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RPGNet review of KAP 5.2

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RPGNet says Greg Stafford's KING ARTHUR PENDRAGON is "an RPG classic now going back to its original publisher, superbly presented and offering one of the greatest, most tightly focused and fully realized roleplaying experiences of all." (Paul StJohn Macintosh review)
https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/17/17889.phtml

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I really don't get the complaint that people can't play sorcerers or wizards as so,e sort of weakness. I mean -- get that some people will expect it and be frustrated that they can't play a magic-user of some sort.

But I then think of the game as is and ask, "Why would you want to fuck that up?"

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I think it's a case of not really understanding what the game is about. One the surface KAP appears similar to many other FRPGs, so many people think that it should have playable wizards and such.

 

Of coruse KAP4 had wizard PCs, and there is a new take on that for kAP 5 in the pipepline, but the focus of the game is still on knights.. 

 

 

Edited by Atgxtg

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32 minutes ago, creativehum said:

I really don't get the complaint that people can't play sorcerers or wizards as so,e sort of weakness. I mean -- get that some people will expect it and be frustrated that they can't play a magic-user of some sort.

But I then think of the game as is and ask, "Why would you want to fuck that up?"

My understanding is that there will be an expansion/sister game coming out at some time where you can play magician characters. 

However, I agree that the tight focus of the game around Knights allows for a more authentic and deeper experience for the core game. 

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58 minutes ago, TrippyHippy said:

My understanding is that there will be an expansion/sister game coming out at some time where you can play magician characters. 

From what I hear though it will be different than in KAP4. Apparently one of the things that magicians will be able to do is temporarily run adventures as the GM. The idea being to pull a "Merlin" and send the PKs on some sort of Quest.

 

 

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On 12/24/2018 at 10:22 PM, Atgxtg said:

I think it's a case of not really understanding what the game is about. One the surface KAP appears similar to many other FRPGs, so many people think that it should have playable wizards and such.

Well... yes.

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23 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

From what I hear though it will be different than in KAP4. Apparently one of the things that magicians will be able to do is temporarily run adventures as the GM. The idea being to pull a "Merlin" and send the PKs on some sort of Quest.

Yep, I don't know an awful lot about it as of yet, but the commentary said they'd found a way to make it work - so that means gameplay could be quite different.

Edited by TrippyHippy

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11 hours ago, creativehum said:

Well... yes.

Take a look at the thread  where someone was asking about the game and how it took several posts from several us us to really drive home the point that KAP is about playing Knights, period. Itsomething that most gamers just won't understand until they play the game and start to see how the standard FRP characters and themes don't fit in the Arthurian world.  Yes, both characters and the game can be adapted to accommodate such characters, Pagan Shores, Saxons, and Land of the Giants do just that, but all do so by shifting the focus of the game away from knights.

Magicians present another problem is that you have character parity issues to deal with as well. Most standard FRPGs are constructed so that all characters of equivalent experience have equivalent capabilities. That is a 10th level wizard is supposed to be just as powerful as a 10th level fighter, just in different ways. But that';s not necessarily the case for something like Pendragon, where Magicans can do things that are impossible for knights. Ars Magica solved this by focusing the game on the magic with everyone else a supporting character. KInda like Pendragon but with magi instead of knights. 

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10 hours ago, TrippyHippy said:

Yep, I don't know an awful lot about it as of yet, but the commentary said they'd found a way to make it work - so that means gameplay could be quite different.

Yes, or maybe not. I could see magicians having goals that they want to accomplish for magical reasons, and needing knights to accomplish those goals. For instance, if a certain mage wanted to get a certain magical sword from a Lady of the Lake, but had to get past Unseliee monsters to do so, then he might be better off getting some knights to fight the monsters than to try and  confront them magically. Especially in a game without a lot of direct damage offensive spells. 

So magicians could have some sort of agenda, and work behind the scenes to manipulate knights into accomplishing their goals for them.That would fit with the literature, and keep the focus of the game on knights.

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Take a look at the thread  where someone was asking about the game and how it took several posts from several us us to really drive home the point that KAP is about playing Knights, period. Itsomething that most gamers just won't understand until they play the game and start to see how the standard FRP characters and themes don't fit in the Arthurian world.  Yes, both characters and the game can be adapted to accommodate such characters, Pagan Shores, Saxons, and Land of the Giants do just that, but all do so by shifting the focus of the game away from knights.

Magicians present another problem is that you have character parity issues to deal with as well. Most standard FRPGs are constructed so that all characters of equivalent experience have equivalent capabilities. That is a 10th level wizard is supposed to be just as powerful as a 10th level fighter, just in different ways. But that';s not necessarily the case for something like Pendragon, where Magicans can do things that are impossible for knights. Ars Magica solved this by focusing the game on the magic with everyone else a supporting character. KInda like Pendragon but with magi instead of knights. 

Like I said... yes.

And keep in mind, I was specifically referencing the review linked to at the top of this thread. The reviewer took the time to read through the entire game carefully... and then made the complaint I mentioned above. Given the detail the reviewer offered, I was surprised he made this complaint. 

That's all.

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I'm not disagree or arguing with you here. YOu, like most Pendragon players" get it". It's just that these people don't "get it". They  are coming from another world.

Years ago I was trying to explain RQ to a D&D player, andm, once he saw what one cult  (Humakt) got for gifts and he couldn't understand why anyone would want top p[lay anything else. Everything about the game was evaluated from that "this class gets more than that one" point of view.

KAP doesn't have things like balanced classes or game balance in general,  controlled steady  escalation,  or any of that. So people coming from that mindset just don't "get" it. In D&D you don't hand out a +5 Sword to a low level character. If you did lots of people would come out of the woodwork and tell you that you did something wrong and why it was wrong. But that's exactly what happens with Arthur. Low level Squire gets to be king and gets a powerful magic sword, etc. etc.

Ironically, what makes Pendragon work so well for Arthurian knights is precisely what makes it work so poorly for something else. Yeah, it can be adapted, but at the expense of loosing what makes it such a great game for Knights. If somebody ever altered Pendragon to make it more like "mainstream" FRPGs then there would kinda be no point in playing it. No game does D&D better than D&D. 

Edited by Atgxtg

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The current focus of the game is to play knights.  The rules are set up for that.  The Book of Magic is about the use of magic in an Arthurian game and how best to use it. Yes, there will be an option to play magic-using characters.  Yes, they will be scaled appropriately. But, they are not knights and are not meant to be on the same "level" as the knights.  And, as far as I know, there are no plans to make it play more "mainstream".  But, there are options for gm's.  The one rule I like most is, YPMV (Your Pendragon May Vary) where one gm can run a high powered game, and the next can play a gritty, dark ages campaign. A third can be running the GPC verbatam, while a fourth can run a campaign set in Cumbria, or Cambria, away from Arthur.

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OH yes, the game system is certainly flexible, and GMs can modify things quite a bit. It wouldn't be too difficult to run a "historical" Arthur with KAP, and I still want to one day have a PK draw the Sword from the Stone and discover their "true" parentage.

What Creativehum brought up is how some people believe that KAP is somehow flawed because it's set up for knights and not like typical FRPGs with their assortment of warriors, wizards, elves and the like.

 

BTW, Hzard10 welcome to the BRP forums. 

 

 

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Thanks, for the welcome. 

(Shameless Plug, here) Book of Sires is set between the years of 439 and 484 with the addition of a Salisbury Anarchy appendix addition.  It is possible to set up the exact scenario of a PK pulling the sword.  After all, what determines the right to pull it?  How did the sword get there?  Is it the same as Excalibur?  What happens afterwards?   

If the gm determines the right to pull is blood, then who says Constantin or Aurelius did not have another unknown son?  After all, Uther did.  Could Uther have a second unknown son as well?

Back to the point, do people feel Ars Magica is broken or flawed because the main characters are mages?  Perhaps they are put out because they want to play a thief.  Well, you can in Pendragon, but it is not all that fun. But, during the anarchy, go ahead and set yourself up as a robber baron. If going by the book, the PC might be in a bit of trouble when Arthur comes around, but nothing says you can't be a "sheriff of N..."

Be creative, and you might find there is a whole list of things you can do.

 

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1 hour ago, Hzark10 said:

Thanks, for the welcome. 

I'm hoping that we get to see a lot more of the Pendragon gang from Nocturnal over here, now that Chasoium has Pendragon, and will the pollution of the Nocturnal forums.

Quote

(Shameless Plug, here) Book of Sires is set between the years of 439 and 484 with the addition of a Salisbury Anarchy appendix addition.  It is possible to set up the exact scenario of a PK pulling the sword.  After all, what determines the right to pull it?  How did the sword get there?  Is it the same as Excalibur?  What happens afterwards?   

First off, any idea when BoS is due out. I know before the transition the talk was by the end of the year, but that window is closing pretty fast.

As far as a PK pulling the sword, well way back (KAP3's Boy King) I came up with that idea. Put a PK in Arthur's role,and the other PKs would be his young friends and go from there. I'd probably need to use Merlin in a sort of deus et machina role early on so save the Pks bacon much the way Merlin saves Arthur's for the first few years. 

I never did it for a few reasons. For one it's a big departure from the normal campaign. Secondly,. it would be very tough on the PK's especially "Arthur".I also made the mistake of mentioning it to my players so they were alert and looking out for it, which partially defeated the point of doing it- the total surprise factor. On the plus side, though my players are never sure just how the "Sword in the Stone" will play out. 

Quote

If the gm determines the right to pull is blood, then who says Constantin or Aurelius did not have another unknown son?  After all, Uther did.  Could Uther have a second unknown son as well?

Yeah. My idea was that a PK was really Arthur, and that his parentage was kept secret to protect him. 

Quote

Backto the point, do people feel Ars Magica is broken or flawed because the main characters are mages? 

We don't, but I think there are those "mainstream" gamers who do. I used to game with a guy who had a terrible time playing a wizard in Decipher's LotR. The problems were of his own doing. He refused to use any weapon other than a staff or dagger (because it was "wrong": for wizards to be able to use other weapons) and kept running into problems with his magical capabilities compared to D&D. And problems because the High Elves were more like D&D Grey elves and vice versa. The latter proved quite humorous when the player tried to show how LOR was "wrong". It pretty much boiled down to Gygax not really knowing his Tolkien that well.  

I think that's the problem some people have with Pendragon. They expect it to work like D&D and believe that something is wrong with the game if it doesn't. 

Quote

 

Perhaps they are put out because they want to play a thief.  Well, you can in Pendragon, but it is not all that fun. But, during the anarchy, go ahead and set yourself up as a robber baron. If going by the book, the PC might be in a bit of trouble when Arthur comes around, but nothing says you can't be a "sheriff of N..."

Be creative, and you might find there is a whole list of things you can do.

 

Oh sure. The game mechanics are based off of RQ/BRP and are a solid enough foundation to use for just about anything. A GM would probably want to even need to adjust some rules to handle other character types well (thieves would need to make a lot of things skills instead of just using DEX, IMO). But I don't think it is a case of what the game can handle or not, just some people believing that something is wrong about KAP because it doesn't have the usually FRPG mix of character types. Pendragon is really a game about Knights. 

Edited by Atgxtg

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I discussed with Greg over the summer about making a "Book of Ladies", where courtly intrigue and female protagonists are put front and center. We also talked about female knights in medieval literature, which, if properly adapted, would make the game more interesting to many players.

The main issue with PC magicians is that their natural enemies and allies are other magicians, not knights, which undermines the idea of a 'mixed party'. Obviously, evil sorcerers are taken down by knights in several romances, but these characters tend to be one-offs.

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1 hour ago, TrippyHippy said:

Personally, I don't think a 'mixed party' would be good for the game.

It's precisely what occurs in many Arthurian romances: the Triple Quest, all the variants of Lynette and Gareth (there's a half-dozen or so), and several episodes in the Grail romances. Usually a 'lady' or handmaiden with a knight, but sometimes a magician or enchantress.

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No, I don't have a time table of when Book of Sires will be released.  Maybe David does, but I have not been included. I imagine once the Chaosium people get everything settled, we will see more production and not less.

I will have to learn how to do the multiple quotes with my comments in between.

 

 

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On 12/29/2018 at 10:57 PM, Hzark10 said:

No, I don't have a time table of when Book of Sires will be released.  Maybe David does, but I have not been included. I imagine once the Chaosium people get everything settled, we will see more production and not less.

, I wonder what trait to roll for Patient? Ah well, at least we know it's still on the way. I just hope there nothing in SIRES that will cause any major problems from my 410 AD campaign. I doubt things can get too far out of whack as long as I stick to the scripted timeline for the births, change of kingships and such. 

On 12/29/2018 at 10:57 PM, Hzark10 said:

I will have to learn how to do the multiple quotes with my comments in between.

Put your cursor in between the sections you want to break and do two carriage returns. That should divide the quote into two sections, like I just did with your quote.

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5 hours ago, Atgxtg said:
Quote

I will have to learn how to do the multiple quotes with my comments in between.

Put your cursor in between the sections you want to break and do two carriage returns. That should divide the quote into two sections, like I just did with your quote.

Or just highlight the text to be commented and press the Quote Selection button that magically appears. It also quotes quotes, which is really handy.

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On 12/27/2018 at 10:03 PM, jeffjerwin said:

I discussed with Greg over the summer about making a "Book of Ladies", where courtly intrigue and female protagonists are put front and center. We also talked about female knights in medieval literature, which, if properly adapted, would make the game more interesting to many players.

Jeff I for one would buy such a product in a heartbeat. Both for the expanded treatment of lady-knights but also for the material to run better court intrigue, romance and other lady-centered events. I think there's a lot of respectful ground that could be covered regarding the role of female power in the setting and literature, and how it is exercised.

And that's aside from female knights, where you have semi-fantasy versions in the literature for Charlemagne who are both exceptionally martial and take different approaches to interacting with their male counterparts. (Brandemante the romantic and Marfisa the "sword saint", in particular.)

 

--Khanwulf

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The key to King Arthur's success is the retelling of the tale with each culture/time period emphasis on it.  In modern times, we recognize the possibility of females being more prominent in fiction (The Deeds of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon), to strong female leads (Mists of Avalon). My own group has at least one regular female player who loves the spotlight as much as anyone else.  Most times she plays a female component, but sometimes she switches genders, as does some of the male counterparts. 

Having a more detailed treatment of such would benefit everyone, I feel.

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I agree. And one of the nice things about the "Book of" approach to things is that GMs who don't want it don't have to buy or use it. 

As far as female knights go, I think the book would need to spell out just how that would work. As a GM I'm less concerned about letting women fight like the men (the Cymri, Saxons etc. all had warrior women as part of their cultures) than I am about the social repercussions of female knights on the feudal structure. Stuff like:

  • Who inherits land from a female knight? The eldest son, the eldest daughter, or just the eldest child?
  • What happens, land wise when a female knight marries a male knight? Does the husband get control of both estates? The one with the most glory? Are they kept separate? If the wife dies does the husband keep her land or get 1/3rd of it value to maintain himself? And, again,  just how does that all impact inheritance? 

So if the Book of Ladies allowed female knights, it would open up a big can of worms that would need to be sorted out- and it a way that didn't ruin the feel of the game. My suggestion would be to treat female knights either as one offs (so everything defualts to the norm, except for the handful of female knights), or along family and county lines (so that in the family of Boudicea in the lands of the Iceni, the women always were the warriors and so they are Knights and can hold land in that area). 

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