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[Pendragon] A problem with missing skills

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In the setting I am currently working on the player characters will take part

in the conquest of an island with a very much different language and culture.

Unfortunately the current version of Pendragon does not have foreign langu-

age and foreign culture skills, and so I am looking for a way to compensate

for this.

One option would be to introduce one (language + culture) or two (language

and culture separately) new skills to be learned once the characters have ar-

rived on the island, but I normally dislike "skill creep", because it tends to slow

down the often already slow improvement of the characters' other skills.

The other option would be to use the available skills with a malus whenever

they are used in the context of the foreign language and culture and to re-

duce this initially high malus over time. For example, the characters could

initially use only 1/5 of their Orate skill whenever they use this skill towards

members of the foreign culture, then 2/5 of the skill after a year, and so on.

What do you think, skill or malus - or perhaps a third option ?

Thank you for your ideas. :)

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As the Book of Knights and Ladies has already introduced new skills into the base, I would say that your fine introducing new skills. I would add the skills separately though. Communication does give you the ability to find out about culture, but does not automatically reveal that culture.

I am unfamiliar with your term malus, but it appears as if you are using it as a synonym for penalty. In cases of the need for Oration, I would limit that skill roll to the lowest of the three; Orate, Non-Native Culture, or Non-Native Language. Oration would probably be an extreme case here though as it does require knowledge of all three to be effective.

SDLeary

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Adding new skills is okay, mechanically. But, the reason why Greg took the Culture and Langage skills out of Pendragon was to facilitate interaction. PCs never had enough time and resources to get enough culture skills and it ended working to prevent culture from interacting except by combat.

What you might do is just say that interaction skills are at half value when dealing with an culture the character is unfamiliar with, and by spending a year or so (the winter phase) in an area takes the limit up to 3/4th and two years to full skill. Or that they can buy familiarty with another culutre for a number of skill points (five seems good).

The difficulty here is the slow rate of skill advacement in Pendragon. With 1D6 points plus some skill check boxes, per year, you can't expect PCs to pick up new skills at the same rate they do in BRP.

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I suppose a question would be is this "Pendragon", or a different setting using the Pendragon system? If the former, I remember Greg saying somewhere that it was assumed that everyone was speaking and writing (if they could) Latin.

SDLeary

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First, thank you both very much for your ideas. :)

I suppose a question would be is this "Pendragon", or a different setting using the Pendragon system? If the former, I remember Greg saying somewhere that it was assumed that everyone was speaking and writing (if they could) Latin.

The setting is different from the normal Pendragon setting. While the player characters come

from the only slightly changed original Pendragon setting, the focus is on the conquest of and

the subsequent events on a distant (fictional) island in the Atlantic off the African coast with

a Moorish culture - basically a kind of crusade setting, although not located in the Holy Land.

The native population of the island uses a Berber language, the Moorish overlords use Arabic,

and the ability to speak other languages will be extremely rare, only a scholar or perhaps a

member of the island's small Jewish community could be expected to know another language.

Since the player characters are likely to become the landed vassals of the island's new ruler,

the language and culture of their subjects seems important enough to be considered by the

game's rules.

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Greg wrote up the Berbers and various other cultures in the Book of Knights & Ladies and purposely did not include separate Lange and Culture skills. Basically, if the PCs can speak wiith them, there isn't much chance for any interaction. And with Pendragon's learning curve, it would take too much time from other skills for PCs to get enough culture and lanugage skills to interact with the locals. At 1D6 per year, it takes awhile.

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And with Pendragon's learning curve, it would take too much time from other skills for PCs to get enough culture and lanugage skills to interact with the locals. At 1D6 per year, it takes awhile.

At the moment I think my approach to this problem will be to encourage the charac-

ters to hire an interpreter/scholar who can translate for them and who can also teach

them the basics of the language and culture during the Winter Phase, with the speed

of their learning the new skills based upon their Energetic trait (e.g. 1/2 of the Ener-

getic trait in a new skill per winter phase). This will of course only work for the two

new skills Selonese Language and Selonese Culture, not for any of the other skills.

This way it will still take the characters a couple of years to become able to interact

with their subjects in a meaningful way without the help of an interpreter, but I think

this approach is at least remotely plausible and does not break the system.

And with the interpreter/scholar it adds a potentially interesting nonplayer character

with his own motivations and more than a little subtle power ... >:>

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Basically you are going to give them the ability to use the skill to some extent after spending the winter there, and spending thier winter experience on it. You don't really need the skills, you just to represent eh PCs unfamiliarity with the culture and language for a time. So you could get by without the new skills by having the characters pick it up with their winter

experience.

BTW, how long do you plan on the PCs being in this area? Are they going to spend the rest of the campaign there< or just a few years?

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BTW, how long do you plan on the PCs being in this area? Are they going to spend the rest of the campaign there< or just a few years?

I have posted a short description of my current ideas for this campaign in a neighbouring

thread, titled "The Selonia Campaign". I also intended to upload a first map of Selonia, but

unfortunately the forum software does not accept the upload.

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I have posted a short description of my current ideas for this campaign in a neighbouring

thread, titled "The Selonia Campaign".

Okay, I read the thread. It looks like Selonia is supposed to be the long term setting for the campaign, although it is hard to tell by the phases. In most RPGs three years can be a long time, but in Pendragon it is probably only 3 or 4 game sessions.

But, assuming you are planing on Selonia being the main campaign area, then I'd ignore the new skills and just let the PCs get famialr with tjhe culture over the first year. There isn't really much sense in tracking a new skill in a game like Pendragon where advancement is so slow. Even with 1/2 their Energetic as a booster shot, it's not much fun for a player to fail most of his rolls, and what will happen is that the players will just get frustrated and either stop interacting with the locals, or spend a few years experience on the language and culture at the expense of their knightly skills, slowing their development. In RQ it's different, since a character can get a good working level in any skill in a year or two of game time. In Pendragon with slower progression it becomes something else to drain the PCs training time.

You mostly seem to need the language/cultural barrier for flavor, so I'd say just run it as flavor and not bother with tracking new skills. Just run it that the players are unfamiliar with the setting at first and have them get familiar with it over time. Just say it takes X months or years to get to a certain point and let it happen. If somebody wants to work on it, they could devote skill points to reducing the time. Maybe you give the players a penalty to their social interaction rolls (like Courtesy) with the natives that wears off over time,and can also or could be bought off with skill points.

None of the various cultures presented in Pendragon, including the ones far far away lands have language and culture skills listed becuase it would only detract from the game. The special cultural skills listed for each culture all serve some function.

My big concern is that a PC in Pendragon has about 15 years before he hits the aging table in which to develoip. If he spends 6 of those years devloping new language and culture skills it really hurts them.

Beside, traditionally, rulers didn't bother to learn the local language anyway. The Normans didn't when they took England. And years leater, King Richard spoke French, not English. So the PCs would probably not bother to learn the local language customs but instead force the locals to learn the langauge and customs of their rulers.

I would say that ultimately it depends on what you want the skills for. How do you see players using the new skills?

I also intended to upload a first map of Selonia, but

unfortunately the forum software does not accept the upload.

What format is the map in? Do you just want to post the picture or make it a download?

I know Triff has some restrctions on file uploads to guard against viruses.

Edited by Atgxtg

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You mostly seem to need the language/cultural barrier for flavor, so I'd say just run it as flavor and not bother with tracking new skills. Just run it that the players are unfamiliar with the setting at first and have them get familiar with it over time. Just say it takes X months or years to get to a certain point and let it happen. If somebody wants to work on it, they could devote skill points to reducing the time. Maybe you give the players a penalty to their social interaction rolls (like Courtesy) with the natives that wears off over time,and can also or could be bought off with skill points.

Yes, I think this really is the best way to handle this with the Pendragon system

- thank you very much for your help. :)

What format is the map in? Do you just want to post the picture or make it a download?

It is a simple .png, one of the allowed formats, but when I attempt to upload it I

get a long and (for me) incomprehensible error message. I do not think that Triff

intended to prevent this kind of upload, to me it looks more like an unintentional

software problem.

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I am now using the Pendragon 5.1 edition, but with some of the material

from the 4th edition which did not make it into the later editions, like the

more detailed descriptions of the lands beyond Britain.

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I am now using the Pendragon 5.1 edition, but with some of the material

from the 4th edition which did not make it into the later editions, like the

more detailed descriptions of the lands beyond Britain.

Thank heaven it isn't 5.0!

I was thinking that if you were using KAP4, there was an experience rule from Green Knight that gave the PC three rolls over the winter phase instead of one (but not for the same skill) that could have accommodated adding new skills.

On the forums Greg has been hinting at making APP useful, and adjusting or restricting some skills and honor (medieval thinking, those who are warped within are expected to look the part) by it. You could swipe from RQ/BRP and set base chances for a skill to 1/4 the applicable attribute So if language and culture were under APP they could start at APP/4 instead of zero.

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