Saturday, November 6, 2010


King Arthur is a persistent part of Western culture, even if there's no real evidence for a historical king of the same name. So of course there's an RPG based on the world of King Arthur, and Pendragon is that RPG. It takes place in the 6th century AD, bringing together the actual historical facts of 6th century Britain with the whimsical and fictional ideals of Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur. You play a knight in the court of Arthur, questing about the realm during the height of its glory, not knowing about the dark future that will come. Well, technically your character starts as a squire, but that's pretty close, right?

According to the character creation guide in the Pendragon book (I'm using the 4th edition), first I need a name. I'll go with Galardoun, and according to the book, I am from Salisbury, was raised in a Cymric culture, and am a Christian. then I determine my father's name; that will be Caulas, and he is (or was) a vassal knight. I am the eldest son, and my lord is Sir Robert, Earl of Salisbury. As I noted earlier, my character is a squire, and he lives in the Salisbury manor of Idmiston.

After my personal data is determined, I move on to personality traits and passions. Traits are opposing values; the Valorous trait, for example, is opposed by Cowardly. This is true for each pair of traits, and the combined value for each pair must equal 20. Because I'm a squire, I put Valorous at 15 and Cowardly at 5; then I list each of the Christian Virtues (Chaste, Forgiving, Merciful, Modest, and Temperate) at 13, with their opposing attributes at 7. All others are left at 10 on both sides. I have an option to have one Trait at 16, as my 'famous' trait, the thing for which I am well-known, but I'll pass on that for now. Then I list my Passions, things my character feels most strongly about; I start with five, Loyalty to my lord, Love of family, Hospitality, Honor, and Hatred of Saxons. These all start at 15, except for Hatred of Saxon, which is determined by a 3d6 roll - mine is 12.

Third, I move on to statistics. There are five key statistics here; Size, Dexterity, Strength, Constitution, and Appearance. These are pretty self-explanatory, and I have 60 points to distribute among them; in order, I'll go 13, 12, 13, 10, 12. As a cultural modifier for being Cymric, I get +3 Constitution. There are then a few derived statistics; Damage is equal to STR+SIZ/6, which is essentially 4, meaning I do 4d6 damage. Healing Rate is STR+CON/10, which rounds up to 3. Movement Rate is STR+DEX/10, which is also 3, then Total Hit Points, equal to CON+Size, in my case 26, and I become Unconscious at Total Hit Points/4, which is 4. I can then choose a single distinctive feature; I'll choose broad-shouldered.

Next I move on to Skills. Pendragon has a number of skills, and the basic values for most are already determined. I get to choose 2 non-combat skills to set at 10 - I'll choose Heraldry and Hunting. Then I choose one skill at which I excel; I'll go with Sword, and set it at 15. Then I have 10 points to distribute among the rest of my skills; I'll put 2 points in Lance, 3 points in Horsemanship, and 5 in Tourney. I can bypass the Previous Experience portion, as I'll be starting at minimum age (which is 21), and so the last thing I determine is Glory, how I am seen in the eyes of my peers and my betters; initially, I have only the Glory I gain from being my father's son (which comes to 175), but once I become a full knight I will get much more.So, the final product comes to:

Galardoun, eldest son of Caulas
Squire to Sir Robert, Earl of Salisbury
Cymric, Christian
Age: 21

Personality Traits
Chaste 13/Lustful 7
Energetic 10/Lazy 10
Forgiving 13/Vengeful 7
Generous 10/Selfish 10
Honest 10/Deceitful 10
Just 10/Arbitrary 10
Merciful 13/Cruel 7
Modest 13/Proud 7
Pious 10/Worldly 10
Prudent 10/Reckless 10
Temperate 10/Indulgent 10
Trusting 10/Suspicious 10
Valorous 15/Cowardly 5

Loyalty (lord) 15
Love (family) 15
Hospitality 15
Honor 15
Hate Saxons 12

SIZ 13
DEX 12
STR 13
CON 13
APP 12
Damage 4d6
Healing Rate 3
Movement Rate 3
Total Hit Points 26
Unconscious 4

Distinctive Feature: Broad-shouldered

Awareness 5, Boating 1, Chirurgery 0, Compose 0, Courtesy 3, Dancing 2, Faerie Lore 1, Falconry 3, First Aid 10, Flirting 3, Folk Lore 2, Gaming 3, Heraldry 10, Hunting 10, Industry 0, Intrigue 3, Orate 3, Play 3, Read 0, Recognize 3, Religion 2, Romance 2, Singing 2, Stewardship 2, Swimming 2, Tourney 10
Combat Skills
Battle 10, Horsemanship 13, Sword 15, Lance 12, Spear 6, Dagger 5

Glory: 175

Equipment Carried
Reinforced chain mail, 2 spears, shield, sword, dagger, 5 jousting lances, fine clothing, charger, rouncy, sumpter, personal gear, travel gear, war gear

that's essentially it; Galardoun is now ready to go adventuring in ancient Britain to make his way in the world and become a knight of King Arthur's court.

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