Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Växjö, Småland
    Posts
    524

    How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    I just finished the Pendragon Great Campaign. All the years, 485-565. It took me 93 gaming session. I wrote a 432 page long campaign manuscript. The whole thing lasted for two years and ten months (in real life, not fantasy time). Ten players participated at one point or another.

    I write this not (only) to brag, but also because I think that many game masters find it very hard to get through the whole Pendragon Great Campaign. Many campaigns seems to be in the 480s and 490s. When I was cleaning up the paperwork for this campaign, I also started leafing through my papers from campaigns of yesterday. While not all of them had the object of reaching the Battle of Camlann, some of them did. But I never managed to pull it off. Read here this sorry tale, which starts in the dark year of 1990:

    Attempt One (1st): 492-496. We just discovered the game, and abandoned this campaign to run the 3rd ed instead.

    Attempt Two (3rd): 531-561. After 31 sessions, we were all exhausted and bored (I'll get back to why further down). It ended with a whimper.

    Attempt Three (3rd): 506-517. I don't even remember this one. Looking at my players, I probably just got bored of them. (I lost my star player from Attempt Two to military service).

    Attempt Four (3rd): 509-522. This campaign was plagued by a very difficult player. The rest of us lost heart, to some extent, though I don't know exactly why we didn't get any further.

    Attempt Five (4th): 519-541. This was a beer-and-pretzel-campaign with novice role players. No idea what happened to end it.

    Attempt Six (5th): 531-557. I though we would make it. But in the end, our commitment wasn't just enough. I grew bored, then my best player went out to sea ... and my players lost their old characters in the Grail Quest - and lost heart a bit. It was abandoned in mutual consent.

    Attempt Seven (5th/5.1st): 485-565. I finally made it!

    In this last attempt I did things a lot different from the others. This is also the reason that I think that I finally reached the goal line.

    Pacing and variation
    In my older campaigns I tried to fit everything into a gaming session: feasts, court sessions, hunts, adventure, tourneys. This meant that the pace had to be high, and role playing suffered. Furthermore the sessions became predictable: Pentecost Tourney, Feats, Adventure, repeated session after session after session. All this led to boredom, less commitment - and failed campaigns.

    Before attempt seven, I decided that each session would be focused. One (or possibly two) well fleshed out events, but no more. Thus we could dig into all the details, spend a lot of time role playings - and the players did never know what to expect before a gaming session. This required some ruthless railroading from my part. Sometimes I did in media res beginnings - "You are at a place called Terrabil and see a rebel army before you"; wham! Battle!

    A positive effect of this was that the players had to prioritize - their characters couldn't do everything they wanted; which is fine, I think, since knights have many obligations and little "free time". Thus they had do decide what was really important to them, hence: better role playing.

    Okay, I didn't quite make the one gaming session per year: but 81 years in 93 sessions is pretty close. And this led to another GOOD THING: with the passing of time, things change, which keeps players interested. As the saga unfolded, my players appreciated the passing of time more and more. Keeping a good pace is very important I think, if you want to finish the PGC (and haven't all the time in the world).

    Drama - not Groucho Marx
    A read T H White when I started running Pendragon. This had, I think, a very adverse effect on my way of running the game. Because, as White realized, the whole genre of Arthuriana is ridiculous. A bunch of knights running around, rescuing maiden, fighting for trifles, talking in a high-flown way. If you ad a bit of anachronism and Monty Python to the mix, it becomes hilarious.

    And we had a lot of fun playing like that. But this kind of role playing becomes rather boring after a while. It leads to over acting. It leads to players and game master competing in saying and doing the most inane things. And somewhere along the road, the dark, grand drama of the Arthurians saga becomes lost.

    Furthermore, from a role playing perspective, this style of gaming under utilizes was best with Pendragon as a game: the personality system and a setting full of passion, large than life emotions, and drama. We were never using the system to tell stories about the PK knight - just to try to laugh as much as possible.

    So before attempt seven, I decided to run a straight faced campaign. Laughing and making jokes would be ok, of course, but in a small amount at appropriate times. Instead we would play knights torn apart by conflicting passions, divided loyalties and crushed between incompatible demands. We would use the system to tell dramatic stories about larger than life characters, forging their destinies for good or bad.

    It worked wonderful. I have never experienced so good role playing, so much heartfelt drama, so many heroic and tragic character fates in 30 years of role playing.

    * * *

    From this two points of view, I reinvented this game for myself. For the first time I realized how grand it can be. And I stuck to it for almost three years and I finally got to run the Battle of Camlann.

    * * *

    Okay, a bit pretentious, perhaps. But if it has given some inspiration or food for thought, I am happy.

    My epic campaign manuscript is - alas - written in Swedish. But if anyone want to take a look at it, just lemme know.
    The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power
    And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
    Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour
    The paths of glory lead but to the grave

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Hertfordshire, UK
    Posts
    1,095

    Re: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    Fantastic! You are to be congratulated Sir!

    We started my first and only attempt in June 2006. We're still playing it now and have only reached 514AD! We get to play maybe 3 times every two months, and then only 2 hours a time and so its slow progress. We keep getting distracted too, with frustratingly one game year regularly spanning 3 or 4 of these gatherings, but still we press on. One day we too will finish. But until then I take courage from those who have gone before us like yourself.
    Member of The Pendragon Eschille
    Currently running the Great Pendragon Campaign, account online at: www.pendragonchronicles.org.uk
    Member of the Great Pendragon Campaign Webring: www.pendragonchronicles.org.uk/webring.html

  3. #3
    Murt
    Guest

    Re: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    If you have posted your tale on a website, I'll be interested to read it : my swedish is probably very poor now, but I think that I should understand some sentences !!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Greg Stafford's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Arcata, CA
    Posts
    3,101

    Re: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    Nicely said
    Congratulations
    I took lots of notes for when I rewrite the introduction, as far as the variation

    just btw, it took me 3 or 4 starts before I got to the end of the campaign the first time, too

    and yes, we would love to link to your site from the offi8cial page
    I am confident that the Web Page Officer will set one up to proudly display links to completed campaigns (as well as ongoing!)
    Your Swedish can join the Spanish

    -- Greg Stafford
    Game Designer

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Isle of Mannanan
    Posts
    334

    Re: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    Congratulations!

    Great to hear that the task is not impossible. Thank you for the tips on running the GPC. I am strongly support the 1 year per session and mixing up the action.

    So, what will you be doing next?


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Hertfordshire, UK
    Posts
    1,095

    Re: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    [quote author=Earl De La Warr link=topic=1382.msg10907#msg10907 date=1319655424]
    So, what will you be doing next?
    [/quote]

    Start again surely! ;D
    Member of The Pendragon Eschille
    Currently running the Great Pendragon Campaign, account online at: www.pendragonchronicles.org.uk
    Member of the Great Pendragon Campaign Webring: www.pendragonchronicles.org.uk/webring.html

  7. #7

    Re: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    Congrats!

    I find I run one session a year for the majority, two sessions of year when there is a lot going on and the players really get into the role-playing at court. I had one year take 4 sessions (495) but pivotal for events going forward.

    I find my players help dictate the time passing, but in most cases, they are ok with one per year.

    Robert Schroeder

  8. #8

    Re: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    VIVAT !! VIVAT !! VIVAT !!

    Congrats on completing the campaign.

    I've recently restarted running GPC, 2 sessions per month with 1 year(ish) per session. I'll be using some of your ideas "focusing on 1 or 2 major events per year" definitely.

    My players have promised to stick with it for at least a year, so we'll see what happens.

    Congrats again. Great to see it can be done!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Växjö, Småland
    Posts
    524

    Re: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    [quote author=Merlin link=topic=1382.msg10900#msg10900 date=1319648260]Fantastic! You are to be congratulated Sir![/quote]
    [quote author=Greg Stafford link=topic=1382.msg10903#msg10903 date=1319648875]
    Nicely said Congratulations[/quote]
    [quote author=Earl De La Warr link=topic=1382.msg10907#msg10907 date=1319655424]
    Congratulations! [/quote]
    [quote author=Hzark10 link=topic=1382.msg10918#msg10918 date=1319675539]
    Congrats! [/quote]
    [quote author=MrUkpyr link=topic=1382.msg10925#msg10925 date=1319727531]
    VIVAT !! VIVAT !! VIVAT !!
    Congrats on completing the campaign. [/quote]

    Thanks!

    [quote author=Merlin link=topic=1382.msg10900#msg10900 date=1319648260]
    We started my first and only attempt in June 2006. We're still playing it now and have only reached 514AD! We get to play maybe 3 times every two months, and then only 2 hours a time and so its slow progress. We keep getting distracted too, with frustratingly one game year regularly spanning 3 or 4 of these gatherings, but still we press on. One day we too will finish. But until then I take courage from those who have gone before us like yourself. [/quote]

    [quote author=Earl De La Warr link=topic=1382.msg10907#msg10907 date=1319655424]
    Great to hear that the task is not impossible. Thank you for the tips on running the GPC. I am strongly support the 1 year per session and mixing up the action. [/quote]

    [quote author=Hzark10 link=topic=1382.msg10918#msg10918 date=1319675539]
    I find I run one session a year for the majority, two sessions of year when there is a lot going on and the players really get into the role-playing at court. I had one year take 4 sessions (495) but pivotal for events going forward.
    I find my players help dictate the time passing, but in most cases, they are ok with one per year. [/quote]

    [quote author=MrUkpyr link=topic=1382.msg10925#msg10925 date=1319727531]
    I've recently restarted running GPC, 2 sessions per month with 1 year(ish) per session. I'll be using some of your ideas "focusing on 1 or 2 major events per year" definitely. My players have promised to stick with it for at least a year, so we'll see what happens. [/quote]

    I think that if you can run a year in six to eight hours of play, you're on the right track. Unless you have oceans of time, which I think many of us don't.

    I gave some years two or even three sessions (510, 514, 554 among others), but other only got half a session.

    [quote author=Murt link=topic=1382.msg10902#msg10902 date=1319648856]
    If you have posted your tale on a website, I'll be interested to read it : my swedish is probably very poor now, but I think that I should understand some sentences !!!
    [/quote]

    Sorry, I haven't. Or rather, I have used my local gaming club's internet forum.

    I tried to post the file here, but it's to big!

    Just contact me through a message or an e-mail, and I will reply. Hzark10 already did!

    [quote author=Merlin link=topic=1382.msg10914#msg10914 date=1319659461]
    [quote author=Earl De La Warr link=topic=1382.msg10907#msg10907 date=1319655424]
    So, what will you be doing next?
    [/quote]
    Start again surely! ;D
    [/quote]

    No, I think I will have to let it rest a while :P

    I'll take a vacation from being a game master for half a year. And then there is that new Lord of the Rings RPG. And Mouse Guard. And Trail of Cthulhu. And I have three half completed home made role playing games on my computer. And ...

    But I do solemnly swear to return to Pendragon one day.

    [quote author=Greg Stafford link=topic=1382.msg10903#msg10903 date=1319648875]
    I took lots of notes for when I rewrite the introduction, as far as the variation[/quote]


    The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power
    And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
    Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour
    The paths of glory lead but to the grave

  10. #10
    Senior Member Taliesin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    1,379

    Re: How I finally survived the PGC or how it took me 21 years to reach Camlann

    Awesome! I too would love to see your chronicle. Congrats!


    T.
    “Only a fool wants war, but once a war starts then it cannot be fought half-heartedly. It cannot even be fought with regret, but must be waged with a savage joy in defeating the enemy, and it is that savage joy that inspires our bards to write their greatest songs about love and war.”

    ― Bernard Cornwell, Excalibur

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Five years into the Anarchy.
    By Cavalier in forum Game Play: Your Campaigns, the GPC, and Story Line Questions
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 11-12-2015, 12:47 AM
  2. It's been 16 years ... what has changed ?
    By Robert in forum Rules Questions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-05-2010, 09:10 PM
  3. Heraldry and the Early Years
    By Atgxtg in forum Game Play: Your Campaigns, the GPC, and Story Line Questions
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-25-2010, 05:47 PM
  4. Morgan Le Fay? Years Active and role?
    By Sunstaff in forum Game Play: Your Campaigns, the GPC, and Story Line Questions
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-19-2010, 07:06 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •