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Running Badon (GPC) - Your Thoughts?


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Next session is Badon! I'm taking some notes from the GPC and the Book of Armies to do so. My thoughts:

1) GPC has a four-day battle; BoA has a three-day battle. I'm going to use the four-day battle, but use the weaker units in BoA for Day 4, alongside the Saxon kings.

2) A good number of the older PKs have retired. I'm allowing players to bring them back if they want for one hurrah.

3) Generally speaking, players may swap characters if they withdraw to the rear, when one drops, or at the end of the day.

4) I'm fine with a big deadly fight, but not so much of the BoA sentiment that you need to ramp things up if you haven't killed half the group, so I'll probably ignore that.

5) The battle is silent on whether Merlin is there, but the implication is that he isn't. I'm on the fence about what I want to do with him.

Other than that, I'm going to kill off a couple older named NPCs, and try to give a good number of the others their moment to shine (about ten seconds).

How have you / would you run Badon?

 

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1) We did the four-day battles. In Greg's game, only one player out of five survived Badon. He warned us it would be deadly. 

2) Yes, we did that, too! Great way to let them go out in a blaze of glory.

3) Good idea!

4) I don't mind killing half the group if that's how the dice roll. As long as you prep the players that the battle's going to be deadly and they agree aforehand.

5) I don't think Merlin's involved in Badon; don't remember Greg having him there. I definitely never had him at Badon. 

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7 hours ago, SaxBasilisk said:

1) GPC has a four-day battle; BoA has a three-day battle. I'm going to use the four-day battle, but use the weaker units in BoA for Day 4, alongside the Saxon kings.

This is because GPC counts the 'prequel' battle of the ford as part of the Battle of the Badon Hill, despite it happening at the ford rather than the hill itself. Once you make that adjustment, the 3-day battle makes sense. That being said, BoA goes way over the top for my liking, when it comes to the enemy list. Giant Swooping Hawk, really? Draconic warriors? I much prefer the pathos of GPC last day, with the dregs of the Saxon nobility dying with a song on their lips, slaying before being slain, earning their ticket to Valhalla.

2 and 3: Yep, probably a good idea to clean house. Also, you could even fudge the dice a bit (with the Players' approval) to ensure that those old characters go out in a blaze of Glory (Heroic Death 1000 Glory), which gives them a proper sendoff while at the same time allows you to underline the deadliness of Badon without killing their current characters. Pruning the family trees of deadwood, as well as clearing out some of the NPKs is a good idea, too, IMHO.

4: I have run Badon twice.
The first time, we were wrapping up the face-to-face campaign (at least for now), as I was moving across the country (we picked it up later via Skype and IRC, and then Roll20). So everyone kinda knew that it was going to be a Big Finish. So after the PKs managed to survive Day 3 (the actual big battle, where the PKs were instrumental in keeping the Cymric infantry line from collapsing), as they were walking amongst the piles of the dead in the dark of the night, they came upon an old man with one eye, carrying a spear, two ravens on his shoulders and flanked by two damn big wolves. "You have spoiled my plans for the last time..." Worked very well for an epic finish, with one player bragging for years that his PK managed to wound Wotan before getting impaled.
The second time, I kinda wussed out since most of the PKs were relatively young still, and killing them off would have left a big gap before the heirs would have grown up. So while they lost an extended melee, I didn't have the Saxons slaughter them all while unconscious, but had the cavalry literally arriving in the nick of time.
I think it is obvious from the above, which one I preferred. 😛 (I was drawing heavy inspiration from Twilight of the Grey Gods by Robert E. Howard. And before someone calls me out for having a literal god on the battlefield while pooh-poohing Giant Hawks, well, one fits my mythic narrative, the other doesn't. Besides, the Wotan encounter happened in the night, with just the PKs witnessing it, rather than in the middle of the battle.)

5: I think GPC mentions that Merlin has been missing for a while, in the gossip or something? So no, he would not be around.

Edited by Morien
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On 1/11/2023 at 2:40 AM, SaxBasilisk said:

5) The battle is silent on whether Merlin is there, but the implication is that he isn't. I'm on the fence about what I want to do with him.

When I played Battle of Badon in Pendragon, Merlin showed up on the last day and issued people with 1 healing potion each.  It was enough for us to rampage through day 4.

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I also have a group of young PKs, so during the final episode, I had forshadowed an alternative choice through a vision where they went through a hidden path and had a chance to disrupt the Saxon magicians from summoning their Dragon. It was climatic, death and destruction all around, and the players had a blast. No, no fireballs, just the type of fighting you would expect from heroic activities.

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