Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some Pendragon Questions

My Swords & Wizardry game has been on hiatus now for something like two months. I just wasn't able to keep mapping at the rate my players were exploring my megadungeon. Gary was right- map three whole levels before you let your players in.

I'm giving Swords & Wizardry a break for a while. I'll always love it; it's the easiest system to hack and home-brew that I've yet seen, but there are other games to play too. I'll surely return to Swords & Wizardry again.

What our Skype gaming group will turn to next is in question. I sent everyone an email today asking what they wanted to do for the next few months and suggesting Traveller, Tunnels & Trolls, Risus and, above all, Pendragon.

Playing a Pendragon game is my first choice of the four; some of the very first books that got me into fantasy were Ladybird childrens' adaptations of Arthurian legend. I've also got The Great Pendragon Campaign and The Grey Knight, so I won't be lacking for adventures and prep can be a lot less than it would be if I were mapping out a megadungeon.

I've got some questions for those who are knowledgable about Pendragon, though:

1) I own the first edition of Pendragon; it was surprisingly low-priced on Amazon when I bought it. If you were me, would you look into any other editions of Pendragon, or one of the supplements? How difficult do you think it will be to run stuff from the GPC, which is (at least my copy is) written for fifth edition?

2) The first edition has about four pages on running female characters; is that, in your opinion, enough? Do you have any particular advice for refereeing a game with a mix of PC genders?

3) Pendragon has a system of personality traits. It seems like it would be easy for a beginner like me to use this in ways that force PCs to do what the dice say instead of what players want them to do, or else ignore the traits system all-together. The former seems to me like it would be anathema to the Old School, which is confusing to me, since Pendragon is certainly an Old School game, while the latter would be leaving out a huge part of Pendragon. How do you handle traits? How do you know when to let a player decide what a PC does and when to have the player roll? Does this really conflict with the OSR vision of player-controlled PCs, of "role-playing over roll-playing," to borrow that controversial phrase?

4) Another grognardling-who-is-still-learning-the-Old-Ways-and-isn't-sure-how-Pendragon-fits-with-the-gaming-philosophy-he-learned-which-was-about-Dungeons-&-Dragons question: Would sand-boxing be feasible with Pendragon, do you think? I mean, technically, yeah, you can sandbox with any game system, but would sandboxing Pendragon work against the feel that Pendragon is going for?

5) Do you have any other advice for running Pendragon? Is there anything I should know or try or avoid? (I'm familiar with, and have poked around on, Greg Stafford's Pendragon Page and I've been following Sir Larkins' Solo GPC reports for a good while now.)