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View Full Version : I just won a copy of Pendragon



Totally Guy
2010-07-04, 02:28 AM
I was playing in a con game and I was stuck fairly heavily on GM rails. Nothing I did seemed to matter and I wasn't really having a good time. It was a session of "We have to guess what the GM is thinking in order to proceed". (And then the players all have to agree on what the GM is thinking.)

I decided to write out on the provided note paper all the things I didn't like about the game. I wanted to provide some helpful feedback. So every time I was frustrated by the game I noted it.

Then right at the end, I'd been blown away from the party by a strong wind in a tunnel and I met the Vicar in who was standing in the cave and he gave me a "holy bone" which was basically a deus-ex-machina item that would win the scenario. It wasn't explained why the priest had come here or why he had the holy bone.

When I used to holy bone to win the scenario I was awarded 2 glass beads for good roleplaying...

I thought they would be tied to the advancement mechanics. But that wasn't the case.

I was going to wait until the other players had left before criticising the guy's game and system too, I didn't think it was for me. Too fiat-y.

But then he announced that as I'd got more glass beads than everyone else I'd won a copy of the rule book and an expansion. I think he awarded me two right at the end to break a tie between 3 other players who had collected 2 each.

Suddenly it seemed inappropriate to start criticising the game. So I hid the notepaper. Looking back it was probably mostly the GMing that I didn't like. But I'm really not sold at all on the system from the experience.

Is it worth reading? Has anybody had any better experiences with it?

Zaq
2010-07-04, 02:30 AM
Is it worth reading? Has anybody had any better experiences with it?

I've never even heard of the game, let alone read it, but unless it's stupid-hundred pages long, if you had enough interest to even try playing it, it's probably worth at least reading, if not automatically getting a group together to play.

I like reading, though. It's a time issue, I guess.

nyjastul69
2010-07-04, 02:57 AM
I've never even heard of the game, let alone read it, but unless it's stupid-hundred pages long, if you had enough interest to even try playing it, it's probably worth at least reading, if not automatically getting a group together to play.

I like reading, though. It's a time issue, I guess.

Which edition?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendragon_(role-playing_game)

Aroka
2010-07-04, 02:59 AM
Pendragon is an awesome game, and there's nothing inherently railroady about it (except, I suppose, the "grand campaign" in Boy King, since it's all very rigidly plotted out and PCs can't really affect the major points, but who wants to play the story everybody knows anyway?); indeed, it's a very open game by default.

The mechanics put a lot of value on Passions and Virtues, and I love the way challenges can be based on them. (Of course, some people don't like having to define their characters' personality in numbers, but it works very well.) The basic time-frame is one year, during which a few adventures will take place. A campaign is intended to span decades, and you're supposed to play generations; siring an heir is important, since your heir will start out considerably more adept than other 15-year-old squires. There's wooing to be done, battles to be waged, alliances to be made, and so on, and unless your GM sucks, it's up to you which one of those you pursue and when.

It's a great game, overall, and can be adapted other settings easily (indeed, PenDragon Pass for Glorantha even had support in RuneQuest/Glorantha fanzines).

No clue what the glass beads were about, Pendragon doesn't use anything like that. You get checks in skills and virtues, like RuneQuest.

The game wasn't run by a Peter with glasses and a beard, was it?

Morph Bark
2010-07-04, 03:44 AM
Which edition?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendragon_(role-playing_game)

The description in that link makes me want to try it sometime, but the way the OP described it makes me think it'd just give me a headache.

Satyr
2010-07-04, 03:59 AM
First of all: Gratulations.

Yes, Pendragon might be worth it. It is one of the older games around, and it shows this in parts, but as far as I know, it hasn't changed that much since its original edition, which is an indicator of a well designed system.

The biggest strength of the system is also its greatest weakness - it is a very focused game. You play a knight. Hopefully, you will one day join the Round Table. As a game of chivalric romance it is without equals. In this faery tale setting, Pendragon is absolutely brilliant. It doesn't work too well outside of its narrow focus though.

For my personal taste, the game is not nearly ambivalent enough (I prefer The Warlord Trilogy to The Once and Future King, and for a good reason) and can run afoul with clichés which were already dated when the romantinc Arthurian tales were written in the 15th century, but that is mostly a matter of taste.

The game puts a lot of emphasis on stats for characteristics which would be solely roleplaying aspects in most other games. Something like a character's faithfulness to his wife, piety or just plain love for family members. And again, this is usually about as important as the ability to be an awesome sword fighter.
Thus, characters gain major benefits for being paragons of their faiths, or good examples of chivalry.

The game has a very strong metaplot (the Grand Campaign) which is one major bonus - the world constantly develops, things happen, the settings seems vibrant and alive. As usual, the mere existance of a metaplot creates a better setting, and the Grand Campaign (which spans almost a century) is one excellent example. This very strong and coherent metaplot is pretty much the best the setting has to offer. The rule system is so-so (not really bad, but overtly abstract) but the constant development of the setting is a prime example of how to construct a setting timeline.

Due to the length of the Grand Campaign, you usually don't play a character. You play a legacy. Usually you start with a small nameless knight who might to have to protect Arthur as an infant, and you might end the campaign as the grandson of this character who has become the Duke of Somethingchester and one of the richest landowner in Britain.

Combat is deadly, and quite abstract, but in its simplicity it is very plausible. Healing injuries takes for ever, for example.

The best Pendragon adventures/quests include a bit of dueling, a moral challenge or two and a small-ish political intrigue. Ideally, it's like a mixture of old Prince Valliant comics and The Once and Future King, with a bit Faery dust sprinkled all over it. If you don't mind a setting that taste like Diabetes,
it is good.

For extra fun, replace the rules system with Harnmaster and the T.H. White influence with an equal dose of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Bernard Cornwell to create one of the most amazing campaigns ever.

nyjastul69
2010-07-04, 04:29 AM
The description in that link makes me want to try it sometime, but the way the OP described it makes me think it'd just give me a headache.

I don't know why that link doesn't show up properly. I copy/pasted it. I'm going to assume it's my interneptitude. Sorry.

Morph Bark
2010-07-04, 04:46 AM
I don't know why that link doesn't show up properly. I copy/pasted it. I'm going to assume it's my interneptitude. Sorry.

Oh no, you did it right, it's just that many links that end with a ) end up not including it as part of the link, unless you put the entire link between coding.

Aroka
2010-07-04, 05:54 AM
Like this:

Pendragon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendragon_%28role-playing_game%29)


Comes out like this without the noparse tags:
Pendragon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendragon_%28role-playing_game%29)

FunkySeeFunkyDo
2010-08-29, 02:02 AM
Pendragon rocks.

I have never had any experience playing it that has even remotely resembled the OP's experience, so I'm thinking it was his GM who sucked.

If you're into knights, chivalry, faeries, jousting and so on, then order it now.

comicshorse
2010-08-29, 12:07 PM
It's great, just don't let your P.C.'s quote 'The Holy Grail', totally destroys the atmosphere

Aroka
2010-08-29, 04:07 PM
It's great, just don't let your P.C.'s quote 'The Holy Grail', totally destroys the atmosphere

It's the Paradox of Roleplayers and Monty Python. They can't not quote it, but it ruins the mood of any game.

Balain
2010-08-29, 04:23 PM
I played 4th edition some years ago. I remember it being a lot of fun

Mark Hall
2010-08-29, 07:08 PM
The Mod Wonder:Closed for Necromancy.