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Sir Carter

Will The Real King Stand up

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My Platonic Ideal Pendragon Campaign would start off very historically Post-Roman, with merest hints of the anachronisms to come. Tribal identities and bloodlines matter, alongside remnants of Roman villa culture here and there. There are no "Earls" or "Barons" among the Cymri, but "Wledigs" or perhaps "Domini" or "Comiti" where Roman culture lingers.  Names all Latin or Cymru, "Rhydderch" rather than "Roderick." More Mabinogion than Mallory.

The game would open with the characters becoming part of the very first cohort of Emrys Wledig's elite and innovative new Ordo Equestris, formed to restore him as Ambrosius Aurelianus Verum rex Britannia, bringing new ideals of virtue, discipline, and valor to the war-torn land. The hated Saxsons call them "cniht" - meaning "servant" - in mockery of their devotion to the true Wledig, but the Equites Ambrosius have begun to claim it as their own, wearing their enemies' scorn as a badge of honor.

Things would stay pretty Dark Age until the sons and squires of the Emrys Knights who have survived the Anarchy behold the arrival of the Boy King, at which point Britain's embrace of Christianity brings divine blessings of prosperity that allow rapid advances in technology and culture. A generation comes of age who has never known a time where the virtues of Chivalry were not the norm. This then is the Mallory-esque era. Another comes thereafter who have never known civil war or Saxon raids have time for Tennyson-ish Idylls of romance and errantry... until it all comes crashing down.

Then, in the end, when someones current PK falls to a flukey crit, that player's grey haired old PK, perhaps the last survivor of Ambrosius's Knights, with enough annual Glory from virtues, holdings, etc. coming in to slow the ravages of aging rolls enough to still be up and around (if but a shadow of his former stats) mounts up for one last battle.

Edited by JonL
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1 hour ago, JonL said:

Britain's embrace of Christianity

But if you are going historically, (Roman) Britain has been Christian since early 4th century, almost 150 years ago. It is the Celtic Paganism that is anachronistic.

Other than that and the idea that Ambrosius' knights would still be alive at Camlann (being around 120 years old unless you mess the GPC chronology), it sounds very nice. :)

Edited by Morien

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31 minutes ago, Morien said:

But if you are going historically, (Roman) Britain has been Christian since early 4th century, almost 150 years ago. It is the Celtic Paganism that is anachronistic.

In the South, sure. But it was only just catching on up North in the 5th Century, and then there are of course the surviving Saxons to convert after their defeat.

31 minutes ago, Morien said:

Other than that and the idea that Ambrosius' knights would still be alive at Camlann (being around 120 years old unless you mess the GPC chronology)

It's been years since I ran the math, and the annual passive Glory rules may have changed since then, but at least at the time I crunched it out,  a sufficiently pious and chivalrous knight with many notable traits, significant titles and estates, etc, who upon reaching middle age starts putting Glory boosts into his lowest stat at every opportunity could, with a bit of luck, stretch out his gradual decline into decrepitude over an implausibly loooooooong span. 

31 minutes ago, Morien said:

it sounds very nice. :)

Thanks.

Edited by JonL

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26 minutes ago, Morien said:

But if you are going historically, (Roman) Britain has been Christian since early 4th century, almost 150 years ago. It is the Celtic Paganism that is anachronistic.

Legend is that Britain was Christian, and there certainly was Christianity there, but the thing is that we don't really know. If it was much like the rest of the Empire, then Christianity didn't really reach much past urban areas at this time. So JonL's game could be spot on! :)

SDLeary

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Based on those assorted barbarians books I read in the mid to late '80s, Celtic Christianity was more laid back about evangelization than the Roman Catholic variety that ultimately replaced it.  In fact, I got the general impression that the Roman missionaries were sort of disgusted by their co-religionists' lackluster performance and that it was that as much as any doctrinal disagreements that caused them to root out and replace their predecessors.

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31 minutes ago, seneschal said:

Based on those assorted barbarians books I read in the mid to late '80s, Celtic Christianity was more laid back about evangelization than the Roman Catholic variety that ultimately replaced it.  In fact, I got the general impression that the Roman missionaries were sort of disgusted by their co-religionists' lackluster performance and that it was that as much as any doctrinal disagreements that caused them to root out and replace their predecessors.

It looks like the Welsh didn't even attempt to convert the Saesneg. But the real source of conflict was that the Kentish royal house had made marriage alliances with the Merovingians and the Roman Church was pro-Frankish at the time. To the British, who considered themselves heirs to Rome, I suspect that rankled.

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44 minutes ago, seneschal said:

Based on those assorted barbarians books I read in the mid to late '80s, Celtic Christianity was more laid back about evangelization than the Roman Catholic variety that ultimately replaced it.  In fact, I got the general impression that the Roman missionaries were sort of disgusted by their co-religionists' lackluster performance and that it was that as much as any doctrinal disagreements that caused them to root out and replace their predecessors.

Yes, plus it seems that a lot of the Celtic Christians were also still partially pagan. It was common practice with polytheistic faiths to just add a new god or goddess to the list. Some new god want's us to say prayers and be nice to each other and will grant us eternal life after death? Okay, sounds like a good deal, I'm in. I still got to leave out sacrifices for the old gods though, or they will curse  and plague me in this world.

It's probably why later on the Catholic Church would try to co-opt local deities as saints (Brigid- St. Brigit) or as legendary heroes whose time had already passed (Odin). Basically buying up and absorbing the competition.

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19 hours ago, JonL said:

It's been years since I ran the math, and the annual passive Glory rules may have changed since then, but at least at the time I crunched it out,  a sufficiently pious and chivalrous knight with many notable traits, significant titles and estates, etc, who upon reaching middle age starts putting Glory boosts into his lowest stat at every opportunity could, with a bit of luck, stretch out his gradual decline into decrepitude over an implausibly loooooooong span. 

Duke Eldol is over there, smirking.

Also, you could have a half-fae character or one who's spent some time in Faerie.

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20 hours ago, JonL said:

It's been years since I ran the math, and the annual passive Glory rules may have changed since then, but at least at the time I crunched it out,  a sufficiently pious and chivalrous knight with many notable traits, significant titles and estates, etc, who upon reaching middle age starts putting Glory boosts into his lowest stat at every opportunity could, with a bit of luck, stretch out his gradual decline into decrepitude over an implausibly loooooooong span. 

Yeah that is mostly true, although the sufficiently chivalrous part has become much tougher.That math works out to around a 93% chance of losing a point every year, or about a point of the lowest stat every 5 years. So statistically a character who can make 200 glory per year can, in theory, offset the loss in the lowest stat. Factor in for adventuring and the PK copuld, last quite a long time. Someone like Lancelot, who can rack up over 1000 glory a year, consistently, is nearly immune to the effects of aging. Nearly.

The great equalizer is that, with bad rolls a character can lose multiple points in stats, somethings multiple points in the same stat. This is what seems to really put PKs into decline rather than a gradual process. Especially when multiple bad years come close together. I've seen PKs who've reach 40 without losing any attributes, take a sudden, rapid decline when they rolled a 2 one year, an 11 the next, and they lost a damage die and hit points. I had one player who didn't want to give up a PK with a 35 Sword skill, and eventually would up doing 3d6 damage. He'd critical a lot, but a 6d6 hit is only above average. And the extra two decades or so spent with the older character ended up coming at the expense of the next character, who, because he wasn't played, missed out on all that glory, and  all those glory points which got spent trying to fight off aging. 

 

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

I had one player who didn't want to give up a PK with a 35 Sword skill, and eventually would up doing 3d6 damage. He'd critical a lot, but a 6d6 hit is only above average

A Venerable Lord with racked up a 25+ Spear Expertise in his youth though remains one heck of a glass cannon in the saddle, as his steed still lends him damage dice on a charge. He would not survive a protracted fight, as his faded SIZ & CON mean one good hit is going to put him down, but for as long as he can "charge, fight defensively, withdraw, repeat..." his Last Ride will be a hell of a show. 

Hopefully, the grandson of a long-dead Saxon, a former-foe who became a friend and ally after the Venerable Lord spared his life in the name of Christ's mercy,  can seek him out with the gift of a Raven Banner.

Edited by JonL

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8 hours ago, JonL said:

A Venerable Lord with racked up a 25+ Spear Expertise in his youth though remains one heck of a glass cannon in the saddle, as his steed still lends him damage dice on a charge. He would not survive a protracted fight, as his faded SIZ & CON mean one good hit is going to put him down, but for as long as he can "charge, fight defensively, withdraw, repeat..." his Last Ride will be a hell of a show. 

Yeah, I've seen that quite a bit with older PKs. Greg even mentions it in one of the KAP4 books, with older knights having the advantage on horse compared to younger knights, who will often do better on foot. a PK with a high Sword skill but whose damage stat is slipping is a prime example. 

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On 11/4/2019 at 3:47 PM, Morien said:

But if you are going historically, (Roman) Britain has been Christian since early 4th century, almost 150 years ago. It is the Celtic Paganism that is anachronistic.

 

On 11/4/2019 at 10:13 PM, Atgxtg said:

Yes, plus it seems that a lot of the Celtic Christians were also still partially pagan. It was common practice with polytheistic faiths to just add a new god or goddess to the list. Some new god want's us to say prayers and be nice to each other and will grant us eternal life after death? Okay, sounds like a good deal, I'm in. I still got to leave out sacrifices for the old gods though, or they will curse  and plague me in this world.

It's probably why later on the Catholic Church would try to co-opt local deities as saints (Brigid- St. Brigit) or as legendary heroes whose time had already passed (Odin). Basically buying up and absorbing the competition.

In pondering this dynamic, an interesting modern point of reference is that the country folk of Britain in the late-4th to mid-5th centuries have had their previous henotheism suppressed/supplanted by Christianity for only about half as long as modern adherents of Santeria/Lukumi/Vodoun have today. The "old gods in saint-drag" paradigm is strikingly parallel. In that context, I expect strict monotheism reigned only within earshot of the nearest Bishop.

Edited by JonL
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20 minutes ago, JonL said:

 

In pondering this dynamic, an interesting modern point of reference is that the country folk of Britain in the late-4th to mid-5th centuries have had their previous henotheism suppressed/supplanted by Christianity for only about half as long as modern adherents of Santeria/Lukumi/Vodoun have today. The "old gods in saint-drag" paradigm is strikingly parallel. In that context, I expect strict monotheism reigned only within earshot of the nearest Bishop.

Probably not even that long. From what I've read, British Christianity was really more of a blend between Christian and Pagan beliefs. Even in later periods when Christianity was the only religion in Britain, most common folk would still leave out offerings to the old gods  and to the faeries.

It partly has to do with polytheistic cultures. Rather than deny the existence of a new god or a rival group of gods, most polytheistic culture just accept the existence of these other gods and try to accommodate them accordingly, if possible. Thus British people would become Christian and worship God and take Christ to be their savior, and go to heaven after death (a good deal), but they will also still leave out offerings to the old gods and perform rituals and ceremonies to stay on their good side.

When the Romans conquered the Isle of Man  their forces were met with a group of hostile Druids and maiden assistants, on some sort of platform. The roman Legions tore into the Druids who put up no resistance. Then the assistants threw torches onto the platform, which lit up, becoming a bonfire. The Romans suddenly realized that they had been duped into helping thr Druids perform some sort of human sacrifice and feared just what sort of curse they had brought down upon themselves.

So if you look at it from the view of absorbing anew religion into existing beliefs rather than converting people away from the older relgion, you get a better idea of w hat was  happening. T he Pelegian "hersey" was in part about preventing this sort of fusion. And the Pope back William of Normany's invasion in hope of finally stamping  out this sort of mix. Eventually the Church ended up reverse tactics and started to absorb local gods and goddess into the chruch dogma as Saitns, allowing the chruch some means to direct the worship and ultimately to eliminate those cults.  

The Ladies of the Lake in Pendragon are probably the remnants of the older Celtic water goddess and faeries, combined with the Matriarchal Celtic Christianity. For the dynamic you probably wouldn't be too far off if you thought of some sort of  blend of New Age Pagan and Christian groups with members having female priests with a belief with female priests, whose members beleive and practice magic.

 

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2 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Isle of Man

Mann doesn't look like it was conquered by Rome, though they knew about it. It WAS settled/conquered by Gaels in the 4th C. You are thinking of Anglesey.

SDLeary

 

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7 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

Mann doesn't look like it was conquered by Rome, though they knew about it. It WAS settled/conquered by Gaels in the 4th C. You are thinking of Anglesey.

SDLeary

 

Yeah, I think your right.  it's been about a Year since I looked that up for my campaign. Ynys Mon, so I probably used Isle of Mon in my notes and mis-remembered it as Man. Good Catch, thanks.

One interesting thing is that considering how tolerate the Romans usually were with  local religions, despite the tribulations of early Christianity,  they made a real effort to wipe out the Druids. The Druids must have really have engaged in something that the Romans found extremely unacceptable. 

Edited by Atgxtg

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2 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Isle of Man

You mean Mona (Anglesey), I suppose? And this slaugther had tremendous repercussions for druidism in Britain. Druids were persecuted in Gaul too. They were keepers of oral knowledge of this esoteric religion. Their secrets died with them.

Of course, druidism survived in Ireland, but we don't know much of them either. It was an oral tradition, and (christian) monks were not chatty about them. So it's one of the main reason that (celtic) paganism in KAP is historically anachronistic.

2 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

The Druids must have really have engaged in something that the Romans found extremely unacceptable. 

Romans disliked their political power and influence, and druids were really into rebellions against Rome, so...

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34 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

You mean Mona (Anglesey), I suppose?

Uh yup, and SDLeary called  me out on. My bad. 

34 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

And this slaughter had tremendous repercussions for druidism in Britain. Druids were persecuted in Gaul too. They were keepers of oral knowledge of this esoteric religion. Their secrets died with them.

Yes, it why we know very little about British  Druids. What little we do know is usually from Roman sources, and heavily biased.

34 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

Of course, druidism survived in Ireland, but we don't know much of them either. It was an oral tradition, and (christian) monks were not chatty about them. So it's one of the main reason that (celtic) paganism in KAP is historically anachronistic.

Yes, and  it is believed that there were differences between Irish and British Druidic orders, much like everything else between the two lands.

34 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

Romans disliked their political power and influence, and druids were really into rebellions against Rome, so...

It was more than just that.  Look at other lands their conquered, such as Judea. Usually the Romans would leave a lot of the local religions intact, and just demand the locals  make token offerings to Jupiter, pay their taxes, and not cause trouble.  But with the Druids they went out of their way to exterminate them. Now the Romans generally disliked human sacrifice, but some other subjected cultures had it. So there must have been something that the Druids did that the Romans found completely unacceptable, or just scared the hell out of them.

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18 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

But with the Druids they went out of their way to exterminate them.

Only in Britain. We don't see... at least we don't have sources... that happening in Gaul. Though the extermination (or near extermination) in Gaul could have simply been a byproduct of Caesar's wars.

19 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

So there must have been something that the Druids did that the Romans found completely unacceptable, or just scared the hell out of them.

In Britain they were behind most of the uprisings, at least according to the Romans. If they were actively courting rebellion, then I can see the Romans going after them.

SDLeary

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1 hour ago, SDLeary said:

Only in Britain. We don't see... at least we don't have sources... that happening in Gaul. Though the extermination (or near extermination) in Gaul could have simply been a byproduct of Caesar's wars.

Yup. Which makes their extinction in Britain more curious.  It also seems that in many cases the Driuds remained as priests, but they switched to other religions that were better tolerated. So the possiblity of a Druid mystery cult, masquerading as another religion is quite possible.. 

1 hour ago, SDLeary said:

In Britain they were behind most of the uprisings, at least according to the Romans. If they were actively courting rebellion, then I can see the Romans going after them.

SDLeary

But the same holds true for many other lands the Romans conquered and the priest were not exterminated. Plus even the "they were behind most of the uprisings" is all taken from Roman sources. It's like with the Picts. We get very little information, and all of it is through the eyes of their enemy. From the lens of a historian most of this doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

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