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beardo1976

Adventure Recommendation

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Hey all!

I'm looking to introduce two players to Pendragon and want and adventure that captures the Arthurian spirit of the game, maybe something in the Romance period?.  Are there any iconic adventures that fit the bill?  This will be my first time running Pendragon and I've only played several times but have been a fan of the game going back to the third edition.  I have most of the books so suggestions from any source is fine!.  Thanks much!

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38 minutes ago, beardo1976 said:

Hey all!

I'm looking to introduce two players to Pendragon and want and adventure that captures the Arthurian spirit of the game, maybe something in the Romance period?.  Are there any iconic adventures that fit the bill?  This will be my first time running Pendragon and I've only played several times but have been a fan of the game going back to the third edition.  I have most of the books so suggestions from any source is fine!.  Thanks much!

Hmm. It's hard to think of something that works as a good introduction and capture the spirit of the game, and cover romance. Ususally the intro style adventure are set in the earlier Periods when things are more direct and simple. The more interesting Arthurian adventures kinda assume the players are up to speed and their characters are somewhat more seasoned, and would probably chew up a pair of new characters/players.

My advice would be to start with the bear hunt introductory adventure from the rule book (print out the hunting tables in advance to make running the hunt easier). If you want to add a more Arthruian feel to it, add something else to it, such as Merlin showing up and sending the squires off on some side quest. 

You just need to consider the limitations that come wih two inexperienced characters being run by two inexperienced players. There is only so much you can expect them to pull off.

 

Frankly, for what you want, you'd probably be better served with the Prince Valiant RPG. It has the feel you want but is much more forgiving.

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@Atgxtg Thanks!  I'm not locked into the Romance period, it was just a thought.  I'll def start with the Bear Hunt Scenario but am looking for something a little more involved after that.  Is The Grey Knight too advanced for new players?  Also the recently released The Quest of the Red Blade looks interesting, has anyone played it?

Edited by beardo1976

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I'd say that the Grey Knight is a bit too much for two novice players.

The Adventure of the White Horse (from 3e/4e) is a very good intro adventure.

The Adventure of the Ghost Knight is a relatively good one as well, as long as you give the Wyrm some NPKs to snack on rather than being able to munch the PKs straight away.

Morgan Le Fey's Challenge can be a good one to run on relatively new players, too.

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4 minutes ago, beardo1976 said:

@Morien Awesome, I'll check those out!  White Horse I know, I'll take a look at the other two!

MLF is in Blood & Lust, the Ghost Knight is in the Spectre King.

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

The Adventure of the White Horse (from 3e/4e) is a very good intro adventure.

I'll second White Horse, although the PKs will need to be good horsemen to reach the interesting part. It's nice in that the consequence for failure aren't live and death (for the PKs anyway). It has more of a Celtic feel than a King Arthur feel, and might be a bit hard on new players.

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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I'll second White Horse, although the PKs will need to be good horsemen to reach the interesting part.

Well, even with Horsemanship 10, you require 3 failures to miss the event. So the chance of that is 1 in 8. It is those Trait rolls that are much more dangerous as written, and I would change them so that not just a failure would disqualify the PKs from continuing, but they'd need to succeed in the opposite trait, too. Otherwise, it will be totally up to them to decide. And of course, I'd allow a successful PK to use their traits to try and cajole the failed one to continue, too. I want them to actually play the adventure, after all.

But yeah, if I were GMing for two novice players, I would be hand-holding the character generation and ensure that they have reasonable stats and skills. In fact, I probably would add like 10 yearly trainings as extra onto their characters, just because there are only two of them. Give them stronger characters in the beginning so that they can cover more skills between the two of them, etc. Number of enemies is easy to scale with the group size, so that is not a big problem.

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45 minutes ago, Morien said:

Well, even with Horsemanship 10, you require 3 failures to miss the event. So the chance of that is 1 in 8. It is those Trait rolls that are much more dangerous as written, and I would change them so that not just a failure would disqualify the PKs from continuing, but they'd need to succeed in the opposite trait, too. Otherwise, it will be totally up to them to decide. And of course, I'd allow a successful PK to use their traits to try and cajole the failed one to continue, too. I want them to actually play the adventure, after all.

But yeah, if I were GMing for two novice players, I would be hand-holding the character generation and ensure that they have reasonable stats and skills. In fact, I probably would add like 10 yearly trainings as extra onto their characters, just because there are only two of them. Give them stronger characters in the beginning so that they can cover more skills between the two of them, etc. Number of enemies is easy to scale with the group size, so that is not a big problem.

I think it sort of harks back to my previous post. Generally speaking, in Pendragon, as well as in most other RPGs, the more interesting and setting specific adventures tend to required more experienced characters and seasoned players. Once it becomes an introductory adventure for novice players with new characters the GM needs to reduce the difficulty, but then risks making the setting seem to easy.

It sort of like playing Star Wars and running a new group of PCs into Darth Vader or some other famous baddie. In a straight on scenario, the players will probably get their heads handed to them. If the GM nerfs it so that they can survive Vader, then there is the risk that the players will get the wrong impression about their relative ability compared to such a major character. 

 

The Adventure of the White Horse is nice in this regard as most of the major tests are personal in nature with the players success or failure not reflecting upon anyone else. About the only opposition the speak of in the adventure are the knights that force the PKs to joust, and their abilities don't reflect upon anyone else. The overall adventure is so offbeat that the GM could adjust the difficulty without it coming back to haunt the group later. 

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16 hours ago, Morien said:

Morgan Le Fey's Challenge can be a good one to run on relatively new players, too.

It's a very good adventure to launch a campaign. Love it, and the Challenge itself is nasty ^^

Otherwhise, The Spectre King or Blood and Lust are full of good adventures for beginners. I especially love the Adventure of the Castle of Tears myself.

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2 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Otherwhise, The Spectre King or Blood and Lust are full of good adventures for beginners. I especially love the Adventure of the Castle of Tears myself.

I was going to mention the Castle of Tears, but I think it is a bit too hard a fight for starting knights. Better if they get seasoned a bit at first, get their skills up.

The titular adventure of The Spectre King itself is way too hard for two new knights. Heck, the Spectre King is liable to hack his way through even a larger group of veteran knights. He is a very deadly foe.

The other adventures in The Spectre King are very nice, too, I agree. :)

Edited by Morien

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Most of the published adventures are two hard for only two knights, especially to starting characters. Maybe there is  potential for a supplement designed for starting characters and players? Especially for those who don't want to start back in the Uther Peroid.

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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.  I've read through them all and think I'm going to run Morgan Le Fey's Challenge, I'll probably give the knights a few seasons of experience.  I also really liked Castle of Tears, I may run that depending on how things go.

 

2 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Most of the published adventures are two hard for only two knights, especially to starting characters. Maybe there is  potential for a supplement designed for starting characters and players? Especially for those who don't want to start back in the Uther Period.

I love that idea, Chaosium has put out some great two player stuff for Call of Cthulhu, there might be a market for that with Pendragon as well!

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3 hours ago, beardo1976 said:

I love that idea, Chaosium has put out some great two player stuff for Call of Cthulhu, there might be a market for that with Pendragon as well!

One of the things that gets brought up around here a lot is that most BRP games, Pendragon included, have a bit of a learning curve that can make them intimidating to new Game Masters. People feel that if they don't know a lot about Glorantha, the Cthulhu Mythos, or Arthurian Lore, then they feel too intimidated to run RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu or Pendragon. The BRP Big Gold Book was a similar case. It gave you most of the rules and variants that Chaosium ever did, in one book, which was great for an experienced BRPer, but made it tougher for new GMs, who now had to mix n' match a ruleset before they could start.

What Pendragon might need would be some sort of "Pendragon Lite" intro that makes things more approachable to novices. Something like what the original BRP did for RuneQuest. Just cover the basics of rules and setting in a 16 page booklet or so, including a short solo adventure for a squire or newly knighted character. The maybe a short supplement for starting up a campaign, how to adapt things for inexperienced characters, and so forth. Most of us GMs do that sort of stuff automatically, but it might not look so easy to someone new to the game. Unlike many other RPGs Pendragon doesn't come out and tell you what sort of characters are needed for any given adventure, and adventures are not "balanced" in the classic RPG sense (i.e. rigged). In my own campaign, when I ran White Horse, one of my players was upset because the trait tests involved were very difficult for a pagan character to pass. He griped that "The adventure is designed  so that I'll fail." I replied "No, it's just not designed so that you will succeed. They are not the same thing." That's something that people coming from other RPGs aren't prepared for, but probably should be alerted to.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Unlike many other RPGs Pendragon doesn't come out and tell you what sort of characters are needed for any given adventure, and adventures are not "balanced" in the classic RPG sense (i.e. rigged).

Exactly. You can fail and it's OK. It's a very old school design.

13 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

when I ran White Horse, one of my players was upset because the trait tests involved were very difficult for a pagan character to pass. He griped that "The adventure is designed  so that I'll fail." I replied "No, it's just not designed so that you will succeed. They are not the same thing."

There is one issue with this specific adventure however. It's a mystical test for Epona's worshippers, but a pagan character will likely fail. It's a bit contradictory.

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9 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Exactly. You can fail and it's OK. It's a very old school design.

Not surprising as it was written over 30 years ago. 

9 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

There is one issue with this specific adventure however. It's a mystical test for Epona's worshippers, but a pagan character will likely fail. It's a bit contradictory.

Yes, the Pagan "virtues" are all played off as negative traits that must be overcome to succeed. It's practically paganism as viewed by Christians, who would have an easier time of it. I think this is part of a bigger problem with fitting Paganism into the Pendragon setting. 

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4 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, the Pagan "virtues" are all played off as negative traits that must be overcome to succeed. It's practically paganism as viewed by Christians, who would have an easier time of it. I think this is part of a bigger problem with fitting Paganism into the Pendragon setting. 

Not quite, it is just the Lustful that is causing issues. Energetic is actually helpful. It is just that Christians get both Chaste and Temperate, which are beneficial.

One easy fix: Allow the Pagan to switch Lustful to Spiritual, as he wants to be part of the Pagan blessing of Epona. That would make it less biased against Pagans.

 

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5 hours ago, Morien said:

Not quite, it is just the Lustful that is causing issues. Energetic is actually helpful. It is just that Christians get both Chaste and Temperate, which are beneficial.

And British Christians get Energetic, too.

5 hours ago, Morien said:

One easy fix: Allow the Pagan to switch Lustful to Spiritual, as he wants to be part of the Pagan blessing of Epona. That would make it less biased against Pagans.

Maybe an opposed roll of sorts. Ideally any sort of "temptation" on a quest would be opposed by some virtue or passion. But as written the adventure is easier for most Christians than for most Pagans. 

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5 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Maybe an opposed roll of sorts. Ideally any sort of "temptation" on a quest would be opposed by some virtue or passion. But as written the adventure is easier for most Christians than for most Pagans. 

Actually, an even easier fix would be to drop the whole Chaste/Lustful roll. This way, (Roman) Christians get the advantage of Temperate, Pagans get the Energetic, and minmax British Christians get both.

Also, if it is not just enough to fail in Temperate and Energetic, but you have to succeed in Indulgent and Lazy as well, then even traits at 10/10, the probability of negotiating these challenges successfully would change from 1/4 ( 1/2*1/2 ) to more than 1/2 ( 3/4*3/4 = 9/16 ).

Even better, rather than making the Failure = Out of Story, make it into a delay: It counts as one extra failure in the Horsemanship rolls. Thus, if you are a good enough rider (which you probably are), you can make up for at least one lapse of judgement. This would also give the Horsemanship roll more of a role, since currently you need to fail in all three in order to be late.

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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Maybe an opposed roll of sorts. Ideally any sort of "temptation" on a quest would be opposed by some virtue or passion. But as written the adventure is easier for most Christians than for most Pagans. 

I would play it as written, but for a pagan character, I would allow a religion (pagan) roll to help him understand that if he gives up to to the fertility ritual, it's fine, but he will miss the higher mysteries of Epona, with some spiritual roll for example.

26 minutes ago, Morien said:

Even better, rather than making the Failure = Out of Story,

It's part of the genre and understandable, considering the circonstances. Otherwise, they never learn the consequences.

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4 hours ago, Morien said:

Even better, rather than making the Failure = Out of Story, make it into a delay: It counts as one extra failure in the Horsemanship rolls. Thus, if you are a good enough rider (which you probably are), you can make up for at least one lapse of judgement. This would also give the Horsemanship roll more of a role, since currently you need to fail in all three in order to be late.

Yeah, although as written the character is "busy" all night. But in general "Lustful" for Pagans if off. The idea is that Pagans acknowledge and appreciate the power of fertility, not that their all sex maniacs.

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Is there a one page sheet for new players that explains the basic concepts of playing a knight?  Things like honor, glory, fealty, basics of religion, the idea of hospitality, accepting challenges, etc?  Something that helps the players get into the headspace of playing an Arthurian Knight?  If so can someone point me towards it, I'd like to have something to hand to my players and if not maybe I can make one!

Thanks!

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3 hours ago, beardo1976 said:

Is there a one page sheet for new players that explains the basic concepts of playing a knight?  Things like honor, glory, fealty, basics of religion, the idea of hospitality, accepting challenges, etc?  Something that helps the players get into the headspace of playing an Arthurian Knight?  If so can someone point me towards it, I'd like to have something to hand to my players and if not maybe I can make one!

Thanks!

The introduction on pages 7-8 of the KAP 5.2 core rulebook comes close. With a little cutting & pasting it could easily fit onto one page. 

Of course, that just gives a rough overview, but that can't be helped. 

 

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I also really enjoyed Greg Stafford's essay on page fifty-six of Blood and Lust on Arthurian Customs.  All together its probably a two full pages but its a good primer on the weirdness of some of the customs and how they are dealt with.  I may add a little blurb from that as well. 

This might end up being a full two pages, I'll be OK with that as long as I can keep it to one double sided sheet so I can hand it out at the table.

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