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dstack1776

Thoughts on Using Book of Knights & Ladies

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In prepping a Pengragon 5.2 campaign, I've been working with one player online to generate his character. He was rather taken with the idea of an Irish character who settled in Logres so we used the Book of Sires to generate a family history.

What I've been toying with is how to generate starting skills - having been in Salisbury since the age of around 10, should he be a standard Cymric Knight of an Irish Knight. And while an Irish Knight would use The Book of Knights & Ladies, I notice that even for Cymric Knights the starting skill values for Cymric Knights in the Uther period are different from those in 5.x core books. Is there a consensus on which generation method is preferable (even for just Cymric Knights). I do find it noteworthy that there's been plenty of time to have done so, with BoKaL being a fairly old book, but those starting skill values and spear mastery never having made it to any of the 5.x books.

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After a quick check of Early Cymric Male, I counted 10 more skill points in K&L, +4 given that Spear Expertise 10 also gives Spear 10 instead of 6. This is about 4 years worth of skill training.

For Late Cymric Male, I get 9+4, almost the same difference.

Then again, as it says in p. 23 of K&L, The Cymri have been deliberately made to be the minmaxers choice in K&L, which might explain why their skills are boosted.

Personally, I dislike the cultural speciality skills. It is not an issue when everyone shares a culture, but balancing them against one another is not a trivial task, and even worse, IMHO, they lock each culture to a certain role. If you want to be a troubadour type, you SHOULD be Irish. You are simply so much more superior than any other culture could be, with your Music Speciality Skill, especially once you hit 16+, let alone 21+. A scheming master of whispers should be a Roman, and so forth. If you go against the preferred type, you throw out your advantage and suffer for it.

On the other hand, the basic KAP 5.x book doesn't offer other cultures than Cymric. If you are going to have only Cymric knights, again, it is not a big issue. K&L simply gives them a bit more of a leg up, if you want the characters to start with a few more skill points. Since it is mainly improving low skills, it is not a big deal. However, if you are mixing cultures and want there to be a difference, then it seems wiser to go fully K&L for Cymric characters, too. However, in that case, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, my preference would be to simply remove the speciality skills and replace the ordinary skills with their value. So the Cymric knight would start with Spear and Lance at 10, while the Irish knight would start with Compose, Play and Singing at 10.

AFAIK, KAP5.2 was mainly a layout update, with only minor rules corrections, despite Greg having clearly decided on very different rulings on, e.g., Chivalric Bonus, Heiresses, Family Knights, Marriage Table and Childbirth, to name a few.

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Oh, one BIG thing that I forgot to highlight:

BoK&L Luck tables are MUCH MUCH more generous both in coin (tens of libra vs. about £1) as well as in magical/wondrous items. IMHO, many of those magic items are not well balanced, and some of them are downright game breaking for me. Thus, I would recommend against BoK&L Luck tables, unless you like the idea of each of your PKs being able to (potentially) use magic items (2/3rds, on a quick look on Cymric males, including magical animals). Me, I prefer magic being a bit more distant and rare. Not to mention that most of these items would be something my PKs would happily kill the previous owners for, they are simply that good!

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On 6/1/2019 at 11:12 AM, dstack1776 said:

In prepping a Pengragon 5.2 campaign, I've been working with one player online to generate his character. He was rather taken with the idea of an Irish character who settled in Logres so we used the Book of Sires to generate a family history.

What I've been toying with is how to generate starting skills - having been in Salisbury since the age of around 10, should he be a standard Cymric Knight of an Irish Knight. And while an Irish Knight would use The Book of Knights & Ladies, I notice that even for Cymric Knights the starting skill values for Cymric Knights in the Uther period are different from those in 5.x core books. Is there a consensus on which generation method is preferable (even for just Cymric Knights). I do find it noteworthy that there's been plenty of time to have done so, with BoKaL being a fairly old book, but those starting skill values and spear mastery never having made it to any of the 5.x books.

 

In my campaign I allowed a player who squired his son to a Berroc Saxon the ability to choose which skill set to start with, Cymirc or Saxon. I figured the mixed cutlrual upbringing could allow for either package. You could allow your Irish PK raised in Salisbury the same. Let the player take a peek at the differences in starting skills and compare cultural specialties. That way it is up to him, ad if he loses points or has a poor score in one skill or another he has only himself to blame.

 

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On 6/1/2019 at 3:43 PM, Morien said:

Oh, one BIG thing that I forgot to highlight:

BoK&L Luck tables are MUCH MUCH more generous both in coin (tens of libra vs. about £1) as well as in magical/wondrous items. IMHO, many of those magic items are not well balanced, and some of them are downright game breaking for me. Thus, I would recommend against BoK&L Luck tables, unless you like the idea of each of your PKs being able to (potentially) use magic items (2/3rds, on a quick look on Cymric males, including magical animals). Me, I prefer magic being a bit more distant and rare. Not to mention that most of these items would be something my PKs would happily kill the previous owners for, they are simply that good!

There are certainly not balanced in anyway., nor were they intended to be. I've seen some players get some really nice items, while others got little of of worth. I've also some some nice stuff (like pets) die off right away, but potentially could have expanded into an insane money machine. 

I have mixed feelings towards this. On the one hand I'm not a strong believer in balanced characters. IOn the other, I feel for a player who gets a handful of denarii while another player gets a destrier, magical sword, or marvelous underjerkin. 

Maybe the Luck table could be revised to group items of similar usefulness and power on the same tier? Players could spend some of the chargen picks to upgrade their luck to a higher tiered table. 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

There are certainly not balanced in anyway., nor were they intended to be. I've seen some players get some really nice items, while others got little of of worth. I've also some some nice stuff (like pets) die off right away, but potentially could have expanded into an insane money machine. 

Funnily enough, I am not TOO bothered by the wonderful mouser cat nor even the fantastic goose. £1 extra per year is not that much, and given that they are as likely to die as to procreate, the population probably won't explode. Especially the cat is easy to limit to 1 per manor, since it is already killing all the rats; extra cats need to be gifted to friends/allies.

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I have mixed feelings towards this. On the one hand I'm not a strong believer in balanced characters. IOn the other, I feel for a player who gets a handful of denarii while another player gets a destrier, magical sword, or marvelous underjerkin. 

I am particularly against one player rolling from KAP 5.2 and rolling 1 =  3d20 denarii (i.e. insignificant, averaging 31.5d) and another rolling from BoK&L and rolling the same 1 but getting £30, a difference of over x200!

We tried to split the difference with BoSires, where the values are from £2 to £20 or so. There is still a big gap between someone having a Sword that gives +1 to skill and someone getting a £2 goblet, but at least the difference is not a factor of hundreds.

I'd also be totally fine giving each new PK like £1d3+1 in savings, just to give them some spending money.

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Maybe the Luck table could be revised to group items of similar usefulness and power on the same tier? Players could spend some of the chargen picks to upgrade their luck to a higher tiered table.

That could be a possibility, although I think I would advocate leaving it up to the GM if they want to have a magical items commonly around or if it is something quite rare, in their campaign. I do think that some of the BoK&L are quite neat and would make fine quest reward items for the PKs to find. What I object to is that each PK would start with one, simply by the luck of the roll.

 

The differences of chargen between KAP 5.2 and BoK&L, in the starting skills & Luck Table, is annoying to me, since it creates differences between characters based simply on what book happens to be used when they make their characters, placing the players in a differential status. Granted, what goes around comes around, so I would be less bothered if the group decides to shift to BoK&L for the 2nd generation or something like that. But it would clearly be unfair if when making their characters one player uses KAP 5.2 and the other uses BoK&L.

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5 hours ago, Morien said:

Funnily enough, I am not TOO bothered by the wonderful mouser cat nor even the fantastic goose. £1 extra per year is not that much, and given that they are as likely to die as to procreate, the population probably won't explode. Especially the cat is easy to limit to 1 per manor, since it is already killing all the rats; extra cats need to be gifted to friends/allies.

I am bother by them, in part because I had a PK in my campaign  who was a household knight  get the cat and it died off before he ever benefited from it. Meanwhile a couple other PKs who were "poor knights" Started with over £25, and ended up anything but poor.

Limiting the cat to one per manor makes sense although the RAW does not. While the fantastic pet can die off, if a PK gets lucky early on thier numbers could swell to the point that they become a self-sustaining population. A dozen golden geese are a great source of income, better than anything a PK could build on his manor.

5 hours ago, Morien said:

I am particularly against one player rolling from KAP 5.2 and rolling 1 =  3d20 denarii (i.e. insignificant, averaging 31.5d) and another rolling from BoK&L and rolling the same 1 but getting £30, a difference of over x200!

I don't mind that so much, there are such variances historically and in real life, but I do mind that this is independent on the PKs supposed wealth level. As I mentioned I've had poor knights who rolled a lot of money and were able to outfit themselves as rich rich knight. IMO rolls on the wealth table should factor the knight wealth level into account.  

5 hours ago, Morien said:

I'd also be totally fine giving each new PK like £1d3+1 in savings, just to give them some spending money.

Yup. Basically some of it being what was left over from the money raised to knight the character or some such, although again I think it should vary by wealth level. 

5 hours ago, Morien said:

That could be a possibility, although I think I would advocate leaving it up to the GM if they want to have a magical items commonly around or if it is something quite rare, in their campaign. I do think that some of the BoK&L are quite neat and would make fine quest reward items for the PKs to find. What I object to is that each PK would start with one, simply by the luck of the roll.

What I think would work best would be several tables. A money table, a quality items table (i.e. a sword, saddle, spear etc. that grants a +1 to skill, damage or such but out of quality and craftsmanship), a potion table (with various  potions and ointments of varying power and number of uses - the more powerful the benefit the fewer times it could be used), and a wondrous item table (with the less powerful magical items at the low end and the greater, more powerful items grouped at the top, probably above 20)

Each PK could spend a chargen pick to roll on one of the tables., and the GM could limit or prohibit rolling on certain tables. Two picks could be combined to give a bonus to the roll (+5 or +10) to get at the better stuff. The money table would also have a modifier based on the PKs wealth level. 

 

5 hours ago, Morien said:

The differences of chargen between KAP 5.2 and BoK&L, in the starting skills & Luck Table, is annoying to me, since it creates differences between characters based simply on what book happens to be used when they make their characters, placing the players in a differential status. Granted, what goes around comes around, so I would be less bothered if the group decides to shift to BoK&L for the 2nd generation or something like that. But it would clearly be unfair if when making their characters one player uses KAP 5.2 and the other uses BoK&L.

I have the same feeling about the differences in the family characteristics table, although the differences there are not as pronounced.

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6 hours ago, Morien said:

The differences of chargen between KAP 5.2 and BoK&L, in the starting skills & Luck Table, is annoying to me, since it creates differences between characters based simply on what book happens to be used when they make their characters, placing the players in a differential status. Granted, what goes around comes around, so I would be less bothered if the group decides to shift to BoK&L for the 2nd generation or something like that. But it would clearly be unfair if when making their characters one player uses KAP 5.2 and the other uses BoK&L.

I think this is the key (bold = my emphasis). Based on what I've seen, either you start with BoK&L or switch when you create a character that is playing with those who have already been on a few quests or much more experienced.

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1 hour ago, Hzark10 said:

I think this is the key (bold = my emphasis). Based on what I've seen, either you start with BoK&L or switch when you create a character that is playing with those who have already been on a few quests or much more experienced.

The good news in this is that the differences are less important in an existing campaign, as only new characters without established families need/use the luck table. Everyone else inherits. 

That phases most of the benefits of the Luck table out of play by the time you get to the second generation of characters.

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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

That phases most of the benefits of the Luck table out of play by the time you get to the second generation of characters.

True, but if you are one of the unlucky ones who loses out with all inheritable characters either being non-existent, or waiting 15 years or so (and unwilling to play uncle, brother, etc), then the higher luck results gives some equality.

But, in the end, it is up to the gamemaster and the type of campaign being run.

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10 hours ago, Morien said:

The differences of chargen between KAP 5.2 and BoK&L, in the starting skills & Luck Table, is annoying to me, since it creates differences between characters based simply on what book happens to be used when they make their characters, placing the players in a differential status. Granted, what goes around comes around, so I would be less bothered if the group decides to shift to BoK&L for the 2nd generation or something like that. But it would clearly be unfair if when making their characters one player uses KAP 5.2 and the other uses BoK&L.

KAP has definitely had some consistency problems over the years, which is a bit annoying.  Mostly, I think Greg was just constantly playing, fidgeting and designing, which I can understated.  There are multiple chargen systems, multiple battle systems, multiple economic systems, etc.  I think you just have to pick one or some mixed subset that you prefer and go with it.  Fortunately, the basic rules are pretty stable so its easy to mix and match.  You could always use starting skills for BoK&L, ignore ethinic specialties and use KAP 5.2 Luck tables...

One think I would hope for in any new edition/publication is an attempt to standardize within the edition. 

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1 hour ago, Hzark10 said:

True, but if you are one of the unlucky ones who loses out with all inheritable characters either being non-existent, or waiting 15 years or so (and unwilling to play uncle, brother, etc), then the higher luck results gives some equality.

But, in the end, it is up to the gamemaster and the type of campaign being run.

I agree with both statements.

 

1 hour ago, fulk said:

KAP has definitely had some consistency problems over the years, which is a bit annoying.  Mostly, I think Greg was just constantly playing, fidgeting and designing, which I can understated.  There are multiple chargen systems, multiple battle systems, multiple economic systems, etc.  I think you just have to pick one or some mixed subset that you prefer and go with it.  Fortunately, the basic rules are pretty stable so its easy to mix and match.  You could always use starting skills for BoK&L, ignore ethinic specialties and use KAP 5.2 Luck tables...

Yes, that's the general impression I got. I think it was partly that Greg wanted to tinker with things, and account for new stuff he discovered, but I also think that si\ome of it was that certain sections of the rules were sort of place holders. Greg needed to have something to fill the void so that people could play the game, something that he intended one day to replace with something better.

I also think that the various versions allows a GM to pick a version that fits what he wants, allow GMs to tailor the complexity of an event to suit thier particualr preferences, and play style, even on a case by case basis. 

Quote

One think I would hope for in any new edition/publication is an attempt to standardize within the edition. 

Amen. I think the one thing that I would want to see in KAP6, over anything else, is consistency and standardization. I don't mean in terms of one battle system, I don't mind there being a "short form", "intermediate form" and "long form", like with adventures, but in terms of income, glory awards per rank (i.e compare the award for being a vassal knight from KA 5.2 to Book of Warlord), overall chargen (i.e. so a character built using a supplement is on par to one built from the core book rulebook, and vice versa), typos fixed, unit stats from the BoA made more consistent with the rules, armor consistent between books, etc.

The good news here is that most of that stuff would be fairly easy to do.It's mostly proofreading , updating and correcting. 

 

Edited by Atgxtg

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So for the use of the book of knights and ladies being too over powered in the cultural skill the easiest fix that i've come up with is to take the starting values of the skill from the core rule book and take the cultural skill value add them together then divide by 2 to get an averaged skill. Now mind you I do run the 4th edition rule sets which do give examples for the different cultures of the islands.

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On 6/20/2019 at 2:33 AM, Sir Alexios said:

So for the use of the book of knights and ladies being too over powered

I wouldn't worry about the cultural skills being overpowered.  IMO it's practically a non-issue. In most cases it either overlaps with another combat skill that the PK won't use that much,like how Spear Expertise combines Lance, Greatspear and Spear-Lance is the key skill for a knight. Spear Expertise is probably the most "overpowered" one of the lot. 

On 6/20/2019 at 2:33 AM, Sir Alexios said:

in the cultural skill the easiest fix that i've come up with is to take the starting values of the skill from the core rule book and take the cultural skill value add them together then divide by 2 to get an averaged skill. Now mind you I do run the 4th edition rule sets which do give examples for the different cultures of the islands.

If you are running 4E I don't see a need or reason to use K&L. KAP4 already has the detailed and expanded chargen rules the K&L brought to KAP5. The only reason why I could see using K&L with KAP4 would be to bring in new stuff like the new cultural skills or LUck Tables, and in that case the K&L chargen rules could just supersede KAP4.

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