Stealing from 5th Edition D&D for 5th Edition Pendragon

One of my pet peeves with Pendragon is its use of reflexive modifiers on opposed checks.

Example:
If a mounted lance-wielder attacked a dagger-armed man on foot, the mounted man would receive a +5 modifier to his Lance skill for being mounted, while the man on foot would suffer a –5 modifier to his Dagger skill for the disadvantage of such a tiny weapon against a lance in this situation.

Rather than applying such modifiers (which stack things heavily in favor of one combatant) I’d like to use a modified form of 5th Edition D&D’s advantage rules:

Advantage:
Sometimes circumstances dictate that you are at an advantage when making a d20 check. When that happens, you roll a second d20 when you make the roll and use the more advantageous die roll.  Examples of circumstances that grant advantage include:

  • Hunting with hunting dogs
  • Finding one’s way in local woodlands
  • Attacking a foot soldier from horseback
  • Attacking an unaware foe
  • Sneaking up on a distracted guard
  • Making a trait check when circumstances favor that trait heavily

Advantage can apply to both opposed and unopposed checks and, in instances where multiple variables are at play, consider if the overall circumstances are clearly favorable to the individual making the d20 check. 

Inspired characters gain advantage on their chosen d20 check.  In instances where both parties have some form of advantage (i.e. inspired Saxon berserker attacking a mounted knight), the advantages cancel each other out so that both parties make normal d20 rolls.  

A combatant using the “uncontrolled attack” option (which used to be called “berserker attack” in older editions of Pendragon) gains advantage on their d20 weapon skill roll.  Likewise, a combatant using the “defense” option gains advantage on their d20 weapon skill roll but cannot deal damage.  As such, the advantage gained through an “uncontrolled attack” would be negated by an opponent choosing “defense”. 

Disadvantage:

Disadvantage only applies to unopposed d20 checks when you are clearly at a disadvantage.  In such situations, roll a second d20 when you make the roll and use the less advantageous die roll.  Examples of circumstances that grant disadvantage include:

  • Finding ones’ way in a mist-shrouded forest
  • Attacking a heavily concealed foe with a ranged weapon
  • Climbing a wall in chain or plate armor

Disadvantage does not apply to opposed checks because, in such instances that favored one individual over another, the favored individual would gain advantage on their d20 roll.  

Examples:  A bear being hunted by a drunken knight would have advantage on its avoidance roll against the knight’s hunting roll.  Also, an alert guard would have advantage on his awareness skill check when rolling against a fully armored knight sneaking towards him.  If that guard were distracted, however, neither roll would have the advantage.

Skills by Culture (Pendragon 5th Edition)

I’ll get back to posting about other games (D&D 5th Edition in particular) but, first, I’d like to get back to my added options for creating 5th Edition Pendragon characters.

18

19

CLASS QUALIFICATIONS

If your character has all the attributes listed below, he qualifies for that class. Check with the gamemaster for female player characters.

Squire
Skills: First Aid 6, Battle 1, Horsemanship 6, one other skill (normally Sword) at 5
Traits & Passions: Valorous 8, Loyalty (Lord) 10

Footsoldier
Skills: Great Spear 10, Other Weapon 5
Traits & Passions: Valorous 10, Loyalty (Lord) 10

Sergeant
Skills: Lance 10, Spear 5, Other Weapon 10, Horsemanship 10
Traits & Passions: Valorous 10, Loyalty (Lord) 10
The character must own a healthy combat-trained horse (rouncy, charger, etc.) with all tack, weapons, and a suit of armor.

Warrior
Skills: Primary cultural weapon 10, First Aid 6

Traits & Passions: Valorous 12, Loyalty (Lord) 10, Honor 8

The character must possess the traditional weapons and equipment for the culture.

Mercenary Knight or Knight Errant
Skills: First Aid 6, Sword or other weapon 10, Lance 10, Spear 5, Horsemanship 10
Traits & Passions: Valorous 12, Honor 5, Loyalty (Lord) 15
The character must own a healthy combat-trained horse (rouncy, charger, etc.) with all tack, weapons, and a suit of armor. — The character must be knighted by a lord for favors done or heroic acts performed during play, most commonly on the battlefield. Squires, warriors, and sergeants are all occasionally knighted for their actions, and if the lord performing the ceremony cannot support them, they must live as mercenaries or errant knights until another lord is found.
Sometimes during a campaign the son of a heroic player character will be knighted by the heroic character’s lord, as a favor for past services. This must be determined during play. As on the battlefield, if the lord cannot support more household knights, the new knight becomes a mercenary or errant knight.

Bachelor (Household) Knight
Skills: First Aid 10, Battle 10, Lance 10, Horsemanship 10, Sword 10, Any other 2 non-combat skills 10
Traits & Passions: Valorous 15, Honor 5, Loyalty (lord ) 15
The character must own a healthy combat-trained horse (rouncy, charger, etc.) with all tack, weapons, and a suit of metal armor. Normally a household knight must be the son of a knight and age 21. Thus continuity is preserved. Some exceptions to these qualifications exist. Specifically, eldest sons may turn out not to qualify according to these standards, but may be knighted anyway if they can make a fair showing at knightly skills, especially if they are heirs to the title and their father is dead. Thus there are a fair number of rich, powerful, spoiled, unqualified adolescents riding around as knights.

Vassal Knight, Banneret, Lord
Not available at the start of play using this book. All bachelor knight requirements are needed. In addition, the character must have hereditary rights to the position, or be granted it through play. See Pendragon and the “Noble Ambitions” chapter for more information.
Lucky player knights who are also eldest sons of a lord who has died may immediately take an oath of homage and fealty to their liege lord to obtain their rightful office. However, this may depend upon game play, since many lords insist that new knights first prove themselves worthy of their inheritance. The gamemaster controls the situation.

21

Family Background by Homeland & Culture (Pendragon 5th Edition)

FATHER’S CLASS

13

14

INHERITED GLORY, SKILLS, TRAITS, PASSIONS & OUTFIT

Legionarius          

Glory:  3d6+50

18 skills points, Awareness +1, Spear +1, Sword +1, Grapple +2, Dagger +3

Proud +1, Prudent +1d3, Selfish +1d3+2, Cruel +1d6, Valorous +1, Honor +1d3, Loyalty (Lord) +1

Legionarius Outfit

 

Squire

Glory:  6d6

20 skill points, Alertness +2, Heraldry +2 (substitute Recognize in the Uther – Anarchy periods), Horsemanship +2

Energetic +1d3, Modest +1d3, Prudent +1d3, Valorous +1d6, Loyalty (Lord) +3

Outfit 1 (Footsoldier’s Outfit for Irish and Pictish characters)

 

Mercenary Knight

Glory:  6d6+100

20 skill points, Sword +3, any other weapon +3

Cruel +1d6, Valorous +1d3

Outfit 2 (Outfit 3 for Roman characters)

 

Warrior

Glory:  6d6+50

24 skill points, Awareness +2, Spear +2, Cultural Weapon +3

Proud +1, Reckless +1d3, Valorous +1d3+2, Honor +1d6, Loyalty (Lord) +3

Cultural Warrior Outfit

 

Family Chieftain

Glory:  2d6+100

28 skill points, Cultural Weapon +2

Love (family) +1d3, Valorous +1d3, Honor +1d3, Loyalty (Lord) +1d3+3

Cultural Warrior Outfit

 

Tribal or Clan Chieftain

Glory:  6d6+250

30 skill points, Cultural Weapon +3

Valorous +1d3, Loyalty (Clan) 2d6+6, Honor +1d6

Cultural Warrior Outfit

 

Bachelor Knight

Glory:  6d6+250

26 skill points

Valorous +1, Loyalty (Lord) +3, Honor +1

Outfit 3 (Outfit 2 for Frankish, Irish, Pictish & Saxon characters)

 

Vassal Knight

Glory:  6d6+250

30 skill points

Valorous +2, Loyalty (Lord) +4, Honor +1

Outfit 3 (Outfit 2 for Frankish, Irish, Pictish & Saxon characters)

 

Banneret Knight

Glory:  6d6+250

32 skill points

Valorous +3, Loyalty (Lord) +5, Honor +1d3

Two rolls on the Luck table

Outfit 3 (Outfit 2 for Frankish, Pictish & Saxon characters)

 

Officer

Glory:  6d6+300

26 skill points plus see below

Valorous +1, Loyalty (Lord) +4, Honor +1d3

  • Seneschal: Stewardship +4, Intrigue +2, Hospitality +1d3
  • Marshal: Battle +3, Valorous +1d3
  • Butler: Courtesy +3, Intrigue +1, Generous +3
  • Chamberlain: Read (Latin) +4, Heraldry +2 (substitute Recognize in the Uther – Anarchy periods)
  • Constable: Tourney +3 (substitute Battle in the Uther – Anarchy periods), Horsemanship +2
  • Forester: Awareness +2, Falconry +2, Hunting +4
  • Castellan: Battle +2, Courtesy +2, Stewardship +2

Outfit 4 (Outfit 3 for Frankish & Saxon characters)

 

Lord

Glory:  6d6+300

26 skill points, Courtesy +2, Heraldry +2 (substitute Recognize in the Uther – Anarchy periods), Intrigue +2, Battle +2, Sword +2, Spear +2

Proud +1d3, Loyalty (Lord) +6, Honor +3, Valorous +1d3

Three rolls on the Luck table

Outfit 4 (Outfit 3 for Saxon characters)

 

Free Holding Knight

Glory:  6d6+250

26 skill points, Stewardship +2, Courtesy +2, Intrigue +2, Battle +2, Sword +2

Proud +1d3, Loyalty (Lord) +1d3, Honor +1d3, Valorous +1d3

Two rolls on the Luck table

Outfit 4

 

INHERITED OUTFITS

 

UTHER-BOY KING PERIOD

Legionarius Outfit

Leather and open helm (4 pt), spear, legionary shield (9 pt), sword, dagger, clothing worth 60d.

Cymric Warrior’s Outfit

Leather armor (4 pt), spear, shield, sword, clothing worth 90d.

Pictish Warrior’s Outfit

No armor, 2 great spears, 5 javelins, great axe, dagger, clothing worth 10d.

Irish Warrior’s Outfit

Leather armor (4 points), 2 spears, shield, sword, dagger, clothing worth 60d.

Saxon Warrior’s Outfit

Cuirbouilli (6 pt), 2 spears, shield, sword, great axe, 3 javelins, dagger, clothing worth 60d.

Outfit 1

Rouncy, leather armor (4 pt), spear, shield, sword, dagger, clothing worth 90d.

Outfit 2

Charger, cuirbouilli (6 pt), spear, shield, sword, dagger, clothing worth 120d.

Oufit 3

Charger, rouncy, Norman chainmail (10 pt), 2 spears, shield, sword, dagger, clothing worth 1L.

Oufit 4

Charger, palfrey, 2 rouncies, Norma chainmail (10 pt), 2 spears, shield, sword, any one other available weapon, dagger, clothing worth 2L, 120d in money.

Outfit 5

2 chargers, palfrey, 2 rouncies, Norman chainmail (10 pt), 2 spears, shield, sword, any one other available weapon, dagger, clothing worth 4L, 1L in money.

Oufit 6

2 chargers, palfrey, 2 rouncies, Norman chainmail (10 pt), 2 spears, shield, sword, any one other available weapon, dagger, clothing worth 2L, 120d in money.

 

CONQUEST-TWILIGHT PERIOD

Foorsoldier’s Outfit

Leather armor (4 pt), great spear, sword or other cultural weapon, dagger, clothing worth 80d.

Cymric Warrior’s Outfit

Leather armor (4 pt), spear, shield, sword, dagger, clothing worth 120d.

Pictish Warrior’s Outfit

No armor, 2 great spears, 5 javelins, great axe, dagger, clothing worth 10d.

Irish Warrior’s Outfit

Leather armor (4 points), 2 spears, shield, sword, dagger, clothing worth 60d.

Saxon Warrior’s Outfit

Cuirbouilli (6 pt), 2 spears, shield, sword, great axe, 3 javelins, dagger, clothing worth 60d.

Outfit 1

2 rouncies, cuirbouilli (6 pt), spear, shield, sword, dagger, clothing worth 120d.

Outfit 2

Charger, 2 rouncies, Norman chainmail (10 pt), 2 spears, shield, sword, 5 jousting lances, dagger, clothing worth 1L.

Oufit 3

Charger, palfrey, rouncy, reinforced chainmail armor (12 pt), 2 spears, shield, sword, any one other weapon, 5 jousting lances, dagger, clothing worth 2L., 1L in money, 1 squire.

Oufit 4

1 Andalusian charger, palfrey, courser, 2 rouncies, reinforced chainmail armor (12 pt), 2 spears, shield, sword, any one other weapon, 5 jousting lances, dagger, clothing worth 4L., 2L in money, 2 squires.

Outfit 5

1 destrier, 1 Barb charger, 1 Camargue palfrey, 1 rouncy, 1 sumpter, partial plate armor (14 pt), leather hunting armor (2 pts), 6 spears, 2 shields, 2 swords, any two other weapons, 10 jousting lances, dagger, clothing worth 8L., 2L in money, 3 squires.

Oufit 6

1 Frisian destrier, 1 Andalusian chargers, 1 Camargue palfrey, 2 rouncies, 1 sumpter, partial plate armor (14 pt), engraved hunting leather armor (2 pt), 6 spears, 2 shields, 2 swords, any four other weapons, 10 jousting lances, dagger, clothing worth 10L., 3L in money, 4 squires.

 

LUCK BENEFITS

 

d20 roll CYMRIC d20 roll AQUITANIAN d20 roll FRANKISH
01 3d20 denarii. 01 3d20 +60 denarii. 01 3d20 +60 denarii.
02-03 3d20+120 denarii. 02 1 Librum (240 denarii). 02-03 1 Librum (240 denarii).
04-06 1 Librum (240 denarii). 03-04 1d3 Librum. 04 1d3 Librum.
07 1d3 Librum. 05 1d6 Librum. 05 1d6 Librum.
08 1d6 Librum. 06-07 Your forebear died heroically: +100 Glory. 06 Your forebear died heroically: +100 Glory.
09 Family heirloom:  Christian* sacred relic, roll a d6 (1=finger, 2=tears, 3-4=hair, 5=bone fragment, 6=blood) 08-10 Your ancestor was a Visigoth king (1d6+2 generations back):  +100 Glory and a jeweled sword worth 1d3 Librum. 07-10 Family heirloom:  a brooch.  Roll 1d6 for value (1-3 = silver worth 1 L., 4-5 = gold worth 3 L., 6 = silver with diamond worth 5 L.).
10 Family heirloom:  Ancient bronze sword (+1 to Sword skill when used).  Breaks as a non-sword in combat due to its weak blade.  Worth 2L. 11-12 A sumpter 11-13 A magical healing potion that heals 1d6 damage once.  Priceless.
11 Family heirloom:  Blessed spear (+1 modifier to Spear skill when used, until broken).  Worth 120 denarii. Note: Replace with a lance after the Anarchy period 13-15 A rouncy 14-15 A sumpter
12 Family heirloom:  Decorated saddle.  Worth 1 Librum. 16 A charger 16 A rouncy
13 Family heirloom:  Engraved finger ring.  Roll 1d6 for value (1-4 = silver ring worth 120 denarii, 5-6 = gold ring worth 2 L.). 17 A Barb courser 17 A charger
14 Family heirloom:  Armband.  Roll 1d6 for value (1-5 = silver band worth 1 L., 5-6 = gold band worth 8 L.). 18 An Andalusian charger 18 An Andalusian charger
15 Family heirloom:  Valuable cloak worth 1 Librum.  Roll 1d6 for origin (1-2 = Byzantine, 3=German, 4-5=Spanish, 6=Roman). 19 Upgrade your Outfit by 1 19 Upgrade your Outfit by 1
16 A magical healing potion that heals 1d6 damage once.  Priceless. 20 Roll twice more, re-rolling further rolls of “20”. 20 Roll twice more, re-rolling further rolls of “20”.
17-18 A charger
19 Upgrade your Outfit by 1
20 Roll twice more, re-rolling further rolls of “20”.
* Pagan Cymri gain 1d6 L. in place of this relic.

 

d20 roll IRISH & MANX d20 roll PICT d20 roll ROMANS
01 3d20 +60 denarii. 01-03 3d20 denarii. 01 3d20 +60 denarii.
02 1 Librum (240 denarii). 04 Your forebear died heroically: +100 Glory. 02-03 1 Librum (240 denarii).
03-04 Your forebear died heroically: +100 Glory. 05 A rouncy 04 1d3 Librum.
05 A Connacht rouncy. 06-10 You bear a magical tattoo that provides 2 points of armor 05-06 1d6 Librum.
06-10 A charger 11 You have a magical charger, +1 movement rate and +1d3 armor 07-10 Your ancestors came to Britain from Rome(1d6+2 generations back): +100 Glory.
11 An Irish courser 12 1d3 magical healing potions that heal 1d6 damage.  Priceless. 11-12 A charger
12-16 Your are a descendant of a king (1d6+2 generations back):  +150 Glory 13 The faeries have gifted you with a magical great spear of impressive power, +2 to Spear skill until broken.  +100 Glory.  Priceless. 13 An Andalusian charger
17 1d3 magical healing potions that heal 1d6 damage.  Priceless. 14-15 1d6 magical healing potions that heal 1d6 damage.  Priceless. 14 A Barb courser
18 A love potion.  Priceless. 16 1d3 love potions.  Priceless. 15-16 A magical healing potion that heals 1d6 damage once.  Priceless.
19 Upgrade your Outfit by 1 17-19 1d3 strong healing potions (each heals 6 damage).  Priceless. 17-18 A strong healing potion that heals 6 points of damage once.  Priceless.
20 Roll twice more, re-rolling further rolls of “20”. 20 Roll twice more, re-rolling further rolls of “20”. 19 Upgrade your Outfit by 1
20 Roll twice more, re-rolling further rolls of “20”.

 

d20 roll SAXON d20 roll SAXON (continued)
01-03  3d20 denarii. 14 You have a part-share in a ship.  Check with the gamemaster for details.
04 1d3 Librum. 15 You have a blessed axe.  +1 to Great Axe skill when used.  Breaks normally.  Worth 2 Librum.
05-07 Wotan is your ancestor: +200 Glory 16-18 A magical healing potion that heals 1d6 damage once.  Priceless.
08-10 A sumpter 19 Upgrade your Outfit by 1
11 A rouncy 20 Roll twice more, re-rolling further rolls of “20”.
12-13 A charger



 

Names by Culture (Pendragon 5th Edition)

Aquitanian
Aquitanian names reflect the heavy influences of the Franks upon the Roman and Celtic inhabitants of these lands. As such, their names contain Celtic, Germanic, and Roman elements.

Male Names: Use Frankish name and add the following: Aalard, Acostant, Alexis, Argius, Barnard, Beranger, Bovert, Burcan, Cadmar, Corneus, Danain, Daniel, Dragan, Elad, Emeric, Evrard, Gobert, Gundahar, Henri, Jaufre, Jules, Lancel, Lucan, Lucas, Morien, Nicholas, Patric, Remi, Renauld, Roger, Serin, Sevin, Thibaud, Thierry, Thomas, Victor, Xavier.

Female Names: Use Frankish name and add the following: Armide, Babette, Bethilie, Blandine, Brienne, Carelia, Cecile, Danielle, Diane, Edith, Elianor, Ethaine, Felise, Heloise, Helena, Irene, Jeanne, Liaze, Liliane, Lusiane, Lynn, Margot, Olivia, Priscilla, Raisende, Roxane, Sibille, Ursanne, Verrine.

Surnames: Like the Franks and Saxon, Aquitanians only use personal names. In place of surnames, noteworthy Aquitanian knights and nobles adopt nicknames based upon their homeland (i.e. de Ganis), traits (i.e. the Just), appearance (i.e. The Fair), or deeds (i.e. of the Long Hunt).
Some families, usually aristocratic, were identified by collective name taken from a famous forebear such as the Athelings, Gumeningas, Besingas, Baducings, Guthlacingas, the final ‘-ing’ element signifying ‘people of’.

Cymri
Cymric names are similar to their modern Welsh equivalments.

Male Names: Addonwy, Aeron, Afan, Aneirin, Aeddan, Amig, Amlyn, Athrwys, Arddur, Buddfannan, Blaen, Bledri, Bradwen, Bleddig, Cadfannan, Cadfael, Cadwallon, Cilydd, Cynon, Cynfan, Cyfulch, Cynrain, Cunvelyn, Caradoc, Cibno, Ceredig, Cadlew, Cynwal, Clydno, Cynhafal, Dafydd, Defi, Dwyai, Edar, Edern, Eiddef, Erthgi, Elad, Eudaf, Biffin, Gwefrfawr, Gwegon, Gwion, Gwyn, Gwarddur, Gwern, Gwyleged, Gwrien, Gwraid, Gorthyn, Gwaednerth, Gwengad, Brugyn, Gwenabwy, Gwrfelling, Gwair, Graid, Geriant, Gwanon, Hyfaidd, Hywel, Ieuan, Llywel, Marchlew, Moried, Morien, Madog, Morial, Mynyddog, Merin, Neilyn, Nwython, Nai, Nerthaid, Neddig, Nidian, Owain, Padern, Pedrog, Ricerch, Rhodri, Rhufon, Rhun, Sawel, Seriol, Sywno, Tathal, Tathan, Tudfwlch, Tyngyr, Uren, Uwain, Ysgarran.

Female Names: Adwen, Annest, Angarad, Arianwen, Briant, Duddug, Collwen, Dwynwen, Eleri, Ffraid, Glesig, Glesni, Gwen, Heledd, Indeg, Leri, Lleucu, Llio, Melangell, Meleri, Nest, Nia, Tydfil

Surnames: Cymric last names are patronymic, derived from the father or an ancestor. Commoners sometimes take their surname from nicknames or, rarely, from occupational names.
Patronymic surnames link the person’s proper name to his or her father’s by adding ap, ab, or mab (son of) or ferch (daughter of) between their proper name and that of their father. As such Neifion, son of Adern, becomes Neifion ap Adern while Nia, daughter of Uren, is called Nia ferch Uren. An accounting of one’s lineage is patrilineal, appending the names of son (or daughter) to father, then a grandfather, and so on. As such Llewelyn ap Dafydd ab Ieuan ap Griffith ap Meredith denotes Llewelyn, son of Dafydd, son of Ieuan, son of Griffith, son of Meredith. “Ap” is sometimes abbreviated to by simply adding the letter “P” or “B” to the surname of one’s father: ap Owen becomes Bowen, ap Rhys becomes Price or Bryce, or ap Hywel becomes Powell.

Pronunciation Guide: Cymric vowels are long in stressed syllables. Stress is always on the next-to-last syllable, except in very long names, where there is a second, lighter stress on the first syllable to help move the word along.
(c) is roughly equivalent to English k
( w ) is roughly equivalent to English oo
(dd) is roughly equivalent to English th, as in the
(ff) is roughly equivalent to English
(f) is roughly equivalent to English v
(ll) is the “Welsh sound”, an aspirated l-sound. Put the front of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and blow the air out the sides, between your teeth.

Frankish
Male Names: Adalmund, Aimon, Amalric, Arbogast, Archembaud, Arigius, Aurel, Baldric, Bardrim, Baudouin, Bernier, Bertmund, Brantome, Bretonnet, Brunehaut, Bruyant, Carolus, Childeric, Chlodobert, Clovis, Ernaut, Eustache, Fierbras, Fluvant, Gaidon, Galafre, Galien, Gaumadras, Gautier, Gilbert, Gilles, Girard, Godfroi, Grimoald, Gui, Guibert, Guillame, Guinemant, Gundovald, Gunthar, Hardouin, Harde, Hernaudin, Hernaut, Hervis, Hubert, Huges, Huidemar, Ingund, Isore, Jacquelin, Jean, Marc, Jerome, Jourdain, Julian, Landri, Leomund, Leovigild, Lothar, Louis, Maugis, Mercadier, Merovech, Milon, Naimes, Namus, Odovacer, Pepin, Piccolet, Philippe, Pierre, Renaud, Renier, Renouart, Richard, Robert, Roderic, Samson, Sigibrand, Sigimund, Tancred, Thierry, Theudebald, Theuderic, Varocher, Vincent, Vivien, Yon, Yves.

Female Names: Adeline, Aelis, Agnes, Aiglante, Alais, Alicia, Alienor, Alix, Amalon, Amalgard, Ameline, Anseir, Aregund, Aude, Basina, Beatrix, Belle, Bellisent, Berthild, Blond, Brunhild, Brunissent, Catherine, Cecilia, Clarissa, Clothild, Edith, Elisabeth, Erembourg, Ermengart, Esclarmonde, Flore, Fredegund, Galienne, Genevieve, Guiborc, Helissent, Helouise, Hermengart, Hildegard, Isabelle, Jacqueline, Jehanne, Jeannette, Joie, Josiane, Laurence, Lubias, Lutisse, Marguerite, Marie, Mathilde, Margalie, Mirabel, Nicole, Nicolette, Olive, Oriabel, Patronille, Pernelle, Poette, Rosamonde, Sigilind, Sybylle, Theudechild, Wisigard, Yde.

Surnames: Like the Saxons, Franks only use personal names. These names are often made up of two elements, often linked in some way with the parents’ names. For instance, Aldred and Edith might call their daughter Aldith as some elements were suitable for males and females. These names did not necessarily have any link in meaning between their two elements.
In place of surnames, noteworthy Frankish knights and nobles adopt nicknames based upon their homeland (i.e. de Ganis), traits (i.e. the Just), appearance (i.e. The Fair), or deeds (i.e. of the Long Hunt).
Surnames were not necessary for identification purposes although bynames were sometimes used. Although there was no inherited surname, some aristocratic families were identified by a collective name taken from a famous forebear, such as the Athelings, Gumeningas, Besingas, Baducings, or Guthlacingas; with the final ‘-ing’ element signifying ‘people of’.

Irish
Male Names: Aed, Aedan, Aeducan, Ailgel,Ailill, Airechtach, Amalgaid, Art, Baetan, Baeth, Berach, Berchan, Brion, Bruatur, Carthach, Cathal, Cenn, Cerball, Colcu, Comman, Congal, Cormacc, Daig, Diarmait, Donngal, Dunchad, Echen, Elodach, Eogan, Fachtna, Fedelmid, Finnchad, Flann, Guaire, Imchad, Laegaire, Lorccan, Maine, Murchad, Nathi, Ronan, Russ, Senach, Tadc, Tuathal, Ultan

Female Names: Aibhlinn, Aileen, Beibhinn, Bevan, Blaithnaid, Brigid, Cait, Cron, Derbail, Dunlaith, Eithrie, Finnguala, Flann, Gormlaith, Grainne, Lassar, Mor, Orlaith, Sadb, Siobhan, Sinead, Sorcha, Una

Clan Names: Every Irishman has a loyalty to his Clan. Select one from the lists here. In each name a “Mc” prefix means “son of,” and an “O” prefix means “grandson of or descendant of the person named. However, they actually mean the same thing since even the sons are of ancient times.
Similar names indicate a distant kinship, so that the O’Neils acknowledge a distant kinship with the McNeils. Likewise, clans from different parts of the island who have the same name acknowledge distant kinship.
Each clan is actually native to a very specific part of the kingdom, but no attempt has been made to locate these precisely within each kingdom for this edition.

• Ailech: O’Duffy, O’Mulligan, O’Farren, Mc Nelis, Mc Roarty, O’Kenny, O’Dever, Mc Grath.

• Connacht: O’Conor, O’Flynn, O’Fergus, O’Finan, O’Coyne, Mc Conneely, O’downey, O’Nihil, O’Dea, Mc Keane, Mc Donnell, O’Quinn, O’Brien, Mc Mahon, O’Grady, O’Madden, Mc Nevin.

• Dal Ariade: O’Neill Clanaboy, Mc Alister, O’Lynn, O’Lavery.

• Dal Riada: Mc Donnell, O’Quinn, O’Hara, Mc Neill, Mc Cleary, Mc Quillan, Mc Keown, O’Hood.

• Leinster: O’Conor Faly, O’Dempsey, O’Dunn, O’Byrne, O’Toole, Mc Morrough, Mc Gilpatrick, O’Doyle, O’Hartley, O’Nolan, O’Larkin, O’Shea, O’Duff, O’Ronan, O’Cullen.

• Long Isles (same as Dal Riada): Mc Donnell, O’Quinn, O’Hara, Mc Neill, Mc Cleary, Mc Quillan, Mc Keown, O’Hood.

• Meath: O’Reilly, O’Curry, O’Coffey, O’Connolly, O’Kelly, Mc Auley, Mc Gee, O’Casey, O’Connolly, O’Mulecdy.

• Munster: O’Kennedy, O’Meagher, O’Brien Arra, O’Mulrain, O’Conor Kerry, O’Sullivan Mor, Mc Carthy Muskerry, O’Callaghan, Mc Carthy Reagh, O’Sullivan, Beare, O’Fogarty, O’Noonan, O’Long, O’Shelly, Mc Sweeney.

• Oriel: O’Neill, Mc Nally, Mc Gorman, Mc Mahon, O’Hagan, O’Hanlon, O’Breslin, Mc Ardle.

Pronunciation Guide:
(a) is roughly equivalent to English law
(c) is always hard, roughly equivalent to English cow
(d) is roughly equivalent to English j, as in joy
(e) is roughly equivalent to English veil
(g) is roughly equivalent to English, as in goal
(i) is roughly equivalent to English ee, as in fee
(o) is roughly equivalent to English show
(iu) is roughly equivalent to the English ew, as is rood
(s) is roughly equivalent to English sh, as in short
(t) is roughly equivalent to English ch, as in church
(ei) is roughly equivalent to English vine
(ow) is roughly equivalent to English owl
(ch) is roughly equivalent to Scottish loch

Pict
Male Names: Agnoin, Brude, Buban, Buiann, Cian, Cruithne, Drust, Fathecht, Golistan, Llifiau, Luchtai, Mailcon, Mais, Nechtan, Partolan, Peithan, Talorc, Wid.

Female Names: No female Pictish names have been recorded in history. Use Cymric and Irish names.

Surnames: Pict surnames are usually patronymic, linking a person to his or her father by placing mab (son of) or ferch (daughter of) between a person’s proper name and the father’s name.
Nicknames based on traits (“the loner”), places (i.e. “an Arcach”, meaning of The Orkneys), quirks (i.e. “Clag a’ Bhaile” meaning ‘the town bell’ for a loud person), or occupation (i.e. “Clachair” or stonemason) are also common.

Clan Names: Every Pict has a loyalty to his Clan. The word clan simply means children, and each clan is made up of a number of distinct familial branches that are descended from, or believe themselves to be descended from, a common ancestor. New clans contain septs or branches are founded when a powerful or prominent clansman establishes he own notable familial line within that clan. The clan chief is considered the head, or father, of the entire clan and, upon his death, is succeeded by an heir who is elected by clan members during the chief’s lifetime. Only the chief uses the Clan Name as his surname; all others use their patronymic surname or their given byname.

Roman
Roman citizens usually bore two to three elements in their names: a proper name, a surname, and, at times, an honorific.

Male Names: Albanus, Agorix, Arcavius, Avitus, Belletor, Burcanius, Caletus, Caracturus, Catianus, Cunobarrus, Cervidus, Dagwaldus, Decmus, Donicus, Dumnorix, Egbutius, Elvorix, Galerus, Gessius, Ingenvinus, Isatis, Ivimarus, Luonercus, Litumarus, Leddicus, Lupinus, Maccalus, Macrinus, Magunnus, Marullinus, Metunus, Molacus, Nemnogenus, Nonius, Novellius, Olennius, Pertacus, Primanus, Nertomarus, Sarimarcus, Sudrenus, Tanicus, Taurinus, Trenus, Vepgenus, Vibennis, Vitalinus, Ulprus, Voteporix.

Female Names: Except for the names ending in -rix, all male names can be feminized by changing the ending to “ia”. Thus Arcavius becomes Arcavia.

Surname: The surname or nomen designated a Roman citizen as a member of a family or clan. All members of an extended family share the same surname or nomen, and claimed descent from a common ancestor.
The nomen was an essential element of Roman nomenclature throughout Roman history, although its usefulness as a distinguishing element declined precipitously following the Constitutio Antoniniana, which effectively granted the nomen “Aurelius” to vast numbers of newly enfranchised citizens. Countless other “new Romans” acquired the nomen of important families in this manner during imperial times; in the fourth century Aurelius was surpassed in number by Flavius, and other names became quite common, including Valerius, Claudius, Fabius, Julius, and Junius.
Honorific: Honorific names were also used to distinguish branches of the family from one another, and occasionally, to highlight an individual’s achievement, typically in warfare.
Unlike the surname, which was passed down unchanged from father to son, an honorific or cogname could appear and disappear almost at will. They were not normally chosen by the persons who bore them, but were earned or bestowed by others, which may account for the wide variety of unflattering names that were used as cognames.
Examples of honorifics include Magnus (great), Maximus (greatest), Cicero (chick pea), Rufus (red-haired), Numidicus (from Numidia), Scaevola (left-handed), Eboricus (from York), Augustus (venerable).

Pronunciation Guide: remember that all C’s are hard, like K.

Saxon
Male Names: Aelfric, Aescwine, Bassa, Beorhtric, Caedwalla, Caewlin, Centwine, Cenwalch, Cerdic, Coelred, Coelric, Coelwulf, Coenhelm, Conerad, Conewalch, Coenwulf, Cuthbert, Cuthred, Cuthwulf, Cyneagils, Cynewulf, Cynric, Eadbald, Eadberht, Eadric, Eardwulf, Edwin, Edgert, Ethilfrith, Ethelheard, Ethelred, Ethelwulf, Hengest, Hlothere, Horsa, Ine, Octa, Oeric, Osric, Oswald, Oswine, Oswulf, Oswy, Peada, Penda, Sigebryht, Wihtred, Wulfhere

Female Names: Aelflaed, Aelgifu, Aethelred, Burhred, Cuthburh, Cyneburh, Eadgifu, Eadgyth, Eadhild, Ealhred, Eormenburh, Hereswith, Raedburh, Sexburh, Wihtburh

Surnames: Saxons use personal names that are often made up of two elements, often linked in some way with the parents’ names. For instance, Aldred and Edith might call their daughter Aldith as some elements were suitable for males and females. These names did not necessarily have any link in meaning between their two elements.
For clarity’s sake, Saxon’s will sometimes identify themselves as their father’s son or daughter. As such the sons of Helgi may adopt Helgisson as a surname of sorts, while his daughters would be take Helgisdottir as their informal surname.
In place of surnames, noteworthy Saxon warriors and nobles adopt nicknames based upon their homeland (i.e. of the Dales, Lord of Hadding), traits (i.e. the Honey-Tongued, the Learned, the Reckless), appearance (i.e. The Fair, the Fat, the Tall, the Old, the Lame, Blue-Toothed, Swarthy-Cheeked), or deeds (i.e. of the Long Hunt, Far-Wanderer, Battle-Blessed, Head-Splitter).
Surnames were not necessary for identification purposes although bynames were sometimes used. Although there was no inherited surname, some great families were identified by a collective name taken from a famous forebear, such as the Athelings, Gumeningas, Besingas, Baducings, Guthlacingas, or Volsungs; with the final ‘-ing’ or ‘-ung- element signifying ‘people of’.

Expanded Cultural Options for 5th Edition Pendragon (Modifiers to Statistics, Traits, and Passions)

STATISTICS

I’ll be using the following modified statistic modifiers for the various cultures in my game because I think that they’re ample without being too drastic.  I don’t want all Saxons being hulking, clumsy, brutes and all Picts to be tiny and unattractive gymnasts.  These new modifiers all for meaningful statistic differences between cultures without making them into caricatures.

Cultural Modifiers to Statistics:

Cymric or Irish:  +2 CON

Frankish or Frisian:  +1 STR, +1 CON

Aquitanian:  +1 DEX, +1 CON

Pictish:  +2 DEX, +1 CON, -1 SIZ, -1 APP

Roman:  +1 DEX, +1 APP

Saxon:  +2 SIZ, +1 STR, -1 DEX

TRAITS

Roll 3d6 for each trait in the left-hand column, also called virtues.  The right-hand column traits, also called vices, are determined by subtracting the corresponding virtue from 20.  Add any cultural, religious or familial modifiers to the relevant traits, to a maximum of 19 and minimum of 1.

Add “3” to any religious trait.  No starting trait may exceed 18, even after religious modifiers.  If no virtues are notable (16 or higher), you may raise one virtue of your choice to 16.

Virtues Vices
Chaste Lustful
Energetic* Lazy
Forgiving Vengeful
Generous* Selfish
Honest Deceitful
Just* Arbitrary
Merciful* Cruel
Modest* Proud
Prudent Reckless
Temperate Indulgent
Trusting Suspicious
Valorous* Cowardly

 

Cultural Trait & Passion Modifiers:

Frankish Aquitanian
Traits: Proud +2, Reckless +2, Valorous +2 Traits: Vengeful +2, Indulgent +2, Proud +2, Worldly +2
Directed Trait: Indulgent (wine) Directed Trait: Suspicious (religious fanatics)
Passions: Loyalty (lord) +1d6, Honor +1 Passions: Loyalty (lord) -2, Honor +1
         
Irish           Roman
Traits: Vengeful +2, Indulgent +2, Reckless +1   Traits: Deceitful +2, Worldly +2, Proud +2
Directed Trait: None   Directed Trait: Suspicious (non-Romans)
Passions: Loyalty (lord) -1d6, Love (family) +1d6, Honor -1   Passions: Loyalty (City) or (Emperor) 3d6
 
Pict Saxon
Traits: Pious +2, Suspicious +2, Cruel +1 Traits: Arbitrary +2, Cruel +1, Honest +2, Energetic +1, Valorous +1
Directed Trait: None Directed Trait: None
Passions: Love (family) +2, Hospitality +1, Honor -2 Passions: Loyalty (Lord) +1d6, Honor -1

 

Regional Trait & Passion Modifiers:

Britanny Ireland
Traits: Energetic +1, Modest +2, Prudent +2, Valorous +1 Traits: Lustful +1, Energetic +1, Honest +2, Indulgent +2
         
Cambria   Logres
Traits: Arbitrary +2, Suspicious +2, Prudent +1, Temperate +1   Traits: Energetic +1, Forgiving +1, Honest +1, Just +1, Trusting +1, Valorous +1
 
Cumbria The North
Traits: Pious +2, Honest +1 Traits: Prudent +2, Selfish +2, Pious +1, Temperate +1
Directed Trait: Loyalty (Cumbrian lord): +1d6, Loyalty (non-Cumbrian lord): -1d6 Passions: Love (family) +1d3
   
Cornwall  
Traits: Arbitrary +2, Suspicious +2, Prudent +2  

Regional Directed Traits:  +1d6 to the listed trait

Bedegraine (Logres): Suspicious of Lindsey (all time periods)

Benoic (The North): Suspicious Cymri (Uther & Anarchy), Suspicious of pagans (all time periods)

Benoit (Aquitaine): Suspicious Franks (Uther & Anarchy)

Brun (Logres): Suspicious of Hertford (Uther & Anarchy), Suspicious of faeries (Boy King & later)

Cambenet (Cumbria): Trusting of Logres knights (Romance & later)

Caercolun (Logres): Vengeful of Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Carhaix (Brittany): Suspicious of all Bretons (all time periods)

Colchester (Logres): Vengeful of Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Dal Riada (Ireland): Proud of Dal Riada (all time periods)

Dorset (Logres):  Suspicious of non-Romans (Uther, Anarchy & Boy King)

Dumnonie (Brittany): Suspicious of Vannetais (Boy King & later)

Escavalon Cambria): Suspicious of Estregales (Uther & Anarchy), Proud of Escavalon (all time periods)

Essex (Logres): Indulgent of alcohol (all time periods)

Estregales (Cambria): Suspicious of Gomeret (Boy King & later)

Ganis (Aquitaine): Suspicious of Franks (all time periods)

Gomeret (Cambria): Suspicious of Pendragon (Boy King & later)

Gorre (North): Trusting of pagans (all time periods), Trusting of witches (Romance & later)

Hampshire (Logres): Merciful of Saxons (Romance & later)

Hertford (Logres):  Selfish with food (all time periods)

Huntington (Logres): Suspicious Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Isle of Wight: Prudent at sea (all time periods), Valorous at sea (all time periods)

Jagent (Logres): Suspicious of Cornwall (Boy King & later)

Lambor (Logres):  Suspicious of Lindsey (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Leicester (Logres): Suspicious of of Cymri (all time periods)

Leon (Brittany): Trusting of paying customers (all time periods)

Lindsey (Logres): Suspicious of Pendragon (all time periods)

Lonazep (Logres): Cowardly with marsh monsters (all time periods)

London (Logres): Suspicious of Saxons (Boy King, Conquest & Romance)

Long Isles (North): Suspicious of Cymri (all time periods)

Lothian (North): Suspicious of Pendragon (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Malahaut (Cumbria): Suspicious of Pendragon (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Munster (Ireland): Trusting of Estregales (all time periods)

Nohaut (Cumbria): Suspicious of Malahaut (all time periods)

Oriel (Ireland): Suspicious of Pendragon (Romance & later)

Pomitain (Ireland): Valorous at sea (all time periods)

Rydychan (Logres): Suspicious of Cambrians (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Salisbury (Logres): Suspicious of Silchester (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Somerset (Logres):  Cowardly of faeries (all time periods)

Sugales (Cambria): Trusting of druids (all time periods)

Surluse (North): Proud of Irish ways (all time periods)

Sussex (Logres): Indulgent of alcohol (all time periods)

Thamesmouth: Suspicious of Saxons (Boy King, Conquest & Romance)

Tintagel (Cornwall): Trusting of Morgan le Fay (Boy King & later)

Tribuit (Logres): Cowardly of Faeries (Boy King & later), Indulgent of fine clothes (Conquest & later)

Winchester (Logres): Proud of Belgae (Uther & Anarchy)

Wuerensis (Logres): Suspicious of religious fanatics (all time periods)

CHIVALRY BONUS

Starred (*) virtues must equal or exceed 80.  Bonus is +3 to natural armor.

RELIGIOUS BONUSES    

Differs by religion.  All religious traits must exceed 15.  See below for the benefits of each faith’s religious bonus.

Christian, British

Traits: Chaste, Energetic, Generous, Modest, Temperate

Religious Bonus: +3 Hit Points, +1d3 to Damage

Christian, Roman

Traits: Chaste, Forgiving, Merciful, Modest, Temperate

Religious Bonus: +6 Hit Points

Heathen

Traits: Vengeful, Honest, Proud, Arbitrary, Worldly

Religious Bonus: +2 Movement, +1 Healing

Judaic

Traits: Chaste, Energetic, Just, Prudent, Temperate

Religious Bonus: +3 Hit Points, +1 Healing

Pagan, British

Traits: Lustful, Energetic, Generous, Honest, Proud

Religious Bonus: +1 Movement, +2 Healing

Pagan, Germanic

Traits: Generous, Proud, Worldly, Reckless, Indulgent

Religious Bonus: +1d6 Damage

PASSIONS                      

Fear:                               replaced w/ directed trait (cowardly)

Hate:                              3d6

Honor:                            3d6

Hospitality:                     3d6

Love:                              3d6*

Loyalty (any):                3d6

*When generating Love (family), the eldest son and all daughters roll 3d6 and use the result.  Each subsequent son subtracts one from the 3d6 roll (i.e. the third born son subtracts 2 from his roll while the 6th born subtracts 5 from his roll).

In families that provide equally for all male heirs (gavelkind inheritance), the roll is not modified for later-born sons.  Saxon, Irish, and Cambrian lords often practice gavelkind inheritance, known among the Cymri as cyfran.

Regional Passions:  Roll 3d6 to determine the regional Passion score:

Ailech (Ireland): Hate Orielmen (all time periods)

Bedegraine (Logres): Hate Norgales knights (Romance & later)

Caercolun (Logres): Hate Angles (Uther, Anarchy & Boy King)

Cambenet (Cumbria): Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Cameliard (Cambria): Hate Norgales knights (Uther & Anarchy), Amor (Guenever) (Romance & later)

Clarence (Logres):  Hate Gloucestermen (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Connacht (Ireland): Love Hunting

Cornouailles (Brittany): Loyalty to the King of Cornwall (all time periods)

Devon (Cornwall):  Hate Irish (all time periods)

Dumnonie (Brittany): Hate Vannetais (Uther & Anarchy)

Escoce (North): Hate Irish (all time periods)

Garloth (North): Hate Danes (Uther & Anarchy), Hate Saracens (Romance & later)

Gorre (North): Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Gloucester (Cambria): Hate Clarence (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Hampshire (Logres): Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Hertford (Logres): Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Huntington (Logres): Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Jagent (Logres): Hate Cornishmen (Uther & Anarchy)

Kent (Logres): Hate Danes (all time periods)

Leinster (Ireland): Hate Irish Pagans (Boy King & later)

London: Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Lothian (North): Hate Pendragon (Tournament & later)

Lyonesse (Cornwall): Hate Irish (all time periods except Tournament, Grail Quest & Twilight)

Malahaut (Cumbria): Hate Angles (Uther & Anarchy)

Maris (Logres): Hate Angles (Uther & Anarchy), Hate trolls (all time periods)

Meath (Ireland): Hate Pagans (all time periods)

Nohaut (North): Hate Malahaut (Uther, Anarchy, Boy King & Conquest)

Salisbury (Logres): Hate Saxons (Uther, Anarchy & Boy King)

Silchester (Logres): Hate Saxons (Anarchy & later)

Somerset (Logres): Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Strangorre (North):  Hate Irish (all time periods)

Surrey (Logres): Hate (Other) Saxons (Uther, Anarchy & Boy King)

Thamesmouth: Hate Saxons (Uther & Anarchy)

Tintagel (Cornwall): Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Totnes (Cornwall): Hate Giants (all time periods), Hate Irish (Uther & Anarchy)

Vannetais (Brittany): Hate Franks (all time periods), Hate Brittany (Tournament & Twilight)

Wuerensis (Logres): Hate Cambrians (Uther & Anarchy)

Expanded Cultural Options for 5th Edition Pendragon (Random Generation)

CULTURE & RELIGIONS

Default Option:  Using the default option, starting characters are assumed to be Cymri from Logres who practice British Christianity.

Advanced Option:  Gamemasters may wish to allow for more diversity in starting regions, cultures, and religions in their games.  If this is the case in your campaign, use the following steps:

1] Determine Region:  Consult the TIME PERIOD TABLE below and roll a d20 to determine the character’s starting region.

2] Determine Homeland:  Roll percentile dice and consult the HOMELAND TABLE indicated on the TIME PERIOD TABLE to determine the character’s homeland.  Once the player’s homeland is determined, roll a d6 and consult the appropriate regional subtable to determine the exact city, town, or county that the character is from.  British Saxons have no subtable that need be rolled upon.

3] Determine Culture & Religion:  Consult the CULTURE & RELIGION BY HOMELAND table and roll a d6 to determine the character’s culture and religion.  Apply all applicable modifiers to the player’s statistics, traits, and passions.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Generating Pendragon Character Statistics (Revised)

Before getting into the modifiers to statistics associated with each culture, I wanted to (briefly) show how character’s statistics are generated in my game.

STATISTICS

Size: 2d6+6 (2d6+3 for female characters)

Strength: 3d6 (2d6+3 for female characters)

Dexterity: 3d6

Constitution:  3d6

In place of rolling these statistics, the character can assign 48 points to them and then apply cultural modifiers.

Appearance:   3d6 (4d6 for female characters)

Appearance is rolled separately for all characters.

Minimum and Maximum Starting Scores:  The maximum starting statistic score is 18, plus or minus cultural modifiers.  The minimum starting statistic score is 5.  Scores below 5 are raised to 5.

Distinctive Features: Distinctive features are based upon the Appearance statistic (see above). Characters with an average appearance (10-12) have 1 distinctive feature.  Those that are particularly handsome or unattractive have more than 1 distinctive feature, as detailed below.

Value Distinctive Features
Up to 6 3
7-9 2
10-12 1
13-16 2
17+ 3

Expanded Cultural Options for 5th Edition Pendragon (Background Information)

Background Information

5th edition Pendragon starts all player character knights as Cymric Christians from Logres for a simple, and sensible, reason:  Britain, in 485, is being assaulted by raiders from the north (Picts), west (Irish), and east (Saxons).  Meanwhile Britain’s indigenous people, the Cymri, struggle to hold their lands following Rome’s conquest and recent desertion of the island.  As such, it makes perfect sense that starting characters be Britons from Britain’s heartland striving to keep their lands from falling into barbarism and out from under the yoke of foreign occupation.

That said, I don’t see why Cymric pagans and Roman characters aren’t available as player knights.  At this point in history the Franks are still pagans and it is easy to imagine that paganism is still practiced among the Cymri… particularly those belonging to the hill tribes of Cambria and in the northern reaches of Cumbria.  Even in places where Christianity holds sway, I’d imagine that a good deal of the locals still hold to their pagan beliefs and practices, incorporating their ancestral folk lore into their Christian faith.

While the Roman legions and governors were withdrawn from Britannia in 410 AD, there’d certainly have been Roman and Romano-Cymric families that chose to remain behind.

Adding Cymric Bretons, Frankish, Aquitanian, and Romano-Celtic Gallic knights is also feasible as warfare on the continent, particularly between the Franks and Roman Gaul, could easily account for exiled and displaced nobles journeying north the Britain.  In fact, by 486, Gaul ceased to be a Roman province after the Frankish victory at the Battle of Soissons (Novidunum) in what is now northeastern France.  Also both Uther and Aurelius Ambrosius spent their years in exile in Brittany in the court of their cousin, Budic I of Britanny. There is little doubt that nobles and knights from the region, particularly Gauls and Aquitanians (Romano-Goths) displaced by the conquering Franks, would have joined the cause of the exiled princes and sailed with them to retake beleaguered Britain.

In an early campaign, justifying Saxon, Pictish, and Irish characters is a tough feat.  At this point, these people are the enemies of the Cymri in Cornwall, Logres, Cambria, and Cumbria.

Angus McBride: Saxon Warriors

Saxons, along with Angles, Frisians and Jutes, invaded and migrated to the island around the time of the collapse of Roman authority in the west. Saxon raiders had been harassing the eastern and southern shores of Britannia for centuries before, prompting the construction of a string of coastal forts called the Saxon Shore. Before the end of Roman rule in Britain, many Saxons and other folk had been permitted to settle in these areas as farmers.

Under the rule of Vortigern, Saxon mercenaries were employed to defend Britain against the Picts and Irish, and to aid him in uniting Britain under his banner.  Over time these Saxons were granted lands, particularly in Kent.  The Saxon warlords Hengist and Horsa manipulated Vortigern into granting more land and allowing for more settlers to come in, paving the way for the Saxon settlement of Britain and Vortigern’s downfall.

One way to incorporate Saxon characters would be to have them be British-born Saxons whose forebears served as mercenaries for the Romans, or Vortigern, and settled lands under Cymric rule.  Coming from established families, British-born Saxons would still face prejudice but, as sworn servants of Cymric lords, fall under the protection of those lords.  Their position, in the face of relentless Saxon invasions, would be tenuous and roleplaying such a character could be challenging… to say the least!  Based on the location of Saxon settlements in relation to Cymric lands,  some likely locales for such characters would be:

  • Eboracum and it outlying lands
  • Essex, particularly Ipswitch and Colchester (before they fall to the Angles)
  • London and its outlying lands,
  • The Southports region

Irish knights, in an early campaign, could be from Estregales and, until 495, Escavalon.  These lands have been held by Irish tribesmen for generations and are currently held by King Canan I.  While Estregales wars with its Cambrian neighbors in Gomeret, it has diplomatic relations with other British lords.  As such fosterage, a practice common to Wales and Ireland, could allow the sons of Irish lords to serve in Cymric courts as honored guests and wards.  Cultural tensions, diplomatic concerns, and opportunities for espionage could all make for great roleplaying sessions.

Angus McBride

Integrating Pictish characters, particularly knights, is a challenge in light of their insular nature and hostility towards their southern neighbors.   It is possible that some lowland clans could have tribesmen serving Cymric lords as mercenaries, such as scouts or as infantry, while Christian Picts (St. Ninnius converted the Picts of Benoic in 390 AD) might serve either the church or a Christian lord in the name of their faith.

Coming soon… Expanded Cultural Options, Pt.2

Pendragon: Where to Begin?

When running a Pendragon game, I prefer to start the action as early as possible.  While 4th edition Pendragon assumes that campaigns will begin well into the reign of Arthur (531 AD), 5th edition starts things up during the reign of Uther (485 AD)… which I much prefer.  The Wiki excerpt below clearly illustrates some of the reasons for this preference:

Uther Pendragon (from Wikipedia):

Uther is best known from Geoffrey’s Historia Regum Britanniae (1136) where he is the youngest son of King of Britannia Constantine II. His eldest brother Constans succeeds to the throne on their father’s death, but is murdered at the instigation of his adviser Vortigern, who seizes the throne. Uther and his other brother Aurelius Ambrosius, still children, flee to Brittany. After Vortigern’s alliance with the Saxons under Hengist goes disastrously wrong, Aurelius and Uther, now adults, return. Aurelius burns Vortigern in his castle and becomes king.

With Aurelius on the throne, Uther leads his brother in arms to Ireland to help Merlin bring the stones of Stonehenge from there to Britain. Later, while Aurelius is ill, Uther leads his army against Vortigern’s son Paschent and his Saxon allies. On the way to the battle, he sees a comet in the shape of a dragon, which Merlin interprets as presaging Aurelius’s death and Uther’s glorious future. Uther wins the battle and takes the epithet “Pendragon”, and returns to find that Aurelius has been poisoned by an assassin. He becomes king and orders the construction of two gold dragons, one of which he uses as his standard. He secures Britain’s frontiers and quells Saxon uprisings with the aids of his retainers, one of whom is Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. At a banquet celebrating their victories Uther becomes obsessively enamoured of Gorlois’ wife, Igerna (Igraine), and a war ensues between Uther and his vassal. Gorlois sends Igerna to the impregnable castle of Tintagel for protection while he himself is besieged by Uther in another town. Uther consults with Merlin who uses his magic to transform the king into the likeness of Gorlois and thus gain access to Igerna at Tintagel. He spends the night with her and they conceive a son, Arthur, but the next morning it is discovered that Gorlois had been killed. Uther marries Igerna and they have another child, a daughter called Anna (in later romances she is called Morgause and is usually Igerna’s daughter by her previous marriage). Morgause later marries King Lot and becomes the mother of Gawain and Mordred.

Uther later falls ill, but when the wars against the Saxons go badly he insists on leading his army himself, propped up on his horse. He defeats Hengist’s son Octa at Verulamium (St Albans), despite the Saxons calling him the “Half-Dead King.” However, the Saxons soon contrive his death by poisoning a spring he drinks from near Verulamium.[8]

Uther’s family is based on some historical figures; Constantine on the historical usurper Constantine III, a claimant to the Roman throne from 407–411, and Constans on his son. Aurelius Ambrosius is Ambrosius Aurelianus, mentioned by Gildas, though his connection to Constantine and Constans is unrecorded.

There is just so much going during this period of time.  During Uther’s reign Britain is fractured, its rulers fighting among themselves while Irish, Pictish, and Saxon raiders threaten the very survival of the Romano-Cymric people.  Chivalry, courtly romance, and tournaments with knights in shining plate armor are cast aside; replaced with xenophobia, desperate battles, internal strife, and a tone that more closely resembles the Dark Ages than the Late Middle Ages.

Whenever I’ve played or ran Pendragon, it was this time period and its trappings that most appealed to me and my players.  As such, I’ll keep 485 as the starting period when adding new cultures and religions.

9dda32df0b36bdbb1f8f1d6225ecff8f

Coming soon… Starting Player Cultures for Pendragon

Pendragon… updating a classic game

I’m in the process of overhauling the Pendragon RPG in the hope that I’ll, one day, run it again.

6thcenturycavalry
Angus McBride’s Romano-British cavalry with scouts.

As much as think 5th edition is tighter, much better organized, game than 4th edition I do miss some of the options that 4th edition Pendragon made available.  While I never used 4th edition’s magic system, as magic is something best left as a plot device, I do miss the rules that allowed characters other than vassal knights (i.e. squires, warriors, footsoldiers, sergeants, mercenary knights, knights errant, and bachelor knights) at the start of play.  4th edition also included rules for characters from multiple cultures (i.e. Cymric, Roman, Saxon, Occitanian, French, Irish, and Pict) and faiths (i.e. pagan, heathen, Christian, Jewish, and Wotanic).  In order to achieve this in 5th edition, you’d need to purchase the Book of Knights and Ladies.

The first part of overhauling the most current incarnation of the rules (Pendragon 5.1) will be porting those cultures back into the game.  I’ll leave that for another post…

Please feel free to comment on what your experiences with the game and on any ideas you have to improve upon it (even if you love it as is and think I shouldn’t muck about with it).  😉

Coming soon… Pendragon:  Where to Begin?