Quote Originally Posted by scarik View Post
St. Albans is my favorite part of Uther's story. The one where the villain dies. I have great fun coming up with new ways for it to happen in my games.

So far my best work is having a bard lampoon him so that he dies of old age and due to the power Excalibur wields over those sworn to him all of those present are stricken as well.
Uther is a predator, for sure, from our ... "enlightened" perspectives. For the time, he was a pretty good king from the perspective of just about everyone, who liked the riches of food and drink, and chasing skirts. This would not leave him regarded by the educated and nobility as the best of rulers, since those were known by their temperance and moderation (traditional Roman evaluation criteria), but he was effective in keeping the Saxons in line even if he had to work at it. (Unlike his brother Ambrosius, who actually lost more fights than he won.)

Interestingly, St. Albans' feast and the destruction of nobility is both an invention of Greg and a re-staging of the Treachery of the Long Knives a generation before. In the sources Uther died in London a few months after the Battle of St. Albans--probably from a wound--and was tended by Merlin. Note that the trial of the PKs and Merlin's outlawry are also adaptations of Greg, and in the sources Arthur was given away in a fostering process that was well-established and normal (we don't know what Ygraine thought of it, however).

I also like this period a great deal, and am looking forward to working through it, with several tweaks (shared despite the thread derail because ideas):
* Uther starts his pronounced slide with the whole Ygraine thing, and she herself enters the nunnery a year or two before St. Albans, as the King just won't keep himself under control.
* St. Albans is hell on the nobility, Roderick dies in battle, Uther is wounded but not critically; he enjoys himself too much at the feast but there is no poisoning.
* Uther, in his Pendragon pride, succumbs to his own lusts and degenerates further, holing up in London in both debauchery and the festering of his injury. During the winter, he dies. This may or may not be an assassination by any number of aggrieved parties--including the PKs or their relatives (one PK should be a quite pretty lady, with all that entails).
* The anarchy is, if anything, worse by the presence of the nobility, who have lacked a stable figure doing the past 5 years and were well on the way to scheming. The nobility kill each other in small battles as they take the opportunity to settle old scores, conquest, and press claims large and small. There's a great scramble early on in particular, to get ahead of what people expect will be a king "any day now". This peters out later, as the Saxons pick up the slack and become much more threatening.


--Khanwulf