Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pendragon Solo game w/wife - Laughing giants and Picts

For about a year or so, I've been reading SirLarkin's blog The RPG Corner for updates of his Great Pendragon Campaign solo game with his wife. As far as I can tell, we're the only two who are actively blogging about RPG'ing with our significant others. I'm not sure what that says, aside from maybe we're either very lucky or very crazy ... or both ... but it's been a fun ride reading about Sir Herringdale, his wife's character. I have to confess, when the old valiant knight finally passes on, I'm going to feel some sadness.

Anyway... the whole deal sounded like great fun and I know that @thePrincessWife loves the Merlin tales. I've never been much of any opinion about them, but between SirLarkins and her, I was convinced to seek out a 1st edition box of Pendragon and give it a shot. It's sat on my bookshelf for about 6 months now, and it wasn't until I could get the Great Pendragon Campaign sourcebook as POD book from RPGNow that I finally decided to start playing.

@thePrincessWife's RPG experiences are singularly D&D, so I wanted something that we both could "quick start" into. Fortunately, Green Knight provided a "How To Play Pendragon" demo that is available on the web (not sure if it's legal or not, but since it's billed as a demonstration module, I'm guessing it's nothing I'll get sued over.) This covers the basics of combat, traits, passions and skills as well as providing an easy-peasy scenario that leads right to the wacking of swords and stabbing of lances.

So my wife was given the character of Sir Caradoc of Malahaut (I don't know if it's supposed to be the same Caradoc as of Arthurian legend, but we weren't focused on that.) and after being told he was a giant of a man, she played him as a fun-loving, lets-all-have-a-ball knight, even when he was getting punched off his horse. But more of that in a minute...

So the scenario has Sir Caradoc about to cross a bridge when he notices a knight's party tent (aka pavilion), a couple of warhorses and a shield whose heraldry Caradoc didn't recognize. (she didn't make her Heraldry roll... off by 1!) A squire with a ridiculous Monty-Python-esque French accent asked Caradoc to halt and joust with his Lord, as the mysterious Blue Knight wished to see if all zeeze Breeteesh kin-ites are ze bezt zat zey all zey zey arrrrrr! (.. if all these British knights are the best that they all say they are. Told ya it was bad.)

Sir Caradoc, being all chivalrous and honorly (and the wife wanting to do some old fashioned Medieval wacking) accepted the challenge. Now he being squireless, Caradoc was on his own lugging his crap, so he set up while the Blue Knight waited on the other side of the field. There would be three passes of the lance and three swings of the sword.

The combat system of opposed rolls at or under the skill used is a neat and easy mechanic and very much concentrates on mano-v-mano. Unfortunately, it went badly for Caradoc on his horse. The first pass, Caradoc was able to bring up his shield and deflect the Blue Knight's lance, but it was clearly the visitor's point. The second pass, Caradoc shattered his lance and took a nice glancing blow that he'd feel tomorrow. After dismounting, getting his own backup lance and remounting, Caradoc took to the field for the third pass. He didn't get himself and his lance set right because the Blue Knight not only connected, but Caradoc was knocked out of his saddle and landed in a heap. THUD! (@thePrincessWife fumbled the final pass, so I ruled she fell off her horse due to not having a squire help Caradoc prepare adequately.)

So it looked like the Blue Knight was going to best Caradoc, but we had the sword battle to deal with. This whole time, Caradoc was laughing and saluting his opponent. Despite being knocked for almost half his hit points, he was enjoying the contest.

The sword fight was short, brutal and composed primarily of Caradoc knocking the Blue Knight around. @thePrincessWife lost the first blow which her armor soaked up, but handily beat out the Blue Knight the last two, landing a pretty damn good shot that rattled the Blue Knight through and through. Having each won a contest, the Blue Knight revealed himself as Sir Norman St. Germaine, here in Britain to travel to the tourney at Camelot and pit himself against the best. Having seen that British knights were indeed honorable, chivalrous as well as being able to take a lot of punishment and then dish it out, he asked Caradoc for an invite, which was gladly given. The crazeeee squire with ze out-rahgious French ahhc-cent applied a great deal of effective first aid to Caradoc and off they traveled to Camelot. Close curtain.

We then decided to start rolling up a character for @thePrincessWife. Thus, Sir Smitely of the Wall, a Pict knight with a family who knows a thing or two about heraldry, was born. We got most of the way through chargen, which is a game in itself, when the eyes started glazing over and we knocked it off for awhile. We were up in the Dells to have some alone time, not crunch numbers! Still, the whole deal seems pretty neat, and I'm going to use one of the beginning adventures from the Pendragon adventure book "Tales of Chivalry and Romance" to put us on our way to learning this game.

No, I'm not buying Arthurian miniatures... er... yet...

8 comments:

mabon5127 said...

Sounds like a great time. I think Pendragon is one of those lost treasures that should get more air time.

sirlarkins said...

Hooray! Great to see the game getting off the ground. Sounds like you guys had fun with it.

Chargen is absolutely a session's worth of work in and of itself (especially for a first-time character), but it's a fun mini-game, as you say.

Nice ruling on the joust fumble; the default rule for fumbling a lance roll in a joust "for love" (like at a tournament) is that you strike the horse and roll damage as usual--most dishonorable! And heaven help you if you kill your opponent's favorite charger.

Incidentally, I found out that armor values in 1st edition are 2 points less than subsequent editions, so you may want to make an adjustment when using adventures from later editions.

Our next game is scheduled for this Thursday, and we're hoping to get back on a weekly footing after that, so expect more updates. Year after next is Badon Hill, aka Armageddon. Say a prayer for Herringdale...

ChicagoWiz said...

Incidentally, the "How to Play" had an example of the joust where Sir Norman fumbled and fell of his horse, so I just went with that example as well. I'm glad I didn't know about the horse damage thing - Sir Norman would have been ticked off!

ChicagoWiz said...

@Sirlarkins - thanks! It was great fun!

Now here's an interesting note. We used the chargen rules out of the "Book of Knights" - which according to Wikipedia is a "cut down version" of 4th edition. I also believe that Tales of Chivalry (which has the adventure I'm using - "The Adventure of the New-Made Knight") is a 4th edition book, so I hopefully will be good to go.

That is good to know if I need to refer to the 1st edition rules - right now, BoK has been my main source of information.

Desiree said...

I would like to say I am pleased you have enjoyed reading about Herringdale's adventures. I have loved playing him so far and I will also be sad when he sets foot into the unknown...sirlarkins should expect a gloomy day when Herringdale's time is up!

As for your adventure with your wife, Awesome! This was fun to read. I love Caradoc's affable nature.

Scott said...

I miss Pendragon...

Justin Alexander said...

My wife plays as part of my Ptolus campaign and my OD&D campaign, both of which have received sweet, sweet bloggin'. I just haven't had much call for talkin' about our relationship in particular.

Couples who game together stay together and all that. (How could I break up with her? It would screw up my game.)

(Boy, I hope she never reads this comment.)

ChicagoWiz said...

@Scott - how come?

@Justin - Hahaha! I didn't know your blogs were about your wife as well. Do you tag them so I can go back and read them?

My wife reads my posts and comments - so never let them two get together. LOLOLOLOL...