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Prince Valiant comic as a source


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I follow the comic and find some interesting plots in it at times that could transport to Pendragon, not sure about Prince Valiant game.

The last one and current (which I realize are likely repeats) are potential sources of ideas for estate issues.

The current one where you come home to find your estate is being managed by an outlawed woman, not the man you thought, but she's making it very profitable....

http://diversions.thestar.com/comics.html?feature_id=Prince_Valiant

A past one combining a need to adjudicate a land dispute with accusations (false) of witchcraft and mobs (being manipulated).

Rob

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Thanks for the link! I love the comics but didn't realize it was still being continued. Aleta's looks have suffered a bit I see.

Over the years I've only used some small encounters from the original Hal Foster series in my Pendragon campaign. But it's been a great inspiration.

 

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From the Foster era, there's a story where Val, Gawain, and a not-too-competent wizard are sent to investigate a haunted castle in Wales, seemingly a home to demons and witches.  Val discovers that the "demons and witches" are really ordinary people, who had donned those disguises to discourage attackers.  (The castle had originally belonged to a reckless and belligerent king who was always attacking his neighbors, until one of his campaigns got himself and all the men-folk of fighting age slaughtered, leaving only the women and a few old people to defend the castle - and aware that the late and unlamented king had made a lot of enemies thanks to his constant wars, who'd want revenge.  The disguises proved the best way of protecting themselves from such retaliation.)  Such an adventure could make a big surprise to pull on players assuming that everything that looks magical in Arthurian Britain *is* magical.  (Foster did a few other such stories - for example, on another occasion, Val, while investigating the Holy Grail and whether it's real or not, hears of a monstrous troll living in a cave nearby and seeks it out.  The troll turns out to be an escaped slave who had disguised himself as a troll to scare his former master's men away; I've suspected, incidentally, that Foster may have borrowed this incident from Edison Marshall's Arthurian novel "The Pagan King", which had been published a year before and featured a similar character.)

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Prince Valiant also fights a ferocious dragon in one Foster story which turns out to be a giant corocodile.

And then there's a story where a haunted Black Tower or some such cursed ruin turns out to be not haunted but inhabited by the vengeful daughter of a murdered lord. 

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3 hours ago, 7dot62mm said:

Prince Valiant also fights a ferocious dragon in one Foster story which turns out to be a giant corocodile.

It's a bit like the legend of the Grand'Goule of Poitiers. This is a dragon killed by holy water by St Radegonde in the 6th century (like Pendragon ;))

the link in english.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Ghoul

In french (more complete), they said sir John Lauder de Fountainhall, saw a stuffed crocodile in 1666 (!) with a very big maw.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand'Goule

I always thought it was gold for a KAP adventure^^

Edited by Tizun Thane
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7 hours ago, merlyn said:

From the Foster era, there's a story where Val, Gawain, and a not-too-competent wizard are sent to investigate a haunted castle in Wales, seemingly a home to demons and witches.  Val discovers that the "demons and witches" are really ordinary people, who had donned those disguises to discourage attackers. 

See BotW, p. 34, entry 18 in the table. One of my favorite Prince Valiant stories. :)

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On 10/11/2020 at 12:49 PM, Valvorik said:

I follow the comic and find some interesting plots in it at times that could transport to Pendragon, not sure about Prince Valiant game.

THE PV game was designed to emulate the style of the comics and even ported over some elements of those stories (including the aforementioned croc-dragon). If anything the comics port over to the PV RPG than to Pendragon, as the comics and the PV game share a sort of "Golden Age of Hollywood" feel. That is the look and tone of the stories fits that of films of that era. Pendragon, on the other hand, has an older, more archatic tone, and some PV stories won't adapt as easily. 

For instance Val does quite a bit of sneaky stuff that fits with the morality of the 1940s-50s -namely that's it's fairplay to cheat a cheater. With Pendragon however, a lot of his actions would be considered decieftul in not dishonorable.  

 

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On 10/14/2020 at 5:10 PM, Atgxtg said:

THE PV game was designed to emulate the style of the comics and even ported over some elements of those stories (including the aforementioned croc-dragon). If anything the comics port over to the PV RPG than to Pendragon, as the comics and the PV game share a sort of "Golden Age of Hollywood" feel. That is the look and tone of the stories fits that of films of that era. Pendragon, on the other hand, has an older, more archatic tone, and some PV stories won't adapt as easily. 

For instance Val does quite a bit of sneaky stuff that fits with the morality of the 1940s-50s -namely that's it's fairplay to cheat a cheater. With Pendragon however, a lot of his actions would be considered decieftul in not dishonorable.  

 

That's a good point about Val; he seems almost an Arthurian Odysseus.

Val rarely faced that kind of criticism in the Foster era (at most, King Arthur and his knights were periodically exasperated by Val tricking Arthur's enemies into destroying each other or something of that nature before they got to do anything).  One exception was a story where Val, to thwart a rebellious Cornish king, entered his service and destroyed him from within; he was so troubled by the tactics that he'd used afterwards that he offered to resign from the Round Table.  King Arthur, desperate to keep Val in his service, placed a tenth of his honor in Val's keeping, and the knights of the Round Table followed suit.  Val, moved by this gesture, revoked his resignation.

During the Murphy era, Val's son Arn did get criticized by the mayor of a British town he was protecting from the Saxons for the tactics he'd used while battling the Saxon chieftain in single combat (things like throwing a live cat in his face), but the mayor's real motivation was that he was secretly in league with the Saxons.

Incidentally, Val's early adventures (when he was Gawain's squire) would often open with a lot of familiar Arthurian conventions (jousting with strange knights, sending the defeated knights to King Arthur's court, etc.), but Val would then start adopting his usual tricks.  Later adventures in Arthur's service seemed indeed more evocative of "Hollywood medieval epics" - and closer, at times, to the world of Robin Hood (there was even a recurring character, an outlaw leader named Hugh the Fox, who felt like Robin Hood in all but name) to King Arthur.

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2 hours ago, merlyn said:

That's a good point about Val; he seems almost an Arthurian Odysseus.

Val rarely faced that kind of criticism in the Foster era (at most, King Arthur and his knights were periodically exasperated by Val tricking Arthur's enemies into destroying each other or something of that nature before they got to do anything).

 

Yeah, that's because the strips were written to appeal to the readers of the day, most of whom would go to the movies to see guys like Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power in Swashbuckling adventures, where hoisting a villain on their own petard was considered fair play.  Foster drew the strips in a very cinematic style.

I really like Foster's Prince Valiant comic strip and was collecting the reprints at one time, but the adventures have a much more modern (i.e. 1940s) tone to them than Pendragon does. Now that does make the Prince Valiant adventure easier for modern people to grasp compared to D'Morte or the HRB, but a GM needs to be careful when incorporating PV ideas into Pendragon or else it might change the way the players play. 

 

A good parallel would be Middle Earth and D&D. While the generic fantasy setting common to most versions of D&D has a lot in common with Middle Earth, and a GM running a RPG set in Middle Earth could adapt D&D material, doing so runs the risk of destroying the fell and tone of Toklien's world and just be a generic FRPG campaign. 

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20 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah, that's because the strips were written to appeal to the readers of the day, most of whom would go to the movies to see guys like Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power in Swashbuckling adventures, where hoisting a villain on their own petard was considered fair play.  Foster drew the strips in a very cinematic style.

I really like Foster's Prince Valiant comic strip and was collecting the reprints at one time, but the adventures have a much more modern (i.e. 1940s) tone to them than Pendragon does. Now that does make the Prince Valiant adventure easier for modern people to grasp compared to D'Morte or the HRB, but a GM needs to be careful when incorporating PV ideas into Pendragon or else it might change the way the players play. 

 

A good parallel would be Middle Earth and D&D. While the generic fantasy setting common to most versions of D&D has a lot in common with Middle Earth, and a GM running a RPG set in Middle Earth could adapt D&D material, doing so runs the risk of destroying the fell and tone of Toklien's world and just be a generic FRPG campaign. 

A good point about the difference between Middle-earth and Dungeons and Dragons; the game actually (despite the Tolkien veneer) drew its inspiration more from "Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser"-type swords and sorcery, whose leads are amoral adventurers who care more about getting rich through a dungeon crawl and then blowing most of their riches at the nearest tavern than about saving the world.

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3 hours ago, merlyn said:

A good point about the difference between Middle-earth and Dungeons and Dragons; the game actually (despite the Tolkien veneer) drew its inspiration more from "Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser"-type swords and sorcery, whose leads are amoral adventurers who care more about getting rich through a dungeon crawl and then blowing most of their riches at the nearest tavern than about saving the world.

Yeah, the Tolkien stuff was something of an afterthought. Baiacally "cashing in" on LOTRs popularity. But that did lead to D&D and AD&D developing a sort of pseudo-Middle Earth type setting as the default. 

Whenever I run an RPG set in Middle Earth, a big hurdle is the various preconceptions players bring with them about Middle Earth thanks to D&D. I've known players who thought it was wrong for wizards to wield swords (Gandalf did), and who thought Grey Elves were smarter and more knowledgeable than High Elves, Wood Elves bigger and stronger than High Elves, and that the Middle Earth-based RPG got things wrong somehow. This despite the fact that Tolkien invented the Silvan (Wood Elf), Sindar (Grey Elves) and Noldor (High Elves)  and that Gygax mixed things around in D&D by making High Elves the "common" elves (and HIgh Men the standard man).

 

But back to my main point: While the Prince Vlaint comic strips are chock full of great ideas and characters, not everything is a good fit for Pendragon. 

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I agree in principal.  However, Val was not a cymric knight to begin with. Rather he was a Thulian prince who fled to the Moors when their homeland was taken.  He was not brought up in a strict knightly heritage, so does not think like a normal KAP character would. Yet, he did eventually get knighted.

The games are not mirror images of each other.  You can do things in PV without the strictures of a knightly and honor bound society.  It is possible to import the game over to KAP, but their are changes that need to be made, mostly in the understanding of the characters themselves.  

I enjoy both games.

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5 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

I agree in principal.  However, Val was not a cymric knight to begin with. Rather he was a Thulian prince who fled to the Moors when their homeland was taken.  He was not brought up in a strict knightly heritage, so does not think like a normal KAP character would. Yet, he did eventually get knighted.

 

The Fens rather than the Moors, actually, but that's an accurate comment on the difference between Val and the conventional knights of the Round Table.  He's from Thule (Norway) rather than from Britain, and was raised in the Fens as a marsh-hunter rather than a conventional knight, thus ensuring a different set of skills than his peers.  (In one story, when Val and Gawain have to live off the land, Val even stresses this difference in their upbringing.)

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All this talk about the implication's of Val's "trickster-hero characterization", incidentally, has given me a few additional thoughts for a "Prince Valiant"-related project I'm writing - "Prince Valiant Annotations 2.0" (a revision of an earlier work that the late Greg Stafford hosted before his passing), which focuses on the legendary and historical background of the comic (a lot about the elements of the Arthurian legend that Foster used), but where the thoughts on why Val's done as a trickster at times would fit in, and I'd like to thank everyone here for raising those points.

Incidentally, would anyone here like to beta-read the Annotations for the first two years (1937-38) of the comic?  (They're broken down in groups of two years, to match the current Fantagraphics Books hardcover reprint.)  Please let me know if you're interested.

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12 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

How is this different from the Definitive Prince Valiant Companion?

It's a set of notes, panel-by-panel (sort of - there are often long stretches without such comments) discussing the historical and legendary elements of "Prince Valiant" as they arise.  (The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion was more a story-by-story summary, with a few notes on the individual stories; this one covers the historical and legendary elements in greater detail.)

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On 10/18/2020 at 7:54 PM, merlyn said:

Incidentally, would anyone here like to beta-read the Annotations for the first two years (1937-38) of the comic?  (They're broken down in groups of two years, to match the current Fantagraphics Books hardcover reprint.)  Please let me know if you're interested.

I would be. Speaking of the comics, what are the current best reprints now? I haven't seen the Fantagraphics stuff as much online and there are now some sort of hardcover edition. I would like to restart my PV collection one day and get at least all the Hal Foster strips, but I'm not sure what edition to collect.

The strips really are one of the best sources for adventure ideas in an Arthurian or medieval RPG.

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I would be. Speaking of the comics, what are the current best reprints now? I haven't seen the Fantagraphics stuff as much online and there are now some sort of hardcover edition. I would like to restart my PV collection one day and get at least all the Hal Foster strips, but I'm not sure what edition to collect.

The strips really are one of the best sources for adventure ideas in an Arthurian or medieval RPG.

Just give me instructions on how to send you the text of the annotations for the 1937-38 period, and I'll e-mail it to you.

 

The hardcover Fantagraphics Books edition is the best, from what I've seen of the different reprints.  They're up to Volume Twenty-one (1977-78), which is almost the end of the Foster era.  The next volume, covering 1979-80, will see the end of the Foster era; I don't know if it'll be the last volume in the reprint, though.

Edited by merlyn
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