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Grail Christians


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We're winding down one game in my Monday Night Group, and I'm prepping notes to finally bring King Arthur Pendragon to the table. (For variety of reasons I wanted to make sure this was a game we played in person. And last year... not so much.)

After consideration I've decided to use The Adventure of the White Horse as my first adventure. As @Morienpoints out, it is a terrific example of using Traits and Skills, and has a lovely bit of magic in it. I think it will teach the "feel" I want for the campaign, both in terms of rules and setting. (The adventure is found in both the 3rd and 4th editions of the game.)

In the adventure as Greg wrote it up, there is a "Knight of the Old Way" who guides the characters (somewhat haphazardly!) on their adventure into a pagan ritual. The knight is a self-professed Grail Christian, and he is given in a little speech where he lays out how he became a Grail Christian and his thoughts on the philosophy. 

I'm guessing that a few of my players might be interested in pursuing this faith when they hear about it. (Because players often want something the moment it is introduced into a game!)

I've been poking around (the Internet, Knights Adventurous (3rd Ed), Book of Knights & Ladies (5th)) and can't find any mechanical support for Grail Christians. 

I know I can work up my own religious Virtues for Grail Christianity. But before I do that I was wondering if anyone knows if any of this was worked out anywhere.

Thanks!

"But Pendragon isn’t intended to be historical, just fun.
So have fun."

-- Greg Stafford

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At the time, there was no British Christianity — Celtic Christians are described differently and more positively than Roman Christians (with Grail Christians then described still more positively), but the list of Christian virtues remained the same for all in 3e/4e (the same as the later Roman Christian ones).  So implicitly, they probably would have had the same Trait adjustments back then. 

My sense is that, with the development of British Christianity as the most common and “better” form of Christianity for PKs in the game, the idea of Grail Christians tended to fade.  You can see some of the same concerns that are reflected in the creation of Grail Christianity (not a thing in the source material, obviously) in the sidebar ”What about Pagans?” on p.168 of the GPC.  

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This is what 4e says about Grail Christianity:
"Grail Christianity is a henotheistic earth religion which acknowledges the Creator and his incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, but also acknowledges the divinely feminine in religion and life. Sometimes the feminine is characterized as Mother Church; Sophia, or Divine Wisdom; as the Virgin Mother Mary; as a man’s wife; or even as a pagan divinity, recognized as a mythic archetype."

I am sure I saw a write-up of Merlin as a Grail Christian... Yep. In The Boy King, both Merlin and Vivienne are Grail Christians, which combines BOTH Pagan and Christian Religious Traits, and if they conflict, sweet 10/10 split is the correct answer.

I think that in 5.x, with its British Christianity being founded by Joseph of Arimathea under the auspices of the Grail, would be the current 'Grail Christianity'. It melds together some Pagan (such as Energetic and Generous) and Christian elements. So the easy answer is, the Old Knight of the Wilds is a British Christian. (Also, this is a perfect excuse to actually introduce Sir Gregor of Stafford, from the Red Blade, as the Old Knight of the Wilds.)

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the replies!

When I look at the Virtues for British Christianity, honestly I see a more masculine version of Christianity compared to what becomes Roman Christianity. (Was simply "Christianity" in 3rd.) If Grail Christianity is supposed to acknowledge the divinely feminine in religion and life, I think I'll work from Roman Christianity and tweak it somehow. (I'll deal with it if it comes up!

All in all, I find myself looking back more to 3rd edition and Knights Adventurous. Everything is so much simpler. So, having a single Christianity with tweaks as needed for the Grail Christianity is the way I'll probably go.

As for the Grail/Christian/Pagan concerns:

The text of KAP from 1st edition on has made it clear that religious strife and struggle is not what the game is about, and tends to derail the game. The text is explicit about this. I'm in agreement with this. So the sidebar on p. 168 of the GPC is something I'm hoping I don't have to deal with. What I see in Le Morte is that the brotherhood of knighthood transcends differences of upbringing and religion. The bond of knighthood is the glue that binds the players knights and the game together. 

(I understand some people want to delve into matters of theology and religious friction! Go for it! I'm only talking about the game I want to run, as supported by the core rules as presented for 35 years.)

The sidebar is about "belligerent Pagan players. I think Greg was covering his ass, in case some players in someone's campaign threatened to tip things over. If I have this problem in my game I'll have canceled the campaign by then. The world of Arthurian Britain is full of magic -- Pagan, Christian, Pictish and so on.The knights in my game, like Malory's knights, will be open to most experiences and take from them what they will.

As for the differences of faith, I see it as a point of view for the Players through their knights. How to the players experience the events the witness and participate in? Each religion offers a different point of view. The sidebar information in the GPC is also covered in greater length in Knights Adventurous and KAP 4th.* It describes how the Pagans have their own view of the Grail, and I'm happy to have each faith have a "way in" to appreciating the Grail, even if one faith or another happens to have control of it at one time. "What does the Grail/Cauldron/Seder Plate mean to you?" is the question I'll put to any knight, no matter wha the faith.

 

(*As a side note: Fourth edition is simply 3rd and Knights Adventurous stapled awkwardly together + the magic system. As far as I can tell, apart from the magic system, the text in KAP 4th is identical to KAP 3rd and Knights Adventurous.)

Edited by creativehum

"But Pendragon isn’t intended to be historical, just fun.
So have fun."

-- Greg Stafford

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14 hours ago, creativehum said:

All in all, I find myself looking back more to 3rd edition and Knights Adventurous. Everything is so much simpler. So, having a single Christianity with tweaks as needed for the Grail Christianity is the way I'll probably go.

That's what I do, and it's working just fine ^^ The Grail Christianity is a weird syncretic religion, just as Morien said.

 

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