the Book of Battles, where you explicitly can't get away without using specific tactics, this cannot happen in a battle (and it's logic and realistic of course). So do I just give them a - 10 like it happens with bodyguards? And what about melancholy? Is it triggered when the round ends or after the battle? 

 

I have played this situation dependent.

 

If its the first charge/battle round, I'm more inclined to have the PK ride his horse away from the scene in a mad panic. "Dear God, it's hopeless! We are all going to die here!"

If a PK goes mad in the throes of battle, I've implemented the berserk tactic. Basically, their passion has driven them into a mad and desperate rage, and they attack any enemy in site in a wild and reckless manner, until they are either brought down or cut their way free. If the latter, they run or ride off from the scene and are out of game. If they are brought low but are able to be revived, they wake up crazed and babbling. Perhaps they are put in a cell for awhile to "recover from their physical and mental wounds." Either way, they are still out of the story for awhile. Curious as to what others might think of this....

Edited by Craiger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/20/2020 at 6:56 AM, King Pellinore said:

That sounds very harsh, I thought it gave you a -5 for the same duration as the +10 if you succeeded (a scene normally, a round in battles).

 

It's supposed to be. The knight is spending all day moping about his failure, missing the source of his passion and so forth. It might not seem all that fair or make much sense to us, but it fits with the literature.

 

As far as a character going mad during a battle, it has come up a few times in my campaign, and I handle it on a case by case basis. Note that the book does mention that madness doesn't have to happen immediately, and so the GM can opt to get through the battle. In my campaign, the following happened:

1) A pro-Pendragon Saxon Knight went made while defending Prince Aurelius and Uther against rebels in France (in 451) and had his horse jump a ditch and ride off into the rebel forces. Ironically, the player got on a hot streak and rolled a series of critical successes, in part due to penalties, before riding off into the forest at night. Those who saw him marveled at his amazing horsemanship and courage. The knight was found a year later, after an odd encounter with a one-eyed traveler, and reioined Aurelius' army in time to fight Atilla at the Battle of Charlons. He picked up the Love (Battle) passion and started to exhibit more reckless, animalistic behavior, (actually an Ulfsark) tenancies and once reportedly transformed into a large black wolf on the battlefield. 

In this case I used the incident to add a Wotanic subplot, including a hunt where the knight killed a huge black wolf, into the campaign. This added to the campaign,b ut was a mixed success as the player was torn between his Saxon values and his knightly ones. But, conflict is good for characterization and story.

2) Two other knight went made when invoking their Hate (Saxons) passion during a raid and went a little overboard on the slaughter, killing Saxon women, children and livestock. They were both pulled off of some Saxon warriors in horned helms (cattle) and sent away to be healed. 

This was a case of two players rolling remarkably bad, one even had Hate (Saxons) 19, at just the wrong time (it was early in the adventure of the session and the back up characters were not available). Rather than take both characters out of story, I decided to downplay the effects somewhat and just had them go off and be a bit more bloodthirsty than normal, as well as a bit confused. The full breakdown came later, after the adventure.

3) A third knight went made and ran on into the woods. He returned a couple of years later with some altered traits and a few odd skills and skill checks, such as Industry! He never wants to find out what actually happened.

This was a case of the inevitable happening. I had a player who over-used his passions, and tried to look for an excuse to get inspired at every opportunity. Often this resulted in his rolling with a modifier as a passion might be viable but not directly applicable. In this case the fumble was going to happen eventually, and the loss of the character for a few years, and trait and skill adjustments (not all were bad) taught the player that passions are not something to be invoked lightly. 

 

My advice to a GM is use the madness to advance the story, but don't let it derail your game session if you don't have to. There is nothing wrong with a knight fighting bravely and then going mad after the battle. A lot of soldiers suffered from shell shock, and medieval combat was much more "up close" than modern combat. Warriors typically get to see the look in the eyes of people who they  cut down.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Atgxtg
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spoke to my players and they were very receptive and understanding, in regard to only being able to be inspired by on passion at a time. This coming Sunday we're playing the last day of Badon and after that we will start the conquest period using the correct passion rules (plus other changes) mostly with new knights. You guys have all been very helpful.

On 6/24/2020 at 8:36 PM, Morien said:

But that particular rule is dead simple: Just reduce both skills by the same amount so that the lower skill becomes 20. So skills 30 and 28 square off. 28 -8=20, and 30-8=22, so it is resolved as 22 vs 20. If there is skill splitting/modifiers involved, it does not matter, you are only looking at the effective skills. So if in the above, 30 is on foot and 28 is on horseback, it would become 25 vs. 33, and hence 20 vs. 28.

They were also very eager to try this house-rule... except for the remaining player with 30 sword skill (the other three super knights have not survived Badon). We will have to sit down and talk about it as a group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, King Pellinore said:

They were also very eager to try this house-rule... except for the remaining player with 30 sword skill (the other three super knights have not survived Badon). We will have to sit down and talk about it as a group.

Kinda funny, since it actually works to the benefit of the higher skill character. Consider this: Skill 29 vs. Skill 30.

Normal KAP gives them 50% and 55% chance of a critical, almost the same, and on a non-critical, Skill 30 has a +1 edge on the die roll (if both roll 8, Skill 30 gets 8+10 = 18 and Skill 29 gets 8+9 = 17).

Under our house rule, the skills become 20 and 21. The more skilled knight still has that +1 edge, and even the 5% edge in criticals, BUT that extra 5% in criticals now means that he has double the chance of critting (10%, on 19 and 20) compared to the lesser skilled knight (modified skill 20 -> crit chance 5%).

In normal KAP, the fight is over in a couple of rounds, with a critical beheading of the non-critting knight, and it is practically a coin toss which one it is. Now it is a longer fight, but skewed a bit more to the more skilled knight, as he is much likelier to get a critical in first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think he's mostly concerned about not getting as much glory in battle as he did before. Since now he's criting almost every turn (75% percentage with most tactics, 100% in any tactic that gives him a +5 like withdraw), he basically has assured that he will always gain double glory in every large scale battle. Which is obviously broken but he doesn't seem to mind, the player enjoys having the same glory as knights who are 15 years older.

14 minutes ago, Morien said:

In normal KAP, the fight is over in a couple of rounds, with a critical beheading of the non-critting knight, and it is practically a coin toss which one it is. Now it is a longer fight, but skewed a bit more to the more skilled knight, as he is much likelier to get a critical in first.

Maybe I can convince him with this. He's the kind of person who dislikes relying on luck. The kind of guy who will get defensive (if he can't be inspired) against two enemies on foot even if this means they lose the battle round, because skill 20 against saxon infantry is too risky but skill 30 (dice+10) sounds safe enough.

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...