Alex Schroeder
2 years agoPublic
I've written about some of the things I'm not enjoying about the game. Tomorrow I'll be running the year 509. The end if the Anarchy period!

Alex Schroeder: 2014-01-18 Pendragon and the Great Pendragon Campaign
Doyle Tavener2 years ago
I think I have run five campaigns over the years, and I have had all the problems you have had. When Greg sez that you will have to improvise 50% of the time, I believe (but don't know) that he means that he does actually improvise 50% of the time, and then he writes more rules to make stuff explicit that he figures out on the fly.

So let me address some of your concerns individually:

Bad weather vs. stewardship: here's what I use:

Manor income starts at 6 lb.

If you roll a crit, it goes up two categories, if the bad weather crits, it goes down two categories.

If you succeed, it goes up one category, if the bad weather succeeds it goes down one category.

If you fail, it goes down one category, if the bad weather fails it goes up one category.

If you roll a fumble, it goes down two categories, if the bad weather fumbles, it goes up two categories. 

The two rolls can cancel each other out. 

12 lb and 0 lb are the limits. You can't get more or less than this. 

12 lb
9 lb
6 lb
3 lb
0 lb

Roll the same bad weather for the entire county. Be sure to add modifiers for the county or individual circumstances. Modifiers should be +1, +1d6, +2d6, or +3d6 for absolutely horrible circumstances. Use modifiers liberally. 

Manor raiding, damage and the like: Start all manors at a base defense rating of 5. If they improve by spending money, add the improvement's rating to the base. Use whatever book you have for manor improvements, or make up your own list and modifiers. 

Raiders have a rating based on the strength of the raiding party, from 5 to 20. Match the raiding strength vs the defense. If the raiders succeed, reduce the defense by 1d6, and increase the bad weather by a like amount. If the defense fumbles or the raiders crit, increase this to 2d6. 

Family tables: To be honest, I make this roll optional after a while. To make a decent table for this, i think you would have create and individualize one customized table for each family, and get the players to fully flesh out and roll up their family. Not every player is willing to do this. It's to much work for too little return. If you create new family tables, I suggest selling them to Greg. :)

Wives: Not what you want to hear, but I use the Book of the Entourage for 'standard wives' and periodically introduce new heiresses. For those stats that you ask about, I figure what the base is for a Cymric (or whatever culture she is ) and add 1d6 to the base. 

Money issues: strongly encourage the knights to immediately spend any extra money. Assume manor income may be bartered or spent freely. Give negative checks when they save money. Let them spend as much income as they wish on manor improvements, fancy clothes, expensive gifts. Make them spend it, so they will feel the pain when it is gone. 

Siege skill: it should only be used by knights in war, whether through invasion or invading. Match the siege of the vs the defense of the  manor (or castle), with attacker success reducing defenses by 1d6. When the defenses are gone, run a battle. 

Winter phase: yes, it has too much bookkeeping. You are absolutely correct. Cheatsheets help. Otherwise, i got nothing. 

Campaign is a railroad. Look, I am of the opinion that not every railroad is automatically badwrongfun. I prefer the term structure myself, though that's semantics, frankly.

Bottom line: If the players get bored, bail off the train, otherwise, it doesn't matter if it's a railroad or not. 

All of this was totally unofficial and all IMNSHO.
Alex Schroeder2 years ago
Thank you very much for these comments. I already feel better for not being alone in my woes. I also appreciate the unofficialness of it all because I'm already suspecting that Greg's other books addd more rules which isn't what I'm looking for right now.

Perhaps what I should try is this: write a random wife generator table which includes skills & manors, write a simple random family event table that adds and removes family members to the tree. I like your system for sieges and defenses. I'll have to give it a try. That reminds me of another issue I've had: what's the mechanical benefit of hiring men-at-arms (for sieges and defense against siege). Based on what you wrote, I guess I could write a table that maps number of attackers and defenders to a numerical value (the raiding value you mentioned) and continue from there. Thus, hiring men-at-arms would help increase this value and therefore hold back larger raiding parties.

As for the railroad, we all knew what we were getting into when we joined the campaign, so that's not bad. It's just that, as a game master, I'm feel more comfortable as running a classic D&D sandbox. The Pendragon campaign has been a learning experience for me, too.
Alex Schroeder2 years ago
Thinking about the family events, I'm thinking of the following, based on the Army section on p. 32 of the rules:
an old knight dies: number of old knights x 10% (use a d10)
a middle-aged knight grows old: number of middle-aged knights x 5% (use a d20)
a young knight grows up: number of young knights x 10% (use a d10)
children are knighted or married off: sum of young and middle-aged knights x 20% (90% ^15) if living normal, x 45% (95% ^15) if living rich, and 50% of all that (because half the years you don't have any children)

Use an appropriate die matching the number of knew family members and roll for the number of daughters. Thus, if 5 new family members are born, use a d6 and roll for the number of daughters.

I'm going to write a little simulator for this, now. :)
Alex Schroeder2 years ago
Well, it turns out that this results in some very weird numbers. This needs some more thought. The +1 simplification results in about one old and middle-aged knights per year after a while and thousands of young knights.
Alex, nice post!

I've read a lot about KAP, but played very few times, so I haven't faced these problems. But, regarding the wifes, there are some random generators online (here and that could help you. :)

Nick M2 years ago
Also much agreed +Alex Schroeder with your qualms. I also found the battle system needlessly complex, while the hand waving of the original battle system too abstract. I just ignore the winter phase and use the simplified system from BoEstate with random events from book of the manor.

My biggest complaint is yours: the family events table and family creation is weak. A better system or random tables would be awesome, if only we could get something as good as many of OSR tables out there for pendragon. Some way of tracking family trees that is both rewarding and engaging would be great. Only track brothers and sisters and the heirs?
Nick M2 years ago
I meant to add, I also have a lot of trouble getting players to wrap their heads around over 20 skills. But not as much to do about that.