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Great Pendragon Campaign GM Discussion - 487 AD (SPOILERS)

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My irregular series on running GPC now arrives at the year 487 - sort of. Let's get started!

This year begins at the Great Sword Feast - the Christmas Court for 486. Given that the Christmas Court for 486 is described in the previous year with no note of this, you might want to think about how to handle this situation. In my campaign, the Christmas Court usually ends up sandwiched between the main action and the winter phase, so not much happens at that time. Those who spend more time on Christmas Court might want to consider how to arrange the events.

Most of this follows a script, in which Uther does something beneficial for others for perhaps the only time in GPC. If you'd like to make him more sympathetic, this would be a good time to play him up. Then Merlin shows up with Excalibur. If the PKs didn't follow along with him or failed in their task the previous year, the GPC is unclear on how exactly he got the sword. Maybe there's another group of knights that helped him achieve it, thereby potentially setting up a rivalry for future years.

Next, the PKs are (in the default) given a choice of activities: going on an embassy to Lindsey, or with Madoc on naval raids. I'd make sure that any who go on the naval raids are later told about what occurred when Lindsey saw the sword, as that foreshadows the interaction with Gorlois in two years. Also, you might want to consider what Merlin would say about the "High History of Excalibur" - it's not necessary, but it might help to drive home the significance of the PK's actions.

This is also a good time to think about one - and possibly two - characters. The first is Lady Ellen. You might keep an eye out for opportunities to incorporate her into play, perhaps at Christmas court or feasts, so she's more of a known quantity in 495. The other is Sir Argan, the king's constable and "fixer" from Book of Uther, who reappears again in 493 according to the BoU chronology. If you do want to play up the events of that year, building him in as a potential individual the PCs might run into at court might be worth it.

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