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Thread: Pendragon more rewarding for new knights?

  1. #1

    Pendragon more rewarding for new knights?

    I had an interesting conversation today with a fellow PK and we were talking about our knights and how much fun we are or aren't getting out of the game. He was bascially bored with his character and said he wanted to make a new one, had more fun when he had a very real risk of dying when charging into battle.

    I got to thinking about it, the year is 497 and my knight started at 480. He's pushing 10K glory, has 22 sword skill, and when my fellow PK mentioned he liked the game better earlier I realized I did too. We charged into battle against some Saxon raiders and I realized I lost that edge of worry that my char could die. For sure he still could on a solid hit, but there is much less chance for that to happen.

    For me I realized things were better in some ways when we didn't have any responsibility. It's that whole kids wanting to be adults only to be an adult wanting to be a kid again. No manors, no commoners, no duties. Just ride around and fight stuff and struggle to keep your armor polished. It was fun.

    Anyone else see this happening?

    Don't get me wrong, I do personally enjoy the politics and intrigue, this is what my character was made for, but I can see the other point of view.

    I guess I'm just looking to spark a discussion on this and see what you all might have done to help keep players engaged in the late game.
    Last edited by HorseshoesandHandGrenades; 09-06-2017 at 05:33 PM.

  2. #2
    If you are playing vassal knights, then yes, duties follow. But, household knights are much freer in the sense you are discussing. Do what your lord tells you.
    Talk to your gamemaster/players and decide if more of you are seeing this. If you want to tweak things a bit because you're tired of all the landholding stuff, commoners, responsibility routine, it is the Anarchy phase. Have a HUGE amount of Saxons decide to invade your neck of the woods (or Cornish, or Pict, or Irish, depending on where your campaign is located), and push you and yours out. Perhaps your family didn't make it. Perhaps your lord is killed defending his lands, and so on. The big point is have an event where you just don't turn and run. Desertion is a BAD thing to do. But the final result is you have to move to a different location. You don't get lands. You just follow a liege as one of his household knight. Your glory level will usually mean instant acceptance and you get to go back to the days of fun. Oh, your horses may not have made it either. Perhaps your really good armor was not with you and so you are without it. And so on.

    And 497 is not late in the game. If your knights have sons, then it is quickly becoming time for them to start adventuring.

  3. #3
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    For me, as the GM, the Anarchy is probably the most fun Period to GM, since almost everything goes and the PKs are in the front and center of decision-making. Just to take an example of the current campaign: thanks to the decisions made during Anarchy, PKs are aligned with Cornwall against Arthur in the early days of the Boy King Period. Not only that, but Count Robert is dead due to an ill-advised attempt to duel impassioned Prince Galegantis during a battle, which means that, again thanks to the decisions made by the PKs, the next claimant is the Praetor of Levcomagus, by the right of his wife, Jenna. And due to the fact of Levcomagus and Salisbury ending on opposite sides during late Anarchy, and some atrocities being committed against surrendered Levcomagus knights, things are not looking too rosy for the PKs if the Praetor becomes the new Count... On the other hand, they are in reasonably good repute with Prince Mark, the Regent of Salisbury and the husband of Dowager Countess Ellen, so there is that.

    It can definitely be easier to just be a household knight with no need to think for yourself. Even so, the liege might ask for your advice on stuff.

    As for the chance of death... sure, the random nameless Saxon raider is less of a threat. On the other hand, the 10K famous knight of Salisbury will likely attract a better class of enemies as well, such as Saxon champions & berserkers looking to make a name for themselves and to rid their kings of this potential threat. Especially in larger battles the 10K knight should be a potential target of enemy champions, and it should be easy enough for the GM to also plot potential insults and duel challenges from visiting Saxon tribute delegations, to test the mettle of the opposition. That is, if more challenge is desired. Finally there is the Great Enemy: Old Age. Your knight is probably 38 years old (or so), which means that he is starting to roll those aging rolls. He might still be on the top of his game, but he is weakening and slowing down... Give it five more years and things start becoming more challenging again, as his failing body starts to betray him.


    EDIT:
    To address the other part of the question... Is it more rewarding for the young knight? I can very well see how this would be:
    1) It is easier to improve.
    - Skills & Traits are generally lower, meaning that you can improve easier with the experience rolls.
    2) You don't have much of a reputation yet.
    - Thus, each event that happens and gives you Glory is that much more valuable in proportion, even if the absolute value is the same.
    3) Challenges can (seem to) be greater.
    - Like your friend pointed out, the common enemies are tougher. By contrast, as I said in the above, you might start meeting enemy champions etc. I mean, even if there is a group of common Saxon Raiders, I as a GM probably would include a 'boss' who is a bit tougher for the top tier PK to go after.

    On the other hand, once you are at the top of the molehill, your ability to influence the story may improve, too. If you are the highest Glory knight in X, then what you say carries much more weight than that of a newly-minted knight who has yet to accumulate a reputation. Also, if you are the top dog, then while the level of the opposition goes up, so can (and should) the level of (in-game) rewards: positions/offices, gifts of land, praise from the liege, better marriages (including for your son if you are already married).

    Finally, like Hzark10 already said, you are starting to get close to the time when your sons ought to be around the squiring age. A few years from now, the old PKs are starting to feel their age (time to go out in a glorious charge, consult your fellow players and the GM about that?), and it is possible to switch to the newly knighted sons of the first generation. If still alive, the oldsters can stay home and do politics and diplomacy, while the youngsters start as household knights (until they would inherit), beginning to build up their reputations and improving their skills.
    Last edited by Morien; 09-07-2017 at 07:55 AM.

  4. #4
    Lots of great points. I want to clarify something: I do enjoy the politics and such and being the big dog on campus. My oldest son is only 3, but I do have an unknown fae child which is out there in the fae realms somewhere. I had waited on marriage for someone more glorious to marry.

    Good point about being singled out by tougher enemies. Just like we would like to single out battalion commanders and such, I can see how warriors would look for my shield. Regarding aging rolls, I have been lucky has hell and haven't lost anything yet, but I know it's coming and my stats are pretty weak to begin with. I can see a single unlucky aging roll crippling my PK if it hits the right stats.

    I just messaged my GM, asked if I could play my bastard fae child as a bridge character. Seems like a decent alternative, since my main PK is also Castellian and in charge of a small castle himself just outside Levcomagnus (yes, I wholly get that I'm being setup to have major conflicts there lol).

    Good insights though, I think the game is great and there should be some self-mitigation going on for sure.

  5. #5
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    As a GM, I heartily endorse bridge characters, which is why I made sure in chargen to give each PK a couple of younger brothers. It has worked quite well, allowing the family lines to continue despite sometimes murderous circumstances. In my experience, the interruption of the dynastic game has a big effect on the player enjoyment. Of course, players may vary, but it is the players who have their family lines intact and stretching back to the start of the campaign that are most invested in the game. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say that when it comes to the first generation, I'd encourage the players to have their characters marry early and have plenty of children, to put the dynasty on a nice, firm footing. (I also use a much more forgiving childbirth & child survival rules than KAP 5.1, which are murderous.)

    But yeah, while the fae bastard might not be able to inherit, he could still be around as a bridge character (in my campaign). I'd make sure (as the GM) that the fae bastard shows up BEFORE the main character dies. It is so much easier to integrate him to the campaign when the father is still there to say that yeah, he is my son. Your GM might feel differently, though. All depends if he has already plans for that character as an NPC...

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