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Fantasy game with emphasis on knighthood: Mythras Core vs. Perceforest vs. Lyonesse vs. Pendragon


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Although knights in shining armor are a staple in fantasy rpgs, deeper eploration of knighthood is not that common. Next time I run a fantasy game I'd like to remedy this.

What I'd like to include is the concept of chivalry and how it guides the life of a knight. In Game of Thrones I really liked Jaime Lannister's dialogue that serving your king and protecting the innocent is well and good, but what if your king orders you to kill the innocent? 

I understand much of this is about adventure design, world building and roleplay. But this doesn't mean you couldn't enforce these conflicts via mechanics. Mechanically speaking I think these are really useful too, because a party of knights would probably have similar equipment and training. This is the stuff that sets them apart. Mythras and BRP world have several books that may be useful, but how do they differ? Do you need anything besides Core and heavy use of Passions and Brotherhoods? Does Lyonesse or Perceforest have something related to knights or (pseudo-)medieval society that could be used elsewhere? How does the grand old man of knight games, Pendragon, fit into all this?

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I grew up, for whatever reason, thinking of knights as bullies who treated their 'lessers' poorly.
So I'd probably want to keep aspects of that, with some being fair-minded, but most being entitled jerks... like drunken frat boys on a night out.



Edited by Simlasa
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On 12/2/2020 at 9:57 PM, Simlasa said:

thinking of knights as bullies who treated their 'lessers' poorly.

- I am your King

- How'd you get to be King then?  By exploiting the workers! By 'angin' on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.

- The Lady of the Lake-- her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, 
Arthur, was to carry Excalibur.  THAT is why I am your king!

- Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some... farcical aquatic ceremony!

Edited by Nozbat
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15 hours ago, Simlasa said:

I remember seeing The Lion In Winter and coming away with the idea of medieval royalty not being too far removed from organized crime families, ala The Godfather.

One of my mother's favorite films, foisted it off on me repeatedly during my youth.  I reckon it left the same impression on me -- a privileged class squabbling over their spoils.  In retrospect, I have to wonder if mother was trying to tell me something.

Back to the OP, the Mythras options will give you a grittier outlook on the genre, KAP will provide a more polished perspective.  Now, if you go back to the 4th Ed KAP, you'll find more blurring of gritty with polish, if that's what you're looking for.  Also, the Personality Traits from KAP are totally portable to Mythras -- Passions are already there.  Beware how Trait bonuses may skew power balance in play, though.


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For Arthurian knights, you cannot do better than Pendragon. However, if you don't want to play a knight, you don't have many options. Pendragon has several advantages:

(1) An 80+ year campaign (Great Pendragon Campaign) setting the PKs within the Arthurian time line. Fight the major battles; witness the great events.

(2) Explore what type of knight you are based on your traits.  Are you Just or Arbitrary? Lustful or Chaste?  A Huntsman or Courtier? The trait system leads to adventure choices that define your knight. Are you Just (kill your opponent in a duel to the death) or Merciful (spare him even though it might be a bad idea)?

(3) Multiple scales of play.  You have your annual adventures but you also need to get married, have children, obtain land and improve your holdings.  Fight a giant or lead your followers in a raid against another knight with whom you have a dispute.  

(4) Build a castle  etc.

(5) A progression of time and technology.  Start out in mail, nasal helm and kit shield...you grandson can end the GPC in full white plate upon a massive destrier.

(6) There are lot of supplements regarding land holding, battles, genealogy, castles, and politics. Plus the basic system has been the same for ages so most of the adventures are compatible across editions.  


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  • 2 weeks later...

So you can do all of this with passions and brotherhoods as you suggested. You don’t need anything else except to figure out the parameters of the “brotherhood” in question. Is there an enforcement mechanism to ensure proper behavior? And this goes into the well trodden topic in various places of the game-within-a-game aspect that cults and brotherhoods bring to RQ/Mythras settings if properly harnessed. 

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