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Dragons of Britain

The

THE JOURNAL OF GAMING IN ARTHURS BRITAIN

The Birthday Hunt

A Pendragon adventure into the land of Faerie


Scholars of the Cycle: Gildas & Britains Dark Ages
Hammer To Fall: An Age of Arthur Adventure
Around The Table: Greg Stafford
Pendragon Through The Ages
Ganieda The Enchantress
Whispers Around The Realm

Winter 2013

STYGIAN FOX

The king stablished all his knights, and gave them that were of lands not rich, he gave them lands, and charged
them never to do outrageousity nor murder, and always to flee treason; also, by no mean to be cruel,
but to give mercy unto him that asketh mercy, upon pain of forfeiture of their worship and lordship
of King Arthur forevermore; and always to do ladies, damosels,
and gentlewomen succor upon pain of death.
Also, that
no man
take no
battles
in a
wrongful
quarrel
for no law,
ne for no worlds
goods. Unto this were all the
knights sworn of the Table Round, both old and young.
And every year were they sworn at the high feast of Pentecost.

- Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte dArthur.

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3
4

Contents

The Pentecostal Oath


Contents
Noble Edicts
Editorial
by Steff Worthington

The Birthday Hunt


A Pendragon Adventure by Dave
Elrick

17

Pendragon Through
The Ages
A look at the various editions of
Pendragon by George Quail

21
22


40

The Otherworld
A look at Arthurian links
out in Internet-land
Hammer To Fall
An Age of Arthur
adventure by Paul Mitchener
Ganieda, sister to Merlin
An NPC for Pendragon
by George Quail

50

Gildas & Britains Dark Ages


Article by Paul Mitchener

53

Gawains Tale
Verse by Steff. J. Worthington

54

Around The Table


Greg Stafford &
Steff Worthington

59

Whispers Around The Realm


Plot nuggets and ideas

62

Gratitudes & Complimentaries


Links to our contributors

Writers

Steff. J Worthington,
Dave Elrick, George Quail,
& Paul Mitchener.

Artists

Steff. J Worthington,
Pareeerica, starscoldnight,
AnaRasha-stock,
John Atkinson Grimshaw,
ITSDura, Lor Myers,
& Misty Patricia.
A sincere thanks to all the artists
who have contributed to the past
and present art of Pendragon.
Cover art:
Woods by Jessica Dueck
http://starscoldnight.deviantart.
com/

Direction & Editing


Steff. J. Worthington

Copyright
Dragons of Britain is a magazine dedicated to the
world of Arthurian gaming & RPGs King Arthur:
Pendragon is copyright 2013 Greg Stafford &
Nocturnal Media. Age of Arthur is copyright 2013
Wordplay Games. This free fan based magazine is
not for sale and is a work of fiction. No similarities
to real world people (still living or sleeping underneath a hill) or events are intended.

Submissions & Contact

steffworthington@hotmail. com

Noble Edicts
I grew up with the tales of King Arthur and his knights (although I dont
remember him being referred to as
King) and from an early age began
to wonder who this leader of battles,
this Dux Bellorum, actually was.

great warlord that it almost impossible to rely on any facts with any
certainty. His reputation, personage,
and deeds are so vague as to be considered myth by some (not a view I
hold).

Id spend hours in Mold Library (one


of the largest Arthurian collections
in existence) breathing in the dust
from old volumes and wrestling with
French names which seemed so incongruous next the Welsh names I
was used to from the tales I had been
told.

I sometimes wonder what will happen if we find Arthur. Will we find


him in a sunken field that was once
a pool near Baschurch in Shropshire?
Buried in a wall as part of Chesters
amphitheatre? (A candidate for Camelot), in a mountainside cairn in
Snowdonia? Or under the grass on
Salisbury Plain? Will we wish wed
not gone looking?

Part of the charm of these investigations was deciphering who was


who and what was what. Myrddin,
or Emrys, was Merlin. Cai was Kay.
Afallan was Avalon. But it was only
when my beloved aunty bought me a
copy of RISK when I was young that
I started to get into gaming. In time,
progression to role-playing games,
and thence to Pendragon, was only
natural for me.
The hobby and the Matter of Britain
still hold sway for me. Im currently
writing my own non-magical RPG
version of the Welsh Arthur (The Bear
of Britain), I now draw maps professionally (and some of these appear
within this issue), and my knowledge
of Arthur has widened.
Still, I cannot claim to be an expert.
If anyone does claim to be, they are
mistaken. So little is known of the

I think sometimes that people need


to reveal the truth more than know
the truth. That finding him and having the fame is more interesting than
learning who he was. Will we look
down into that shallow grave in the
earth, at the detritus, rotted fabric,
hiltless sword, and old bones and
think we shouldve have left him undiscovered? That our dream of Arthur
cant possibly match up to the reality?
I would counsel caution. I want to
know who he really was too, but in
doing so we could unravel the greatest wonder and relic this island of the
mighty has to offer.
Yet still we seek him.

- Steff. Worthington

The

Birthday
Hunt
A Pendragon adventure by David Elrick
during the Period of Unification

Magna draconis arturius rex


6

The Birthday Hunt


A Pendragon adventure
by David Elrick
The following adventure was originally written to be run at games
conventions and so was designed
to fit into a four-hour slot. I set it
in 514AD, immediately after the
wedding of Arthur and Guinevere
and before the military campaign
against Maelgywn of Gwynedd.
With a little work (mainly changing background details) it should
be easy enough to place almost
anywhere during the Pendragon
period.

Tewkesbury (a kinsman of the Earl


of Salisbury) and takes place in
woodlands along the Gloucester/
Sugales border and in the fringes
of the Dean Forest (the border of
the realm of Faerie).
Plot Summary
The PCs are knights of Salisbury
who have come north ahead of
the main army ready for the new
campaign. They are at the home of
their Lords brother in law, so they
are among friends and can therefore relax. Their role is to arrange
temporary quarters for the army
and prepare their host and his
household for its arrival.

A mix of Pagan and Christian


knights works best with this adventure, although an all-Christian
group would be interesting too. At
least one knight should have a reasonable Faerie Lore score (or the
equivalent if you are using a system other than Pendragon).

This is a double celebration - the arrival of old friends, heralding the


arrival of the Lords kin, plus the
Lords eldest son is 21 and ready
to be knighted. There will be a celebration feast followed by a hunt
the next day.

Some maps are provided with the


adventure. They were not needed
any time I ran this adventure but
If you need to map the woods,
it should have a river running
through it and a long meadow (picnic field) at one side.

Part 1 is the feast and gives the


players opportunities to test skills
such as dancing, orate, sing and
others (the lord has a couple of
beautiful daughters too). Friendships may be made/renewed or
spoiled as the night pans out.

Location/Date

Part 2 is the start of the hunt. The


hunt goes slowly initially. Apart
from the PCs, the Lord and the
birthday boy, there are several
knights of the Lords household
and a couple of other guests. Plus
ladies, squires, beaters, dogs and
assorted servants with the picnic

This adventure is set in the summer of the year 514 AD, although
this can be changed to suit your
campaign.
It begins at the court of the Earl of

train... At first, the hunt is pretty


normal - plenty of hares, a few
boar and a couple of stags. Some
grouse and pheasants might be
spotted too. They will also meet a
hermit who will give them useful
advice (hopefully theyll take it).

The boy lies in an enchanted swoon


in the tower, attended by several Faerie maids who are holding him for
their queen. They offer the PCs food
and drink, hoping to ensnare them
too. The boy can be released if the
PCs leave an equal gift this could
be someone else, or a song or poem.

In the middle of the day, the servants will set out the picnic lunch If the PCs escape back into the real
in a clearing and more social type world the tower is just a ruin...
stuff might ensue (Part 3).
In the afternoon, the party splits
up (deliberately or otherwise) and
the hunt moves into thicker, wilder
woods. Some more game is spotted and possibly hunted. Some of
the game may be more fantastic
creatures. Then the boys horse is
spooked and bolts...
Chasing the horse leads the PCs
into wilder areas of the woods
and to a clearing where a tower
stands. This is the border with Faerie and the PCs need to find the
birthday boy.

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Map of Sugales/Gloucester border

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8

Part 1 The Feast

experiences in the wars against the


Saxons.

Location: The Great Hall, Tewkesbury Castle


This is also a good point for the
player characters to learn about
Date: Late Summer, 514AD
Maelgwyn and Gwynedd, Maelgwyns renouncing of Arthurs rule, the
The game opens in the great hall recent raids into the borders of the
at Tewkesbury castle. The hall is Earls domain and the forthcoming
filling up and there is a buzz of war. Answer any questions but dont
conversation as the knights and force information on them.
ladies of the court discuss the
news brought up from the South The hall will settle down as everyby the player characters.
one finds their seats. As honoured
guests (and representing members
Most of the ladies want to hear of the Countesses own family) the
about the wedding of Arthur and player characters are given places
Guinevere which happened in at the high table. Once everyone is
Camelot at Pentecost (earlier this seated, the pages blow the horns
year roughly the beginning of and Earl Gherard and his family enMay, or Beltane to the pagans). ter and take their places. The Earl
They will be eager for any news, and his lady are accompanied by
especially the fashions of the la- their three sons (Rhun who is 21 and
dies and what Queen Guinevere the other two, Giles and Briant, who
is like. If you are running this in are around 12-13) and two daughanother year, substitute whatever ters (Meraud who is 17 and Alys
is the current news from Camelot. who is 18).
On the other hand, the men are
mostly interested in the forthcoming campaign against Maelgywn
of Gwynedd and whether the
player characters think there will
be war, or whether Maelgywn will
back down when he sees the size
of Arthurs forces. They will also
speculate on the size of the army
and what the Saxons will or wont
do while Arthur is campaigning
in Gwynedd. There are opportunities for Boastful and Modest
checks are the player characters
are questioned about their own

It is a good feast, with plenty of rich


food. Entertainment is provided
at first by some of the Dukes own
household, but one or more of the
player characters might win some
glory by performing a song or story.
Orate and Perform rolls are suitable
here.
At some point during the feast,
the Earl will rise and welcome his
guests. He will also propose a toast
to his eldest son who is to be made
a knight tomorrow. Particularly
keen or pious knights might offer to

Eventually, the feast breaks up. Anyone who chooses to accompany


the Earls son will be shown to the
chapel. The boy is armoured up for
the vigil as is the custom, but the
player characters dont have to be
unless they choose to do so (they are
already knights). They will be in for
a sleepless night of prayers and will
have -5 to their alertness rolls during
the hunt the next day; however they
will gain some glory for joining the
boys vigil.

Once the feast is finished, the tables are cleared and moved back
against the walls and the dancing begins. The player characters will probably want to dance
with Meraud and Alys, the Earls
daughters, who will be delighted
to agree. Any player knights who
wish to roll an Amor passion for Part 2 The Birthday Hunt
either young lady should be en-
Sets Out
couraged to do so.
Location: Woodlands near TewkesThe girls have high Chaste scores, bury
so they will be unlikely to agree
to any improper suggestions, but Breakfast is a hearty affair in the
will be delighted and flattered by great hall. The Earl and his knights
any romantic gestures (songs, etc). and the player characters are all arSome of the Earls own retinue moured up and ready and eager for
however will be more than a little the day ahead.
jealous and this might generate a
little tension between some of the Eventually the hunting party assemEarls household and the player ble in the main courtyard. Earl Ghcharacters later out of earshot of erard pulls aside the player knights
the young ladies.
and asks them a favour. His son is
a bit reckless and accident-prone
The player characters are among (think a sort of young Boris Johnson).
friends and allies (the Earl is their Can they go with him and make sure
Lords brother-in-law) so there he doesnt come to any harm and
should be no serious problems or doesnt wind up looking like a fool.
fights unless someone seriously It doesnt matter if he isnt successful
oversteps the mark. If someone in the hunt, just that he has a good
does over-indulge or go all out to day and doesnt wind up doing anycause offence, challenges will be thing stupid.
issued, but the Earl is keen not to
spoil his sons glory and will at- The party will set off towards the
tempt to smooth over all but the forest, splitting into smaller groups
most blatant transgressions.
along the way. The plan will be to

Magna draconis arturius rex

share the boys vigil in the chapel


and will get smiles from the Earls
daughters and will be the first to
get a chance to dance with the ladies (if they choose to do so).

The Morning Hunt


D20 Roll Creature
1

Bear
(Avoidance 7)

2-4

Rabbit
(Avoidance 12)

5-7

Wild Pig/Boar
(Avoidance 10)

8-12 Red Deer



(Avoidance 15)
13-19 Fallow Deer

(Avoidance 18)
20

Wolf
(Avoidance 10)

Range at which the animal is first spotted is 1D6


+ the avoidance value minus the characters hunting skill.

10

hunt until noon and meet at a


meadow close to the river. In the
player characters group will be the
PCs, the Earls son, a couple of retainers and a few dogs. The squires
will not accompany their knights
unless expressly ordered (they are
required to help transport the picnic).

rounds a small rocky hill and drops


down towards a stream. The dogs will
stop at the base of the hill, barking
at something amongst the rocks. The
something will turn out to be an old
man dressed in rags, sitting high on
the rocks and at the mouth of a cave.

Rhun will attempt to call off the dogs,


but will only succeed in adding to the
Run the morning hunt using the rumpus and making things worse.
rules from pages 84-86 of the main
rulebook (5th ed.) and the table in If the player knights (or Rhun) are
the sidebar. The morning hunt will rude or abusive to the hermit, he will
take four phases (hours) and will pretend to be mad and will utter some
involve hunting through the woods gibberish, hoping they will go away.
after game.
If the player knights attempt to talk to
the hermit, he will be polite and surIt is a pleasant summers day. The prisingly well-spoken. His clothes are
woods are warm and light and tattered, but he has the remains of a
airy. The trees are far enough apart tonsure (a sort of haircut favoured by
to make mounted travel easy, but monks), which suggests his previous
close enough together to provide occupation. He will warn them to becovered areas and shade. The ware of the deeper woods and not to
woods are full of game mainly go beyond the ford by the black rock.
rabbits and deer, although a few If they do go past it, he warns them
wild pigs/boars can be seen or to take nothing while they are in the
heard (mostly crashing away from Queens realm without leaving somewonder boys incessant talking).
thing in payment or you will never
Rhun is very talkative (mainly find your way home again. Above all,
about himself) and, frankly, a bit of he warns, they should stay away from
a twit. If it will aggravate the play- the tower. Rhun will be dismissive
ers further, give him an annoying (Queens realm, what nonsense all
laugh too. He will undoubtedly this land belongs to my father) and
spoil the hunting by startling any eventually quite abusive.
game and generally making a lot
of noise. The retainers will shrug If the player knights ask the hermit
but will say nothing against their to expand upon his tale, he wont be
Lords heir.
able to give them much to go on. He
just knows that not all this land beThere is one mandatory encounter longs to the Earl and the wilder woods
during the morning. About half- conceal things that he wont talk of, in
way through the morning the path case they hear and come for him.

but with no success so far. The hermit


seems to have more than one home in
the woods as he has been seen in several widely separated locales. Some of
the Earls advisors have urged him to
capture the hermit or drive him out,
but the hermit isnt doing anyone any
harm and the Earl isnt keen to tempt
fate, just in case.

Part 3 Lunch

If asked about the ford by the black


rock, the Earl knows of a black standing stone deep in the forest away to
south west. He doesnt go down that
way because it eventually leads into
the deep woods and, if you go far
enough, becomes the Dean forest
where the fair folk are said to live. He
dismisses it as pagan superstition, but
perceptive knights will notice that he
crosses himself just in case. In any
case, the hunt wont be going that way.

Location: A handy clearing


Eventually the morning will be over
and the groups will assemble for
lunch. Several pavilions have been
set up in a meadow close to the river and a feast has been laid out for
the Earl and his guests.

Meraud and Alys will be there and


keen to hear of the mornings adventures from any of the player knights If he is asked about the Queen, he is
who are interested in spending time mystified. The only Queens he knows
with them.
of are Queen Guinivere in Camelot or
Uthers Queen, Ygraine, who now lives
Rhun will be full of the mornings in Amesbury. The Irish are said to have
escapades and very talkative (he a Queen in far away Tara across the
has a very high Boastful score).
sea, but that cant be it. A successful
Faerie Lore roll (either here, or earlier
If the player knights spoke to the when the player knights were talking
hermit, they may decide to ask the to the hermit) will suggest to the charEarl about him and what he said.
acter that the Queen might refer to the
queen of the fae.
The Earl knows that there is a hermit living in the woods. The hermit Part 4 The Hunt Continues
is well-spoken and the Earl believes
that he might be a monk who was Location: Thicker, wilder woods
driven out of Norgales, or possibly
further afield. He has been living Once again, run the hunt using the
in the woods for at least three years rules from appendix 3 of the main
and the Earl has made several at- rulebook. The woods are still full of
tempts to offer him shelter or aid, game and there are even signs of more

Magna draconis arturius rex

Eventually they will tire of this and


set off again. If they spend too long
quizzing the hermit, Rhun will either get angry or lose interest and
set off in search of game. When the
player knights catch up with him,
he wont talk about anything the
hermit said (most of it means nothing to him anyway).

11

The Continued Hunt

fantastic creatures (See sidebar).

D20 Roll Creature

After a couple of hours, regardless


of how well the players make their
hunting rolls, it becomes clear
that they are lost. The woods are
thicker here and there are places
where the trees crowd in, making
a path through them more winding. There are no clear trails or
landmarks.

Bear
(Avoidance 7)

2-4

Rabbit
(Avoidance 12)

5-7

Wild Pig/Boar
(Avoidance 10)

varying from thigh to chest deep


as you travel along it. It is icy cold.
The stream leads down through
the woods into a shallow valley
where the trees open out a little. On this bank of the stream
is a standing stone. It is large
and black with silver flecks shot
through it. It is higher than a man
(maybe 8-9 feet tall) and about

8-12 Red Deer



(Avoidance 15)
13-18 Fallow Deer

(Avoidance 18)
19-20 Signs of giants
(footprints,

broken trees,

discarded club)
Range at which the animal is first spotted is 1D6
+ the avoidance value
minus the characters
hunting skill.

Eventually, the party will come to


a stream through the woods. The
stream is clear and fast-flowing
and, here and there, it tumbles
over rocks, making a pleasant
sound. It isnt especially wide
an unarmoured man would have
trouble jumping across it, but even
with a rider a horse would have no
problems. It also isnt very deep,

12

as thick around as an armoured


man. Close to the standing stone,
the stream is very shallow (ankle
deep at most). On the other side of
the river the woods are thick and
dark, but there is an obvious path
(the first the characters have seen
for a while).
Rhun will want to cross the stream

At some point, Rhun will spur his


horse into the ford. He will look
back in triumph at the others, and
then his horse will rear in alarm
and bolt off up the path with
Rhuns shouts of whoah echoing
back. He is lost from sight before
the players can react.
Alas!
Sensible players will now turn
back, but there is the small matter
of their promise to Earl Gherard.
Part 5 The Tower
Location: Outside a mysterious
tower
Following Rhuns trail isnt hard
the horses hoofprints are clearly
visible in the packed earth and,
in any case, it follows the trail until the trail runs out. There is no
sign of Rhun, although a successful hunting roll will reveal his riderless horse grazing in a nearby
clearing.
What the player characters do now
is up to them. Retracing their steps
to the stream is relatively easy.

Finding a trail to follow is more


difficult as there isnt really much
to go on. Most likely they will try
hunting or blundering around. If
any of them mention the tower that
the hermit warned them of, soon
afterwards they will break out of
the woods and see a tower ahead
of them. This will be the final straw
for the retainers, who will make a
run for it.
The tower is tall and made of a dark
stone. It has a single open doorway
and several high windows. There is
no sign of life.
The player knights are not challenged when they approach the
tower. Close up, the walls of the
tower are smooth (if anyone looks
closely, they will see no signs of
brick or stonework on the tower
it looks as if it is made from a single piece of stone). The doorway
is large enough to admit men, but
not large enough for horses, which
must be left outside.
Entering the tower, the knights find
themselves in an empty chamber
with a circular stair in the far wall.
They can hear the faint sounds of
music, although there is no clear
idea where it is coming from. No
one will answer if they call out.
Part 6 The Challenges
Location: Inside the same tower
Climbing the stairs in the tower
leads the player knights to another

Magna draconis arturius rex

and explore, especially if he overheard the hermits warning. Let the


player characters decide what to
do or argue with him. The retainers will be no help, even if hed listen to them. If anyone tries to enter
the ford, their horse will be skittish
and may initially refuse to cross
the ford, but will go on if urged.

13

14

chamber. This one is lavishly furnished, with wall hangings and


couches. The music is clearer now,
although there is still no obvious
source. Low tables groan with food
and drink. There are several young
women here clad in flowing robes
which touch and billow in a quite
distracting fashion. Lustful or
Chaste rolls may be appropriate at
this point.
On a couch directly opposite where
the characters enter the chamber
lies Rhun, with two young ladies
trying to tempt him with grapes
and goblets of drink. He seems to
be in a daze and does not immediately notice the player characters.

The young women will try to tempt


the player knights with food and
drink, or more lustful pursuits if
that seems to be how the characters tastes lie. They will also resist
any attempts to remove Rhun (they
are holding him for their Queen,
although they will not admit this
unless directly asked).

Successful Faerie Lore rolls at this


point will reveal what the hermit
warned the characters about (unless they were rude to him): this is
in the land of Faerie and anyone
who eats or drinks anything here
will be unable to leave.

-5 (swords get tangled in robes,


tables get in the way, etc).

An obvious option would be to attack, but it would be a ruthless or


desperate knight who would attack
unarmed ladies in their own home
(failing a Valorous roll or succeeding in a Cruel roll would do it). In
any case, due to the glamour on
this place any fighting skills are at

For the player knights to remove


Rhun, they must leave something
of equal value or they must distract the maidens. Again, Faerie

Top Floor

Lavish
Room
Lavish
of the
Room
Seelie
Court

Ground Floor

Lore rolls will suggest this if noone comes up with a better idea. If
someone has succumbed to their
greed or lusts, they will be lost, but
Rhun can be grabbed in the confusion. Otherwise, songs or poems
are good.
This can turn out to be quite
straightforward, or it can turn into

a Benny Hill sketch. Alternatively,


everyone gives in and eats, drinks
or wenches and all are lost
If the player knights manage to
grab Rhun (and any other knights
afflicted by the glamour) and try to
run without leaving anything behind, the maidens start to scream.
The tower seems to lurch and

Magna draconis arturius rex

The Faerie Tower

15

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16

when the players get into the lower


chamber, they will find their way
blocked by Faerie Knights (one per
player knight and one for Rhun).
They stand tall and fair and hold
glittering swords. Use the Faerie
Knight stats from the rulebook.
If the player knights choose to
fight, run three rounds of combat
and any knights still on their feet
at the end of that manage to escape
the tower. Fighting skills are not at
-5 in this lower chamber (the glamour is greatly reduced), although
they will be if the fight spills back
into the upper chamber.
Part 7a Home Again
Location: Thicker, wilder woods
If the player knights manage to
grab Rhun (and any other knights
afflicted by the glamour) and escape the tower, either by leaving
something or by fighting the Faerie knights, they find their horses
close by. Ahead, the woods will
look more overgrown, but less
menacing.
Looking back, they will see that the
tower is just an overgrown ruin.
No Faerie warriors will follow
them and only the fading memory
of the enchanting music still seems
to echo in their ears. It is the same
day, and they have escaped the
realm of Faerie.
Part 7b You Can Never Go
Home Again
Location: Thicker, wilder woods

If the player knights ate or drank


anything from the tower or grabbed
Rhun (and any other knights afflicted by the glamour) and escaped the
tower without leaving something
behind or by fighting the Faerie
knights, they find the meadow in
front of the tower empty and overgrown and no sign of their horses.
Ahead, the woods will look more
overgrown, but less menacing.
Looking back, they will see that the
tower is just an overgrown ruin. An
hours walking through the woods
will bring them past the black stone
and into open, cultivated meadows. The first farmstead they come
to will be farmed by Saxons, who
will be suspicious of these armed
and armoured strangers.
If the player knights somehow contrive to talk to the Saxons rather
than attacking them, they will
know nothing of Earl Gherard the
lord of Tewkesbury is a Saxon warleader called Eorsa. Any mention
of Arthur will increase suspicion,
although Arthur is long dead...
Although theyve left the world of
Faerie behind, it most certainly
isnt the same day. In fact, many
years have passed. Such is the reward of those who accept the hospitality of the fair folk...

Pendragon

Through
The

Ages

by George Quail
The Story Of Pendragon's
Many Editions
If a role-playing game stays in production for any length of time, it
inevitably sees multiple editions
released. There are several reasons
for this, including the artistic urge
to tweak the game as well as the
business sense of releasing a new
core rules product all users will
purchase rather than increasingly
fringe supplements. The revisions
may vary in how major the changes are and how long passes between them, but any game which
stays in print for over a decade will
usually have at least two editions
of its core rules.
King Arthur Pendragon is no exception. Over the years it has had five
distinct core rule books released
which can be grouped into three
general families of game product. None of their changes are as
severe as, say, the revision between
editions of Dungeons & Dragons:
but changes there have been, both

in mechanics and tone which gives


each family of products its own
advantages and disadvantages.
Unlike other games there is little
in the way of edition wars in Pendragons community - appreciation
for the older and newer products is
mostly universal, even when people espouse a stronger fondness for
a certain incarnation of the rules.
The Three Families
The Early Family is the first Pendragon boxed set and its supplements: The Pendragon Campaign,
Nobles Book, The Grey Knight and
Tournament of Dreams. (If it had
been printed, the non-existent 2nd
Edition would have fitted here see
sidebar.) All the essentials of Pendragon are clear from the start and
a character sheet in this edition
could be mistaken at first glance
for a 5.1 sheet - Traits & Passions as
major personality controls, Skills
which start quite low and increase
through checks, Attributes which
are rarely rolled but used to deter-

The Non-Existent
Edition
One of the oddities of
Pendragon history is
that it leaps from first to
third edition. The Nobles Book for 1st Edition starts with a sidebar which claims that
and future supplements
will make reference to
a 2nd Edition, which
rather than being split
between a Players and
Gamesmasters
book
will be divided into a
Squires, Knights and
Kings book. Multiple
small books suggest this
would still have been a
boxed set product and
the Nobles Book specifically assures us therell
be no real rules changes.
However, this second
box never came to pass.
On his own website,
Greg Stafford has explained that continuing
to make boxes was ex-

17

four sessions of play.

pensive and the different taxation of books


versus boxed games
made it awkward for
sale in some countries.
As such, second edition
evaporated and the first
single-tome edition of
the game was 3rd Edition.

1st Edition

mine other rules elements like Hit


Points. The core rules cover characters from across Britain, with the
Nobles Book introducing French
characters. Skills hold the obvious
mechanical difference here as each
culture has its own language and
knowledge skill - thus characters
must roll if they want to speak to
a Saxon or understand the Pictish
traditions. Supplement wise, The
Pendragon Campaign commences
in 495 with Uthers death and is
far vaguer in structure than the
later books. Only the initial decade
or so is provided in full with adventures & battles all detailed out,
while the rest is provided in very
general terms with the assumption
that the GM will do much of the
heavy lifting. The two adventure releases, meanwhile, are very heavily detailed and resemble more traditional RPG modules much more
closely. Compared to the year per
session model of many Pendragon
campaigns, The Grey Knight feels
more like it follows D&Ds expectations of a module lasting three or

18

The Middle Family comprises


of 3rd and 4th Edition along with
their supplements - 4th edition basically just being the 3rd edition
book with some supplemental material already included. As well as
The Boy King, the latest Pendragon
campaign, there are many supplements. Most of them are of a per
region or culture basis - Beyond
the Wall, Saxons!, Land of Giants
etc - and include regional maps,
adventures themed to the area and
revised/expanded character generation for that locale.

3rd Edition

The regional knowledge and language skills are gone; considered


an awkward hurdle in character
interaction. The Boy King is a far
larger, more explicitly detailed
campaign book still starting with
Uthers death, though the core
rules is still written from the point
of view of generating characters
from across Britain during Arthurs reign. (There is a separate
Salisbury-495 character genera-

though some like the revised wife


table are blink-and-youll-miss-it
changes that have definite effects
in play. 5th Edition supplements
beyond The Great Pendragon Campaign were self-published by Greg
Stafford and are principally mechanical supplements that expand
on the subsystems of character generation, mass battle and property
management; 5.1s supplements
have so far done much the same.
Compared to previous editions 5th
4th Edition

tion system in The Boy King to account for this.) Character generation in Knights Adventurous/4th
Edition goes into more detail on
the different regions of Britain
than before & the regional supplements add many new PC options
from distant lands. Magic is given
explicit rules on how it operates
and the 4th Edition core rules lets
you generate PCs using those rules
- this is probably the most controversial of any edition change, and
both Greg Stafford & many fans
consider these rules to have been a
mistake that changed the focus of
the game and codified what should
have remained vague. Overall this
version increases mechanical detail, though not the complexity of
the core engine - which remains
mostly unchanged.
The Current Family is 5th edition and 5.1, the latter of which is
almost more an errata-included
version of the former than a true
new edition - even by Pendragon
standards the changes are minor,

5th Edition

edition is far more focused with


no rules for non-Salisbury player
characters in the core rules - and
the default year of the core rules is
moved from 531 to 485, making it
more obviously connected to The
Great Pendragon Campaign which
starts at this year and thusly includes a decade of play while Uther
reigns. No magic rules or non-GPC
adventures exist, unlike the Middle
Family, which further refines the
game experience down to a narrow point. The supplements add
a lot of extra rules complexity to

19

their subsystems compared to the


core rules versions, which means
a game using them all can end up
very crunchy.

to one edition, though. The families are all so interrelated that the
Pendragon GM can easily raid the
whole back catalogue for ideas,
inserting in whatever takes your
fancy. I myself have done exactly
this - running 5th edition with its
various supplements, but with a
single player character rolled up
using the magic rules of 4th Edition and taking individual scenarios such as the Cantref y Gwaelod
adventure from 1st Editions books
when they caught my eye. In all
these cases conversion work was
minimal and could be done on
the fly rather than requiring me to
go through any conversion document or similar.

Comparing The Families

In Closing

Each family has its own assets. The


first editions lighter Pendragon
Campaign book may appeal more
to people who find the larger, more
scripted campaign books of later
editions intimidating - especially
for those who want to make big
changes to the order of history.
The middle family is the best for
games that go outside the default
Knights-of-Salisbury approach - either a narrow game set differently
such as an all-Saxon-group, or a
more kitchen-sink mixture of Danish warriors, Irish knights, Pictish
Druids and Cymric Ladies. Fifth
edition meanwhile offers the directors cut with the latest version
of the rules including far more focus in its supplements.

Thanks to Nocturnal having the


entire back catalogue of Pendragon available on PDF, the modern
gamer has easy access to older material which would have been impossible a decade ago. Where once
finding an 80s RPG book required
raking through second hand bins
or trawling eBay, you can obtain
and read any of Gregs older books
in minutes; and a hard copy can either be ordered from the same site
or is just a laser-printing session
away. Particular attention should
go to the region supplements
which are often mentioned to players interested in those cultures regardless of which edition you play.
In all cases, the GM who finds the
topic of a book catches their eye
shouldnt let the rules edition get
in their way of giving it a try!

5.1 Edition

One doesnt really need to commit

20

Scholarly Links

Greg Stafford's Page


http://www.gspendragon.com/

King Arthur Facebook Page


https://www.facebook.com/groups/
arthurtheking/?fref=ts

Nocturnal Media's KAP Forum


http://www.nocturnal-media.com/forum/
Pendragon on DrivethruRPG (5.1 edition
but other editions are available)
h t t p : / / r p g . d r i ve t h r u s t u f f . c o m / p r o d uct/81449/King- Ar thur -Pendragon-Edition-51
Age of Arthur RPG (FATE powered)
http://wordplaygames.co.uk/?page_id=32
The AoA Forum
http://www.ukroleplayers.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=189
Age of Arthur at DrivethruRPG
h t t p : / / r p g . d r i ve t h r u s t u f f . c o m / p r o d uct/111752/Age-of-Arthur
Social Networks
Facebook
King Arthur Pendragon (RPG)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/pendragonrpg/
Age of Arthur RPG
https://www.facebook.com/
groups/444779355581235/?fref=ts
The Dragons of Britain (Arthurian fanzine)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/britishdragons/
(Youre reading it!)

A BBC Arthurian primer


http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/
anglo_saxons/arthur_01.shtml
A Malory-heavy site
http://www.kingarthursknights.com/
A historical resource by Thomas Green
http://www.arthuriana.co.uk/
A Times Lit article on Tolkiens Arthur.
http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1278838.ece
King Arthurs Wales primer (a brief
tourist page created by the Welsh
Tourist Board).
http://www.visitwales.com/explore/traditions-history/king-arthur-myth-historylocations

draconum Britanniam

Gaming Links

21

HAMMER
TO

FALL
AN AGE OF ARTHUR SCENARIO SET IN LINDUM BY PAUL MITCHENER
Background
The city of Lindum has remained
at peace with the Angles to the
east, though other petty kingdoms
have been swallowed up by the
overseas invaders. It does this by
paying mercenaries, who camp
outside the city as a deterrent, and
by regularly sending payments to
the Angles not to invade. They do
not want to kill the goose that lays
the golden egg, so Lindum has remained safe and prosperous.
Normally the Chancellor and senior Centurion Quintus Drusus
(who commands Lindums own
small forces) go together to pay
the groups, along with an escort of
eight soldiers.
This time, however, Quintus was ill,
and Chancellor Brion Varro went
alone with the soldiers. He left a
week ago to make his journey to
pay people, and did not come back.
Messengers were sent from the two
groups of mercenaries augmenting

22

Lindums forces- Helig ap Glannog,


the so-called King without a Kingdom, and a mercenary warband of
Saxons under the command of the
female warrior Edgith- saying they
had left Lindums service. Helig
considers his honour insulted.
Edgith has said she is now in the
employ of the Angle prince, Edgar,
who has recently come into the
area to command the Angle forces.
The player characters are summoned by the Prefect of Lindum to
help- they are the only ones he can
trust, since his Chancellor has vanished, and Centurion Quintus Drusus is under suspicion. Maybe any
player characters not from Lindum
want something in return.
The City of Lindum (modern day
Lincoln)
Before the Romans came to Britannia, Lindum was a settlement by a
deep pool. The Romans conquered
it and the surrounding area, building a fortification on an overlook-

An
gles

s
ing hill. As the area became more
settled and the borders of Roman
Britannia were pushed further
north, the fortification became a
civilian settlement for retired legionaries.
Lindum grew into a major flourishing settlement and local capital,
with access to the sea granted by
both the River Trent and the River
Witham. The aqueduct supplying
water to the city is still intact, as is
an octagonal fountain amongst the
public buildings. The slopes of the
hill between the old fortress and
the River Trent are the commercial
centre of the town. The forum situated there is surrounded by equestrian statues. Across the river are
extensive textile workshops, which

maintain the citys prosperous status. The public baths are still in
use. The way of life in Lindum remains largely Roman.
There are temples to the gods Belenus and Lugh and a Christian
church dedicated to St. Paul. The
Pelagian bishop at the church tolerates the pagans and the pagans
ignore the Christians. Many in
Lindum see no contradiction in attending both the church and the
temples, petitioning both Christ
and the old gods to keep Lindum
safe from the forces ravaging much
of Britain.
The truth is a little more complex.
Lindums safety is by no means
guaranteed despite the intact fortified wall and standing army.

arturus aetatem

gle

An

23

arturus aetatem
24

Blecca, the ruler of Lindum, calls


himself a Prefect rather than a
king, in the style of one appointed
by Rome. By instinct Blecca is isolationist, making no military alliances with other realms of Britain.
He is now known to habitually pay
off those who might consider attacking the city. So far, Lindum can
afford this policy. Would be raiders have found it more profitable
to threaten and be paid off, than to
attack.
In this scenario, the policy is beginning to fail.
The Investigation
The player characters are effectively in charge of events as they unfold, though they must answer to
the Prefect, who can either help or
complicate matters, and there are
others of potential importance involved.
The main person to talk to is Quintus Decius, who is described in
more detail below.
Prefect Marcus Blecca
Aspects:
A Roman Prefect, Not a King
Stubborn Old Man
The Independence of Lindum
Skills
Level 4: Willpower
Level 3: Leadership, Wealth
Level 2: Empathy, Lore (Roman),

Strategy and Tactics

Level 1: Languages,Melee Combat,


Riding, Strength
Languages: Brythonic, Latin, Latin

Literacy
Composure 7
Health 4
Gladius: +2 damage, ignore 1

point of armour
Chancellor Brion Varro
Though not present in Lindum at
the start of the scenario, Brion Varro has an interesting background,
which we mention here for clarity,
along with his game stats, in case
they prove relevant later on.
Always prone to visions, which he
could only occasionally control,
Brion Varro sought to channel this
innate magic through the Christian priesthood. He failed.
He then started to find his visions,
uncontrollable as they were, useful, and used them for his own
profit- certain pictures of disasters
led to some lucrative commercial
ventures. However, a vision of Lindum being invaded and destroyed
by the Angles came more and more
frequently. The Chancellor decided
to abandon the city, taking all he
could, including the treasure used
to pay the mercenaries and the Angles.
He fled to prince Edgar of the Angles, hoping to buy his own life and

continued prosperity.

Lindum is Doomed to Fall


Driven by Greed
Failed Priest
Former Chancellor of Lindum
Uncontrolled Visions
Skills:
Level 4: Deception
Level 3: Charm, Wealth
Level 2: Divination, Healing,

Languages
Level 1: Awareness, Empathy,

Riding, Willpower
Stunt:
Diviner (can have the Divination
skill; no other effect)
Languages: Brythonic, Latin, Latin
Literacy, Saxon

Aspects:
Senior Centurion of Lindum
Likes a Drink
Pride Comes Before a Fall
Skills:
Level 4: Intimidation
Level 3: Melee Combat,

Missile Combat
Level 2: Leadership, Strategy and

Tactics, Wealth
Level 1: Awareness, Brawling,

Languages, Strength
Composure 3
Health 4

Composure 4

Armour and Shield: Absorption 3

Health 3

Gladius: +2 damage, ignore 1 point


of armour

Centurion Quintus Decius


Quintus Decius was given a flask
of fine Italian wine by Chancellor
Brion the night before they were
due to set out to pay the tribute.
He drank it all, as the Chancellor
knew he would, and the wine, being lightly poisoned, made him ill.
Quintus needs to be beaten in a
relevant social test (just use a simple test, probably against Intimidation, to keep things moving) to
reveal this. He has his suspicions

Pilum: +2 damage, ignore 1 point


of armour, short range
Lindum's Army
Lindums native (non mercenary)
army consists of 200 men.
Aspects:
Used to Peace
Roman-style Infantry
Skill 2
Armour 2
Gladius: +2 damage, ignore 1 point
of armour

arturus aetatem

Aspects:

about the wine and the Chancellor,


and indeed kept the flask, but the
wine story does not reflect well on
him, so he kept both that and his
suspicions to himself.

25

arturus aetatem

Pilum: +2 damage, ignore 1 point


of armour, short range

26

Outside the Walls


Prince Edgars army is on the
march. It will reach Lindums
walls within three days. Edgar is
cunning, and wants an extra element of surprise. Therefore he has
sent out some of his elite warrior
bands in groups of eight to ambush people travelling in his direction (or that of the mercenaries).
The player characters are likely to
run into one of these groups.
The elite warriors are Gunthers
wolves, who are under the command of Edgars champion,
Gunther, who is described below.
Aspects:
Trusted with Special Missions
Warriors of the Wolf
(they wear wolf-shaped helms, and
can run as quickly as a wolf)
Skill 4
Seax: +2 damage
Battleaxe: +3 damage
Seax: +2 damage
Battleaxe: +3 damage

given Edgar her word, even if paid,


unless somehow convinced that
leaving Edgars service is the honourable thing to do. One potential
opportunity is that the money Edgar used to pay her was the Chancellors money taken from Lindum.
If a social contest results from talking to Edgith, if the player characters fail, Edgith will try to capture
any prominent player characters to
give to Edgar.
Aspects:
I Am No Mans Inferior
Mercenary Commander
Woman of Her Word
Skills:
Level 5: Awareness
Level 4: Leadership,

Missile Combat
Level 3: Charm, Melee Combat,

Strategy and Tactics
Level 2: Agility, Gaming, Stealth,

Wealth
Level 1: Deception, Intimidation,

Strength, Survival,

Willpower
Stunts:
Precision Shot (Bow shots ignore 2
armour)

Talking to the mercenaries is a likely action of the player characters.

Dirty Fighter (using Aspects placed


as Manoeuvres grants a +3 rather
than a +2 bonus)

Edgith

Composure 4

Edgith has changed her service,


but is in the same location. She will
not readily change back, as she has

Health 4
Armour: Absorption 1

Seax: +2 damage

Longbow: +2 damage, long range

Languages: Brythonic, Latin

Edgith's Band

Composure 3
Health 6

100 men, mercenaries and bandits


Aspects:
Regard Edgith as lucky
War is about victory and profit

Stunts:
+1 with sword and shield to attack
Armour 2 (leather and shield)

Skill 3

Spatha: +3 damage

Seax: +2 damage

Sling: +0 damage, medium range

Battleaxe: +3 damage

War Horse

Shortbow: +1 damage

Helig's Warriors

Helig

There are 100 warriors in Heligs


band

Helig ap Glannog is not working


with the Angles, but he is very insulted- and is touchy enough to enter a duel. He is packing up with
his followers, preparing to head
elsewhere and leave Lindum to its
fate- most likely he and his men
will move south west to Ratae.
Aspects:
Sensitive to Insults
Heir to a lost kingdom
Champion duellist
Mercenary
Skills:Level 5: Melee Combat
Level 4: Brawling, Riding
Level 3: Leadership, Strategy and

Aspects:
Warrior Ideals
Looking for a cause and a home
Skill 4
Armour 2
Spear: +2 damage
Sling: +0 damage, medium range
Gaining Funds
To get the mercenaries back on side
will need, at the very least, money
to pay them. Such money is not

arturus aetatem

Battleaxe: +3 damage, enchanted


with a rune so it has the Aspect: Always Sharp.


Tactics, Strength
Level 2: Agility, Intimidation,

Missile Combat, Wealth
Level 1: Awareness, Contacts,

Gaming, Healing, Survival

27

arturus aetatem

available in Lindum. There are two


possible sources.

28

The Angle Camp


Within the Angle camp is Chancellor Brion Varro and much of
the money he took out of the city
(Edgith was bought off with this
money, but Helig was not, and the
funds have yet to be distributed by
Edgar to his followers). The chancellor is in chains; he could not
bribe his way past the Angles, and
they simply captured both him
and his money. He and the money
are guarded by eight of Gunthers
wolves (see above), though there
is danger of the player characters
attracting the attention of a whole
army if they attempt to steal back
the money and things go wrong.
A mere eight warriors will be the
least of their problems.
The Fae Mound
Those wise in the ways of ancient
lore know of a Faerie mound to the
north of Lindum, where, according
to rumour, treasure is buried. Indeed, the GM might want to compel a relevant Aspect of a player
character with interest in the Fae
so that they investigate.
The mound is marked with a solitary standing stone. An ancient
(pre-Roman) Celtic king is buried
there although his name is forgotten. His treasures are in the mound
with his skeleton, though they are
not unprotected. Words in Ogham

on the stone warn people of a curse


from excavating the mound, and
of the being trapped within the
mound.
Firstly, the mound needs excavating. This is in theory simply hard
work at digging, but excavating
the mound leads to all manner of
small accidents, and a difficulty
6 Endurance Test (probably using the Strength skill) is needed as
things go wrong, and there are numerous small injuries. As usual for
Endurance Tests, each level of failure inflicts a point of stress damage.
If there is more than one differ,
the leader makes the test, possibly with assistance from others
worked in, and the stress is spread
out amongst those taking part.
Once the burial chamber is excavated, further earth collapses, and
the thing inside leaps out to attack!
The thing is a Fachan- a being with
half a body, a vast wide mouth, a
tufted mane, and but one arm, one
leg and one eye.
Fachan
Aspects:
Terrifying Monster
Only Half a Body
Wide Mouth
Phobia of Salt (difficulty 2 Lore
check to know; salt does Composure damage, with the Fachan fleeing at zero).
Skills:

Armour 2
Chain: +2 damage, attack everyone in the same zone
Bite: +4 damage
Health 13
Composure 3
The treasure in the mound is at
twice what is needed on normal
occasions to pay the mercenaries.
The Final Battle
Almost whatever happens, the Angles will arrive to attack Lindum in
the next three days. The question
is how prepared Lindum is to face
them. The prominent individuals
amongst the Angles are listed below.
The Angle army numbers 700 (10
tokens) with a skill of 3, raised to 5
by Edgars skills. As well as its own
Aspect, there is likely to be an additional Aspect of Hideously Outnumbers Enemy in the battle. This
can be used once in the battle at no
Fate Point cost.
The Lindum army numbers 200,
and has a skill of 2, plus any raises due to the player characters. As
well as its Aspects, mentioned ear-

lier, there is an Aspect in play of


Roman Fortifications, due to Lindums walls. This can be used once
in the battle at no Fate Point cost.
The initial stages of the battle- a
battle of champions (with Gunther
being the Angle champion), a battle of magicians against Inga, and
manoeuvering, will bring further
Aspects into play, each of which
can be used once in the fight at no
Fate Point cost, as usual for the Age
of Arthur rules.
If either Helig or Edgith joins the
Lindium forces, they have 300
men, This gives them 4 tokens,
and because of the skill of the mercenaries, raises the average skill
level to 3. If both Edgith and Helig
join up, the skill level is 3, and the
number of men is 400- enough for
6 tokens.
Prince Edgar
Aspects:
Poor Prince of the Angles
Cool and Calculating
Endless Ambition
Skills:
Level 5: Melee Combat
Level 4: Awareness, Strategy and

Tactics
Level 3: Leadership, Missile

Combat, Strength
Level 2: Gaming, Languages,

Stealth, Wealth
Level 1: Agility, Brawling, Contacts,
Riding, Survival

arturus aetatem

Level 5 Strength
Level 4: Brawling
Level 3: Glamour, Intimidation
Level 2: Agility, Survival
Level 1: Awareness, Stealth

Languages:

29

arturus aetatem

Saxon, Latin, Brythonic, Latin Literacy


Stunts:
+1 defence with Spatha and Shield
Armour: 3 (Ringmail and Shield)
Health 7
Composure 3
Spatha: +3 damage
Seax: +2 damage
Longbow: +2 damage, long range
Infusions (from Inga, see below):
Arrow Poison (Strength vs. DC4
when hit, with each level of failure
doing one extra point of stress damage), Battle Strength (extra Aspect,
use once for no Fate Point cost).
Inga, Saxon Witch
Aspects:
Angle Witch
Pact with Hretha (warrior goddess
of death and winter)
Feared Rather Than Respected
Skills:
Level 4: Plant and Root
Level 3: Missile Combat, Rune

Magic
Level 2: Intimidation, Healing,

Melee Combat
Level 1: Awareness, Deception,
Lore (Magic), Stealth
Languages:

30

Saxon, Futhark Runes


Stunts:
Brew Poisons, Hedge Witch, Rune
Magic (use magical skills listed
above), Call of Hretha (can use
Rune Magic as a skill in a magical
contest in mass combat)
Infusions:
Arrow Poison (Strength vs. DC4
when hit, with each level of failure
doing one extra point of stress damage), Blessing of Winter (a salve to
treat injuries; add +2 to Healing
tests).
Composure 3
Health 3
Seax: +2 Damage, Aspect (from
runes): Unhealing Wounds
Longbow: +2 Damage, Long Range,
Aspect (from runes): Seek the Heart
Gunther
Aspects:
Wuffingas Royal Family
As Much Wolf as Man
Respected Warrior
Skills:
Level 5: Brawling
Level 4: Awareness, Strength
Level 3: Leadership, Survival,

Wealth
Level 2: Agility, Investigation,
Melee Combat, Strategy & Tactics
Level 1: Contacts, Intimidation,
Riding, Shapechanging, Stealth

Languages:
Saxon, Brythonic
Composure 3
Health 7
Armour 1 (shield)
Seax: +2 damage
Stunts:
Change to wolf form without a Fate
Point cost or an animal skin needed.
Gunther in wolf form:

Aspect:
Form of the Wolf; can use once per
round at no Fate Point cost.
Damage +2
Scent Tracking
There are around 700 Angle warriors serving Prince Edgar
Aspects:
Confident of Victory
Loot and Pillage
The Glory of Destruction
Skill 3
Seax: +2 damage
Battleaxe: +3 damage

Gunther as
a Wolf

31

Pre-Generated Characters

NAME STRESS

Andoc

Health 3
Warleader and bastard prince
Composure 4


ASPECTS FATE POINTS
Bastard prince of Ebrauc 5
Romancing the Prefects Daughter
Leadership by example
Seeking fame and glory
Languages
Rival of Helig ap Glannog
Brythonic, Latin,
Latin Literacy
SKILLS EQUIPMENT
Level 5: Melee Combat
Level 4: Awareness

Agility (+2 Absorption)
Level 3: Wealth

Leadership

Strength
Level 2: Missile Combat

Strategy and Tactics

Charm

Riding
Level 1: Willpower

Brawling

Contacts

Gaming

Languages

Spatha (+3 damage)


Leather Armour
and Shield
Set of Fine Court Clothes
War Horse

AGE OF ARTHUR

STUNTS
Heroic Charge:
Fighting Style:
Rally:

Counterstrike:




Warband:

+2 to first attack in close combat.


+1 to attacks when fighting with sword and shield.
Pay Fate Point and make Difficulty 2 Leadership check to recover a
number of followers equal to degree of success.
After a successful defence in hand to hand combat, spend a Fate Point to
inflict damage as if the defence were an attack with the same degree of
success.
Andoc has ten loyal followers with a Skill of 2, armed with Gladius (+2
damage), Leather Armour and Shield (Absorption 2)

Background

Oaths Taken

Andoc is the illegitimate son of King Einion of Ebrauc. He was brought up


in distant Londinium, gaining his first experiences as a war leader there,
fighting Saxon raiders. He served for a time as a mercenary, and developed a fierce rivalry with Helig ap Glannog, the so-called King without a
Kingdom, who is another mercenary captain.
Tired of the roving life, Andoc returned to the kingdom of Ebrauc to serve
his father, though he still seeks fame and glory. However, he has served
the kingdom well, and is a highly regarded war leader. However, he is
still not officially accepted by the King as a son. King Einion has promised Andoc such acceptance- and the promise of further advancement and
responsibility- if he can secure a permanent alliance with the city of Lindum. Andocs tactic here, which further feeds into his own ambitions, is
to marry Pontia Blecca, the daughter of the Prefect of Lindum, and heir to
the citys ruler.
Of course, all this counts for nothing in the face of a threatened Angle invasion if it cant be beaten back.
The Telling of your Adventures

Allies Fallen

Pre-Generated Characters

NAME STRESS

Casnar ap Cartivel

Health 3
Bard and ambassador Composure 4


ASPECTS FATE POINTS
King Einions Ambassador 6
Fascinated by the Fae
Limited Druidic Training
Insults are an Art Form
Languages
Brythonic, Saxon,
Latin, Latin Literacy
SKILLS EQUIPMENT
Level 5: Performance
Ragged Clothes
Level 4: Charm
Staff (+1 Damage, +1 Defence)

Empathy Riding Horse

Leadership
Lyre
Level 3: Awareness

Deception

Stealth
Level 2: Willpower

Contacts

Druidic Magic (This skill is used to place temporary blessings and curses,

represented by Riding Aspects. Spend a Fate point to make a curse

long-lasting).

Languages
Level 1: Healing

Lore [The Fae]

Melee Combat

Riding

Bargaining

AGE OF ARTHUR

STUNTS
Bardic Knowledge:

+1 to all Lore skills; unknown Lore skills at level 1.

Bardic Protection:
Use Performance skill as defence if physically attacked due to a
performance, unless the Biting Satire stunt is used.
Song of Battle:

Can use Performance as a magical skill in mass combat.

Biting Satire:
Spend a Fate point to use the Performance skill to cause
physical damage; Willpower to defend.

Background
Casnar makes an unusual ambassador He is a shabby dresser, and in
performances, he prefers insults and satire to flattery. However, King
Einion of Ebrauc forgives him all of this, and indeed trusts him greatly,
for one very good reason. Casnar gets results, and is loyal to the King.

Oaths Taken
To help Lindum
in its time of need.

King Einion has sent Casnar as part of a delegation to the city of Lindum
in order to persuade the Prefect of Lindum to make a formal alliance,
joining the two realms. Casnar has sworn an oath to help Lindum as
the Angle threat draws closer. Although the Prefect resists the idea of a
formal alliance, Casnar is already amongst his trusted advisors.
Casnar is fascinated by the Fae, though he realises how dangerous they
are. Just south of Lindum is a Faerie mound, said to contain treasure.
Though duties have so far prevented a visit, perhaps circumstances will
give Casnar the chance to investigate.

The Telling of your Adventures

Allies Fallen

Pre-Generated Characters

NAME STRESS

Pontia Blecca

Health 4
Daughter of the Prefect Composure 5


ASPECTS FATE POINTS
Heir of the Prefect of Lindum 6
Determined to prove herself
Blessed by the god of war
Future warrior queen Languages
Redwarld is a friend as well
Brythonic, Latin,
as a servant Saxon
SKILLS EQUIPMENT
Level 5: Leadership Clothes fit for a princess
Level 4: Wealth Spatha (+3 damage)

Empathy Lorica Squamata (-2 to non-combat physical

skills, Absorption 3)
Level 3: Strategy and Tactics War Horse

Melee Combat
Spear (+2 damage, short range if thrown)

Willpower Gold Earrings (value 4)
Level 2: Contacts

Lore (Religion)

Lore (Roman culture and history)

Charm

Riding
Level 1: Strength

Languages

Missile Combat

Agility

Awareness

AGE OF ARTHUR

STUNTS
Elegant.

+1 to Charm at formal occasions with time to prepare.

Weapon of Vengeance: Spend a Fate Point to dedicate a weapon to the destruction of an



enemy; it does +2 damage to that foe.
Heroic Inspiration:
Spend a Fate Point and make a difficulty 2 Leadership Test to

give a +1 bonus to combat skills to everyone commanded for the
duration of a battle.

Background

Oaths Taken

Pontia Blecca is the daughter of Caius Blecca, the ruler of Lindum, who
takes the title Prefect as if still appointed by the Romans as an administrator. Pontia, as his heir, respects her father, and respects Roman traditions,
but knows that time has moved on. When she rules, it will not be as a
Prefect, but as a queen, gaining authority and respect with her people and
the other rulers of the fragments of Britain. Before she can do this, she will
have to prove herself.
The young woman is also a gifted leader in battle, and has studied and
practiced the military arts. The coming conflict with the Angles provides
opportunity for her to show her worth, as well as danger.
Pontia has a Saxon servant, Redwarld, who was a bandit before he was
enslaved.

The Telling of your Adventures

Allies Fallen

Pre-Generated Characters

NAME STRESS

Redwarld

Health 4
Saxon slave Composure 3


ASPECTS FATE POINTS
Former member of Edgiths warband. 5
I will earn my freedom
Enslaved Saxon.
In the shadows.
Languages
Brythonic, Latin,
Saxon
SKILLS EQUIPMENT
Level 5: Stealth

Seax (+2 damage)
Level 4: Missile Combat
Longbow (+2 damage, long range)
Agility Latrunculi board and pieces
Level 3: Awareness
Black Cloak

Deception

Survival
Level 2: Melee Combat

Investigation

Gaming

Empathy
Level 1: Strength

Brawling

Healing

Charm

Languages

AGE OF ARTHUR

STUNTS
Dark Adapted Eye.

See in the dark with no penalties.

Precision Shot:

Attacks with Missile Combat ignore 2 points of armour.

Vanish: Stealth can be used for short periods without cover.


Quick: +2 to Awareness for the purposes of Initiative.
Climb Like a Spider:

+2 to all Agility tests made to climb.

Background
Redwarld was once a member of the warband of the mercenary Saxon
commander Edgith. However, in one of those times when Edgiths band
turned to banditry through lack of legitimate work, Redwarld was captured by soldiers of the city of Lindum. It still rankles that Edgiths forces
were employed to defend Lindum not so long after that.

Oaths Taken
To serve and
protect Pontia
Blecca.

Now, Redwarld is a slave, and is employed as a servant and bodyguard to


the daughter of the Prefect of Lindum, Pontia Blecca. Though slavery is a
humiliation, Redwarld is genuinely loyal to Pontia, and will earn his way
to freedom rather than escape.

The Telling of your Adventures

Allies Fallen

Ganieda
Sister to Merlin

An NPC for Pendragon


by George Quail

Of all the characters of the Arthurian mythos, Merlin is perhaps


one of the best known. The idea
of an ancient, bearded magician
who aids the king has become so
ingrained in popular culture that
almost all wizard stereotypes seem
to come from representations of
Merlin rather than anyone else even Tolkiens Gandalf draws some
lineage through him. Arthurian
stories on screen or in prose may
drop Kay, Tristram, Palomides,
Lot, Ygraine or others.... but Merlin is always there: whether it's as
the bombastic aide of Boorman's
Excalibur, the manipulative adviser of Starz's Camelot or the philosophising teacher of White's The
Sword in the Stone.
Yet Merlin is not the only spellcaster in Arthurian legends and
one character in particular is noteworthy for having a connection
to him: Ganieda, the sister (sometimes twin sister) of Merlin. She
appears only in some of the older
Welsh stories and in Geofferey of
Monmouths tales. After that she
vanished, probably having been
absorbed into a proto-Lady of the
Lake - few if any modern versions
recount her existence. But Ganieda
provides excellent possibilities as
an inclusion in your Pendragon
campaign, especially if you wish
to provide the possibility of a major feminine angle in the style of
Marion Bradley's The Mists of Avalon or wish to focus on Cambria.
Following my use of her in my own

campaign, I present my version of


her history as well as details on
how she can be inserted into your
games.
History
Merlin's origin, as recounted in
the Great Pendragon Campaign, is
of the coupling of a demon and a
nun whose holy actions preserved
the soul of her child and allowed it
to escape the role the demon may
have intended. One cannot seriously imagine a woman with child
remaining in a convent, though,
and so Merlin's mother was married off to remove her from the convent and ensure the safety of her
son. Merlin's mother was a daughter of a king so her marriage was to
a man of some import - Sir Morfyn,
an officer from Cambria. (Monmouth calls this kingdom Demetia,
which in Pendragon would equate
to Estregales.) From this marriage
other children were inevitably issued, and Ganieda was the first
such child.
Sir Morfyn was a British Pagan
and his children were raised as
such. Raised in a religion with a
strong role for women, she found
her mothers recounting of Christian teachings distasteful and in
particular the position of women &
sex offensive. When she grew older,
Ganiedas innate magical skill became clear and she was sent to the
Ladies of the Lake for tutelage. She
quickly became known as a master
of dweomers her skill with divination eclipsing even her brothers
power. In this period she became
more opposed to Christianity, be-

Magna draconis arturius rex

An Obscure Arthurian Character, And How to Use Her in Your


KAP Games

41

Magna draconis arturius rex


42

lieving its male-dominated nature


was bleeding into society and even
into some Pagan communities.
Following her apprenticeship, Ganieda became ensconced within
the court of King Leodegrance of
Cameliard. A wealthy but widowed
Cambrian lord with a known lusty
nature, Ganieda believed him an
excellent ally she could use her feminine wiles on and as his kingdom
was to be inherited by his daughter
Guinevere she thought she could
instruct her such as to make her
the architect of her female emancipation dream. Unfortunately internal politics in Cameliard complicated this and Guinevere was sent
to a convent for education where
she became a devout follower of
the Christian faith that Ganieda so
resented.
Ganieda found another monarch to work with, though: Monmouth recounts her as married to
King Rodarch of Cumbria, which
doesnt map easily to Pendragon.
Ive read the suggestion this is supposed to be the south of Scotland; I
might choose Rheged as the best fit
here, so she could be a aecond or
third wife to Uriens. With a British
Pagan king she finds a good match
for her personal beliefs and spends
her later years trying to prevent
the spread of Christianity north of
Hadrians Wall through magic and
politics. Despite her problems with
Arthurs faith she remains on good
terms with the king and is happy to
assist him when he needs help.
Her final fate is vague and so can
be left to Gamesmaster interpreta-

tion I would default to her dying


of old age or retiring to Maidens
Castle or similar to teach. Since
she does not interfere in the major events of the Twilight Phase we
must assume she has passed away
or retired beyond the reach of men
by this point.
Adventures with Ganieda
Merlins birth date in the original
edition of Pendragon was 454,
which puts a likely birth date for
Ganieda between 455 and 460.
Assuming she is born in 460, she
will be 25 when the campaign begins; 35 when Uther dies; 50 when
Arthur draws the sword from the
stone and 63 when Merlin vanishes in 523. This means she is best
used in the early section of the campaign, though considering Merlin
by no means became weaker with
age theres no reason she cant continue to be a prodigious diviner in
her later years.
Below are some ideas on how to include her in your games.
During Uther & Anarchy phase,
Ganieda can be found in Cameliard or accompany King
Leodegrance when he travels,
which may include events such
as the royal marriages of the
Uther Phase. Depending on
their relationship with Merlin the player knights may be
sceptical of dealing with her.
Ganieda is very attractive and
well-preserved for a woman of
her age, and not beyond trying
to seduce a knight she thinks
could be of use to her.

When the Anarchy phase sees


internal battling between Britons, Ganieda seeks the aid of
the knights to slay Druids who
she says are using their magical powers to aid a rival kingdom. (Cornwall is an obvious
choice but it can be adjusted
depending on the exact year
and events in your campaign.)
This isnt necessarily a lie but
a bigger part of her request is
the Druids politics, which is of
a more patriarchal nature than
Ganieda likes they believe
the Ladies of the Lake are fine
teachers but the true preaching
and ritual enacting should be
left to menfolk. If these Druids
have magic it is more divination or the like and they are little threat in battle, though they
may be guarded by knights and
those who murder them would

almost certainly invoke reprisals. Will the knights slay these


men whose mystical power
is great or can they not bring
themselves to kill old men without swords?
If the group are not foes of Merlin, Ganieda could seek them
out to guard her outlaw brother
when he returns to Britain on
personal business. (To be exact,
travelling to Norgales to check
up on how the young Arthur is
doing.) Uther may be dead but
the kings command remains,
and some like Sir Brastias
would delight in the chance to
have revenge on the Archdruid.
The knights are required to protect Merlin from harm, perhaps
as bodyguards or perhaps as
distractions for those who pursue him.
One of the knights has a daughter who demonstrates innate
magical ability for extra tension, a Christian knight who
may not view such gifts as
blessings but a curse. Ganieda
requests the daughter be handed to her for apprenticeship and
tries to groom the daughter into
the same religion and politics
as her own. A male knight who
hopes for a meek, gentle, chaste
daughter may not be happy at
the feisty woman who returns,
nor of her newfound opinion
that sex is the ultimate prayer.
Tolerating this behaviour will
cause scandal and possibly a
loss of Honour but disowning
a daughter would be a loss to
Love (Family)

Magna draconis arturius rex

If your group seeks passage into


the Forest Sauvage they may
wish to find a way to cope with
the faerie geography that sees
travellers lose their way within.
Ganieda as a master diviner
may be able to assist, but wishes assistance in this endeavour:
the right to call the knights up
for service at a future occasion,
say, four knights service for
a month. Will they put themselves in an enchanters hand
when they cannot know when
and for what the call will come?
(Failure to follow through on
the vow when requested would
probably be an Honour loss, as
well as putting them in a magicians bad books.)

43

Magna draconis arturius rex


44

The Beltaine fires are a fertility


ritual long practiced in Pagan
counties, including by some
kings but Christian men and
women find it obscene. The
knights are charged by a lord
to prevent the ceremony taking
place in that lords land, standing guard on ritual spots but
Ganieda is determined that it
will still occur. Mysterious magical happenings and odd faerie
creatures appear to pester the
knights in an attempt to get rid
of them, which could include
fearsome visions they must roll
Valorous to resist, wild beasts
they must battle with their
swords, pagan sorceries they
must resist with Love (God) or
fey charms that prey on their
Lust.
The crowning of King Arthur is
an affair dripping in Christian
ceremony and Ganieda fears
that the Bishops will use Arthurs High King-ship to try and
unite the country under one
faith, forever destroying her
own. She seeks friendly Knights
of the Round Table to speak to
Arthurs court and gain assurances that freedom of worship
will remain a legal right but
passionate Christian knights
& lords may speak against the
knights, insisting that converting the country to Christianity
would be a holy endeavour. This
could lead to duels or to challenges by either side to prove
the worth of their argument
perhaps a tournament between
Christian & Pagan knights, or
a challenge whereby knights

of both religions take on the


same quest to see which faith
triumphs. (A monster from the
Pendragon bestiary terrorising
a corner of Britain is a simple
but effective option.)
Ganieda learns of the May Babies affair and is horrified that
Merlin is countenancing the
act of infanticide. She appears
in court enraged and swearing
revenge on her own flesh and
blood not necessarily revealing what has happened but
making it clear Merlin has done
something unconscionable. A
violator of hospitality must be
punished, but what can one do
when two arch-mages are having a family tiff? If Ganieda is
banished for her insults the
knights may have to accompany her out of Logres, and keeping tabs on a spell-caster who
can try to use illusion to escape
your watch will be difficult
Awareness and Trusting rolls
likely being involved.
Ganieda & the False Guinevere
Another older Arthurian story not
featured in The Great Pendragon
Campaign is that of the False Guinevere. In the Vulgate, a character called Guinevak appears - the
Welsh Gwenhwyvach being a bit
much of a mouthful to most English
speakers so I have chosen the more
easier Anglicisation! An identical
half-sister of Guinevere by a different mother, the two ladies can only
being distinguished by Guineveres
distinctive crown-shaped birthmark. For a time Guinevak con-

It isnt difficult to see why this


wasnt included in the GPC not
only is it an older story not repeated in the major collections like Le
Morte Darthur, it also seem quite
clich to modern audiences. Identical twins seem a bit too bad-soapopera. I agree! And yet, part of
the charm of Pendragon is taking
something as well-trodden as King
Arthurs story and making it your
own: and with the addition of Ganieda & her stay in Cameliard during Guineveres conception and
childhood, this can be converted
into something a bit more epic using the following structure as a
guide:
An early visit to Cameliard may
reveal that Ganieda is very
close to Leodegrance, possibly
including flirting with him.
However, his attention his elsewhere on his wife, and on the
wife of his seneschal whom he
does not act improper towards
but clearly lusts after.
The GPC already includes an
adventure to meet the child
Guinevere in Cameliard. At
the same time as introducing her, show another child at
court; one who is cared for by
a junior handmaiden but looks
strangely similar to Guinevere.
Intrigue success will reveal the
child is called Guinevak and is

the daughter of Leodegrances


seneschal, but though gossip is
that she is truly the Kings bastard.
When encountering Ganieda
the knights will find that Guinevak has been taken on as her
apprentice they may in fact
not immediately realise that it
is Guinevak and not Guinevere.
(This will be especially confusing to them if Guinevere has
married Arthur by this point
they may wonder why their
Queen is traipsing around the
woods with a pagan priestess.)
Before the Battle of Badon,
Guinevere asks Arthur to fly a
different banner than normal.
Rather than his draconic coat
of arms which she perceives as
a pagan symbol, she asks that
he fly a standard with the Virgin Mary on it. Arthur is hesitant lest he offend his pagan
allies he needs every knight
he can to beat the Saxons but
is eventually convinced into it.
Player knights may note this
change and pagan ones in particular may feel slightly uncomfortable riding into what seems
to be changing from a war into
a crusade.
After Badon and with the country unified, Guinevere presses
further on the topic of the state
and religion. While Arthur
(who has the Religious Knight
bonus in official statistics) is
Christian, it is Guinevere who
comes over with crusading fever perhaps a consequence of

Magna draconis arturius rex

vinces Arthur that he married the


wrong sister and that she is true
heir to Cameliard, forcing Guinevere to seek sanctuary with Lancelot: but eventually the deceit is
revealed and normality is restored.

45

Magna draconis arturius rex


46

her convent education - and she


seeks to convince the pagans to
convert. This isnt full fire and
brimstone, but she does ask
how knights can serve a Christian lord without themselves
being Christian, or how they
can fail to convert when a blessed sword on the holy land of St
Pauls Cathedral revealed their
monarch. (Note that in Malory
she is polite when she brings
this up to Sir Palomides, but she
still considers it appropriate to
question the religion of one of
her husbands warriors!)
Ganieda fears the turn that Britain is taking and that Guinevere will force Arthur into making the whole isle Christian.
She concocts a plan and contacts her old apprentice Guinevak and Bertholai, a knight of
Cameliard, to set it in motion.
Unbeknownst to the court,
Bertholai slips a magical potion to Arthur perhaps attacking him when he is out, more
likely poisoning him while he
visits Cameliard.
While at court, Bertholai presents Gunievak whom he claims
to be the true wife of Arthur; the
true Guinevere he brands an
imposter. (Perhaps claiming a
switch was done but a night or
two ago.) She may even brand
Guinevere as being Guinevak
and a common maids bastard
who seeks to bewitch Arthur.
Because of the magic of Ganieda Arthur believes this and
banishes Guinevere. If they
are there, how will the player

knights react to this? Arthurs


word is law but they will knows
and possibly have loyalty or
emotions for Guinevere.
The true Guinevere is sentenced
to death by burning as an imposter: news of this travels the
country, including to Sir Lancelot who seeks to come to her
aid. Will the player knights join
him? Will they try to talk him
out of defying the king? Who do
they feel they owe loyalty to?
More of Arthurs court travels to Cameliard and someone
challenges Bertholai to a duel
to determine the true Queen.
(This could be Lancelot, or it
could be a player knight so inclined.) If successful, God has
spoken and Guinevere is proven true though Arthur is still
bewitched and his curse must
be lifted before he will realise
he has been deceived. A failure could be more of a problem
unless you assume that this is
when Lancelot intervenes, perhaps stealing away Guinevere
before Arthur can be brought
back to his senses.
If magic and Ganieda are suspected then she or another magician can be sought out to clear
the curse from Arthurs head
that makes him suspect his
wife and love the interloper. A
more traditional adventure can
fit here as the player knights
may need to hunt for magicians, tomes and ingredients to
cleanse the stain of magic from
Arthur.

stat block is easily used in another


edition of the game, using the magical skills just a relative measure of
her magical power scaled much as
the regular skills.

Magna draconis arturius rex

The following statistics for Ganieda are when shes 40 and use the
Pendragon 4th Ed magical skills to
quantify her magical powers. If you
dont have this particular edition of
the rules, have no fear the whole

47

Ganieda
Estregales
Anarchy

40
Cymric 2
Sir Morfyn Enchant.
Noble
King Canan
Estregales
Pagan
Rhiannon
High Priestess
Estregales
Carmarthen

10
12
8
15
18

11,000

3
4
2
25
6
Womans Gift: Naturally lovable

168
84
4
84

9
14
11

2 18
16
4
11
9
16
4
16
4
10 10
8 12
2 18
10 10
16
4
14
6
8 12
18
2
+5 Deceitful vs Men

11
8
12
5
14
6
1
5
3
15
3
3
Harp
Runes 5
3
(Pagan) 15

15
15
17
16
18

siege

2
8
17
6

1
6
5
see next page

Animal Friend 11
Control Faerie Creatures 15,
Dispel 7,
Divination 20,
Emotion 5,
Glamour 17,
Healing 16,
Sacred Space 2,
Shapeshift 5,
Summon Faerie Creature 10,
Travel 3,
Weather Control 3
Queen Guinevere Pendragon
The timeline presented earlier has
Ganieda based in Cameliard for
the Uther/Anarchy phase, allowing her to serve Leodegrance as a
magical assistant and be a tutor
for the infant Guinevere, much as
Merlin fills these roles for Uther
and Arthur. This means that Cameliard could be an excellent place to
start a Pendragon campaign rather than the usual Salisbury. The
knights will spend their early years
adventuring in Cambria and Cumbria, witnessing the formation of
Guinevere and the machinations
of Ganieda. Arthur will not be their
rightful king but merely a noble
lord who marries their lady, whom
they ultimately owe fealty to before
the Pendragon. While the details of
such a campaign are beyond the
scope of this article but something
I hope whets the appetite of those
who, having completed the Great
Pendragon Campaign, feel they
have done all there is to do about
King Arthur!

Sources
Thanks to Timeless Myths (http://
www.timelessmyths.com),
the
website where I first read about
Ganieda. Their section on Arthurian myth summarises a lot of different versions of characters and in
particular their Arthurian Women
section is a goldmine of campaign
idea.
Marion Bradleys The Mists of
Avalon was a major inspiration
in my characterisation of Ganieda. The female driven narrative
gives particular focus to Guinevere and Morgana Le Fay, but here
those principles have instead been
placed on the blank canvas of Ganieda. The clash of religious principles between Pagan & Christian
is well handled, not feeling too
preachy on either side it would be
easy to make it a story where one
of the faiths is demonstrably evil,
but instead a darker side of both
comes up at different times.

Magna draconis arturius rex

MAGIC SKILLS

49

draconum Britanniam
50

GILDAS & BRITAIN'S


DARK AGES
by Paul Mitchener
The term Dark Ages was widely
used in the 19th century to refer
to the time in Western Europe between the fall of the Roman Empire
and the Renaissance. It was seen
as a time of decline, a period of
darkness between the twin lights of
ancient and more modern cultural
achievements. Modern historians
do not use the term in this way, referring to the above period as the
Middle Ages, and recognising its
achievements.
Today, when the phrase Dark Age

is used by historians, it is intended


to be a more neutral judgement
on the lack of historical records
compared to both earlier and later
times. When talking about Britian,
the Dark Ages applies to the 5th
and 6th centuries CE. In this time,
Roman rule ended, and the Angle
and Saxon invasions were at their
height. This period is also the time
the legends of King Arthur and his
knights are set.
Im not going to speculate here
about whether a historic Arthur

Gildas work mentions a number


of things important in later stories of King Arthur. Firstly, there
is the great leader Ambrosius Aurelianus. According to Gildas, following the initial invasions of the
Angles and Saxons, Ambrosius Aurelianus was ...a gentleman who,
perhaps alone of the Romans, had
survived the shock of this notable
storm. Certainly his parents, who
had worn the purple, were slain by
it. His descendants in our day have
become greatly inferior to their ancestors greatness.

This continued up to the year of the


siege of Badon Hill, and of almost
the last great slaughter inflicted
upon the rascally crew. And this
commences, a fact I know, as the
forty-fourth year, with one month
now elapsed; it is also the year of
my birth
In most versions of Arthurian myth,
the battle of Badon Hill is the most
famous battle of the Kings reign,
when the Saxons were beaten back
for a generation. Gildas passage
gives some idea of when this battle took place (circa 500CE). It does
not, however, say who was leading the British forces, or whether it
was still Ambrosius Aurelianus. Of
course, in other later accounts, the
British forces are led by Arthur.
***********

Roman citizens of the senatorial


class (effectively, the Roman aristocracy) wore clothes with a purple
band to designate their rank. Gildas description gives a picture of
Ambrosius Aurelianus as a highborn Roman or Romano-Britain
(his parents, who had worn the
purple) who unified the British
military to fight of the invaders.

In the time when Gildas wrote,


Britain was divided into a number
of smaller kingdoms, and unification against greater threats was an
effort. Gildas spent a good portion
of his work condemning five of the
kings of these kingdoms in strong
biblical terms, using apocalyptic
language from the Book of Revelation. Although Gildas kings are
from a time after the Arthurian
legends, they are still incorporated
into some later stories.

After Ambrosius Aurelianus initial victory over the Saxons, Gildas


wrote ...from that time, the citizens were sometimes victorious,
sometimes the enemy, in order that
the Lord, according to His wont,
might try in this nation the Israel of
to-day, whether it loves Him or not.

The first of these kings, Constantine, was King of Dumnoniaroughly speaking, modern day
Devon. He was condemned by
Gildas for committing many adulturies after casting his wife aside,
but most of all for disguising himself in abbots robes to murdering

draconum Britanniam

existed, or who he might have


been, the likely location of Camelot, or other such fascinating questions. Instead I want to talk about
one of the few written sources of
Britains history in this period- De
Excidio et Conqestu Britanniae (on
the Ruin and Conquest of Britain),
written in the mid 6th century CE
by the monk Gildas.

51

draconum Britanniam
52

two royal youths inside a church.


In a much later version of the tale
by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Constantine is the successor of King Arthur, and the youths killed are the
sons of Mordred. There appears to
be some confusion with other historical figures bearing the name of
Constantine.
The second of Gildas kings is Aurelius Caninus, condemned by Gildas for horrible murders, warmongering, and (again) adulturies.
Gildas gives no indication of the
land he ruled. Some identify him
with Cyngen the Renowned, of the
House of Mathrafel, one of the early rulers of the Kingdom of Powys,
the most powerful of the kingdoms
in Wales.
Another king attacked by Gildas
is Maelgwn, King of Gwynedd, referred to by Gildas as the dragon
of the island (presumably the island of Ynys Mon, or Anglesey),
and described as a regional high
king and bloody tyrant, fighting
wars of conquest against other
kings, being almost a regional high
king in his own right.
Then there is Vortiporus, King of
Dyfed, condemned by Gildas as a
sinner and a tyrant, though he said
little else. The known early history
of Dyfed is interesting; it is a kingdom of South West Wales formed
as a result of large scale migrations
to the region from Ireland between
350 and 400CE. However, this does
not seem terribly relevant to Gildas condemned king.

The last king mentioned by Gildas


is Cuneglas, King of Rhos, part of
the Kingdom of Gwynedd. Cuneglas is the son of Owain Ddantgwyn
according to various ancient Welsh
genealogies. Owain Ddantgwyn is
conjectured as being the basis for
the real King Arthur, but I dont
want to speculate in this direction,
especially when no direct documentary evidence for his life exists
outside of the genealogies mentioned. Cuneglas was condemned
by Gildas for throwing his wife out
to have his way with her sister, for
destesting God and vilifying his order, and for being a warmonger.
Although Gildas kings, who he
condemned for his crimes, belong
to a slightly later period, we adapted some of this material for Age of
Arthur, combining the characteristics and crimes of several of these
kings in the person of Aurelius
Caninus, also known as Cyngen the
Renowned, king of Powys, a powerful and expanding kingdom. In
the Age of Arthur setting, this king
murdered his two older brothers to
gain the throne, and wars against
neighbouring British kingdoms
for plunder. He has used some of
the loot gained to make significant
donations to the Church, ensuring
his good name in history.
This take is of course much more
fiction than fact, but feels true to
the times. The other major source
for the Age of Arthur setting is some
of the traditional Welsh tales, but
those belong in another article.

GAWAIN'S TALE
I have a tale of woe to tell,
heard from tall hill to dell,
of men who lived and died as gods,
and fought against the men from Hell.
A vigil I keep upon this spot,
'tis here I fell and doomed to rot,
no funeral pyre is due to me,
a last soldier seemingly forgot.
I ran in fields of light in Spring,
unaware of what war may bring,
my father's house in the north,
my halls where I would sing.
In the summer of life I learned the sword,
Emrys taught me how to keep my word,
I learned the sailing winds of Ynys Mn,
to trade in wool, insults, & herd.
In the Autumn of life I saw 'The Bear',
Arthur, bid we Britons prepare,
to marry and pledge fealty to our lord,
and stand against the Saxon glare.
In Winter we marched on to war,
Baddon, Catraeth, Caer & more
to kill all the Saxons we could find,
we shattered bone, and skull, & raided store.
On the eve of our victorious attack,
we did not see the knife thrust in our back,
Arthurs brother saw fit to betray
the Bear, Arthur, he did attack.
The coward took a horse and made for home,
we survivors without our lord began to roam,
The Britons were undone and would surely fall,
the Saxons would chase us to the surf's foam.
I sought for home but heard arrow fly,
it struck me down and here I die.
I lie here still and keep Camlan's tale,
where hate broke hope and nation cried.
A word to all who deign to hear,
there are passions stronger than hate or fear,
Love and pride will keep you strong
but a kinsman's greed will bring death near.
To kings in lands of sun or snow,
you have more foes than you know,
While you may be lords above the ground,
A dragon now sleeps below
Tis said vengeance is a petty thing,
woeful times shall it bring,
yet payment in Saxon blood is owed,
to our once and future king.

53

54

Around the table

Greg
Stafford

Greg Stafford is a game designer,


fantasy world creator, and shaman. He is seen by gamers and fantasy fans as a name coterminous
with E.Gary Gygax, Marc Miller,
& Steve Jackson.
Creator of the exotic and enormously detailed world of Glorantha, Greg has also brought into life
what many consider to be not only
the best Arthurian game, but also
one of the best RPG systems that exist; King Arthur Pendragon.
I once had the opportunity, in
Leicester at Continuum 2010, to
join one of his Pendragon games
but had to decline due to GMing
commitments. Yes. I know what

How would you describe you?


Author, Games designer, or
somewhere in between?

Personally: Human being, male,


husband, father, grandfather
Professionally: Mythologist, raconteur, entrepreneur, publisher,
game designer,

How do you feel when you see


Glorantha take on a life of it's
own in the hands of licensees?

youre thinking and I have metaphorically kicked my own backside


many a time since then.
When I e-mailed Greg and told him
about this fanzine and asked for
an interview he readily and heartily said yes and I immediately felt
out of my depth as Gregs a bit of a
hero of mine. You know that chill
that steps in when a hero says
Yeah, sure.? That moment when
you realised you never thought
theyd actually say yes? That was
me. Luckily, Greg gave some great
answers and put me at ease.
It is here that I put those questions
& answers before you. - Steff.

Really, really good. It is awesome


to have a personal artistic vision
being manifest and fulfilled.
In 1966 I experienced a literary vision of Glorantha, watching it unroll, unfold, unpack, and reveal
itself to me. It was something like a
rapid action movie that was almost
too fast to see anything, except for
a few of the massive or brightest
objects. I thought to myself, There
is way too much of this for me to do
it all. Wouldnt it be great to have
enough people understand this
enough to be able to have a staff
working on it? So here, 47 years
later, I see it happening. That is really, really satisfying.

55

Is there a setting you'd have liked


to have expanded on? or brought
to light?
Chaosium was the first company
to publish literary roleplaying
game, starting with Stormbringer
in 1981. Moorcocks work was one
of the first fantasy series Id begun
reading about then. I imagined doing all my favorites. Well, Lord of
the Rings was outside of even my
imagination to do, although I was
offered a shot at it once when Iron
Crown was having some difficulty.
They wanted too much money. Conan was way too restricted. I was
working on Lankhmar when it was
ripped out from under me.

Who's fictional worlds do you admire?


R. E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, J. R. R.
Tolkien.

Pendragon 5.1 seems to be complete to me, do you think it's now


just a case of future versions refining the current rules or do
you plan a sixth edition?
I think there will be 6th edition
some day. It wont change the system, but it will clear up a lot of little tweaky things. That is, just some
more fine tuning

56

Of all your work, which are you


most proud of?
Its hard to choose between Glorantha, which has so much material for it, and Pendragon, which
I consider to be a really beautiful
game system. But the winner is
Pendragon. I think that Glorantha
is fantastic and awesome and full
of incredibly creative material,
but Pendragon is a game that I did
everything on. Everything here
means some input from a lot of
people, but I designed the system,
quantified the world, and fleshed
out the setting.

What has been the low point of


your career?
A couple spring to mind. One was
just after my divorce when all the
world had sunk into the mire. Lynn
and Charlie had decided to sell
Chaosium to Games Workshop. I
made a request, they offered less,
and I refused.
The other was when Chaosium
broke up. Here we had worked together for decades to produce terrific product, but we had fallen
out over how to financially run
the company. The day to day was a
painful grind for me, and so after a
time I quit so that we could remain
friends.

So much of the Arthurian setting


uses Welsh. Do you find Welsh
pronunciation difficult?
Oh no, I think impossible is a more
accurate term.
(I've offered Greg pronunciation
lessons but I'm not sure he'll take
me up on them!)
Glorantha has always looked
and felt very Bronze Age to me,
were you ever tempted to create a
Hellenic roleplaying game?
Yes. In fact, I have a file of ideas that
are so old they are written in typewriter. Instead, however, I have
submitted to Nocturnal publishing
a Greek Legendary game designed
by a couple of other guys. Its not
what I would have done, but it is
good and Im glad to see it done.

You do not seem to be active in


social media, do you?
No. I loath it. It is really, really intrusive and I require more privacy
than that. If someone wants to contact me, please use email.

What game subjects do you wish


you had done?

Has your Shamanism influenced


your RPG writing?
Yes, especially Glorantha, and especially its magic systems. Living a
life of animistic practices has provided me with a world view that
is quite different from the one we
are normally indoctrinated into by
our modern world. And of course
perhaps the biggest impact was to
direct me to found Chaosium and
make games my career.

Having only met you once you


seemed to be pretty down to
Earth, how do you feel when
gamers and designers today cite
you as one of their greatest influences?
I feel flattered and pleased. I do
this work because I am called to
it, and because I get a great personal satisfaction from doing what
I love. Ill admit it has been a road
of relative financial poverty, but
the personal joy I have had in my
day-to-day life seems to dwarf the
lives of agony and despair led by
my friends whose objective has
been payroll, but hate their jobs.
I consider myself an artist, and
so am happy to learn that people
have enjoyed my art. When it has
significantly impacted someones
life, I am humbled.

Oh, as I said above, Lankhmar and


Conan.

57

If there was one career decision


you could change, what would
that be?
To have gotten out of the Avalon
Hill RQ contract at the first offense
they committed in breaking the
contract. I let my young and hopeful dreams get in the way of a clear
business decision that would have
been hard, but in the longer run,
much better for us.

What are you working on at the


moment?
Im officially retired and collecting social security. However, I still
work just about daily on material
for Pendragon. Anyone interested
in seeing it can find their way from
the forum, http://nocturnal-media.com/forum/index.php,
or
my own creaky old website,
http://gspendragon.com/
Thank you Greg.
You are welcome. Thank you too
for the opportunity.

The

Dragons
of
Britain
Need
You!
To keep this fanzine going
we need articles,
art, fiction, prose,
and, most of all,
adventures!
For the e-mail to
which you should
send your ideas* please see
the Contents page.

*Please send your


submission ideas first.

58

Realm

A look at some of the gossip, tales, and rumours around Arthurs realm

531

AD

Eastern Logres

It is said, by locals
fleeing the sound
of battle, that Lady
Camille, leader of the
Saxon rebels in Anglia, has hired a shirtless mercenary who has enormous prowess
in arms. He leads a small party of
experienced Saxon warriors across
the East, killing as they wont.
The

people of the Fens have told


their lord that the Saxons appear to
be in league with a race of monsters
who know how to navigate the hidden waterways. A trader from the
kingdom of Dal Riada in Arthurs
court has named them Fomori after an evil race that once plagued
his land.

Angles

march on Lindum! Weve


just received word that an Angle
army, paid for by a traitor within
Lindum, is marching on the Roman city. Those at court fear it is
already too late to send assistance.
Elsewhere In Logres

A thief was killed yesterday in one

of Camelots trade streets. He was


struck by an arrow as he ran past

a fletchers stall after stealing spices from the fletchers neighbour,


a spice merchant from the Holy
Lands. The fletcher struck true (as
was his right) and as the man lay
dying he mumbled something to
the guards who attended him in his
dying moments and took his final
words. The guards could not speak
the mans tongue but say he was
quite mad and spent with maltemper. His belongings were searched,
his hovel opened, and the man was
found to be quite wealthy. It is not
known why he was living in a hovel
or chose to steal wares rather than
pay for them.
When the guards took the fletchers
direction to his neighbours stall it
was not to be found. In a matter
of seconds the stall and its keeper
were gone. The spices that the forlorn man had stolen blew away in
the breeze.
Needless to say, this left the community and the guards confused
and rumours of sorcery have already begun to spread.
Despite Camelot being used to the
site of traders from far afield, there
is now a disturbing undercurrent
of mistrust among the populace
only spoken through wine.

draconum Britanniam

Whispers Around the

59

draconum Britanniam
60

In

rural Rydychan a large cross


made of marble has been found in
a farmers field as his oxen pulled
their plough. Unearthed by the
ploughing, the cross was revealed
after 4 days of digging by a local
village and has been moved to its
centre. Measuring over 12ft high
it is unknown what it was doing in
the ground. Initially it was seen as
a blessing but strange reports of an
evil malady have started to spread
amongst the first sons of the village.

The ruins of a huge boat have


washed up ashore on the Dorset
coast after a heavy storm. The local
sailors attest to have never seeing a
boat of this size before and say it
is large enough to carry a hundred
warriors and baggage and was of
a foreign design. Let us be thankful
of divine providence that dashed
this invader upon the rocks and
keep vigil on the shore in case of
further incursions.
Outside Logres

In Gwynedd a local Lord has killed

his hound in the mistaken belief


tht it had killed his infant son after seeing blood around its maw.
Shortly after killing the hound,
the lord heard the cries of his unharmed son next to the body of a
mountain wolf. It is clear that the
faithful hound defended the young
boy from the beasts predations
only to be struck down mistakenly
by his master. In his grief the lord
has set a cairn upon a hill and
asked pilgrims to set aside a time
to visit and prey for his departed
hound.

Disagreements often occur in great

families but rarely lead to bloodshed. Sadly, in the City of Legions,


a noble was heard shouting with
his son over the matter of a young
girl. Rumour says that the young
knight was courting a pagan girl
from the hills in Norgales against
his fathers wishes who wanted a
Romano-British bride for his heir.
The Duke Randall despatched legionaries to the nobles villa only
to find his son had slain his father
using a knife. The Duke has yet to
make a decision as he is troubled
by other matters.....

In the Wirral forest to the north of

the City of Legions a castle has appeared. Men sent from the city to
investigate are yet to return and
a strange horserider all decked in
green and leaves has been seen
abroad.

Ships travelling the straight in the

Gael kingdom Dal Riada have seen


a huge torment in the water. On a
few occasions unwary ships have
been lucky to escape. Whether this
is the result of magic or some unseen serpent is unclear.

Earlier this Spring a rush of wild-

life numbering some thousand animals (at the crofters reckoning),


sped from hiding at the edge of the
Perilous Forest in Pase. Something
had panicked the animals to such
an extent that the crofter ran for
his home. He did not look back but
heard the splintering of trees as
if something huge was stomping
through them.

draconum Britanniam

61

draconum Britanniam
62

Gratitudes & Complimentaries

THE GENEROUS CONTRIBUTORS WHO HAVE MADE THIS ISSUE OF THE


DRAGONS OF BRITAIN POSSIBLE. THEYVE STEPPED UP. NOW IT'S YOUR TURN.

Steff. J. Worthington

Contact info is steffworthington@hotmail.com .


Available for cartography projects, trade dress, and
graphic design for RPGs and other books.

David Elrick
Writer

George Quail
Contact info is: hubcap@gquail.com
Writer

Paul Mitchener

Contact info is drmitchener@gmail.com


Website: http://rpgimaginarium.wordpress.com/
Available for freelance RPG writing on projects that take my fancy.
Experience with FATE, One Roll Engine, OpenQuest and Wordplay.

Contact info is http://pareeerica.deviantart.com/


Hooked on Photoshop. Photogenius and Photomanip Artiste

Jessica Dueck

Contact info is http://starscoldnight.deviantart.com/


Professional Digital Artist

AnaRasha-stock

Contact info is http://anarasha-stock.deviantart.com/


Stock Artist

ITSDura

Contact info is http://itsdura.deviantart.com/


Artist & Stock Producer

Lor Myers

Contact info is http://meetmeatthelake2nite.deviantart.com/


Artist & Stock Producer

draconum Britanniam

Pareeerica

63

STYGIAN FOX